Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"K" is for Krishnamurti

The devil and a friend were walking down the street, when they saw a man stoop to pick up something from the ground, look at it, and put it away in his pocket.
The friend said to the devil, "What did that man pick up?"
"He picked up a piece of the truth," said the devil.

"That's a very bad business for you, then," said his friend.

"Not at all," the devil replied, "I'm going to help him organize it."
This was a favorite story of Jiddu Krishnamurti, fondly remembered as "K" by community members of the Krishnamurti Centre in England, where I worked as a co-op for two weeks several years ago.

K maintained that "Truth, being limitless... unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized, nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path."

Imagine the paradox Krishnamurti then faced: trying to teach the unteachable. He came to this pathless path years after being "discovered" in adolescence by leaders of the Theosophical Society and groomed to be the World Leader of what later became the Order of the Star.

After experiencing his own process, a state of clarity I would call presence, he realized he could only embody the teaching by not being a leader. His proclamation met with dismay within the Order, but to me is the ultimate example of "walking the talk":
"I do not know how many thousands throughout the world -- members of the Order -- have been preparing for me for eighteen years, and yet now they are not willing to listen unconditionally, wholly, to what I say... You use a typewriter to write letters, but you do not put it on an altar and worship it." (Proclaimed leader in 1912, disbanded the Order in 1929).
Krishnamurti frequently claimed that the great religious teachers had come not to found religions but to destroy them, and throughout his life he asked questions of his audience to lead them toward discovering the path within themselves. 
"In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give either the key or the door to open, except yourself."