Book – Freedom From the Known
Author – Jiddu Krishnamurti
Genre – Self-Help
Published in – 1969
If you try to study yourself according to another you will always remain a secondhand human being.– J. Krishnamurti
This domain of exploring spirituality beyond conventional religion intrigues me and his book has been on my list for a while.
Finally, I read the book and found it interesting and broadened my perspective of spirituality. If you are interested in this line of inquiry, you will get something new from this book.
J. Krishnamurti suggests learning about ourselves, not according to him or to some analyst or philosopher – because if we learn about ourselves according to someone else, we learn about them, not ourselves – we are going to learn what we actually are.
About the Book –
Freedom from the known is derived from various of his talks, and reading 16 chapters feels like sitting in front of him and exploring a new perspective of spirituality and life with him.
Here are excerpts from the book –
1) Search –
- Man has throughout the ages been seeking something beyond himself, beyond material welfare – something we call truth or God or reality, a timeless state – something that cannot be disturbed by circumstances, by thought, or by human corruption.
- And not finding this nameless thing of a thousand names which he has always sought, he has cultivated faith – faith in a savior or an ideal – and faith invariably breeds violence.
2) To Know Ourselves –
- It is no use sitting in a corner meditating about myself. I cannot exist by myself. I exist only in relation to people, things, and ideas, and in studying my relationship to outward things and people, as well as to inward things, I begin to understand myself.
- You respond to every challenge according to your conditioning and if your conditioning is inadequate, you will always react inadequately.
- The moment you give your total attention to your conditioning you will see that you are free from the past completely, that it falls away from you naturally.
3) Pleasure and Joy –
- He differentiates between joy and pleasure this way. Joy is in the moment, while pleasure is the expectancy of experience to be repeated. Joy will not accompany pain, while pleasure follows by pain.
- Joy is an immediate thing and by thinking about it, you turn it into pleasure. Living in the present is the instant perception of beauty and the great delight in it without seeking pleasure from it.
4) Wants to be Somebody –
- Most of us crave the satisfaction of having a position in society because we are afraid of being nobody.
- Everyone in the world wants a position, whether in society, in the family, or to sit on the right hand of God, and this position must be recognized by others, otherwise, it is no position at all.
- Fear is one of the greatest problems in life. A mind that is caught in fear lives in confusion, in conflict, and therefore must be violent, distorted, and aggressive.
5) Fear, Pleasure, Sorrow –
- Fear, Pleasure, Sorrow, thought and violence are all Interrelated. Most of us take pleasure in violence, in disliking somebody, hating a particular race or group of people, having antagonistic feelings towards others.
- Violence is not merely killing another. It is also violence when we use a sharp word when we make a gesture to brush away a person when we obey because there is fear.
6) Image-Based Relationship –
- The relationship between human beings is based on the image forming, defensive mechanism. In all our relationships each one of us builds an image about the other and these two images have a relationship, not the human beings themselves.
- The actual relationship between two human beings or between many human beings completely ends when there is the formation of images.
- Measuring ourselves all the time against something or someone is one of the primary causes of conflict.
7) Complete Freedom –
- Freedom has to be complete. We cannot seek freedom from pain and keep pleasure, as both are inseparable. One follows the other.
- Freedom is a state of mind – not freedom from something but a sense of freedom, a freedom to doubt and question everything and therefore, so intense, active, and vigorous that it throws away every form of dependence, slavery, conformity, and acceptance.
- Freedom can only come about naturally, not through wishing, wanting, longing. Nor will you find it by creating an image of what you think it is. To come upon it the mind has to learn to look at life, which is a vast movement, without the bondage of time, for freedom lies beyond the field of consciousness.
8) Solitude –
- The kind of lives we live, we are seldom alone, even if when we are alone, we are surrounded by thoughts, memories of so many experiences.
- It is only when we give complete attention to a problem and solve it immediately – never carrying it over to the next day, the next minute – that there is solitude.
9) Meditation –
- Meditation is to be aware of every thought and of every feeling, never to say it is right or wrong but just to watch it and move with it. In that watching, you begin to understand the whole movement of thought and feeling. And out of this awareness comes silence.
- Meditation is one of the greatest arts in life – perhaps the greatest, and one cannot possibly learn it from anybody, that is the beauty of it. It has no technique and therefore no authority.
- When you learn about yourself, watch yourself, watch the way you walk, how you eat, what you say, the gossip, the hate, the jealousy – if you are aware of all that in yourself, without any choice, that is part of meditation.
10) Awareness of Self –
- As we become aware of ourselves, it is possible for us to bring about a revolution not only in our outward relationships but in the whole field of our thinking, feeling, acting, and reacting.
- After all, any movement which is worthwhile, any action which has any deep significance, must begin within each one of us.
- In the religious mind, there is that state of silence that is not produced by thought but is the outcome of awareness.
As you finish reading this book, you will come out with a different perspective and it will deepen your search of self, and help you look within, rather than seeking outside.
Hope this book summary gave you a good idea of the book.
Thank you for reading, please leave a comment below.
With Love, Muzammil