J. Krishnamurti is one of the most influential speakers and spiritual teachers of the 20th century. Although he himself would never call himself a teacher – that would be against his whole teaching. He sounds more like a companion, that helps you to grow your own understanding in a friendly and respectful way. The very core of his teaching is the ultimate respect for one’s individuality and freedom, so he is not giving you fixed ideas, but rather invites you to look at the subject, to see and understand for yourself. And the very understanding will bring the change.
J. Krishnamurti was born in an orthodox brahmin family, his father was also a member of the Theosofical Society, an esoteric organization that was popular at the time in the western society. When he was 13, one of the leaders of the Society recognized him as a future World Teacher. The boy was taken away from his family and passed a complex process of education to prepare for his great future mission. A special Order is created to support the coming World Teacher, and Krishnamurti becomes its head. Initially the young man was convinced in his mission, however with time he started doubting the teachings of the Theosofical Society and rebelling against his strict mentors. In 1922 J. Krishnamurti moved to a cottage in California, which became his official residence for the rest of his life. Soon after arriving to California Krishnamurti went through a series of “life-changing” spiritual experiences, which initiated “a process”, that continued on and off throughout his whole life. This experience Krishnamurti described as “sacredness”, “benediction”, “immensity” or simply “the other”.
After the experience Krishnamurti starts growing confidence, in his speeches he goes further ad further away from the teachings of Theosofical Society. In 1929 in front of thousands of members he dissolves the Order he was heading, marking the turning point in his life and teachings. He breaks up completely with the Theosophical Society and announces the new direction of his work. “I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect… Truth cannot be organized, nor should any organization be formed to lead people along a particular path… I do not want followers, and I mean this. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth… I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies.” In the following years Krishnamurti continues speaking all over the world, a new publishing house is established to publish his works. He meets a number of scientists and religious leaders to discuss different fields of religion, education, psychology and physics.
J. Krishnamurti lived a long life of 90 years and for 70 years he was speaking. According to his teaching he never formed any movement and never had followers, he denied the very concept of guru and disciple. The key concepts of his teaching are freedom and de-conditioning, breaking up with the past experience. All men’s actions are rooted in the mind, and the mind is just an accumulation of thoughts, which are coming from the past experience, education and society. The ego, personality is just a series of memories. Every society or religion fills individual with its own fixed ideas, with time he becomes identified with them, and they become more important than the facts of life. Because of these ideas, concepts, philosophies there is so much separation and fight in the society and in the individual himself, since the ideas always contradict each other and have no connection to reality. Thus the real changes in society can only come from the transformation of the individual. One has to look deeply into the process of the mind, see and understand how it functions. The result is “choice-less awareness” – the silent and choiceness observation of what is. When this awareness is deep, the mind becomes silent, there is no unconscious or conscious movement of thoughts. The is real freedom – the freedom from the known. “It is the state of a mind which says, “I do not know”, and which is not looking for an answer. Such a mind is completely not seeking, not expecting; and it is only in this state that you can say, “I understand”.
The vision of J. Krishnamurti is beautiful, his insights are deep. His whole life he was passionately trying to inspire people to search for truth… but never gave them any path. According to him no path will lead you to truth, no technique or method will help you to experience the “choice-less awareness”. He wants you to tread your own path, but how many people have the strength and the courage to do it? His way of expression is entirely intellectual, his language is a bit dry and unclear, and at times unnecessarily complicated. He successfully destroys your ideas and conditioning, but then leaves you nowhere. In his final statement just before his death J. Krishnamurti declared that nobody understood neither his experience, nor his teachings. His ideas are beautiful, but where are the fruits of his work?