One doesn’t wake up by switching dreams || Acharya Prashant, on Jiddu Krishnamurti (2014)

Acharya Prashant
8 min readJun 17, 2024


Question: “To be alone, is to be against the whole set-up of the society.” J. Krishnamurti

Sir, what is ‘being alone’?

Speaker: Society is not one thing; society is the very substance of the conditioned mind. And it’s very deceptive.

(Here, ‘I’ is used for the conditioned mind)

‘I’ belong to a society of conservative people. And what do ‘I’ do? ‘I’ revolt. And then, what do ‘I’ become? ‘I’ become a liberal. ‘I’ become a liberal. Till yesterday, ‘I’ would say, “No, life has to be lead in very secure ways, and conventions have to be followed, and these are the people who follow the conventions. And ‘I’ am one of them. ‘I’ am..? One of them. And today, who am ‘I’? A liberal.

And these are the people who really enjoy life, who give two hoots to tradition. And who am ‘I’? Who am ‘I’? One of them. And what have ‘I’ done? ‘I’ have revolted against the..? Society. And ‘I’ am not careful enough to see that ‘I’ have only moved from one kind of society to another kind of society.

Listener: It is like first painting red, and then painting green.

Speaker: And look at the revolutionaries around. What are they doing? And look at your own mind. When you say that you want to revolt from something, all you want to do is, to move to the other end of duality, where another society exists, where another society exists.

So there is a boring society, and then an adventurous society, but the ‘society’ is still there. What is ‘society’? Society is not something outside. Society is a mind that does not live in the Self. Society is a mind, that does not live in the Self.

Society is not other people, other people would always be there. Other people are there for the Buddha also. He looks at them, he touches them, he talks to them. There are other people, but the Buddha is not social, because he does not have that mind. What kind of mind?

Listener: That seeks security from others.

Speaker: “Oh, ‘I’ hate India so much. India is crowded, polluted, and corrupt. And what do ‘I’ love? ‘I’ love the US, and all the time ‘I’ keep talking about the US, even though ‘I’ have never been to the US. But ‘I’ love to talk of the US. How lovely! It’s another matter that the US embassy will throw me away, and not give me a visa.”

“When ‘I’ go there actually, they won’t even let me stand at their reception. But I love to talk of, how the US is, and that makes me a revolutionary. India is stinking.”

All you want is to jump from one society to the other, nothing else. Nothing else. Remember that — *One does not wake up by switching dreams. One does not become alone by changing societies.*“I belong to a society of atheists.” And then? “I belong to the society of…the faithful.”

Whatever you do, aren’t there are others involved in it? And if there are others involved in it, how are you free from the society, by ‘doing’ something? Do you understand the all pervasiveness of the society, how deeply it permeates? It is occupying every single fibre. It is colouring all, even the minutest strands. If life is a fabric, then society is colouring it right up to its core.

Everything is society, everything is society. And rare is the man who can be truly alone. Truly alone! And of course, ‘being truly alone’ does not have to do with people. Aloneness is not the function of other people.

We are repeating: Aloneness is a particular mind. Aloneness is a particular mind. And it is not that as if that mind does not recognise, or realise people. It does. Do not forget, that aloneness does not exclude duality. Aloneness does not exclude this world.

To be alone, is to be fully of the world, and yet alone. To be alone is to be fully of this world, and yet alone, and then one has lived.

You know what does ‘alone’ mean? ‘Alone’ means — “Society will not limit my spectrum, that society will not limit the zone of my existence. I can be here, I can be there. I can even talk to the stars, and I may not talk to the stars.”

Listener: Like a lotus?

Speaker: Like a lotus, and sometimes not like a lotus.

“I am free to follow all the rules, and free to break all of them. Complete unpredictability — not here, not there.”

Changing opinions is easy. Aloneness is not another opinion.

“I used to think this way, and now I think that way. So now I am alone.”

“I first used to be a party animal, and now I love to live in my own room. So now I am alone.”

“I used to think that life is wonderful only when you are living with your family. And now I curse the family, all the time. So now I am alone.”

Aloneness is not a change in opinion. And that is a very cheap kind of aloneness, anybody can get it. Change your opinion. After all they are your opinions; you have the exclusive right of changing them. Change them anytime, and then you are alone.

Society likes those, who are outside its ambit. When I say, “Society,” I mean a particular type of society. Hindus would love Muslims, why? Because they give them a reason to remain Hindus. The Arab states would love Israel, because Israel gives them a reason to stay united. Today, when it comes to Israel, all the Arab states become united.

Iran and Saudi Arabia cannot look at each other, eye to eye. They are very much at crossroads. But when it comes to Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia are together. So society, is actually nourished by those, who are outside it. It’s a great show. Good, nice drama.

These are the fake rebels. These are the fake rebels. You know, let there be a vast room, in which all the action is happening in one corner, and everybody is gathered there. And what do you do? You go and set your small shop at the other extreme corner, the diagonal corner. And you say, “I am a rebel.” And it is a good way of attracting the crowd towards yourself.

That’s a good way of attracting the crowd to yourself — by acting as a rebel. That is not aloneness. You are still related to that other corner. In fact, you are in that corner, because that other corner, is heavily populated. That’s not rebellion.

Listener: Sir, what is individualism?

Speaker: See, individuality is meaningful only if you are talking of a highly influenced mind. Otherwise, there is nothing in individuality. In fact, religion is all about the dissolution of individuality. Individuality is ego

In fact, individuality is solid ego. Chaos is the amorphous ego, ego that can be kicked around. But even in chaos, there is individuality. The individuality of chaos says, “I am chaotic.” The individuality of the individual says, “I am an individual.” Individuality is there, in either case.

Individuality means — I am. Individuality means — I am separate. I am one, I am indivisible, but yet I am separate from the rest. Within me there may be no divisions, but still I am separate from the rest.

So, if you really have to look at the individuality, you will have to say, “I am indivisible, because space cannot be divided, because infinity cannot be divided.”

Mark this: Real individuality is, when there is no individual. Only then there can be real indivisibility. Otherwise, how can there be indivisibility? You are already divided. “I am an individual, and I am separate from the rest,” is there not a division, already? Division between what?

Listener: Me and the rest.

Speaker: Me and the rest. So what kind of individuality is this, which is resting on division? In real individuality, there would be nobody to be divided. So there would be no division at all. Not only within myself, but in the total.

Listener: Complete inclusiveness.

Speaker: Yes. Or complete exclusiveness.

Listener: Sir, can it not be said that when we move from the chaotic set-up of the society, to the individualistic set-up of the society, the ego gets crystallized, it is not fragmented, and then it can transformed to the no-division mode?

Speaker: See, it does not matter how many fragments, the ego has. Every single fragment serves only one purpose — its own sustenance, its own continuation. It does not matter whether the mind is divided in a thousand ways, or whether the mind is one fragment, and is deeply divided against existence. At one point, you are living only in one fraction. Is that not so?

At one point, you are living only in one fragment of the mind. And that fraction is divided, against the rest. Understand this.

I may be a very chaotic person, and what does that imply? That implies that at one point in time I am the husband, at another point I am a son. At third point, whatever. So, I have a thousand identities, right? And at one point one identity is overpowering me, and at another point, I am a slave of another identity.

But at one point, there is the ‘one’. The very next moment, there is another one. But at one point, there is just ‘one’. This ‘one’ may be a combination of thousand identities, but at one point, there is just ‘one’, which this ‘one’ may be the sum of everything else. There is ‘one’. Ultimately there is a total. And this ‘one’, is not at all in alignment with the existence. Is that not so? This is the case of the chaotic individual.

At one point, there is this ‘one’ identity. This ‘one’ identity as well may be , “I am a husband, torn between mother and wife.” So it is a divided thing, still it is ‘one’. “Who am I? A husband torn between mother and wife.” It is ‘one’, one identity. And this one identity, is divided against the existence?

For a die-hard individual, there would be only one identity, let’s assume, at all times. But at any particular time, there is still ‘one’, and that ‘one’ is divided against the existence. What is the difference? Essentially, there is no difference. Essentially there is no difference.

Only in time, only at different points in time, you will see that the chaotic man is behaving in very-very contradictory ways. He was behaving in one particular way in the morning, and now it has totally changed in the evening, because some other influence has come upon him.

And the individual, he will not be changing that much. He would have a particular consistency. But that consistency is of no value. It’s like there is a man, who gets one disease in the morning, and another disease in the evening. And there is a man who carries same disease throughout the day. Would you like to say that one is healthier than the other?

Would you like to say that one is healthier than the other?

Listener: But, would it not be easier for the latter to see that he is diseased?

Speaker: In fact, more difficult. Because for him, this disease is now his life.