On Jiddu Krishnamurti
Aug 05, 2007 09:17 AM
by M K Ramadoss
Here is a post from K maillist which many may find it interesting.
Prof. P. Krishna is well known in KF and TS. It may be of interest to
know what he had said on K's relationship with TS. I am reproducing
below one such article by him.
ANNIE BESANT AND KRISHNAMURTI : TWO GREAT SOULS IN QUEST OF TRUTH Prof.
A life-member of the Theosophical Society and a Trustee of the
Krishnamurti Foundation, India.
Dr. Annie Besant and Sri J. Krishnamurti ( Krihsnaji) have been two
great seekers of Truth. They were both inspired and influenced by
theosophical ideals which state that Truth is the highest religion.
Their life was so dedicated to the quest for Truth that they were
prepared to sacrifice anything and everything for it. Though I never met
Dr.. Besant, I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about her
relationship with Krishnaji. Therefore, in this article, I wish to
present a different perspective based both on personal knowledge and my
It is clear from Dr. Besant's autobiography that even before she
joined the Theosophical Society and came to India, she never compromised
with her perception of what was true, irrespective of the price she had
to pay for it. She did not allow anything to stand between her and her
perception of the truth- neither religious beliefs nor family and
friends. Whenever she saw something was false or unjust, she immediately
dropped it and pursued the truth by transforming her life fearlessly. It
was this quality in her which must have led Krishnamurrti to say to me
in reply to a question why people find it so difficult to get the truth
of his teaching, " Sir, if Amma had been younger, she would have got
it." I think he was telling me in 1985 that it needs the kind of
fearless passion for truth which Dr. Besant had, for someone to be able
to break through all the past conditionings and perceive the truth of
which he was speaking.
That same year in Varanasi, when Krishnaji was asking me to take charge
of his institutions at Rajghat, he asked me, " Sir, have you read
about Dr. Besant?" I said, "A little Sir. I have read her
autobiography but not much else since I was most of the time busy
studying science." " You must read, Sir. She was an
extra-ordinary woman!". To my knowledge Krishnaji never praised
anyone or advocated any reading, but on this occasion he made an
Most people think that Krishnamurti denied the existence of the Masters
and this created a big rift between him and Dr. Besant which led her to
feel disappointed in him. This is a mis-understanding. What Krishnaji
really objected to was a belief of convenience and the dependence on any
outside agency for help. When Sri Mahesh Saxena ( A former Secretary of
the Krishnamurti Foundation, India) asked him in Rajghat, " Sir, do
you deny the Masters?" Krishnaji told him, " No Sir, I have
never denied the Masters; but Leadbeater and Arundale brought what was
sublime to the ridiculous, and I denied the rediculous". In 1958,
when I first met Krishnaji in Delhi, I had asked him, " Sir, I have
read that in the Esoteric Section you people used to bring messages from
dead spirits and talk to them. Was all that hallucination?" To which
he replied, " No Sir, those things exist. It is another form of
power. It has nothing to do with goodness; therefore I am not interested
in it. Of course, the mind is also capable of hallucinations." I
understood that he was telling me that freeing one's consciousness
of the ego is far more important than the cultivation of any power and
that includes occult power; because the ego can misuse that power.
Another time when Krishnaji was with Dr. Radha Burnier, he asked her,
" Radhaji, do you believe in the Masters?" and she said, "
yes, Sir". He retorted, " No, not like that. You know what it
meant to Amma? She would give her life for it! Knowing that, now tell
me, do you believe in the Masters?" Radhaji reiterated " Yeas
Sir, to which Krishnaji responded, " Good!" These episodes point
out what one finds is a recurrent theme throughout his teaching. To him
the attachment to any concrete idea or concept was a barrier to the
perception of the deeper truth, which was always to be posited as the
unknown and not projected out of the known because only the direct
perception of the truth transforms consciousness and not the belief in
an idea about it. Belief without perception becomes choice which is
egoistic; it creates division and also hypocricy. On the other hand when
one posits the truth as the unknown, it generates humility which is
essential for any deep enquiry.
We must remember that Krishnaji did not deny God; he denied all the
concepts people accept about God. He did not deny the sacred; he denied
what people consider to be sacred. He did not deny love, but he denied
all the usual concepts about love. He did not deny the religious mind,
he denied all concepts and beliefs about what is religious. To him,
something imagined and fashioned by thought had little value, as it
blocked inquiry and therefore the perception of the deeper truth. He
posited the truth as the unknown and advocated an approach to it through
the denial of the false.
Dr. Besant's approach to truth was not very different from this. Let
me quote what she said much before Krishnamurtu's teachings had even
begun to appear in print :
" All students should understand something about investigations into
the super physical, in order that they may avoid the blind credulity
which accepts all, on the one side, and the equally blind incredulity
which rejects all, on the other??
Our one great danger, as HPB ( Madame Blavatsky) recognised, is the
danger of getting into a groove, and so becoming fossilized in the forms
of belief that many hold today ?.. The Society is intended, always
has been intended, to be a living body and not a fossil, and a living
body grows and develops, adapting itself to new conditions ??.
Nothing could be more fatal to a Society like ours than to hall-mark as
true, special forms of belief, and look askance at anyone challenging
them?? If the Society is to live far into future, as I believe it
will, it must be prepared to recognise now, quite frankly and freely,
that our knowledge is fragmentary, that it is partial, that it is liable
to very great modifications as we learn more and understand
We are not dealing with theories, or flights of fancy or a mixture of
the two but with records of observation?..
To proclaim one person as an infallible authority on a subject unknown
to the proclaimer is to show fanaticism rather than reason. I would ask
my own friends not to do that with me??.
It is interesting to notice that the matters on which considerable
differences of opinion arise are matters which do not bear on life and
conduct, but on those which however Interesting as knowledge, are
outside that which is needed for the guiding of human-life?.
Very few people analyse the complexity of what seems to them to be the
very simple act of sight. In most acts of vision there is little real
sight and a great deal of memory. What we call "sight" is a
complex, compacted of the translation of the impression just made on the
retina and the memory of the whole of the past impressions made by the
same or by similar objects??.
Only well-trained and experienced seers will avoid the errors of looking
at facts through a veil of their own thought-forms.
????Generations far into the future, ourselves in new bodies,
will still be extending the limits of the unknown; we do not want our
limbs to be fettered then by appeals to our present researches, exalted
into scriptures, used as walls to bar our onward progress then". (
Ref-1 <http://www.pkrishna.org/k.and.besant.txt.html#1> )
One can see the seeds of Krishnaji's later teachings in the above
statement of Dr. Besant. Of course, Krishnamurti did not accept these
statements from her or from anyone elese; he re-discovered the truth of
these for himself. His whole teaching emphasises the distinction between
the knowledge of a truth and the actual perception of it. The mission
assigned to him by Dr. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater, on the basis of
messages received by them from their Masters, was to function as the
World Teacher, giving a new interpretation to religion for the age of
reason, and this is precisely what he did all through his life.
In December 1933, after Dr. Besant had passed away and at the end of the
Theosophical Convention, Krishnaji was invited to speak at the
Theosophical Society in Adyar. At the end of one of his talks someone
" The one regret of Dr. Besant is said to have been the fact that
you failed to rise to her expectations of you as the World Teacher. Some
of us frankly share that regret and that sense of disappointment, and
feel that it is not altogether without some justification. Have you
anything to say?",
to which Krishnaji replied:
" Nothing, Sirs. When I say Nothing,, I mean nothing to relieve your
disappointment or Dr. Besant's disappointemnt- if she was
disappointed, for she often expressed to me the contrary. I am not here
to justify myself; I am not interested in justifying myself. The
question is, why are you disappointed, if you are? You had thought to
put me in a certain cage and since I did not fit into that cage,
naturally you are disappointed. You had a preconceived idea of what I
should do, what I should say, what I should think???? Your
disappointment is based not on thought, not on intelligence, not on deep
affection, but on some image of your own making, however false it may
be. You will find a body of people who will tell you that I have
disappointed them, and they will create a body of opinions holding that
I have failed. But in a hundred years' time I don't think it
will matter much whether you are disappointed or not. Truth, of which I
speak, will remain- not your fantasies or your disappointments." (
Ref-2 <http://www.pkrishna.org/k.and.besant.txt.html#2> )
At the end of the next talk at the same time he was asked, " During
the Theosophical Convention last week several leaders and admirers of
Dr. Besant spoke , paying high tributes. What is your tribute to and
your opinion of that great figure who was a mother and friend to you?
What was her attitude toward you through the many years of her
guardianship of you and your brother and also subsequently? Are you not
grateful to her for guidance, training and care?"
Krishnaji responded as follows :
" Mr. Warrington kindly asked me to speak about this matter, but I
told him that I did not want to. Now don't condemn me by using such
words as `guardianship", "gratitude" and so on. Sirs,
what can I say? Dr. Besant was our mother, she looked after us, she
cared for us. But one thing she did not do. She never said to me, "
Do this" or "Don't do that". She left me alone. Well, in
these words I have paid her the greatest tribute ????.".
We must remember that theirs was not like an ordinary family
relationship- it was a relationship of true love and affection, between
two extra-ordinary wise human beings in quest of truth. Such a
relationship is not based on expectations and does not seek support or
gratitude from each other. An enlightened mother wants her child to be
true to his or her own innermost perceptions and pursue what he/she
considers to be true. This is what Dr. Besant did in her own life and to
think that she would have expected anything less than that from her son
would be ignorance on our part. It was a relationship based on true love
and respect for each other, neither of which has anything to do with the
demand for support or fulfilment, much less obedience of any kind.
The major philosophical divide between the leaders of the Theosophical
Society at that time ( 1929) and Krishnaji's teachings was that the
former believed that different religions are different paths to Truth
and Krishnaji said, " Truth is a pathless land." The rest was
only political division arising from the personal likes and dislikes of
those who had vested interests and who felt hurt because they were not
free from ego-reactions. Dr. Besant was certainly not capable of such
reactions. In fact her only concern in 1930, when Krishnaji parted ways
with the Theosophical leaders, was her anxiety for Krishnaji's
future and she prevailed upon some of her best assistants and close
associates to resign from the TS and go with Krishnaji in order to
protect him.( Ref-3 <http://www.pkrishna.org/k.and.besant.txt.html#3> )
In fact she told Krishnaji that she wanted to resign as President of the
TS and desired only to sit at his feet and listen to the teaching; but
he refused to let her do so. In fact, Dr. Besant was the one person who
never doubted that Krishnaji was the world teacher. She had warned
everyone that when the World Teacher manifests, he may say things
completely contrary to what they expect. Sri Achyut Patwardhan, told me
at Rajghat, she used to tell us never reject what Krishnaji said,
however much our opinions may differ from him, since it is a
conciousness that sees very far". That of course did not mean one
must blindly accept what he says but to listen to it with respect and
consider it carefully without quickly rejecting it. That is what
Krishnaji also means when he talks of staying with the question.
In keeping with what K was saying in 1928, Dr. Besant closed down the
Esoteric Section throughout the world and wrote to him, "
Beloved,?. I am suspending the E.S. altogether indefinitely, leaving
all teaching to you. I have done my best to make a clear field for you,
you the only authority." ( Ref-4
That winter in Adyar she insisted on sitting on the ground with the rest
of audience instead of with him on the platform.
Other leaders of the T.S. at that time did not agree with her actions,
as they could not accept K's teachings. They pleaded with her to
re-open the E.S. saying the T.S. believed in several paths to the Truth
and K could follow his own path but they had a right to follow their
own. So Dr. Besant had to re-open the E.S. We must remember that
whatever she may have felt personally, she could not as President of the
T.S. insist that other members must accept her views since the
Constitution of the TS permits everyone to hold any view and nobody has
the right to impose one particular view on the organization. It is in
that sense a truly democratic and secular organization with freedom to
every member to pursue the truth in any way he or she chooses to,
without being disrespectful of others. Since the other senior members of
the TS were unwilling to accept K's teaching and wanted the E.S. to
be re-opened, she had no option but to accept their plea.
Krishnaji summed up the situation beautifully in his letter to Dr.
Besant in Feb 1930.
" My own beloved Mother. I know and it does not matter to me that
CWL is against me and what I am saying, but please do not worry over it.
All this is inevitable and in a way necessary. I cannot change and I
suppose they won't change and hence the conflict. It does not matter
what a million people say or don't say. I am certain what I am and I
am going on my way". ( Ref-5
In December 1933, writing to Mrs. Emily Lutyens he said, " we have
nothing against the TS and its tenets. I am not fighting them but the
world's ideas, ideals."
So the man who was proclaimed the " World Teacher" had to
renounce the title in order to become the World Teacher ! All through
his life Krishnaji retained a deep affection for the TS and remained
concerned about its welfare. He also extended his help to the Society
whenever he felt it was needed. During the last meeting of the
Foundation held with him in India in January 1986, someone wanted to ask
him a question, " Sir, when you left the Theosophical
But Krishnaji intercepted him and said with strong affirmation, "
Just a minute Sir. Let me make it absolutely clear. I never left the
Theosophical Society. They did not want me there?."
The next day I went to him and asked,
" Sir, if the TS were to say to you today that they will close the
E.S. and accept your teaching as the basis for the exploration of the
Truth, will you be willing to go back?"
He listened intently and asked me animatedly,
" Is anybody offering that?"
" No, not yet. But if they did, would you accept that?"
His reply was,
" When they do, we shall consider."
He was not willing to deliberate on a hypothetical question, but he was
open to consider it if it actually arose!
The last meeting between Krishnaji and Dr. Besant took place in Nov.
1932, when Krishnaji went to see her on her death-bed. ( Dr, Besant
passed away on 20 September, 1933]. We do not know what actually
transpired between them but the following imaginary conversation, taken
from a play on the life of Dr. Besant, written and directed and staged
by Dr. Irawati of the Vasanta College for Women at Rajghat in Varanasi
to my mind very aptly sums up the essence and character of that
A.B : Krishna, my son, what will you do if you leave here? We have not
brought you up to earn a living.
K : Do not worry, mother. If there is something in me, I shall float on
the seas of life; and if there isn't, let me sink!
It reminds me of the last conversation between Krishnaji and me when I
visited him on his death-bed in Ojai, California in February 1986 :
K : Sir, do you have enough money for yourself, your wife and children?
P.K.: Yes Sir. I have enough money for the way I want to live.
K : You may think so, Sir. I do not think so ! I want you to know that I
trust you completely.
PK : I will keep your trust, Sir.
K : Sir, never dominate anybody and do not let anyone dominate you.
PK : Sir, the first I promise. The second I shall try.
In conclusion, I only want to say that we cannot fully understand the
quality of their love and their relationship unless we attain to their
level of wisdom. Until then, it is best not to speculate, judge or
attribute motives to their actions and their relationship.
1.Adyar Pamphlet, No. 36, 1913
2.The Collected Works of J. Krishnamurti, Vol. I, KFA, Ojai, CA, 1991,
3.Pupul Jayakar, J.Krishnamurti : A Biography, Penguin Books, New Delhi,
1986, p. 83.
4.Mary Lutyens, Life and Death of Krishnamurti, Srishti Publishers, New
Delhi, 1999, p-76.
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