One is opposed to nothing more severely
than to errors recently laid aside
A question which might interest many Theosophists is what
Blavatsky and the Masters might have thought about the teachings
of Krishnamurti. Although Blavatsky died before Krishnamurti
was born, she fortunately left some writings which are helpful
in determining on what points her teachings agree and disagree
with those of Krishnamurti. The focus
will be on their differences because some disagreements
pertain directly to the foundations of Krishnamurtis
For example, Blavatsky
stresses that one cannot pass over even
one step on the path to higher consciousness (2),
yet Krishnamurti summarily rejects not only a path of graduated
levels in attaining truth (3),
but also the very existence of a higher self to unite with.(4)
Furthermore, Blavatsky makes
it clear that a Guru plays an essential part in ones
mastery of higher consciousness (5),
while Krishnamurti repudiates the role of a spiritual teacher.(6)
The differences even take a dramatic turn when it becomes
clear that Blavatsky seriously warns about the kind of philosophy
Krishnamurti teaches. She writes that certain
doctrines in exoteric Vedantism--which are very similar
to Krishnamurtis teachings--might have the effect
of disconnecting the soul or the personal self from its
higher source, the higher self.(7)
This in turn might cause the second
death of the soul, which is like an implosion of consciousness
into nothingness (8) as opposed
to the second birth of the soul when she expands
into divinity by first uniting with the higher self and
ultimately with the divine self. These differences
are not just philosophical and void of spiritual relevance.
From an esoteric point of view they are of great significance.
Aside from the serious and grave warnings inferred from
Blavatskys writings, the Masters themselves made some
specific comments on Krishnamurtis teachings. Lord
Maitreya, for example, pointed out that Krishnamurti made
a mistake in assuming that anyone could reach his level
of consciousness immediately.(9)
An English Master indicated that Krishnamurti
is teaching an erroneous version of Advaita Vedanta (10),
confirming indeed what was gleaned from Blavatsky.
Furthermore, this Master warned for some
serious dangers in Krishnamurtis teachings, notably
his rejection of an esoteric system of spiritual evaluation
and his invitation to intense meditation without occult
to this Master, engaging in Krishnamurtis brand
of Advaitism might lead to hypocrisy and self-delusion.(12)
Krishnamurtis former Guru, Kuthumi,
likewise expressed a stern warning about the consequences
of his philosophy.(13)
Finally, Geoffrey Hodson,
a prominent Theosophist and clairvoyant pupil of the Masters,
accuses Krishnamurti of circular reasoning (14)
and intellectual arrogance.(15)
Again, it has to be stressed that these errors are not just
a matter of intellectual interest without spiritual consequences.
The very health, even survival, of ones spiritual
being is involved here.
Regarding the feasibility of Krishnamurtis
suggestion of a profound fundamental transformation of the
human consciousness, it has to be pointed out that Krishnamurti
did not arrive at that level of consciousness by way of
his own proposed instantaneous non-method.(16)
He arrived there solely
by treading first the path of initiation under a
Master (17)--going almost
to its final conclusion--then stepped aside, and denounced
the whole method.(18)
Furthermore, Vimala Thakar, the only one
who executed his kind of transformation in a credible way
(19)--and as such could prove
its feasability--did not arrive there by his proposed non-method
either. Instead, she transformed because Krishnamurti
acted as Guru to her. She first
gradually acquired an experimental understanding of his
erroneous brand of Advaita Vedantism and then Krishnamurti,
while laying hands on her for healing an auditory ailment,
initiated her into his rebellious state of consciousness.(20)
To quote Blavatsky, applying Krishnamurtis
non-method is like destroying a bridge
over an impassable chasm; The traveler can never reach
the goal on the other shore.(21)
The foregoing does not imply that there
are no truthful and salutary insights to be found in Krishnamurtis
teachings. He exhorts people
to think for themselves (22)
and to change in a fundamental way (23);
he skillfully diagnoses certain dangers of the human ego
or synthetic self (24); and he
invokes with compassion a sense of urgency about the dangerous
situation mankind is in.(25)
But these pearls have to be found in a sea of errors.
If the foundations of his teachings are erroneous then also
its superstructure. A well-grounded
Theosophical conception of human nature and a mastery of
the abstruse difficulties of Indian metaphysics(26)
are indispensable to catch these pearls. Even then,
one might easily trip over the pearls and land in the mire
of Krishnamurtis misconceptions. Due to the
deceptive, even mesmerizing properties of Krishnamurtis
teachings--notwithstanding the apparent awakening and helpful
qualities they have--one might not even be aware of it.
In the same way that Krishnamurtis
teachings can have a temporary beneficial effect upon certain
individuals, a civilization based on his teachings might
be successful in its first stages of growth.(27)
But, in the end, if not propped up or saved by esoteric
corrections and guidance, it will falter, break down and
disintegrate. It will never have the chance
to develop into a Golden Age, because it rejects the Wisdom
to this notion is the idea that an individual will find
the opposite of enlightenment if he rejects the age-old
path of graded initiations.
At the same time it is an undeniable
fact that Theosophy and Krishnamurti have much
in common. So much even that some Theosophists
consider Krishnamurtis teachings a modern
expression of the ageless Wisdom Religion. In
many respects both are also very close to Vedantism,
especially the monist (Advaita) version.
The likeness between Krishnamurtis teachings
and Vedantism, albeit Blavatskys understanding
of it, will become hopefully clearer in endnotes
5 and 7, in which Blavatsky contrasts esoteric
and exoteric interpretations of Vedanta. The esoteric
interpretation is Theosophical and the exoteric
interpretation is similar to Krishnamurtis
position. Endnote 10 contains the explicit remarks
of a Master arguing that Krishnamurti is indeed
teaching Advaita Vedanta.
About the likeness between Theosophy and Advaita
Vedanta, Blavatsky states that in the Esoteric
philosophy [i.e. Theosophy], which reconciles
all these systems... the nearest exponent... is
the Vedanta as expounded by the Advaita Vedantists.
H.P.Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine (Los
Angeles: The Theosophy Company, 1964), Vol. I,
For more of Blavatsky on Advaita see H.J. Spierenberg,
The Vedanta Commentaries of H.P.Blavatsky
(San Diego: Point Loma Publications, 1992), pp.
No single rung of the
ladder leading to knowledge can be skipped. No
personality [personal self or soul] can ever reach
or bring itself into communication with Atm‚ [divine
self], except through Buddhi-Manas [higher self]...
H.P. Blavatsky, The Esoteric Writings of
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky: A Synthesis of Science,
Philosophy and Religion (Wheaton IL: Theosophical
Publishing House, 1980), p. 414.
This idea of a gradual
process, this idea of gradual psychological evolution
of man is very gratifying... . This gradual concept,
which psychologically is generally called evolution,
seems to me utterly false.
J. Krishnamurti, The Collected Works of J.
Krishnamurti (Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 1992),
Vol. XVII, p. 67.
Most of us do not want
to know what we are. We invent the higher self,
the supreme self, the atma, and all the innumerable
ideas, to escape from the reality of what we are--the
actual everyday, every-minute reality of what
we are. And we do not know what we are from day
by day, and on that we impose something which
thought has bred as the atma, which tradition
has handed over as the higher self.
J. Krishnamurti, The Collected Works of J.
Krishnamurti (Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 1992),
Vol. XIII, p. 151.
There is a great difference between an
Avatara and a Jivanmukti: one, as already stated,
is an illusive appearance, Karma-less, and having
never before incarnated; the other, the Jivanmukta,
is one who obtains Nirvana by his individual merits.
To this expression again an uncompromising, philosophical
Vedantin would object. He might say that as the
condition of the Avatara and the Jivanmukta are
one and the same state, no amount of personal
merit, in howsoever many incarnations, can lead
its possessor to Nirvana. Nirvana, he would say
is actionless; how then can any action lead to
it? It is neither a result nor a cause, but an
ever-present, eternal Is, as Nagasena defined
it. Hence it can have no relation to, or concern
with, action, merit, or demerit, since these are
subject to Karma. All this is very true, but still
to our mind there is an important difference between
the two. An Avatara is; a Jivanmukta becomes
one. If the state of the two is identical, not
so are the causes which lead to it. An Avatara
is a descent of a God into an illusive form; a
Jivanmukta, who may have passed through numberless
incarnations and may have accumulated merit in
them, certainly does not become a Nirvani because
of that merit, but only because of the Karma generated
by it, which leads and guides him in the direction
of the Guru who will initiate him into the mystery
of Nirvana and who alone can help him reach his
H.P.Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine (Adyar,
India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1938) Adyar
Edition, Vol. V, p. 352. Or: Idem., Collected
Writings (Wheaton IL: Theosophical Publishing
House, 1985) Vol. XIV, p. 374. Or: Idem., The
Esoteric Writings, pp. 293-294.
I have told you frankly
that Masters are unessential, that the idea of
Masters is nothing more than a toy to the man
who really seeks truth.
J. Krishnamurti, The Collected Works of J.
Krishnamurti (Dubuque IA: Kendall/Hunt, 1991),
Vol. I, p. 173.
Krishnamurti himself wrote:
The core of Krishnamurtis 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,
not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological
technique. He has to find it through the mirror
of relationship, through the understanding of
the contents of his mind, through observation
and not through intellectual analysis or introspective
J. Krishnamurti, The Core of Krishnamurtis
Teaching (Ojai CA: Krishnamurti Foundation
of America, n.d.).
In order not to confuse the mind of the
western student with the abstruse difficulties
of Indian metaphysics, let him view the lower
manas, or mind, as the personal ego [personal
self] during the waking state, and as Antahkarana
only during those moments when it aspires towards
its higher Ego [higher self], and thus becomes
the medium of communication between the two. It
is for this reason called the Path....
Seeing that the faculty and function of Antahkarana
is as necessary as the medium of the ear for hearing,
or that of the eye for seeing; then so long as
the feeling of ahamk‚ra, that is, of the personal
"I" or selfishness [the synthetic self],
is not entirely crushed out in man, and the lower
mind not entirely merged into and become one with
the higher Buddhi-Manas [higher self], it stands
to reason that to destroy Atahkarana is like destroying
a bridge over an impassable chasm; The
traveler can never reach the goal on the other
shore. And there lies the difference between
the exoteric and the esoteric teaching. The former
makes the Ved‚nta state that so long as mind (the
lower) clings through Antahkarana to Spirit (Buddha-Manas)
[higher self] it is impossible for it to acquire
true Spiritual Wisdom, Jny‚na, and that this can
only be attained by seeking to come en rapport
with the Universal Soul (Atm‚) [the divine self];
that, in fact, it is by ignoring the higher Mind
[higher self] altogether that one reaches R‚ja
Yoga. We say it is not so. No single rung of the
ladder leading to knowledge can be skipped. No
personality can ever reach or bring itself into
communication with Atm‚, except through Buddhi-Manas;
to try to become a Jivanmukta or a Mah‚tm‚, before
one has become an adept or even a Naljor (a sinless
man) is like trying to reach to Ceylon from India
without crossing the sea. Therefore we are told
that if we destroy Antahkarana before the personal
[personal self] is absolutely under the control
of the impersonal Ego [the higher self], we risk
to lose the latter and be severed for ever from
it, unless indeed we hasten to re-establish the
communication by a supreme and final effort. It
is only when we are indissolubly linked with the
essence of the divine Mind [higher self] that
we have to destroy Antahkarana.
H.P.Blavatsky, The Esoteric Writings,
Krishnamurtis teaching neatly corresponds
to the exoteric position as presented here by
Blavatsky, for he proposes to access directly
the impersonal universal creative intelligence
(Atma) by tossing out aspiration (Antahkarana)
and denying the existence of the higher self (Buddhi-Manas).
Be it far from me the suspicion that any
of the esoteric students have reached to any considerable
point down the plane of spiritual descent. All
the same I warn you to avoid taking the first
step. You may not reach the bottom in this life
or the next, but you may now generate causes which
will insure you spiritual destruction in your
third, fourth, fifth, or even some subsequent
birth... Finally, keep ever in mind the consciousness
that though you see no Master by your bedside,
nor hear one audible whisper in the silence of
the still night, yet the Holy Power is about you,
the Holy Light is shining into your hour of spiritual
need and aspirations, and it will be no fault
of the MASTERS, or of their humble mouthpiece
and servant, if through perversity or moral feebleness
some of you cut yourselves off from these higher
potencies, and step upon the declivity that leads
to Avitchi [state of soulless-ness]. H.P.Blavatsky,
The Esoteric Writings, p. 418.
"Thus although Krishnamurti was right to
emphasize the necessity for independent thought,
he was wrong in assuming that everyone else, regardless
of past Karma and present limitations, could instantly
reach that point which he himself had only reached
through lives of effort, and by the aid of those
Cosmic Forces apportioned to him solely for
his office as Herald of the New Age."
Lord Maitreya in David Anrias, Through the
Eyes of the Masters: Meditations and Portraits
(London: Routledge, 1932), p. 67.
Any of the Masters quoted in these endnotes
I believe to be genuine members of the Great White
Also instead of giving forth the new Teaching
so badly needed, he [Krishnamurti] escaped from
the responsibilities of his office as prophet
and teacher by reverting to a past incarnation,
and an ancient philosophy of his own race [Advaita
Vedantism] with which you are familiar, but which
is useless for the Western World in the present
cycle. But those to whom he speaks think they
are receiving a new message, and as such it carries
undue weight. The message he should have delivered,
he has failed to deliver--or only partly delivered.
Nothing about Art--no plans for the new sub-race--educational
schemes dropped--and in place of all this: Advaita,
a philosophy for chelas, and one of the most easily
misunderstood paths to liberation... He who attempts
to teach Advaita, and omits all Sanscrit terms,
courts failure. Sanscrit words engender an occult
vibration which is lost when translated. Western
words not suitable to describe subjective states
of consciousness, because their associations are
mainly mundane... Another flaw in this pseudo-Advaita
which Krishnamurti is giving out, is that he addresses
the personality, the physical plane man [personal
self], as if he were the Monad [divine self] or
at least the Ego [higher self]. Of course the
Monad, the Divine Spark, is the Absolute Existence-Knowledge-Bliss,
and hence eternally free, but that doesn't mean
that the personality down here, immersed in endless-seeming
Karmic difficulties, can share its consciousness,
or even that of the Ego--the link between the
personality and the Monad."
Sir Thomas, an English Master, in:
His Pupil [Cyril Scott], The Initiate in the
Dark Cycle (London: Routledge, 1932), pp.
Well did my Brother Koot Hoomi say that
Krishnamurti had destroyed all the many stairways
to God, while his own remains incomplete. Also
being incomplete it may lead to dangers unforeseen
by those who attempt to climb it. Danger Number
One: Krishnamurti's casting aside of time-honoured
definitions and classifications leaves aspirant
without true scale of values. Danger Number Two:
climbing his particular staircase necessitates
constant meditation, which in its turn necessitates
constant protection from Guru--and Guru not allowed
by Krishnamurti. Of course a moderate degree may
be practiced in safety without a Guru, but long-continued
meditation leads to states of consciousness and
excursions on to other planes where the Master's
guidance is absolutely indispensable.
Sir Thomas, in His Pupil, p. 138.
which is not to be confounded with the recognized
form of that philosophy, will, I fear, lead his
followers nowhere except perhaps to hypocrisy
Sir Thomas, in: His Pupil, p. 139.
Kuthumi dictated in 1975:
Today Krishnamurti, denounced by the Brotherhood,
denounces the true teachers and the path of initiation,
proclaiming that the individual needs only himself
and that this is the only God there is. Leading
thousands of youth in the direction of sophisticated
disobedience to the God within [divine self],
to Christ the inner mentor [higher self], and
to the masters of the Brotherhood, this fallen
one has been the instrument of a philosophy that
is not and does not in any way represent the true
teachings of the Great White Brotherhood.
Exposť of False Teachings, Pearls
of Wisdom, Vol. XIX, no.5, p. 29. Copyright
© 1976, Summit University Press, P.O. Box 5000,
Corwin Springs, Montana 59030-5000. (406) 848-9891.
Web site: http://www.tsl.org.
Here are his words [Krishnamurtis]
on the subject: When we understand profoundly
the significance of our existence, of the process
of ignorance and action, we will see what we call
purpose has no significance. The mere search for
the purpose of life covers up, detracts from the
comprehension of oneself. That quotation
is a perfect example of the closed circle of thought
outside of which I for one find myself to be shut
when endeavouring to comprehend these teachings...
He seems to put the very goal itself as the first
step towards its attainment.
In him, singleness of
purpose has developed into intolerance. Unique
individuality has become a fetish, worship of
which produces narrow-mindedness and causes him
to display distinct signs of intellectual arrogance.
He alone is right. Everyone else, from the Lord
Buddha down to the latest teacher of the Law,
is wrong, criminally wrong.
Ibid. p. 8.
Theosophist John Algeo correctly
observes that Krishnamurti is teaching ends
John Algeo, review of Krishnamurti--Love
and Freedom by Peter Michel in Quest
Vol. 8, no. 3 (Autumn 1995), p. 86.
See Mary Lutyens, Krishnamurti:
The Years of Awakening (New York: Farrar,
Straus and Giroux, 1975), for the story of Krishnamurtis
initiations and spiritual development. See Charles
W. Leadbeater, The Masters and the Path
(Adyar, India: Theosophical Publishing House,
1925) for a Theosophical understanding of the
The Arhat initiation
is the one in which the Master withdraws all guidance
from his pupil, who may have to negotiate the
most difficult problems without being allowed
to ask any questions. He has to rely entirely
on his own judgment, and if he makes mistakes,
must bear the consequences. And so what did Krishnamurti
do? Like the proverbial manservant who knows he
is about to be given notice, he gave notice
first. In other words, he cut himself adrift from
the White Lodge, and repudiated all of us. And
unfortunately he induced others far below him
in spiritual evolution to do likewise.
Sir Thomas, in: His Pupil, p. 139.
I wish I could describe
how I witnessed the ego [the synthetic self] being
torn to pieces and being thrown to the winds...
. The center of thinking dissolved into nothingness.
Vimala Thakar, On an Eternal Voyage (Ahmedabad,
India: The New Order Book Co., 1969), pp. 46-47.
Vimala Thakar thought, and
I think correctly, that her transformation had
something to do with the healing-sessions with
Krishnamurti. She wrote:
I have told you [Krishnamurti] about the
invasion of a new awareness, irresistible and
uncontrollable. I have told you how it has swept
away everything. Now--this has something to do
with the healing.
Thakar, p. 43.
Krishnamurti on the contrary was quite sure
that the two phenomena were not related. Apparently,
when she published her autobiography against Krishnamurtis
wishes, he ended their friendship and later his
biographers gave her the silent treatment. [This
last statement is not fair, because it is not
true. Pupul Jayakar did deal with the Krishnamurti-Vimala
Thakar relationship in a 2-page segment in her
1986 Krishnamurti biography. She did not mention
the end of their relationship though. See: Pupul
Jayakar, Krishnamurti: A Biography (San
Francisco: Harper & Row, 1986), pp. 204-206.
(Added March 2004)]
If with all its power
and superiority, one cannot think for oneself,
there can be no peace in the world.
J.Krishnamurti, The First and Last Freedom
(New York: Harper & Brothers, 1954), p. 64.
For this Krishnamurti received some compliments
from the Masters:
He did good work in teaching people to
use their own brain. Sir Thomas,
in: His Pupil, p. 139. And:
Krishnamurti was right to emphasize the
necessity for independent thought. Lord
Maitreya in: David Anrias, p. 67.
One sees that there
must be change in oneself--the more sensitive,
the more alert and intelligent one is, the more
one is aware that there must be a deep, abiding,
J.Krishnamurti, The Awakening of Intelligence
(New York: Harper & Row, 1973), p. 43.
But when the mind seeks
a timeless state which will go into action in
order to destroy the [synthetic] self, is that
not another form of experience which is strengthening
the me[synthetic self]?... So, having
projected this state of continuance in a timeless
state as a spiritual entity, you have an experience;
and such an experience only strengthens the self.
From chapter IX, What is the Self,
in The First and Last Freedom, pp. 76-82.
It is hard to find quotes by Krishnamurti, uncontaminated
by his basic errors. In the previous quote, for
example, Krishnamurti does not differentiate between
aspirations of the soul, which are wholesome (see
endnote 7 about the Antahkarana), and ambitions
of the mind, which might be destructive depending
on who or what principle directs the mind. This
line of thought makes him throw out the baby (the
soul) together with the bathwater (the synthetic
We have learned now
the power of propaganda and that is one of the
greatest calamities that can happen: to use ideas
as a means to transform man... Man is not important--systems,
ideas, have become important. Man no longer has
any significance. We can destroy millions of men
as long as we produce a result and the result
is justified by ideas... When the intellect has
the upper hand in human life, it brings about
an unprecedented crisis.
From On the Present Crisis, in The
First and Last Freedom, pp. 145-146.
The whole Krishnamurti phenomenon
might be one of world-historical significance.
We might be observing the birth of a completely
new, though flawed, religion and civilization
based on Krishnamurtis teachings, with its
geographical center in India and its outposts
in the West.
For some interesting ideas about the rise and
fall of civilizations see Arnold J. Toynbee, A
Study of History (London: Oxford University
H.P. Blavatsky had high hopes
for the Judeo-Christian and Indic civilizations
to transform themselves into a heaven
in the 21st century with the aid of the Theosophical
Society, led by a prophesied torch-bearer
of Truth, expected in the last quarter of
the 20th century. See her Conclusion, The
Future of the Theosophical Society, in The
Key to Theosophy (Pasadena CA: Theosophical
University Press, 1995), pp. 304-307.
Annie Besant defended her involvement with Krishnamurti
by referring explicitly to Blavatsky's view about
the future mission of the Theosophical Society
and the torch-bearer of Truth. She
clearly believed Krishnamurti to be the vehicle
for that expected teacher. She wrote in 1912 that
the only difference between herself and Blavatsky
regarding the coming of the next great Teacher
was that she put that event perhaps half
a century later than I do. Which of us is right
only time can show. Annie Besant, Freedom
of Opinion in the T.S., letter to The
V‚han 21\8 (March 1912), p. 153.
With the 20th century now drawing to a close;
the world in a state of unparalleled crisis, the
Theosophical Society only a minor agent of change
and no sign of a torch-bearer of Truth
connected with it, it behooves Theosophists to
contemplate the texts quoted in this pamphlet
and consider an alternative perception of the
esoteric history of the 20th century.
My own proposal is contained in a pamphlet,
Masters and Their Emissaries: From H.P.B. to Guru
Ma and Beyond," in which is stated
that the teachings of the Masters, which were
originally planned to be given through Krishnamurti,
were given through Guy and Edna Ballard in the
30s and 40s, through Geraldine Innocente in the
50s, through Mark and Elizabeth Prophet
in the 50s till the 90s, and through Monroe and
Carolyn Shearer from 1995 on.