A questioner asks J. Krishnamurti, “I want to help people, serve them. What is the best way?”
And Krishnamurti replies,
The best way is to begin to understand yourself and change yourself. In this desire to help another, to serve another, there is hidden pride, conceit. If you love, you serve. The clamour to help is born of vanity.
If you want to help another, you must know yourself for you are the other. Outwardly we may be different, yellow, black, brown or white, but we are all driven by craving, by fear, by greed or by ambition; inwardly we are very much alike. Without self-knowledge, how can you have knowledge of another’s needs. Without understanding yourself, you cannot understand another, serve another. Without self-knowledge you are acting in ignorance, and so creating sorrow.
To help another, you must know yourself; like you, he is the result of the past. We are all interrelated. If you are inwardly diseased by ignorance, ill will and passion, you will inevitably spread disease and darkness. If you are inwardly healthy and integrated, you spread light and peace; otherwise you help to produce greater chaos, greater misery. To understand oneself requires patience, tolerant awareness; the self is a book of many volumes which you cannot read in a day, but when once you begin to read, you must read every word, every sentence, every paragraph for in them are the intimations of the whole. The beginning of it is the ending of it. If you know how to read, supreme wisdom is to be found.