Tag Archives: selfimprovement

Know This Book: ‘Krishnamurti For Beginners: An Anthology’

The most important book that I read this year was titled ‘Krishnamurti For Beginners: An Anthology’, published by Krishnamurti Foundation India. I had purchased this book sometime around 2006 when I was in Ahmedabad, and had already read it once or may be twice. This was my third reading of this book. Krishnamurti rarely fails us and always impresses us by his insight into problems and issues we come across in our everyday lives. After a biographical sketch and an outline of Krishnamurti’s philosophy by Radhika Herzberger, this book presents a collection of Krishnamurti’s writings, diary notes, speeches, dialogues and conversations. He does not belong to any religious sect or philosophical school; instead, he has a direct and straightforward way of looking at things, and through every piece of writing or conversation he encourages you to look at ‘what is’ instead of ‘what should be’. According to him, this conflict between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’ is the root cause of most of the problems. 

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You Are Not The Centre Of Universe

There might be several things which you do not like; however, note that the world does not run according to your preferences, your likes and dislikes. You are not the centre of the universe; so if you want everyone in the world to live as per your likes then it is too much asking. It is not without any reason that God has kept the system administration of the world with Himself, and created you and your account with selected privileges which we call as ‘free-will’. Otherwise, you would agree, given that every individual has a personal preference and wants the whole world to acknowledge and accept it, satisfying everyone is simply not possible. Any attempt to do so would only lead to utter chaos. So let the world be as it is. Of course, there are certain things which are absolutely incorrect and you are completely justified in opposing them, just as there are others which are correct and one must take every trouble to ensure that they happen. Not only that, one should be prepared to make any number of sacrifices to let that happen. Here the choice is not between good and bad — which is a matter of personal taste — rather between correct and incorrect. At the same time, such universally good or bad actions which I have named as correct and incorrect respectively, are quite few and are generally accepted by everyone. On the other hand, for most part, most of the things that you want to happen or not happen are merely a matter of personal taste. Live and let live — that is the formula if you like to call it that way. 


Transformation Within A Relationship

It may sound counter-intuitive and is definitely completely opposite to what people in general claim. But I carry the opinion that if someone tries to change you — in whatever way — it means he does not love you. Those who want to change you or want you to change your lifestyle or way of thinking, simply want you to make them happy, they are merely using you to their advantage. If people love you, they would accept you the way you are. But what advantage do they fulfil by transforming? One factor is the general tendency to enlarge and boost their own ego by pointing out mistakes and flaws of others. This helps them in forgetting and ignoring their own shortcomings. This is the most widespread motivation behind criticism.

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How To Make The World Happy

Everyone seems to yearn to make the world happy— the leaders, the social workers, the teachers, the youth, the parents, everybody. Nobody has the formula; in fact, nobody even seems to have any idea about what happiness implies, yet such eagerness to spread joy! It is not surprising then that in this eagerness we only end up creating more chaos, those who we try to make happy become more sad, those we wanted to make happy end up becoming more miserable. A lot of effort and pain could have been saved if instead of trying to make others happy — that too without even knowing what it actually means — we ourselves become happy first. When we are happy and full of joy and love, that warmth is spread in our environment and those who come in our contact experience it as such. A blown out match stick cannot ignite a flame, only a burning one can do. If you yourself are sad, how can you bring happiness to others? A warm and beautiful smile on your face has the strength to lift people from depths of depression and dejection, to uplift spirits and give courage to people to move ahead in their lives with vigour and agility. Gloom spreads gloom, happiness spreads happiness. Again, happiness is the characteristic permanent state of a mind at peace with itself; it is not pleasure, which is momentary, transient and is only concerned with its own interests.


Relationship And Self-Knowledge

Relationships are the mirror through which we look at ourselves. We start with trying to understand our beloved and may be our relationship, however, the farther we advance in our relationship, the more we discover about ourselves. How we relate to the other people in the course of the journey together allows us to understand ourselves. If you say you do not understand the other person, it means you do not understand yourself at all. It is not abstract philosophy, instead a plain simple fact. Conflict in relationships arises from a conflict within oneself. The world appears queer when looked through a broken glass. A twisted perspective results in a biased outlook, even simple sights are turned into complex and complicated scenes. 


Emotions And Love

Emotions are not love. As long as you are in the trap of emotion, understand that you do not love. We have been brainwashed by movies, TV soaps and novels and poetry that emotions are synonymous with love. They are not. Emotions are like waves — they have ebbs and crests, they come and go, one moment when you are with your beloved, you are joyful, the moment he is gone, you become sad, he does not reciprocate your affection, you become upset, he resists, you become offended or angry. Is that love? Love is like a steady flame in still air; it does not waver, it does not flicker. It remains constant in joy and sorrow, difficult and easy times, it only gives but does not ask for anything in return. It is only concerned with spreading happiness, and that is all it knows. Wherever there is love, there is no pain; wherever there is pain, there is no love. With emotions you are concerned with yourself, while with love you think only of your beloved.


Conflict And Love

The whole world is in conflict, either in the form of war or disputes. In families there are conflicts in relations. If you observe closely, you would discover a conflict within yourself — your ideals and philosophy against the practical wisdom on how to survive the world. Your professional life is nearly always in conflict with your personal life.

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Friendship And Service

photo credit: Neil. Moralee That sly smile via photopin (license)

What is a friend? When do you decide to call a person as your friend? You say ”A friend in need is a friend indeed”. But as far as my memory goes, I have tried my best to help everyone who sought my help — irrespective of whether they were acquaintances or not. On the occasions when I could not help, it was solely because of my limited potential and capabilities. If you tend to help only selected individuals who come in your ‘friend circle’ and shut your doors to everybody else, then I would say that you might be a good friend to your fellows, but not a human being. As for relationships, you need not tie people into bonds in order to love them. Love freely, expand yourself, spread happiness.  


Growth Demands Sacrifice

There are a fixed 24 hours in a day. And also your capacity is limited. You have to manage everything within these resources. You cannot spend your time watching cricket and movies, discussing politics, gossiping, fighting with your spouse, and yet aspire to be an artist, writer, scientist. All these occupations demand enormous concentration, perseverance, practice. A lot many sacrifices have to be made. You have to make a choice — either select the good or the pleasant. If you aspire to rise higher than everyone else, you have to choose the good and let go the pleasant. Unfortunately there is no other way.


How The Mind Helps In Sustaining Relationships

In one of my earlier posts i mentioned the importance of maintaining a harmony among different planes of our being — physical, mental and spiritual. In another post I explored various reasons behind the over-occupation with the physical while ignoring the mental plane. My hypothesis is that this preoccupation is due to an eagerness to impress others who are more likely to see our physical plane rather than the mental plane.

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