J. Krishnamurti Freedom from the Known-Book summary

Jiddu Krishnamurti “Freedom from the known” is a hand-book meant to transform the human life by projecting the mistakes humans are committing, in various fields of social, political, religious, personal and relationships.

Krishnamurti has focused on changing the perspective or thinking of an individual. We mostly live our life based on old beliefs, ideals, truth, circumstances, past experiences and common sayings. We mostly suffer because we try to find the solutions of fresh problems in old books, scriptures, thoughts, and beliefs. It is to be noted that for new problems, there is always a fresh solution. To get solutions, we need to change our perspectives by interpreting the various dimensions of a particular problem. For Krishnamurti, faith is righteous until it supports you in growing. In case, it is pulling you back, and causing a hindrance towards your spiritual goals, then there is no usage of keeping old faith.

In the understanding of individual and humans, krishnamurti has a little different observance. For him, individual is one who is trapped in an old conditioned psychology, beliefs, biased traditions, and self-life. And human being is one who live in a whole and equally cares for others problems. Krishnamurti sees “unknown” as those of which we aren’t aware of- “the death, poverty, after-life” is all the unknowns for which humans fears most part of their life. In understanding of all the knowns and unknowns, it is not essentials to create philosophy of life. The utter need is to understand the problems and make a daily observance of all this. We almost take ideologies for granted and often ignore the thoughts coming from our inner self. It is a greatest misfortune that Humans has turned completely used to orders and commands that they have no courage to reflect upon the inner self. For the transformation, many humans undergo through a common question- “I want to change, tell me how to.” For knowing ‘how to’, humans are seeking some other authority to take care of their problems and impose the rules upon them. Quest to knowing about self from others, would reveal about ‘others’ and not about our ‘own self’. When we are depending upon the dead authorities, then we are missing the major parts of our own potentialities. To know about self, we need to start as if we know nothing.[i]We often fear to commit the wrongs and we fail to take the right steps on our own behalf. Krishnamurti has said that, “there is no such thing as doing right and wrong when there is freedom”[ii]. If we act from our centre, our root, then fear doesn’t arise. In case, we act from our surface, then fear, miseries, troubles, disbelief, non-harmony automatically takes its form. Like Krishnamurti, there are other sages and gurus who guided us to act from our centre. The very action to act will pull us away from the unknown miseries of life.

“Acquiring knowledge” and “learning” is two different things. The process of acquiring generally deals with the past knowledge and conditions. It is accumulating the events and forming memories. Whereas the learning occurs in present living. It is mostly related to present- awareness. To look at the things with uncertainty, curiosity, freedom reveals different dimensions of it. To become confident in a subject, closes the doors for any further learning. “A confident man is a dead human being.”[iii] 

Krishnamurti has revealed the very subtle meanings of words of common usage. He has brought a different outlook on two words “concentration” and “attention”. In concentration, you look for the knowledge of a fixed subject. You are very specific and to the point for the type of knowledge to gain. In contrary, attention means complete awareness. You are so aware that you don’t differentiate between the knowledge you are gaining from the inner and outer world. You are ready to take all the learnings, study different dimensions, and still keeping space for more knowledge and awakening. Moreover, attention doesn’t exclude anything.

People talk about gaining freedom of thought. But, in reality there is no such term as ‘freedom of thought’ because there is only ‘freedom from thought’. Thought brings so many miseries, difficult times, bad memories, uncontrolled desires, pain, fear, and uncalculated goals of life. Once you are free from your thoughts, you are purely attentive and aware of life. In pure attention and awareness, you find freedom of your life.

Krishnamurti has analysed violence as a very subtle, and raised need to inquire into very depths of it.

‘When you separate yourself by belief, by Nationality, by Traditions, its breeds violence’.[iv] You are not only separating yourself from all this concepts, but also from the individuals who are part of it. You are not allowing anyone enters in your periphery who possess a certain belief, belongs to a particular Nationality, follow a particular tradition, and so on. You think that violence is physical because it creates pain. But you forget that the root cause of violence is mental. It arises mentally, and if given a space in memory to develop, it takes the physical form. Then, all the riots, misunderstandings, non-adjustments, uncultured actions take its form.

 “To live with ‘what is’ brings peace.”[v] We are often placing a comparison and different form of analysis with ‘what is’,’ ‘what was’, and ‘what must be’. Comparison causes conflicts in mind, memories, and actions. You are trapped in a dilemma of what to follow and what to avoid. This creates a total complexity in life and flushes your inner energies. In case, you want to be free from all the comparison and conflicts, then the best solution is to be in the present, and to be content with ‘what is’. Another kind of conflict arises in the process of becoming into something else. There is nothing wrong in choosing one’s ideal in life. But following it completely and losing one’s own identity is that which brings conflicts, contradictions, confusions, and pain.

“The youth of today, like all youth, are in revolt against society, and that is good thing in itself, but revolt is not freedom because when you revolt it is a reaction and the reaction sets up its own pattern and you get caught in that pattern.”[vi]Krishnamurti believes in action rather than reaction. Reaction is a representation of a pattern. It is an addition to already established contradictions. In order to come out of chain of conditioning, you are again forming other one. By reacting, participating and causing revolution, you are not bringing any change. If you want to go against something, then don’t participate or involve in it. Your very silence and non-involvement in a phenomenon are breaking the chain and disrupting the revolutions to take any further shapes.

“If your eyes are blinded with the worries, you cannot see the beauty of the sunset.”[vii]  Most of us are living in present by still revisiting the memories of past. Lack of awareness and partial attentiveness could take away the beauty of present. The mixing of past memories and present moment is very dangerous. You could get diverted from your goals without even realizing.

Krishnamurti has given a new direction to religious mind which is absence of subject- object, the observer-observed and attainment of complete awareness.

In many paragraphs, Krishnamurti has discussed about the limitations of thoughts and claims that human being has turned a slave to one’s own thought. Our thoughts are ruling our mind by provoking us into various emotions of anger, upset, pride, ego, etc. Thought brings misery by taking away the peace of a moment. To get rid of thoughts, humans need to develop the state of complete awareness. ‘In a state of complete awareness, the observer, the thinker, the centre, the ‘me’, comes to an end. In that state of attention thought begins to wither away.’[viii]  To bring awareness to our centre, we need to get rid of all “burdens of yesterday”[ix] or all memories of past. Krishnamurti’s prescription for the transformation of life is not only useful to get rid of miseries in human life but also to avoid miseries in complete universe. Overall, Krishnamurtis philosophy is way more than human transformation, it is Universal transformation.    

PS: This summary is never enough than a full reading of book. But my main purpose was only to present the main ideas mentioned in the book. If my summary has raised a tiniest of interest, curiosity, excitement to read Krishnamurti’s Philosophy, then I will believe that my effort is fruitful. Thanks for Reading!


Krishnamurti, Jiddu. Freedom from the Known. Rider, 2010.

[i] Page 13

[ii] Page 12

[iii] Page 19

[iv] Page 50

[v] Page 63

[vi] Page 68

[vii] Page 91

[viii] Page 107

[ix] Page 109

‘Me’ First?

Are we trapped in too much of self-concern?
Do the world start with me, and end with me?
Am I only interested in My job, My family, My Relationship, My life?
Do you think of helping others because you think it gives you satisfaction?

In this article, we would explore the tendency to come out of our me first conditioning. It’s not so easy, but it could help us to come out of the disastrous consequences like fear, craving for positions, and specific pattern-based life.

The ultimate happiness in life is to spend our life for the advantages of others. The service towards others, without any expectation, is real treasure of living. Humans are lost. They don’t know which directions to choose. They are just following the society, traditions, cultures, popular sayings, books, Government, Laws, and the regular habits. Have we ever thought, ‘why we include “me” or “I” in almost everything?’ ‘ Why do we try to find out the relations among everything?’ ‘Why don’t we consider the things individually?’ Apart from all this, we also don’t want to be into things or situations, where we are not getting anything in returns. Like we don’t want to work for something, where we may get nothing, neither profit nor satisfaction/ popularity.

Suppose you are in a situation, where you are physically yourself, but mentally or emotionally, you are with other individual or being. How effective that situation could be? You aren’t thinking anything about yourself, but you are absolutely absorbed in a situation or being. This kind of absorption is a pleasure without any expectations. This is the real joy without any adulteration of your interest, satisfaction, gratification, and expectations. This joy is a complete one. Other kind of happiness is always mixed with the impurities of our thoughts, views, opinions, guess, and demands.

The way humans have synchronized the world with their self-interest is doing harm to every other being. We want to see everything as we have already seen before. We don’t want to see anything new. We have fear that “the new” might not include us. It might not fit with our creations. We are afraid of being left alone, rejected, and lost.

Humans are not good in finding their own ways. They are mostly the followers, with a very few leaders. And this few leaders are also adding to the illusion of this world, by the “leader first” or “me first” or “I first”. The only thing which could take us out of this illusions is to scrap down the structures of “me first” and get totally engaged in the life. The true living is equivalent to lesser expectations, more faith, and transformation into a being which is “a new” and not the copy of your older being. Our older being is most likely to be the product of our circumstances, surroundings, conditioning. Once we step out of our older being then Life appear simple, and “me first” tendency gets erased. And thus, try to step out of your “I-ness” or “me-ness”, and you would definitely see the world trouble-less, ego-less, and failure-less.

‘I want to change, tell me how to?’

Ask yourself honestly, ‘How many times you went to somebody, and framed this kind of question to embrace change?’ For many of us, it might be our regular thing to inquire with our friends, family, or personality development coach. Here I am not going to bother you with tips & techniques to change personality or lifestyles. Perhaps, this write-up would criticize this whole statement which we are using since uncertain point of time.

Right from the time, we understand our mind & body, we try to fit into it some patterns, forms, ideology, customs, criteria, and authority of someone we hardly know. To get a change in life, we seek the experiences, knowledge, and authority of others. The “other” would have undergone the same kind of procedures he requested from the other unknown. And like this way, we go on following the unknown authorities without inquiring into its worth. The authority of a book, teacher, wife, husband, parent, friend, and society is always ruling an individual mind, every-time he seeks to do something in life. And then, the same individual again inquires someone else about bringing change. This is exactly the same as searching for the new road, while moving towards the same old road.

‘The imposed order always breed disorder.’

J. Krishnamurti

The burden of orders which we keep within us- make us dull, lowly, disinterested, and unhappy. Once we get rid of all the orders, we start feeling energetic, happy, filled with new ideas. We get a fresher dimension to reflect upon self. When we could reflect upon our- self then definitely we could change, transform, and become a whole new. This throwing away of old orders, bring a new enthusiasm, a new space, and a new energy to know self, and take decisions.

In this fresher dimension, there is no fear of making a mistake, no fear of doing right or wrong. A different rays of energy radiates within self. And that energy brings revolution on its own. There is nothing new to be done.

Simply speaking, heading towards authority for changing self, brings the burden of another authority. And in this manner, the burden increases. The person gets confused in all this, and he goes on following others. In this way, he skip the real aspect of life. The real aspect is to free ourselves from all the burdens, and create a new space, which could radiate enough energy to guide the self the right directions to follow.

Reference: Freedom from the known by J.Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti Life wisdom

J Krishnamurti is regarded globally as the greatest thinker, philosopher and spiritual leader of 20th century. He was the man who stressed upon living a life of passion. He was clear in his thoughts which is very well reflected in his talks. He was an intuitive thinker who speaks what he believe to be true.

The thoughts of Krishnamurti is a kind of Therapy. Each words make sense and reflects reality. Each word is direct and intended straightly towards reader or listener.

He was mostly concerned for living freedom and experiencing transformation. According to him, this society is already corrupt and turning hollow from deep inside. In such situations, the revolution must begin in Human psyche. The inner world of each of us should have an eagerness to get transformed or change for better. It is of great urgency.

The Education is the step for all round development. But, what to do if Educational system itself needed to be developed? As per Krishnamurti, Education should be open- minded where students understand themselves and get relaxed from all anxiety & stress. In Bhagavad Gita too, it is interpreted to take life as a game and yourself as a player. If you enjoy the game, you win. And if you don’t enjoy, you lose twice (Losing life itself as well as not realizing its worth).

According to professor Fr. Lancy Prabhu, ‘When you do what you love to do, it becomes your Vocation.’

Imagine enjoying your tight scheduled work, experimenting with creativity and progressing to better self. Isn’t it sounds great?

Realizing self or Knowing thyself means a lot. The meaning of self-actualization is understanding, knowing inner world and reflecting the same in your outer expressions. The passion is called as a path towards energy and enthusiasm. When you take pain in living the life of passion, then your every journey turns into a blissful story.

J Krishnamurti says, “In case you are capable for something, but not interested passionately, then it is a mediocre rather excellence.”

It’s time to decide your life definition- mediocre or excellence! All depends on your choice.

Taken from the Guest Lecture by Professor Fr. Lancy Prabhu (Director:Retreat house: Center for spirituality and dialogue, Bandra)

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