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Question: You have often talked of relationship. What
does it mean to you?
Jiddu Krishnamurti - First of all, there is no such thing as being
isolated. To be is to be related and without relationship there is no
existence. What do we mean by relationship? It is an interconnected
challenge and response between two people, between you and me, the
challenge which you throw out and which I accept or to which I respond;
also the challenge I throw out to you. The relationship of two people
creates society; society is not independent of you and me; the mass is
not by itself a separate entity but you and I in our relationship to
each other create the mass, the group, the society.
Relationship is the awareness of
interconnection between two people. What is that relationship generally
based on? Is it not based on so-called interdependence, mutual
assistance? At least, we say it is mutual help, mutual aid and so on,
but actually, apart from words, apart from the emotional screen which we
throw up against each other, what is it based upon? On mutual
gratification, is it not? If I do not please you, you get rid of me; if
I please you, you accept me either as your wife or as your neighbour or
as your friend. That is the fact.
What is it that you call the family? Obviously it is a relationship of
intimacy, of communion. In your family, in your relationship with your
wife, with your husband, is there communion? Surely that is what we mean
by relationship, do we not? Relationship means communion without fear,
freedom to understand each other, to communicate directly. Obviously
relationship means that - to be in communion with another. Are you? Are
you in communion with your wife? Perhaps you are physically but that is
You and your wife live on opposite sides of a wall of
isolation, do you not? You have your own pursuits, your ambitions, and
she has hers. You live behind the wall and occasionally look over the
top - and that you call relationship. That is a fact, is it not? You may
enlarge it, soften it, introduce a new set of words to describe it. but
that is the fact - that you and another live in isolation, and that life
in isolation you call relationship.
If there is real relationship between two people, which means there is
communion between them, then the implications are enormous. Then there
is no isolation; there is love and not responsibility or duty. It is the
people who are isolated behind their walls who talk about duty and
responsibility. A man who loves does not talk about responsibility - he
loves. Therefore he shares with another his joy, his sorrow, his money.
Are your families such? Is there direct communion with your wife, with
your children? Obviously not.
Therefore the family is merely an excuse to continue
your name or tradition, to give you what you want, sexually or
psychologically, so the family becomes a means of self-perpetuation, of
carrying on your name. That is one kind of immortality, one kind of
permanency. The family is also used as a means of gratification. I
exploit others ruthlessly in the business world, in the political or
social world outside, and at home I try to be kind and generous. How
absurd! Or the world is too much for me, I want peace and I go home. I
suffer in the world and I go home and try to find comfort. So I use
relationship as a means of gratification, which means I do not want to
be disturbed by my relationship.
Thus relationship is sought where there is mutual
satisfaction, gratification; when you do not find that
satisfaction you change relationship; either you divorce or you remain
together but seek gratification elsewhere or else you move from one
relationship to another till you find what you seek - which is
satisfaction, gratification, and a sense of self-protection and comfort.
After all, that is our relationship in the world, and it is thus in
Relationship is sought where there can be security,
where you as an individual can live in a state of security, in a state
of gratification, in a state of ignorance - all of which always creates
conflict, does it not? If you do not satisfy me and I am seeking
satisfaction, naturally there must be conflict, because we are both
seeking security in each other; when that security becomes uncertain you
become jealous, you become violent, you become possessive and so on. So
relationship invariably results in possession in condemnation, in
self-assertive demands for security, for comfort and for gratification,
and in that there is naturally no love.
We talk about love, we talk about responsibility,
duty, but there is really no love; relationship is based on
gratification, the effect of which we see in the present
civilization. The way we treat our wives, children, neighbours, friends
is an indication that in our relationship there is really no love at
all. It is merely a mutual search for gratification. As this is so, what
then is the purpose of relationship? What is its ultimate significance?
If you observe yourself in relationship with others, do you not find
that relationship is a process of self-revelation? Does not my contact
with you reveal my own state of being if I am aware, if I am alert
enough to be conscious of my own reaction in relationship?
Relationship is really a process of self-revelation,
which is a process of self-knowledge; in that revelation there are many
unpleasant things, disquieting, uncomfortable thoughts, activities.
Since I do not like what I discover, I run away from a relationship
which is not pleasant to a relationship which is pleasant. Therefore,
relationship has very little significance when we are merely seeking
mutual gratification but becomes extraordinarily significant when it is
a means of self-revelation and self-knowledge.
After all, there is no relationship in love, is there? It is only when
you love something and expect a return of your love that there is a
relationship. When you love, that is when you give yourself over to
something entirely, wholly, then there is no relationship.
If you do love, if there is such a love, then it is a marvellous thing.
In such love there is no friction, there is not the one and the other,
there is complete unity. It is a state of integration, a complete being.
There are such moments, such rare, happy, joyous moments, when there is
complete love, complete communion. What generally happens is that love
is not what is important but the other, the object of love becomes
important; the one to whom love is given becomes important and not love
Then the object of love, for various reasons, either
biological, verbal or because of a desire for gratification, for comfort
and so on, becomes important and love recedes. Then possession, jealousy
and demands create conflict and love recedes further and further; the
further it recedes, the more the problem of relationship loses its
significance, its worth and its meaning.
Therefore, love is one of the most difficult things to
comprehend. It cannot come through an intellectual urgency, it cannot be
manufactured by various methods and means and disciplines. It is a state
of being when the activities of the self have ceased; but they will not
cease if you merely suppress them, shun them or discipline them. You
must understand the activities of the self in all the different layers
of consciousness. We have moments when we do love, when there is no
thought, no motive, but those moments are very rare. Because they are
rare we cling to them in memory and thus create a barrier between living
reality and the action of our daily existence.
In order to understand relationship it is
important to understand first of all what is, what is actually taking
place in our lives, in all the different subtle forms; and also
what relationship actually means. Relationship is self-revelation. it is
because we do not want to be revealed to ourselves that we hide in
comfort, and then relationship loses its extraordinary depth,
significance and beauty. There can be true relationship only when there
is love but love is not the search for gratification. Love exists only
when there is self-forgetfulness, when there is complete communion, not
between one or two, but communion with the highest; and that can only
take place when the self is forgotten.
Source : from Jiddu Krishnamurti book "The First and