Does God exist?

by J.Krishnamurti
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6th Question: Kindly give a straight reply. Does god exist, or not? Yes, or no? If yes, how best to realize him in this life?

(Laughs) This is a lovely question, isn’t it? (Laughter) Man throughout history from the ancient Greeks, from the ancient Sumerians, has had this idea of god. Right? I am not at all sure whether in the Upanishads they mention god at all. Or is it a later invention? You understand?

So what is god? We are investigating, I am not attacking god. I am not denying god, but we are investigating whether there is such a thing as god. Who invented god? Did god invent us, did god create us? Right? God, who is omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, merciful, just, all goodness. Right? That’s your concept of god. And if you say, he has created us, then we are part of his image, we are part of him. That is, we are omniscient, generous, loving – right? – and eternal. Right? Are we? Or we think we are? You understand my question? If god created you, he must be an extraordinary entity, because he wants you to lead a terrible life. You understand my question? If god made you, why are you like this? You must be extraordinary human beings, mustn’t you? – beautiful, full of joy, excitement, full of delight, but you are not. So either you have created god, or god has created you. But if you examine very closely, you have created god. Right? In India there are about – I was told there are about 300,000 gods and more. (Laughs) You understand? Every local person has his own god.

So, sirs, we have created god. See the irony of it. Thought has created god and then thought worships the image which thought has created. Which is, to worship oneself and call it god. You understand all this? – the better part of you is god. Right? I wonder if you understand this. First of all, let’s be clear. Have you created god? The local gods round the corner, or the local god in Rome, or in Tirupati, or wherever, you have created them, haven’t you? You are so very uncertain, aren’t you, so frightened. If you say we have created, then you are scared stiff because you have created out of your fear that. Out of your fear you want security. Right? You want safety, you want to feel there is somebody looking after you because you are afraid. You follow? So you create that, and then worship that. Just see what you are doing! Going to Tirupati and putting all your money in the bag – do you think gods want your money? Sir, look at it all. You have nothing to offer but money, garlands, prostrations, rituals. Right? You have nothing else to offer. Have you realised the tragedy of this, sirs?

If you love – not god, that’s very easy to love god because it is an abstraction, it has not much meaning. But if you love, that very love is god, that very love is sacred. You won’t go outside to look for god. You understand all this, sirs!

And the questioner wants to know if I believe in god. I don’t. Because god is something created by man. There is such a thing as eternity, which is to be outside of time. Right, sir? For that you must have a mind, a heart that is completely free from all the burdens of life. Right? From your vanity, your arrogance, your selfishness – you follow, sir? And we say, we are not capable of it, tell us what to do. You are back in the cycle, somebody to tell you what to do. Sir, you are in a jungle, you have to walk through it by yourself. Right? And for that you need vitality and vigour and strength. Not belief in god, in goodness – belief has no place where truth is concerned. Right?

Q: Then what is atman, sir? Atman, about which we have been hearing. Even Annie Besant talked of atman.

K: Who is that?

Q: The conscience inside each of us.

K: Who is atman?

Q: The conscience inside each of us.

K: Is conscience atman?

Q: What they call as soul.

K: Soul. Which soul? The sole of a shoe? – or a soul! I don’t know what you are talking about.

Q: Atman.

K: At last you are all getting excited! Because your belief is being attacked. You are not meeting the challenge, but you are resisting it. You think there is something inside you which is permanent, which is the light of god, which is nameless, etc., etc., call it atman, soul, light, whatever you like to call it. That there is inside you, in your conscience, in your brain, in your mind, something which is not worldly, which is not of thought. Right? You believe that, don’t you? Yes, sir?

Q: No, I don’t believe in it.

K: Why?

Q: There is no such thing.

K: How do you know?

Q: (Inaudible)

K: Childish. Just belief, belief, belief. What kind of brains have you, sirs? Don’t you want to find out? Don’t you want to investigate into the truth of this matter, whether there is soul, atman, whatever you like to call it? Just believe. If you believe, what value has it? Suppose I believe I have got atman, or whatever it is, super-atman, I’ll call it. (Laughs) I believe in that. What value has it? In my daily life what part does it play? I am miserable, I am confused, I’m lonely, anxious, in agony, what’s the point of my having a belief in atman? If I am free from all that, completely, then I shall find out. But to suppose I am – you follow? – it becomes so childish. For god’s sake. And we are all grown-up people – jobs, children, wives.

Q: (Inaudible)

K: What, what, what, sir? I don’t understand what you’re saying.

Q: So many great people…

K: Ramana Maharshi and who?

Q: Ramakrishna.

K: Oh. All right sir. What about them?

Q: They lived a simple life and they indicated you can dedicate yourself… (inaudible) Is it possible not to believe them? Being in a disturbed world, I think we are just believing the words and complaining… (inaudible)

K: Sir, would you forget all these people, including Ramana Maharshi, whatever the other gentleman was. Would you forget them? What value has their life to you? You have your life to live, not their life! God, what kind… And when the people say they have attained – whatever they have attained – how do you know?

Q: You have also said there is a timeless eternity.

K: Ah, I have said it, sir. Don’t believe it! (Laughter)

Q: Not fair, sir.

K: It is not fair, I know, it is not quite fair. But, sir, just listen. Sir, truth is that, that something you cannot experience, it cannot be told to you, the word is not that. But if you live on words it is that. You understand? The word is not that; like the word ‘tree’ is not the tree. I can describe eternity, blah, blah, blah, but the word is not that. But we are satisfied with the word. Right, sir? You love with your heart, with your mind, with everything that you have, you love somebody, and you tell me of that love, and I accept the words but I have no – the flower isn’t there, the perfume isn’t there.

You see, sirs, you have leaders: religious leaders and political leaders. I don’t know why, why you have leaders at all. Ramakrishna, or whatever gurus that you have had, one after the other. Right? This country is full of them. And why do you follow? You understand? If once you realized that you are responsible entirely for yourself, that you are in a jungle, literally in a jungle, where you have to make your own way out, there is nobody to lead you, then you forget all this – the examples, the books, everything, because you have got vitality, strength to go through. But the moment you depend on leaders you become weak. If once you realize it in your heart, not just intellectually, then you are a man, human being, free to walk straight. But we don’t want all that. Sir, it is so simple when you think of it all.