organization called the Order of the Star in the East in order to prepare the world for the aforementioned "coming". Krishnamurti was named as its head, with senior Theosophists in various positions. Membership was open to anybody who accepted the doctrine of the coming of the "World Teacher". Controversy erupted soon after, both within the Theosophical Society and without, in Hindu circles and the Indian press.
Mary Lutyens, in her biography of Krishnamurti, states that there was a time when he fully believed that he was to become the "World Teacher", after correct spiritual and secular guidance and education. Another biographer describes the daily program imposed on him by Leadbeater and his associates, which among other things included rigorous exercise and sports, tutoring in a variety of school subjects, theosophical and religious lessons, yoga and meditation, as well as instruction in proper hygiene and the ways of British society and culture. Unlike sports, where he showed a natural aptitude, Krishnamurti always had problems with formal schooling and was not academically inclined. He eventually gave up university education after several attempts at admission. He did take to foreign languages, eventually speaking several (French and Italian among them) with some fluency. In this period, he apparently enjoyed reading parts of the Old Testament, and was impressed by some of the Western classics, especially Shelley, Dostoyevsky and Nietzsche. He had also, since childhood, considerable observational and mechanical skills, being able to correctly disassemble and reassemble complicated machinery.
His public image, as originally cultivated by the theosophists, "...was to be characterized by a well-polished exterior, a sobriety of purpose, a cosmopolitan outlook and an otherwordly, almost beatific detachment in his demeanor." And in fact, "...All of these can be said to have characterised Krishnamurti's public image to the end of his life." It was apparently clear early on that he "...possessed an innate personal magnetism, not of a warm physical variety, but nonetheless emotive in its austerity, and inclined to inspire veneration." However, as Krishnamurti was growing up, he showed signs of adolescent rebellion and emotional instability, chafing at the regimen imposed on him, and occasionally having doubts about the future prescribed him.
Krishnamurti and Nitya were taken to England for the first time in April of 1911. It was on this trip that Krishnamurti and his brother first encountered Lady Emily Lutyens, wife of the prominent architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. Lady Emily, then 36 years old and active in the Theosophical Society, had five children including daughter Mary Lutyens, who was to become Krishnamurti's principal biographer and lifelong friend. The adolescent Krishnamurti and Lady Emily formed a strong emotional attachment, which was at times frowned upon by the highest ranking members of the intensely insular Theosophical Society as well as by a frustrated and skeptical Edwin Lutyens.
In 1922, Krishnamurti and Nitya travelled from Sydney to California on their way to Switzerland. It was thought that the mountain climate of Ojai would be beneficial to Nitya, who had been diagnosed with Tuberculosis. While in California, they lodged in a cottage in a secluded valley, offered to them for the occasion by an American member of the Order of the Star. For the first time, the brothers were freed from the immediate supervision of the Theosophists. They used the time constructively by engaging in spiritual contemplation and planning their futures within the World Teacher Project. It was also at this time that the brothers first met Rosalind Williams, the sister of a local Theosophist, who eventually became close to them both. Krishnamurti and Nitya found the Ojai Valley to be very agreeable, and eventually a trust, formed by supporters, purchased for them the cottage and surrounding property, which henceforth became Krishnamurti's official place of residence.
It was there, in August 1922, that Krishnamurti went through an intense, "life-changing" experience. It has been simultaneously, and invariably, characterised as a spiritual awakening, a psychological transformation, and a physical "conditioning". Krishnamurti and those around him would refer to it as "the process", and it continued, at very frequent intervals and varying forms of intensity, until his death. Witnesses recount that it started on the 17th, with extraordinary pain at the nape of Krishnamurti's neck, and a hard, ball-like swelling. The next couple of days, the symptoms worsened, with increasing pain, extreme physical discomfort and sensitivity, total loss of appetite and occasional delirious ramblings. Then, he seemed to lapse into unconsciousness; actually, he recounted that he was very much aware of his surroundings and while in that state, he had an experience of "mystical union". The following day the symptoms, and the experience, intensified, climaxing with a sense of "immense peace".
"...I was supremely happy, for I had seen. Nothing could ever be the same. I have drunk at the clear and pure waters and my thirst was appeased. ...I have seen the Light. I have touched compassion which heals all sorrow and suffering; it is not for myself, but for the world. ...Love in all its glory has intoxicated my heart; my heart can never be closed. I have drunk at the fountain of Joy and eternal Beauty. I am God-intoxicated."
Similar incidents continued with short intermissions until October, and later eventually resumed regularly, always involving varying degrees of physical pain to mark the start of the "process", accompanied by what is variably described as "presence", "benediction", "immensity", and "sacredness", which was often reportedly "felt" by others present.
Several explanations have been proposed for the events of 1922, and "the process" in general. Leadbeater and other theosophists, although they expected the "vehicle" to have certain paranormal experiences, were mystified by the developments, and were at a loss to explain the whole thing. The "process", and the inability of Leadbeater to explain it satisfactorily, if at all, had other consequences according to biographer R. Vernon:
"The process at Ojai, whatever its cause or validity, was a cataclysmic milestone for Krishna. Up until this time his spiritual progress, chequered though it might have been, had been planned with solemn deliberation by Theosophy's grandees. ...Something new had now occurred for which Krishna's training had not entirely prepared him. ...A burden was lifted from his conscience and he took his first step towards becoming an individual. ...In terms of his future role as a teacher, the process was his bedrock. ...It had come to him alone and had not been planted in him by his mentors...It provided Krishna with the soil in which his newfound spirit of confidence and independence could take root."
The messianic status of Krishnamurti reached fever pitch as a visit to Sydney, Australia was planned. Leadbeater had been based there since 1914, and the movement was strong enough to own a local radio station 2GB. The Star Amphitheatre was built in 1923–24 at Balmoral Beach on Sydney Harbour, as a platform for the coming "world teacher". According to sensational media reportage, Krishnamurti was to make a triumphant arrival, walking on water through Sydney Heads. Paralleling this increasing adulation was Krishnamurti's growing discomfort with it.
Finally, the unexpected death of his brother Nitya on November 11, 1925 at age 27, from tuberculosis, after a long history with the disease, fundamentally shook Krishnamurti's belief and faith in Theosophy and the leaders of the Theosophical Society. According to eyewitness accounts, the news "broke him down completely". He struggled for days to overcome his sorrow, eventually "...going through an inner revolution, finding new strength". The experience of his brother's death shattered any remaining illusions, and things would 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."
Break with the past
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. Krishnamurti dissolved the Order at the annual Star Camp at Ommen, the Netherlands, on August 3rd, 1929 where, in front of Annie Besant and several thousand members, he gave a speech saying among other things:
"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."
"This is no magnificent deed, because I do not want followers, and I mean this. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth. I am not concerned whether you pay attention to what I say or not. I want to do a certain thing in the world and I am going to do it with unwavering concentration. I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies."
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."
Krishnamurti had denounced all organized belief, the notion of "gurus", and the whole teacher-follower relationship, vowing instead to work in setting man absolutely, totally free. From that time, he began to disassociate himself from the Society and its teachings/practices, despite being on cordial terms with some members and ex-members throughout his life. As his biographer Lutyens notes, he was never to deny being the World Teacher, telling 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." When a reporter asked him if he was the Christ, he answered "Yes, in the pure sense but not in the traditional accepted sense of the word."
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, and spiritual authority was denounced.
"All authority of any kind, especially in the field of thought and understanding, is the most destructive, evil thing. Leaders destroy the followers and followers destroy the leaders. You have to be your own teacher and your own disciple. You have to question everything that man has accepted as valuable, as necessary."
Krishnamurti returned all monies and properties donated to the Order of the Star - including a castle in Holland and around 5,000 acres (20 km²) of land - to their donors. He subsequently spent the rest of his life holding dialogues and giving public talks across the world on the nature of belief, truth, sorrow, freedom, death, the apparently eternal quest for a spiritually-fulfilled life, and related subjects. Following on from the "pathless land" notion, he 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, and relentlessly continued with lecture tours and the publication of books and talk transcripts for more than half a century.
From 1930 through 1944, Krishnamurti engaged in speaking tours and issued publications under the auspice of the "Star Publishing Trust" (SPT) which he had founded with his close associate and friend from the Order of the Star, D. Rajagopal. The base of operations for the new enterprise was in Ojai, where Krishnamurti, Rajagopal, and Rosalind Williams (now the wife of Rajagopal), resided in the house known as "Arya Vihara". The business and organizational aspects of the SPT were administered chiefly by D. Rajagopal as Krishnamurti devoted his time to speaking and meditation. Throughout the 1930s, Krishnamurti spoke in Europe, Latin America, India, Australia and the United States.
In 1938, Krishnamurti made the acquaintance of Aldous Huxley, who had arrived from Europe during 1937. The two began a long friendship which endured for many years. They held common concerns about the imminent conflict in Europe which they viewed as the outcome of the pernicious influence of nationalism. Krishnamurti's stance on World War II was often construed as pacifism and even subversion during a time of patriotic fervor in the United States and for a time he came under the surveillance of the FBI. He did not speak publicly for a period of about four years between 1940 and 1944. During this time he lived and worked quietly at Arya Vihara, which during the war operated as a largely self-sustaining farm, its surplus goods donated for relief efforts in Europe.
Krishnamurti broke the hiatus from public speaking in May 1944 with a series of talks in Ojai. These talks, and subsequent material, was published by "Krishnamurti Writings Inc" (KWINC), the successor organization to the "Star Publishing Trust". This was to be the new central Krishnamurti-related entity worldwide, whose sole purpose was the dissemination of the teaching.
When in India after World War II, many prominent personalities came to meet with him, including Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. In his meetings with Nehru, Krishnamurti elaborated at length on the teachings, saying in one instance, “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.” Nehru asked, “How does one start?” to which Krishnamurti replied, “Begin where you are. Read every word, every phrase, every paragraph of the mind, as it operates through thought.”
Krishnamurti continued speaking around the world, in public lectures, group discussions and with concerned individuals. In late 1980, he reaffirmed the basic elements of his message in a written statement that came to be known as the "Core of the Teaching". An excerpt follows:
"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, nor through any philosophical 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 sense of security—religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these dominates man's thinking, relationships and his daily life. These are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man in every relationship."
In April 1985 he spoke to an invited audience at the United Nations in New York, where he was awarded the United Nations 1984 Peace medal.
In November 1985 he visited India for the last time, holding a number of what came to be known as "farewell" talks and discussions between then and January 1986. These last talks included the fundamental questions he had been asking through the years, as well as newer concerns related to recent advances in science, technology, and the way they affected humankind. Krishnamurti had commented to friends that he did not wish to invite death, but was not sure how long his body would last (he had already lost considerable weight), and once he could no longer talk, he would have "no further purpose". In his final talk, on January 4, 1986, in Madras, he again invited the audience to examine with him the nature of inquiry, the effect of technology, the nature of life and meditation, and the nature of creation:
"...So, we are enquiring into what makes a bird. What is creation behind all this? Are you waiting for me to describe it, go into it? You want me to go into it? Why (From the audience: To understand what creation is[)]. Why do you ask that? 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."
Krishnamurti was also concerned about his legacy, about being unwittingly turned into some personage whose teachings had been "handed down" to special individuals, rather than the world at large. He wanted nobody to pose as an "interpreter" of the teaching. He warned his associates on several occasions that they were not to present themselves as spokesmen on his behalf, or as his successors after his death.
A few days before his death, in a final statement, he emphatically declared that "nobody" among his associates, or the general public, had understood what had happened to him (as the conduit of the teaching), nor had they understood the teaching itself. He added that the "immense energy" operating in his lifetime would be gone with his death, again implying the impossibility of successors. However, he offered hope by stating that people could approach that energy and gain a measure of understanding "...if they live the teachings". In prior discussions he had compared himself with Thomas Edison, implying that he did the hard work, and now all was needed by others was a flick of the switch. In another instance he talked of Columbus going through an arduous journey to discover the New World, whereas now, it could easily be reached by jet; the ultimate implication being that even if Krishnamurti was in some way "special", in order to arrive at his level of understanding, others didn't need to be.
J. Krishnamurti died on February 17, 1986, 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.
Krishnamurti constantly emphasized the right place of thought in daily life. But he also pointed out the dangers of thought as knowledge and mental images when it operates in relationships. Some excerpts:
"How is the mind which functions on knowledge – how is the brain which is recording all the time – to end, to see the importance of recording and not let it move in any other direction? Very simply: you insult me, you hurt me, by word, gesture, by an actual act; that leaves a mark on the brain which is memory. That memory is knowledge, that knowledge is going to interfere in my meeting you next time – obviously. ... Knowledge is necessary to act in the sense of my going home from here to the place I live; I must have knowledge for this; I must have knowledge to speak English; I must have knowledge to write a letter and so on. Knowledge as function, mechanical function, is necessary. Now if I use that knowledge in my relationship with you, another human being, I am bringing about a barrier, a division between you and me, namely the observer. That is, knowledge, in relationship, in human relationship, is destructive. That is knowledge which is the tradition, the memory, the image, which the mind has built about you, that knowledge is separative and therefore creates conflict in our relationship."
"The brain has been trained to record for in that recording there is safety, security, a sense of vitality; in that recording the mind creates the image about oneself. And that image will constantly get hurt. Is it possible to live without a single image about yourself, or about your husband, wife, children, or about the politicians, the priests, or about the ideal? It is possible, and if it is not found you will always be getting hurt, always living in a pattern in which there is no freedom. When you give complete attention there is no recording. It is only when there is inattention that you record. That is: you flatter me; I like it; the liking at that moment is inattention therefore recording takes place. But if when you flatter me I listen to it completely without any reaction, then there is no center which records."
"The brain is the source of thought. The brain is matter and thought is matter. Can the brain – with all its reactions and its immediate responses to every challenge and demand – can the brain be very still? It is not a question of ending thought, but of whether the brain can be completely still? This stillness is not physical death. See what happens when the brain is completely still."
Fear and Pleasure
Fear and pleasure were lifelong themes in his public talks. The following is an excerpt from his talk in San Diego in 1970.
“Fear is always in relation to something; it does not exist by itself. There is fear of what happened yesterday in relation to the possibility of its repetition tomorrow; there is always a fixed point from which relationship takes place. How does fear come into this? I had pain yesterday; there is the memory of it and I do not want it again tomorrow. Thinking about the pain of yesterday, thinking which involves the memory of yesterday’s pain, projects the fear of having pain again tomorrow. So it is thought that brings about fear. Thought breeds fear; thought also cultivates pleasure. To understand fear you must also understand pleasure – they are interrelated; without understanding one you cannot understand the other. This means that one cannot say ‘I must only have pleasure and no fear’; fear is the other side of the coin which is called pleasure.
Thinking with the images of yesterday’s pleasure, thought imagines that you may not have that pleasure tomorrow; so thought engenders fear. Thought tries to sustain pleasure and thereby nourishes fear.
Thought has separated itself as the analyzer and the thing to be analyzed; they are both parts of thought playing tricks upon itself. In doing all this it is refusing to examine the unconscious fears; it brings in time as a means of escaping fear and yet at the same time sustains fear.”
Krishnamurti used the word meditation to mean something entirely different from the practice of any system or method to control the mind. At a public talk in Bombay in 1971, he spoke on meditation and its implications at length.
“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.”
"Meditation is one of the greatest arts in life-perhaps the greatest, and one cannot possibly learn it from anybody, that is the beauty of it. It has no technique and therefore no authority. When you learn about yourself, watch yourself, watch the way you walk, how you eat, what you say, the gossip, the hate, the jealousy-if you are aware of all that in yourself, without any choice, that is part of meditation."
“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.”
“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.”
Krishnamurti founded several schools around the world. When asked, he enumerated the following as his educational aims:
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 was needed everywhere to 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.
Krishnamurti's lasting influence is hard to gauge in an objective way; there is no organizational or other entity, based on his "philosophy", whose progress can be measured. His insistence that there be no successors or interpreters has so far prevented any individual or group from claiming to represent a continuity, or a unique understanding, of his philosophy. Krishnamurti himself had remarked in 1929 at the disbanding of the Order of the Star, that he was not interested in numbers saying “If there are only five people who will listen, who will live, who have their faces turned towards eternity, it will be sufficient.”
However, there exists, as of early 2007, anecdotal and other evidence suggesting that interest in him and "the teachings" has not abated since his death. A large number of books, audio, video, and computer materials, remain in print and are carried by major online and traditional retailers. The four official Foundations continue with the maintenance of archives, dissemination of the teachings in an increasing number of languages, new conversions to digital and other media, development of websites, sponsoring of television programs, and with organising meetings and dialogues of interested persons around the world. According to communications and press releases from the Foundations, their mailing lists, and individuals' inquiries, continue to grow. The various schools and educational institutions also continue to grow, with new projects added along their declared goal of "holistic education". There are also active "unofficial" Krishnamurti Committees operating in several countries, in a role roughly similar to the Foundations'.
Since his death, biographies, reminiscenses, research papers, critical examinations, and book-length studies of Krishnamurti and his philosophy have continued to appear. Cursory (and necessarily incomplete) examination of internet search traffic and group discussion forums indicates that among similar topics, interest on Krishnamurti remains high.
Because of his ideas and his era, Krishnamurti has come to be seen as an exemplar for those modern spiritual teachers 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.
George Bernard Shaw declared Krishnamurti to be the most beautiful human being he ever saw. Krishnamurti was close friends with Aldous Huxley. Huxley wrote the foreword to The First and Last Freedom (see "Published Works" section below). Krishnamurti was also friends with, and influenced the works of, the mythologist Joseph Campbell and the artist Beatrice Wood. Author Deepak Chopra was also profoundly influenced by Krishnamurti.
Physicists Fritjof Capra, George Sudarshan, writer/philosopher Iris Murdoch and biologist Rupert Sheldrake also met and held discussions with Krishnamurti. Psychotherapists representing various theoretical orientations including Freud, Horney, Sullivan, and Rogers met and held discussions with Krishnamurti. Live's album Mental Jewelry is based on Krishnamurti's philosophies.
In India, with its long tradition of wandering "holy" men, hermits, and independent religious teachers, Krishnamurti attracted the attention (and occasionally the unwanted admiration) of large numbers of people in public lectures and personal interviews. He was, and is presently, considered a "great teacher" by such diverse religious figures as the respected mystic Ramana Maharshi, the spiritual teacher Anandmai Ma, as well as figures more well-known to the West such as Osho. Although Krishnamurti had a special tenderness for the true sannyasi or Buddhist monk, his criticism of their rituals, disciplines, and practices, was devastating. In a typical exchange, Anandamayi Ma had asked him “Why do you deny gurus? You who are the Guru of Gurus” to which Krishnamurti replied, “People use the guru as a crutch.”
As was often the case elsewhere, Krishnamurti also attracted the interest of the mainstream religious establishment in India. He was friendly, and had a number of discussions with, well known Hindu and Buddhist scholars and leaders, including the Dalai Lama. Several of these discussions were later published as chapters in various Krishnamurti books.
As already noted, Krishnamurti also met with influential people in the Indian political stage, including prime ministers Nehru and Indira Gandhi with whom he had far ranging, and apparently, in some cases very serious discussions. His true impact on Indian political life is unknown; however Jayakar considers his attitude and message on meetings with Indira Gandhi as a possible influence in the lifting of certain "emergency measures" Mrs. Gandhi had imposed during periods of political turmoil.
Twentieth-century gnostic philosopher and occultist Samael Aun Weor praised Krishnamurti's teachings, stating that his "inner spirit" was a "highly realized Buddha", although he questioned his handling by the theosophists and its effect on his spiritual development.
Any discussion of influence, however expansive, deserves to be weighed against Krishnamurti's own "measure" of success i.e., whether individuals really understand, and therefore "live and breathe", the teaching. Regarding this measure of influence or success, the last, and only, definitive public statement belongs to Krishnamurti himself. In a dismal prognosis, delivered 10 days prior his death in 1986, his words were simple, and emphatic: "nobody" – among his associates or the world at large – had understood Krishnamurti, his life, or the teaching he exposed.
A number of people questioned whether Krishnamurti's attitudes were conditioned by privilege, as he was supported, even pampered, by devoted followers starting as far back as his "discovery" by the theosophists. Helen Nearing, who had known Krishnamurti in the 1920s, made such an assesment in an autobiographical volume (Loving and Leaving the Good Life). She also thought that he was at such an "elevated" level that he was incapable of forming normal personal relationships. Others have accused him of personal hypocrisy in concern to his teachings. Krishnamurti himself rarely responded to such criticism; his constant pronouncement that the "teacher is unimportant" did little to silence the critics.
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, and was also dealt with in a rebuttal volume of biography by Mary Lutyens (Krishnamurti and the Rajagopals).
Krishnamurti's once close relationship to the Rajagopals deteriorated to the point that Krishnamurti, in his later years, took Rajagopal to court in order to recover donated property and funds, publication rights for his works, manuscripts and personal correspondence being withheld by Rajagopal. The resulting litigation and cross complaints continued for many years and though the verdict was eventually in Krishnamurti's favor he did not personally benefit as this was after his death in 1986.
David Bohm, after his falling out with Krishnamurti, criticised certain aspects of "the teaching" on philosophical, methodological, and psychological grounds. He also criticised what he described as Krishnamurti's occasional "verbal manipulations" in order to deflect challenges. Eventually, he questioned some of the reasoning concerning the nature of thought and self, although he never lost his belief that "Krishnamurti was on to something."
Perhaps the harshest critic of Jiddu Krishnamurti, the way he operated, and his choice of, and elaborations on, subjects such as "choiceless awareness" and "the art of listening", was U. G. Krishnamurti.
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. (Published journal that Krishnamurti kept between June 1961 and March 1962). [With the publication of this book, for the first time the general public was informed about the so-called "process", a strange condition that having started in the 1920s, intermittently affected Krishnamurti throughout his life]. 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).
As noted previously, various entities have published, and continue to publish, transcripts of Krishnamurti's talks and discussions. These verbatim reports and transcritions are not included here. See also Collected Works in next section.
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.
[The author of this book is also listed as "Alcyone". There is considerable scepticism among Krishnamurti's biographers and others about Krishnamurti's true role in the production of this and other works by so-called "Alcyone". Among other objections, a consensus of the sceptics considers such works as Theosophical literature.]
The Immortal Friend, 1928, Boni & Liveright New York: no ISBN, poetry Life in Freedom, 1928, Satori Resources 1986 reprint: ISBN 0-937277-00-2 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. (D. Rajagopal, editor) Commentaries on Living: Series Two, 1958, Quest Books 1967: ISBN 0-8356-0415-2. (D. Rajagopal, editor) Commentaries on Living: Series Three, 1960, Quest Books 1967: ISBN 0-8356-0402-0. (D. Rajagopal, editor) 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. (D. Rajagopal, editor) Talks with American Students 1968, 1970, Shambhala Publications: ISBN 0-87773-021-0 Freedom from the Known, 1969, HarperSanFrancisco 1975 reprint: ISBN 0-06-064808-2. (M. Lutyens, editor)
The Only Revolution, Harper 1970. (M. Lutyens, editor)
The Flight of the Eagle, Harper & Row 1971.
(Authentic report of talks and discussions in London, Amsterdam, Paris, and Saanen, Switzerland)
The impossible question, Harper & Row 1972: ISBN 0-0606-4838-X 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
Beginnings of Learning, London: Gollancz, 1975: ISBN 0-5750-1928-X.
(Edited transcripts of Krishnamurti's discussions on education with students and staff at the Brockwood Park School, England).
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.
(Compilation of quotes/writings on meditation, Evelyne Blau, editor).
From Darkness to Light: Poems and Parables: The Collected Works of Krishnamurti Volume One, 1980, Harper & Row: 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, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985: ISBN 0-06-064796-5.
(Discussions with the phycisist David Bohm).
The way of Intelligence, 1985, Krishnamurti Foundation India: ISBN 81-87326-47-6 The Future of Humanity: A Conversation, HarperCollins, 1986: ISBN 0-06-064797-3.
(Further discussions with the physicist David Bohm).
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
Freedom, Love, and Action, Shambhala 1994, 2001 paperback: ISBN 1-5706-2826-2.
(Based on talks given at Brockwood Park School, England)
Total Freedom: The Essential Krishnamurti, 1996, HarperSanFrancisco: ISBN 0-06-064880-5. (Introduction to Krishnamurti and selections from the breadth of his works, M. Cadogan, A. Kishbaugh, M. Lee, and R. McCoy editors).
Limits of Thought: Discussions, 1999, London: Routledge: ISBN 0-415-19398-2.
(More discussions with the phycisist David Bohm).
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
To Be Human, Shambhala, 2000, paperback: ISBN 1-5706-2596-4. (David Skitt, editor)
Can humanity change?, Shambhala 2003, paperback: ISBN 1-5706-2826-2.
(Subtitled "J. Krishnamurti in dialogue with Buddhists", David Skitt, editor)
The First Step is the Last Step, Krishnamurti Foundation India, 2004: ISBN 8187326565
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?, 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