Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) was a philosophical and spiritual revolutionist and is widely regarded as one of the greatest thinkers of all time; yet he would not call himself "thinker" or "teacher" or "guru" -- Krishnamurti did not align himself or his teachings to any particular religion or geographic region, and spoke to no particular philosophical or ideological belief. In fact, he taught that categorization and herd behavior is what divides us as people.
At a time when his native country, India, was held even more captive by religious and conventional thought than today, Krishnamurti pointed the way to individual thought. In fact, Krishnamurti was so insistent that the individual meant more than the herd, he believed that a "revolution of consciousness" must take place to shift attention and awareness inward; the following of (and adherence to) conventions, old rituals, and long-held beliefs is potentially self-destructive behavior, even if the behaviors are thought to be sacred and religious.
Krishnamurti's self-reflective nature and teachings went so far as to blame world conflicts on the lack of self-understanding; because to understand the self is to understand the world: Humans are all the same in their physical makeup and share similar desires, fears, and anxieties as any and all other human beings, regardless of ethnic, religious, political, social or geographic background. He reminded his followers that we are all human first and not Indian, American, European, Asian, or Hindu, Muslim, or Christian.
Krishnamurti, therefore, saw a paradox: To become one, in terms of a world community that can peacefully coexist together, the individual must separate from the herd; turn away from conventional thought; and come to see that we are all connected -- not physically or categorically -- but by our internal, metaphysical similarities.
Krishnamurti brought his revolutionary thought to people largely by his public speaking. His talks are more available today more than ever, thanks to the Internet and advances in audio and visual media.
Here is but one example of Krishnamurti's philosophy in a talk called The Real Revolution, also featured in a popular film, called the Zeitgeist Addendum:
For more insight into Krishnamurti's philosophy, please read some of his words, some from his talks, others from his writings (with reference for further reading found at the bottom of this page):
"To be a light to oneself is not to follow the light of another, however reasonable, logical, historical, and however convincing.""It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a sick society."
"Freedom from the desire for an answer is essential to the understanding of a problem.""In the cultivation of the mind, our emphasis should be not on concentration, but on attention. Concentration is a process of forcing the mind to narrow down to a point, whereas attention is without frontiers."
"Actual freedom is freedom from dependency, attachment, from the craving for experience."
"The word is not the thing. I may describe a mountain most beautifully, paint it, make a poem, but the word, the description, the poem, is not the actual. We are generally carried away emotionally, irrationally by the description, by the word."
"Throughout the world, people are psychologically similar. That's a reality, that's truth, that's an actuality. So you are the world psychologically, and the world is you; and when you understand yourself you are understanding the whole human structure and nature."
One can talk endlessly, piling words upon words, coming to various conclusions, but out of all the verbal confusion, if there is one clear action, that action is worth ten thousand words.
"To follow another is to imitate. To follow implies not only denying one's own clarity, one's own investigation, one's integrity and honesty, but it also implies that in following, your motive is reward. Truth is not reward!"
"Concentration is another invention of thought. In school you are told to concentrate on the book. You learn to concentrate, trying to exclude other thoughts, trying to prevent yourself from looking out of the window. In concentration there is resistance, narrowing down the enormous energy of life to a certain point. Whereas attention, which is a form of awareness in which there is no choice, a choiceless awareness, all your energy is there."
"Your brain, which is the brain of all human beings, evolved through immemorial time, conditioned by cultures, by religions, by economic and social pressures. That brain has had a timeless continuity till now, and it that duration it has found a sense of being safe. That is why you accept tradition because in tradition there is safety, in imitation there is safety, in conformity there is safety. And there is also safety in illusion."
"All thought is mechanical because all thought is based on memory, which is the response of knowledge. So there is no new thought."
"Meditation is not something that you do. Meditation is a movement into the whole question of our living: how we live, how we behave, whether we have fears, anxieties, sorrows; whether we are everlastingly pursuing pleasure; and whether we have built images about ourselves and about others. This is all part of our life, and in the understanding of that life and the various issues involved in life, and actually being free from them, we inquire into meditation."
"Order is not the order that is imposed by society, by a culture, by environment, by compulsion or obedience. Order is not a blueprint; it comes into being when you understand disorder, not only outside you but in yourself. Through the negation of disorder is order. Therefore we must look at the disorder of our life, the contradictions in ourselves, the opposing desires, saying one thing and doing, thinking another."
"Only in that which has emptiness can a new thing take place."
Source: This Light in Oneself