J. Krishnamurti and the
Krishnamurti Foundation of America
J. Krishnamurti’s life (1895-1986) has been chronicled in countless books and articles. Krishnamurti himself gave little importance to his own origins and urged people rather to listen to what he was talking and writing about. This indifference to his own history and world-wide importance was consistent with his teachings where he suggested that we should be concerned with the present tense as the past was history, dead and of little help in acting intelligently now.
Still, Krishnamurti’s early life is instructive for those who want an insight into this extraordinary teacher who spent sixty-five years traveling the world speaking to millions of people and whose books were translated into 50 languages.
Krishnamurti was born in May 1895, in a small town in South India near Madras. As the eighth child of a Brahmin family, and a boy, he was by tradition called Krishnamurti in honor of Shri Krishna, a Hindu divinity born an eighth child. His father, a civil servant, then moved to Madras with his four surviving sons. In 1911, the sixteen-year-old Krishnamurti, with his younger brother, was brought to England where he was privately educated. He began to speak along lines that broke with tradition in 1929, when he repudiated all connections with organized religions and ideology. From then on, Krishnamurti traveled the world writing, speaking and discussing.
Once he came of age, he never stayed anywhere for more than a few months and did not consider that he belonged to any country, nationality or culture. He accepted no fees for his talks or royalties on his books and recordings.
In his talks, Krishnamurti asked for a particular kind of participation on the part of the audience. He was not giving a premeditated lecture to which the audience listened with agreement or disagreement; he was not presenting a point of view, doing propaganda for an idea, belief or dogma or leading the audience to a particular conclusion. Instead, the speaker and listeners were together exploring human problems. This is an art that is learned in the very act of attending to what Krishnamurti is saying. You cannot listen if at the same time you are comparing what is said with what you have read; this prevents listening. Likewise, if you are translating what is being said according to your previous knowledge or opinion, you cannot listen. Listening implies attention of the whole being. This attention is not an effort of concentration; it comes naturally when you are deeply concerned with the many problems of existence.
It is central to Krishnamurti’s teaching that man, if he is to be truly free, must first be aware of the psychological conditioning which prevents him from seeing things as they really are. This quality of attention to “what is”—neither to what one likes or dislikes, nor to what some authority says is so, but to the actual thing itself—is at the very core of his work. It is in this attention to “what is” that the mind stops chattering and is still, and thus no longer separate from the thing it observes. In this silence, there is no ‘me,’ no center to which one relates all that is seen or heard. Thus, there is only “what is” and in this there is the quality of love, of beauty, of order.
Often, in the years before he died, Krishnamurti would ask the Foundation board members how they would proceed when he was no longer with them. “I am now dead,” he said. “Now what will you do?”
He wanted to make sure that the Foundation he started and those friends associated with him would not allow his teaching to turn into a cult, spiritual organization or a religion. While he was living, he chose to discuss the intent and future work of the Foundation so that his death would bring no change in the foundations he established to disseminate the teaching. He knew, and said repeatedly, that the institutionalization of the Krishnamurti teachings would be the end of them.
In 1973, Krishnamurti made the following statement at a meeting of trustees of the Krishnamurti foundations:
After all these years I still maintain this essential truth: following blindly or according to pleasure or temperament does not bring man to freedom and without freedom there is no truth. In all these many years of talks and dialogues this has been the principal concern.
Today there are four Krishnamurti foundations. These are The Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd. in England, Krishnamurti Foundation of America, Krishnamurti Foundation India, and Foundation Krishnamurti Hispano-American… During my lifetime, they arrange talks, group discussions, seminars and gatherings. They are responsible for… editing, translating and publishing the books. They are responsible for the care of archives. They produce films, audio and videotapes, see to their distribution…
There are five schools in India, an educational center with its school at Brockwood Park in England, and there is going to be an educational center and school in the United States at Ojai. All these schools function under the Krishnamurti foundations. It is the responsibility of the Foundations to see that these schools continue, if possible, after my death. It is very definitely intended that in these schools, which are in no way sectarian… [the teachings] are to be lived by both the teacher and student… the schools have importance for they may bring about a totally different human mind.
The Foundations have no authority in the matter of the teachings. The truth lies in the teachings themselves. The Foundations will see to it that these teachings are kept whole and are not distorted, are not made corrupt. The Foundations have no authority to send out propagandists or interpreters of the teachings. As it has been necessary, I have often pointed out that I have no representative who will carry on with these teachings in my name, now, or at any time in the future.
The Foundations will not give rise to any sectarian spirit in their activities. The Foundations will not create any kind, or place, of worship around the teachings or the person.
In this chaotic and disintegrating world what is of greatest importance is how each person lives these teachings in his daily life… It is the responsibility of each human being to bring about his own transformation, which does not depend on knowledge or time.
How then, since he talked so strongly against codification, organization and propagandizing of his teaching, did Krishnamurti want his teaching communicated and disseminated beyond the distribution of books and tapes through the schools? In 1947 he said it this way:
… propaganda is a lie because mere repetition is not truth. What you can repeat is a lie. Truth cannot be repeated for truth can only be experienced directly: mere repetition is a lie because repetition implies imitation… To you the world has become important and not reality. So you are caught in the verbal level and what you want to spread is the word. That means you will catch what I am saying in a net of words and so cause a division between man and man. Then you will create a new system based on Krishnamurti’s words which you, the propagandist, will spread among other propagandists who are also caught in words and thereby what have you done? Whom have you helped? No sirs, that is not the way to spread the teachings!
So you can spread a tiny part of what I have been talking about, only as you live it. It is by your life that you communicate profoundly, not through words. Words, Sirs, to a serious thoughtful man, have very little meaning.
Terms are of little significance when you are really seeking truth—truth in a relationship and not an abstract truth of valuation of things or of ideas. If you want to find the truth of those things verbally, it is of little importance. But words become very important when you are not seeking truth; then the word is the thing and then the thing catches you… So if you want to spread these teachings live them—and by your life you will be spreading them, you will be communicating them, which is more true and significant than verbal repetition; for repetition is imitation and imitation is not creativeness and you as an individual must awake to your own conditioning and thereby free yourself and hence give love to another.
Almost twenty years after Krishnamurti’s death, the work, as he outlined it, goes on at a vigorous pace, although the Foundation has to work harder to attract donations to finance the work. This work includes preserving and disseminating the teachings and supporting the Oak Grove School. The Krishnamurti foundations in England and America will continue to release previously unpublished talks and discussions in book form. While there will be no additional videotapes a new film, titled Krishnamurti: With a Silent Mind, has been released with new footage, draws from films and tapes made in the last years of Krishnamurti’s life.
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 The Krishnamurti Foundation of America is one of five such foundations worldwide concerned with the preservation and dissemination of the teachings. For information and a catalogue of books, videotapes and audiotapes or information about the seven Krishnamurti schools around the world write: Krishnamurti Foundation of America, P.O. BOX 1560, Ojai, California, 93023 U.S.A.
 Brockwood Park, England, July 10, 1973.
 Madras, India, December 28, 1947.