One of the basic tenet of Jiddu Krishnamurthy teachings was observer is observed. It means the observer is not different than the psychological states it observes. Below is one of the explanation -

If you understand this one radical principle, you will have understood something immense: that where there is an observer separating himself from the thing he observes, there must be conflict. Do what you will, as long as there is a division between the observer and the observed, there must be conflict. As long as there is division between the Muslim and the Hindu, between the Catholic and the Protestant, between the Black and the White, there must be conflict; you may tolerate each other, which is an intellectual covering of intolerance.
As long as there is division between you and your wife, there must be conflict. This division exists fundamentally, basically, as long as there is the observer separate from the thing observed. As long as I say, "Anger is different from me, I must control anger, I must change, I must control my thoughts", in that there is division, therefore there is conflict. Conflict implies suppression, conformity, imitation, all that is involved in it. If you really see the beauty of this, that the observer is the observed, that the two are not separate, then you can observe the totality of consciousness without analysis. Then you see the whole content of it instantly.

Now, so far I have not found any similar teachings in any religion. It's moreover seems contrary to every school of Vedanta including Advait Vedanta. But I have found a saying of Abhinavgupta which seems to say this once -

Attraction and repulsion, pleasure and pain, rising and setting, self-confidence and depression; all these states with which the universe is formed shine as mutually different but in reality they are not. Whenever you perceive the specificity of some thing, at that very moment you should perceive the essence of your own consciousness as one with it… why not take delight in the fullness of that awareness! Anuttarashtika v-5

But I wanted if any scripture directly or indirectly talks about this observer is observed?

  • "Observer is observed" = Here as per our Sankhya Yoga and Bhagavad Gita = knower of the field = observer = Soul. But are we aware of that soul? Which means have we observed this observer? = that's a big question Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 3:37
  • 4
    @Rohit Unless u have edited people might have thought that JK=Jammu &Kashmir .. :P
    – Rickross
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 6:21
  • 1
    All distinctions collapse in the end.
    – PeterJ
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 12:10
  • Thanks @PeterJ Glad you took interest and Welcome to Hinduism SE. Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 12:26

1 Answer 1


Yes, the very 1st Sutra of third section of Shiva Sutras talk about Observer is observed. It says

AtmA chittam
The individual self is the mind (constituted by buddhi, aham and manas). SS-3.1

This sutra exactly saying the same thing techniqally what Jiddu experienced... that the 'I','me' or self is censor in form of ahamkar (I-consciousness) is no different than thought streams in form of experiences(manas). Although manas and aham are part of the same individuality they are still same.

Note that buddhi also joins their conjunction resulting into conclusion of another fact -

Thinker is thought!

  • Atman isnt mind. Atman is beyond Mind. Gita, Upanishads all say so. Else it leads to subjective reality. Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 12:19

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