Born On: 12th May, 1895
Born In: Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh
Died On: 17th Feb, 1986
Career: Public Speaker, Author, Philosopher
"I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect" - J. Krishnamurti. Jiddu Krishnamurti was considered a revolutionary writer and speaker on philosophical meditation and was someone who brought about a change in society. Krishnamurti believed that social reforms could only be possible if the minds of the individuals change. He also talked about spiritual issues and urged every human being to think about religious, political and social revolution. He was a 'guru' who never wanted to be one. It is said that Jiddu did not remember much of his childhood. Some called him delusional and others said that this was a sign that he was a self-realized master.
Jiddu Krishnamurti was born in a Telugu speaking Brahmin family to Narainiah and Sanjeevamma. His father was employed with the British administration and his mother died when he was just ten years old. In 1903, he shifted base to Cudappah where he attended school. Here, he was considered 'vague and dreamy' and 'mentally retarded'. He started penning childhood memoirs when he was eighteen years old and claimed to have had a psychic vision of his dead sister. His father retired in 1907 and then wrote to the then President of the 'Theosophical Society', Annie Besant seeking employment. He was hired as a clerk and he and his sons moved to the Theosophical Society headquarters in Chennai in 1909.
In May 1909, Krishnamurti met the influential theosophist called Charles Webster Leadbeater. Despite Krishnamurti's unpleasant physical appearence, Leadbeater saw a 'spark' in him and said that he would become a spiritual leader, a great orator and a vehicle for Lord Maitreya - a spiritual entity who appears on earth as a 'World Teacher' to look into the evolution of mankind. After this he was privately tutored under the wing of the Theosophical Society. It was here that he developed such a strong bond with Annie Besant that his father gave Besant a legal guardianship over Krishnamurti.
In 1911, the Theosophical Society named Krishnamurti the head of a new organization called the 'Order of the Star in the East' (OSE) which was to prepare the world for a new 'World Teacher'. This mission received publicity and worldwide press coverage. It is said that he was uncomfortable with publicity surrounding him and his future being foretold.
He was taken to England in 1911 where he gave his first public speech to the members of 'Order of the Star in the East' in London. At the same time, he started writing in magazines and booklets published by the Theosophical Society. After World War I, Krishnamurti gave a series of lectures and held meetings around the world regarding his role as the head of the 'Order of the Star in the East'. He continued writing, most of which revolved around work of the 'Order in preparation for the Coming'.
In 1922, he met Rosalind Williams and they discussed the 'World Teacher Project' at Ojai Valley in California which later became his official residence. During the month of September, he went through a life changing spiritual experience. He experienced a mystical union followed by immense peace. Slowly, the 'process' began and Krishnamurti felt this initially as bodily pain and then unconsciousness, but he always claimed to know his surroundings. Over the next few years, he started talking about more abstract and flexible concepts. On 3rd August 1929, he dissolved the 'Order' in front of Besant in a speech known as the 'Dissolution Speech' which was heard over the radio.
He kept denying the fact that he was a 'World Leader' and never clarified his position. He eventually dissociated himself from the Theosophical Society. He never had the concept of followers and a teacher. J. Krishnamurti spent the rest of his life holding dialogues and giving public talks on nature, beliefs, truth, sorrow, freedom and death. This wise man never believed in dependency and exploitation and never accepted gifts showered on him for his works. He urged people to think independently and gave lecture tours all over the world, published books and transcripts for half a century.
In the years between 1930 and 1944, he engaged himself in speaking tours with a publication company trust called 'Star Publishing Trust'. Rishi Valley School was opened based on his educational ideas. It operated under the 'Krishnamurti Foundations' banner. Throughout the 1930s, he spoke in Europe, America and Australia and spoke about everything that he accepted was true. He faced opposition for this.
Krishnamurti talked of meditation in every discussion and also brought in new terms like 'choiceless awareness' and 'a single consciousness'. In 1938, he spoke of World War-II and for this he came under the surveillance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He stopped giving lectures until 1944, after which when he again became regular. All his lectures were published in 'Krishnamurti Writings Inc'.
In 1953, he started writing prose and his first book was published by a mainstream commercial publisher. Majority of his writings were in third person and he increased the number of talks and dialogues. He met prominent personalities like the Dalai Lama and Jawarhalal Nehru during his time. In 1961, he found a physicist called David Bohm, whose beliefs were parallel to his. They had several discussions together and even met a scientific community.
In the late 1980s Jiddu Krishnamurti wrote the basic elements of his teachings called 'Core of the Teaching', in which he stressed on knowledge and man being built as a sense of his images - religious, political and personal.
'Freedom from Known', 'Awakening of Intelligence', 'The Ending of Time', 'The Future of Humanity', 'Truth and Actuality', 'The First and Last Freedom', 'Wholeness of Life', 'Think on these Things' and some meditation books are major contributions by Krishnamurti.
'Hymn of the Innate Triumphant', 'My Beloved and I are One', 'Thou Art There' and 'From Darkness To Light: Poems of the Parable' were some of the poetic works of Jiddu Krishnamurti.
'A Purpose of Education', 'The Act of Learning', 'Discussion with the Teachers', 'On Order', 'The Fundamental Meaning of Co-operation' and 'A Different Kind of Education' were some of his most influential works.
Jiddu Krishnamurti died on 17th February, 1986 at the age of 90 in California, due to pancreatic cancer.
Krishanmurti's works were inspiring and many take interest in reading them even today. His books have been brought out in the form of videos and audio books. The 'Krishnamurti Foundation' still has archives of his teachings and it continues to grow. The schools that were started based on his teachings have reported huge growth. Unofficial Krishnamurti committees are operating in several countries and his biographies and research papers are continually referred to even to this day.
1895: Birth of Jiddu Krishnamurti in Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh.
1907: His father consulted Annie Besant for employment in the Theosophical Society.
1909: He met Charles Leadbeater who said he would become a spiritual leader.
1911: Became the Head of the Order of the Star to prepare for the 'World Teacher' and gave his first speech to OSE, London.
1922: Experienced the 'process'.
1929: 'Dissolution Speech' that ended the Order.
1930-1944: He published under the 'Star Publishing Trust'.
1944: Publishing house called 'Krishnamurti Publishing Inc.' is formed
1953: Published his first book under a mainstream publisher.
1961: Giving speeches to the scientific community along with David Bohm.
1980s: Core of his teaching was released where his basic elements were documented.
1986: He died at the age of 90 in Ojai, California.