The Relevance of Krishnaji´s Teachings

Clemice Petter – India, Brazil

Theosophy CP 2

Clemice Petter, the author, lives and assists at the International Headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Adyar

To talk about the relevance of J. Krishnamurti´s teachings is almost an impossible task because he gave us a precious jewel which it may not be accurate to simply call teachings. I would say that Krishnaji gave to humanity the key to solve all problems created by a selfish mind; it is the answer to the tears of a world that has suffered for countless centuries waiting for the fresh waters of wisdom to descent once more upon the world of ignorance and darkness.

When the Theosophical Society (TS) was formed in the 19th Century, Madame Blavatsky made it clear that the purpose of such a society was to bring back, especially to the Western world, the possibility for the spiritual life, which also meant the possibility for wisdom to be available to humanity. The task before the then new attempt is to help humanity, which means each one of us, to go beyond the materialistic approach of life and fulfill our destiny as pure human beings.

Pure here means a human being in its fullness, without any trace of the animalistic behavior, without the “me” and “mine” that are the outcome of the divisive, selfish mind. Madame Blavatsky said in a letter to the American Convention in 1888:

"The tendency of modern civilization is a reaction towards animalism, towards a development of those qualities which conduce to the success in life of man as an animal in the struggle for animal existence. Theosophy seeks to develop the human nature in man in addition to the animal, and the sacrifice of the superfluous animality which modern life and materialistic teachings have developed to a degree which is abnormal for the human being at this stage of his progress."

We can see by the extract above that it is time for humanity to change and to develop the spiritual and sacrifice the selfish animal within us. Blavatsky also made clear what was and still is the most difficult, yet the most awaited wonder that the Society is yet to realize, in the same letter in 1888 she wrote:

"This should never be forgotten, not should the following fact be overlooked, On the day when Theosophy will have accomplished its most holy and most important mission — namely, to unite firmly a body of man of all nations in brotherly love and bent on a pure altruistic work, not on a labor with selfish motives — on that day only will Theosophy become higher than any nominal brotherhood of man. This will be a wonder and a miracle truly, for the realization of which humanity is vainly waiting for the last 18 centuries, and which every association has hitherto failed to accomplish."

We can see that Blavatsky made it very clear what is the most important task, and we cannot accomplish it whit a divisive mind, a mind with this awful attitude of “me first”. We need to sacrifice this “me” in order to honestly call each other Brothers.

There is another advice given by Blavatsky that we would like to bring to light. In the same letter she wrote:

"But let no man set up a popery instead of Theosophy, as this would be suicidal and has ever ended most fatally. We are all fellow students, more or less advanced; but no one belonging to the Theosophical Society ought to count himself as more than, at best, a pupil-teacher — one who has no right to dogmatize."

This is really some key advice, as she is clearly saying that there is no authority in spiritual matters, that all authority in the sacred land of the human heart creates dogmas, which are the opposite of Theosophy, and that fixed ideas are not to be imposed on anybody in the Society.

In The Key to Theosophy Blavatsky talks with enthusiasm about the coming of the next torchbearer of Truth.

"Besides a large and accessible literature ready to men’s hands, the next impulse will find a numerous and united body of people ready to welcome the new torchbearer of Truth. He will find the minds of men prepared for his message, a language ready for him in which to clothe the new truths he brings, an organization awaiting his arrival, which will remove the merely mechanical, material obstacles and difficulties from his path. Think how much one, to whom such an opportunity is given, could accomplish . . . . If the Theosophical Society survives and lives true to its mission, to its original impulse through the next hundred years — tell me, I say, if I go too far in asserting that Earth will be a heaven in the twenty-first century in comparison with what it is now!" 

Madame Blavatsky knew that new teachings were to come and she also knew that the TS was cleaning the house, the human mind, from heavy materialism and superstitions, so that new teachings have a better chance to be understood. With all this in mind we can see that the TS exists for the betterment of human beings, for the growth of the human in us, and it was never intended to glorify personalities, to create idolatry, and therefore dogmatism.

When we look at Krishnamurti´s teachings we can easily identify that he never claimed authority in spiritual matters, on the contrary, in Mark Lee´s book World Teacher, the Life and Teachings of J. Krishnamurti he said:

“I am not establishing myself as an authority to tell you what to do because I do not believe in authority in spiritual matters. All authority is evil; and all sense of authority must cease, especially if we would find out what is God, what is truth, whether there is something beyond the mere measure of the mind.”

The above quote is just a small example of the relevance of Krishnaji´s teachings. Humanity is ready to grow, to let go all crutches and walk alone. We live in a world of tremendous development in the technological field and we cannot deal with all the challenges created by technology with the same primitive, tribal mind that divides the world into many. There has not been a time in know human history when the urgency for change is as evident as it is now. We cannot avoid it any longer and Krishnaji´s teachings have a tremendous importance for this moment in human life on Earth, because for the first time we have the possibility to understand what we are and the world created by our ways of life.

Krishnamurti brings a revolution to us; he is not setting up new philosophies or creating new concepts about life, he is simply pointing out what is going on inside each one of us; his teachings are purely psychological. His approach is direct and simple, he is not trying to convince anybody of anything, the following quote is an example of how he presents himself.

"In this there is no teacher, no pupil; there is no leader; there is no guru; there is no Master, no Savior. You yourself are the teacher and the pupil; you are the Master; you are the guru; you are the leader; you are everything. And to understand is to transform what is."

Humanity has followed and believed since the beginning of time and now time has come when we need to walk straight, without crutches. It is time to know ourselves, to see directly the kind of world we have created. We can only change the world if we are changed, there is no way that blind people, that cannot see clearly will be able to bring clarity to the world. Krishnaji is working with the basic, the first step as he himself said when asked.

Questioner: Why is your teaching so purely psychological? There is no cosmology, no theology, no ethics, no aesthetics, no sociology, no political science, not even hygiene. Why do you concentrate only on the mind and its workings?

Krishnamurti: For a very simple reason, sir. If the thinker can understand himself, then the whole problem is solved. Then he is creation, he is reality; and then what he does will not be antisocial. Virtue is not an end in itself; virtue brings freedom, and there can be freedom only when the thinker, which is the mind, ceases.

To understand ourselves is the first step, self-knowledge is what we need to understand each other, and therefore to understand the world. More than two thousand years ago the Greeks said: “Man, know thyself and you will know the gods and the Universe”. Blavatsky also pointed out in the preface of The Voice of the Silence, that unless a man seriously perseveres in the pursuit of self-knowledge, he will never lend a willing ear to advice of a spiritual nature. 

There is no other way to see clearly, we need to sharpen the instrument that we have, which is our own mind. We cannot expect to have a holistic approach to life when our mind is divisive. When we use pink lenses in our glasses we will see everything pink; in the same way, if we have a divisive mind we will see only partially, there is no possibility for us to see the whole; therefore the first step is self-knowledge. And Krishnaji´s entire life was dedicated to point out what we are and how it is creating the world in which we live.

Krishnaji talks about a change that needs to take place in us, he is not concerned with changing the world by working externally, he talks about seeing what we are, be aware of our thought process, where it comes from, how it reacts and how we are slaves of our own thoughts. To be free is to understand and let go.

Some time ago I came across a small passage in The Secret Doctrine that called my attention. The following quote shed light on the importance of the field of psychology for the next step for the development of humanity.

"As stated in Book I, the humanities developed coordinately, and on parallel lines with the four Elements, every new Race being physiologically adapted to meet the additional element. Our Fifth Race is rapidly approaching the Fifth Element — call it interstellar ether, if you will — which has more to do, however, with psychology than with physics." (SD, Volume II, page 135)

Every time that humanity has to face new challenges, there comes a Teacher to help us to walk through the waters of life. Now we can clearly see that we need to understand our own psyche. Without understanding ourselves we will be run by computers and robots. We can see what is going on with social media, we are being controlled by a mobile phone. Big companies are using our ignorance about ourselves to manipulate our attention and even our likes and dislikes. There has been an increase in the number of suicides among teenagers all over the world. We don’t know how to deal with our children.

The world is changing rapidly and our minds, psychologically, are the same as they were thousands of years ago. We are still aggressive and ready to fight over the least provocation. We still believe that war is a necessary evil, our education is not helping our children to understand the world that we are creating for them to live in. Our problems are increasing day by day and we are unable to understand them. We won’t understand them unless we understand the mind that has created them. Krishnaji said that it is impossible to solve a problem with the same mind that has created it. This means that we cannot solve the problems created by a divisive, selfish mind with the same divisive, selfish approach which is the problem itself. There has to be a group of people with a new mind and heart; people capable of universal living.

Some people say that Krishnaji´s teachings are not practical; we would say that an egoistic, self-centered mind is looking for something that will satisfy its own purposes, therefore anything that is whole can never be practical to a divided mind. The solution of all problems lies in understanding the mind that has created them, therefore the solution is to stop the problem-maker, which is our own minds.

The other day I saw an interview with a famous writer and this writer said that the greatest problem of the present is that the world has no leaders, that everyone is trying to understand what is going on, how to deal with artificial intelligence and where all this is going to lead us. This same person also said that now more than ever humanity needs wise people to see the whole scenario and to help us to cross with safety the turbulent sea of uncertainties and challenges without precedents in known human history. It is obvious that a selfish, self-centered mind cannot see the whole and therefore is not able to help humanity to find its way within, which is the only way there is out of the mess created by the “me” and “mine”.

Ignorance brings with it the seeds of destruction, and this is simple to understand, as an ignorant person can see only in fragments. But whatever he does affects the whole, even if is not seeing, because if we do not see the Sun on a cloudy day, it does not mean it is not there. So the action that comes out of ignorance are focused on what its limitations allow him to see, but the effect of that action will be felt in the whole, and when subsequent reaction of the whole comes we cannot understand where it comes from.

A good example of this is the devastation of the forests around the globe. Human beings don´t know what they are killing. They cut the trees and think that is all they are killing, but there is much more to it than just what our eyes can see. We can plant trees but we can never bring back the ecosystems that we don´t even know how long have taken to develop, therefore we may plant trees but we can never plant a forest.

Today is not enough to know that life is subtle and that the physical plane is only a small part of something that cannot be measured; today, in order that we do not destroy ourselves we need to take the journey within, a journey that has no beginning and no end, and as we see ourselves, we will understand that life is a mystery and a wonder that can never be described; as Krishnamurti said in The Collected Works – 1954 – 1965.

"The speaker is only a sounding board, he is not important at all. He is pointing out how to listen to yourself; and if you know how to listen to yourself, you can go on a journey that has no end, a journey that penetrates further and deeper than Mars. Out of the understanding of yourself there comes order, virtue, the cessation of conflict, and in that state there is great beauty."

Whether we are willing to take up this endless journey is up to us, as once was said by a wise one: “Man is his own law-giver, the creator of his own destiny”.

Note from the editior: This article was also published in a new magazine called, The Pan American Journal of Theosophy, Research and Practice. It is an excellent periodical and it appears in both Spanish and English

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