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A write up on K

May 09, 1999 07:39 AM
by M K Ramadoss

Here is an interesting material I found at:

 It was a cool December evening in Madras. The
 year was 1974. My wife and I were visiting a friend
 in Egmore. Around 5 p.m., my friend said that he
 had to leave us to listen to a talk by Jiddu Krishnamurthy at Adyar. He
 asked, 'Why don't both of you come with me?'. I was reluctant. I had
 attempted to read some of Krishnamurthy's writings some ten years
 previously and had found him complex and difficult. I told my friend, 
'You go ahead, we will meet you again tomorrow'. 

My friend's response was
 unexpected. He replied, 'Next to my father, Krishnamurthy is the man whom
 I love most.Why don't you come'. My friend was what one may call a 'good
 man' - kind, sincere and helpful and it was more because of the regard that
 we had for our friend than for Krishnamurthy, that my wife and I went to
 Adyar that evening.

 The Krishnmurthy Centre at Adyar is set in spacious surroundings. The talk
 was scheduled to commence at 5 p.m. in the open air under a large
 spreading tree. There were about 300-400 persons gathered to hear
 Krishnamurthy. Many were seated on the ground in front of the small raised
 dais reserved for the speaker. Behind those who were seated were a few
 rows of chairs. We sat on the chairs and awaited Krishnamurthy's arrival.
 Sharp at 5 p.m., a small fair man with chiselled features, dressed in white,
 walked briskly to the raised platform, seated himself and began talking.
 There were no introductions. 

 To this day, I have not forgotten Krishnamurthy's first few words, 'If you
 already know what I am going to say, you need not have come.' I was
 lounging in my chair. After all I had come because of my friend. But, at
 words, I straightened myself and sat up. Krishnamurthy's talk that evening
 was on the conditioned mind. He spoke about meditation and the control of
 thought. Who is the controller and who is the controlled, he asked. There
 was much that I saw for the first time that evening - it was like coming back
 to the beginning and knowing it for the first time.

 After that occasion, I heard Krishnamurthy again, this time, in Colombo in
 1978. He spoke of time. Thought is time he said. Time was something that
 had always intrigued me. As a child, at the Galle Face Green in Colombo, I
 would watch with concern as ships disappeared in the curved horizon of the
 Indian Ocean. I wondered whether the ships had fallen off the edge. As I
 grew older, I learnt that the earth was not flat, that it was a globe,
that there
 was no 'edge' and that the ships were safe. 

 But then, as I travelled back home from the Galle Face Green at night,
 seated in the rear seat of my father's small car, with my parents in front, I
 would look up at the sky at the distant stars and wonder what was there
 beyond the stars - and beyond that - and beyond that... I thought that
 though I did not know then, I would when I 'grew up'. 

 When I 'grew up' the answer continued to elude me. Later, I did learn
 something about Einstein's concept of curved space and the space time
 continuum. I recognised that Einstein's mathematical equations explained
 certain physical phenomena, but I still could not 'see' curved space - this
 seemed to contradict everything that I had taken for granted in the three
 dimensional world - a three dimensional world with time somehow 'flowing'
 through it.

 Ofcourse, if space was 'curved', then it would have no beginning or end -
 and there would no 'edge' to fall off. Again, given a space time continuum,
 there would be no beginning and end to time as well. These I could
 conceptualise in my mind. Cause and effect would presumably merge in a
 space time continuum. As Yogaswamy, the sage from Jaffna would often
 say in Tamil: 

  " - everything was over long, long

 I felt somewhat like Woody Allen in the film Annie Hall. A mournful looking
 Woody Allen is taken to the doctor. The doctor inquires cheerfully, 'So
 what is the trouble, young man?'. Woody Allen looks even more mournful
 and says, 'The universe is expanding - and it will explode'. I do not
recall the
 exact words of the Doctor's response but the message was clear - 'Stop
 wasting your time with stupid thoughts and get on with your life.'

 And, here Krishnamurthy was quietly insisting that thought is time. I met
 Krishnamurthy with a few friends on the morning after his lecture in
 Colombo. We were all seated on the carpeted floor. I asked Krishnamurthy
 whether he would expand on that which he had said about time. He looked
 kindly at me, took my hands in his and started talking. It was almost like
 some one teaching a child to play table tennis by taking the child's hand
 together with the bat and showing him the feel of the stroke.

 Perhaps Krishnamurthy did not want to be quite as brutal as the Zen master
 who when asked by his pupil 'what is enlightenment' replied 'cowdung'. It is
 said that the pupil eventually recognised that the words of any teacher,
 however wise, as to what was enlightenment, would be like the dung that the
 cow excreted after chewing the cud.

 A few months later, I participated as a panelist in a discussion meeting with
 Krishnaji at Adyar. A Tibetan monk was another participant.I particularly
 remember the ending of the morning session. Krishnamurthy had talked
 about the computer, artificial intelligence and the brain for about 20
 and as he finished, the entire audience (of about 100) fell into a deep
 - and the silence was pregnant.

 In the silence, I was reminded of Krishnamurthy's oft quoted statement:
 "Reality is the interval between two thoughts". The modern rationalist
 discourse founded on Descartes' search for certainty and the Cartesian
 conclusion "I think, therefore I am", seemed somehow far removed from

 Irreverently I thought of Peter Sellers in the film 'Party'. Sellers plays
the role
 of an Indian and he is asked by someone: 'Who do you think you are?'.
 Sellers draws himself upto his full height, looks piercingly at the
 and replies:'Sir, in India we do not think, we know who we are!'

 Today, the so called certainties of modernism are yielding to the more
 wholistic approach of the post modern world. Many have begun to grasp
 the force of reason in Aurobindo's remarks:

  "The capital period of my intellectual development was when I
  could see clearly that what the intellect said might be correct
  and not correct, that what the intellect justified was true and its
  opposite was also true. I never admitted a truth in the mind
  without simultaneously keeping it open to the contrary of it..
  And the first result was that the prestige of the intellect was

 Krishnamurthy's teachings were summarised with his approval, on 21
 October 1980, in this way:

  "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 organization, 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."

 The last time that I met with Krishnamurthy was in January 1984. I was in
 Madras and I went to hear him at Adyar. I was invited to join Krishnaji at
 lunch on the following day. It was a simple vegetarian meal and there were
 four or five of us at the table. I told Krishnaji that he had said
something the
 previous evening and that I had not seen it quite in the same way before. He
 laughed. I continued: 'You said that the 'I' was always in the past'.
 Krishnaji's eyes twinkled. He said: 'It clicked, did it?'

 Krishnamurthy inquired about the July 1983 incidents in Sri Lanka and he
 was horrified to learn at first hand about some of the attacks and the
 resulting plight of the Tamil people. He had been thinking about visiting Sri
 Lanka at the end of the year but had decided against going.

 The conversation at the lunch table was easy and informal. Krishnaji spoke
 about his love for fast cars in the days of his youth. He related a joke
 a Soviet astronaut. There was this Soviet astronaut, he said, who had gone
 to the moon and returned to Moscow. The astronaut was feted by the
 Soviet people and the final reception before his world tour was held in the
 Kremlin. The Kremlin reception rooms, with their high domes, huge
 chandeliers and plush red carpets were packed to capacity. 

 The Soviet President, Brezhnev took the astronaut to a quiet corridor and
 asked: "Tell me, when you went up there, did you see God?". The astronaut,
 looked around cautiously and replied in a whisper "Yes, I did." Brezhnev
 said: "I thought as much, but make certain that you do not tell anybody else
 about this."

 I smiled and Krishnamurthy went on. The astronaut left on his world tour
 and he was given grand receptions in Germany, in England and in the United
 States. The final reception of the world tour was in the Vatican in Rome.
 The reception rooms in the Vatican with their high domes, huge chandeliers
 and plush red carpets were packed to capacity. The Pope invited the
 astronaut to a secluded corridor and asked: " Tell me, when you went up
 there, did you see God?"

 The astronaut looked around cautiously, and remembering Brezhnev's
 command, replied: "No, I did not see God." The Pope said: "I thought as
 much, but please do not tell anybody else about this."

 All of us at the table joined with Krishnaji in the laughter. The
 then turned to the possibility of Krishnamurthy addressing the United

 Krishnaji looked at me and said: "Sir, if you were asked to address the
 United Nations, what would you say?". I was taken aback at the directness
 and suddenness of the query. I hesitated. I did not want to make a fool of
 myself - and appear presumptuous in his presence. I decided to take what
 appeared to me the cautious option. I replied: "Krishnaji, I do not think
 I would have anything to say". 

 Krishnamurthy's response was quick: "Does that mean that you
 have nothing to say?" And as I was trying to recover from the force
 of the body blow, Krishnamurthy delivered the knockout. He
 said:"Does that mean that you do not care?".

 It was a learning process. My 'modesty' was shown up to be pretentious.
 Many years later in 1987, after the Indo Sri Lanka Accord was signed, I
 was invited to speak in London on the Accord and its effect on the struggle
 for Tamil Eelam. I commenced my talk by relating this story about
 Krishnamurthy and went on to say:

  "I must confess that it was with some hesitation that I accepted
  the invitation to speak this evening. But as I reflected on that
  meeting with Krishnaji in Adyar, I was persuaded to accept
  because I cannot deny that I do care about what is happening
  to us as a people and because it would be wrong for me to say
  that I have nothing to say about the Tamil struggle and the Indo
  Sri Lanka Accord."

 To me, Jiddu Krishnamurthy will always be the essential gnana yogi, the man
 who denied that he was a messiah but who spoke and wrote for more than
 fifty years thereafter, to ever growing audiences and who insisted to the

  "No man from outside can make you free... No one holds the
  Key to the Kingdom of Happiness. No one has the authority
  to hold that key. That key is your own self, and in the
  development and the purification and in the incorruptibility of
  that self alone is the Kingdom of Eternity...".


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