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Krishnamurti's descriptions illustrate the clarity of an awakened mind.
A small sample from Commentaries on Living (series 2):
They were chanting in the temple. It
was a clean temple of carved stone, massive and indestructible. There were over
thirty priests, naked to the waist; their pronunciation of the Sanskrit was
precise and distinct, and they knew the meaning of the chant. The depth and
sound of the words made those walls and pillars almost tremble, and
instinctively the group that was there became silent. The creation, the
beginning of the world was being chanted, and how man was brought forth. The
people had closed their eyes, and the chant was producing a pleasant
disturbance: nostalgic remembrances of their childhood, thoughts of the progress
they had made since those youthful days, the strange effect of Sanskrit words,
delight in hearing the chant again. Some were repeating the chant to themselves,
and their lips were moving. The atmosphere was getting charged with strong
emotions, but the priests went on with the chant and the gods remained silent.
It had stopped raining; the roads were clean, and the dust had been washed from the trees. The earth was refreshed, and the frogs were loud in the pond; they were big, and their throats were swollen with pleasure. The grass was sparkling with tiny drops of water, and there was peace in the land after the heavy downpour. The cattle were soaking wet, but during the rain they never took shelter, and now they were contentedly grazing. Some boys were playing in the little stream that the rain had made by the road side; they were naked, and it was good to see their shining bodies and their bright eyes. They were having the time of their life, and how happy they were! Nothing else mattered, and they smiled out of joy as one said something to them, though they didn't understand a word. The sun was coming out and the shadows were deep.
On the red earth in front of the house there were quantities of trumpet-like flowers with golden hearts. They had large, mauve petals and a delicate scent. They would be swept away during the day, but in the darkness of night they covered the red earth. The creeper was strong with serrated leaves which glistened in the morning sun. Some children carelessly trod on the flowers, and a man getting hurriedly into his car never even looked at them. A passer-by picked one, smelt it, and carried it away, to be dropped presently. A woman who must have been a servant came out of the house, picked a flower, and put it in her hair. How beautiful those flowers were, and how quickly they were withering in the sun!
It was a small pond, but very beautiful. Grass covered its banks, and a few steps went down to it. There was a small, white temple at one end, and all around it were tall, slender palms. The temple was well built and well cared for; it was spotlessly clean, and at that hour, when the sun was well behind the palm grove, there was no one there, not even the priest, who treated the temple and its contents with great veneration. This small, decorative temple gave to the pond an atmosphere of peace; the place was so still, and even the birds were silent. The slight breeze that stirred the palms was dying down, and a few clouds floated across the sky, radiant with the evening sun. A snake was swimming across the pond, in and out among the lotus leaves. The water was very clear, and there were pink and violet lotuses. Their delicate scent clung close to the water and to the green banks. There was not a thing stirring now, and the enchantment of the place seemed to fill the earth. But the beauty of those flowers! They were very still, and one or two were beginning to close for the night, shutting out the darkness. The snake had crossed the pond, come up the bank, and was passing close by; its eyes were like bright, black beads, and its forked tongue was playing before it like a small flame, making a path for the snake to follow.
The cow was in labour, and the two or three people who regularly attended to her milking, feeding and cleaning were with her now. She was watching them, and if one went away for any reason, she would gently call. At this critical time she wanted all her friends about her; they had come and she was content, but she was labouring heavily. The little calf was born and it was a beauty, a heifer. The mother got up and went round and round her new baby, nudging her gently from time to time; she was so joyous that she would push us aside. She kept this up for a long time till she finally got tired. We held the baby to suckle, but the mother was too excited. At last she calmed down, and then she wouldn't let us go. One of the ladies sat on the ground, and the new mother lay down and put her head in her lap. She had suddenly lost interest in her calf, and her friends were more to her now. It had been very cold, but at last the sun was coming up behind the hills, and it was getting warmer.
The little drum was beating out a gay rhythm and presently it was joined by a reed instrument; together they filled the air. The drum dominated, but it followed the reed. The latter would stop, but the little drum would go on sharp and clear, until it was again joined by the song of the reed. The dawn was still faraway and the birds were quiet but the music filled the silence. There was a wedding going on in the little village. During the previous evening there had been much gaiety; the songs and laughter had gone on late into the night, and now the parties were being awakened by music. presently the naked branches began to show against the pale sky; the stars were disappearing one by one, and the music had come to an end. There were the shouts and calling of children, and noisy quarrelling around the only water tap in the village. The sun was still below the horizon,but the day had begun.
The daily pattern of life was repeating itself around the only water tap in the village; the water was running slowly, and a group of women were awaiting their turn. Three of them were noisily and bitterly quarrelling; they were completely absorbed in their anger and paid not the slightest attention to anyone else, nor was anyone paying attention to them. It must have been a ritual. Like all rituals, it was stimulating, and these women were enjoying the stimulation. An old woman helped a young one to lift a big, brightly polished brass pot onto her head. She had a little pad of cloth to bear the weight of the pot, which she held lightly with one hand. Her walk was superb, and she had great dignity. A little girl came quietly, slipped her pot under the tap, and carried it away without saying a word. Other women came and went, but the quarrel went on, and it seemed as though it would never end. Suddenly the three stopped filled their vessels with water, and went away as though nothing had happened. By now the sun was getting strong, and smoke was rising above the thatched roofs of the village. The day's first meal was being cooked. How suddenly peaceful it was! Except for the crows, almost everything was quiet. Once the vociferous quarrel was over, one could hear the roar of the sea beyond the houses, the gardens and the palm groves.
It began to rain gently enough, but suddenly it was as though the heavens had opened and there was a deluge. In the street the water was almost knee-deep, and it was well over the pavement. There was not a flutter among the leaves, and they too were silent in their surprise. A car passed by and then stalled, water having gotten into its essential parts. People were wading across the street, soaked to the skin, but they were enjoying this down-pour. The garden beds were being washed out and the lawn was covered with several inches of brown water. A dark blue bird with fawn-coloured wings was trying to take shelter among the thick leaves, but it got wetter and wetter and shook itself so often. The downpour lasted for some time, and then stopped as suddenly as it had begun. All things were washed clean.
The evening light was on the water, and the dark trees were against the setting sun. A crowded bus went by, followed by a big car with smart people in it. A child passed rolling a hoop. A woman with a heavy load stopped to adjust it, then continued on her weary way. A boy on a bicycle saluted someone, and was intent on getting home. Several women walked by, and a man stopped, lit a cigarette, threw the match in the water, looked around, and went on. No one seemed to notice the colours on the water and the dark trees against the sky. A girl came along carrying a baby, talking and pointing to the darkening waters to amuse and distract it. Lights were appearing in the houses, and the evening star was beginning to sail the heavens.
It was a calm evening, but many white sails were on the lake. In the far distance a snowcovered peak hung as though suspended from the skies. The evening breeze from the north-east was not yet blowing, but there were ripples on the water towards the north and more boats were putting out. The water was very blue and the skies were very clear. It was a wide lake, but on sunny days the towns could be seen on the other side. In this little bay, secluded and forgotten, it was very peaceful; there were no tourists, and the steamboat that went round the lake never came here. Nearby was a village of fishermen; and as the weather promised to be clear, there would be small boats, with lanterns, fishing late into the night. In the enchantment of evening they were preparing their nets and their boats. The valleys were in deep shadow, but the mountains still held the sun.
The road in front of the house went down to the sea, weaving its way past many small shops, great flats, garages, temples, and a dusty, neglected garden. When it reached the sea, the road be- came a big thoroughfare, with taxis, rattling buses, and all the noise of a modem city. Leading off this thoroughfare there was a peaceful, sheltered avenue overhung with huge rain-trees, but in the morning and evening it was busy with cars on their way to a smart club, with its golf course and lovely gardens. As I walked along this avenue there were various types of beggars lying on the pavement; they were not noisy, and did not even stretch out their hands to the passer-by. A girl about ten years old was lying with her head on a tin can, resting with wide open eyes; she was dirty, with matted hair, but she smiled as I smiled at her. Further along, a little girl, hardly three, came forward with outstretched hand and an enchanting smile. The mother was watching from behind a nearby tree. I took the outstretched hand and we walked together for a few paces, returning her to her mother. As I had no coin, I returned with one the next day, but the little girl would not take it, she wanted to play; so we played, and the coin was given to the mother. Whenever I walked along that avenue the little girl was always there, with a shy smile and bright eyes.
On the hot rock in the burning sun the village women were spreading the paddy that had been kept in the storehouse. They had carried large bundles of it to the flat, sloping rock, and the two oxen that were tied to the tree would presently tread on the paddy to release the grain. The valley was far from any town, and the huge tamarind trees gave deep shadows. Through the valley a dusty road made its way to the village and beyond. Cattle and innumerable goats covered the hillsides. The rice fields were deep in water, and the white rice birds flew with lazy wings from one field to another; they seemed without fear, but they were shy and would not let one get near them. The mango trees were beginning to bloom, and the river made a cheerful noise with its clear running water. It was a pleasant land, and yet poverty hung over it like a plague. Voluntary poverty is one thing, but compulsory poverty is quite another. The villagers were poor and diseased, and although there was now a medical dispensary and food was distributed, the damage wrought by centuries of privation could not be wiped away in a few years. Starvation is not the problem of one community or of one country, but of the whole world.
A small duck was coming up the wide canal like a ship under sail, alone and full of quacking importance. The canal wound in and out through the town. There were no other ducks in sight, but this one made enough noise for many ducks. The few who heard him paid no attention, but that didn't matter to the duck. He wasn't frightened, but he felt himself to be a very prominent person on that canal; he owned it. Beyond the town the countryside was pleasant with green pastures and fat black and white cows. There were masses of clouds on the horizon and the skies seemed low, close to the earth, with that light which only this part of the world seems to have. The land was as flat as one's palm, and the road climbed only to pass over the bridges that crossed the high canals. It was a lovely evening; the sun was setting over the North Sea, and the clouds took on the colouring of the setting sun.
Great streaks of light, blue and rose, shot across the sky.
The banyans and the tamarinds dominated the small valley, which was green and alive after the rains. In the open the sun was strong and biting, but in the shade it was pleasantly cool. The shadows were deep, and the old trees were shapely against the blue sky. There was an astonishing number of birds in that valley, birds of many different kinds, and they would come to these trees and so quickly disappear in them. There would probably be no more rain for several months but now the countryside lay green and peaceful, the wells were full, and there was hope in the land. The corrupting towns were far beyond the hills, but the nearby villages were filthy and the people were starving. The government only promised, and the villagers seemed to care so little. There was beauty and gladness all about them, but they had no eyes for it nor for their own inward riches. Amidst so much loveliness the people were dull and empty.
Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 15 December 2016