Action – The Teachings of J. Krishnamurti

Publisher – Hay House, Pages – 139

“For me, there is no action if it is preceded by an idea.”

J Krishnamurti

It took me about ten months to read this book from end to end. This book contains the teachings of ‘J’, as he was fondly known, related to Action. The passages have been taken directly from his talks and books from 1933 to 1967. Some of the questions this book deals with are:

  • What are the consequences of personal action based on a belief?
  • Why is there a conflict in the action taken?
  • Why do I react to most things in life?

Through this book, I understood that action is not the step taken from my past learning or in anticipation of the future; action means to immerse oneself in the moment and experience the feeling. If our action is imitative, conforming to the norms, following the pattern of pleasure, then it leads to agony.

Accordingly to J, life needs to be lived in totality! Every experience has to be lived with attention and vigour. When we divide existence into different segments then action becomes contradictory.

“Right action comes in understanding relationship, which reveals the process of oneself. Self knowledge is the beginning of wisdom: it is a field of affection, warmth and love, therefore I feel rich with flowers.”
“The mind that gives root to a problem seizes to act, because action is always in the living present, and the act is present. When the problem becomes something to be solved eventually, then the idea becomes important, not the action.”

My reason for picking up this ‘thin’ book was that reading a book by J takes a lot of effort to read and comprehend. One needs to go on a different plane to be able to relate to his discourses and his thought process. Since this book had snippets from various talks, I was sure to read it at a faster pace. Needless to say, I was mistaken.

I can’t just read past his teachings. When I begin reading, they are not palatable. They make me uncomfortable. They make me question my own beliefs, my knowledge, my conditioning through the years. As I keep reading, I tend to shed this layer of conditioning and I am able to relate to J – his world, the way he sees the world (for me he remains omnipresent)! It is unnerving to embark on a journey with him because then I begin to loose sight of the normal people, their thoughts, their dogmas, their concepts. They become distant. And I begin to realise that I don’t belong to them. And here’s a passage from this book that perfectly describes my feelings:

“After all, to find out anything you must have energy, and you need a great deal of energy to inquire into something totally new. And to have that energy, you must have listened to the old pattern of life, neither condemning nor approving. You must have listened to it totally--which means you have understood it, you have understood the futility of living that way. When you have listened to the futility of it, you are already out of it. Then you have - not intellectually but deeply - felt the uselessness of living that way and have listened to it completely, totally; then you have the energy to inquire. If you have not the energy, you cannot inquire. That is, when you deny that which has brought about this misery, this conflict--which we have gone into - that denial, that very negation of it is positive action.”

Now, that I have read the book, immersed myself once more in the concepts, resolved the mental conflicts and lived by positive action in the recent past; it seems impossible to turn back……

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