A Letter To Kabir
A Letter To Kabir
By Reza Ganjavi
It was nice being with you -- I always had a special affection for you since we first met -- I viewed you then, and still, as a no-nonsense guy.
I do not have a problem with Krishnamurti when it comes to consistency. Some people criticize him for being inconsistent - the extreme case being the harsh woman who wrote that silly book. You see, we humans have a habit of god-making. We’re good at idolizing, creating authorities, following, because it is easy, safe, secure. On the other side of the coin we shoot down the idol we made. But my approach to K is not as such. He was not a god. He was extremely intelligent. You say that he was an avatar based on your sensible, intelligent definition of an avatar. His beauty was that he was a human. To be human is so important. This was a factor in how he could speak so well about the human condition. The cosmos may seem inconsistent and chaotic but there is great order in how the stars are moving.
Krishnamurti’s teachings were extremely important both to the well-being of the person and the world. He has tremendous insights on holistic (psychological & physical) health, healing of the mind, and the root of the ills of the world. He argues that the world is in such chaos because hearts are empty of love. He points out what prevents the rule of love: overemphasis of the intellect, thought’s limitations, and so on. In this and many other aspects K’s teachings are incredibly important.
Some prominent academics have a problem with K in ways that I can sympathize with because I’ve gone through the academic curriculums of philosophy and sciences. I also sympathize with K because I believe he had to use an extreme, absolutist, non-compromising approach/language because he had to convey some points which are so critical, yet, uncommon, against habits, and therefore difficult to get across to humanity.
In my mind, one of the greatest statements he ever made was: “Do not follow me”. This has much greater implications than just verbal. The human tendency is to follow. You can see it in the dialogues we had: Madam X asks you to do it for her and explain what K meant by such and such. You can explain your understanding of it, but she will take it just as she takes what K says. In the verbal level one if doesn’t follow because he says don’t follow, that’s also following!
To truly not follow him is the real spirit of K’s teachings: in every talk he encouraged the listener to examine and doubt. To my ears, he is saying: I have to take the approach I do because I am trying to point to America to someone who’s never been there: can you imagine how Christopher Columbus had to do that? And he is saying: You don’t have to take the same approach: expand on it, take it further.
When I suggested in the dialogue that K’s teachings can be taken further, I was looked at as a zombie “How could you think that?”. Would he have not taken it further if he had been alive? I bet he would be talking with scientists about the impacts of the internet on our lives and so on. Yes, the core of the teachings have remained the same for decades since they matured but until his last days he had fresh new insights.
To reiterate, I could not say how fond of his work I am - it’s had a tremendous impact on my life and relationships and work and art and you name it. However, I understand the frustrations that the academics feel, as I know some others in the foundations do as well, and I examine his remarks in a critical light (which is very much in line with his teachings anyway). I have found out the truth of many of what he points to. And I also have found out new things.
In our discussions, you effectively agreed that his statement that “All thought is based on the past” is not necessarily so. An insight, a new creative idea, is eventually (in nanoseconds or less) translated and manifested through thought – so that thought was not based on the past - its components (e.g. words) were based on the past. I am not nitpicking, just pointing out the difficulties I’ve faced in discussing K with academics and so on. So I use the words: “most - or almost all -- thought is based on the past” - and this is very easily seen by the subject. When you say “all”, it is different… In computer science, we need to test extreme cases and boundaries to verify logic… Having said that I find it interesting where K refers to the logic of the river.
Another area in which I believe K was taking an absolutist position in order to convey a point was with regards to organized religion. I have known people, e.g. my grandmother and my father [not to mention my mother, who continually amazes me at her level of “spirituality” -- she is what I call a pragmatist spiritual person who lives in connection with natural laws without a trace of fanaticism in her mind], whom I would call good Moslems in the sense that they did their daily prayers, and so on, who lived an intelligent, happy life, with no divisive, broken up position against any persons of other religions. Yes, it’s clear that when you talk about fanatics, they believe that their way is the only way and they’re ready to die for their belief. But not all Moslems, Christians, Zoroastrians, Hindus and Jews are like that, and moreover, their religion, however philosophically separating it might be, enriched their lives in some ways. Some of the people whose work has been very close to K’s (in fact K even said that other people had had similar teachings), such as Rumi (Molavi), belonged to organized religion. Organized religion becomes dangerous when it organizes terror - materially or psychologically.
To have a learning mind is the key and real challenge in light of the strength of psycho-somatic habits and conditionings. K’s work sheds so much light on this subject through his discourse on the significance of observing what-is and the art of observation itself.
PS -- I fully understand your point about learning from him, as we learn from each other, to be non-compromising. I do not think one should compromise, but there is a right place for making concessions.