The Intentions of the Center

The Centre will be a place for all serious people who have left behind them their nationality, their sectarian beliefs, and all the other things that divide human beings.

From early in Krishnamurti’s life, schools for the young were a part of his concern. After establishing a number of these in different parts of the world, he began to speak of the need to create a center for adults. It was to be a place of stillness and peace, a source where, undisturbed and away from the distractions of everyday life, those interested in his teachings could study and reflect in-depth on the relevance of the teachings to their lives.

In 1982, Krishnamurti described such a center. He spoke of a place of quiet, a building which should be beautiful but simple, comfortable but austere, where the record of all his teachings would be available for study by people who would bring their own seriousness, interest, and inquiry. It was not to be a place for interpretation, where someone would lead others or where studying would be organized or directed by another.

Staff Member: Sir, I wanted to ask you about the proposed centre and what it means to study the teachings.

Krishnamurti: If I went to the centre, first of all I would want to be quiet, not bring problems there; not my household problems, business preoccupations and so on. And also I think I would want what K says to be entirely part of my life, not just that I have studied K and I repeat what he says. Rather, in the very studying of it, I am really absorbing it; not bits of it here and there, not only what suits me.

SM: Can we talk about how that happens because I feel this is where we will decide the nature of the place and its activities?

K: If I went there to study what K is saying, I would want to investigate it, question it, doubt it; not just read something and go away. I would be reading not just to memorise, I would be reading to learn; to see what he is saying and my reactions to it, whether it corresponds or contradicts, whether he is right or I am right, so that there is a constant communication and interchange between what I am reading and what I am feeling. I would want to establish a relationship between what I am reading, seeing, hearing and myself with my reactions, conditioning and so on; a dialogue between him and me. Such a dialogue must inevitably bring about a fundamental change.

Let us say that a man like you comes to this new centre. You take all the trouble to come to this place and, for the first few days, you may want to be quiet. If you are sensitive, you realise there is something here which is different from your home, totally different to going to a discussion somewhere. Then you begin to study, and not only you but all the people living here are studying, looking, questioning. And everyone actually listening with their whole beings will naturally bring about a religious atmosphere.

That is what I would want if I went there. I would be sensitive enough to quickly capture what K is saying. And at lunch, walking or sitting together in the sitting room, I might like to discuss. I might say, ‘Look, I didn’t understand what he meant by that, let’s talk about it’ – not, you tell me about it or I know better – ‘let’s go into it’; so it will be a living thing. And in the afternoon, I might go out for a walk or do some other physical activity.

The study will be a place for all serious people who have left behind them all their nationality, their sectarian beliefs and all the other things that divide human beings.

SM: Can we say more about what it means to study the teachings profoundly?

K: I have made it clear.

SM: Yes. But there is more to it. In organising the centre I also have to ask about my own studying. I realise that if I don’t do this seriously, I have no business working there if I am not doing it.

K: That is understood.

SM: It is this question of the teachings somehow going into the blood.

K: We will get it, sir, I am sure we will get it. As long as we are talking together like this and keep at it.

SM: But Krishnaji, I also feel that it has to be something that does not depend on you.

K: It depends on the teachings.

SM: And on how I relate to the teachings. But from my own relationship with the teachings there are some other things I want to ask about, because there is something else which I feel is important.

K: What is that, briefly?

SM: I have studied the teachings every day for some years. Sometimes studying the teachings for me means even just reading one phrase.

K: Quite right. That’s up to you.

SM: But now, wait. This is it, Krishnaji. That one phrase – somehow holding it during the day in action and in relationship – holding it.

K: Quite right. You are carrying a jewel with you. You are watching all the time or it will get lost.

SM: Now, I wanted to talk about that holding, because to me there is a secret in that holding. There is something very special about that holding that most people don’t know and that I often forget.

K: Yes, sir. Listen carefully. Someone gives me a marvellous watch, superb. And it is such a precious thing – I am very careful. I watch it all day.

SM: Yes.

K: The thing – I don’t have to hold it, it is there in my hands. You follow? I watch. I live with it.

SM: Yes. If I can come back to this, Krishnaji. It is there in your hands. Now, to continue the metaphor, ‘Look, would you please do the dishes: here are the gloves,’ you are not going to keep the watch in your hand, you are going to put it in your pocket, or you are going to do something else with it.

K: But the watch is still ticking away.

SM: Exactly. So, in this centre somehow I feel we want to set up some activities that help people hold this thing all day long.

K: Be careful. Don’t do that. No activity is holding it. No outside help.

SM: No outside help. So perhaps we should not give people so many things to do.

K: Yes, you do all the things you have to do. You must allow for yourself four or five hours, or two hours, whatever you want. I shut my door after two o’clock or some other time, then nobody disturbs me. You must have time to study, to listen, absorb – absorb, so that it is in your blood.

SM: Yes.

K: It is like having a marvellous set of pearls. You put them around your neck and they are always there. You follow?

SM: Can you describe more closely, Krishnaji, without metaphor, when a person reads something extraordinary, how they hold that?

K: Sir, you don’t hold it. The moment you have read that and you see the truth of it, it is yours, you don’t have to hold it. You look at the mountains, you don’t hold them, they are there. You are always conscious of that. You are always looking at it. Even when you are washing dishes, that is there.

SM: Yes.

K: Keep it. Don’t talk any more about it. Keep it. You have understood what it means. Go into it for yourself. You are going to have to talk to the people who come to the centre about this, so you have to be very clear. I might come to the centre and say, ‘What do you think about all this? I would like to discuss with you what K means by meditation, what he means by…’ – you know, all the rest of it. And you must be able to discuss this.

SM: Yes, I know, sir.

K: It’s all right with practical jobs that have to be done for the building, which must be most beautiful, austere. But the other – you have a tremendous responsibility. Don’t minimise it. And don’t be frightened. You have got to do it. It is not easy.

SM: Because here, Krishnaji, we are talking about the sacred, creating something of the sacred.

K: It will come. You can’t just put out your hand and wait.

SM: No.

K: It comes when you live the teachings.

A Place of Learning and Austere Living

This is a place of learning and austere living with inward discipline and work, without a guru, without a leader, and without a system of meditation or working.

There are many people who, because of distractions of occupation, family, or other factors in their lives, find it difficult to immerse themselves in the teachings. So each one comes to this place on his own, to meditate if he wishes, to study the teachings, and to do some physical work if he wishes.

Thus it is primarily meant for those who want to come together in a spirit of cooperation.
Spirit of cooperation does not mean working together for some purpose, ideal, or authority. But while someone is physically working, he may have a perceptive flash of deep understanding, which he may then talk over with another; others may question, doubt what he is saying, but the deep understanding shared by both does not belong to one or the other.

Perception is never personal. Such a sharing is cooperation.

For Sharing One’s Discoveries

The center should draw people who have good brains, good intellects. They should study the teachings thoroughly, soak in it deeply as they would do if they were to study medicine or Buddhism or any other subject.

Studying means going deeply into the subtleties of the words used and their contents and seeing the truth in them in relation to daily life. They should be able to discuss with top brains, specialists in any branch of knowledge, as scholars do.

These people, while they are studying, should have a spirit of cooperation. Spirit of
cooperation does not mean working together for some function, but while I am functioning, while I am digging—and you are also doing some work—I am thinking over something, and since I am your friend, I rush to you and discuss with you what I have discovered. You may doubt it, question it, but I am sharing with you the discovery. It is not my discovery; it does not belong to me or to anybody.

But it must not be a confession. There are groups in America who confess to each other; it is like washing your own dirty linen in public.

And if I am a liar, it is also the responsibility of you and all the other friends. Because we all are interested in the teachings and in studying it deeply and in living it in our daily life, we are responsible to each other for whatever we are.

This togetherness among friends who are interested in the discovery of truth in their daily life, and the sense of responsibility they have to each other, is the spirit of cooperation. And when everyone who lives in Vasanta Vihar has this spirit of cooperation, it will bring about, will create, an atmosphere in which a newcomer will also flower.

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