13 December 2006

Wikipedia and Krishnamurti and Theosophy

People familiar with the web, probably know about Wikipedia - a public collaboration that creates an online encyclopedia. If you haven't visited it yet, please visit the Krishnamurti entry at Wikipedia. You can see the on-going discussion between people who are editing the article here. The entry is being updated continuously, and more recently seems to have improved. Until recently the entry displayed a banner categorizing K as part of Theosophy. While K's life story has roots in the early days of the Theosophical Society, it seems inaccurate to call K a "Theosophist".

Here is are several quotes from Krishnamurti relevant to that question (I have provided as reference the Collected Works sources, however the text itself comes from the KText CD-rom which uses the verbatim reports and may not be exactly edited the same):


Rio de Janeiro 13 April 1935
Collected Works, Vol. 2, p.127

"Friends, As there have been so many misconceptions and misunderstandings; in the newspapers and magazines concerning me, I think it would be best if I made a statement to clarify the position. People generally desire to be saved by another, or by some miracle, or by philosophical ideas; and I am afraid that many come here with this desire, hoping that by merely listening to me they will find an immediate solution to their many problems. Neither the solution to their problems nor their so-called salvation can come through any person or any system of philosophy. The understanding of truth or of life lies through one's own discernment, through one's own perseverance and clarity of thought. Because most of us are too lazy to think for ourselves, we blindly accept and follow persons or cling to ideas which become our means of escape in times of conflict and suffering.

"First of all, I want to explain that I do not belong to any society. I am not a Theosophist nor a Theosophical missionary, nor have I come here to convert you to any particular form of belief. I do not think it is possible to follow anyone, or to adhere to a certain belief, and at the same time have the capacity for clear thought. That is why most parties, societies, sects, religious bodies, become means of exploitation.

"Nor do I bring an oriental philosophy, urging you to accept it. When I speak in India I am told there that what I say is a western philosophy, and when I come to the western countries, they tell me that I bring an oriental mysticism which is impractical and useless in the world of action. But if you really come to think of it, thought has no nationality, nor is it limited by any country, climate or people. So please do not consider that what I am going to say is the result of some peculiar racial prejudice, idiosyncrasy, or personal peculiarity. What I have to say is actual, actual in the sense that it can be applied to the present life of man; it is not a theory based on some beliefs and hopes, but it is practicable and applicable to man."


Mexico City 20 October 1935
Collected Works, p. 221

"As many incorrect statements have been made in the newspapers concerning me, I wish to correct them before I proceed with my talk. I am not a Theosophist. I do not belong to any sect or party or to any particular religion, for religion is a distinct hindrance to man's fulfilment. Nor do I desire to convert you to some fantastic theories and conclusions.

"Now you may ask, "What is it that you want to do? If you don't want us to join any society or accept certain theories, what is it then that you want to do?"

"What I want to do is to help you, the individual, to cross the stream of suffering, confusion and conflict, through deep and complete fulfilment. This fulfilment does not lie through egotistic self-expression, nor through compulsion and imitation. Not through some fantastic sentiment and conclusions, but through clear thinking, through intelligent action, we shall cross this stream of pain and sorrow. There is a reality which can be understood only through deep and true fulfilment."


Benares, India, 6 February 1949
Collected Works, Vol. 5, p.202

"Question: You have been leading a crusade against blind belief, superstition and organized religion. Would I be wrong if I say that in spite of your verbal denunciation of the Theosophical tenets, you are fulfilling the central fact in Theosophy? You are preaching real Theosophy. There is no real contradiction between your position and the position of the Theosophical Society whose great President first introduced you to the world. (Laughter).

"Krishnamurti: Now, don't let us discuss personalities, Dr. Besant and myself, for then we are lost.

"Let us find out if I am leading a crusade against blind belief, superstition and organized religion. I am merely trying to state a fact. A fact can be interpreted by anyone according to his conditioning, but the fact will remain a fact. I may translate it according to my like and dislike, but that fact is not altered, it is there.

"Similarly, a belief, a superstition, an organized dogma of religion, cannot help you to understand truth. Truth must be looked at without the screen of these, and only then is there understanding, and not according to my wishes; and organized beliefs, religions which are organized dogmas, cannot help me to understand life. They can help me to trans late life according to my conditioning, but that is not understanding life, which again means that I am translating life according to my instrument, faculty, or conditioning. But that is not experiencing life, and religion is not the experiencing of life through a belief; religion is experiencing life directly without the. conditioning. Therefore, there must be freedom from organized religion, and so on and on.

"Now what is the Theosophical view? When the questioner says I am fulfilling the central fact in Theosophy, you and I must find out what the central fact in Theosophy is, and what the Theosophical Society is, according to the questioner. Now what is the central fact in Theosophy? I really do not know, but let us go at it. What are the certain facts of Theosophy, divine wisdom? That is what the word means. (Interruption) "No religion higher than truth." Is that the central fact?

"Theosophy and the Theosophical Society are two different things. Now, which are you talking about? Please, Sir, first let me assure you, I am not at tacking or defending. We want to find the truth of the matter, at least I do. you may not; at least the adherents, those who have committed themselves, those who have vested interests in it,insist that this is Theosophy - but those people are not truth seekers, they are merely depending on their vested interest, hoping to be rewarded; therefore they are not truth seekers.

"Now, we must find out if there is a difference between Theosophy and the Theosophical Society. Surely the teachings of Christ are different from the Church. The teachings of Buddha are different from Buddhism, the organized religion. Obviously. The teaching is one thing, and organized society, organized religion, organized teaching, is another, is it not?

"So, Theosophy and the Theosophical Society are two different things, are they not? Now, which do you want to find: the central fact of Theosophy, or the Theosophical Society? If you are interested in the central fact of Theosophy which is divine wisdom, how are you going to find it out? That is, the central fact in Theosophy is wisdom, isn't it? Isn't that so, Sir? Call it divine or human wisdom, it doesn't matter which. Now, is wisdom sought in a book, is wisdom given by another, is wisdom to be described, put into words, verbalized, learnt and repeated - is that wisdom? When I repeat the verbalization of the experience of a Buddha, is that wisdom; and is not that repetition a lie? Is not wisdom to be directly experienced? And I cannot experience wisdom when I have only the information about the wisdom of another.

"Sirs, those of you who want to find the central fact in Theosophy, please listen carefully, do not close your ears. Is wisdom to be organized, to be spread around as you spread political propaganda, or political views? Can wisdom be organized and spread around for the benefit of others? Is wisdom to be caught through authority, and is not wisdom come at through direct experience, and not through the technique of knowing what another has said about wisdom? Now, when you say that there is no religion higher than truth, it means that the central fact of Theosophy is to find truth, is it not? To discover truth, to understand it, to love it? And is truth a thing to be repeated and learned? Can you learn a truth as you can learn a technique? Again, is it not to be directly experienced, directly felt, directly known? I am not saying that Theosophy does not imply all this. We are discussing what the central fact is. I have not read Theosophical books any more than I have read other religious books... probably that is why one can think a little more freely about all these things.

"So, can the central fact of Theosophy, which is wisdom and truth, be expressed through an organized society; or can an organized society help another to reach that? So let us leave that now - the central fact of Theosophy.

"Now, the Theosophical Society. How you take notice, I don't know why you are interested in all this!

"Now, what is an organized society, what is the function of an organized society - not as you would like it, but actually, factually? What is the function of an organized society, especially of this kind: to spread this wisdom, is it not? Then what? To translate this wisdom, to found a platform for people to come together in search of it? You would say yes, wouldn't you? That is, an organized society for the gathering together of those who will seek truth and wisdom? Surely! No? (Interruption) Sir, I am not trying to catch you, for, after all, an organized body exists for something. We at once become protagonists, he on one side, I on the other. (Laughter) He the ruler of a society or a section of the society, and I the opponent. Sir, let me please say here I am not your opponent; but I feel, on the contrary, that such societies are an impediment to under standing.

"Why does your Society exist? To propagate ideas? Or to help people to seek the central fact of Theosophy? Or, to act as a platform of tolerance so that people of different views can translate truth according to their conditioning? You are either a group of people who feel congenial to each other and say: We are in this society because we have common views together; or you have come together as a means of seeking truth and helping each other to find it. These are four possibilities, and to these we can add. Now, all these resolve essentially into two: that we come together as a society to find truth, and to propagate truth. Now, can you propagate truth, and can you seek truth? Let us examine.

"Can you propagate truth? What do you mean by propaganda? You think, for instance, that reincarnation is a fact. I am taking that as an example; you say let us go and propagate that, it will help people, alleviate their suffering, and so on - which means that you know the truth of reincarnation. Do you know the truth of reincarnation, or do you know only the verbal expression of an idea that there is continuity? You have read it in a book, and you propagate that, the words; you follow, Sir? Is that spreading the truth? Can you propagate truth? Then you might turn around and say to me: what are you doing? I tell you I am not propagating truth; we are helping each other to be free, so the truth may come to us. I am not propagating, I am not giving you an `idea'. What I am doing is to help you to see what are the impediments that prevent you from directly experiencing the truth. Is the person who propagates truth, a truth speaker? Please, this is a very serious question. You can propagandize, but your propaganda is not truth, is it? The word `truth' is not the truth, is it? You are merely spreading the word `truth', `reincarnation', or you are explaining it; but the word `truth' is not the truth. It must be experienced, therefore, your propagandizing is merely verbal, untrue.

"The other point is: People come together to seek truth, that is part of it. Now, can you seek truth, or does truth come to you? There is an enormous difference there. If you seek truth, you are wanting to utilize truth. You are using truth as a safeguard or to reach comfort, security, this or that; you are using it as a means of your own gratification, or what you will. When I seek something, that is my objective; don't let us deceive ourselves by a lot of words. When I seek power I go after it, I use it. And when you go after truth it means you must already know it; for you cannot go after something unknown. When you know it, you are going to use it. What you know is self-protective and therefore it is not truth. Can truth be found, or can you receive truth through belief?

"Now, in discussing the Theosophical Society - of course, you understand, I am not concerned with it, I am out of it completely. You want to know if what I am saying, teaching, and the central fact of Theosophy and the Theosophical Society, are the same. I say obviously they are not. You would like to patch it up and say we have produced you and therefore you are a part of us, as a baby is part of the father and mother. That is a very convenient argument, but actually the boy is entirely different from the father when he grows a little older.

"Surely, Sir, when you are becoming more and more, spiritually climbing the ladder, you are denying truth, are you not? Truth is not at the top of the ladder; truth is where you are, in what you are doing, thinking, feeling, when you kiss and hug, when you exploit - you must see the truth of all that, not a truth at the end of innumerable cycles of life. To think that you may be a Buddha some day is but another self-projected aggrandizement. It is immature thinking, unworthy of people who are alive, deeply thoughtful, affectionate. If you think that you will be something in the future, you are not it now. What matters is now, not tomorrow. If you are not brotherly now, you will never be brotherly tomorrow, because tomorrow is also the now.

"You have come together as a Society, and you ask me if you and I meet. I say we do not. You can make us `meet,' you can twist anything to suit your convenience. You can pretend that white is black; but a mind that is not straight, that is incapable of direct perception of things as they are, merely thinks in terms of vested interest, whether in belief, in property, or in so-called spiritual status. I am not saying you should leave your Society. I am not at all concerned whether you leave it or don't leave it; but if you think you are truth seekers, and have come together to find reality, I am afraid you are going about it very wrongly. You may say: `that is your opinion'. I would say that you are perfectly right. If you say: `we are trying to be brotherly', I would say again that you are going the wrong way, because brotherhood is not at the end of the passage; and if you say you are cultivating tolerance, brotherhood, I would say that brotherhood and tolerance do not exist. They are not to be cultivated, you do not cultivate tolerance, When you love someone, you do not cultivate tolerance. It is only the man who has no love in his heart that cultivates tolerance. It is again an intellectual feat. If you say your Society is not based on belief at all, inwardly or outwardly, then I would say that from your outward as well as your inward actions you are a factor of separation, not of unity. You have your secret rituals, secret teachings, secret Masters, all indicating separation. It is the very function of an organized society to be separate in that sense.

"So, I am afraid that when you go very deeply into the matter, you, the Theosophical Society, and I, do not meet. You might like to make us meet, but that is quite a different matter - which does not mean you must leave yours and come over to this camp. There is no `this camp', there are no sides to truth. Truth is Truth, one, alone; it has no sides, no paths; all paths do not lead to Truth. There is no path to Truth, it must come to you.

"Truth can come to you only when your mind and heart are simple, clear, and there is love in your heart; not if your heart is filled with the things of the mind. When there is love in your heart, you do not talk about organizing for brotherhood; you do not talk about belief, you do not talk about division or the powers that create division, you need not seek reconciliation. Then you are a simple human being without a label, without a country. This means that you must strip yourself of all those things and allow Truth to come into being; and it can come only when the mind is empty, when the mind ceases to create. Then it will come without your invitation. Then it will come as swiftly as the wind and unbeknown. It comes obscurely, not when you are watching, wanting. It is there as sudden as sunlight, as pure as the night; but to receive it, the heart must be full and the mind empty. Now you have the mind full and your heart empty."

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