One hundred twenty-one years ago today, the Indian speaker and writer Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986) was born. He was only 11 when he met a leader of the Theosophical Society who tried to groom him as the next “World Teacher,” their concept of a super-guru from tomorrowland based loosely on Maitreya, the so-called future Buddha.
In 1929, Krishnamurti, then 34, rebelled against the World Teacher gig, disbanded the organization created to support him (Order of the Star in the East), gave all the donated money back, and headed into the endless further.
He became like a roving iconoclast, unaffiliated with any religion, espousing no specific philosophy, rejecting methods and techniques. He offered a kind of un-teaching. He wrote books, traveled the world speaking to audiences large and small, punching holes in many a cherished notion.
On the day he dissolved the Order, Krishnamurti said,
I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized . . .”
Krishnamurti was the ultimate skeptic. He felt that if one wasn’t questioning, one wasn’t thinking. But in a public talk given in 1949, he cautioned,
Skepticism is not cynicism or denial; it is the state of mind that does not agree quickly, that does not accept or take things for granted. A mind that accepts is seeking, not enlightenment or wisdom, but refuge.” *
We should not be looking for sanctuaries or safe harbors, but rather keep our minds set upon enlightenment. Of course, Krishnamurti, being Krishnamurti, the ultimate questioner, might ask, as he did in another talk, “To be enlightened about what? Please let us be rational.” **
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* Sayings of J. Krishnamurti, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Susunaga Weeraperuma, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1996
** Public talk, Saanen, 1980