Questioner: Is there a god? If there isn't, life has no meaning. Not knowing god, man has invented him in a thousand beliefs and images. All emphasized belief. "Believe and then you will know; without belief you can never know." What do you think?
Krishnamurti: Is belief necessary to find out? To learn is far more important than to know. Learning about belief is the end of belief. When the mind is free of belief then it can look. It is belief, or disbelief, that binds; for disbelief and belief are the same: the opposite sides of the same coin. So we can completely put aside positive or negative belief; the believer and the non-believer are the same. When this actually takes place then the question, "Is there a god?" has quite a different meaning. The word god with all its tradition, its memory, its intellectual and sentimental connotations - all this is not god. The word is not the real. So can the mind be free of the word?
Questioner: I don't know what that means.
Krishnamurti: The word is the tradition, the hope, the desire to find the absolute, the striving after the ultimate; it’s the movement which gives vitality to existence.
So the word itself becomes the ultimate, yet we can see that the word is not the thing. The mind is the word, and the word is thought.
Questioner: And you're asking me to strip myself of the word? How can i do that? The word is the past; it is memory. The wife is the word, and the house is the word. In the beginning was the word. Also the word is the means of communication, identification. Your name is not you, and yet without your name I can't ask about you. And you're asking me if the mind can be free of the word -- that is, can the mind be free of its own activity?
Krishnamurti: In the case of the tree, the object is before our eyes, and the word refers to the tree by universal agreement. Now with the word ‘god’ there is nothing to which it refers, so each man can create his own image of that for which there is no reference. The theologian does it in one way, the intellectual in another, and the believer and the non-believer in their own different ways. Hope generates this belief, and then seeking. This hope is the outcome of despair - the despair of all we see around us in the world. From despair hope is born, they also are two sides of the same coin. When there is no hope there is hell, and this fear of hell gives us the vitality of hope. Then illusion begins. So the word has led us to illusion and not to god at all. God is the illusion which we worship; and the non-believer creates the illusion of another god which he worships -- the State, or some utopia, or some book which he thinks contains all truth. So we are asking you whether you can be free of the word with its illusion.
Questioner: I must meditate on this.
Krishnamurti: If there is no illusion, what is left?
Questioner: Only what is.
Krishnamurti: The "what is" is the most holy.
Abridged excerpt from jkrishnamurti.org, Courtesy: KFI