Jiddu Krishnamurti Talk on reincarnation
Question: Would you please make a definite statement
about the non-existence of reincarnation since increasing `scientific
evidence' is now being accumulated to prove reincarnation is a fact. I
am concerned because I see large numbers of people beginning to use this
evidence to further strengthen a belief they already have, which enables
them to escape problems of living and dying. Is it not your
responsibility to be clear, direct and unequivocable on this matter
instead of hedging round the issue?
Jiddu Krishnamurti -We will be very definite. The idea of reincarnation
existed long before Christianity. It is prevalent almost throughout
India and probably in the whole Asiatic world. Firstly: what is it that
incarnates; not only incarnates now, but reincarnates again and again?
Secondly: the idea of there being scientific evidence that reincarnation
is true, is causing people to escape their problems and that causes the
Is he really concerned that people are escaping?
They escape through football or going to church. Put aside all this
concern about what other people do. We are concerned with the fact, with
the truth of reincarnation; and you want a definite answer from the
What is it that incarnates, is reborn? What is it that is living at
this moment, sitting here? What is it that is taking place now to that
which is in incarnation?
And when one goes from here, what is it that is actually taking
place in our daily life, which is the living movement of incarnation -
one's struggles, one`s appetites, greeds, envies, attachments - all
that? Is it that which is going to reincarnate in the next life?
Now those who believe in reincarnation, believe they will be reborn
with all that they have now - modified perhaps - and so carry on, life
after life. Belief is never alive. But suppose that belief is
tremendously alive, then what you are now matters much more than what
you will be in a future life.
In the Asiatic world there is the word `karma' which means action
in life now, in this period, with all its misery, confusion, anger,
jealousy, hatred, violence, which may be modified, but will go on to the
next life. So there is evidence of remembrance of things past, of a past
life. That remembrance is the accumulated `me', the ego, the
personality. That bundle, modified, chastened, polished a little bit,
goes on to the next life.
So it is not a question of whether there is reincarnation (I am
very definite on this matter, please) but that there is incarnation now;
what is far more important than reincarnation, is the ending of this
mess, this conflict, now. Then something totally different goes on.
Being unhappy, miserable, sorrow-ridden, one says: "I hope the next
life will be better". That hope for the next life is the postponement of
facing the fact now. The speaker has talked a great deal to those who
believe in and have lectured and written about reincarnation, endlessly.
It is part of their game. I say,"All right, Sirs, you believe in it all.
If you believe, what you do now matters". But they are not interested in
what they do now, they are interested in the future. They do not say: "I
believe and I will alter my life so completely that there is no future".
Do not at the end of this say that I am evading this particular
question; it is you who are evading it.
I have said that the present life
is all-important; if you have understood and gone into it, with all the
turmoil of it, the complexity of it - end it, do not carry on with it.
Then you enter into a totally different world. I think that is clear, is
it not? I am not hedging. You may ask me: "Do you believe in
reincarnation?" Right? I do not believe in anything. This is not an
evasion I have no belief and it does not mean that I am an atheist, or
that I am ungodly. Go into it, see what it means. It means that the mind
is free from all the entanglements of belief.
In the literature of ancient India there is a story about death and
incarnation. For a Brahmin it is one of the ancient customs and laws,
that after collecting worldly wealth he must at the end of five years
give up everything and begin again. A certain Brahmin had a son and the
son says to him, "You are giving all this away to various people, to
whom are you going to give me away; to whom are you sending me?" The
father said, "Go away, I am not interested".
But the boy comes back
several times and the father gets angry and says, "I am going to send
you to Death" - and being a Brahmin he must keep his word. So he sends
him to Death. On his way to Death the boy goes to various teachers and
finds that some say there is reincarnation, others say there is not. He
goes on searching and eventually he comes to the house of Death.
arrives, Death is absent. (A marvellous implication, if you go into it.)
Death is absent. The boy waits for three days. On the fourth day, Death
appears and apologizes. He apologizes because the boy was a Brahmin; he
says, "I am sorry to have kept you waiting and in my regret I will offer
you three wishes. You can be the greatest king, have the greatest
wealth, or you can be immortal". The boy says, "I have been to many
teachers and they all say different things. What do you say about death
and what happens afterwards?" Death says: "I wish I had pupils like you;
not concerned about anything except that". So he begins to tell him
about truth, about the state of life in which there is no time
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