What is it to observe without the observer? || Acharya Prashant, on J. Krishnamurti (2014)

Acharya Prashant
3 min readJun 11, 2024


Question: “Observe the disorder without the observer.” How will it be possible?

Acharya Prashant: A man is driving his car in a drunk state. In an absolutely drunk state and the car is moving about in a very disorderly way. There are two rear seats. Will one seat know that the other seat is moving about in a disorderly way?

Listener 1: No

AP: Why?

Because both seats are so much with each other that we can say that one is as disorderly as the other one. Right? One is constantly following the motion of the other. Both are equally disorderly. And when you are very very disorderly, only the disorderly appears orderly to you.

Look at it from the point of view of one of the seats: there is a tree outside the car and the tree is standing still. From the frame of reference of one of the seats of the car, how will the tree appear? The tree will appear drunk. The tree will appear mad, the tree will appear disorderly. And the other seat will appear very orderly.

Disorder is disorder only when the observer is still. Otherwise, there is no disorder. You ask the common man, he will say, ‘There is no disorder’. In fact, he will say that the trees are in disorder.

That’s what the ego does — it is its own centre of the universe. I am still, everything else has to be seen in my perspective. I am the center of the universe. So it’s quite obvious that the only way to know disorder is to not have any center at all. Otherwise, your very feeling of what is orderly and what is disorderly will be absolutely invalid.

The only way to know disorder is to not have any center at all.

You may just come and say, ‘Sir, then why can’t the tree be the observer?’ Because if the tree becomes the observer, both the seats will appear disorderly. So let me at least make the tree an observer. Why is Krishnamurti is saying, ‘Let there be no observer’?

The tree can be the observer but the tree can be the observer only as long as you are standing upon the ground; the Earth. You go and sit on the moon and you know the tree is moving with speed of hundreds of kilometre per second. So even that is not stationary. And there is no great order in the movement of Earth when looked at from the moon.

Whichever center you will choose: whether the seat, whether the tree, whether the moon or Neptune or a point outside the galaxy, it would still be a relative thing. Relative to what? Relative to where you are standing — your ego.

So the only way to actually know what is happening is to not to have any center at all, to not to be anything, to not to have any interest in what is being seen, to not to have any attachment to it, to not to have any predefined relationship with it.

Otherwise, you cannot see anything.

Is that not obvious?