There are not many days in your life when you come across the books which actually have the gusto to change your life! One of those days for me was the day when I accidently came across and bought a book – Freedom from the Known by Jiddu Krishnamurti, popularly known as J Krishnamurti only. This book, I bought in Dariyaganj, one of the world famous book markets (mostly second-hand books) which is in New Delhi. A hardcover edition published by Krishnamurti Foundation in India, Freedom from the Known looked so attractive to me, even in its physical form as well. I was excited to go through the book but the challenges of public life did not allow me this opportunity for quite a few days.
When I began reading this book, it came to me as a sudden blow which completely changed the perspective with which I used to see the world! And believe me, it was very much like this. I would like to quote the very opening lines from the book which will clarify the seeming exaggeration that I might seem to have used:
“Man has throughout the ages been seeking something beyond himself, beyond material welfare – something we call truth or God or reality, a timeless state – something that cannot be disturbed by circumstances, by thought or by human corruption.”
And my question is, who is not searching for that thing? Who on the earth is not trying to find out that ‘beyond’? Who among us is really happy with this world around him or her? Who is truly satisfied? All these questions find their respective suitable answers in this book. There are sixteen chapters in this book and the chapters are, in fact, the talks and discourses with J Krishnamurti and his disciples.
The editor of the book is Mary Lutyens, a great disciple and lifelong friend to JK. She was also the most authoritative biographer of JK and her works are considered as most laudable.
The book deals with almost all the aspects that we might explore in order to understand the nature of our life and plight of the masses. What is freedom? Why do we want freedom? From what we want freedom? What is the idea of freedom? Some of the epic chapters in this book (in fact, all of those are!) are:
Chapter 9: Time – Sorrow – Death
Chapter 13: What is thinking? – Ideas and action – Challenge – Matter – The beginning of though
Chapter 15: Experience – Satisfaction – Duality – Meditation
Chapter 16: Total revolution – The religious mind – Energy – Passion
I would very much like to quote from the page 96:
“So it is for each one of us to decide whether or not we want to be completely free. If we say we do, then we must understand the nature and structure of freedom.”
In fact, deep within, there is a sense of urgency in every one of us; we want something which we don’t know (and perhaps ignore). What is the force that makes us restless even when we just think of it? There is something that makes us a seeker even after we have massed enough of wealth in this world… and for all those seekers out there, Freedom from the Known is the book which will be their companion in this journey of revelation!
Running only 185 pages in this ‘just a little more than a pocket-sized book’, one can easily finish this in one go. However, I will advise not to do so. Take your time and realise the lessons in the book before you move to a new chapter. Not all the knowledge can be grasped in a single morsel of perusal… we need to work hard and harder and to the level when we begin to understand what we read as a reader. Freedom from the Known is a book which you must read by giving yourself some time. I hope you will enjoy the reading as much as I did or even more than me. Don’t miss your chance before the ultimate freedom and read this book as soon as possible! Happy reading!
by – Alok Mishra