the ending of comparison – Krishnamurti

the bee whispers among the leaves

To compare ourselves to another is the beginning of insanity, and yet it is highly accepted in most societies of our world. 

Krishnamurti, at the age of  87 dictated the journal “To Himself” using a tape recorder. In this passage he speaks of measurement and comparison and equates them to “becoming” and “the desire to achieve”. These are key concepts that have been instilled in our mass consciousness from our earliest age. Our acceptance of them almost as facts of life have blinded us to the repercussions of these beliefs. K then confronts us with statements that seemingly negate some of our most cherished views, especially if we see ourselves as meditators. For example:

“This meditation must not be a conscious meditation in deliberately chosen postures.”

This meditation must be totally unconscious, never knowing that you are meditating.”

If you deliberately meditate it is another form of desire, as any other expression of desire.”

Meditation is a movement without any motive, without words and the activity of thought.”

Meditation is a movement without any motive, without words and the activity of thought.”

“It must be something that is not deliberately set about.”

These statements are very unsettling, for they do not give us a clear instruction as to HOW TO. He continues:

“Meditation is not words, a mantram, or self-hypnosis, the drug of illusions.”

“It must happen without your volition.”

“It must take place in the quiet stillness of the night, when you are suddenly awake and see that the brain is quiet and there is a peculiar quality of meditation going on.”

“It must take place as silently as a snake among the tall grass, green in the fresh morning light. It must take place in the deep recesses of the brain.”

“Meditation is not an achievement. There is no method, system or practice. Meditation begins with the ending of comparison, the ending of the becoming or not becoming. As the bee whispers among the leaves so the whispering of meditation is action.”

What is K pointing to here? Something that cannot be grasped by our thinking mind? Something we can only wait for, but also without any expectation? Is it possible to receive a subliminal transmission through his words that can catalyze in us a shedding of all that is NOT meditation, and so clear our space for that “other” to enter our life spontaneously, without our volition?

I love the metaphor of “no room in the inn”. If my waking consciousness is occupied already with any number of desires and goals I am pursuing, no matter how sublime and subtle they may be, then that “whispering of meditation” will have no space in my life.

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Here is the complete passage from this journal entry in context:

“To live without comparison, to live without any kind of measurement inwardly, never to compare what you are with what you should be. The word meditation’ means not only to ponder, to think over, to probe, to look, to weigh; it also has a much deeper meaning in Sanskrit – to measure, which is to become’. In meditation there must be no measurement. This meditation must not be a conscious meditation in deliberately chosen postures.

“This meditation must be totally unconscious, never knowing that you are meditating. If you deliberately meditate it is another form of desire, as any other expression of desire. The objects may vary; your meditation may be to reach the highest, but the motive is the desire to achieve, as the business man, as the builder of a great cathedral. Meditation is a movement without any motive, without words and the activity of thought. It must be something that is not deliberately set about. Only then is meditation a movement in the infinite, measureless to man, without a goal, without an end and without a beginning. And that has a strange action in daily life, because all life is one and then becomes sacred. And that which is sacred can never be killed. To kill another is unholy. It cries to heaven as a bird kept in a cage. One never realizes how sacred life is, not only your little life but the lives of millions of others, from the things of nature to extraordinary human beings.

“And in meditation which is without measurement, there is the very action of that which is most noble, most sacred and holy.

“The other day on the banks of a river [this is a memory from when he was at Benares on the banks of the Ganges] – how lovely are rivers; there isn’t only one sacred river, all rivers throughout the world have their own divinity – the other day a man was sitting on the banks of a river wrapped in a fawn colored cloth. His hands were hidden, his eyes were shut and his body was very still. He had beads in his hands and he was repeating some words and the hands were moving from bead to bead. He had done this for many years and he never missed a bead. And the river rolled along beside him. Its current was deep. It began among the great mountains, snow-clad and distant; it began as a small stream, and as it moved south it gathered all the small streams and rivers and became a great river. In that part of the world they worshiped it. One does not know for how many years this man had been repeating his mantra and rolling the beads. He was meditating – at least people thought he was meditating and probably he did too. So all the passers-by looked at him, became silent and then went on with their laughter and chatter. That almost motionless figure – one could see through the cloth only a slight action of the fingers – had sat there for a very long time, completely absorbed, for he heard no other sound than the sound of his own words and the rhythm of it, the music of it. And he would say that he was meditating. There are a thousand others like him, all over the world, in quiet deep monasteries among the hills and towns and beside the rivers.

“Meditation is not words, a mantram, or self-hypnosis, the drug of illusions. It must happen without your volition. It must take place in the quiet stillness of the night, when you are suddenly awake and see that the brain is quiet and there is a peculiar quality of meditation going on. It must take place as silently as a snake among the tall grass, green in the fresh morning light. It must take place in the deep recesses of the brain.

“Meditation is not an achievement. There is no method, system or practice. Meditation begins with the ending of comparison, the ending of the becoming or not becoming. As the bee whispers among the leaves so the whispering of meditation is action.”

  • Krishnamurti: Krishnamurti to Himself, Ojai California Friday 22nd April, 1983

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