Jiddu Krishnamurti was born on 11 May 1895 in Madanapalle, a small town
in south India. He and his brother were adopted in their youth by Dr
Annie Besant, then president of the Theosophical Society. Dr Besant and
others proclaimed that Krishnamurti was to be a world teacher whose
coming the Theosophists had predicted. To prepare the world for this
coming, a world-wide organization called the Order of the Star in the
East was formed and the young Krishnamurti was made its head.
In 1929, however, Krishnamurti renounced the role that he was expected
to play, dissolved the Order with its huge following, and returned all
the money and property that had been donated for this work.
From then, for nearly sixty years until his death on 17 February 1986,
he travelled throughout the world talking to large audiences and to
individuals about the need for a radical change in mankind.
Krishnamurti is regarded globally as one of the greatest thinkers and
religious teachers of all time. He did not expound any philosophy or
religion, but rather talked of the things that concern all of us in our
everyday lives, of the problems of living in modern society with its
violence and corruption, of the individual's search for security and
happiness, and the need for mankind to free itself from inner burdens of
fear, anger, hurt, and sorrow. He explained with great precision the
subtle workings of the human mind, and pointed to the need for bringing
to our daily life a deeply meditative and spiritual quality.
Krishnamurti belonged to no religious organization, sect or country, nor
did he subscribe to any school of political or ideological thought. On
the contrary, he maintained that these are the very factors that divide
human beings and bring about conflict and war. He reminded his
listeners again and again that we are all human beings first and not
Hindus, Muslims or Christians, that we are like the rest of humanity and
are not different from one another. He asked that we tread lightly on
this earth without destroying ourselves or the environment. He
communicated to his listeners a deep sense of respect for nature. His
teachings transcend man-made belief systems, nationalistic sentiment and
sectarianism. At the same time, they give new meaning and direction to
mankind's search for truth. His teaching, besides being relevant to
the modern age, is timeless and universal.
Krishnamurti spoke not as a guru but as a friend, and his talks and
discussions are based not on tradition-based knowledge but on his own
insights into the human mind and his vision of the sacred, so he always
communicates a sense of freshness and directness although the essence of
his message remained unchanged over the years. When he addressed large
audiences, people felt that Krishnamurti was talking to each of them
personally, addressing his or her particular problem. In his private
interviews, he was a compassionate teacher, listening attentively to the
man or woman who came to him in sorrow, and encouraging them to heal
themselves through their own understanding. Religious scholars found
that his words threw new light on traditional concepts. Krishnamurti
took on the challenge of modern scientists and psychologists and went
with them step by step, discussed their theories and sometimes enabled
them to discern the limitations of those theories.
Krishnamurti left a large body of literature in the form of public
talks, writings, discussions with teachers and students, with scientists
and religious figures, conversations with individuals, television and
radio interviews, and letters. Many of these have been published as
books, and audio and video recordings.
THE CORE OF THE TEACHINGS
"The core of Krishnamurti's teaching is contained in the statement he made in 1929 when he said: 'Truth is a pathless land'. Man cannot come to it through any organisation, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection. Man has built in himself images as a fence of security - religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these images dominates man's thinking, his relationships and his daily life. These images are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man. His perception of life is shaped by the concepts already established in his mind. The content of his consciousness is his entire existence. This content is common to all humanity. The individuality is the name, the form and superficial culture he acquires from tradition and environment. The uniqueness of man does not lie in the superficial but in complete freedom from the content of his consciousness, which is common to all mankind. So he is not an individual.
Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice. It is man's pretence that because he has choice he is free. Freedom is pure observation without direction, without fear of punishment and reward. Freedom is without motive; freedom is not at the end of the evolution of man but lies in the first step of his existence. In observation one begins to discover the lack of freedom. Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity. Thought is time. Thought is born of experience and knowledge which are inseparable from time and the past. Time is the psychological enemy of man. Our action is based on knowledge and therefore time, so man is always a slave to the past. Thought is ever-limited and so we live in constant conflict and struggle. There is no psychological evolution.
When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experiencer and the experience. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation which is insight without any shadow of the past or of time. This timeless insight brings about a deep radical mutation in the mind.
Total negation is the essence of the positive. When there is negation of all those things that thought has brought about psychologically, only then is there love, which is compassion and intelligence."
This statement was written by Krishnamurti himself on October 21, 1980 when asked to summarise the teachings.