Krishnamurti Foundation India

What is power?

Krishnamurti: There is mechanical power, the power produced by the internal combustion engine, by steam, or by electricity. There is the power that dwells in a tree, that causes the sap to flow, that creates the leaf. There is the power to think very clearly, the power to love, the power to hate, the power of a dictator, the power to exploit people in the name of God, in the name of the Masters, in the name of a country. These are all forms of power.

Now, power as electricity or light, atomic power, and so on - all such forms of power are good in themselves, are they not? But the power of the mind that uses them for the purposes of aggression and tyranny, to gain something for itself - such power is evil under all circumstances. The head of any society, church or religious group who has power over other people is an evil person, because he is controlling, shaping, guiding others without knowing where he himself is going. This is true not only of the big organizations, but of the little societies all over the world. The moment a person is clear, unconfused, he ceases to be a leader and therefore he has no power.

So it is very important to understand why the human mind demands to have power over others. The parents have power over their children, the wife over the husband, or the husband over the wife. Beginning in the small family, the evil extends until it becomes the tyranny of governments, of political leaders and religious interpreters. And can one live without this hunger for power, without wanting to influence or exploit people, without wanting power for oneself, or for a group or a nation, or for a Master or a saint? All such forms of power are destructive, they bring misery to man. Whereas, to be really kind, to be considerate, to love - this is a strange thing, it has its own timeless effect. Love is its own eternity, and where there is love there is no evil power.

Think on these Things, Chapter 14