Clueless we go; but I have beard thy voice
Divine Unreason! harping in the leaves,
And grieve no more; for wisdom never grieves,
And thou hast taught me wisdom; I rejoice.
(Aldous Huxley, The Cicadas)
On February 17, 1986, the life of one of the great teachers
of the twentieth century, Jiddu Krishnamurti, came to an
end. No teacher who claimed to give the Truth has done so
in so unconventional a manner: so totally contrary to the
expectations of his followers, so utterly confusing to his
detractors. His was a life that approximated the mystique
befitting the archetypal religious teacher. The story of
his early life is now familiar to his followers: a portentous
birth impressed by his psychic mother's premonition that
he, her eighth child, was someone who was not to be like
other children (0); the discovery of the
adolescent by the clairvoyantly gifted Charles W. Leadbeater
(1854-1934) who asserted that K.(1) was
to be overshadowed by a great Spiritual force in the person
of Lord Maitreya, the World Teacher(2);
and the first hint of this Force manifesting itself, in
Benares on the 28th of December (1911). Leadbeater described
this occurrence in The Herald of the Star(3)
a tremendous power, which was so evidently flowing through
Alcyone [K.] that the next member [in line] fell at his
feet, overwhelmed by this marvellous rush of force. I
have never seen or felt anything in the least like it;
it reminded one irresistibly of the rushing, mighty wind,
and the outpouring of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost.
About ten years later, two significant events began to
take place that eventually led to a totally unforeseen climactic
event in 1929. First, a series of psycho-physical occurrences
known as the "process," beginning in August 1922
and continuing sporadically for a number of years. During
the "process," K. experienced painful sometimes
accompanied by transformations of consciousness and out-of-body
experiences.(4) Rosalind Williams, who
was becoming an important part of Krishna's life that was
to take on unexpected significance years later, witnessed
a Great Presence during one of his early episodes. In the
words of Nitya, K.'s brother:
The place seemed to be filled with a Great Presence and
a great longing came upon me to go on my knees and adore,
for I knew that the Great Lord of all our hearts had come
Himself; and though we saw Him not, yet all felt the splendour
of His presence. Then the eyes of Rosalind were opened
and she saw. Her face changed as I have seen no face change,
for she was blessed enough to see with physical eyes the
glories of that night. Her face was transfigured, as she
said to us, 'Do you see Him, do you see Him?' for she
saw the divine Bodhisattva [the Lord Maitreya], and millions
wait for incarnations to catch such a glimpse of our Lord,
but she had eyes of innocence and had served our Lord
The second incident, which might be interpreted as evolving
from the "process," took place on the 28th of
December 1925. At the Congress of the Order of the Star
in the East in Adyar, an extraordinary event occurred. As
K. was speaking, he abruptly changed personal pronouns from
"he" to "I" in reference to the World
"He comes only to those who want, who desire, who
long--" and then suddenly, "I come for those
who want sympathy, who want happiness, who are longing
to find happiness in all things. I come to reform and
not to tear down, I come not to destroy, but to build."(6)
For those who placed their faith in the judgement and pronouncements
of the leaders of the Theosophical Society and their expectations
in the Vehicle of the World Teacher, these events could
only but confirm the spiritual and occult status of Mr.
Krishnamurti as a repository of extra-worldly power. The
response from his followers and disciples, as would be expected,
was somewhat akin to the phenomenon of cult-like devotion(7)--cult
in this sense referring to spontaneous devotional reactions
to what is perceived as miraculous.
As far as Krishnamurti's followers were concerned, the
coming of the Lord was at hand; indeed the ever-faithful
Mrs. Besant, the President of the Theosophical Society,
unequivocally declared as early as 1927 that "The World
Teacher is here."(8) But to his followers'
total surprise two years later, despite the many intimations
to the contrary, Krishnamurti declared before thousands
that the Order of the Star was to be dissolved for reasons
given in his remarkable speech of on August 3, 1929. This
speech set K. apart from all other religious teachers, for
reasons which Rom Landau perhaps puts most fittingly:
There have been many masters and teachers whom their
followers worshipped. But none of them had been torn out
of an ordinary existence to be anointed as the coming
World Teacher. None of them had been accepted by the East
and the West, by the oldest and the youngest continent,
by Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims, by believers
and agnostics. Neither Ramakrishna nor Vivekananda had
been brought up and educated for their future messiahship;
neither Gandhi nor Mrs Baker Eddy, neither Steiner nor
Mme Blavatsky had known such a strange destiny. Neither
in the records of Western mystics nor in the books of
Eastern yogis and saints do we find the story of a 'saint'
who after twenty-five years of preparation for a divine
destiny decides to become an ordinary human being, who
renounces not only his worldly goods but also all his
Indeed, was not Krishnamurti's a supreme story? The teacher
who renounces his throne at the moment of his awakening,
at the moment when the god in him has to make way for
the man, at the moment when the man can begin to find
God within himself?(9)
Although the August 3rd speech dissolving the Order of
the Star has been quoted many times, it is worth reproducing
a portion of it here because of its significance. Here are
We are going to discuss this morning the dissolution
of the Order of the Star....
I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot
approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by
any sect.... Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable
by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should
any organization be formed to lead to or coerce people
along any particular path....
As I have said, I have only one purpose: to make man free,
to urge him towards freedom, to help him to break away
from all limitations, for that alone will give him eternal
happiness, will give him the unconditioned realization
of the self.
Because I am free, unconditioned, whole--not the part,
not the relative, but the whole Truth that is eternal--I
desire those, who seek to understand me, to be free; not
to follow me, not to make out of me a cage which will
become a religion, a sect....
For eighteen years you have been preparing for this event,
for the Coming of the World-Teacher....I do not care if
you believe that I am the World-Teacher or not. That is
of very little importance....
Your prejudices, your fears, your authorities, your churches
new and old--all these, I maintain, are a barrier to understanding....
So you will see how absurd is the whole structure that
you have built, looking for external help, depending on
others for your comfort, for your happiness, for your
strength. These can only be found within yourselves....
You can form other organizations and expect someone else.
With that I am not concerned, nor with creating new cages
new decorations for those cages. My only concern is to
set men absolutely, unconditionally free.(10)
How could any Theosophist subscribe to these statements?
Indeed, they could be interpreted as contempt for and defiance
of the Theosophical world-view.(11) All
dogmas, beliefs, philosophical systems, religions, and sects
were useless in K.'s opinion. If Truth were a pathless land,
the Theosophical perspective was quite the opposite. For
the latter, there was indeed a path, though fraught with
peril, that could be traversed with guides that would ease
Who was right? Who wrong? Was there a path or not? Whatever
the views of the Theosophical leaders or of Krishnamurti,
their messages were primarily designed to uplift humanity,
not themselves. It is therefore their audience, those who
would make the effort to evaluate their disparate messages,
who will ultimately pass judgement regarding their ultimate
value. Not surprisingly, the reception and interpretation
of the messages is diverse.
Because of this diversity of interpretation, Mr. Schüller
performs a great service by organizing and making sense
of those reactions surrounding Krishnamurti's persona and
philosophy. The individual reactions cited by Mr. Schüller
are certainly not exhaustive, however, nor were they intended
to be. One opinion of K.'s persona not mentioned below,
but which seems to have been expressed or experienced by
a number of individuals who heard him in person, was that
his very presence projected a spiritual force that so enraptured
the spectators that it made little difference what he said,
or whether it was understood or not. Recognizing that his
teaching was not easily understood, an opinion is sometimes
held that Mr. Krishnamurti was a Pratyeka Buddha, a Private
or Solitary Buddha, and that Pratyeka Buddhas do not disclose
the teaching.(13) These two views affirm
that he is no ordinary mortal to his devotees, although
it is difficult to conclude that he is identified as a World
Teacher, a title that may not be completely understood in
this day and age.
Conversely, there is a dissenting opinion of Krishnamurti
that must be mentioned. Should the teacher live a life consistent
with the message he conveys? If so, then K.'s behavior described
in Radha Rajagopal Sloss's Lives in the Shadow with J.
Krishnamurti should come as a shock to those who have
the preconceived notion of how a perfect, unconditioned,
free individual should conduct himself. How could he allow
Rosalind Rajagopal (née Williams), the young woman who was
present with K. at the beginning of the "process"
mentioned above, to conduct an adulterous relationship with
him, to allow her to go through one abortion and persuade
her against her wishes to undergo another? And this from
a being claiming to be greater even than the Buddha or the
Christ?(14) Yet, despite these accusations,
there is a body of opinion that arises in the Indian teaching
traditions that emphasizes the preeminence of the teaching
and the impact it has on the disciple or seeker over any
obscene behavior of the one who presents the teaching. It
is therefore unlikely that such revelations will drive the
final nail into K.'s coffin.
In addition to Mrs. Sloss' revelations, two negative reactions
arose fairly early in Krishnamurti's career that were entirely
beyond his control: guilt by association and fraudulent
teaching. The first maintained that because Krishnamurti
was discovered by Charles Webster Leadbeater and because
Krishnamurti was completely under the thumb of Leadbeater
and Mrs. Besant, nothing good would come out of this undertaking.
This was the view of a small but significant number of Theosophists
who looked upon Leadbeater(15) with utter
contempt: because of charges of sexual improprieties with
young boys brought against him; because of the prominence
he and Mrs. Besant gave to the Liberal Catholic Church within
the Theosophical Society; because of their corruption of
the Theosophical teachings of H.P. Blavatsky and her Masters;
because of the suppression of Blavatsky's books, most notably
the Secret Doctrine, in favor of their "neo-theosophical"
publications. By the end of 1917, a "Back to Blavatsky"
Movement was articulated most effectively and caustically
by the Washington, D.C. editor of the O.E. Library Critic,
Henry N. Stokes, in order to alert the members within
the T.S. (Adyar) that the original teachings of Theosophy
were all but totally ignored and superseded. Any activity
or teaching by the T.S. leadership perceived as not in agreement
with the Theosophy of Blavatsky was unmercifully attacked.
Stokes was not alone in this role, although he was the
most razor-edged in his criticisms and the most influential.
Thus, in 1921, the Theosophical Society Loyalty League was
established in Sydney, Australia, with one of its objects
being "Loyalty to the established Objects of the Theosophical
Society." Its organ, Dawn, published from November
1, 1921 to November 1, 1924, devoted many articles to the
troubling issues brewing within the T.S., especially what
it saw as the most serious: the infiltration of the Liberal
Catholic Church within the T.S. In the July 1, 1924 issue
of Dawn, suspicion was placed squarely on Krishnamurti
and his status because of his being chosen by Leadbeater
to be World Teacher. The speculation that Dawn offered
was as follows: because of Leadbeater's "gross sexual
irregularity," which led to his forced resignation
from the T.S. in 1906, Leadbeater, following his readmission
into the T.S. (1909), used K. as a ruse to deflect attention
from his past misdeeds and to give him an excuse
to surround himself with small boys. So the doctrine of
the World Teacher and the unique status of Krishnamurti
was nothing but a cruel hoax committed by the most despicable
of reasons by this bźte noire of the T.S.
Stokes wrote in much the same vein. Although very supportive
of the T.S. a few years earlier, his attitude by 1917 took
a 180 degree turn. After Mrs. Besant's announcement in 1925
that Krishnamurti would shortly have twelve Apostles, Stokes
commented that two of the Apostles--Mrs. Besant and Mr.
Leadbeater--"will probably manage the debut of the
new Christ, who is a nice, well-groomed youth of about twenty-eight,
of very mediocre intelligence, and just the sort to obey
the orders of his chief apostles--he can't help it, as they
supply his oats."(16) This is relatively
tame compared to his other statements. His main interest,
however, was within the context of what he considered the
most pernicious movement within the T.S.: the inclusion
of Liberal Catholic ritual and doctrine. On an almost paranoiac
note, Stokes commented that after Krishnamurti dissolved
the Order of the Star,
There seems little more for Krishnaji to do but declare
Universal Nudity; he has stripped off everything but his
clothes.... The immediate result will be the elimination
of Krishnamurti's influence [within the T.S.] and an open
path for the machinations of the Liberal Catholic Church
without opposition. In fact one might almost suspect that
Krishnaji has been manouevered into committing the foolish
act of suicide by influences favoring the catholicizing
of the T.S.(17)
The second denunciation of Krishnamurti's status was argued
from the viewpoint that the doctrine of the World Teacher
was fraudulent. The doctrine, as explained by Mrs. Besant(18)
is as follows: that the World Teacher appears in various
embodiments to various peoples teaching a Truth identical
in essence but different in language and exposition. In
the context of the Hindu teaching of reincarnation, the
World Teacher appears again and again in the world to initiate
successive religions. Two signs indicate his imminent arrival:
the emergence of a new type of humanity--in the Theosophical
context and in relation to the imminent coming, a sub-race
of the Root Race--and, secondly, a time of dislocation and
cataclysm such as earthquakes and wars. From this transition
period comes the World Teacher. Precursors to the current
Teacher who would usher in the new religion and civilization
of the American(19) or sixth sub-race,
were, for instance, the Teacher of the Aryan or fifth Root
Race and first sub-race, Vyāsa; the Teacher of the Egyptian
or second sub-race, Thoth or Hermes; and the Teacher of
the Persian or third sub-race, Zoroaster.(20)
All taught the same doctrine but expressed in different
ways--Vyāsa teaching that the Sun was the Lord of the Universe
and the life in every human, Thoth teaching that the Light
dwelt in all humans and in the whole world, and Zoroaster
teaching that Fire was the sign of purity. Mrs. Besant then
focuses on India, the home of the Root or "Mother"
Race. Following the appearances of the World Teacher to
the sub-races, he returns to the homeland and manifests
as the Lord Buddha to become the founder of Buddhism. His
successor, the Christ, gave to the world and to the fifth
sub-race (the Teutonic) Christianity.(21)
The sources of this teaching are many, only some of which
can be traced with any degree of certainty. Some have also
undergone considerable modification or reinterpretation.
They are as follows:
1) the Buddhist teaching of the Bodhisattva reinterpreted
in a Theosophical context(22);
2) H.P. Blavatsky's teachings of the Root Races and sub-races(23);
3) the beginnings of the sixth sub-race in America cited
in The Secret Doctrine, II, 444;
4) a "new torch bearer of Truth" will appear
with "men's minds and hearts...improved and purified
by the spread of its [the T.S.'s] teachings(24);
5) the prediction that a Master of Wisdom would appear
6) the World Teacher would be Maitreya(26);
7) the identification of Maitreya with the Christ(27);
8) the identification of Sri Krishna with the Christ(28);
9) the substitution of the Lord Maitreya-the Christ-Sri
Krishna in the body of J. Krishnamurti, the vehicle of
the World Teacher.
For those who were opposed to any deviation of Madame Blavatsky's
teachings, her statements regarding the timing and circumstances
mentioned under (4) and (5) would certainly invalidate Leadbeater's
and Mrs. Besant's interpretation.
Furthermore, (9) is especially intriguing. In the July
1926 issue of The O.E. Library Critic, Stokes commented
on the origins of this teaching, revealed in "An Exposure
of Theosophical Errors" by William Loftus Hare,(29)
the Ex-Director of Studies in Comparative Religion and Philosophy
to the Theosophical Society in England who previously created
a stir by charging Mr. Leadbeater's clairvoyant visions
of Peru circa 13,000 BCE as nothing more than a copy "given
by Spanish narrators of the 16th century."(30)
Hare's finding was that Leadbeater exploited G.R.S. Mead's
gnostic researches published(31) in the
latter's Fragments of a Faith Forgotten. Of all the
gnostic sects investigated by Mead, only one sect taught
the doctrine of the "Christ as the World Teacher uniting
himself with Jesus at the baptism": Cerinthus. In order
to give the sense of disfavor for both the "neo-theosophical"
teaching of the World Teacher and its vehicle, I quote Hare:
Upon him [Cerinthus] rests the monstrous cult revived
in our day in favor of Mr. J. Krishnamurti.
Esoteric Christianity (page 132, London edition)
gives the official stamp to this theory and transforms
it into the Theosophy which the present generation is
expected to believe....
The sole source of this doctrine can be found in the teaching
of Cerinthus, the so-called Gnostic, whose system is lucidly
explained by the excellent Mosheim. I extract the following
"He taught that the Creator of this world, whom
he considered also as the sovereign and law-giver of
the Jewish people, was a being endowed with the greatest
virtues, and derived his birth from the Supreme God;
that this being fell, by degrees, from his native virtue
and his primitive dignity; that the Supreme God, in
consequence of this, determined to destroy his empire,
and sent upon earth, for this purpose, one of the ever
happy and glorious aeons, whose name was Christ; that
this Christ chose for his habitation the person of Jesus,
a man of the most illustrious sanctity and justice,
the son of Joseph and Mary, and, descending in the form
of a dove, entered into him while he was receiving the
baptism of John in the waters of Jordan; that Jesus,
after his union with Christ, opposed himself with vigour
to the God of the Jews; and was, by his instigation,
seized and crucified by the Hebrew chiefs; that when
Jesus was taken captive, Christ ascended up on high,
so that the man Jesus alone was subjected to the pain
of an ignominious death." Ecclesiastical History,
vol. I, page 72.
We conclude therefore that the Theosophical Society has
been deceived for well nigh twenty-five years into the
belief that there was a well established Gnostic "faith
forgotten" and that this was the true form of Christianity.
Upon this delusion, now briefly exposed, rests the Krishna-Christ
fraud of December 28, 1925.(32)
Although this "discovery" was interpreted at
the time as damning evidence against the notion of the World
Teacher, one can make a strong argument that point (9) was
more in agreement with Theosophical teaching than Hare realized.
Blavatsky herself knew of the Cerinthian position, correcting
Irenę' description of Cerinthus' doctrines. In Isis Unveiled,
It is only after his [Jesus'] baptism, that Christos,
the anointed, descended from the Princeliness of above,
in the figure of a dove, and then announced the UNKNOWN
Father through Jesus. (II, 176)
This passage, and the quote given in note 29, gives more
credibility, in my opinion, to the doctrine of the World
Teacher since it was accepted as a genuine Gnostic teaching
In conclusion, it is my hope that the World Teacher doctrine
will be reevaluated in the new light of recent research
especially in Gnosticism. It is also my wish that the body
of teachings presented by Mr. Krishnamurti after the dissolution
of the Order of the Star be reviewed with the understanding
that K.'s formative years were molded by Theosophists and
Theosophical teaching. There is no doubt that K. owes a
debt of gratitude for the contribution to the Theosophical
leaders for making his career possible. Particularly appropriate
in this regard is Mr. Schüller's desire for comparative
studies of the teachings of Blavatsky and Krishnamurti.
The author, Govert Schüller, was born and raised in the
Netherlands. He first came in contact with Theosophical
teaching while still in high school through a Theosophical
friend. Mr. Schüller studied philosophy for three years
at the Universities of Leyden and Amsterdam. He emigrated
to the United States with his wife in 1990 and is currently
doing research on Krishnamurti. He and his wife now live
in Carol Stream, Illinois, which is near the headquarters
of the Theosophical Society in America.
* * *
0. According to Pupul Jayakar
(Krishnamurti: A Biography [San Francisco: Harper
and Row, Publishers, 1986], 19-20), Krishnamurti recounts
that his mother, Jiddu Sivamma, who had a psychic bent,
perceived that her eighth child was a very special being
and so insisted that she give birth in the room of worship--the
pūjā room--and not the bedroom (Peter Michel, Krishnamurti:
Love and Freedom [Woodside, CA: Bluestar Communications,
1995], 17. This is a translation from the German (by Petra
Michel) of Krishnmurti--Freiheit und Liebe [Grafing,
Germany: Aquamarin Verlag, 1992]).
There is a significance attached to the number eight. Jiddu
Sivamma was most likely a devotee of the god Krishna, so
she certainly knew the account in the Vishnu Purāna
(Chapter 5), that the god Krishna, the eighth incarnation
or descent (avatāra) of Vishnu, was born as the eighth
child of Devakī, conceived from Vishnu's own black strand
of hair (thus explaining the dark color of Krishna). The
name Krishnamurti may be translated as "one who has
assumed the form of Krishna," a name aptly applied
to one to whom there was a special affinity.
1. Krishnamurti is also
known as Krishnaji, J.K. or simply K.
2. Mary Lutyens, Krishnamurti:
The Years of Awakening (London: John Murray, 1975),
10, 11, 21.
3. Vol. I, no 2 (April 1912):
33. Reproduced in Michel, op. cit., 34 and Lutyens, op.
4. For a description, see
Jayakar, 46-57; Lutyens, 152-188; Radha Rajagopal Sloss,
Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti (Reading, MA:
Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1991), 56-67.
5. Lutyens, 156. According
to Mrs. Sloss, Rosalind did not accept Nitya's account.
She writes on page 60: "Not sharing the preconceptions
of the others, she allowed them their interpretations without
accepting them as her own. She believes that whatever Nitya
read on her face stemmed from her own dreams. She remembered
nothing and did not feel anything remarkable had happened."
6. Jayakar, 70.
7. By cult, I do not mean
the New Religious Movements that are usually described in
the popular mind and media as dangerous, illegitimate religious
movements, but rather deeply devotional groupings that arise
in a spontaneous manner around what is perceived as a spiritual
phenomenon, an example of which being the appearance of
the Virgin Mary.
8. Lutyens, 241.
9. God is my Adventure
(London: Unwin Books, 1964), 222-23. [First published
by Ivor Nicholson and Watson, 1935].
10. Bulletin No. 53
(Spring/Summer 1986), 4-10 (Krishnamurti Foundation
11. I use the term "Theosophical"
in a somewhat restrictive sense, to refer to all those individuals
who belonged to the Theosophical Society (Adyar), the Order
of the Star in the East--the majority of which were Theosophists--and
those who subscribed to the doctrine of the World Teacher
as developed by Mrs. Besant and Charles Leadbeater, though
not members of the T.S.
Those Theosophists who did not subscribe to the World Teacher
doctrine--a large number either belonged to other Theosophical
societies (such as the United Lodge of Theosophists and
the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society), some
remained members of the Theosophical Society (Adyar)--attached
the pejoratives "neo-theosophy" or (less often)
"pseudo-theosophy" to this version of Theosophical
12. The relevant passage
originated in Lucifer IX (September 1891): 49:
There is a road, steep and thorny, beset
with perils of every kind, but yet a road, and it leads
to the very heart of the Universe: I can tell you how
to find those who will show you the secret gateway that
opens inward only, and closes fast behind the neophyte
for evermore. There is no danger that dauntless courage
cannot conquer; there is no trial that spotless purity
cannot pass through; there is no difficulty that strong
intellect cannot surmount. For those who win onwards there
is reward past all telling--the power to bless and save
humanity; for those who fail, there are other lives in
which success may come.
13. In the Theosophical
sense, Pratyeka Buddhas do not teach or establish world
religions (Jinarājadāsa, First Principles of Theosophy,
eighth edition (Adyar: TPH, 1948), 322). The above description
in the main body of the text might not be very accurate
since it was no doubt used, perhaps tongue in cheek, to
describe the difficulty in understanding Krishnamurti's
The Theravāda Buddhist tradition understands the Pratyeka
Buddha as an individual who is self-awakened but does not
enlighten others. Based on etymological evidence and a comparison
with Jain texts, the compound might well mean one who is
awakened by an external cause (pratyaya).
14. Sloss, 307. It was
Beatrice Wood who reported the rumor that K. claimed as
15. Mrs. Besant was viewed
to be under his influence, so she too was held in similar
16. O.E. Library Critic
XV/9 (December 2, 1925): 6.
17. O.E. Library Critic
XIX/2 (September 1929): 13.
18. Annie Besant, "Why
we Believe in the Coming of a World-Teacher," a lecture
delivered at the Kingsway Hall, London, on June 30th, 1924
and published in The Herald of the Star, XIII/8 (August
19. The sub-race is also
manifested in Australia and elsewhere.
20. Orpheus is the World
Teacher for the fourth sub-race that includes the Greek,
Roman, Latin, and Celts; the Christ is viewed as the Teacher
of the fifth or Teutonic sub-race.
21. A summary of the teaching
of the coming World Teacher, was given by the editor of
the O.E. Library Critic, Henry N. Stokes, at a time
when he was very sympathetic to the Theosophical cause.
In I/20 (May 22, 1912):1-2 he writes:
In the course of human evolution certain
souls have so far outstripped the others as to have passed
the necessity for reincarnation. Some of these have passed
on to states more or less beyond our knowledge. Others,
on the contrary, have voluntarily foregone the right to
the bliss of Nirvana and remain in touch with humanity.
Some of the latter habitually reincarnate and are commonly
known as Masters; others appear only at wide intervals.
Chief among the latter are two, who in earlier periods
of man's history were closely associated. The one is he
who successively appeared as Hermes, as Zoroaster, as
Orpheus and for the last time as the Lord Buddha. He is
not expected to reincarnate again. The other is the Lord
Maitreya, who is especially the expounder of the Law of
Love, and who appeared in India as Krishna, in Palestine
as Christ and who will reappear in human form during the
present century. The theosophical teaching distinguishes
sharply between Jesus and Christ. The man Jesus up to
thirty years of age was the incarnation of a certain disciple
or adept, who at this time voluntarily gave up his body
to be occupied by the Lord Maitreya, this surrender occurring
when Jesus was baptised and the spirit descended like
a dove (Matt. iii., 16). He whose teachings we have in
the Gospels was not the soul Jesus at all, but the Lord
Maitreya in the body of Jesus.
22. In Buddhism, bodhisattva
simply refers to a 'being intent on gaining enlightenment'
or a 'Buddha-to-be'. In Theravāda Buddhism, Maitreya is
the future Buddha. In Mahāyāna Buddhism, the Path of the
Bodhisattva is open to all and emphasizes a compassionate
attitude and purpose. Because a bodhisattva is an advanced
being on the path, in possession of the "Enlightenment
mind" (bodhicitta), the compound bodhisattva
may be translated as "Enlightenment being."
In C. Jinarājadāsa's First Principles of Theosophy,
the bodhisattva is a member of the Occult Hierarchy--the
Great White Brotherhood--which rules the world. The bodhisattva
resides on the seventh level of initiation together with
two other officers, the Manu and Mahā-Chohan. He is viewed
as the "World Teacher." Jinarājadāsa, 320, 323;
Gregory Tillett, "Charles Webster Leadbeater 1854-1934:
A Biographical Study" (Ph.D. diss., University of Sydney,
23. The Races are mentioned
in II, 423ff. in The Secret Doctrine, vol. II (L.A.:
The Theosophy Company, 1974). This is a facsimile of the
original edition of 1888.
24. H.P. Blavatsky, The
Key to Theosophy (L.A.: The Theosophy Company, 1973),
307. This is a photographic reproduction of the original
edition of 1889. Blavatsky adds: "He [the torch bearer]
will find the minds of men prepared for his message, a language
ready for him in which to clothe the new truths he brings,
an organization [the T.S.] awaiting his arrival, which will
remove the merely mechanical, material obstacles and difficulties
from his path."
25. H.P. Blavatsky, The
Original Programme of the Theosophical Society (Adyar:
TPH, 1974), 71. This is a reprint of the 1931 first edition.
This statement appears in "The Esoteric Section of
the Theosophical Society" [Preliminary Memorandum]
and dated 1888. She writes: "No Master of Wisdom from
the East will himself appear or send any one to Europe or
America after that period [the last quarter of a century],
and the sluggards will have to renounce every chance of
advancement in their present incarnation--until the year
Herein and in The Key to Theosophy (306), she remarks
that the final quarter of every century, there is an "upheaval
of spirituality" initiated by the "Masters"
that will help in "the spiritual progress of Humanity."
26. Maitreya's role is
quite different in The Secret Doctrine I, 384 and
470. On page 470, "Maitreya Buddha" will be the
last of a series of Buddhas and in the seventh Race.
Leadbeater's identification of Krishnamurti as the vehicle
for the Lord Maitreya is, therefore, an innovation on his
27. According to Tillett,
op. cit., 416 the origin of this identification may be found
in the magical fraternity, the Royal Order of the Sat B'hai,
which employed Indian mythology and symbolism. It was headed
for a time by John Yarker (1833-1913), who, in Tillett's
words, "offered its rituals to HPB when she was contemplating
developing the TS along semi-Masonic lines." (416)
Leadbeater may have been aware of the Order and the ritual
performed in the Second Grade, in which Christ and Maitreya
were identified, through his associate James Wedgwood, a
member of the Order.
28. An example of this
identification appears in H.C. Kumar's "The Great World-Teacher
and the Order of the Star in the East," The Herald
of the Star XIII/11 (November 1, 1924): 470-73. On page
473 he states: "He who was called Sri Krishna in India,
He who was called the Christ when He appeared in Palestine,
is again to walk the earth very soon."
The association of Krishna with the Christ is nothing new.
In H.P.B.'s Isis Unveiled (Los Angeles: The Theosophy
Company, 1982: original edition published in 1877), II,
159, she states:
Thus Christos, as a unity, is but an abstraction:
a general idea representing the collective aggregation
of the numberless spirit-entities, which are the direct
emanations of the infinite, invisible, incomprehensible
FIRST CAUSE--the individual spirits of men, erroneously
called the souls. They are the divine sons of God, of
which some only overshadow mortal men--but this the majority--some
remain forever planetary spirits, and some--the smaller
and rare minority--unite themselves during life with some
men. Such God-like beings as Gautama Buddha, Jesus, Tissoo,
Christna [Krishna], and a few others had united themselves
with their spirits permanently-- hence, they became gods
In a note on page 158 of volume two, Blavatsky
discusses the spelling of the name and agrees with Jacolliot
("Christna et le Christ") that it should be spelled
Christna and not Krishna: the latter meaning "black,"
the former meaning "sacred." This is based on
the notion that all languages, Greek included, derive from
Sanskrit. Therefore, Christos derives from Sanskrit
Kris "sacred." Although not repeated in
The Secret Doctrine, Blavatsky does identify Krishna
with the Christ-state (II, 604, note).
Other writers prior to Blavatsky have also noted parallels
between Jesus, Christ, and Krishna. Joscelyn Godwin cites
The Theosophical Enlightenment (Albany: State University
of New York Press, 1994) such early writers as Francis Wilford
("An Essay on the Sacred Isles of the West, with Other
Essays connected with that Work," in Asiatic Researches
X, 1808), the Rev. Robert Taylor (The Diegesis,
1833), and Samson Arnold Mackey (Man's Best Friend, or
the Evils of Pious Frauds, 1826). Godfrey Higgins, the
author of Anacalypsis: An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil
of the Saitic Isis; or an Inquiry into the Origin of Languages,
Nations and Religions, two volumes (New Hyde Park, NY:
University Books, 1965 (originally published in 1833 and
1836), notes similarities between "Cristna" and
Jesus: both were Saviors of Humanity, both were Supreme
Beings incarnated (I, 129) and both were born at the end
of a Neros or cycle of 600 years (I, 183). In II, 368, he
writes that "Jesus Christ was nothing but the ninth
Avatar coming in his proper order--Salivahana in the
East, Jesus in the West. And, as the Brahmins make their
Cristna, not the ninth Avatar, but God himself,
so the Christians do the same with their teacher of Samaria."
Higgins then paraphrases Taylor's Diegesis by noting
"the striking similarity between the histories of Buddha,
Cristna, and Jesus" (II, 43-44). Compare also Isis
Unveiled, II, 536-541.
29. Under the title in
the Critic, "The Gnostic Doctrine of Jesus and
Christ," XV/22 (July 1926): 6-9.
30. "Leadbeater and
the Incas. More Exposures. The 'Akashic Records' in Cold
Print. A.D. 1688 to 1883," Dawn 3/14 (January
1, 1924): 3-7.
In 1936, Hare was to co-author the controversial Who
Wrote the Mahatma Letters? (London: Williams and Norgate).
31. It also was a source
for Mrs. Besant's Esoteric Christianity.
32. Mme. Blavatsky's discussion
of mediumship in the context of the Neo-platonists displays
some similarities with this teaching. See Isis Unveiled,