Jiddu Krishnamurti

There was a secret mystical group founded by Helena Blavatsky and others in 1875 called Theosophy. One of its earliest members who worked at the headquarters in India was a man named Narayaniah Krishnamurti.

In 1909, leaders of Theosophy met Narayaniah’s 14 year old son and were so impressed by him that they became convinced that the boy would one day become their great messianic spiritual leader. They educated him to be a World Teacher and prepared a new membership organization he would lead for the Coming of the World Teacher. They even convinced the father to give up legal guardianship of his son, a decision his father would later regret and fight against. The young Krishnamurti grew in this unusual environment as a young religious leader.

At about the age of 30, his younger brother died and his faith in the group and his own role was shaken. After “careful consideration” during the previous two years, he declared:

“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.”

Krishnamurti became a public speaker and became friends with pantheistic scientists and writers across the continents. Being free of Theosophy opened him up to a wider perspective,

“You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.” 

His international perspective led him to encourage others to free themselves of nationalistic and religious tendencies:

 “When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.” 

He extended his critique of groups to political institutions:

“Governments want efficient technicians, not human beings, because human beings become dangerous to governments – and to organized religions as well. That is why governments and religious organizations seek to control education.”

And he extended this critique to all beliefs:

“All ideologies are idiotic, whether religious or political, for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word, which has so unfortunately divided man.” 

Like other pantheists, Krishnamurti found everything to be connected:

“The world is not something separate from you and me; the world, society, is the relationship that we establish or seek to establish between each other. So you and I are the problem, and not the world, because the world is the projection of ourselves, and to understand the world we must understand ourselves. That world is not separate from us; we are the world, and our problems are the world’s problems.” 

He wanted people to be their own guru:

 “You know, if we understand one question rightly, all questions are answered. But we don’t know how to ask the right question. To ask the right question demands a great deal of intelligence and sensitivity. Here is a question, a fundamental question: is life a torture? It is, as it is; and man has lived in this torture centuries upon centuries, from ancient history to the present day, in agony, in despair, in sorrow; and he doesn’t find a way out of it. Therefore he invents gods, churches, all the rituals, and all that nonsense, or he escapes in different ways. What we are trying to do, during all these discussions and talks here, is to see if we cannot radically bring about a transformation of the mind, not accept things as they are, nor revolt against them. Revolt doesn’t answer a thing. You must understand it, go into it, examine it, give your heart and your mind, with everything that you have, to find out a way of living differently. That depends on you, and not on someone else, because in this there is no teacher, no pupil; there is no leader; there is no guru; there is no Master, no Saviour. You yourself are the teacher and the pupil; you are the Master; you are the guru; you are the leader; you are everything. And to understand is to transform what is.” 

He promoted self-exploration and self-psychology:

“The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end – you don’t come to an achievement, you don’t come to a conclusion. It is an endless river.” 

He promoted challenging oneself rather than being too comfortable:

“Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.” 

“The very desire to be certain, to be secure, is the beginning of bondage. It’s only when the mind is not caught in the net of certainty and is not seeking certainty, that it is in a state of discovery.” 

“If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.” 

Krishnamurti obviously had thoughts on many aspects of life. He had a profound distrust of prevailing culture:

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

On Love:

“Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something- and it is only such love that can know freedom.” 

On Death:

 “Tell your friend that in his death, a part of you dies and goes with him. Wherever he goes, you also go. He will not be alone.” 

On Philosophy:

 “To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.” 

On Fear:

“You can only be afraid of what you think you know.” 

On Belief

“The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.” 

On his Secret:

“Do you want to know what my secret is? I don’t mind what happens.” 

On Authority:

“A man who says, ‘I want to change, tell me how to’, seems very earnest, very serious, but he is not. He wants an authority whom he hopes will bring about order in himself. But can authority ever bring about inward order? Order imposed from without must always breed disorder.” 

On Nature:

If you lose touch with nature you lose touch with humanity. 
If there’s no relationship with nature then you become a killer; 
then you kill baby seals, whales, dolphins, and man 
either for gain, for “sport,” for food, or for knowledge. 
Then nature is frightened of you, withdrawing its beauty.

Skip to toolbar