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RE: Krishnamurti on Atman.

Mar 10, 2002 09:07 AM
by Gerald Schueler

<<<First, I see in this passage a rejection (dare I say an almost angry rejection) of certain ideas related to Theosophy. I look at K's background and wonder to what extent his traumatic experience with the TS and Leadbeater and Besant affected what he wrote later in life. ...>>>

Bruce, I can't agree with you here. While K is, indeed, rejecting atma as a real and permanent entity, so do I, and so does Buddhism. K was enlightened, and anyone can see that in his writings. Being enlightened he knew very well that Theosophists reify and personalize things all the time. This is what he was rejecting, and I have been doing the very same thing. I am not rejecting Theosophy per se, but only its exoteric dead-letter literal interpretation. I think that this is also what K was doing, and Theosophists mistook it, just as they mistake my own posts. Look at the flak that I received, and am still receiving, on the idea that atma is mayavic. Most Theosophists would drum me out of the camp, if they could, for such perceived heresy. Yet most spiritually enlightened persons will tell you that atma has to be maya.

<<<He was, quite frankly, subject to a lot of 
very severe psychological abuse in his early life.>>>

This has nothing to do with his teachings. Every single child growing up is subjected to some form of psychological, if not physical, abuse. It is all part of growing up. How we react to that abuse is what is important.

<<<It is not much wonder that he rejected the TS, given the terrible experience he had with it and the attempts of Leadbeater and Besant to create him in their image of what a great Teacher should be.>>>

I honestly do not think that this was his rationale for leaving the TS. I believe that he was enlightened enough to see through all of the reifications and personifications that Blavatsky sprinkles throughout her writings, and that his insight was rejected by Besant and Leadbeater and everyone else, and so he had no choice but to leave (I can't count the times that I have considered quiting myself, and letting my fellow Theosophists play in their sandbox for several more lifetimes). Now, if you look at my last sentence, the paren will seem like "My, that Schueler thinks he knows everything, and is putting on superior airs" and etc. And so what I have said is taken the wrong way and will be even more rejected. So what option is there except to quit?

<<<So his focus on the present in the above quote (as Adalasie points out) would be very important. It is necessary to know what we are actually going through right now. It is no good to talk about Atma and the like and to hope to escape to those levels of awareness if what we are experiencing 
in the present is terrible loneliness and isolation and psychological abuse and if we are living from those conditioned reflexes.>>>

It is more than that Bruce. Spirituality is a fact, just as real as physical reality. It is also a wonderful and gratifying experience. As such, one tends to become attracted to it, and fixated on it, and then trapped in it. According to Tibetan Buddhism, this is exactly what happens to the "gods" and "demigods" who live in the spiritual realms. Yet Theosophists do this all the time. But the belief in a spiritual self is just as misleading, just as mayavic, as the belief in an ego self. I think that K knew this all too well.

<<<However, on the other hand, I object to K's presentation of this statement as a general statement of how the teaching of spiritual processes should proceed.>>>

And your objection is based on what? Probably your firm belief in a spiritual self. The path from a physical self to mental self to a spiritual self is not K's path. His is more like Buddhism, which is a pathless path, one that leads to no self at all. I have tried, so far unsuccessfully, to get this pathless path idea into the Theosophical umbrella. The resistance is enormous.

<<<K says, "We invent the higher self, the supreme self, the atma, and all the innumerable ideas, to escape from the reality of what we are--the actual everyday, every-minute reality of what we are." This reads to me almost like Freud saying that the idea of the Divine is merely an unresolved Father Complex, or the materialist saying that there is no such thing as a spiritual dimension to life, all is merely the chance concatenation of physical events.>>>

Bruce, you are misreading K here. The "invention" that he talks about is not a psychologcial escapism, but is maya itself. We first "invent" an ego self, and then, when that seems patently absurd, we "invent" a spiritual self to take its place. Someday that too will seem patently absurd, and then we can move on. 

<<<Thus K seems to be saying here that we "invent" the "higher self" in order "to escape from the reality of what we are--the actual everyday, every-minute reality of what we are." >>>

And I believe that K is very much right in what he says. What are we? This is the real question we need to ask, and both self and Self are wrong answers. The "reality of what we are" is that we have no separate distinct self at all - but Theosophists are loath to hear this.

<<< He seems to be merely reflecting the skepticism of the materialist in what he says here. >>>

Not at all, because the materialist thinks she has a self, and clings to that self, and tries to protect it, etc, just like everyone else. The materialist rejects the higher spirital Self, while the spiritualist rejects the lower ego-self. K rightly rejected both. So does Buddhism. So do I. Now Buddhism is not Theosophy. K had to leave Theosophy. I have tried to bring these ideas into Theosophy, so far without success - and I may leave soon too.

Enough for now. Enjoy.

Jerry S.

PS The rejection of self, the anatma doctrine of Buddhism, seems on the surface to be diametrically opposed to Theosophy, which posits a spiritual Self. But Blavatsky clearly says that this spiritual Self is a ray or emanation into our planetary chain from something she calls a "divine Monad", and so seeing this spiritual Self as maya is not anti-Theosophy at all. And the divine Monad is not a self, so there is really no problem at all.


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