Jiddu Krishnamurti

I feel we are delving into something which the conscious mind can never understand, which doesn’t mean I am making a mystery of it. There is something. Much too vast to be put into words. There is a tremendous reservoir, as it were, which if the human mind can touch it, reveals something which no intellectual mythology—invention, supposition, dogma—can ever reveal. I am not making a mystery of it—that would be a stupid childish trick. Creating a mystery out of nothing would be a most blackguardly thing to do because that would be exploiting people and ruthless—that’s a dirty trick. Either one creates a mystery when there isn’t one or there is a mystery which you have to approach with extraordinary delicacy and hesitancy, and, you know, tentativeness. And the conscious mind can’t do this. It is there but you cannot come to it, you cannot invite it. It’s not progressive achievement. There is something but the brain can’t understand it.
(quoted from "Krishnamurti - The Years of Fulfilment. A Biography by Mary Lutyens")

There is nothing sacred that thought does not produce—the temples, the churches. Thought itself is not sacred but the things that thought has produced we worship, we follow. And thought has brought about disorder in our private life and disorder outwardly. This disorder cannot be made into order by any government, by any religion, by any guru because what they do and say is all based on thought and thought is a material process. ... Thought has caused disorder and discord and cannot possibly bring about order. ... Meditation is the ending of knowledge. Our consciousness is the storehouse of knowledge. ... Meditation is the way we live; meditation is part of our daily life, not something separate but an actual activity of our daily life, and our daily life is based on knowledge, on memory, so our life is based on the past. We are always operating from the past which is the known. As long as we act in the field of knowledge our brains become mechanical. We know we are afraid, we know we are lonely, we know we have great sorrow, we know we are anxious, uncertain, unhappy, trying to fulfil, trying to become, trying to get something all the time. ... Now we are asking whether knowledge—we are talking of course about psychological not practical knowledge—can ever end?
(quoted from "Krishnamurti - The Open Door. A Biography by Mary Lutyens")

Jiddu Krishnamurti in 1968. Photo by Mark Edwards. Copyright Krishnamurti Foundation Trust

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986) was a spiritual teacher of radical self-observation. Chosen while still a child as the new messiah, or World Teacher, by the Theosophical Society, the Indian J. Krishnamurti acquired world fame as he traveled and lectured on the society’s universalist teachings. After a personal spiritual transformation, he rejected the society and its occultism and went on to teach his philosophy of free inquiry toward the goal of understanding the self.
Born on May 12, 1895, in Madanapalle, near Madras (Chennai) in colonial India, Krishnamurti (the image of Krishna) grew up in an orthodox Brahmin family steeped in tradition, ritual, and a sacred view of the world. After the death of his mother when he was only 10 years old, he moved with his father and siblings to the compound of the Theosophical Society, a rapidly growing spiritual movement, in Adyar, near Madras.
The Theosophical Society, founded in 1875 in New York City, began as an organization dedicated to a synthesis of science, religion, and philosophy with the credo “There is no religion higher than truth.” Theosophical teaching includes the exploration of clairvoyant powers for discovering the hidden mysteries of nature and the esoteric powers of humanity. The Theosophists drew freely from their understanding of Eastern thought, particularly Buddhist and Hindu cosmologies, to form a worldview that included a complex cosmology, an esoteric psychology, and an evolutionary scheme that encompassed eons. Drawing upon many religious traditions and prophecies, the Theosophical Society at the time of Krishnamurti’s youth was actively looking for a messiah, a world teacher, who would destroy evil and restore righteousness.
In his early teen years, Krishnamurti was chosen by the Theosophists as the young world teacher and appointed head of the Order of the Star in the East, an organization devoted to realizing his teaching mission. For a number of years he traveled and addressed audiences, maturing in his understanding of the order, the Theosophical Society, and his role in each. Over many months in 1922–23, Krishnamurti experienced a profound transformation. Begun as meditation, Krishnamurti’s “process” contained moments of great beauty and clarity offset by periods of physical pain, even agony. He would fall unconscious, converse with nonphysical entities, and speak from several personas. Krishnamurti’s account is consistent with other reports of mystical non-dualist transformations. His personality dissolved into communion with all that lay beyond him. In his words, “I was in everything, or rather everything was in me, inanimate and animate, the mountain, the work and all breathing things.”
After “the process” was complete, he experienced a growing dissatisfaction with the authority structure of the Theosophical Society and its emphasis on occultism. At the death of his brother, which the occultists of the Theosophical Society did not foresee, his dissatisfaction became overwhelming. He declared himself in revolt against Theosophy and against all forms of spiritual authority, advising every person, “Be a light unto yourselves.” He disbanded the Order of the Star in the East in 1929, declaring, “Truth is a pathless land.”
From then until his death in 1986, Krishnamurti traveled around the world teaching his insights. He became a champion of freedom and inquiry and a relentless advocate of the discovery of truth without the aid of any organization, religion, or belief system. His teaching emphasized the necessity of developing awareness of one’s conditioning and one’s bondage to thought, fear, and time. His goal was to make people “unconditionally free” and, to this end, he invited those who listened to him to observe their inner selves, including their motives and the functions of thought. With each audience, Krishnamurti inquired into the basic nature of humanity and found that real self-transformation involves an instantaneous awareness of the psyche and its workings. Accompanied by simplicity and humility, this awareness can open a person to the reality of oneself.
The Krishnamurti Foundation of America was founded in 1969 to preserve and disseminate his teachings. Activities include the Oak Grove School, the Krishnamurti Archives, the Krishnamurti Study Center, the Krishnamurti Library, and Krishnamurti Publications of America. The Krishnamurti Foundation of England, begun in 1968, oversees the Brockwood Park School. The Krishnamurti Foundation of India sponsors the Rishi Valley School, the Krishnamurti Study Centre in Varanasi, Vasanta College of Rajghat, and other centers.
During his lifetime Krishnamurti created schools for children and young adults in India, the United States, England, and Switzerland. These alternative schools continue today in their mission to provide a new definition and practice of education, free of the conditioning and authority structures prevalent in modern educational institutions.
In his later years, Krishnamurti joined the physicist David Bohm in an exploration of the human condition through a series of dialogues. Both men recognized the limitations of traditional didactic teaching and sought a way in which truth and insight might be discovered within individuals and small groups. The dialogue process, practiced today in all Krishnamurti Foundations in the United States, India, and England, encourages individual inquiry without didactic formalism and authority structures. Krishnamurti and Bohm predicted that the actual structure of the human brain could change as a result of increased awareness and open inquiry.
Krishnamurti died on February 18, 1986, in Ojai, California, among his students.
(Encyclopedia of Hinduism)