On Modern Yoga

by J.Krishnamurti
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Questioner: Will the practice of Yoga as it is being done in Europe and America help to bring about a spiritual awakening? Is it true that Yoga will awaken deeper energy, which is called Kundalini?

Krishnamurti: May I read it once more? Is it not necessary?

Audience: No.

Krishnamurti: Right. The so-called Yoga which the west and part of the east in India, was invented about the seventeenth and eighteenth century, the exercises, in order not only to have a very good body, healthy body, through force, you understand, through discipline, through control, in order to awaken so-called higher energy – seventeenth, eighteenth century. The real Yoga, which is called Raja Yoga, King of Yogas, is to lead a highly moral life – not morality according to circumstances, according to culture, but true ethical activity in life – not to hurt, not to drink, not to drug yourself, right amount of sleep, right amount of food, clear thinking, and acting morally, doing the right thing. I won’t go into all that, what is right and wrong. They never mentioned, as far as I understand after talking with a great many scholars, they never mentioned about exercise. They say exercise normally, walk, swim, all that, but their emphasis was a very moral life, a mind which is active.

And modern yoga – the meaning of the word you all know, you probably know, I have talked to the scholars too and they say it doesn’t quite mean mere exercise. The meaning of the word, Yoga, is to join, join the higher with the lower, or the lower with the higher. You understand? And modern Yoga – I don’t know why I am talking about all this nonsense! – I don’t know why they call it yoga, it should be called just exercise, but that wouldn’t appeal to you! You have to pay money to learn yoga, to breathe properly and all that. You can practice yoga, the exercises of different kinds, the speaker has done some of it for years, taught by the experts, fortunately they didn’t charge! Because they also thought I was an expert!! Sorry. (Laughter) I am not an expert and so they soon deserted me! Or I deserted them.

Sirs, you can do this kind of yoga exercise for the rest of your life, you won’t awaken spiritual insight, nor will the awakening of a higher energy come into being. You know in the east they have a word for this called Kundalini, some of you probably have read or been caught in that word. But most of the people, as far as I have discussed with them, who have gone into this matter very deeply, they are always quoting somebody else, back to the original mischief-maker – sorry. (Laughter). And none of them, please believe me, none of them have awakened this thing. They talk about it. They have certain experiences, which they call by this name. I have discussed with them very seriously and what they are talking about is a certain form of increasing energy to do more mischief. I mean that. By eating the right food, by control, by breathing properly, etc., etc., etc., you have more energy, naturally. And that gives you a sense of superiority, and you are enlightened and so on.

But there is a different form of – I won’t go into it because you are all eager, I am not touching it! – that can only happen when the self is not. Then there is a totally different kind of energy to keep the mind fresh, young, alive and that can only come when there is absolutely no sense of the self – right? Obviously. Because the self, the ‘me’, the center, is in constant conflict – right? Wanting, not wanting, creating dualities, opposing desires, this constant struggle that’s going on. As long as that struggle is going on there is wastage of energy obviously. When that struggle is not, there is a totally different kind of energy taking place – right?

There is the story of a man, a philosopher, or a patriarch, who was a well-known teacher. And a disciple came to him and said, ‘Master, teach me how to meditate’. So he sat up in the right position, you know, and closed his eyes and began to breathe very deeply, trying to capture the higher webs and vibrations and all the rest of it. So the Master picks up two pieces of stone and rubs them, keeps on rubbing them. And the disciple opens his eyes and says, ‘Master, what are you doing?’ He said, ‘I am trying to make out of these stones a mirror so that I can look at myself’ and the disciple says, ‘Master, you can never do that’. He says, ‘In the same way, my friend, you can sit like that and breathe like that for ever, but you will never…’ – got it?

(Public Question & Answer – Brockwood Park, England, 28 August 1979 – Question 2)