In the last chapter I referred to direct experience
of theosophical teachings as facts in Nature. I mentioned
the experience of discipleship and Krishnamurti's
wholesale condemnation of this most ancient, universal
and beautiful ideal. Reasons for condemnation of misapplications
of this ideal can readily be seen. There are dangers
associated with every great adventure, whether material
or spiritual. Everest has its ice-walls, crevasses,
avalanches, its fierce gales, and its blizzards. Men
have perished in attempts to reach the summit. Happily,
however, the dangers do not discourage others imbued
with the same great spirit of adventure, of sublime
aspiration. Indeed, the dangers themselves add to
the attractiveness of all great quests.
So also the Everest of the soul, the mountain top
within. The ascent of man towards great spiritual
heights, aspiration to know and learn from Those Mighty
Ones Who abide upon their summits this great
adventure also has its perils. Here, too, the path
leads "twixt cliffs of ice and iron" as
every determined aspirant soon discovers. Since Krishnamurti
so strongly discountenances the whole idea of the
Way of Holiness, the Path of Discipleship and Initiation,
let us look at some of the perils which beset the
Soul who seeks to tread that path.
First, it is important to remember that these dangers
are not inherent in the path of discipleship itself.
They arise from individual perversions of the ideal.
Recognition of the possibility of such errors in no
way constitutes derogation of one of the noblest ideals
by which the mind of man can be inspired.
What are the dangers, if any, inherent in the
experience of contact with a perfect man? Foremost,
perhaps, idolatry the worship of a perfected
personality its elevation to the position of
a god. Against this the Masters have steadfastly warned
those who aspire to serve under Them. But it must
be admitted that aspirants have been known to fall
into this error one which is readily understandable
in view of the enormous evolutionary gulf between
the god-like perfection of the Adept and the human
limitations of the devotee.
Next of the dangers are pride, self-conceit, the
"holier than thou" attitude.
Next, the warping of the growth of the Soul. The
power of the Adept is said to be so great, His light
so dazzling that there may be a danger that the Soul
should lose its own individual integrity and become
a slavish imitation of that which seems to it so noble,
so high. If I understand him aright, this is Krishnamurti's
chief objection to the concept of discipleship. He
would seem to suggest that, instead of growing by
his own inherent power, according to his own spiritual
design and towards his own unique attainment, the
individual might attempt slavishly to imitate the
Master and so miss the experience of making manifest
his own spiritual creativeness and of attaining to
his own unique fulfilment.
Personally, whilst recognising the others
indeed, observing signs of them in the followers of
Krishnamurti I doubt profoundly the existence
of this last danger, particularly when the teacher
is a true Adept. The sun does not impart to or impose
upon the plant its own glory; Such is an impossibility
even to the sun. Sunshine assists the plant in the
production of its own unique flower, its own fragrance
and its own seed.
So also the Master, Who is to the disciple as a spiritual
Sun in Whose radiance his powers rapidly unfold.
Even if we grant the existence of all these dangers,
they do not justify, I submit, the wholesale condemnation
either of the Way of Holiness itself or of the aspiration
of the Soul of man to discipleship. Concerning the
wisdom, love and compassion of the Master Himself
by Whom and in Whom that aspiration is fulfilled,
it is indeed difficult to justify the uncompromising
denunciations of Krishnamurti. Justice, reason, gratitude
and respect all seem to me to be outraged in such
a condemnation of those Adepts Who at this time still
take, and from time immemorial have taken, disciples.
Great World Teachers, such as the Lord Buddha and
the Lord Christ, Themselves encouraged men and women
to seek the heights to which They had ascended. To
aid them, These Great Ones drew men near Themselves
as disciples. Many others among the company of the
Adepts perpetuate this practice. Many great servants
of humanity have borne testimony to the priceless
value of the experience of entering directly the Presence
of a perfected man. It 'would seem reasonable, therefore,
to conclude that despite the dangers, there are inestimable
advantages to the individual and to the race in the
attainment by man of the stages of soul growth known
as discipleship, Initiation and Adeptship.
It is indeed strange that Krishnamurti, who has written
books of the greatest wisdom and beauty on this very
subject, who has personally led many to the feet of
the Masters, should in this later phase of his activities
now condemn that which once he so highly praised.
It is evident that a
most radical psychological change has occurred in
him. In that change most probably lies the whole secret
of so much that is difficult of comprehension in the
later phase of his life and work.
The other reasons which he himself gives for his
condemnations of his own earlier ideas and teachings
are also difficult to follow. He seems to assume that
everyone who seeks the way of discipleship does so
through motives of fear, of desire for comfort or
escape from reality, for spiritual rewards and for
gratification of selfconceit. Yet he himself, in common
with all other authoritative writers, states in his
earlier books upon the subject of the spiritual life
that these motives would themselves constitute impassable
barriers on the path of discipleship. He, therefore,
both denies to every aspirant to spiritual light a
state of purity of heart and accuses each and every
one of them, from the first disciple on earth to the
most recent, of the stupidity of being moved by motives
which would inevitably render their quest abortive
from its inception a strong and sweeping accusation
Krishnamurti even goes farther than this very
much farther. He constantly uses the word "exploitation"
as a kind of philosophic club with which to smite
the heads of all those who have ever sought and still
seek to help others along the path which leads to
the Masters' feet. In this category he presumably
includes the Adepts Themselves.
Discussing the utter incompatibility of his teachings
with those expounded by theosophists, he is reported
to have said recently in Mexico: "You cannot
give poison from one side and the remedy from the
other; that is to say, give with one hand what I call
poison organisation, discipleship, Masters;
and with the other the remedy
the remedy against fear, against lack of understanding
and intelligence. On the one hand you say: Religions
are marvellous, necessary; and authority also is necessary
for spiritual growth; you say that it is necessary
that you should become disciples of the Masters. And
then you turn and speak of Krishnamurti who is opposed
to all that. One thing is a poison and the other is
something that is real; I do not wish that the two
things should be mixed."
Apart from the declaration that Theosophy, Masterhood
and the Masters are poison and by inference all active
theosophists from the remotest ages to the present
day are poisoners, one might well enquire for his
basis for the words "authority also is necessary
for spiritual growth." During twenty-seven years
of membership of The Theosophical Society I have heard
only the contrary. Man reaches fulfilment by virtue
of the release of the life and light within him; this
is what I have learned during a prolonged study of
Theosophy and long association with theosophists.
If we are to take Krishnamurti literally, all great
spiritual leaders from the beginning of the world,
all saints and holy men, all teachers of the Ancient
Wisdom, all who have given and still give their lives
for the helping of humanity, are exploiters of the
people. He will not grant them one virtue. He calls
their teachings poison, and their principles pernicious.
By assumption, all the great body of spiritual teachers,
who have appeared in the world up to now, are all
rogues and self-seeking hypocrites, whilst he alone
among them is pure. An astounding phenomenon, indeed!
What is the student to think in the face of such
an amazing situation as this? I do not
answer. I invite answers. I seek understanding; but
in the seeking very definitely I am not going to cast
away the highest, the holiest, the most beautiful
experiences of life. I cannot turn my back upon the
great teachers, ancient and modern, who have shed
their light upon the world. To do so would be both
grave discourtesy and base ingratitude.
Since, however, I have so long admired and respected
Krishnamurti, I give serious attention to his accusations.
Particularly do I give attention to his use of the
word "exploiters" in connection with such
people as Madame Blavatsky, Colonel Olcott, Dr. Besant,
C. W. Leadbeater and their successors. I have looked
at these people with unbiassed eyes. I have watched
closely for any signs whatever of self-seeking and
"exploitation" in the conduct of their lives
and in their relations with their fellowmen, especially
with those who have felt most intimately drawn to
them. Dispassionately and with every opportunity of
knowing the facts, with Krishnamurti's arraignment
before me, I have presumed to judge The Theosophical
Society, its founders, its leaders and all those tens
of thousands who love and serve under them. I give
my verdict unhesitatingly.
It is: "Not Guilty."
I believe that these people are working for one object
only to bring to the world the realisation
of the fact of the Brotherhood of Man and the other
sublime teachings of the Ancient Wisdom.
Furthermore, I affirm that in spite of the difficulties
which certain of Krishnamurti's teachings create,
in spite of the vituperative attacks of one
who has been much beloved by them, they are succeeding.
A study of modern thought, scientific, philosophic
and spiritual, demonstrates unmistakably that the
sixty-four years of work of The Theosophical Society
in promulgating these truths is bearing fruit. Happily
the mind of modern man is gradually all too
gradually, but quite definitely becoming theosophised.
And in this lies the hope and the safety of the world
in the face of the threat of cataclysmic war.
Historians of the future will, I feel sure, see in
this relatively small Society of ours a movement of
immense significance for the whole of humanity. Further
I affirm that anyone who denies this can only do so
because they have neither realised the true work of
The Theosophical Society nor gained any due comprehension
through study of the sublime teachings of Theosophy.