Belief and the ending of knowledge

From a dialogue between J Krishnamurti and Swami Venkatesananda (“The awakening of intelligence”)

K: How do I know the highest? Because the sages have said it? I don’t accept the sages. They might be caught in illusion, they might be talking nonsense or sense. I don’t know, I am not interested. I find that as long as the mind is in a state of fear, it wants to escape from it, and projects an idea of the supreme, and wants to experience that. But if it frees itself from its own agony, then it is altogether in a different state. It doesn’t even ask to experience because it is at quite a different level.


K: If Vedanta is the end of… which is by its own… the meaning of itself is the end of knowledge.

SV: Yes, it’s wonderful, I never thought of it before: the end of knowledge.

K: Freedom from knowing.

SV: Freedom from knowledge, yes. (Laughs)

K: Then why have they not kept to that?

SV: Their contention being that you have to pass through that in order to come out of it.

K: Pass through what?

K: Now wait a minute, sir. Then why must I acquire it? If Vedanta means the end of knowledge, which the word itself means that: the ending of Vedas which is knowledge, then why should I go through all the laborious process of acquiring knowledge, and then discarding it?

SV: Yes. Otherwise you wouldn’t be again in Vedanta. The end of knowledge is, having acquired this knowledge, coming to the end of it.

K: Why should I acquire it?

SV: Because otherwise it can’t be ended.

K: No, no. Why should I acquire it? Why shouldn’t I, from the very beginning, see what knowledge is and discard it?

SV: See what knowledge is.

K: And discard, discard all the… Never accumulate. Vedanta means the end of accumulating knowledge.

SV: Quite right. That’s right. That’s correct.

3 thoughts on “Belief and the ending of knowledge

  1. Very good selection, Ventzu. However, I think JK’s replies to Sw. Venkatesananda are a little unfair, for he had imbibed much of the knowlege he later decried when he was younger – necessarily so, if only because of his earlier association with Anny Bessant and the other members of the Theosophical movement. And this is precisely the point that the Swami was trying to make.

    After a while (it took me two years) I got tired of JK’s style, and also of his (implicit) claim of being the discoverer of the truths he kept repeating (‘the thinker is the thought’, etc.), as if he was the first and only guru – EVER; well, probably he was so for some. His teaching was considered by some at the time as a form of neo-Buddhism. I cannot deny, however, the impact Krishnamurti made in the Western world way back, avid as it was of finding answers to the crucible of the time (1960s through 80s.).

  2. Martin

    Thanks for your comments. It is worth listening to the dialogue on youtube. It is full of warmth and affection between the two, a side of JK you don’t often see in his public talks (except for those with children).

    I do think you are a bit unfair about JK. He managed to express the philosophy of advaita in a way that was accessible to a westernised audience, and that didn’t rely on scriptural references, master-disciple relationships, etc. And he always, always, insisted that one should not follow anyone, including himself. One could take that as trying to establish himself as the only guru – or, as I do, an injunction to think it out for yourself.

    Yes he does repeat himself, but actually don’t they all? The pointer is ultimately the same. The work really begins once you start looking in the direction in which the finger is pointing rather than the finger itself, The difficulty with JK is that there is such a large volume of writing and videos, which all tend to start from a similar point and then develop. So you have to read a lot of JK to get to the nuggets of depth that he has. For example, I’ve only found two talks (in late 60s / early 70s) that touch upon an awareness that is aware even during deep sleep – consistent with Bhagavan Ramana and Nisargadatta (who had the greatest respect for him). He seemed to have stopped talking about this subsequently.

    With best wishes,

  3. For most people, there is tremendous fear of not believing in something. That something provides some sort of ‘meaning’ for their life.

    Each one of us has to face this fear at some point, and the ‘disarmament’ of fear is usually (always?) followed by a letting go of erroneous beliefs. That breath of fresh air is vital for the body. Belief and the process of identification, crystalized into the sense of a separate self, is a cramp on the life force. No need to eat those apples from the tree.

    Venkat, sooner or later, those nuggets of JK’s will ensnare you into what I just described above. Hopefully, you will walk your own walk and not ‘think’ about all of this too much.

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