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Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Jiddu Krishnamurti or J. Krishnamurti, May 12, 1895–February 17, 1986 was a well-known writer and lecturer on fundamental philosophical and spiritual subjects. For nearly sixty years he travelled all over the world, pointing out to people the need to transform themselves through self knowledge, by being aware of their thoughts and feelings in daily life. He maintained that a better society can emerge only through a radical change in the individual, since by definition society is the product of the interactions of a group of individuals. Though he was very alive to contemporary issues through the decades, his answers were rooted in his timeless vision of life and truth. As such, his teachings transcend all man-made boundaries of religion, nationality, ideology, and sectarian thinking. Refusing to play the role of a guru himself, he urged his listeners to think about the basic questions of human existence with honesty and positive skepticism.

JK was born in Madanapalle, India and in 1909 met C.W. Leadbeater on the private beach at the Theosophical headquarters at Adyar in Chennai, India. He was subsequently raised under the tutelage of Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater within the world-wide organization of the Theosophical Society, who believed him to be a vehicle for a prophesied World Teacher. As a young man, he disavowed this destiny and also dissolved the Order established to support it, and eventually spent the rest of his life travelling the world as an individual speaker and educator with essentially the following message:”Truth is a pathless land”, humans cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. At age 90 he addressed the United Nations on the subject of peace and awareness, and was awarded the 1984 UN Peace Medal. He gave his last talk in India a month before his death, in 1986, in Ojai, California.

His supporters, working through his charitable trusts, founded several independent schools across the world—in India, England and the United States—and continue to transcribe many of his thousands of talks, publishing them as educational philosophical books.

His official biographer, Mary Lutyens wrote a book about Krishnamurti’s early life in India, England, and finally in Ojai, California, entitled Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening. She was a close associate of his from the Order of the Star, and knew him from his early days in England until the end of his life. This book contains many insights into this period of his life, about which he rarely spoke. Lutyens wrote three additional volumes of biography: The Years of Fulfillment (1983), The Open Door (1988), and Krishnamurti and the Rajagopals (1996). Additionally, she published an abridgement of the first three volumes, The Life and Death of Krishnamurti (1991). Other published biographies of Krishnamurti include: Krishnamurti, A Biography (1986), by associate Pupul Jayakar and Star In the East: Krishnamurti, The Invention of a Messiah (2002), by Roland Vernon.

Jiddu Krishnamurti came from a family of Telugu-speaking Brahmins. His father, Jiddu Narayaniah, graduated from Madras University and was employed as an official in the Revenue Department of the British administration, rising by the end of his career to the position of rent collector and District Magistrate. His parents were second cousins, having a total of eleven children, only six of whom survived childhood. They were strict vegetarians, even shunning eggs, and throwing away any food that the “shadow of an Englishman crossed”. (Lutyens, Awakening, p 1)

He was born in a small town of Madanapalle in Chittoor District in Andhra Pradesh about 150 miles (250 km) north of Madras, India. His birthdate has been also stated as May 12, however Mary Lutyens, points out, that the Brahmin day is calculated from dawn and he was born at 12:30 AM, so therefore on May 11. It’s only the Western world who would state this was May 12. “As an eighth child, who happened to be a boy, he was, in accordance with Hindu orthodoxy, named after Sri Krishna who had himself been an eighth child.”[1]

In 1903, the family moved to Cudappah and Krishna contracted malaria, a disease with which he would suffer recurrent bouts over many years. In 1904, his eldest sister died, aged twenty. In his memoirs, he describes his mother as “to a certain extent psychic” and how she would frequently see and converse with her dead daughter. Krishna also states that he saw his dead sister on some occasions. In Dec 1905, his mother, Jiddu Sanjeevamma, died at Cudappah, when Krishnamurti was ten years old. Krishna says: “I may mention that I saw her [my mother] after she died” (Lutyens, p 5)


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“Narianiah, though an orthodox Brahmin, had been a member of the Theosophical Society since 1881 (Theosophy embraces all religions).” (Lutyens, p 7). This was while Helena Blavatsky was still its head in India. Narianiah had retired at the end of 1907 and wrote to Annie Besant to recommend himself as a caretaker for the 260-acre Theosophical estate at Adyar. He had four boys and Annie thought they would be a disturbing influence and so turned him down. He continued his requests and finally was accepted as an assistant to the Recording Secretary of the Esoteric Section. His family which included, himself, his four sons, and a nephew moved there on Jan 23, 1909.[2] It was a few months after this last move that Krishna was encountered by C.W. Leadbeater. One evening, C.W.Leadbeater went with his young assistants to the beach to bathe. On returning he told his assistant Ernest Wood that one of the boys on the beach had the most wonderful aura he had ever seen, without a particle of selfishness in it. It could not be Krishna’s outward appearance that struck Leadbeater for apart from his wonderful aura, he was not at all impressive at that time. This is how Krishnamurti was “discovered” by the Theosophists in 1909.

[edit] Leadbeater’s influence
This “discovery” created a bit of a problem, as there was already a conflicting claim made for Hubert van Hook (b 1896), son of Dr Weller van Hook, a surgeon in Chicago, and the General Secretary of the Theosophical Society in the United States. Hubert was also chosen by Leadbeater and Hubert’s mother left his father and brought Hubert to India for special training. After Krishna was found, Hubert was soon dropped. (Lutyens, p 12)

Leadbeater had a history of being in the company of young boys, and gossip concerning any abuse was vehemently denied by Annie Besant. The gossip erupted into a scandal in 1906 and led to Leadbeater’s resignation from the Theosophical Society, however at the end of 1908 he was re-instated on a vote. (Lutyens, p 15)

Hubert and Mrs Van Hook, his mother, also arrived at Adyar and stayed there for some time.

[edit] Separation from father
Krishna (or Krishnaji as he was often called befitting his new role as the World Teacher) and his younger brother Nitya were privately tutored at the immense and lush Theosophical compound in Madras, and later taken to an opulent life in the highest society of Victorian England to finish their education. His father, pushed into the background by the swirl of interest around Krishna, ended up in a lawsuit against the Society to try to protect his parental interests. As a result of this separation from his family and home, Krishnamurti and his brother Nitya became extremely close and in the following years they often travelled together.

[edit] A Philosophical Awakening
Mary Lutyens states that there came a time when Krishnamurti fully believed that he was to become the World Teacher that he had been told, after correct guidance and education. However, the unnexpected death of his brother Nitya on November 11, 1925 at age 27 from tuberculosis, fundamentally shook his belief and faith in the divine ‘Masters’, and the leaders of the Theosophical Society. He later disbanded the organization known as the Order of The Star in the East, which was founded (with Krishnamurti as its head), by the leaders of the Theosophical Society to “prepare the world for the coming of the world teacher”, though he was never to deny his role of the ‘World Teacher’ until his death as he himself stated on several occasions. But he thenceforth would distance himself publicly from Society and its teachings/practices, despite still being on cordial terms with some members and ex-members for the remainder of his lifetime.

From: Mary Lutyens, The Life and Death of Krishnamurti: Page 83. He told Lady Emily: ‘You know, mum, I have never denied it[being the World Teacher], I have only said it does not matter who or what I am but that they should examine what I say, which does not mean that I have denied being the W.T.’

From: Mary Lutyens, Krishnamurti The Open Door: Page 145. ‘As long as this body is living I am still the teacher.’

From: Mary Lutyens, Krishnamurti, The Years of Fulfilment: Page 229 ….’Let us be clear. If I deliberately sat down to write it[the teachings], I doubt if I could produce it.’

…’It must be a special body. How did that body come about and remain uncorrupted? It would have been so easy to corrupt it. It means that the power was guarding it.’

Further, Krishnamurti would only refer to his teachings as ‘The Teachings’ and not as ‘my teachings’. His concern was always about the Teachings, the teacher had no importance.

The experience of his brother’s death shattered his remaining illusions.

From The Song of Life (1931):

My brother died; We were as two stars in a naked sky. He was like me, Burnt by the warm sun… He died; I wept in loneliness. Where’er I went, I heard his voice and his happy laughter. I looked for his face in every passer by and asked each if he had not met with my brother; But none could give me comfort. I worshipped, I prayed, But the gods were silent. I could weep no more; I could dream no more. I sought him in all things, in every clime. I heard the whispering of many trees Calling me to his abode. And then, in my search, I beheld Thee, O Lord of my heart; In Thee alone I saw the face of my brother. In Thee alone, O my eternal Love, Do I behold the faces Of all the living and all the dead. From 1925 onward things were to never be the same again.

…An old dream is dead and a new one is being born, as a flower that pushes through the solid earth. A new vision is coming into being and a greater consciousness is being unfolded. …A new strength, born of suffering, is pulsating in the veins and a new sympathy and understanding is being born of past suffering—a greater desire to see others suffer less, and, if they must suffer, to see that they bear it nobly and come out of it without too many scars. I have wept, but I do not want others to weep; but if they do, I know what it means. (from The Herald of the Star, January 1926) In 1925, he was expected by Theosophists to enter Sydney, Australia walking on water, but this did not eventuate and he visited Australia the following year by ship.[1]

Krishnamurti’s new vision and consciousness continued to develop and reached a climax in 1929, when he rebuffed attempts by Leadbeater and Besant to continue with The Order of the Star – the section of the Theosophical Society devoted to the coming of the World Teacher. Krishnamurti dramatically dissolved the Order on the opening day of the annual Star Camp at Ommen, the Netherlands, August 2, 1929, where, in front of several thousand members, he gave a speech saying:

You may remember the story of how the devil and a friend of his were walking down the street, when they saw ahead of them a man stoop down and pick up something from the ground, look at it, and put it away in his pocket. The friend said to the devil, “What did that man pick up?” “He picked up a piece of the truth,” said the devil. “That is a very bad business for you, then,” said his friend. “Oh, not at all,” the devil replied, “I am going to help him organize it.” I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path.”

Following the dissolution, Leadbeater and other Theosophists turned against Krishnamurti and publicly wondered whether ‘the Coming had gone wrong’. Mary Lutyens states that after all the years of proclaiming the Coming, of stressing over and over again the danger of rejecting the World Teacher when he came because he was bound to say something wholly new and unexpected, something contrary to most people’s preconceived ideas and hopes, the leaders of Theosophy, one after the other, fell into the trap against which they had so unremittingly warned others. The Years of Awakening, P. 276.

Krishnamurti returned all monies and properties donated to the Order of the Star-including a castle in Holland and around 5,000 acres of land-to their donors. After disbanding the Order and drifting away from the Theosophical Society, its belief system and practices, Krishnamurti spent the rest of his life holding dialogues and giving public talks across the world on the nature of belief, truth, sorrow, freedom, death and the apparently eternal quest for a spiritually-fulfilled life et cetera. Following on from the ‘pathless land’ notion, Krishnamurti accepted neither followers nor worshippers, seeing the relationship between disciple and guru as encouraging the antithesis of spiritual emancipation – dependency and exploitation. He constantly urged people to think independently and clearly and to explore and discuss specific topics together with him, to “walk as two friends”. He accepted gifts and financial support freely offered to him by people inspired by his work (his main residence being on donated land in Ojai, California) and relentlessly continued with lecture tours and the publication of books and talk transcripts for more than half a century.

[edit] Later years and “farewell talks”
In his later years, J. Krishnamurti spoke at the United Nations in New York, on the 11th April 1985, where he was awarded the United Nations 1984 Peace medal. (Talk and Q+A session transcript)

In November of 1985, he revisited the places in which he had grown up in India, holding a last set of “farewell talks” between then and January 1986. These last talks were on fundamental principles of belief and lessons. Krishnamurti commented that he did not wish to invite Death, but was not sure how long his body would last, he had already lost some 6 kg (13 lb) and once he could no longer talk or teach, he would have no further purpose. He said a formal farewell to all four points of the compass, the so-called ‘elephant’s turn’, on the Adayar shore where he had long ago come to the attention of others. His final talk, on January 4, 1986, invited his co-participants to examine with him the nature of inquiry, the nature of life, and the nature of creation. It ended:

“So we are inquiring what makes a bird. What is creation behind all this? Are you waiting for me to describe it, to go into it? … Why? Why do you ask [what creation is]? Because I asked? No description can ever describe the origin. The origin is nameless; the origin is absolutely quiet, it’s not whirring about making noise. Creation is something that is most holy, that’s the most sacred thing in life, and if you have made a mess of your life, change it. Change it today, not tomorrow. If you are uncertain, find out why and be certain. If your thinking is not straight, think straight, logically. Unless all that is prepared, all that is settled, you can’t enter into this world, into the world of creation.”
“It ends.” (these two words are hardly audible, breathed rather than spoken)
“This is the last talk. Do you want to sit together quietly for a while? All right, sirs, let us sit quietly for a while.”
(quotes in this section from “The Future Is Now: Last Talks in India”)
J. Krishnamurti passed away one and a half months later at the age of 90 from pancreatic cancer. His remains were cremated and scattered by friends and former associates in the three countries where he had spent most of his life, India, England and United States of America.

On Feb 7, 1986, just a few days before his death, he wanted to say something that he wished to be taped. “I was telling them this morning – for seventy years that super-energy – no – that immense energy, immense intelligence, has been using this body. I don’t think people realize what tremendous energy and intelligence went through this body. ……Nobody, unless the body has been prepared, very carefully, protected and so on – nobody can understand what went through this body. Nobody. Don’t anybody pretend. Nobody. I repeat this: nobody amongst us or the public know what went on. …….You won’t find another body like this, or that supreme intelligence, operating in a body for many hundred years. You won’t see it again. When he goes, it goes……(The Life and Death of Krishnamurti, Page 206.)

[edit] Teachings
“The Core of the Teachings” contains the essence of Krishnamurti’s work. It was written in London on October 21, 1980, and states in its entirety:

The core of Krishnamurti’s teaching is contained in the statement he made in 1929 when he said: ‘Truth is a pathless land’. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection. Man has built in himself images as a fence of security — religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these images dominates man’s thinking, his relationships and his daily life. These images are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man. His perception of life is shaped by the concepts already established in his mind. The content of his consciousness is his entire existence. This content is common to all humanity. The individuality is the name, the form and superficial culture he acquires from tradition and environment. The uniqueness of man does not lie in the superficial but in complete freedom from the content of his consciousness, which is common to all mankind. So he is not an individual.

Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice. It is man’s pretence that because he has choice he is free. Freedom is pure observation without direction, without fear of punishment and reward. Freedom is without motive; freedom is not at the end of the evolution of man but lies in the first step of his existence. In observation one begins to discover the lack of freedom. Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity. Thought is time. Thought is born of experience and knowledge which are inseparable from time and the past. Time is the psychological enemy of man. Our action is based on knowledge and therefore time, so man is always a slave to the past. Thought is ever-limited and so we live in constant conflict and struggle. There is no psychological evolution.

When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experience and the experiencer. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation which is insight without any shadow of the past or of time. This timeless insight brings about a deep radical mutation in the mind.

Total negation is the essence of the positive. When there is negation of all those things that thought has brought about psychologically, only then is there love, which is compassion and intelligence.

In “The Last Talks”, Radhika Herzberger comments,

“He had set his face against the whole paraphernalia of organized religion – its dogma, churches, rituals, sacred books and gurus – since 1929 when he had written: ‘When Krishnamurti dies, which is inevitable, you will set about forming rules in your minds, because the individual, Krishnamurti, had represented to you the Truth. So you will build a temple, you will then begin to have ceremonies, to invent phrases, dogmas, systems of belief, creeds, and to create philosophies. If you build great foundations upon me, the individual, you will be caught in that house, in that temple, and so you will have to have another Teacher come and extricate you from that temple. But the human mind is such that you will build another temple around Him, and so it will go on and on.’
A tremendous volume of material exists documenting the philosophical investigations of Krishnamurti (or simply “K” as he is sometimes referred to) mostly in the form of recorded conversations and talks, although K also wrote several series of short essays and kept a personal journal at least twice in his life. He had dialogues and personal meetings with a wide variety of people from all kinds of backgrounds. An example of the far-ranging and probing dialogues he had is a series of conversations recorded in 1980 with theoretical physicist David Bohm that resulted in the publication of The Ending of Time and The Future of Humanity. These conversations are also available on audio tape and a subset of them on video and DVD as well. Two conversations with Swami Venkatesananda in Saanen explore the role of the guru and the fundamental paths of Hinduism. These conversations are also available on audio tape.

[edit] Meditation and Siddhis
Krishnamurti used the word meditation to mean something entirely different from the practice of any system or method to control the mind.

“Man, in order to escape his conflicts, has invented many forms of meditation. These have been based on desire, will, and the urge for achievement, and imply conflict and a struggle to arrive. This conscious, deliberate striving is always within the limits of a conditioned mind, and in this there is no freedom. All effort to meditate is the denial of meditation. Meditation is the ending of thought. It is only then that there is a different dimension which is beyond time.” [March 1979]

“Meditation is the emptying of the mind of all thought, for thought and feeling dissipate energy. They are repetitive, producing mechanical activities which are a necessary part of existence, but they are only part, and thought and feeling cannot possibly enter into the immensity of life. Quite a different approach is necessary, not the path of habit, association and the known; there must be freedom from these. Meditation is the emptying of the mind of the known. It cannot be done by thought or by the hidden prompting of thought, nor by desire in the form of prayer, nor through the self-effacing hypnotism of words, images, hopes, and vanities. All these have to come to an end, easily, without effort and choice, in the flame of awareness.” Page 125, Meditations.

“So a mind that is in meditation is concerned only with meditation, not with the meditator. The meditator is the observer, the censor, the thinker, the experiencer, and when there is the experiencer, the thinker, then he is concerned with reaching out, gaining, achieving, experiencing. And that thing which is timeless cannot be experienced. There is no experience at all. There is only that which is not nameable.”

“You know, in all this there are various powers like clairvoyance, reading somebody’s thought – which is the most disgusting thing to do: it is like reading letters that are private. There are various powers. You know what I am talking about, don’t you? You call them siddhis, don’t you? Do you know that all these things are like candles in the sun? When there is no sun there is darkness, and then the candle and the light of the candle become very important. But when there is the sun, the light, the beauty, the clarity, then all these powers, these siddhis – developing various centres, chakras, kundalini, you know all that business – are like candlelight; they have no value at all. And when you have that light, you don’t want anything else.” Page 281, The First Step is the Last Step

[edit] Education
Krishnamurti founded several schools around the world. When asked, he enumerated the following as his educational aims[As the River Joins the Ocean, Page 64]

1. Global outlook: A vision of the whole as distinct from the part, and that it should never be a sectarian outlook but always a holistic outlook free from all prejudice.

2. Concern for man and the environment: Man was part of nature, and if nature was not cared for, it would boomerang on man. He said that only right education and deep affection between people which was needed everywhere would resolve many human problems.

3. Religious spirit, which includes the scientific temper: The religious mind is alone, not lonely. It is in communion with people and nature.

[edit] Quotations
“The ending of thought is the beginning of wisdom.”
“The observer is the observed.”
“You are the world.”
“Understanding is not an intellectual process.”
Thought and energy: “Thought is matter as much as the floor, the wall, the telephone, are matter. Energy functioning in a pattern becomes matter. That is all life is….Matter and energy are interrelated. The one cannot exist without the other, and the more harmony there is between the two, the more balance, the more active the brain cells are. Thought has set up this pattern of pleasure, pain, fear, and has been functioning inside it for thousands of years and cannot break the pattern because it has created it.” (P 140, Freedom from the Known.)
Thinker and thought: “We feel that the ‘I’ is different from thought, from mind. Is the ‘I’, the thinker, separate from thought? Then the thinker can operate on thought. Is the ‘I’ separate from its qualities? Remove thought, where is the thinker? We feel that the ‘I’ is permanent, because all other thoughts come and go. If the thinker is permanent, then thought can be changed, controlled, transformed by the thinker. But is not the ‘I’ the result of thought? Your mind separates the ‘I’ from thought because it cannot bear impermanency” (P 146, Krishnamurti A Biography)
“Thought cannot, do what it will, free itself from the opposites; thought itself has created the ugly and the beautiful, the good and the bad. So it cannot free itself from its own activities. All that it can do is to be still, not choose. Choice is conflict.”
Love and observation : “I must love the very thing I am studying. If you want to understand a child, you must love and not condemn him. You must play with him, watch his movements, his idiosyncrasies, his ways of behaviour; but if you merely condemn, resist, or blame him, there is no comprehension of the child. Similarly, to understand what is, one must observe what one thinks, feels, and does from moment to moment. That is the actual.”
“Observation without evaluation is the highest form of intelligence”
“The pursuit of authority only breeds fear.” (p75, The First and Last Freedom.)
“If you do not follow somebody you feel very lonely. Be lonely then. Why are you frightened of being alone? Because you are faced with yourself as you are and you find that you are empty, dull, stupid, ugly, guilty and anxious – a petty, shoddy, second-hand entity. Face the fact; look at it, do not run away from it. The moment you run away fear begins.” (P 20, Freedom from the Known.)
“Thought is nothing else but reaction.” (p117, The First and Last Freedom.)
“Freedom is always at the beginning and not at the end.” (p118, The First and Last Freedom.)
“If we are to discuss this question of a fundamental change in ourselves and therefore in the world, and in this change to awaken a certain vision, and enthusiasm, a zeal, a faith, a hope, a certainty which will give us the necessary impetus for action–if we are to understand that, isn’t it necessary to go into this question of consciousness?” (p136, The First and Last Freedom.)
“Truth is a pathless land. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection.”
“If one can really come to that state of saying, ‘I do not know,’ it indicates an extraordinary sense of humility; there is no arrogance of knowledge; there is no self-assertive answer to make an impression. When you can actually say, ‘I do not know,’ which very few are capable of saying, then in that state all fear ceases because all sense of recognition, the search into memory, has come to an end; there is no longer inquiry into the field of the known.”
“Obviously what causes war is the desire for power, position, prestige, money; also the disease called nationalism, the worship of a flag; and the disease of organized religion, the worship of a dogma. All these are the causes of war; if you as an individual belong to any of the organized religions, if you are greedy for power, if you are envious, you are bound to produce a society which will result in destruction. So again it depends upon you and not on the leaders – not on so-called statesmen and all the rest of them. It depends upon you and me but we do not seem to realize that. If once we really felt the responsibility of our own actions, how quickly we could bring to an end all these wars, this appalling misery! But you see, we are indifferent. We have three meals a day, we have our jobs, we have our bank account, big or little, and we say, ‘For God’s sake, don’t disturb us, leave us alone’.”
“The description is not the described.”
“Freedom from the Known is death, and then you are living.”
“To divide anything into what should be and what is, is the most deceptive way of dealing with life.”
“If I see very clearly the label ‘poison’ on a bottle, I leave it alone. There is no effort not to be attracted to it. Similarly – and in this lies the greatest difficulty – if I realize that any effort on my part is detrimental, if I see the truth of that, then I am free of effort.” (p47, On God.)
“It is no measure of good health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

[edit] Personal recollections
From The Presence that Stays: Personal Recollections of Jiddu Krishnamurti.

…A beggar came to the door and asked loudly for alms. Somehow K happened to hear him and came out of his room. The beggar asked him for clothes. K walked in and came out with a beautiful silk kurta and a matching jacket. When the beggar received this pair and saw this extraordinary person, he spread the word, for there were quite a few knocking at the door. What did K do but go in and bring out all the clothes from the cupboard, all except one which was somewhat torn. …K had no clothes left for the public talk the next day. Since there wasn’t time to get some stitched, they had some flown in from Bombay. (Many Facets of Krishnaji by Jayalakshmi Ammal)
…For me, every moment with K was a learning experience. I remember once we were assembled in Pupulji’s house in Bombay. She had just lost her husband and was very depressed. She spoke to K of her sorrow. K asked her, “Last night, did you hear that man groaning and crying out in pain on the road outside the window? He was in such agony.” She said that she hadn’t heard him. K told her, (and all of us) ‘Until you can feel another’s pain, you can never get over your own sorrow.’ I have always remembered this. (Real Compassion by K. Nataraja)

[edit] Influence
It is important to view Krishnamurti in the context of his legacy. Throughout his long life, Krishnamurti exerted a great influence at the confluence of educated philosophical and spiritual thought. Because of his ideas and his era, Krishnamurti has come to be seen as an exemplar for modern spiritual teachers – particularly those who disavow formal rituals and dogma. His conception of truth as a pathless land, with the possibility of immediate liberation, is mirrored in teachings as diverse as those of est, Bruce Lee, and even the Dalai Lama.

Krishnamurti was close friends with Aldous Huxley. Huxley wrote the foreword to The First and Last Freedom. Krishnamurti was also friends with, and influenced the works of, the mythologist Joseph Campbell and the artist Beatrice Wood.

Live’s album Mental Jewelry is based on Krishnamurti’s philosophies.

In India, many prominent personalities came to meet with him including two Prime Ministers- Jawaharlal Nehru and, later, Indira Gandhi. In his meeting with Nehru, Krishnamurti said, “Understanding of the self only arises in relationship, in watching yourself in relationship to people, ideas, and things; to trees, the earth, and the world around you and within you. Relationship is the mirror in which the self is revealed. Without self-knowledge there is no basis for right thought and action.” Jawaharlal Nehru asked, “How does one start?” K replied, “Begin where you are. Read every word, every phrase, every paragraph of the mind, as it operates through thought.” (Krishnamurti: A Biography, P147)

Krishnamurti had a special tenderness for the true sannyasi or Buddhist monk, and he never refused to meet them, however tired he was. His criticism of their rituals, disciplines, and practices, however, was devastating. Anandmai Ma, a guru with a large following in north india, asked him “Why do you deny gurus? You who are the Guru of gurus”. K replied, “People use the guru as a crutch.” (Krishnamurti: A Biography, P149). Maurice Frydman, who compiled and edited ‘Maharshi’s Gospel’, a selection of Ramana Maharshi’s talks, also moved closely with Krishnamurti for several decades. In answer to his question, Ramana Maharshi would tell him that like the Buddha, Krishnamurti’s teachings were ‘beyond expression.’ (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Page 192).

[edit] Criticism of Krishnamurti
Krishnamurti has been accused of personal hypocrisy in concern to certain of his teachings. A number of people who knew him through the years pointed out that Krishnamurti’s life expresses something of the Indian lifestyle, for he was supported, even pampered, through the years by devoted followers. The questions then arise as to whether his attitudes were conditioned by indulgence and privilege. Interestingly, immediately after disbanding the Order of the Star in 1929, Krishnamurti had himself addressed the issue of a liberated human being living in the material world and how such a person might be perceived by others.

“There is nothing in liberation as such to preclude further activity in the phenomenal worlds. There can, of course, be no compulsion since freedom from compulsion is implicit in the idea of liberation. But if the liberated life so wills, it can manifest itself in the world of matter and in so far as it enters into those worlds it will come under the law of those worlds, which is evolution. What we have therefore to grasp if we can – and it is not an easy matter – is the idea of a liberated life building up fresh instruments for its self-expression and those instruments, being in the world of form, have in them the outward appearance of individuality … It does preserve what may be called a sense of self identity, it still looks out on the world through its own eyes and refers all its experience to itself but this Self is not the Ego.” (March 1930)

In her 1991 book, Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti, Radha Rajagopal Sloss, the daughter of Krishnamurti’s associates, Rosalind and Desikacharya Rajagopal, wrote of Krishnamurti’s relationship with her parents including the secret affair between Krishnamurti and Rosalind which lasted for many years. The public revelation was received with surprise and consternation by many individuals in the Krishnamurti community, and was also dealt with in a rebuttal volume of biography by Mary Lutyens (Krishnamurti and the Rajagopals, 1996).

Sloss’s allegations were centered around the notion that the secret liasion indicated that Krishnamurti had lead a deceptive double life in that he was believed to be celibate by his public following. A later biographical volume by Roland Vernon (Star in the East: Krishnamurti, the Invention of a Messiah), questions the ultimate impact of the revelations when compared to Krishnamurti’s body of work as a whole.

Krishnamurti’s once close relationship to the Rajagopals deteriorated to the point that Krishnamurti in his later years, took Rajagopal (head of Krishnamurti Writings, Inc.) to court in order to recover donated property and funds, publication rights for his works, manuscripts and personal corespondence being withheld by Rajagopal. The resulting litigation and cross complaints continued for many years, and were not resolved until after the death of Krishnamurti in 1986. Krishnamurti’s biographer Mary Lutyens placed the preponderance of responsibility for the acrimony of the lawsuits and resulting damage to Krishnamurti’s reputation on the personal animosity of the Rajagopals resulting from their loss of influence in Krishnamurti’s life (see Lutyens below).

Perhaps the harshest critic of Jiddu Krishnamurti, the way he operated, the things he taught (such as “choiceless awareness” and “the art of listening”), is U. G. Krishnamurti.

[edit] Partial list of published works
Except for a few noted exceptions – see especially the first three works – Krishnamurti’s books are transcripts of his talks and discussions. (Title, year of first publication, different editions: ISBN, notes)

Krishnamurti’s Notebook, 1976, Krishnamurti Publications of America expanded 2004 edition: ISBN 1-888004-63-0, one of the few books that Krishnamurti wrote himself, from June 1961 to March 1962
Krishnamurti’s Journal, 1982, Harper & Row ISBN 0-06-064841-4, LCC B5134.K765A34 1982, a personal journal, written from 1973 to 1975
Krishnamurti to Himself: His Last Journal, 1987, HarperCollins 1993 paperback: ISBN 0-06-250649-8, transcribed from audio tape recordings made at his home in the Ojai Valley;
Following works ordered by year of publication:

At the Feet of the Master: Towards Discipleship, 1910, Quest Books 2001 edition: ISBN 0-8356-0803-4 (Disputed authorship, see Lutyens below)
The Immortal Friend, 1928, Boni & Liveright New York: no ISBN, poetry
Life in Freedom, 1928, Satori Resources 1986 reprint: ISBN 0-937277-00-2
Verbatim Reports of Talks and Answers to Questions by Krishnamurti Italy and Norway – 1933, 1934, Star Publishing Trust: no ISBN
Verbatim Reports of Talks and Answers to Questions by Krishnamurti Adyar, India – 1933-34, 1935, Star Publishing Trust: no ISBN
Reports of Talks and Answers to Questions by Krishnamurti New York City – 1935, 1935, Star Publishing Trust: no ISBN
Authentic Report of Twenty-five Talks given by Krishnamurti in Latin America, 1936, Star Publishing Trust: no ISBN
Authentic Report of Twenty-five Talks given in 1936 by Krishnamurti, 1937, Krishnamurti Writings Inc.: no ISBN
Revised Report of Fourteen Talks given by Krishnamurti Ommen Camp 1937 & 1938, 1938, Star Publishing Trust: no ISBN
Authentic Notes of Discussions and Talks given by Krishnamurti Ojai and Sarobia 1940, 1940, Star Publishing Trust: no ISBN
Authentic Report of Ten Talks given by Krishnamurti Ojai 1944, 1945, Krishnamurti Writings Inc.: no ISBN
Education and the Significance of Life, 1953 (Krishnamurti Foundation Trust), HarperSanFrancisco 1981 edition: ISBN 0-06-064876-7
The First and Last Freedom, 1954, HarperSanFrancisco 1975 reprint: ISBN 0-06-064831-7
Commentaries on Living: Series One, 1956, Quest Books 1994: ISBN 0-8356-0390-3
Commentaries on Living: Series Two, 1958, Quest Books 1967: ISBN 0-8356-0415-2
Commentaries on Living: Series Three, 1960, Quest Books 1967: ISBN 0-8356-0402-0
Life Ahead: On Learning and the Search for Meaning, 1963, Harper & Row, New World Library 2005 edition: ISBN 1-57731-517-0
Think on These Things, 1964, Harper Perennial 1989 reprint: ISBN 0-06-091609-5.
Talks with American Students 1968, 1970, Shambala Publications: ISBN 0-87773-021-0
Freedom from the Known, 1969, HarperSanFrancisco 1975 reprint: ISBN 0-06-064808-2
You Are the World: Authentic Reports of Talks and Discussions in American Universities, 1972, Harper & Row, ISBN 0-06-080303-7, Krishnamurti Foundation India 2001 edition: ISBN 81-87326-02-6
The Awakening of Intelligence, 1973, Harper & Row paperback 1987: ISBN 0-06-064834-1
Beyond Violence, 1973, HarperCollins College Div., ISBN 0-06-064839-2
Truth and Actuality, 1977, London: Victor Gollancz, ISBN 0-575-02325-2, HarperSanFrancisco 1980 edition: ISBN 0-06-064875-9
Krishnamurti on Education, 1977, HarperCollins, ISBN 0-06-064794-9, Krishnamurti Foundation of America 2001 edition: ISBN 81-87326-00-X
The Wholeness of Life, 1978, HarperCollins 1981 paperback: ISBN 0-06-064868-6, abridgement of discussions held between Krishnamurti, David Bohm, and psychiatrist David Shainbert
Meditations, 1979, Shambhala Publications 2002 edition: ISBN 1-57062-941-2
From Darkness to Light: Poems and Parables: The Collected Works of Krishnamurti Volume One, 1980, Harper and Row Publishers, ISBN 0-06-064832-5, This is completely different from the Collected Works Volume 1 listed below
Exploration into Insight, 1980, HarperCollins, ISBN 0-06-064811-2
The Ending of Time (with David Bohm), San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985, ISBN 0-06-064796-5
The way of Intelligence, 1985, Krishnamurti Foundation India, ISBN 81-87326-47-6
The Future of Humanity: A Conversation (with David Bohm), HarperCollins, 1986, ISBN 0-06-064797-3
Last Talks at Saanen, 1985, HarperCollins, 1987, ISBN 0-06-064798-1
The Future Is Now: Last Talks in India, HarperCollins, 1989, ISBN 0-06-250484-3
Meeting Life: Writings and Talks on Finding Your Path Without Retreating from Society, 1991, HarperSanFrancisco, ISBN 0-06-250526-2
Total Freedom: The Essential Krishnamurti, 1996, HarperSanFrancisco, ISBN 0-06-064880-5, introduction to Krishnamurti and selections from the breadth of his works
Limits of Thought: Discussions, 1999 (with David Bohm), London: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-19398-2
This Light in Oneself: True Meditation, 1999, Shambala Publications, ISBN 1-57062-442-9
The Concise Guide to Krishnamurti: A Study Companion and Index to the Recorded Teachings, 2000, Krishnamurti Publications of America, ISBN 1-888004-09-6
The First Step is the Last Step, 2004, ISBN 81-87326-56-5

[edit] The Collected Works of J. Krishnamurti
Volume I (1933-1934): The Art of Listening, 1991, Krishnamurti Foundation of America, ISBN 0-8403-6341-9
Volume II (1934-1935): What Is the Right Action?, editor Edward Weston, 1991, Krishnamurti Publications of America, ISBN 1-888004-32-0
Volume 3 (1936-1944): The Mirror of Relationship, 1991, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, ISBN 0-8403-6236-6
Volume 4 (1945-1948): The Observer Is the Observed, 1991, Kendall/Hunt Publishing, ISBN 0-8403-6237-4
Volume 5 (1948-1949): Choiceless Awareness, 1991, Kendall/Hunt Publishing, ISBN 0-8403-6238-2
Volume 6 (1949-1952): The Origin of Conflict, Kendall/Hunt Publishing, ISBN 0-8403-6262-5
Volume 7 (1952-1953): Tradition and Creativity, 1991, Kendall/Hunt Publishing, ISBN 0-8403-6257-9
Volume 8 (1953-1955): What Are You Seeking?, 1991, Kendall/Hunt Publishing, ISBN 0-8403-6266-8
Volume 9 (1955-1956): The Answer is in the Problem, 1991, Kendall/Hunt Publishing, ISBN 0-8403-6260-9
Volume 10 (1956-1957): A Light to Yourself, 1991, Kendall/Hunt Publishing, ISBN 0-8403-6268-4
Volume 11 (1958-1960): Crisis in Consciousness, 1991, Kendall/Hunt Publishing, ISBN 0-8403-6272-2
Volume 12 (1961): There is No Thinker, Only Thought, 1991, Kendall/Hunt Publishing, ISBN 0-8403-6286-2
Volume 13 (1962-1963): A Psychological Revolution, 1992, Kendall/Hunt Publishing, ISBN 0-8403-6287-0
Volume 14 (1963-1964): The New Mind, 1992, Kendall/Hunt Publishing, ISBN 0-8403-6288-9
Volume 15 (1964-1965): The Dignity of Living, 1992, Krishnamurti Foundation of America, ISBN 0-8403-6282-X
Volume 16 (1965-1966): The Beauty of Death, 1992, Kendall/Hunt Publishing, ISBN 0-8403-6307-9
Volume 17 (1966-1967): Perennial Questions, 1992, Kendall/Hunt Publishing, ISBN 0-8403-6314-1

[edit] References

[edit] Principal biographies
Pupul Jayakar, Krishnamurti: A Biography, San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1986. (Jayakar was commissioned by Krishnamurti himself to write a book on his life, see Preface)
Mary Lutyens, Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening, London: John Murray, 1975, Shambhala reprint edition 1997: ISBN 1-57062-288-4 (covers 1895 to 1935)
Mary Lutyens, Krishnamurti: The Years of Fulfilment, London: John Murray, 1983, ISBN 0-7195-3979-X, Farrar, Straus, Giroux paperback: ISBN 0-374-18224-8, Avon Books 1991 reprint: ISBN 0-380-71112-5 (covers 1935 to 1980). (Lutyens was also commissioned by him to write a complete, authorised biography, see p201)
Mary Lutyens, The Open Door, London: John Murray, 1988, ISBN 0-7195-4534-X, (covers 1980 to 1986, the end of Krishnamurti’s life)
Mary Lutyens, The Life and Death of Krishnamurti, London: John Murray, 1990, ISBN 0-7195-4749-0, Nesma Books India 1999: ISBN 81-87075-44-9, ISBN 0-900506-22-9, also published as Krishnamurti: His Life and Death, St Martins Press 1991: ISBN 0-312-05455-6, (An abridgement of her trilogy on Krishnamurti’s life).

[edit] Other biographies/memoirs/reminiscences
Star In The East: Krishnamurti: The Invention of a Messiah – Roland Vernon, Sentient Publications, 2002, ISBN 0-9710786-8-8
Krishnamurti: 100 Years – Evelyne Blau, Stewart, Tabori and Chang; Reprint edition, 1995, ISBN 1-55670-678-2
A Vision of the Sacred: My Personal Journey with Krishnamurti – Sunanda Patwardhan, South Asia Books; 2nd edition, 1999, ISBN 0-14-029447-3
The Kitchen Chronicles: 1001 Lunches with Krishnamurti – Michael Krohnen, Edwin House Publishing, 1996, ISBN 0-9649247-1-4
Loving and Leaving the Good Life – Helen Nearing, White River Jct., VT: Chelsea Green, 1992
Krishnamurti: The Reluctant Messiah – by Sidney Field, and Peter Hay, Paragon House Publishers; 1st edition, 1989, ISBN 1-55778-180-X
The Inner Life of Krishnamurti: Private Passion and Perennial Wisdom – Aryel Sanat, Quest Books, 2000, ISBN 0-8356-0781-X
Truth Is A Pathless Land: A Journey with Krishnamurti – Ingram Smith, Theosophical Publishing House; 1st edition, 1989, ISBN 0-8356-0643-0
The Beauty of the Mountain: Memories of Krishnamurti – Friedrich Grohe, The Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd, 2001
One Thousand Moons: Krishnamurti at Eighty-Five – Asit Chandmal, Harry N Abrams, 1985, ISBN 0-8109-1209-0
As The River Joins The Ocean: Reflections about J. Krishnamurti – Giddu Narayan, and Chandramouli Narsipur, Edwin House Publishing, 1999, ISBN 0-9649247-5-7
Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti, Radha Rajagopal Sloss, London: Bloomsbury and Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1991. (A critical look at the private life of Krishnamurti)
Krishnamurti and the Rajagopals – Mary Lutyens, Ojai, CA: Krishnamurti Foundation of America, 1996, ISBN 1-888004-08-8. (Contains a detailed refutation of the allegations contained in the Sloss book, by Krishnamurti’s authorized biographer).
A Vision of the Sacred: My Personal Journey with Krishnamurti, Sunanda Patwardhan, Foreword by Mary Zimbalist, Penguin Books India, 1999, ISBN 0-14-029447-3

[edit] See also
Annie Besant
David Bohm
Aldous Huxley

[edit] External links
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Jiddu Krishnamurti
[edit] Foundations
Official J. Krishnamurti inter-organizational website An international joint venture of the Krishnamurti foundations. Includes daily quotes and an RSS news feed.
Krishnamurti Foundation of America
Krishnamurti Foundation of India
Krishnamurti Foundation Trust
Krishnamurti Foundation of Latinoamerica. Includes daily quotes and an RSS news feed.

[edit] Specific subjects
Works by J. Krishnamurti at Project Gutenberg: (only a single book as of May, 2006): Education as Service, 1912, Rajput Press, Chicago
Disbanding the Order of the Star of the East – 1929 speech in which Krishnamurti dissolved the Order of the Star
Krishnamurti and David Bohm – Inquiry into the nature of thought
David Bohm and Krishnamurti by Martin Gardner from July, 2000 Skeptical Inquirer
Krishnamurti Text Collection – Extensive text collection of the works of Krishnamurti

[edit] General information
Krishnamurti directory
Krishnamurti Information Network
Krishnamurti Study Centre Sahyadri
Krishnamurti World
Meeting Jiddu Krishnamurthy:Truth is a Pathless Land – Nadesan Satyendra
Krishnamurti Quotes and Stories
Alpheus – Theosophically oriented articles on K
Krishnamurti Quotes and Photos
A condensation and evaluation of his thought
Krishnamurti eBooks
Retrieved from “”

Written by Bhushan Kulkarni

March 3, 2007 at 9:00 am

Posted in Krishnamurti

Tagged with , ,

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