In the preceding chapter I referred to the denunciations
of The Theosophical Society, its leaders, inner and
outer, and its whole membership, which are a constantly
recurring feature of Krishnamurti's exposition of
his ideas. In this chapter I refer to another exceedingly
strange phenomenon observable throughout his work.
This consists of the confusion of thought into which
he throws so many of those who listen to him. Question
after question shows that after seven years or more
people are still unable to grasp either what he is
trying to say or in what way his teachings may be
practically applied to life. A significant phrase
occurs in the "Newsletter," of March, 1937.
There we read that "after the many discussions
a certain sense of their futility became apparent."
Here is a typical question illustrative of the sense
of futility produced in Krishnamurti's listeners:
"If we are not to have ideals, if we must be
rid of the desire to improve ourselves, to serve God
and our less fortunate fellow-beings, what, then,
is the purpose of living? Why not just die and be
done with it?"
I will not quote the whole of the reply, which can
be read. Here is the first part of it. "What
I have said concerning ideals is this: that they become
a convenient means of escape from the conflict of
life, and thus they prevent the comprehension of oneself."
Is there not something cruelly cynical in thus turning
to disrepute the very highest attributes and aspirations
of which man is capable by branding them as "convenient
means of escape"
* Talks at Ojai 1936, p. 50.
and by imputation branding all idealists as cowards?
According to Krishnamurti, philanthropy, purity of
motive and courage are unknown in the world, especially
Here is another typical question: "I have listened
to your talks for several years, but to be frank,
I have not yet grasped what you are trying to convey.
Your words have always seemed vague to me, whereas
the writings of H.P.B., Rudolph Steiner, Annie Besant
and a few others have greatly helped me...."
One explanation of this phenomenon offered by his
followers is that Krishnamurti's incomprehensibility
is a sign of his greatness; that if his teachings
were easy to understand they would be without value.
My reply to this would scarcely be good English. I
can, however, say that every great teacher that has
preceded him has succeeded in awakening human intuition
and enlightened human minds by clear and simple phrases,
many of which have come down to us as models of clarity
of thought, as utterances pregnant with wisdom. Where
abstruse ideas and profound occult and philosophic
verities are taught, meditation and close study enable
the student to grasp them. Personally, though I have
consulted many, I have yet to meet anyone who can
tell me, in a comprehensive way, the general purport
of Krishnamurti's teaching. In the main, people seem
to be in the same position, either as that so frankly
avowed by the questioners quoted above, or as the
friend referred to in the first chapter of this book.
Personally, I do not for a moment deny or forget
that Krishnamurti has given us certain very lofty
ideas, nor do I wish here to give the
* Ojai 1936, p. 41.
impression that because teaching is difficult it
is therefore not exalted. Indeed, I am fully aware
that comprehension of great spiritual truths demands
a certain stillness of the analytical mind and an
alertness of the intuition. Many times, by the very
process of trying to listen by the intuition, however
imperfectly developed, I myself have received unforgettable
flashes of illumination from Krishnamurti.
Indeed, I feel that we should endeavour thus to listen
to him. For occasionally there shines out an illuminating
truth, a thought, sharp and keen as a sword.
I may be wrong, but it has seemed to me that in latter
years these occasions have become rarer. One last
question may be quoted, which would seem to support
the possibility that Krishnamurti is becoming less
comprehensible as his mission proceeds: "Last
Sunday you seemed very uncertain in what you said,
and some of us could make nothing of it. Several of
my friends say that they are not coming any more to
hear you, because you are becoming vague and undecided
about your own ideas. Is this impression due to lack
of understanding in us, or are you not as sure of
yourself as you used to be?"
The answer to this question may be read on page 21
of Ojai Talks 1936. It consists of partial admission
of inability precisely to express his ideas in words.
According to Krishnamurti's habitual custom, it also
throws the onus upon the questioner, suggesting that
the blame for the lack of comprehension is largely
his own. As I have said, Krishnamurti blames their
impurity of "mind-heart," their desire for
escape, superstition and beliefs, for his hearers'
inability to comprehend him.
Is it possible that Krishnamurti is so great that
no one can understand him? Can it be that his ideas
are so lofty that he cannot put them into words? Is
it also possible that his illumination is so transcendental
that no one who is not similarly illumined can share
in it? Is it that both he and his ideas are so far
ahead of the times that the human mind in its present
state cannot hope to gain very much from his teachings?
Is he speaking to future generations who will perceive
and acclaim that to which we of this age are so strangely
blind. Is he a spiritual Einstein addressing a humanity
still in the kindergarten?
Certain phrases and mental attitudes of his would
seem to give ground for such a possibility. He himself
has said that if three people out of the whole of
humanity could understand him he would be satisfied.
Whether this minute proportion, this smallness of
his hopes is due to the exalted nature of his teachings
or the stupidity of mankind, we are not informed.
Against one error I would strongly warn all who listen
to Krishnamurti that is the error of the dog
in Aesop's Fable: He let the substance fall in the
hope of grasping the shadow.
During the seven or more years of Krishnamurti's
later mission I have seen many promising lives rendered
tragically fruitless, many hopes destroyed, and many
good servants of humanity lost to that service. Under
Krishnamurti's influence they have thrown overboard
the whole of life's experiences, life's illuminations,
and life's understanding. Religion, philosophy, ethics,
and even morals on all these they have turned
a scornful back. They have done this in the utterly
vain belief that by so doing they will gain some mysterious
enlightenment hitherto hidden from them.
I have seen noble-hearted, pure-minded men and women,
both young and old, throw over their previous moral
restraint, cast aside that discipline of life without
which there can be no happiness. I have watched them
cease from a service to those less fortunate than
themselves, which hitherto had made their lives noble
All this they do, as they suppose, at the bidding
Krishnamurti may be performing one useful function
in the world. By his abuse, his denials, his condemnations,
he may force us to put our own knowledge again to
the test. But when he publicly declares that the Ancient
Wisdom is invalid, poisonous, pernicious; when he
affirms that he and he alone is showing to the world
the way to truth, then I for one must part company
The whole world knows him now. Humanity awaits the
deliverance of his message. A world expectant, a world
in direst need and danger looks to him for light.
The opportunity is unique; the need, the danger unequalled
in the history of the globe. He has the ear of the
world. After seven years of iconoclasm will he not
begin to construct, to teach, to lead the world to
that which he has found? The times are indeed critical.
The nations are at the cross-roads. One way leads
to tyranny, aggression, exploitation, persecution,
materialism; and the other way leads to individual
freedom, justice, ordered progress, cultural and spiritual
The great need of the world to-day is for a clear
call a message of light and wisdom. Like the
Israelites of old, the nations in the wilderness
have urgent need of a modern Moses and a second pillar
of fire. For us the Brotherhood of Man is the one
clear call; Theosophy the pillar of fire, the light
undimmed and undimmable.
The unity of life, the kinship of all the peoples
of the earth, their common path of life and their
common goal of perfection, this is the message which
the world needs to-day. The Theosophical Society which
Krishnamurti so constantly denounces was brought into
existence for the express purpose of delivering that
message. Its members throughout the world are doing
their best to fulfil that purpose.
Acquisition belongs to the past, contribution to
the present and the future. Competition, strife, war
belong to the past. Co-operation, friendship, mutual
service these are the watchwords of today and
to-morrow. Ours the task as theosophists of letting
this light shine, of giving this message, of sounding
forth this watchword. Let us be faithful to our mission.
Whilst studying with open mind every comprehensible
presentation of truth, let us not be led aside from
the great truth which already we have received by
any authority however high.
The Great Work calls to-day as of old. Theosophists
will help the world at this time by standing firm
in their beliefs, by not wavering under test. Some
of us many thousands of us have discovered
within ourselves a well-spring of life, of happiness,
of inspiration. Theosophy has led us to this discovery.
Ours in our turn to lead humanity to its own fount
of life within, to its own happiness, and to its own
truth as we have been led. For do we not know full
well that Theosophy is the hope of the world?
We do not fear any challenge to the truths
which we have made our own. In this book I have presumed
to challenge the challenger; but I do so with respect
and with hope in the future. I have not read the reports
of the 1938 talks at Omen. Perhaps in them a comprehensible
and constructive message will be given to a humanity
in direst need and to the many individuals who to-day
are ardently seeking the light.