Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Jiddu Krishnamurti
[Krishnamurti Q&A session], [Preserving the Teachings: The Historical Importance of Krishnamurti], [Krishnaji and the ‘Herald of the Star’ (1912-27)]

“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 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 let them organize it.’”
  J. Krishnamurti            
  (from Talk given at the Ommen Star Camp on August 3, 1929 - published as ‘The Dissolution of the Order of the Star’)  

Krishnamurti in 1936An interesting speaker goes by the name of Jiddu Krishnamurti (11 May 1895 / 17 Feb 1986). This, by the way, has nothing outstanding with Hare Krishna as various people seem to think. The misunderstanding here basically is due to Indian tradition. Because Krishna is simply added to the name of every 8th child born as this was the case with the god Krishna, but this is as far as the connection goes. Another detail is that the last name as compared to western tradition comes first. We see also that especially in his younger years he was referred to as simply Krishna. This may however have caused some mix up for the outsider.

The essence of the teachings and the beingness of Krishnamurti can be summarized with as independency of mind. He has time after time stated that he does not like organized religion. Campfire at Ommen Starcamp (Holland) august 1926Because, so he says, as soon as you get into organizing (molding it into a system) you are automatically limiting the reach and capabilities of your mind. This creates the follower, and that follower will believe that he will reach his goals by this following. This approach however will lead to a path of no understanding and fixation. See, some other person can not do that for you. It is only you that can free you. This unchallenging and uncritical mind is the path that leads away from spiritual freedom.

At one time (from 1911 to 1929) efforts were made to have this organization build all around him, The Order of the Star in the East, as it was figured that he would be the new World Teacher. Basically an incarnation of Jesus, Buddha or the god Krishna. His body was meant to function as the vehicle for these. Although he had indicated his views on these matters as early as 1923 in talks given, it still shocked many persons when finally in August 1929 he dissolved this whole organization that had been build around him. He did this in a public talk on August 3, 1929 which was widely published in a little pamphlet entitled: ‘The Dissolution of the Order of the Star’,

Still till this day this talk is considered a crucial part in his teachings, presenting a basic outline in his approach and state of mind. The complete talk is available from the Krishnamurti Foundation and the various groups, they have actually quite an amount of books to choose from. For about 60 years he has been travelling around on this planet speaking and there is actually a lot one can say in 60 years!

A biographical synopsis of Krishnamurti
(by Susunaga Weeraperuma as published in his Bibliography of Krishnamurti) 

     Jiddu Krishnamurti was born on 11th May, 1895 at 12.30 a.m. (but on the 12th according to Western calculations) in Madanapalle in South India, where it is the custom for the eighth child of a Brahmin family, if a boy, to be named after Shri Krishna, who had once been incarnated as an eighth child. The name “Krishnamurti” means “in the likeness of God” a singularly appropriate name indeed. Jiddu is his surname which is derived from the name of the village where his ancestors lived. This surname, contrary to Western practice, is placed before and not after the other name. His mother, a woman of great tenderness, died early in 1905. His father, Jiddu Narayaniah, a Telugu Brahmin, had joined the Theosophical Society in its early years and in 1909 became the Assistant Secretary of the Esoteric School in India. Narayaniah had been a state employee and had retired as a Tahsildar, a minor administrative officer. In February 1909 Charles W. Leadbeater, a remarkable clairvoyant, returned to Adyar (Madras) where the international headquarters of the Theosophical Society are still located. Narayaniah was already in Adyar together with his four surviving sons.
     Leadbeater and Dr Annie Besant, who was then President of the Theosophical Society, soon discovered that the presence of Krishnamurti in their midst was no mere accident. Their communications with certain highly evolved beings, referred to as the “Masters”, revealed the imminent coming of a great spiritual Teacher who would show the Light to a world enmeshed in darkness. They found something very extraordinary about the boy Krishnamurti. With their father's consent, Dr Besant adopted Krishnamurti and his younger brother Nityananda. The boys used to play on and roam the sandy beaches where the softly flowing Adyar river enters the Bay of Bengal. Thereafter elaborate arrangements were made for their upbringing and education. To prepare Krishnamurti for his future role it was considered essential that his body should be made highly sensitive and purified through a very strict diet. It is significant that he has been a vegetarian from birth.
    Those who knew Krishnamurti as a boy have remarked that he was rather dreamy and not as wide awake intellectually as his brother. Indeed his father used to describe the boy as of a dull mind. The English teacher who prepared the boys for their London matriculation observed that whereas Nityananda had the sharper mind, Krishnamurti's mind was, in fact, the bigger one. He had difficulties in expressing his thoughts. Besides, Krishnamurti was also considered timid and it was a part of Leadbeater's work, apart from occult training, to develop in the boys a sense of self-assurance. As the boy apparently lacked mental brilliance, the pronouncement that Krishnamurti was to be the vehicle of the World Teacher seemed rather dubious at that time.
     In 1911 Krishnamurti and Nityananda were brought to England by Mrs Besant to be privately educated. Although they had both been entered for Oxford the authorities refused to accept them. Krishnamurti was nicknamed “the Little Prince” when he later studied Sanskrit and French at the Sorbonne. They stayed in Europe for nearly ten years.
     The Order of the Star in the East was originally known by another name. It was founded on January 11, 1911 by George S. Arundale, the Principal of the Central Hindu College, who called it the Order of the Rising Sun. He intended this body to draw together those of his scholars who believed in the imminent advent of a great Teacher and were anxious to work in some way to prepare for Him. Apparently he did not expect it to spread much beyond the limits of the College. But a few months later Mrs Besant, recognising that many people in various countries were ready for such an organisation, took it in hand and transformed it into an international organisation. She changed its name to the Order of the Star in the East and, furthermore, she asked Krishnamurti to be its Head. Those who recognised the potential Teacher in him placed Krishnamurti at the head of the Order. Later Krishnamurti appointed many National Representatives. The Order consisted of many men and women from all over the world and mostly of Theosophists. Primarily the Order of the Star in the East existed to proclaim the coming of a World Teacher and to prepare the world for that great event. In 1927, however, the name of the Order was changed to “Order of the Star” as its members realised that the days of expectation were over and that Krishnamurti was the Teacher.
     Narayaniah had second thoughts about the custody of his sons. He demanded their return but the boys had already developed a strong affection for Mrs Besant. He quarrelled with her and legal action was brought against her. He maintained that his sons were not being properly cared for and educated and that they were also being led to violate the rules of caste. Mrs Besant who was her own counsel pleaded her cause day after day. She lost the case in the lower court and the boys were made wards of court. When she took it to the High Court of Appeal she lost again. She thereupon appealed to the Privy Council and in 1914, for the first time, the boys, now aged 18 and 15, appeared as interveners to state their side of the case. She won her case. The Privy Council held that the minors should have been represented in the original suit and that it should have been brought in England where they were resident. It laid down the principle that in cases dealing with minors who had come to an age of discrimination, they themselves should be consulted in matters pertaining to their welfare and that no judge should dispose of them as if they were mere “bales of goods”.
     The years from about 1912 were difficult for Krishnamurti, who was showing signs of impatience with the glare of publicity in which he had to live. The adoration of the devotees who had set him on a pedestal was also causing him considerable discomfort. He left for France where he hoped to live unrecognised. One notices the first signs of that revolt which culminated years later in his own spiritual liberation. During the war years 1914-18 he remained in England and for a short time worked in a London hospital.
     While living in the Ojai Valley in California in August 1922 Krishnamurti underwent a profound spiritual awakening that changed his entire outlook on life. He became more certain of himself as a Teacher and there dawned a new understanding of his own spiritual mission.
     In 1924 a Dutch Baron, Philip van Pallandt van Eerde offered his beautiful early eighteenth century castle, Castle Eerde, at Ommen, together with his 5,000 acre estate to Krishnamurti. He refused it as a personal possession, but a trust was formed to administer it for the benefit of his international work. Annual summer Camps were held at Ommen from 1924 until the beginning of the Second World War. Thousands from many parts of the world attended these meetings, which were addressed by Krishnamurti. (The gift was afterwards returned to the Baron).
   The death of his beloved brother and companion Nityananda in 1925 was an event of great sadness for Krishnamurti. He described his grief in a moving poem entitled Nitya.

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 them if they had 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,
Among all climes.

I heard the whispering of many trees,
Calling me to his abode.
In my search,
I beheld Thee,
O Lord of my heart,
In Thee alone
I saw the face of my brother.

     Out of the agonising loss of his brother there emerged a fully transformed Krishnamurti. He was never the same person again. “I suffered, but 1 set about to free myself from everything that bound me, till in the end I became united with the Beloved, I entered into the sea of liberation, and established that liberation within me”.
     At the annual convention of the Theosophica1 Society on December 28th, 1925 in Adyar, under the famous Banyan Tree, Krishnamurti publicly announced his future mission. “We are all expecting Him Who is the example. He will be with us soon, is with us now. He comes to lead us all to perfection where there is eternal happiness; He comes to lead us and He comes to those who have not understood, who have suffered, who are unhappy, who are unenlightened . . . I come for those who want sympathy, who want happiness, who are longing to be released, who are longing to find happiness in all things. I come to reform and not to tear down, I come not to destroy but to build”.
     Then in 1926, through a subscription organised by Mrs Besant, over 450 acres were bought in the Ojai Valley. Ojai soon became another important centre for Krishnamurti's work and his meetings attracted persons from many countries.
     By breaking through the shell of the self, the restrictive psychological “I”, Krishnamurti had at last found that freedom which has been the spiritual quest of man throughout the ages. In an address delivered at Eerde on August 2nd, 1927, he said: “I could not have said last year, as I can say now, that 1 am the Teacher; for had I said it then it would have been insincere, it would have been untrue . . . But now I can say it. I have become one with the Beloved. I have been made simple. I have become glorified because of Him, and because of Him I can help. My purpose is not to create discussions on authority, on manifestations in the personality of Krishnamurti, but to give the waters that shall wash away your sorrows, your petty tyrannies, your limitations, so that you will be free, so that you will eventually join that ocean where there is no limitation, where there is the Beloved”. This date needs remembering because it marks an important turning point in his life. The publications of Krishnamurti, in a sense, conveniently fall into two categories: first, those belonging to the years of his preparation and search; second, those since his spiritual illumination.
     It is also worthwhile to consider a few extracts from the celebrated speech that Krishnamurti made on the momentous occasion of the dissolution of the Order of the Star. After eighteen years of its existence, he dissolved the Order of the Star on August 3rd, 1929, at Ommen in the presence of Mrs Besant and some 2,000 Star members. The speech undoubtedly upset many. But it may not have surprised those who had studied his pronouncements from about 1926, which indicated a clear reluctance to fit into that ready made role which others had so elaborately prepared for him. “I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect . . . I desire those who seek to understand me to be free, not to follow me, not to make out of me a cage which will become a religion, a sect. Rather they should be free from all fears . . . For eighteen years you have been preparing for this event, for the Coming of the World Teacher, for eighteen years you have organised, you have looked for someone who would give a new delight to your hearts and minds, who would transform your whole life . . . And now look what is happening . . . you want to have new gods instead of the old, new religions instead of the old — all equally valueless, all barriers, all limitations, all crutches . . . After careful consideration I have made this decision to dissolve the Order . . . You can form new organisations, and “expect” someone else. With that I am not concerned, not with the creating of new cages, or new decorations for those cages. My own concern is to set man absolutely, unconditionally free”.
     At no time since these remarkable words were uttered, more than forty years ago now, has he deviated from this declared concern of setting men “absolutely, unconditionally free”. With an absolute minimum of personal possessions he has continued to travel and address meetings in America, India, Australia and Europe. The summer meetings in Saanen in Switzerland have become an almost annual event. Krishnamurti belongs to no religion, no race and no country (although for travel purposes his passport happens to be an Indian one). His real home is nowhere but is yet everywhere. Wherever he goes he sings the song of Liberation. It is the song of one who has cast aside the separative walls of the self.

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