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Jiddu Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) was an Indian mystic and philosopher whose teaching stresses universal religious values, personal insight, and autonomous self-discipline, synthesizing both Indian and Western philosophical and psychological principles.

Jiddu Krishnamurti was born on May 11, 1895 in Madanapalle, a small town in southern India, 150 miles northwest of Madras. His parents, Jiddu Sanjeevamma and Jiddu Narianiah, were devout Brahmin Hindus, who named their eighth son Krishnamurti ("the image of Krishna"), after the god Krsna, who appeared as an eighth child. He nearly died of malaria when he was two and the disease would continue to reappear and sicken him. When Krishnamurti was six, he was initiated into Brahminhood with the sacred thread ceremony, and he formally started his schooling. Amid poverty and hardship Krishnamurti was a shy and withdrawn child who found school life difficult.

Krishnamurti's father was a civil servant in the revenue department and a part-time worker at the Theosophical Society. After his wife died in 1905, Krishnamurti's father was forced to retire from his job with the colonial bureaucracy and seek full-time employment with the Theosophical Society. The family moved to Adyar near Madras, and it was there at the age of 12 that Krishnamurti's precocious spirituality attracted the attention of Annie Besant, head of the Theosophical Society—an organization promoting the religious unity of all men chiefly within the framework of Indian values. She gained guardianship of Krishnamurti and his younger brother, Nitya, and privately educated them in the Society.

In 1911 Besant and her colleagues founded the Order of the Star in the East (OSE), with Krishnamurti to be its spiritual head. He was the expected "World Teacher" and began a long period of training directed toward fulfillment of this role. However, Krishnamurti's father was worried by Besant's influence on his sons, and he tried to regain custody of them, but eventually failed. Krishnamurti and Nitya continued their studies in England and France. In England Krishnamurti developed a close friendship with Lady Emily Lutyens, who introduced him to aristocratic circles. According to Hillary Rodrigues, in Insight and Religious Mind, Krishnamurti read extensively during his time in England, enjoying the works of Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, and P.G. Wodehouse. He was also influenced by Paul Carus' The Buddha's Way of Virtue and Sir Edwin Arnold's The Light of Asia.

Leadership and Discovery

By the early 1920s, Krishnamurti had begun to take on more of a leadership role. He started contributing the editorial notes to the OSE's Herald of the Star and heading OSE conferences in France and India. He also moved to Ojai, in California where the weather was kinder to his brother, who suffered from tuberculosis. In Ojai he underwent a life-changing experience following extensive meditation and lapses close to unconsciousness, which brought him joy and profound peace. After his experience, he declared, "Love in all its glory has intoxicated my heart; my heart can never be closed. I have drunk at the fountain of Joy and eternal Beauty. I am God-intoxicated."

Krishnamurti's brother died in 1925, and he entered a period of great grief. Amid increasing popularity and renown, he also began to chafe under the worldly institutional restraints imposed on him. In 1929 he broke openly with this organization and disbanded the formal order of some 50,000 adherents, saying, "I maintain that the truth is a pathless land and you cannot approach it by any path what-so-ever, by any religion, by any sect." He officially resigned from the Theosophical Society in 1930.

For the rest of his life, Krishnamurti talked to wide audiences around the world. He mostly visited India, England, the United States, and Switzerland, although he also visited Australia, South America, and Canada. During World War II, he became friends with the writer Aldous Huxley, who encouraged him to write; Krishnamurti subsequently published a number of works, including Education and the Significance of Life (1953) and The First and Last Freedom (1954).

Krishnamurti's Philosophy

Krishnamurti's teaching is non-dogmatic, centered on his own spiritual experiences and oriented to the particular needs and capacities of his listeners. He regarded life as a voyage of self-discovery in which self-doubt, uncertainty, and self-criticism are inextricably related to inward spiritual transformation. The human problem begins with the "I-process"—an insatiable self-generating and all-consuming greed that is manifest not only in personal selfishness and in the social and historical instances of man's brutality to man but also in conventional morality filled with expediency, self-satisfaction, and subtle self-pride: "He who says he loves does not love." Fear and anxiety, obsession with security, self-assertion, and aggression (the "appearance" of courage) are all forms of frantic self-affirmation. This includes the delusion of the immortality of the soul, which is a particularly egregious projection of the "I" alarmed by annihilation.

Krishnamurti believed spiritual maturity and enlightenment come only with a radical breakthrough to deeper levels of man's psychic resources which then obliterate the debased superficialities of the ego state. This takes the form of a direct intuition and an inner transformation. It is not the result of simple moral striving but of critical self-reflection, doubt, and final enlightenment and self-knowledge, complete and therapeutic. This, in turn, leads to the integration of the human personality, freedom, and love in pure, selfless compassion.

Krishnamurti died on February 17, 1986 in Ojai, California after suffering from pancreatic cancer. His body was cremated and the ashes scattered in California, England, and India. Rajiv Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India expressed his sadness over Krishnamurti's death: "The People of India deeply mourn the passing away of Sri J. Krishnamurti. He was one of the most stimulating philosophers of our land and age. … Our country and the world are poorer with his death."

Further Reading

Krishnamurti and his thought are discussed in Emily Lutyens, Candles in the Sun (1957); Robert Powell, Zen and Reality: An Approach to Sanity and Happiness on a Non-sectarian Basis (1962); Atmaram Dhondo Dhopeshwarkar, J. Krishnamurtiand Awareness in Action (1967); Wolfgang Saxon, The New York Times (February 18, 1986); and Hillary Rodrigues, Insight and Religious Mind: An Analysis of Krishnamurti's Thought, Peter Lang (1990). □

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Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1895-1986)

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1895-1986)

Indian philosopher and spiritual teacher. Born May 12, 1895 in Madanapelle, South India, Krishnamurti was educated privately. While still a child, in 1909, he was "discovered" by Theosophist Charles W. Leadbeater, who had been promoting the idea that the next world teacher would appear among Theosophists. Leadbeater presented the young boy to Annie Besant, president of the Theosophical Society, who took up his cause.

Besant saw to his education and in the 1920s began to travel the world with him. She organized the Order of the Star of the East to promote his mission. Krishnamurti emerged as a talented teacher but also began to question the role that had been thrust upon him. In 1929 he publicly announced that he did not accept the messianic role and withdrew from any association with Theosophy. He continued from that time forward as an independent teacher to those who were attracted to him. A network of foundations formed in various countries to facilitate his teaching activity and publish transcripts of his lectures.

Krishnamurti's philosophical position stemmed from his background in Hinduism and Theosophy, but he developed his own unique iconoclastic understanding. He traveled widely and addressed audiences all over the world. He attacked many other Indian teachers then working in the West, some of whom he believed were watering down Indian thought and exploiting their followers.

Krishnamurti died in Ojai, California, on February 17, 1986, at age 90. A number of books were produced from the transcripts of his talks and dialogues with various intellectuals.

Sources:

Field, Sidney. Krishnamurti: The Reluctant Messiah. New York: Paragon House, 1989.

Jayakar, Pupul. Krishnamurti. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1986.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu. The Awakening of Intelligence. New York: Harper & Row, 1973. . The First and Last Freedom. London: V. Gollancz, 1954.

. Life Ahead. London: V. Gollancz, 1963. . The Only Revolution. London: V. Gollancz, 1970. Lutyens, Emily. Candles in the Sun. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1957.

. Krishnamurti, The Years of Awakening. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1975.

. Krishnamurti, The Years of Fulfillment. London: J. Murray, 1983.

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Krishnamurti, Jiddu

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1895–1986). Indian religious figure and claimed guru. The Theosophists, Charles Leadbeater and Annie Besant, proclaimed him the ‘World Teacher’, the vehicle of the Lord Maitreya, who showed himself in human form every 2,000 years. In 1911 Krishnamurti was made head of the newly founded ‘Order of the Star in the East’ (later shortened to ‘Order of the Star’). In 1929 Krishnamurti, tired of the role assigned to him, dissolved the Order, renounced all claims to divinity, and declared that he no longer wanted disciples. Today Krishnamurti Foundations are to be found in many parts of the world which aim to set people ‘absolutely and unconditionally free’. Some of those close to him (e.g. M. Lutyens, Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening, 1975; … The Years of Fulfillment, 1983) adulate him; others (e.g. R. R. Sloss, Lives in the Shadow with Krishnamurti, 1991) observed a more fraudulent and cynical character.

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"Krishnamurti, Jiddu." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Krishnamurti, Jiddu

Jiddu Krishnamurti (jĬd´ōō krĬsh´nəmŏŏr´tē), 1895–1986, Indian religious figure whose message centered on the need for maximum self-awareness. In 1909, Annie Besant met him and proclaimed him an incarnation of Maitreya, the messianic Buddha. Krishnamurti repudiated these claims in 1929, following a two-year tour of England and America with Annie Besant, and dissolved the World Order of the Star, a religious organization he had founded in 1911. He retained some connection with the theosophical movement, however, and continued an active career of lecturing and writing. He finally settled in Ojai, Calif., where from 1969 he headed the Krishnamurti Foundation. His writings include Commentaries on Living (1956–60), Freedom from the Known (1969), The First and Last Freedom (1975), Life in Freedom (1986), and Think on These Things (1989).

See biographies by P. Jayakar (1986) and M. Lutyens (1991).

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"Krishnamurti, Jiddu." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Krishnamurti, Jiddu

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1895–1986) Hindu religious leader. He founded the World Order of Star with Annie Besant, the theosophist leader, and in 1969 founded the Krishnamurti Foundation in Ojai, California. See also theosophy

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