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Let your relationship be not on need
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
13 min
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Excerpt from J. Krishnamurti: There is no such thing as being isolated. ‘To be’ is to be related and without relationship there is no existence.

Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, is there a connection between aloneness and relationship? Are they same, different, opposite or what? Please explain.

Acharya Prashant (AP): Aloneness is to have a point within you that is not needful. Man is forever needy and dependent. Every cell of your body is a dependent cell. Everything that you do is a dependent thing. If you look at the world around you, everything is dependent on something else. People, societies, systems, organizations, rivers, mountains, animals—all are dependent on each other. That is the hard world and when you go into the soft world—thoughts and feelings—there again dependence is there, or is there not? Can you think without an object? Even to think you need someone else, or at least yourself, right? Even to think you require ‘somebody’!

You might argue that one can think about himself also. But whenever you think about the so-called ‘yourself’—even that yourself is contextual. And whatever is contextual is dependent on the context. Are you the same in your thoughts? Don’t you see that this so-called ‘self’ is itself a product of contexts and situations? Or, is it not? So, man is always needy, every bit about you is a needy bit. Aloneness is about having something that is not needy. In middle of all your needs is a point that does not need anything—that is aloneness. Are you getting it?

Now, aloneness and relationship. If you are always needy, how will you relate to the other? Give me something; I want something from you. If the other fellow can give it coolly, good; and if he cannot be helpful and benign, then you will bare your fangs. You know what that means—baring your fangs? Exposing the intention. And the intention is to get something—get something either through civilized means or by a covert or blatant use of force. That is what need does to relationships—“I want something from you.” If by calling myself as your lover I get it, nothing like it. The decorated veneer can be maintained; the apparent order can be maintained. And if I do not get that which I want through apparently peaceful means then obviously peace is subservient to the real intention. Peace can be compromised; peace has to be compromised. What is important is the fulfillment of the need, peace is secondary. Are you getting it? And that is why our peace is largely situational.

Even where you do not see conflict, you do not see conflict only temporarily. It is a matter of situations that the self-interests of two persons have come to be aligned for a while. Situationally, interests are aligning, a moment will come when the self-interests will come in conflict then the two will drift apart or the two will collide into each other. Are you getting it? That is called a life of ‘need’. That is how we all live, that is how man lives; that’s how our families live; that’s how families and societies and nations and civilizations live—lives of need. Needs decide our relationships. Now you see what needs do to relationships.

You may argue that in spite of being needy we still see many well-structured, well-oiled, well-ordered societies. A lot of forceful alignment takes place there. To fulfill the superficial needs, deeper needs are often curbed. To fulfill the needs of a few, the needs of others are compromised. And to fulfill the needs of man, the needs of jungles and animals and ecology are compromised. And to fulfill the needs of one section of society, the demands of another section of society are either curbed or negotiated or postponed or made conditional. That’s what gives us a semblance of order. I am talking repeatedly of order because our needs are so very impossible and contradictory to the other’s needs that fulfillment of needs is an impossibility.

We often talk of harmonious co-existence. If you will look at it, you will see what an absurd oddity it is. You need one woman; he too needs the same woman. What is meant by harmonious co-existence, then? The earth does not have infinite resources. You need the same building that he does. What do you mean by harmonious co-existence? And, you do not know where desire departs from need? So you do not want a portion of that building, you want that entire building. Sharing the building appears so much like a compromise on the need—it appears like injustice.

That is why a society that is based on needs will necessarily have to have duties. That is why all the morality becomes so important because needs will always be in disagreement with each other and with the other’s needs. Then you need a mechanism to control the needs: that mechanism is called duties, that mechanism is called moralities. And that is why kids have to be taught morality since an early stage because we are a people deeply invested in our needs; we are a people deeply identified with our needs. Therefore, we have to be given a break because we are already wedded with one foot to the accelerator. And, then that is what life becomes—accelerating and braking. Needs tell you to accelerate, duties tell you to brake.

Do you see the flavor of our relationships? Do you see what kind of lukewarm existence would there be when you are always wanting and wanting? The only way out is to be situated at a point that does not want—at a point that is all right in itself, by itself; a point that is not dependent on others. Are you getting it?

Only in aloneness can you have relationships that are not exploitative. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter what name, what color you give to your relationship, your relationship will be definitively one of exploitation. Have you ever looked at your relationships closely? Do you ever want the other? No, you just want to exploit the other! The proof of that is that which you want through the other, if it is not obtained, you start disliking the other. You never want the other, you always want something through the other—that is, you want to exploit the other. Ask yourself. You may say that you are in love; you may claim that you have ever loved somebody. Do you love that man or do you love what you get through that man? And if you do not get what you want from that man, you start hating that man. Had you wanted the man himself, the man was easy and available but no, you had needs that you wanted fulfilled through the man. And that is a life of need; that is a relationship that has no aloneness. That is when you just want to consume and exploit and get your fingers into the other’s flesh.

I am again asking you. Look at every single one of your relationships, is there any relationship that does not involve getting something through the other person? And if you stop getting what you get through the other person, would your relationship remain unaffected?

Only in aloneness can you have a relationship that can be unconditional. A relationship that does not want something from the other and therefore the relationship is stable, unintrusive.

Are you getting it?

As long as the relationship of need, the relationship will remain one of violence. You can never be more violent upon anybody than upon someone you loved—so called love. Because the greater is your love for someone, the greater is your investment in that person. And you invest in someone only to get returns. You never want the other person; you want returns from the other person. When those returns are not forthcoming, have you seen how you shout, how you go breathless, how you panic, how you stamp your feet, how you pull the other’s hair, how you pull out your own hair? Have you seen this? Have you seen the orgy of your own frustration?

Where does that frustration come from? That frustration comes really from an absence of love. That frustration really comes from an absence of ‘aloneness’. That central point is called variously as Atman or Heart or Truth or Core or Source or Center. It is that point that does not need or depend. That point is your only strength. That point is the foundation on which you can stand. That point is the center around which you can go about living your life.

Are you getting it?

I will repeat again, if you live your life about that point of aloneness then your relationship will have a different color. Then you will really be free. Then you will not be a slave. Then you would neither be exploited nor would you exploit. Then your very presence would be a becalming presence. The question is if one is really alone, will he need any kind of relationship? So one can wear mask for two reasons. One, to hide his apparent ugliness—you can wear a mask like a makeup and then you are trying to hide your ugliness. Or, you can wear a mask, as kids sometimes do, to have?

Q: Fun.


In your aloneness, you have relationships and great relationships and those relationships are good fun.

When you are needy and lonely then your relationships are like Band-Aids—they are there to take care of your wounds. And then for the relationship to exist, wounds become necessary. Now do you know why we keep on cutting ourselves in all the places? If you don’t have wounds, most of your relationships will fall off. Of course, I mean, unless Band-Aid too becomes some kind of a dressing accessory, it’s possible, a kind of tattoo or something.

(Audience: But sharing…)

AP: All of that is modern day hogwash. Share what? Why share? Is the other person in need? The Atman is infinite; it never overflows. Only little containers overflow; the infinite never overflows. So, all this thing about sharing and overflowing you will never find in the Upanishads. All of this is neo spirituality, which is basically holy nonsense.

Have you ever shared without need? Please! Even sharing can be a need. It is like gossip, you are itching to share, what else is gossip? Please tell me, frantically you are trying somebody’s number because you want to share something, don’t you see it’s such a great need, this sharing?

Real relationship is very, very unpredictable. One shares there; one does not share there. And all of that happens in new, unique, and indeterministic ways. Getting it? What is certain is that you do not need to share; even without sharing you would be ok. One does not need to share. But yes, if the situation arises and the other is there, and it might be beautiful to share, sharing happens. One does not intend to share—sharing may happen, sharing may not happen. One is alright with sharing; one is alright without sharing. And one does not depend on any one particular individual to share. “I have such great news to share only with my husband.” Now that is not aloneness. What kind of great holiness is this that can be shared only with one particular individual? This is not aloneness; this is dependency. Are you getting it?

Someone once said, “Sir, sharing is like the water contained in the clouds. The cloud cannot hold it so the cloud has to give it away.” That is fantastic poetry but very poor life. But he would not give up, he said, “No, sharing is like milk contained in the mother’s breasts; unless it oozes out, the mother will feel pain.” I said, now this is even more sentimental and probably erotic poetry but this is not at all the Truth of life. It is not that way, not at all that way!

The rishi who abides in the Atman as the unmanifested one and the rishi who expresses the Upanishad as the manifested one are one and the same, exactly the same. That is sharing. The Upanishads have been shared with the world for no need whatsoever and to no particular person whatsoever. That is sharing. They have been timelessly shared. Do you see now the difference between gossiping and really sharing? When a Krishnamurti dedicates his works to the unnamed you, to the unseen you, to the you without a face—that is sharing.

When two brothers—because they are brothers and because they live under one roof—divide their meals with each other, that is not sharing. Please! That is adjustment; that is order; that is morality. That is the basic compromise you have to do because you are co-existing in one compound. Husband and wife sleeping on the same bed is not called sharing of bed. That is something else, you know that so don’t be confused.

Yes! Whenever you have to move into the words effulgence, overflowing, go to the nameless rishi of the Upanishads, you will know what sharing is. Nameless is the one who shares and nameless is the one to whom, and with whom, he had shared. You do not know the name of the rishi of the Upanishad, do you? And the rishi of the Upanishad did not know your name, but the Upanishad had been shared, that is sharing.

Idealess, purposeless, just the unmanifest becoming manifest—that is sharing.

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