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RE: Theos-World Jiddu Krishnamurti Book - Vernon

May 06, 2001 11:28 AM
by Peter Merriott

Dear Doss,

Did the review leave you feeling you wanted to read the book?


> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Sent: 06 May 2001 19:19
> To:;
> Subject: Theos-World Jiddu Krishnamurti Book - Vernon
> I am reposing after reformatting to make it easily readable.
> ___MKR___
> A Star in the East :Krishnamurti, the Invention of a Messiah
> by Roland Vernon
> Hardcover - (March 2001) 336 pages
> Editorial Reviews
> Roland Vernon's biography of Krishnamurti, subtitled The Invention of a
> Messiah, could also have been called simply Understanding the
> Man.Krishnamurti's life has been well chronicled, but Vernon keeps his
> sights on the people and events that shaped Krishnamurti's life. We learn
> about Charles Leadbeater, the allegedly pedophilic discoverer of
> and tutor
> to Krishnamurti; Annie Besant, the notorious social activist and
> Krishnamurti's second mother; and the mysterious and painful
> "process"that
> brought Krishnamurti to enlightenment. Besides the influences on
> his public
> persona, Vernon is also fascinated by the sometimes contradictory
> and less
> well-known private side of Krishnamurti. He had close ties to his brother
> Nitya, whose death galvanized Krishnamurti to forsake the
> organization that
> created him. And he carried on an extended clandestine affair
> with Rosalind
> Williams Rajagopal, his early companion and later wife of his friend and
> business partner. Not quick to pass judgment,Vernon looks at various
> perspectives of these people and events,unafraid finally to come
> down with
> his own well-reasoned opinions. Star in the East depicts
> Krishnamurti as a
> complex man who encouraged everyone to think for themselves. --Brian Bruya
> From Publishers Weekly
> Vernon, a professional writer educated at King's College,
> Cambridge,offers
> the most comprehensive Krishnamurti biography to date,
> promising"water-tight impartiality." He presents detailed accounts of the
> New Age teacher's life (1895-1986) and career in chronological
> order, using
> primary and secondary sources scrupulously quoted as well as un
> attributed
> interviews with students, friends and colleagues. However,Vernon's
> objectivity is a fairly unreflective one that often fails to
> systematically
> interpret and connect the details of Krishnamurti's life and career to
> important trends of his time. Vernon fails to recognize, for
> example, that
> Krishnamurti's story does not so much herald the arrival of Eastern
> mysticism in the West as it clearly describes and anticipates the
> construction of a unique Eastern mysticism by the West. Also, Vernon does
> not detect the apparent influence of Victorian notions of sexuality and
> hygiene on Krishnamurti's early trance inductions and later physically
> punishing purification experiences (known collectively as the
> "Process").The custody and training of young Krishnamurti by the
> Theosophist Charles Leadbeater clearly involved what would today
> be viewed
> as child sexual abuse, and the author's reluctance to acknowledge it as
> such precludes a more comprehensive and accurate psychological
> interpretation of Krishnamurti's important religious experiences.However,
> this biography is still the best available, providing a wealth of detail
> that will be appreciated by followers of Krishnamurti.
> From Library Journal
> Vernon offers a compelling account of the legendary Krishnamurti,groomed
> from childhood as the Theosophical Society's messiah and spiritual savior
> of the world. With penetrating analysis, the author sifts through
> controversies surrounding Krishna's tutelage under the notorious Annie
> Besant and Charles Leadbeater, who initiated the transformation of a shy
> and apathetic boy into a dynamic and spiritual genius. The author
> carefully
> handles Leadbeater's infamous sexual perversion, misogyny, and various
> deceits (such as forging "At the Feet of the Master," purportedly
> penned by
> Krishna). The author candidly but fairly examines the life of a molded
> messiah whose travels, emotional development, and maturing
> spiritual views
> culminated in his astonishing 1929 dissolution of the Order of the Star,
> declaring that "Truth is a pathless land, unapproachable by any path,
> religion, or organized belief." This is a balanced study of a
> world teacher
> who, in denying his own messianic role and spiritual authority, became,
> ironically, even more influential and left behind a legacy of schools in
> the decades to come. Recommended for all libraries to fill the void of
> comprehensive treatments of this figure. Loren RossonIII, Nashua P.L., NH
> Book Description
> The extraordinary story of Krishnamurti, hailed early in life as the
> messiah for the 20th century, is told here in the light of a century of
> changing spiritual attitudes. It is a tale of mysticism, sexual scandals,
> religious fervor and chicanery, out of which emerged one of the most
> influential thinkers of modern times. Krishnamurti was "discovered" as a
> young boy on a beach in India by members of the Theosophical Society,
> convinced that they had found the new world leader, a spiritual savior as
> historic and as influential as Jesus himself. By the 1920s he was
> attracting worldwide press attention and people flocked to his
> talks in the
> thousands. In 1922,Krishnamurti broke with the society and set out on a
> teaching mission of his own as a secular philosopher of spirituality. He
> ultimately had a career that spanned six decades, founded seven schools,
> published 50 booksand encompassed thousands of talks. This extraordinary
> story is told forthe first time by Roland Vernon in the full light of
> 20th-century attitudes ina narrative that is as compelling as any novel.
> About the AuthorRoland Vernon lives in Somerset, England with his
> wife and
> children.
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