J. Krishnamurti Meets the Pope

J. Krishnamurti Quote

Jiddu Krishnamurti on Being Nobody 

These days the Pope is visiting the US and it reminded me of a dialogue between Krishnamurti and the then Pope, when they had once met.  I don’t recall the dialogue exactly or where I had read it, but it went something like this…

The Pope upon meeting Krishnamurti indicated that he had heard of him as the famous Indian philosopher and then proceeded to ask Krishnamurti exactly who he was?

To which Krishnamurti had replied, "I am nobody." 

I don’t recall there was anything more in that dialogue.

Here is part of a great chapter from Krishnamurti’s Notebook, where he speaks on what all this business of being nobody is all about.

From:    Krishnamurti’s Notebook

It seems so impossibly difficult to be simple, to be what you are and not pretend.  To be what you are is in itself very arduous without trying to become something, which is not too difficult.  You can always pretend, put on a mask but to be what you are is an extremely complex affair; because you are always changing; you are never the same and each moment reveals a new facet, a new depth, a new surface.  You can’t be all this at one moment for each moment brings its own change.  So if you are at all intelligent, you give up being anything.  You think you are very sensitive and an incident, a fleeting though, shows that you are not; you think you are clever, well-read, artistic, moral but turn round the corner, you find you are none of these things but that you are deeply ambitious, envious, insufficient, brutal and anxious.  You are all these things turn by turn and you want something to be continuous, permanent, of course only that which is profitable, pleasurable.  So you run after that and all the many other yous are clamoring to have their way, to have their fulfillment… 

So to be what you are is an extremely arduous affair; if you are at all awake, you know all these things and the sorrow of it all.  So you drown yourself in your work, in your belief, in your fantastic ideals and meditations.  By then you have become old and ready for the grave, it you are not already dead inwardly.  To put away all these things, with their contradictions and increasing sorrow, and be nothing is the most natural and intelligent thing to do.  But before you can be nothing, you must have unearthed all these hidden things, exposing them and so understanding them.  To understand these hidden urges and compulsions, you will have to be aware of them, without choice, as with death; then in the pure act of seeing, they will wither away and you will be without sorrow and so be as nothing.  To be as nothing is not a negative state; the very denial of everything you have been is the most positive action, not the positive of reactions, which in inaction; it is this inaction which causes sorrow.  This denial is freedom.  This positive action gives energy, and mere ideas dissipate energy.  Idea is time and living in time is disintegration, sorrow. 

As monk Tara demonstrated in the Zen story The True Meaning of Laziness, your job is simply to be as aware as possible of all that is taking place within you.  Try to watch every action, every thought, every feeling and see every hidden motive and desire.  If you do that, it will be enough.  The rest will take of itself.

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9 replies
  1. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hey Tom

    Great to have you stop by Mastery of Meditation. Thanks so much for contributing.

    For Other Readers,

    Tom’s got a great blog on spirituality and meditation. Head on over there to be inspired and uplifted. Here is his URL…


    All Good Wishes,

  2. Tom Stine
    Tom Stine says:

    Excellent, Anmol. Krishnamurti has it right. And I would agree with your comment above, that first Realization before outer works. I like what another spiritual teacher said: if you perform even good works from a place of division, you create as many problems in the world as you solve. But if you know wholeness, and act from that, then you really can help end the worlds suffering. Krishnamurti had it right.

  3. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your thoughtful and very interesting comments on this topic.

    Although I certainly don’t disagree with being a positive force in the world, all I would like to add, is that Realization must come first and then that Realization would provide the guidance for the type of work that is required by the Whole.

    Will certainly visit the website you have mentioned. Yes and of course, good people are good people does not matter what they are called.

    All Good Wishes,

  4. Chris
    Chris says:

    I had read recently where Krishnamurti expressed sadness and frustration at the end of his life regarding how little effect his words had seemed to have upon actual change. I was and continue to be a fan of Krishnamurti, but I must say, to a great degree, I fail to see the difference between a “good Catholic” and a good Krishnamurtite; so to speak. I think the author and college professor Glenn T. Martin does an excellent job of critiquing Krishnamurti in his book “Millennium Dawn”.

    It is not enough to be satisfied with changing the individual. That is only half the task. The other half is to change the outer, the socioeconomic structure of society. It is for good reason that this is a talked about. People don’t want to hear that, they won’t come to hear your talks and they won’t buy your books. To talk just about individual change quite conveniently allows for no change, which is exactly what people really want, no change.

    And to just talk in vague generalities, in my opinion is a copout. My ideas about what socioeconomic enlightenment might look like can be found at http://www.cooperative-community.info


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