Krishnamurti on Suffering

“Questioner: I seem to have suffered a great deal all my life, not physically, but through death and loneliness and the utter futility of my existence. I had a son whom I greatly loved. He died in an accident. My wife left me, and that caused a great deal of pain. I suppose I am like thousands of other middle-class people with sufficient money and a steady job. I’m not complaining of my circumstances but I want to understand what sorrow means, why it comes at all. One has been told that wisdom comes through sorrow, but I have found quite the contrary.

Krishnamurti: I wonder what you have learnt from suffering. Have you learnt anything at all? What has sorrow taught you?

Questioner: It has certainly taught me never to be attached to people, and a certain bitterness, a certain aloofness and not to allow my feelings to run away with me. It has taught me to be very careful not to get hurt again.

Krishnamurti: So, as you say, it hasn’t taught you wisdom; on the contrary it has made you more cunning, more insensitive. Does sorrow teach one anything at all except the obvious self-protective reactions?

Questioner: I have always accepted suffering as part of my life, but I feel now, somehow, that I’d like to be free of it, free of all the tawdry bitterness and indifference without again going through all the pain of attachment. My life is so pointless and empty, utterly self-enclosed and insignificant. It’s a life of mediocrity, and perhaps that mediocrity is the greatest sorrow of all.

Krishnamurti: There is the personal sorrow and the sorrow of the world. There is the sorrow of ignorance and the sorrow of time. This ignorance is the lack of knowing oneself, and the sorrow of time is the deception that time can cure, heal and change. Most people are caught in that deception and either worship sorrow or explain it away. But in either case it continues, and one never asks oneself if it can come to an end.

Questioner: But I am asking now if it can come to an end, and how? How am I to end it? I understand that it’s no good running away from it, or resisting it with bitterness and cynicism. What am I to do to end the grief which I have carried for so long?

Krishnamurti: Self-pity is one of the elements of sorrow. Another element is being attached to someone and encouraging or fostering his attachment to you. Sorrow is not only there when attachment fails you but its seed is in the very beginning of that attachment. In all this the trouble is the utter lack of knowing oneself. Knowing oneself is the ending of sorrow. We are afraid to know ourselves because we have divided ourselves into the good and the bad, the evil and the noble, the pure and the impure. The good is always judging the bad, and these fragments are at war with each other.

This war is sorrow. To end sorrow is to see the fact and not invent its opposite, for the opposites contain each other. Walking in this corridor of opposites is sorrow. This fragmentation of life into the high and the low, the noble and the ignoble, God and the Devil, breeds conflict and pain. When there is sorrow, there is no love. Love and sorrow cannot live together.

Questioner: Ah! But love can inflict sorrow on another. I may love another and yet bring him sorrow.

Krishnamurti: Do you bring it, if you love, or does he? If another is attached to you, with or without encouragement, and you turn away from him and he suffers, is it you or he who has brought about his suffering?

Questioner: You mean I am not responsible for someone else’s sorrow, even if it is on my account? How does sorrow ever end then?

Krishnamurti: As we have said, it is only in knowing oneself completely that sorrow ends. Do you know yourself at a glance, or hope to after a long analysis? Through analysis you cannot know yourself. You can only know yourself without accumulation, in relationship, from moment to moment. This means that one must be aware, without any choice, of what is actually taking place. It means to see oneself as one is, without the opposite, the ideal, without the knowledge of what one has been. If you look at yourself with the eyes of resentment or rancour then what you see is coloured by the past. The shedding of the past all the time when you see yourself is the freedom from the past. Sorrow ends only when there is the light of understanding, and this light is not lit by one experience or by one flash of understanding; this understanding is lighting itself all the time. Nobody can give it to you – no book, trick, teacher or saviour. The understanding of yourself is the ending of sorrow.”



Augustino Arrivabene, “Amor Vincit Omnia”

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21 Responses to Krishnamurti on Suffering

  1. The utter lack of knowing oneself. As well as loving oneself. Such is obviously not only a root cause of suffering but a space, sadly, in which many choose to wallow. These words are wisdom, Monika, for which I am appreciative of your sharing. My hope is that those who need this awareness will be enlightened and comforted by this message. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My hopes too, Eric. I think this is something we need to shed on a collective level; perhaps it is a distorted legacy of Christianity or perhaps we are moving away from it now and starting a new chapter.
      Thank you very much.


  2. Dewin Nefol says:

    Hey Monika,

    Thoroughly enjoyed the depth of this crafted post. So much room for thought, so much more room for heart, dwelling within the words of this protagonist’s discomfort.

    The painting is exquisite…it captivates as would a dream. Augustino Arrivabene is not a painter I know, but one to certainly research a little more. Thank you for sharing.

    ‘Omnia vincit amor et nos cedamus amori’ – Love conquers all; let us all yield to love. Tender sentiment to inspire, treasured wisdom to nurture, Love to guide us on our way. Perfect.

    Enjoy a wonderful week 🙂


    DN – 06/03/2016

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Dewin,
      Thank you for commenting so exquisitely yourself. I am also in awe of that artist, though he is a completely new discovery of mine.
      Hope you have a great week as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dewin Nefol says:

        Thank you Monika.

        I hope there’ll be opportunity to feature this artist’s work again within the context of your Blog. He’s a great ‘new’ find. Thank for sharing.

        Take care 🙂

        DN – 07/03/2016

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Krishnamurti on Suffering | Not Tomatoes

  4. Veined with wisdom on which to reflect. Thank you, Monica.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. herongrace says:

    “A Master instructs his disciple”…Lovely, thank-you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jeff Japp says:

    “Knowing oneself is the ending of sorrow. We are afraid to know ourselves because we have divided ourselves into the good and the bad, the evil and the noble, the pure and the impure. The good is always judging the bad, and these fragments are at war with each other.” Great post, Monika, and I love this quote. Reminds me of Hamlet: “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Elder Mountain Artist Residency says:

    My suffering brought me to death as a dreamer (shaman) many times over a thirty year period, the last ten were horrific and I had mastered suspended death and dream walking. It was to detox (repay) two of my worst lifetimes (of karma) in order to return the soul gifts of what i had lost both 3000 years ago and in the 1830s. Of course I could write 7 books, but this video expresses it better

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elder Mountain Artist Residency says:

      Questioner: You mean I am not responsible for someone else’s sorrow, even if it is on my account? How does sorrow ever end then?

      We are accountable for every single thing we have done to our self, and we are accountable to every single thing we have done to everyone in this lifetime and over all lifetimes. When all men’s Religions had control from the 3rd century ce and then consecutive centuries, by religious law we could break both soul and moral laws, but still be promised heaven without karma purification. The promise of the virgins in the Koran was the last of to adopt this religious rule, as praise for murder (war). Of course it entraps the human soul into lifetimes of eradication until final destruction. Without a soul, one cannot incarnate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are raising profound issues of karma, accountability and responsibility. Of these three words, karma speaks to me most because it is not linear but rather includes all possible chains and ties going back across lifetimes and reaching far into the future. I agree there is individual accountability for every ounce of suffering we have caused but at the same time the paths that our souls travel are a part of a pattern that is much bigger than you and me, and that pattern includes suffering as an inextricable part of wholeness. This is hard to understand from an individual perspective.
        Thank you very much for sharing your wisdom and insights here.


    • The song is extremely powerful and you are right it speaks volumes. So does your comment. I am honored you would choose to share your experience here. Thank you.


      • Elder Mountain Artist Residency says:

        Karma is a word for the destruction of the Soul (emotional body, the soul’s bodies and the animism bodies) yet spiritual people feel ‘safe’ in the social-spiritual and knowledge-spiritual arenas. They fear their own souls and its destruction of their own shadowy past life, enough so never to enter it as a discipline or path. I did, and I went all the way and I prepared for ten years to have 10 years of destruction and pain when I got there to my souls. So I understand deeply why people say Mind Body Spirit and not Mind Body Soul. Sometimes we did this karmic destruction to our selves and sometimes we did it to others and it had destroyed our energy system (the astral body, which is the emotional body and all the souls and animism souls) and it takes a lot of healing to purify them inside of us and in the reals where these soul chunks are missing and lost (mostly in the underworld). To open the gates slowly to reclaim is the most important spiritual path on earth today and we do not get our whole lives to do it. Of the maiden, mother (adult) and wise woman (grandmother stages) we get the adult stage (30 years) to do it (reclaim and pay karma and then heal karma). Knowledge is good if it leads you to a the gate but not good if it keeps you in the mental body for too long in your adult stage, and the soul realities are never even entered. In the great balance of humans, the mental body is at full capacity now and has been given 100% power, most are afraid to challenge the 85% false teachings. Spiritual, religious and university men for thousands of years built this kingdom on the backs of (white red yellow brown and black indigenous peoples). And our personal kingdom is breakable for the individual who wants to reclaim where they have sold their souls over lifetimes. Philosophy and Spiritual Philosophy was built on earth as a diversion of truth (and there are three kinds of truth): 1. Personal Truth. 2 Interpersonal Truth and 3 Collective Truth. Philosophy destroyed #3 and glorified #2 which is a teaching that goes no where. Which leaves #1 confused. When #1 the individual steps out of the group power of spirituality, religion, military, science or any of the things of men, the soul will rise, when the mind is slayed not only in great meditation practices, but also all belief systems thrown in the trash and asking nature and the nature of things to show you the path. Sort of like going to Hogwarts…. In other words: Truth must be “Experienced” not a knowledge or philosophy of a religion or spiritual religion, to heal the soul then free it. There is much more of course but this is a tiny box for letters !

        Liked by 1 person

      • Elder Mountain Artist Residency says:

        Symbolism is the language of the mind, in order to communicate with the soul. Dreams are the symbols of the first level souls to communicate to the higher levels of the soul through image, sounds etc. The deepest levels of symbolism is the images of appearances and disappearances, and natures symbols (animal birds oceanid visits in waking and night dreaming).

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Leeby Geeby says:

    Great teaching. Thank you for sharing. I think some amount of sorrow is inevitable. I sometimes wondered of all the time and energy spent dealing with sorrow was wasted? Until I truly knew and accepted myself I couldn’t integrate the lessons of sorrow, so to me it was a senseless experience. But as I grew with inner wisdom I came to see that sorrow can have a purpose and a lesson. A lot of the pain is neutralized by this understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

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