Downtown

Lesson of the empty chairs

Silent teachers: The empty chairs at Vasanta Vihar, Krishnamurti Foundation India on Greenways Road.

Silent teachers: The empty chairs at Vasanta Vihar, Krishnamurti Foundation India on Greenways Road.   | Photo Credit: mail pic

The empty cane chairs, found arranged in a circular order at Vasanta Vihar on Greenways Road, home to the Krishnamurti Foundation India, seem to teach visitors a quiet lesson. They know their minds have to be as empty as the unoccupied chairs.

People from all over India, and sometimes from abroad, sit in those chairs during monthly retreats and discuss serious issues confronting them and the world at large.

They discuss their fears and anxieties, their likes and dislikes with one aim: to be empty like those cane chairs, free of the clamour of conflicting thoughts.

Krishnamurti, who spoke at Vasanta Vihar for many decades about human issues, maintained that a mind filled with knowledge was not free. “In our search for knowledge, in our acquisitive desires, we are losing love, we are blunting the feeling for beauty, the sensitivity to cruelty; we are becoming more and more specialised and less and less integrated,” said Krishnamurti, asking his listeners to empty their minds of all the knowledge that divides man from man.

Touched by his words, people come to Vasanta Vihar and stay at the cottages there for a few days, spend time amidst nature, share their thoughts with people they have never met before, in the main hall or under the tall trees or at the dining hall.

I believe they leave with lighter minds, leaving the chairs empty again for others to sit in them and begin their journey into emptiness.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 4:46:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/lesson-of-the-empty-chairs/article6228090.ece

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