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Questioner: Marriage is a necessary part of any
organized society, but you seem to be against the institution of marriage.
What do you say? Please also explain the problem of sex. Why has it become,
next to war, the most urgent problem of our day?
Jiddu Krishnamurti: To ask a question is easy,
but the difficulty is to look very carefully into the problem itself, which
contains the answer. To understand this problem, we must see its enormous
implications. That is difficult, because our time is very limited and I
shall have to be brief; and if you don't follow very closely, you may not be
able to understand. Let us investigate the problem, not the answer, because
the answer is in the problem, not away from it. The more I understand the
problem, the clearer I see the answer.
If you merely look for an answer, you will not find one, because you will
be seeking an answer away from the problem. Let us look at marriage, but not
theoretically or as an ideal, which is rather absurd; don't let us idealize
marriage, let us look at it as it is, for then we can do something about it.
If you make it rosy, then you can't act; but if you look at it and see it
exactly as it is, then perhaps you will be able to act.
Now, what actually takes place? When one is young, the biological, sexual
urge is very strong, and in order to set a limit to it you have the
institution called marriage. There is the biological urge on both sides, so
you marry and have children. You tie yourself to a man or to a woman for the
rest of your life, and in doing so you have a permanent source of pleasure,
a guaranteed security, with the result that you begin to disintegrate; you
live in a cycle of habit, and habit is disintegration.
To understand this biological, this sexual urge, requires a great deal of
intelligence, but we are not educated to be intelligent. We merely get on
with a man or a woman with whom we have to live. I marry at 20 or 25, and I
have to live for the rest of my life with a woman whom I have not known. I
have-not known a thing about her, and yet you ask me to live with her for
the rest of my life. Do you call that marriage?
As I grow and observe, I find her to be completely different from me, her
interests are different from mine; she is interested in clubs, I am
interested in being very serious, or vice versa. And yet we have children -
that is the most extraordinary thing. Sirs, don't look at the ladies and
smile; it is your problem. So, I have established a relationship the
significance of which I do not know, I have neither discovered it nor
It is only for the very, very few who love that the married relationship has
significance, and then it is unbreakable, then it is not mere habit or
convenience, nor is it based on biological, sexual need. In that love which
is unconditional the identities are fused, and in such a relationship there
is a remedy, there is hope. But for most of you, the married relationship is
not fused. To fuse the separate identities, you have to know yourself, and
she has to know herself. That means to love.
But there is no love - which is am obvious fact. Love is fresh, new, not
mere gratification, not mere habit. It is unconditional. You don't treat
your husband or wife that way, do you? You live in your isolation, and she
lives in her isolation, and you have established your habits of assured
sexual pleasure. What happens to a man who has an assured income? Surely, he
deteriorates. Have you not noticed it? Watch a man who has an assured income
and you will soon see how rapidly his mind is withering away. He may have a
big position, a reputation for cunning, but the full joy of life is gone out
Similarly, you have a marriage in which you have a permanent source of
pleasure, a habit without understanding, without love, and you are forced to
live in that state. I am not saying what you should do; but look at the
problem first. Do you think that is right? It does not mean that you must
throw off your wife and pursue somebody else. What does this relationship
mean? Surely, to love is to be in communion with somebody; but are you in
communion with your wife, except physically? Do you know her, except
Does she know you? Are you not both isolated, each pursuing his or her own
interests, ambitions and needs, each seeking from the other gratification,
economic or psychological security? Such a relationship is not a
relationship at all: it is a mutually self-enclosing process of
psychological, biological and economic necessity, and the obvious result is
conflict, misery, nagging, possessive fear, jealousy, and so on. Do you
think such a relationship is productive of anything except ugly babies and
an ugly civilization?
Therefore, the important thing is to see the whole process, not as something
ugly, but as an actual fact which is taking place under your very nose; and
realizing that, what are you going to do? You cannot just leave it at that;
but because you do not want to look into it, you take to drink, to politics,
to a lady around the corner, to anything that takes you away from the house
and from that nagging wife or husband - and you think you have solved the
That is your life, is it not? Therefore, you have to do something about it,
which means you have to face it, and that means, if necessary, breaking up;
because, when a father and mother are constantly nagging and quarrelling
with each other, do you think that has not an effect on the children? And we
have already considered, in the previous question, the education of
So, marriage as a habit, as a cultivation of habitual pleasure, is a
deteriorating factor, because there is no love in habit. Love is not
habitual; love is something joyous, creative, new. Therefore, habit is the
contrary of love; but you are caught in habit, and naturally your habitual
relationship with another is dead. So, we come back again to the fundamental
issue, which is that the reformation of society depends on you, not on
legislation. Legislation can only make for further habit or conformity.
Therefore, you as a responsible individual in relationship have to do
something, you have to act, and you can act only when there is an awakening
of your mind and heart. I see some of you nodding your heads in agreement
with me, but the obvious fact is that you don't want to take the
responsibility for transformation, for change; you don't want to face the
upheaval of finding out how to live rightly.
And so the problem continues, you quarrel and carry on, and finally you die;
and when you die somebody weeps, not for the other fellow, but for his or
her own loneliness. You carry on unchanged and you think you are human
beings capable of legislation, of occupying high positions, talking about
God, finding a way to stop wars, and so on. None of these things mean
anything, because you have not solved any of the fundamental issues.
Then, the other part of the problem is sex, and why sex has become so
important. Why has this urge taken such a hold on you? Have you ever thought
it out? You have not thought it out, because you have just indulged; you
have not searched out why there is this problem. Sirs, why is there this
problem? And what happens when you deal with it by suppressing it completely
- you know, the ideal of Brahmacharya, and so on? What happens? It is still
there. You resent anybody who talks about a woman, and you think that you
can succeed in completely suppressing the sexual urge in yourself and solve
your problem that way; but you are haunted by it.
It is like living in a house and putting all your ugly things in one room;
but they are still there. So, discipline is not going to solve this problem
- discipline being sublimation, suppression, substitution - , because you
have tried it, and that is not the way out. So, what is the way out? The way
out is to understand the problem, and to understand is not to condemn or
justify. Let us look at it, then, in that way.
Why has sex become so important a problem in your life? Is not the sexual
act, the feeling, a way of self-forgetfulness? Do you understand what I
mean? In that act there is complete fusion; at that moment there is complete
cessation of all conflict, you feel supremely happy because you no longer
feel the need as a separate entity and you are not consumed with fear. That
is, for a moment there is an ending of self-consciousness, and you feel the
clarity of self-forgetfulness, the joy of self abnegation.
So, sex has become important because in every other direction you are living
a life of conflict, of self-aggrandizement and frustration. Sirs, look at
your lives, political, social, religious: you are striving to become
something. Politically, you want to be somebody, powerful, to have position,
prestige. Don't look at somebody else, don't look at the ministers. If you
were given all that, you would do the same thing. So, politically, you are
striving to become somebody, you are expanding yourself, are you not?
Therefore, you are creating conflict, there is no denial, there is no
abnegation of the `me'. On the contrary, there is accentuation of the `me'.
The same process goes on in your relationship with things, which is
ownership of property, and again in the religion that you follow. There is
no meaning in what you are doing, in your religious practices. You just
believe, you cling to labels, words. If you observe, you will see that there
too there is no freedom from the consciousness of the `me' as the centre.
Though your religion says, `Forget yourself', your very process is the
assertion of yourself, you are still the important entity. You may read the
Gita or the Bible, but you are still the minister, you are still the
exploiter, sucking the people and building temples.
So, in every field, in every activity, you are indulging and emphasizing
yourself, your importance, your prestige, your security. Therefore, there is
only one source of self-forgetfulness, which is sex, and that is why the
woman or the man becomes all-important to you, and why you must possess. So,
you build a society which enforces that possession, guarantees you that
possession; and naturally sex becomes the all-important problem when
everywhere else the self is the important thing.
And do you think, Sirs, that one can live in that state without
contradiction, without misery, without frustration? But when there is
honestly and sincerely no self-emphasis, whether in religion or in social
activity, then sex has very little meaning. It is because you are afraid to
be as nothing, politically, socially, religiously, that sex becomes a
problem; but if in all these things you allowed yourself to diminish, to be
the less, you would see that sex becomes no problem at all.
There is chastity only when there is love. When there is love, the problem
of sex ceases; and without love, to pursue the ideal of Brahmacharya is an
absurdity, because the ideal is unreal. The real is that which you are; and
if you don't understand your own mind, the workings of your own mind, you
will not understand sex, because sex is a thing of the mind. The problem is
not simple. It needs, not mere habit-forming practices, but tremendous
thought and enquiry into your relationship with people, with property and
with ideas. Sir, it means you have to undergo strenuous searching of your
heart and mind, thereby bringing a transformation within yourself. Love is
chaste; and when there is love, and not the mere idea of chastity created by
the mind, then sex has lost its problem and has quite a different meaning.
Source: New Delhi, India, 3rd Public Talk, 19th December, 1948