Questioner: What is happiness in life?
Krishnamurti: If you want to do something pleasurable, you think you will be happy when you do it. You may want to marry the richest man, or the most beautiful girl, or pass some examination, or be praised by somebody, and you think that by getting what you want you will be happy. But is that happiness? Does it not soon fade away, like the flower that blossoms in the morning and withers in the evening? Yet that is our life, and that is all we want. We are satisfied with such superficialities: with having a car or a secure position, with feeling a little emotion over some futile thing, like a boy who is happy flying a kite in a strong wind and a few minutes later is in tears. That is our life, and with that we are satisfied. We never say, “I will give my heart, my energy, my whole being to find out what happiness is”. We are not very serious, we don’t feel very strongly about it, so we are gratified with little things.
But happiness is not something that you can seek; it is a result, a by-product. If you pursue happiness for itself it will have no meaning. Happiness comes uninvited; and the moment you are conscious that you are happy, you are no longer happy. I wonder if you have noticed this?
When you are suddenly joyous about nothing in particular, there is just the freedom of smiling, of being happy; but, the moment you are conscious of it, you have lost it, have you not? Being self-consciously happy, or pursuing happiness, is the very ending of happiness. There is happiness only when the self and its demands are put aside.
You are taught a great deal about mathematics, you give your days to studying history, geography, science, physics, biology, and so on; but do you and your teachers spend any time at all thinking about these far more serious matters? Do you ever sit quietly, with your back very straight, without movement, and know the beauty of silence? Do you ever let your mind wander, not about petty things, but expansively, widely, deeply, and thereby explore, discover? And do you know what is happening in the world? What is happening in the world is a projection of what is happening inside each one of us; what we are, the world is. Most of us are in turmoil, we are acquisitive, possessive, we are jealous and condemn people; and that is exactly what is happening in the world, only more dramatically, ruthlessly. But neither you nor your teachers spend any time thinking about all this; and it is only when you spend some time every day earnestly thinking about these matters that there is a possibility of bringing about a total revolution and creating a new world. And I assure you, a new world has to be created, a world which will not be a continuation of the same rotten society in a different form. But you cannot create a new world if your mind is not alert, watchful, expansively aware; and that is why it is so important, while you are young, to spend some time reflecting over these very serious matters and not just pass your days in the study of a few subjects, which leads nowhere except to a job and death. So do consider seriously all these things, for out of that consideration there comes an extraordinary feeling of joy, of happiness.