Prominent amongst the reasons for Krishnamurti's
denunciation of ideals, disciplines and lives devoted
to the service of great causes, is that they are all
means of escape. The existence of pure idealism, sacrificial
love and selfless service by these condemnations is
This is an example of the excess by which, in my
humble opinion, Krishnamurti's teaching is so greatly
marred. Perceiving the excesses, repelled by them,
one is in danger of casting aside the whole body of
his ideas. This I think would be a profound mistake;
for even in the extreme statements, one is not infrequently
able to perceive more than a germ of truth. Granted,
the ideas thus perceived are in no sense new. One
has learnt of them in the course of one's theosophical
study. Indeed, everything which is comprehensible
and rings true in Krishnamurti's utterances is recognisable
as part of the Ancient Wisdom.
Krishnamurti's denunciations may apply to some people.
But very definitely they do not apply to all. The
wise student will use them as a touchstone to his
own character and conduct, thereby gaining much of
self-purification and reorientation.
The brand of "means of escape, fear, search,
reward" which Krishnamurti appears to place upon
all ideals and all idealists, whilst falsely applied,
nevertheless can lead the thought to a great truth.
One's theosophical studies show one that the true
fruits of life's experiences can only be harvested
when they are accepted, entered into in their fullness,
examined until their full significance is indelibly
impressed upon the consciousness.
This is, of course, true of both joys and sorrows.
But it would seem to be especially true of sorrow.
If those in suffering and sorrow would be wise, they
would not, as Krishnamurti would seem to say, run
away from these experiences. The waters of such sorrow
must be allowed to flow over one, even if one is temporarily
engulfed. For in the process of acceptance, examination,
and even of being temporarily overwhelmed, the true
essence of the experience is distilled within the
crucible of the heart.
This essence is peace born of comprehension, and
he who is able to accept all pain, especially mental
pain, with understanding will always find his peace.
He who runs away will ever find escape impossible,
peace unattainable. This truth is most beautifully
expressed in Francis Thompson's wonderful poem, "The
Hound of Heaven." The word "Hound"
in the title may be taken as a verb meaning "hunt."
Krishnamurti expresses this most beautifully
at least, I think he does as follows: "When
you begin to suffer, do not say, I must get rid of
this or that want or cause, but silently observe,
without denial or acceptance (I cannot agree to "without
acceptance" G.H.), and out of this choiceless
awareness, want, with its fears and illusions, begins
to yield place to intelligence. This intelligence
is life itself, and is not conditioned by the compulsion
This idea seems to be susceptible of extension beyond
the individual who suffers. There is only one Divine
life, and when, intelligently and without morbidity,
we unite ourselves with our own suffering, we unite
ourselves with the suffering of all. We become one
with them, and in so doing find the peace of the Everlasting
or the Divine compassion without and within
into which we sink, and in which, as we then know,
the world is forever safe.
This is a mystical experience, which comes as the
waters of pain and sorrow are allowed to close over
one. In the utter loneliness which accompanies this
profound experience, nothing external can aid one.
In this complete aloneness beneath the waters of sorrow,
comes not only the great peace, but the great illumination
of one-ness. The illusion of separateness is gone
for ever afterwards and with it the illusion of death.
A self-conscious awareness of immortality is born
out of such an experience. Thus we see the value of
life's experiences Krishnamurti's positive
Theosophy tells us that it is in experience frankly
faced, studied, accepted, that light is found. Pain
borne without retreat and without reproach either
to life and the pain or to its personal agent, if
one exists, karma accepted without bitterness, fear
or weakness in this valiant acceptance, free
from the slightest trace of despair or rebellion,
lies the way of light.
In one of his most beautiful and revealing utterances,
Krishnamurti also expresses this as follows:
"As you do not wish to change a lovely form,
the glow after sunset, the vision of a tree in a field,
so also do not obstruct the movement of sorrow. Let
it ripen, for in its own process of fulfilment there
is comprehension. When you are aware of the wound
of sorrow, without acceptance, resignation or denial,
without artificially inviting it, then suffering awakens
the flame of creative intelligence."
There speaks the poet, the seer, the illumined. In
such phrases of pure beauty and deep wis-
dom, Krishnamurti places all lovers of beauty and
of truth heavily in his debt. Here we see how true
in one sense is Krishnamurti's affirmation that all
men, irrespective of evolutionary stature, could enter
by this way into this light. Nothing objective bars
the way. This liberation is truly available to all.
The difficulty is and we had better face it
that all men are not able to accept
suffering without an attempt to evade it and without
bitterness or reproach. For such an acceptance demands
a certain level of development, a certain almost exalted
mental attitude. And to this the average man cannot
attain. Furthermore, it is folly, I submit, either
to expect him to do so or to condemn him for not doing
so. If you do, you break him. His memory drives him
instinctively to seek escape from all that is unpleasant;
for he thinks that self-preservation lies that way.
Yet both his instinct and his thought are wrong. He
needs to be instructed in the meaning, cause and cure
of pain. This pace Krishnamurti
is where Theosophy is of so great a value to humanity.
For this the meaning and purpose of life and
all of life's experience is part of its great
message to the world.
All this would seem to be contained in the story
of the Baptism of our Lord, in which He voluntarily
entered and was submerged in the waters of Jordan
symbol of the sorrows of humanity. He came
forth illumined and empowered, as indeed do all who
thus receive and welcome the experiences of life.
Such, according to Theosophy, is part of the great
secret of the cessation of sorrow. Krishnamurti undoubtedly
does at least hint at this secret which in its essence
is less a teach-
ing or description than a vivid experience. For the
truth is only fully comprehensible to those who have
passed through the experiences. Largely by virtue
of one's own experience of life, one is on occasion
able to receive from Krishnamurti flashes of illumination,
to assent to an idea almost with wonder, so great
is the light. Sometimes, however rarely, with a thrill
of enlightenment one finds arising from the depths
of one's own experience an inner spontaneous answer
to his words.
But and here is the special warning I venture
to give to all who study him, including myself
because he proves illuminating on occasion, do not
let us throw overboard all the happiness, beauty and
usefulness which our own religion and philosophy have
hitherto brought to us. To do so is the wildest folly,
and can lead only to sterility, misery, a darkened
Questions put to him demonstrate very clearly that
Krishnamurti has led people into this darkness. I
speak feelingly, for I have seen and known so many
who have made just that mistake. Once radiant, they
are now in darkness. Once loving friends to all, they,
like Krishnamurti himself, are now scornful and bitter
opponents of their old friends and co-workers. Once
useful citizens, they are now idle. Not only are they
idle, but they scorn those who remain active in the
service of city, country and race. Once self-controlled,
vegetarian, teetotallers and refined of speech, they
now scorn all systematic discipline, eat meat, smoke,
take alcohol and are addicted to coarse language.
All this is justified by the plea of fuller self-expression.
Great is the tragedy of such temporarily ruined lives
a tragedy all too common since Krishnamurti
took up his mission.
Are we to estimate him by such fruits of his teaching
alone? Not entirely, I submit. There is, however,
a test which suffices, and for me is final. That test
is the extent to which the teacher displays and
evokes the quality of compassion.
True illumination draws the seer nearer to the world,
nearer to his brother man and draws his brother man
nearer to him. The fact of the oneness of life becomes
a living experience. From that experience spring divine
love and divine compassion, and at the risk of sounding
sentimental I would add, divine sweetness.
Wisdom, be it ever remembered, "mightily and
sweetly ordereth all things."
The true teacher comes "not to destroy, but
to build," as some fourteen years ago, and apparently
with prescience and purpose, we were all forewarned.
To the extent that Krishnamurti or any other both
displays and evokes compassion and in the measure
in which he "builds," in that measure is
he a great teacher.
Some seven years ago Krishnamurti publicly parted
company with The Theosophical Society. Since then
iconoclasm has been a marked characteristic of his
utterances. Is it possible that his life is divided
into seven-year cycles, each with its own keynote?
If so, a new cycle is now opening. Who knows what
it may bring?