Published by: Krishnamurti Foundation India
Distributed by The Word Bookshop
Price: INR 65
He was a Buddha but only he knew what that meant. The others – his followers–wanted to know, so they asked him questions and J Krishnamurti obliged; he answered questions on thought, on insight, on corruption , on sex … and it became a slim book called ‘Questions and Answers’.
Here, the parallel to the Buddha ends; for the answers that Krishnamurti gave were his own. He didn’t give his audiences readymade solutions, but urged them to think and look for themselves. Right from the start of the book he says, One suffers, goes through great explanations and one seeks comfort…, There is God, there is reincarnation, there is this, there is that, there is something else… the explanations by philosophers, by psychologists, by priests, by gurus and teachers—it is on these that one lives, which means one lives second hand… One has never asked “Can I be a light to myself, not the light of someone else, the light of Jesus or the Buddha? Which means there is no shadow, for to be a light to oneself means it is never put out by any artificial means, by circumstances, by sorrow, by accident.”
His audience didn’t understand so they asked him more questions—and he answered them with his questions!
Is that which is happening in the world outside different from that which is happening inside?’ asks Krishnamurthi in response to a question about violence. The answer is obvious – it isn’t. It isn’t because we are also violent, it isn’t because the individual is the world; and change, if it is to truly happen should start with the former. This is something Krishnamurti would harp on all his life – and in this book, it’s not different.
What is new appears in the 14th chapter called creativity. ‘What is generally called creativity is man-made – painting, music, literature… but most man-made creativity as we call it takes place from the known, the great musicians Beethoven, Bach and others acted from the known, but is that really creative? Is creativity something totally different? …something which we can all have, not only the specialist, the professional, the talented the gifted. If the mind is extraordinarily clear without a shadow of conflict, then it is really in a state of creation.’ It’s the first time – in the book that Krishnamurti sounds earthy. You wish he would continue being so, but he slips back into the stratosphere, especially when talking about enlightenment, thought and consciousness and it needs a question on sex—towards the latter half of the book—to pull him back to earth and keep him tethered.
‘Why does sex play such an important part in each one’s life in the world?’ asks the questioner. ‘Perhaps sex is felt to be creative and has become important because everything around us is circumscribed’ says Krishnamurti… ‘the job, the office, going to church, following some guru… all that has deprived us of freedom… so where there is no freedom, either outwardly or inwardly, specially inwardly we have only one thing and that is called sex. Why do we give it importance? Do you give equal importance to being free from fear? No. Do you give equal energy, vitality and thought to end sorrow? No. Why? Why only to sex?’
Those last questions and answers are provoking; the questions more so because that was Krishnamurti’s way of guiding you to enlightenment.