Of the two books under review, ‘Ore Oru Puratchi’ is a collection of J. Krishnamurthi’s (JK) talks in India, California and Europe, while the second is an anthology of JK’s views on varied subjects. Both the translations have been true to the original and the translators have made an unstinted effort to capture the essence of JK's philosophy.
Let us begin at the beginning. JK does not hand over instructions on how to meditate.
Meditation, he says, is not an escape from the world. Neither is it an act of isolating oneself. In fact, it is the comprehension of the world and its ways. Meditation, JK conveys in the first book, is a wandering away from this world. Then the world has a meaning. He stresses that meditation is not the repetition of the Word. The bead and the Word do help quieten the wandering mind, but this is a form of self-hypnosis. “You might as well take a pill.” What flamboyance in thought!
He continues by stating that the meditative mind is seeing -- watching and listening, without the Word, without comment, without opinion. It is attentive to the movement of life in all its relationships throughout the day. At night, the mind has no dreams. The mind should not be greedy or envious. All our concerns should be drawn to seek this: Is there something permanent, eternal? Is the mind, which is so conditioned by the culture and society, free to discover itself?
There are many profound thoughts that one can ruminate upon by reading the first book.
In the second book, talking about ‘action and ideas,’ JK cautions against the tendency to live in a series of actions, of seemingly unrelated and disjointed actions, leading to disintegration and frustration. It seems there is no life, no experience nor thinking without action. We are for action at one particular level of consciousness, without understanding the whole process of action itself.
Ideas, he says, are not the truth; truth is something that must be experienced as we pass from one moment to the next.
It is interesting to see how he construes Fear. Fear can exist only in relation to something, not in isolation. If I fear death, I am in essence gripped by the fear of losing my association with things that belong to me... that's JK's take on fear.
JK asks: What is the basis of self-deception? How many of us are actually aware that we are deceiving ourselves? It is important (and here he instructs without making it obvious) that the more we deceive ourselves the greater is the strength in the deception. It gives us certain vitality, a certain energy, which entails the imposing of our deception on others. It is an interacting process of self-deception.
JK’s concession with Nature comes through in the book as seen by these two illustrative, decorative passages:
“A blackbird was singing in a bush close by, and that was the everlasting blessing.”
(In Tamil: Arugil ulla pudaril karunguruvi ondru koovi isaiththadhu. Adhuve endrum nilaiyaana aasi)
“As you walk back by the little farmhouses, the meadows and the railway line, you will see that yesterday has come to an end: life begins where thought ends.”
The first translation has a preface by M.S. Sadasivam who remembers how the Seer of Kanchi Math called JK “a man who had gone past everything.”
One wished the second translator had included the scholarly introduction by Aldous Huxley which is available in the English version.
A word of praise for Narmadha Padhippagam for making JK accessible to Tamil readers.