Jiddu Krishnamurti was one of the great spiritual lights of the 20th century, a wake-up call and admired by many. Originally seen as a new messiah, at one point in his life there was such a profound change that he rejected any title of master or authority.
His maxim was that personal discovery does not come from outside, in the form of dogmas and religions, but to look inward, into us, where we will have the answer to the question of who we are.
The life of Jiddu Krishnamurti is a long journey, with its twists and turns, in which he had the honor of assuming great figures of his time and of influencing the philosophical thought of the twentieth century.
Let’s see in depth who this great thinker was a biography of Jiddu Krishnamurti.
Brief biography of Jiddu Krishnamurti
From being any Hindu child to being seen as the new messiah, “the teacher of the world”. This would be the shortest and simplest answer to the question “who was Jiddu Krishnamurti?”.
To give more details, we would say that he was a well-known writer and orator in philosophy and spirituality, originally from India but that he had the opportunity to travel to countries like England and the United States, in addition to influencing the Hindu separatist movement. His life is very long, 90 years full of mystical experiences of all kinds.
Early years: baptized in honor of the shepherd god
Jiddu Krishnamurti was born on May 12, 1895 in Madanapalle, in the present state of Andhra Pradesh, in southern India. Being the eighth son of the Jiddu family receive the name of the god pastor Krishna, With whom I shared this feature.
His father was Jiddu Naraniah, a civil servant of little importance but who revealed a spiritual vocation in 1882 by joining the Theosophical Society. His mother, Sanjeevamma, claimed to have psychic powers, claiming that he had visions and could see the colors of people’s aura. The mother devoted herself with great devotion to little Krishna, who was in poor health, attacked by frequent attacks of malaria.
Sanjeevamma spent his afternoons illustrating Jiddu Krishnamurti by reading Hindu scriptures to him., Tell him about the god from whom he received his name, about Karma and reincarnation. Krishnamurti’s mother claimed to have seen a girl who died prematurely in the backyard, asking her son if he saw her too.
The afternoons he spent with his mother were always fond memories for Krishnamurti, and when she died in 1905, a terrible illness befell him. Krishna was barely 10 years old when his mother left, but knowing that she was a seer and that she was meeting spirits, it helped her to overcome the terrible loss and to feel that, in a way, she was with him.
Young Jiddu Krishnamurti did not excel in studies. His lack of interest in the class and his somewhat alienated attitude made his teachers think he had some sort of intellectual disability.. His poor academic performance and the death of his mother added to another bad news which was the forced retirement of his father, the pension barely providing to support the family.
Transfer to Adyar and contact with the Theosophical Society
Seeing that only work would advance the family, the patriarch was forced to apply for a job at the headquarters of the Theosophical Society, located in the city of Adyar. The director of the entity, Annie Besant, decided to give her a job, under the pressure of her tireless insistence.
The Theosophical Society was founded by Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a Russian citizen who had lived in Tibet and had been in contact with the masters of the Occult Brotherhood. This lady will later meet Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, an American psychic researcher, and together they will found the organization, whose mission was to study ancient wisdom and the exploration of paranormal phenomena.
In view of his father’s new job, the Jiddu family moved to Adyar to be closer to the headquarters of the Theosophical Society. At this moment the institution was going through a critical period, as it had gained in strength the approach of the coming of a new messiah in many esoteric circles. Blavatsky, years ago, postulated that the aim of the Society was to prepare for this advent which would soon come, even if she died without being able to see it in 1891.
After the death of Colonel Olcott in 1907, Annie Besant will become president of the Society and will decide to reinstate Charles Webster Leadbeater, a former Anglican pastor who claimed to have powers of clairvoyance. The figure of Leadbeater would be the key to the life of Krishnamurti, because this cleric would be the one who, thanks to a series of coincidences, would have believed to see in the figure of the young Krisha the arrival of the long awaited advent in the Society.
Being the Jiddu family in Adyar in 1908, Krishnamurti attended a local school and in the afternoon he played with his brothers by the river near the headquarters. It was at the edge of the river that Leadbeater discovered the young man, seeing in him a singular aura, without any selfishness. This led Leadbeater to believe that he would be a great orator and a spiritual master. That is why the former clergyman asked his father to allow him to take care of the education of Krishnamurti and his younger brother Nitya.
Leadbeater was convinced that Krishnamurti was the long awaited messiah of the Society and associated esoteric circles, while his younger brother Nitya would be his living spiritual companion. Leadbeater predicted that the two would be great, that they would be fundamental to history, and that in their past lives they were disciples of the Buddha himself.
Annie Besant listened to Leadbeater’s assertions, convincing and going even further. Besant believed that Jiddu Krishnamurti was none other than “the teacher of the world”, the Bodhisattva Maitreya, who manifested himself through the body of the young man.. Taking advantage of Besant’s support and fanaticism, Leadbeater succeeded in removing the two brothers from his paternal home and bringing them to live at the headquarters of the Theosophical Society.
Just upon arriving at the organization, the Society built a protective wall around the young future Messiah Krishnamurti and his spiritual companion Nitya. This is how they began to initiate themselves into all kinds of spiritual practices, and very soon Krishnamurti granted Annie Besant the title of mother.
However, many saw in society an institution that sought to do business with the messiah. The Society depended, for the most part, on donations, and no one would have found it strange that they had taken advantage of the story that young Krishna was the Messiah to take advantage of it. Moreover, the rumor arose that Leadbeater was gay and that he was trying to derive sexual pleasure from little Krishna.
When, in 1911, Besant attempted to take Krishnamurti to England, his father, who had heard the rumors, took legal action to get his children back, Judgment that ended up losing. This is how the “messiah” began his pilgrimage around the world, “protected” by an organization which, rather than a philosophical school, had a vision of a sect.
Trip to England
What would become a simple trip to England, of a little over a year perhaps, became a ten-person stay, which lasted until 1921. Jiddu Krishnamurit, who until recently was just a Hindu child normal and current had become the future “messiah”, roaming as a guest of the houses of the great rich members of the Theosophical Society. He was far from his family, accompanied only by his little brother Nitya, discovering the Western world in all its glory..
He attended all kinds of social galas, went to the theater and was the center of attention. Surrounded by all kinds of luxuries and new experiences, his life was far from that of a messiah. he bought expensive clothes, developed a taste for cars, and it seemed that the spiritual life had been replaced by a more earthly life.
But the paths of fate are impenetrable, and in 1922 everything changed. This year he traveled with his brother to the United States, specifically to a property near Santa Barbara, California. It would be there that young Krishnamurti would awaken spiritually, changing the course of his life.
the young man he begins to suffer from severe pain, passes out and tells his mother in his native language, asking to be taken to a forest in India where he claimed to have powerful beings. Among his pains were visions of Buddha, Maitreya and other masters of the hidden hierarchy. It is, both according to his brother Nitya and by Krishnamurti himself, the opening of his third eye.
After that he had a fairly busy schedule, traveling to different countries to attend conventions prepared by the Theosophical Society, accompanied by his brother. But contrary to what Leadbeater and Besant had predicted, his brother would no longer continue to accompany him since, on a sad November 13, 1925, the young Nitya left this world.
The loss of his brother overwhelmed him. He cried, moaned and sobbed, remembering his beloved brother. It seemed that her life was nothing but misfortune: first, her mother died; then a mysterious and troubled organization separates him from his father and his brothers; and finally the only relative he had by his side, who had accompanied him for 15 years, suddenly died.
Nitya’s death awakens a major change in Jiddu Krishnamurti’s life and the way he saw himself. Kissing and Leadbeater had told him that he was the messiah, the teacher of the world, and that his brother was going to be his companion, as they had seen in his predictions. But one of them had clearly failed, because Nitya was dead. It was then that he doubted that he was the messiah and especially the powers of his two masters in the Theosophical Society.
The break with the Theosophical Society
After Nitya’s death, Jiddu Krishnamurti begins to withdraw from the Theosophical Society. It becomes independent of hierarchies imposed by the organization and adopts a more egocentric speech and message. He demonstrated his independence in the conventions he proposed, exposing his new point of view even though Annie Besant was present..
By giving his freest and purest opinion, he felt he was becoming more and more independent and he shared his vision of being one and the same with the universe. It is from 1927 that one can say that Krishnamurti begins to speak in a way radically opposed to the way in which the Theosophical Society implemented its teachings. These new notions annoyed the Society, which began to spread that it was not Lord Maitreya speaking through Krishnamurti, but evil spirits.
Krishnamurti argued that everyone alone can find themselves searching within, leaving out any outside influence. Whether it is books, friends, schools of thought or any other philosophy, all of this cannot lead us to discover who and how we are. As we are, we will only get it by looking within ourselves.
He was in favor of abandoning all sources of authority, and especially that which had designated him as “the teacher of the world.”. He went from being a messiah who had to guide everyone to someone who advocated that everyone follow their own inner light. He said, explicitly, that he wanted those who wanted to understand him to be free, not to follow him, not to turn his thoughts into a religion, a sect.
This new way of seeing things has been a scandal in the Theosophical Society. Jiddu Krishnamurti began to be seen as a philosopher hostile to all religious beliefs and resigned from the Theosophical Society in 1930. Only three years later, his foster mother, Annie Besant, would die.
Isolation from the world
He made the property near Santa Barbara his permanent home and practice center. Between 1933 and 1939, he went to India on several occasions to offer auditoriums, but the world and the media had already lost interest in this “instructor of the world”. World War II found him in Ojai, California, where he spent nearly eight years relatively isolated.
As a foreigner, the context of the war was unfavorable to him on American soil and he was prohibited from giving lectures, in addition to which he had to appear regularly before the police. But despite difficult times, he had the opportunity to face great characters of the time, including Aldous Huxley, Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin and Bertrand Russell.
Although 1945 was the end of the bloody war and the happy time in the world, Jiddu Krishnamurti could not say the same because he fell seriously ill.. He suffered from urinary tract problems, had a high fever and spent most of his days unconscious. Doctors examined him, but were unable to diagnose or treat his illness. But just when it happened, the disease magically disappeared, for no explanatory reason. This was taken advantage of by Krishnamurti as an exercise for his spirituality.
Independent Indian Thinker
On August 15, 1947, India proclaimed its independence after a long nonviolent struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi. Krishnamurti would return to his homeland just two months after his separation from the British Empire and become a new state. Despite her freedom, India was going through a political crisis that had divided it sociallyBut Krishnamurti served as spiritual support for all those who had made independence possible.
However, Krishnamurti dared to tell his followers, among whom they had fought with all their might for independence, that political and social action could never profoundly change the world. It was the individual himself who had to radically transform to change the system, and if he expected the system to change people, his wait was a waste of time.
Despite his criticism of the idea of authority, Mahatma Gandhi received Jiddu Krishnamurti very well and, in fact, the government of independent India took a great deal of spiritual consideration. Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru met Jiddu Krishnamurti to exchange ideas on the country’s fate.
He also had a very close relationship with Indira Gandhi, daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru. They shared many missives, wondering if the world had come to a dead end, if necessary, favoring a change in the action of the individual. Sadly, the relationship broke when Indira was killed on October 31, 1984 at the hands of her own bodyguard. At this time, Krishnamurti was badly affected.
After the death of Indira Gandhi, Krishnamurti again suffered from physical pain. He passed out, his teeth ached, and he experienced severe pain in his neck, crown and spine.. He was quite optimistic, because he really believed that the source of the pain was that some kind of supernatural force was completely cleansing his brain, emptying it. Either way, nothing relieved her pain, which came and went of her own free will.
Krishnamurti linked these pains to his spiritual growth. Although they were truly strong, he never ceased his activities of spreading his teaching or transforming his message, in which he postulated spiritual growth based on knowing inside each human being and not on external dogmas.
Although it had been a long time since they thought he was a new messiah, Jiddu Krishnamurti had gained remarkable worldwide fame and importance. Although he is 90 years old, he hasn’t stopped, traveling and giving lectures. Unfortunately, the end was drawing near and in January 1986, perhaps seeing death very closely, he gave his last lectures in India and bade farewell to his disciples.
On January 10 of that year, he wanted to walk again along the beach in Adyar, the same town where, 75 years ago, he had been discovered by Leadbeater as “the teacher of the world”. A little after, on February 17, 1986, suffering from pancreatic cancer, Jiddu Krishnamurti gave Ojai his last breath, United States.
- Lutyens, M. (1990). The Life and Death of Krishnamurti (UK 1st Edition). London: John Murray. ISBN 978-0-7195-4749-2.
- Lutyens, M. (1995). The Boy Krishna: The First Fourteen Years of the Life of J. Krishnamurti (pamphlet). Bramdean: Krishnamurti Foundation Trust. ISBN 978-0-900506-13-0.