Jiddu Krishnamurti speaks with Dr. Allan W. Anderson about true beauty being within.Taken from A Wholly Different Way of Living, in 1974.

A: Mr Krishnamurti, in our last conversation together we had moved from speaking together concerning fear and the relation between that and the transformation of the individual person which is not dependent on knowledge or time, and from that we went to pleasure and just as we reached the end of that conversation the question of beauty arose. And if it’s agreeable with you I should like very much for us to explore that together.

K: One often wonders why museums are so filled with pictures and statues. Is it because man has lost touch with nature and therefore has to go to museums to look at other people’s paintings, famous paintings and some of them are really marvelously beautiful? Why do the museums exist at all? I’m just asking. I’m not saying they should or should not. And I’ve been to many museums all over the world, taken around by experts, and I’ve always felt as though I was being shown around and looking at things that were so, for me, artificial, other peoples’ expression, what they considered beauty. And I wondered what is beauty. Because when you read a poem of Keats, or really a poem that a man writes with his heart and with very deep feeling, he wants to convey something to you of what he feels, what he considers to be the most exquisite essence of beauty.

And I have looked at a great many cathedrals, as you must have, over Europe and again this expression of their feelings, their devotion, their reverence to, in masonry, in rocks, in buildings, in marvelous cathedrals. And looking at all this, I’m always surprised when people talk about beauty, or write about beauty, whether it is something created by man or something that you see in nature; or it has nothing to do with the stone or with the paint or with the word, but something deeply inward. And so often in discussing with so called professionals, having a dialogue with them, it appears to me that it is always somewhere out there, the modern painting, modern music, the pop and so on, so on, it’s always somehow so dreadfully artificial. I may be wrong.

But what is beauty? Must it be expressed? That’s one question. Does it need the word, the stone, the colour, the paint? Or it is something that cannot possibly be expressed in words, in a building, in a statue? So if we could go into this question of what is beauty. I think to really go into it very deeply one must know what is suffering. Or understand what is suffering, because without passion you can’t have beauty – passion in the sense, not lust, not the passion that comes when there is immense suffering. And the remaining with that suffering, not escaping from it, brings this passion. Passion means the abandonment, the complete abandonment of the ‘me’, of the self, the ego. And therefore a great austerity, not the austerity of – the word means ash, severe, dry which the religious people have made it into – but rather the austerity of great beauty.