What Really Happened to J. Krishnamurti?

By Bill Keidan

Recently, after visiting the Alpheus Web site, I felt moved to revisit a task which I attempted whilst editing a local Theosophical magazine some years ago viz. to help bring a contrarian critique back into the Krishnamurti debate, which had become somewhat censorious along the lines of "let no dog bark but me." Speaking from my own belief, I feel it actually does harm to Theosophy to encourage unproven systems of philosophy to run without asking to see the beneficial results in the lives of their promulgators; and the regrettable evidence from Radha Sloss's book was that Krishnamurti did not feel obligated to practice what he preached--not perhaps something remarkable in a person of the work-a-day world--but pretty devastating in the case of someone who had accepted the mantle of a world philosopher. I hope by sharing my thoughts and researches it may in a small way help Theosophy to move on into the 21st Century.

Much of what I have to say comes either directly or indirectly from Geoffrey Hodson, a leading Theosophical writer, lecturer and thinker of the last fifty years. As my destiny would have it, in 1973 I came to reside in the same building as Geoffrey and his wife Sandra during their stay in Perth, Western Australia. And it became possible to visit them at that time on almost a daily basis for approximately eight months. Even after they returned to New Zealand I subsequently kept in close touch by correspondence for the next ten years until Geoffrey's death in 1983.

My belief, supported by such evidence as became available to me, was that Geoffrey 's childhood was characterized and nurtured by family love, intelligent education and psychological and physical balance. Thus the seed of a psychic and spiritual idiosyncrasy that he was born with was able to take root and grow into a healthy plant in this fertile environment. A more profound development occurred by Geoffrey's energetic and ethical engagement with life as well as by co-operation with the wider plan for Theosophy through his lectures, writing and service to those in need. Consequently, he matured into an initiated Gnostic seer and eventually, I believe, became a humble mouthpiece for the Masters of the Wisdom to the outer world. He was what, I suppose in Biblical terms, would be called a prophet. But, to adapt another Biblical analogy, he was not a prophet totally accepted in his own country, especially not in the Krishnamurti part of that country. I mention this in detail because if one is going to make an appeal to authority or base one's belief on an authority, one needs to know the validity upon which that authority is anchored. For example in Govert Schüller's  very interesting article Krishnamurti and the World Teacher Project several revelations are mentioned, Geoffrey's included, which are very different from each other. If these are the experts on the subject then, as the old saying has it, "When the experts differ who do you believe?" Before one can assess how much reliability to place in these different opinions it would be helpful to know whether they are based upon such matters as mediumistic communication, intuitive feelings, clairvoyant investigation or direct advice and teaching from a Master of the Wisdom, or a fully developed yogically attuned disciple of the same. I make no claim to any of these insights myself, I am just piecing together some of the information that has come to me from my connection with Geoffrey Hodson over the years plus a little in the way of logical deduction.

What is said in Krishnamurti and the World Teacher Project concerning Geoffrey's statements on Krishnamurti is accurate as far as it goes. His view may appear to have been changeable, drifting towards the conciliatory, but knowing Geoffrey I would like to suggest that it was more likely to have been stated in oracular language designed to achieve diplomatic co-existence. I suspect that Geoffrey chose to be ambiguous for at least three possible reasons: 1) Because he did not wish to promote a split in the Adept inspired Theosophical Society to which he had dedicated his life, 2) Because his Masters did not want his own important voice on Basic Theosophy, especially The Path Ideal, to be lost during times of transitional ideology within The Theosophical Society, and 3) Since K. was still alive and teaching at that time, he had no wish to hurt him or his followers, especially perhaps in view of the many early and profound sacrifices that K. had made for the work and which was surely one factor in the 1929 separation. What I am suggesting is that Geoffrey actually had a mature view of the situation which he chose not to reveal openly as the time was not yet ready, and the far-ranging research presented in Krishnamurti and the World Teacher Project had actually picked up the tip of that iceberg. But now that both Jiddu Krishnamurti and Geoffrey Hodson have passed over (J.K. d.1986, G.H. d.1983), and what was once private and sensitive information is now arguably repressed energy that should be dissipated for the psychological health of Theosophy, The Theosophical Society and for the sake of the historical record.

Even though Geoffrey as well as others accepted that the overshadowing was always experimental and that the stresses from K.'s upbringing and training had been very great, it was nevertheless his belief that an act of choice occurred within K.'s psyche which made it impossible for the process to continue. The spin that Krishnamurti put on the matter of course implied that he was rejecting something less desirable for something more desirable. It must be left to the consideration of thoughtful readers whether Krishnamurti's philosophy was a fair exchange for a full-blown teaching mission of The Lord Maitreya Christ. Incidentally in 1973 when I privately asked Geoffrey whether David Anrias' analysis in Through the Eyes of the Masters was the correct one he denied that was the real reason for what went wrong, and I did not then feel comfortable to press him further as to what actually had happened. It was only many years later that I found out from a friend who received the information from a very close pupil that Geoffrey's understanding of the situation was as follows.

At a certain stage in the initiation process a pupil has the right to ask a boon from the Master, such a request is normally granted. K asked for the life of his brother Nityananda, who at the time was dying of tuberculosis. Unfortunately, Nityananda had already agreed to endure his terminal illness so that a karmic debt could be cleared in preparation for a fortunate rebirth; in such circumstances the boon could not be granted. Apparently K. could not accept this decision with equanimity and became very antagonistic towards the Masters, resulting in what is so well documented about the change in his direction accompanied by many iconoclastic comments,some even suggesting that the Masters are irrelevant.

In addition, through my own research of Geoffrey's writings and when I wrote my first article on this matter in October 1995, I realized he had made provision for posterity by seeding information of the actual mechanism of what happened into one of his posthumously published books. Of course the case mentioned does not have K's name attached to it, therefore it has not been widely canvassed or publicized for what it is, but the context clearly indicates who it refers to. I might also add in passing that there are other revealing comments that could appear to refer to K. in the same book. Let us, however, content ourselves with the main entry that I refer to above:

"Reductions of contact with the Master may temporarily occur as a result of two procedures. One of these is interior and almost automatic; for when an Initiate falls deeply into error, indulgence, denial and scorn of the occult Path, his own Ego withdraws its radiant influence and knowledge of the Brotherhood so that the personality forgets about the illumination and upliftment it has received. The other is external and may be regarded as a surgical operation by the Brotherhood which, regretfully and generally for the remainder of that life, closes down the memory centers associated with Occultism in the mental body and even in the brain. In both cases, the psychical and magnetic interplay, which continually occurs between every faithful Initiate and his Master and the Brotherhood as a whole, automatically becomes reduced and eventually ceases. Even so, a certain stamp of princeliness remains and can on occasion be discerned. All such falls, however, are tragic for the Brotherhood and the Master concerned, who must shoulder some responsibility for failure just as He would share in the karma of success. Of course, this applies to the Initiated Ego which has found itself powerless to control the personality and maintain its conscious link with it - chiefly showing as aspiration and determination towards the heights." (G. Hodson, The Yogic Ascent to Spiritual Heights, Manila: Stellar Books, 1991, p.191)

Perhaps it was that "certain stamp of princeliness" which remained in K., which made him so charismatic and awe-inspiring to many; perhaps it was partly his ascetic Indian good looks--a significant marketing factor in the modern world; perhaps it was that his very absence of a path seemed an opportunity to break free for some anally retentive people who were captives of their heavy intellectual baggage; perhaps, indeed, amongst some of K.'s strange dismissive answers to questioners and his iconoclastic utterances there are the occasional true insights? Whatever the totality of the answer, one thing is certain: Geoffrey Hodson has supplied us with a Theosophical insider's inner and occult analysis. In addition, Radha Rajagopal Sloss in her Lives in the Shadow with J Krishnamurti has given us a family insider's revealing character and personality analysis--intellectually honest because it was written more in sorrow than in anger. It has certainly taken long enough to come to this point, but I am hopeful that some forward movement in the spiritual life of the planet will occur from thoughtful consideration of how we find ourselves taking advice from those whose philosophy is generated more by their own needs than by perennial factors.

If the Krishnamurti business is ever put to bed within The Theosophical Society, maybe room will become available for the Path Ideal to return at the level of intensity it deserves. I trust that my readers will indulge me in quoting an inspiring encouragement along these lines taken from Geoffrey Hodson's writings:

"Arise all you who would attain. Send up your cry for light and enter fearlessly upon the upward Way. It is for you. It calls you. It is your destiny to succeed. Aid awaits you. Your Teacher is near you, watching you. Look not back but forward and you will see His face. Earth's Supermen wait upon earth's men, ready to assist each one who answers to the call and with sincerity and whole-heartedness gives himself entirely to the Quest of light and power and truth, aspiring ardently to become a servant and a saviour of the world." (Geoffrey Hodson, The Pathway to Perfection. Adyar, 1954, p. x)