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Krishnamurti's utterances are an extraordinary blend of rare flashes of transcendental wisdom, penetrating intelligence, incomprehensibility, prejudice, intolerance and vituperation. In these chapters I offer some thoughts upon his various teachings.

I am moved to do so partly because after arrival in Australia I became aware of the influence of the teachings of Krishnamurti upon the membership of The Theosophical Society. One Lodge had just sustained severe losses in the resignation of some of its most talented and promising students.

In addition, the most prominent workers in The Theosophical Society have received in silence the continuous and vituperative denunciations of Krishnamurti. They could afford to be silent knowing that truth is certain to prevail and falsehood to be exposed.

I confess, however, that as a member of the Society, I have not always been able to achieve the philosophic calm of the leaders. The principles of justice, fair play and common courtesy have been so flagrantly outraged for some seven years that at last I am moved to a reply.

I have kept in touch with Krishnamurti's teachings, attending his gatherings when possible, and reading his published addresses. In Australia I also sought an opportunity of learning direct by


what line of thought these ex-members had arrived at the conclusion that Theosophy was valueless, was indeed a hindrance in the process of self-illumination and the fulfilment of life. I sought first those truths in the teachings of Krishnamurti which had proved so enlightening. Second, I wanted to know in what way these truths differ from or are outside of Theosophy. Third, end perhaps most important, I desired to discover why one must discard Theosophy, self-purification, study and service, must resign from all movements and give up all good work in order to receive enlightenment. These for me have been important questions for some years.

Two long sessions of exposition and question and answer with one ex-fellow of the Theosophical Society who, following Krishnamurti, had resigned from various organisations, failed completely to convey one single idea to which my mind could wholly assent, saying: "this is a great truth, and one, moreover, which is outside of Theosophy"

A genuine mutual liking existed between my informant and myself, and the occasion seemed to be the most promising I had yet found; for here was one who was willing to analyse, to be questioned freely, frankly, and one moreover who, by theosophical study and self-training, was accustomed to logical processes of thought.

The first statement with which I was confronted was "that there is no purpose in life." Seeking confirmation, I w,, informed that experience does not teach us anything. This is true to the doctrine of Krishnamurti, who positively affirms that there is no purpose even in suffering.

The next statement was that liberation was for all, at whatever stage in the life-process they happened to stand. whether dustman or Univer-


sity professor, primitive man or genius. All could achieve immediate and complete self-fulfilment if they would. "Why do they not do so?" I naturally asked. "Because they don't want to," was the reply. "Why do they not want to)" I asked. "Because they have not had enough experience." "Then experience has a value)"

So there we were, in the first of a succession of closed circles of thought, of contradictions from which, despite my every endeavour, it was impossible to escape. Eventually, because of this, the discussions were discontinued. My friend frankly confessed his inability to present to me a logical case. He said that my perpetual challenge of every inconsistency and contradiction rendered exposition of Krishnamurti's ideas impossible. He said that you have to take a very great deal which appears incomprehensible and illogical and hold it in your mind without immediate rejection if you would understand.

I replied that such confusion of thought, such housing of mental concepts against which reason and intuition utterly rebel would plunge me into a kind of a hell of mental confusion. Since suffering is said to be purposeless, I was not prepared to go so far. It was clear to me that, like many in the same position, my friend was himself experiencing mental darkness and anguish. As a result of cutting himself off from his friends, his life work and his highest ideals of human conduct, as so many others have done at the bidding of Krishnamurti, he found himself in misery and loneliness. He admitted this, and said that Krishnamurti taught that it was necessary to pass through this stage in order to achieve discern-


ment. I could not forbear to say: "And yet experience is valueless and life has no purpose?" Happily with friendship unaffected, we were constrained to leave the matter there.

This experience would appear to be not uncommon. At Ojai, a questioner asked Krishnamurti, "Do you not see, sir, that your ideas can lead us but to one result – the blankness of negation and ineffectiveness in our struggle with the problems of life? " *

Similar confusion has arisen for many others who heroically have essayed the same path through negation and self-isolation in pursuance of the theme enunciated by Krishnamurti.

At this point I wish to make it clear that I am not judging the case. I do not feel competent to do so. Such heroism may produce heroic results, despite the fact that Krishnamurti constantly warns against any course of conduct with a view to attainment.

Here are his words 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 continually find myself to be shut when endeavouring to comprehend these teachings. For the opening clause, "When we understand profoundly the significance of our existence," is for me the end, not the beginning of the search.

This phenomenon is constant throughout all Krishnamurti's expositions. He seems to me to

* Ojai 1936 Talks, p. 108.

* Ojai 1936 Talks, p. 28.


put the very goal itself as the first step towards its attainment. If I may presume to say so, of one so much greater than myself, he does not appear to appreciate the enormous gulf between himself as a very great and illuminated being and the rest of humanity in which he appears to be trying to initiate the process of thinking for itself.

Krishnamurti himself apparently finds little or no favourable response from those whom he addresses. Evidently they find, as I do myself, their existent mental equipment unequal to the task of following the exceedingly abstruse concepts of which his talks are presumed to be expositions.

Here, for example, is a question put to him in various forms more than once: "I have listened to your talks for several years, but to be frank, I have not yet grasped what you are trying to convey."   The answer, as usual, is itself as unacceptable (to me!) as the teachings which produced the question.  Krishnamurti says, "All that I am trying to do is to help you to discern for yourself that there is no salvation outside of yourself, that no Master, no society can save you." *  Obviously that is not all he is trying to tell us; for such a statement is to be found in every one of the world religions and philosophies, and especially is it part of the central message of the one society which Krishnamurti has singled out as the chief target for his arrows of criticism and iconoclasm – The Theosophical Society.

What is wrong?  Who is at fault, if fault there be?  Are we not expected to understand?  Is the whole purpose to throw us into a profound

* Question and part of an answer, p. 4I, l936 Ojai Talks.


mental confusion out of which enlightenment will emerge.

For Krishnamurti, the whole world and, therefore, his audiences, his questioners, and especially 'the continually vilified leaders and members of The Theosophical Society – all these are wrong, are knaves and fools, whilst he alone is right. At least, so he continually seems to suggest.

What is to be done about this? I can find but one answer. We must bring the best powers of heart and mind to bear upon Krishnamurti's teaching. We must respect his greatness, and approach his message – even if he denies that he has one – without bias, or, if possible, with a leaning towards his way of thought.

He himself demands much more. He says that one must discard every opinion, every belief, all knowledge wrested from life, throw overboard every experience however lofty, beautiful, ennobling and profound. For all these are contemptuously dismissed by him as superstitious beliefs, self-deceits and ways of escape from reality. As long as we hold to one single idea which life has made true for us we cannot know the truth. We must become mentally virginal. We must render our minds like a white sheet. Then, perhaps, but certainly not till then, a faint glimmer of light may dawn upon us.

Since Krishnamurti so greatly stresses it, let us examine this concept of self-denudation. Students of the Ancient Wisdom know full well that two major psychological changes quite naturally both precede and accompany illumination. They consist first of psychological simplification, and second of self-unification, or the fusion of hitherto separated aspects of human nature into


a unit. As a result of the first change, personal desire gradually disappears. The individual "wants" no more. Emotionally and intellectually he becomes independent of externals, for he has found a well-spring of life, of happiness and of truth within himself. His feelings become pure, white, still. His intellect is free of supposition, free of doubt, "simple," calm, direct. His mind, freed from a confusion of externally imposed creeds, dogmas and beliefs, is established in recognition of – not obsession by – certain basic metaphysical formula which have become for him the keys of life, his theo-sophia. The second change of self-unification, or the fusion of emotion and intellect into a single centre of awareness and action quite naturally accompanies this.

Clear-minded and unified, the individual has symbolically become "as a little child."

If one understands Krishnamurti rightly, he insists on bringing this condition about by force, artificially as it were. There must be positive action to eject all previous concepts of life. "When we begin to free ourselves, through experiment, from these false divisions with their special significances, pursuits and ideals, which have caused so much harm and falsely complicated our lives, then we shall release creative energy and discover the endless movement of life." *

My own idea of this self-clarification is that it is entirely a natural process; it is the result of interior changes, of the unfoldment of the life within. It is, therefore, not forced. Indeed, it seems doubtful whether it can be brought about artificially. Rather is it an inevitable occurrence,

* Ojai Talks, p. 7, para. 4.


utterly spontaneous, perfectly natural, even thoughtless, or, at any rate, thought-free. Tagore beautifully expresses the spontaneity of this change in his words: "He who can open the bud, does it so simply."

Perhaps the most phenomenal concomitant of this condition of spiritual "budding" is its physical result. The karma of material adversity begins to be outworn. In consequence, although no direct effort is ever made to obtain even the necessities of physical life, the "new-born" is never in need. All his wants are supplied, sometimes in abundance. Symbolically, the kings of the earth unite to lay their treasures at the Christ Child's feet.

What remains after this interior death and rebirth? That which remains is the individual centre of awareness. But the word "individual" does not imply separated individuality. For one of the great experiences which follow the process of denudation is the progressive fading of the sense of separateness. A state of unity with all is entered, first, in exhilarating flashes, and later as a permanent condition of consciousness.

This individual centre of consciousness, this sublimated selfhood, displays three attributes or powers – those of intuition, reason and will. Intuition and reason are gradually fused into one, and they, with the fruit of their combined activity, remain as constituent attributes of the new-born Self.

The third attribute of the Self consists of an awakened and burning will to know, to ascend, to conquer. This arises from fathomless depths within the centre of existence. Its presence and activity is experienced as a continuous and mounting determination to break all fetters,


pierce all resistance to its own free, full and perfect manifestation. Once awakened it never sleeps. Although its decrees may not always be ratified in action, especially at first, such temporary frustration has no effect upon it. Ever the will to victory mounts to become the one increasing purpose of life, the one exalting power.

Though concentrated at burning-glass intensity in the individual, this will is known by him as impersonal, universal and in this resides its potency. Unconquerable, undiminished, pertaining to eternity, it becomes the fiery centre upon which individual existence is established.

Thus the One Will crowns, completes the three-fold centre of awareness in man which remains when all else has been "slain." Intuition, reason and the intellectual light – which is the result of their blended activity – these, fused in. and empowered by the fire of will, these remain.

Krishnamurti appears to carry this process very much further. Apparently the very thought of an ideal, a quest or any purpose in life is anathema to him. One in whom the awakening of the will to fulfilment has begun, who sees the goal of liberation before him and is moving deliberately towards it, cannot possibly comply with his demand for interior emptiness, agnosticism as an essential to illumination.

As to will-consciousness Krishnamurti says little. But he does demand as an essential to illumination, at least as a result of listening to him, the complete ejection from the centre of awareness of all memory and all the distilled essence of the fruits of life's experiences. Apparently everything must go, and, moreover, the future is mortgaged. In his own words: "When a man says, 'I know,' he is dead." One must neither


remember one's own past nor be interested in one's future. One must not admit of or answer to interior illumination outside of his views, and one must not employ reason when listening to him. Apparently one must listen with empty, actionless mind and purposeless will. At least, that is the impression I receive when listening to him or reading his utterances.

This negation appears to me to be implicit if not fully expressed. For if one does apply reason to certain of his teachings one must reject them as illogical and unsound. His denunciation of Theosophy as untrue, as poison, and, by implication, of a person like his "mother," Dr. Besant, as an exploiter of the people, is an example. This denunciation is impossible of acceptance by any individual who has studied and tested against life the one and has truly comprehended the other. To deny the Ancient Wisdom to a mind illuminated by it is comparable to denial of the existence and value of the sun to forms which derive from it their life and energy. For, throughout all ages the Ancient Wisdom has been as the sun to the unfolding mind of man. Yet Krishnamurti does deny the Ancient Wisdom albeit in terms which suggest that he knows little or nothing of its true light, its profundity and its beauty. "... Schools of thought are nothing but imitative jargons which merely create divisions and encourage exclusiveness and vanity of mind. These systems of thought have really no validity, being founded on illusion." *

Dr. Besant was one of the greatest women and greatest servants of humanity of this age, and one moreover who dearly loved and

* Ojai Talks 193 –, p. 5, para. 4.


deeply reverenced Krishnamurti. In the face of his denial of Theosophy and his denunciation of Dr. Besant, both intuition and reason, stimulated by moral indignation, forbid either positive acceptance or empty-mindedness.

*      *       *      *

In succeeding chapters I propose to continue this consideration of Krishnamurti's teaching. I shall frankly challenge him and them as he bids us challenge. Where they appear to me to be incompatible with reason and fact I shall respectfully declare them so. I hope very much that others will participate, particularly those who claim to have found the light through Krishnamurti. For it seems to me that it cannot be right and good at this critical period of history for someone to travel continuously about the world producing confusion of thought wherever he goes.









Copyright © 2001 - G.W. Schüller