Wilen Krishnamurti came to India every winter, he gave public talks in Madras, Bombay, New Delhi, and Varanasi, besides holding dialogues with the teachers and students of the schools he had founded. The talks were always held in the evenings of Saturdays and Sundays. Over two or three week-ends, and were interspersed with morning meetings where his listeners would get an opportunity to put questions.
Till the late 1970s, Krishnamurti engaged his audiences in free-wheeling discussions. However, as the crowds swelled, and more and more people sought to join the discussions, these meetings often tended to get diffused and lose focus. This must have prompted Krishnamurti in the 1980s to change the format from free-wheeling discussions to what came to be called 'Question and Answer Meetings', where he answered written questions handed over to him at the start of each meeting. (The questions would have been collected, collated, and typed out the previous day by his associates.) Though each session ran to nearly an hour and a half, it was possible for him to answer only half a dozen questions or less, and that again depended on the nature of the questions. At times, Krishnamurti's replies themselves evoked further questions from the audience.
Before taking up the first question and reading it out, Krishnamurti would set the tone by himself posing certain questions which created a broad framework for what was to follow and laid down the fundamental principles underlying the human mind's attempts to seek an answer to any question or to find a solution to any problem. 'Why do you put questions? And from whom do you expect the answers? Is not your motive in asking a question the desire to find a comforting answer? Does the answer to a question lie outside the question or in the very question itself? What is a problem? Can you meet a problem with a brain that is free to solve problems and not with a brain that is conditioned to solve problems?' These questions, which are profound insights in themselves, illumine Krishnamurti's approach in dealing with specific human issues, superficial or serious, mundane or philosophical. The originality of this approach to the various questions about life emerges with great clarity in this book.
The questions in this hook are themselves impressive in the range of themes they cover-the outward problems of poverty, corruption, and the decline of values in India; and the individual and collective apathy towards these; the divisions and conflicts prevailing in all societies; the general degeneration of man despite his technological progress; the absence of true relationship at various levels; the deep inner turmoils arising from psychological wounds, loneliness, fear, sorrow, and lack of love; and the eternal questions about God, rebirth, miracles, and so on.
Then there are the inevitable questions prompted by Krishnamurti's own radical insights-questions that reflect the genuine doubts and difficulties encountered by his audiences. These questions, as also Krishnamurti's elucidation and clarification, make this book specially relevant for those who are familiar with his teachings but wish to go deeper into it. Besides, the quality of Krishnamurti's relationship with and responses to his listeners-sometimes intimate, sometimes stern, but always uncompromising-comes through powerfully in this book, which contains his answers to seventy-five questions spread over fourteen Question and Answer Meetings he held in Madras, Bombay, and Varanasi between the years 1981 and 1985.
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