By Jiddu Krishnamurti
Question: You say that gurus are unnecessary, but how can I find truth without the wise help and guidance which only a guru can give?
Jiddu Krishnamurti: The question is whether a guru is necessary or not, Can truth be found through another? Some say it can and some say it cannot. We want to know the truth of this, not my opinion as against the opinion of another. I have no opinion in this matter. Either it is so or it is not. Whether it is essential that you should or should not have a guru is not a quest1on of opinion. The truth of the matter is not dependent on opinion, however profound, erudite, popular, universal. The truth of the matter is to be found out, in fact.
First of all, why do we want a guru? We say we need a guru, because we are confused and the guru is helpful; he will point out what truth is, he will help us to understand, he knows much more about life than we do, he will act as a father, as a teacher to instruct us in life; he has vast experience and we have but little; he will help us through his greater experience and so on and on. That is, basically, you go to a teacher because you are confused. If you were clear, you would not go near a guru.
Obviously, if you were profoundly happy, if there were no problems, if you understood life completely, you would not go to any guru. I hope you see the significance of this. Because you are confused, you seek out a teacher. You go to him to give you a way of life to clarify your own confusion, to find truth. You choose your guru because you are confused and you hope he will give you what you ask. That is you choose a guru who will satisfy your demand; you choose according to the gratification he will give you and your choice is dependent on your gratification.
You do not choose a guru who says, ''Depend on yourself"; you choose him according to your prejudices. So since you choose your guru according to the gratification he gives you, you are not seeking truth but a way out of confusion; and the way out of confusion is mistakenly called truth.
Let us examine first this idea that a guru can clear up our confusion. Can anyone clear up our confusion? - confusion being the product of our responses. We have created it. Do you think someone else has created it - this misery, this battle at all levels of existence, within and without? It is the result of our own lack of knowledge of ourselves. It is because we do not understand ourselves, our conflicts, our responses, our miseries, that we go to a guru whom we think will help us to be free of that confusion.
We can understand ourselves only in relationship to the present; and that relationship itself is the guru, not someone outside. If I do not understand that relationship, whatever a guru may say is useless, because if I do not understand relationship, my relationship to property, to people, to ideas, who can resolve the conflict within me? To resolve that conflict, I must understand it myself, which means I must be aware of myself in relationship. To be aware, no guru is necessary. If I do not know myself, of what use is a guru? As a political leader is chosen by those who are in confusion and whose choice therefore is also confused, so I choose a guru. I can choose him only according to my confusion; hence he, like the political leader, is confused.
What is important is not who is right - whether I am right or whether those are right who say a guru is necessary; to find out why you need a guru is important. Gurus exist for exploitation of various kinds, but that is irrelevant. It gives you satisfaction, if someone tells you how you are progressing, but to find out why you need a guru - there lies the key. Another can point out the way, but you have to do all the work, even if you have a guru. Because you do not want to face that, you shift the responsibility to the guru.
The guru becomes useless when there is a particle of self-knowledge. No guru, no book or scripture, can give you self-knowledge: it comes when you are aware of yourself in relationship. To be, is to be related; not to understand relationship is misery, strife. Not to be aware of your relationship to property is one of the causes of confusion. If you do not know your right relationship to property there is bound to be conflict, which increases the conflict in society.
If you do not understand the relationship between yourself and your wife, between yourself and your child, how can another resolve the conflict arising out of that relationship? Similarly with ideas, beliefs and so on. Being confused in your relationship with people, with property, with ideas, you seek a guru. If he is a real guru, he will tell you to understand yourself. You are the source of all misunderstanding and confusion; and you can resolve that conflict only when you understand yourself in relationship.
You cannot find truth through anybody else. How can you? Truth is not something static; it has no fixed abode; it is not an end, a goal. On the contrary, it is living, dynamic, alert, alive. How can it be an end? If truth is a fixed point it is no longer truth; it is then a mere opinion. Truth is the unknown, and a mind that is seeking truth will never find it, for mind is made up of the known, it is the result of the past, the outcome of time - which you can observe for yourself. Mind is the instrument of the known, hence it cannot find the unknown; it can only move from the known to the known.
When the mind seeks truth, the truth it has read about in books, that 'truth' is self-projected; for then the mind is merely in pursuit of the known, a more satisfactory known than the previous one. When the mind seeks truth, it is seeking its own self-projection, not truth. After all, an ideal is self-projected; it is fictitious, unreal. What is real is what is, not the opposite. But a mind that is seeking reality, seeking God, is seeking the known. When you think of God, your God is the projection of your own thought, the result of social influences. You can think only of the known; you cannot think of the unknown, you cannot concentrate on truth.
The moment you think of the unknown, it is merely the self-projected known. God or truth cannot be thought about. If you think about it, it is not truth. Truth cannot be sought: it comes to you. You can go only after what is known. When the mind is not tortured by the known, by the effects of the known, then only can truth reveal itself. Truth is in every leaf, in every tear; it is to be known from moment to moment. No one can lead you to truth; and if anyone leads you, it can only be to the known.
Truth can only come to the mind that is empty of the known. It comes in a state in which the known is absent, not functioning. The mind is the warehouse of the known, the residue of the known; for the mind to be in that state in which the unknown comes into being, it must be aware of itself, of its previous experiences, the conscious as well as the unconscious, of its responses, reactions, and structure. When there is complete self-knowledge, then there is the ending of the known, then the mind is completely empty of the known. It is only then that truth can come to you uninvited.
Truth does not belong to you or to me. You cannot worship it. The moment it is known, it is unreal. The symbol is not real, the image is not real; but when there is the understanding of self, the cessation of self, then eternity comes into being.