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U.G. Krishnamurti

Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti was an indian spiritual thinker, who questioned enlightenment. It is hard to call him a teacher, because he had no intention of transmitting any knowledge, neither helping anybody or bringing any change. He rejected the very idea of enlightenment, the reality of mind, and the possibility of changing the human being. Though he had no intention to teach, he became known for his utterly nihilistic (and even misanthropical) ideas. He was unrelated to his contemporary J. Krishnamurti.

Krishnamurti was born in a brahmin family in a small town in south India. His mother died soon after his birth, and he was raised by a grandfather, who was a member of the Theosophical Society. In his youth Krishnamurti also joined the Society an started searching for enlightenment, reportedly trying different types of spiritual practices and austerities. He also started searching for an enlightened person. For seven years he practiced yoga and meditation with a famous yoga teacher Swami Shivananda, but finally left him disappointed. He also entered the university to study psychology, philosophy and sciences, but became dissatisfied with the western science, and never completed his studied. At the age of 21 Krishnamurti met Ramana Maharshi, but left him just after a few days. He started working for the Theosophical Society, and soon went for an international lecturing tour on its behalf. After coming back to India he got married. For a few years U.G. Krishnamurti was listening to lectures given by a spiritual teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti, and eventually started a direct dialog with him. Finally J. Krishnamurti stated that U.G. doesn’t understand him, because he doesn’t have the experience, and U.G. left him. He continued traveling and giving lectures. For 5 years Krishnamurti lived in the United States with his family, but eventually separated left them and moved to London. He got out of funds, and worked a few months for Ramakrishna Mission. In London he met J. Krishnamurti again; the latter tried to advise and help him, but U.G. rejected his help. He stayed another 3 months in Paris, spending his last money, and then left to Switzerland, where he had a small bank account. By mistake he bought a ticket to a wrong city, and had to seek refuge in the indian consulate. A consulate employee offered him a shelter, and eventually provided him a home. For the next few years he stopped his spiritual search, but by the age of 50 he became interested in enlightenment again. He went to another lecture of J. Krishnamurti; during the lecture J. Krishnamurti was describing the state of enlightenment, and U.G. thought it refers to his state. In the next few days he had a spiritual experience, that he later called “the calamity” – a series of physiological transformations, which resulted in a deathlike experience. After the experience he reportedly lost his memories, and had to relearn everything again. After the experience Krishnamurti traveled to different countries, talking to those who were interested to meet him, but rejecting to give formal lectures. Some of his discussions and interviews were published in books. Krishnamurti was known for his unhealthy diet and his disregard towards healthcare, yet he was in good health and looked much younger than his age. He died from an accident at the age of 88; according to his philosophy, he didn’t want to be remembered after his death.

His radical philosophy and uncompromising style of its presentation created sharply divided opinions. Many considered him a charlatan, while others thought he is enlightened. Essentially, his teaching is an extreme version of that of J. Krishnamurti, “the total negation of everything that can be expressed”. U.G.Krishnamurti stated that his experience had no connection with all his past actions, couldn’t be produced by effort and couldn’t be imparted to anybody else, not even explained. All the problems and suffering are due to the efforts, that people make to achieve or become something, and that destroy “the natural state”, which is already there. People come to gurus to solve their mundane problems, or the artificial problem – the search for enlightenment. He insisted that this search is caused by the society, which creates the desire to be special, and enlightenment is seen as a culmination of “specialness”. This desire is exploited by gurus, who offer ways to reach that goal; according to Krishnamurti, they can never deliver what they promise, since the goal is unreachable. The self-consciousness is born out of a constant process of thinking; when that process is broken, the man falls back into his “natural state”. Though some of his ideas are definitely sharp and clear, most of the times U.G. strongly resembles J.Krishnamurti, but spiced up with a good load of bitterness, misanthropy and even hate towards humanity. He kept on insisting on the uniqueness of his message and ridiculing all other spiritual teachers. But unlike J.Krishnamurti, who through negation was always leading the audience towards a higher goal, U.G. always remained entirely negative. With age his expressions were becoming more and more bitter. He always remained just a thinker, and continued doubting enlightenment till the end of his life. At the end, the question about any teaching is – what good does it bring to people? Did Krishnamurti’s teaching bring any beauty, grace, bliss into people’s lives? Definitely no.

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