Re: Theos-World Madame Blavatsky and Jiddu Krishnamurti; a conducive "marriage?"
May 12, 2008 09:40 AM
by Aryel Sanat
On May 8, 2008, at 1:12 PM, Morten Nymann Olesen wrote:
> To all readers
> My views are:
> Thanks Nigel!
> On J. Krishnamurti:
> I do not understand how J. Krishnamurti can be said to be in
> support of Esoteric Buddhism and Blavatsky's version of theosophy
> on the teaching of Master-Chelaship. Krishnamurti rejected guru's
> and called them a crutch.
> Are you able to explain this?
As I pointed out in my introductory statement (documented by the
two papers with quotes from HPB, which can be found at teosofia.com),
the purpose of all perennial schools that we know of, was to bring
about a psychological/spiritual transformation in the candidate.
Part of what this means is that the hope of these schools & their
teachers was that a candidate would at some point become himself a
Master, & would cease to be a candidate. Candidates were not meant
to be candidates for life, eternal beginners, at least not in this
sense. There is of course a sense in which learning never stops, &
in that sense, all of us, including spiritual teachers, are eternal
beginners. But in the context of a perennial school, a candidate was
expected to "advance." Otherwise, why have a school?
The chelaship that HPB & her teachers spoke of made reference to the
old perennial schools (although of course the term "chela" itself
would not be found in other schools, other words referring to the
same thing being used).
She & her teachers specifically referred to the fact that there would
be a new, major-major cycle beginning shortly after her death. She
used the date 1897 to refer to the beginning of that new, major
cycle. According to her & her teachers, every time there is a new
cycle, especially one of this enormous magnitude, there is a teacher
who provides what KH called "the keynote teaching" for that new era.
(Incidentally, this is the origin of the notion of a "new age"
beginning at this time, which had its source in HPB & her teachers,
though the majority of humanity seem to be totally ignorant of this
fact.) HPB & her teachers could have been mistaken about this. If
you think they were mistaken, then we'll just agree to disagree on
this point. It's a rather important point, however, since, according
to a number of statements they made, HPB's teachers seemed to
consider this the main reason why the TS was founded.
As I understand it, K was addressing himself not to people still
attached to the old way of conducting business in perennial schools,
but to people engaged somehow in a state of being in harmony with the
cycle now beginning. He was addressing himself to the new
consciousness. For anyone paying attention to what's been happening
in the world since the founding of the TS, that new consciousness has
been flowering in recent times. It is a consciousness that does not
seem to have existed before these times. Part of what I mean is that
all humans are now forced to see themselves as integral components of
humanity. In the past, it was almost a given that people attached
themselves to the culture they were born to. In that environment, it
was far more difficult for perennial teachers to teach
transformation, & so they did the best they could, even though the
people they were trying to teach found it difficult to grasp that
there was one humanity, & universal virtues not dependent on their
particular conditioning. This may be a major reason why both HPB &
her teachers in their letters spoke of how all previous perennial
attempts had been "failures," & why sometimes they spoke of the TS
In any case, you speak of "Esoteric Buddhism" in the question you
raise. To my knowledge, esoteric Buddhism is exclusively associated
with the Vajrayana of Tibet, so I take it that this is the Buddhism
you're referring to, especially since you speak of "chelaship." The
Prime Minister of Tibet in Exile, who is the Dalai Lama's right hand
man, & considered the second spiritually as well in the Tibetan
hierarchy, is a TS member & also involved with the Krishnamurti
Foundation of India, so I can think of no one better to address your
concerns regarding K. Rinpoche made a remarkable statement relevant
to your question. You can see him making this statement in the
partly biographical film on video Krishnamurti: With a Silent Mind.
Rinpoche explains how the Buddha spoke at two levels, the "level of
the people," and the "level of the prajnaparamita." Then he said
that "Krishnaji spoke only at the level of the prajnaparamita," &
that he, Rinpoche, could see no difference at all between K & the
Buddha, whenever the latter was speaking at the level of prajnaparamita.
If you read the Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra, which is only about one
page long and is the foundation text for all of Mahayana Buddhism
(including the Vajrayana of Tibet), you will see that it has an
uncanny similarity with the starting stanzas of the Stanzas of
Dzyan. It says, in part (D.T. Suzuki's translation, in Essays in Zen
Buddhism, vol. 3, p 223),
"[In deep prajnaparamita] all things are characterized with
emptiness; they are not born, they are not annihilated; they are not
tainted, they are not immaculate; they do not increase, they do not
decrease... [I]n emptiness there is no form, no sensation, no
thought, no confection, no consciousness, no... path, no knowledge,
no attainment, and no realization... All the Buddhas of the past,
present, and future, depending on the Prajnaparamita, attain to the
highest perfect enlightenment."
In such theosophical states of awareness there is no guru & no disciple.
Please consider that when the Buddha himself was in his deathbed &
surrounded by thousands of monks & lay people, he was asked to give
them his final words. They wished for him to summarize briefly the
essence of what he'd been saying for decades. The historic statement
that he made was (this is from memory, so consider it a paraphrase):
"Seek out your own salvation, with diligence. Buddhas do but point
In other words, the function of the best possible teacher is "to
point." Then, after that teacher "points," it's 100% up to you what
will happen. If you decide to "continue messing up," the teacher has
nothing to do with that. It's your life, not his.
Intriguingly, this is precisely what K said all along is the function
of a teacher. If you are truly interested in seeing what he actually
said (as opposed to accepting rumor & innuendo from people who have
not taken the trouble to find out for themselves), a good place to
look into is the discussion on the subject of gurus that he had with
Swami Venkatesananda on July 25, 1969, & which can be found in The
Awakening of Intelligence, beginning on page 139. Here is part of
what he actually said:
"Sir, if you are using the word guru in the classical sense, which is
the dispeller of darkness, of ignorance, can another, whatever he be,
enlightened or stupid, really help to dispel this darkness in
oneself? Suppose 'A' is ignorant and you are his guru --- guru in
the accepted sense, one who dispels darkness and one who carries the
burden for another, one who points out --- can such a guru help
another? --- not theoretically but actually. Can you, if you are the
guru of so and so, dispel his darkness, dispel the darkness for
another? Knowing that he is unhappy, confused, has not enough brain
matter, has not enough love, or sorrow, can you dispel that? Or has
he to work tremendously on himself? You may point out, you may say,
'Look, go through that door,' but he has to do the work entirely from
the beginning to the end. Therefore, you are not a guru in the
accepted sense of that word, if you say that another cannot help...
But I have to walk [through] there. Sir, you are the guru and you
point out the door. You have finished your job."
If K was mistaken about the function of a guru, the function of a
spiritual teacher consisting of just "pointing out," then the Buddha
--- & therefore all of Buddhism --- is equally mistaken about this.
That's not a theory. As you can see, it's just the way it is.
The problem comes, as I see it, from wild notions people have
developed about gurus & spiritual teachers in general. They make the
amazingly silly assumption that someone else can somehow take care of
your lack of wisdom, or compassion, or whatever. Unfortunately,
there ain't no free lunch, and the fact is, "You have to work out
your own salvation, with diligence. Buddhas do but point the way."
What needs to be corrected, then, is people's reckless notions about
teachers, which continue to be fed by a cottage industry of such
presumed teachers, & by people's spiritual laziness. These teachers
would give any kind of thing you tell them that you lack. They'll do
it for a fee, of course.
But when we're talking about theosophy, about the esoteric teaching
as it has always been, everywhere, you have to get ready to die to
the known, to your attachments, to your beliefs.
If you're not ready, that's nothing to be ashamed of. As Clint
poignantly put it in one of the Dirty Harry movies, "A man ought to
know his limitations." The majority of us are in that boat. In that
case, perhaps the best you can do is to pursue Theosophy, which is
the exoteric aspect of all perennial schools. In that case, you'll
be content with believing in various "Theosophical" things, & in
trying to live your life as well as you can, in terms of those
beliefs. Because of the universality of Theosophy, that way of
living is bound to be "better" than the common beliefs held by people
who belong to a particular religion and/or follow some cultural or
ethnic beliefs. It will perhaps, in the best of cases, eventually
make it easier for you to see for yourself the dangerous folly
implicit in having attachments & making distinctions (such as race,
creed, caste, & so on).
But in that case, you are a Theosophist, not a theosophist. It's
nothing bad at all. But let's call a spade a spade. Otherwise, we'd
be confused, & spread confusion, unnecessarily.
K was a theosophist's theosophist, someone engaged completely in the
kind of lifestyle outlined in the Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra. You
may disagree, of course. In that case, please send your complaint to
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