Tuesday, 28 May 2013


This question fits in well with the last couple of posts so I include it here.

Q. You praise Krishnamurti in your book but a lot of people think that he somehow went wrong and that his teachings might come from a high state of consciousness but are of little practical use and could actually have a negative impact in that they just set the bar too high. What do you say?

A. I understand what you say and I don’t think it advisable to read only Krishnamurti and, as a consequence, reject everything else. I think you need a broader overview to begin with to get the best out of him. But, if you have a proper grounding in traditional spiritual teachings, he can be very illuminating in that he clears away all superfluity and sweeps aside the later accretions of those who echo the great Masters without having scaled their heights. The diamond-sharp discrimination he brings to bear on spiritual matters is very refreshing. However he can also seem to be asking us to leap over a high wall while forbidding the use of a ladder or even the attempt to climb. The reality is that to get from A to Z you must pass through the intervening letters of the alphabet. The spiritual path has stages which can't be ignored. From the starting position of a normal person it is impossible to reach enlightenment in a single leap. The unripe ego cannot transcend itself without purifying itself in the fires of spiritual discipline and uplifting itself through prayer and meditation.

But, despite Krishnamurti’s possible shortcomings as a teacher, I do think he has manifested the truth in its purity more than anyone else in the latter half of the 20th century. Maybe he had a peculiar mission and was meant to act as a new broom. He has many modern imitators but none of them has his depth of insight or clarity of vision or, for that matter, his purity of soul.

What distinguishes Krishnamurti from most of those who have followed on from him is his love of God. That may seem a strange thing to say given his stance but, although he may not have spoken of it in that way, it is revealed in his sense of the sacred and his uncompromising desire to protect the truth from corruptions inflicted on it by those who know it only from the outside looking in.

I have no doubt that Krishnamurti was sent by the Masters and served them faithfully, and one of the ways he did so was to purify the spiritual atmosphere of his day which had become heavily clouded with astral glamours and psychic illusions. By rejecting the Masters as they were presented he paved the way for a truer understanding of what they actually are. They were behind him and inspiring him, but as spiritual essences rather than the magical super-personalities they had been turned into by some of those who came before him.


Paul Hillman said...

Having rejected the role that he was groomed for by the Theosophist hierarchy, Krishnamurti stayed true to that decision and pared away all the frills from his teachings,concentrating on the true essence, but it could,perhaps, be argued that, although he did not throw out the baby with the bathwater, as it were, he dwelt in rarefied heights where few were inclined or able to follow.
I always picture the Hermit tarot card when I think of him.

William Wildblood said...

I agree that he probably serves better as an example than as a guide but his mission may have been to clear away the smog and smoke that surrounded (and often obscured) contemporary spirituality; though there's still plenty of that about, of course.

David Balfour said...

I have searched for Krishnamurti on the Web and found two people by same name and both have videos on you tube of a spiritual nature. Are you discussing UG Krishnamurti in your book and here or do you refer to the other man?

William Wildblood said...

Definitely not UG. I know of him but he was certainly not a proper spiritual teacher. An iconclast perhaps but in no sense someone who really knew what he was talking about. IMO, as they say!

J Krishnamurti, on the other hand, was the genuine article. He probably should not be taken neat ,as I say above, but he clears away a lot of the nonsense that surrounds spirituality. What I mean is that one should have a grounding in traditional religious practice of some sort (though he would reject all that)to get the best out of him. He rather threw the baby away with the bathwater but there was/is an awful lot of bathwater that does need to be thrown away. I think he was a very pure soul who spoke from the heights of truth. Of course, he had no real knowledge of Christianity - he was born a Hindu and raised by Theosophists- and that might put you off but I think if you see him for what he is and take him on your own terms you would get a lot out of him.

As a former Buddhist you will see where he is coming from. I really do think of him as somewhat akin to a second Buddha. There is something very cleansing about him though he was not perfect any more than anyone is on this world. However in terms of genuine spiritual teachers in the 20th century he is one of the few who gets my vote.

David Balfour said...

I have began to watch some of the large catalogue of his talks on you tube. The Internet is a great resource. I must confess I find listening to him simultaneously fascinating and redolent with a clear depth of wisdom but also the way he speaks in such a (to my perception) at times *detached* way is a bit frightening. But thus is undoubtedly lto an extent just my ego getting frightening in the face of a powerful spiritual solvent.
Incidentally what are your thoughts on the dalaid lama? An authentic spiritual teacher or just complicit to western secularism?

William Wildblood said...

I do think that if you don't have a grounding in traditional spirituality he can be confusing. If you listen to him and only him, as I know a lot of people do or used to when he was alive, you can become a bit lost. He is very detached in his talks though apparently was not like that in his everyday life.

There are two things to bear in mind about him. One, he was raised by Theosophists from a young child as a new Messiah and was brought up imbibing all their occult paraphenalia with Masters here and there, initiations, astral plane excitements, clairvoyance and all the rest of it, what you might call a lot of spiritual phenomena. He rejected all that and rather went to the other extreme. And two, he may have had a peculiar mission as a spiritual purifier, someone who discarded all externals and just focussed on the pure essentials of the path. But this is not for everyone and unless you have a very clear mind seems a bit inhuman. As I say in the book Michael respected him but was not interested in his teachings which were too abstract for his taste.

I'm sure the dalai lama helps many people in his own way. He's never appealed to me other than as a decent person with a cheery smile. I don't really know enough about him to say any more. What's your opinion?

David Balfour said...

I am impressed by the dalai lamas humility and also his sense of humour. I feel he is touchingly self-effacing and just a 'humble monk' as he often refers to himself. I find that humour and a warm, heartfelt laugh are qualities which endear me to people from all walks of life - and the quality of a person's laugh and their smile are windows into the heart and soul. I like the dalai lamas laugh. I sometimes imagine that when I hear someone laugh in an earnest and pure way with humility and especially when the humour is honestly self-effacing or when a laugh draws attention to a beautiful thing or belays an underlying nobility or courage or causes the eyes to wrinkle and smile with a vulnerable wisdom - at such times I imagine I see the creator in his majesty and infinitely tender but strong parental love.

David Balfour said...

Humour is an interesting thing. Like many things it can be used or abused. Humour can lighten even the darkest corners of a Nazi concentration camp or it can debase the finest thing to savage triviality and cloak a thorny barb in a soft and saccharine coating. I often wonder what the divine humour might be. I assume that he must definitely have a warm and noble humour. One that is a manifestation and celebration of love and not, as is common nowadays, the misdirection and guile od sarcasm or the celebration of vile things or the misfortunes of others.

I remember watching a film with Sean Connery and a young Christian Slater, the name of the rose, based on a book of the same name by an Italian Author, Umberto Eco. Do you know it? The premise of the book being that a monk at a benedictine order goes to extraordinary lengths to remove some humorous manuscripts on the grounds that humour is manifestly blasphemous and the work of the devil. Quite an extreme position but one which I can imagine many a historic fire and brimstone preacher would applaud. What is your understanding of the role of humour in the spiritual path? Do you see God as having a sense of humour? There seems to be a magic power to humour somehow I think :-)

William Wildblood said...

I enjoyed that film though the Sean Connery character was basically a modern person transferred to the Middle Ages, don't you think? Was he even actually religious? I'm not sure he was. So in that sense the film was biased in a modern humanistic way, showing the good of one side and the excesses of the other. Still, it was a good film.

Humour is an important part of life. It can relieve pain and suffering and misery, and inject needed levity into over-seriousness. At the same time, life is fundamentally serious, love and beauty and truth are deeply serious, and too much humour can erode these. I think a lot does nowadays.

I'm not sure humour has much relevance to the spiritual path except as a bit of light relief to take the pressure (which can be intense) off sometimes. I can tell you that the Masters did have a sense of humour though it wasn't revealed that often but then they were teaching me. It wasn't a social gathering!

I think what you say in your past paragraph sums it up pretty well. Humour can work for good and evil. It can lighten the heart and it can tear down truth and goodness. I think mild and gentle humour, little smiles, is better than massive belly laughs which, to me, emphasise the self-centred earthly personality and not the soul which doesn't draw attention to itself in such a way, preferring quietness and depth to shallow noisiness.

William Wildblood said...

I meant first paragraph not past!

David Balfour said...

Yes I agree with your assessment of the name of the rose, but there again i am a child of the 80's western culture. What could i do but absorb the films, music and culture i was exposed to growing up? I might have lofty spiritual aspirations but i still enjoy a cheesy 80's action movie like the highlander (again with Sean Connery) or Big with Tom Hanks or the Goonies or a bit of Simple Minds or Talking Heads ideally played on a juke box at a friendly local pub. Nostalgia is a strange thing. A feeling of being at home in a time and place even though spiritually I know it is not my home. But where is home? With God as his friends and subjects? Is that our final destination? I particularly like the spiritual message and visions of William Arkle. I imagine you will have seen posts about this wonderful man at Bruce Charltons blog? I am still struggling to gain some clarity on what it is that sets your theology apart from Buddhism. Yes, I see that you see Christ as central but I struggle to understand how the individual remains when entirely clensed of ego and human personality. What would be left to distinguish one perfected soul from another? And if their is a final sacrifice of all identity in union with God is this not just a very, very slow form of suicide over aeons instead of three score years and ten? Perhaps I am just still to fully understand how you see things but i am struggling to imagine what my soul is when my smaller self including its quirks and idiosynchracies, tastes in music and preferences for creative play and hobbies are transcended? I must admit i was saddened at the part of your book in which the masters tild you not to enjoy music too much. I play the guitar and draw portraits and sketch from time to time but i imagine i would need some decent time in heaven to fully explore and perfect these wholesome creative expressions! I hope i will get a chance to enjoy this and making delightful music and art with other souls before i am chivvied on to renounce even these. Again perhaps i am just naïve about what the territory a real spiritual path is meant to cross.

If you could please reply to my email address for this one that would be appreciated. No rush, just when it is convenient.