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 found the book, and it broadened my spiritual perspective. 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 some analyst or philosopher – because if we learn about ourselves according to someone else, we learn about them, not ourselves – we will know what we 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 that 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 live only 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 training 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. Happiness 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; you turn it into pleasure by thinking about it. Living in the present is the instant perception of beauty and its great delight without seeking fun.
4) Wants to be Somebody –
- Most of us crave the satisfaction of having a societal position because we fear being nobody.
- Everyone wants a position, whether in society, in the family, or to sit on the right hand of God, and others must recognize this position. Otherwise, it is no position at all.
- Fear is one of the most significant problems in life. A mind caught in fear lives in confusion and 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, disliking Somebody, hating a particular race or group of people, and having antagonistic feelings towards others.
- Violence is not merely killing another. It is also violent when we use sharp words when we gesture to brush away a person when we obey because of fear.
6) Image-Based Relationship –
- The relationship between humans is based on the image forming, defensive mechanism. In all our relationships, each of us builds an idea about the other, and these two images have a relationship, not the human beings themselves.
- The actual relationship between two or many human beings ultimately ends when images are formed.
- 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 independence 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 to doubt and question everything. Therefore, it is so intense, active, and vigorous that it throws away every form of dependence, slavery, conformity, and acceptance.
- Freedom can only come naturally, not through wishing, wanting, or 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 –
- In the kind of lives we live, we are seldom alone; even when we are alone, we are surrounded by thoughts and memories of so many experiences.
- Only when we give complete attention to a problem and solve it immediately – never carrying it over to the next day, the next minute – is there solitude.
9) Meditation –
- Meditation is to be aware of every thought and feeling, never to say right or wrong, but to watch and move. In that watching, you understand the whole movement of thought and feeling. And out of this awareness comes silence.
- Meditation is one of the most outstanding 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 how 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, we can bring about a revolution not only in our outward relationships but also in our thinking, feeling, acting, and reacting.
- After all, any worthwhile movement, any action with any deep significance, must begin within each 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 up with a different perspective, and it will deepen your search for yourself and help you look within rather than outside.
If you like this book, You will also like The Untethered Soul.
I hope this book summary gave you a good idea of the book.
Thank you for reading; please leave a comment below.
With Love, Muzammil