The Reluctant Messiah: Truth about Jiddu Krishnamurti and Theosophy
Jiddu Krishnamurti, great liberator or failed messiah, asks Luis S. R. Vas in his highly insightful book about the relations between Jiddu Krishnamurti and the Theosophical Society. This article is about a young boy that became an important philosophical teacher throughout the 20th century; and groomed to become a world prophet and savior by an organization, that lost sight of its original purpose. This is not the mere biased angle of a Theosophist, but a fact that such efforts Post-Blavatsky definitely represented a subversion of the Theosophical Society. H.P. Blavatsky was contending with such influences during her time, which is why she coined the term ‘Pseudo-Theosophy.’ This term was not created by what some researchers ignorantly consider ‘Orthodox Theosophists.’ How did this promising organization become a Messianic cult for Charles W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant’s progressive millennial movement is a question Theosophists and other researchers have investigated and detailed. More care must be taken to understand this history, which I provide a glance into.
Since the founding of “The Order of the Rising Sun,” January 11, 1911, by George S. Arundale, a concatenation of ripple-effect raised from dormancy, enfolded and closed the original path the Theosophists, and the Theosophical Society were set upon. It is not known, to those familiar with Krishnamurti, or some researchers trying to understand that Jiddu Krishnamurti grew up in the Theosophical Society at a time the effects of inner conflicts even during H.P. Blavatsky’s time and new ones were on the cusp of erupting. It is claimed, J.K. himself never read the works of H.P. Blavatsky, but in multiple speeches and interviews when asked about the Theosophical teachings, Krishnamurti claims that he read or perused through Theosophical literature, and he dismissed it. It must be said, that Jiddu Krishnamurti’s critique of Theosophical literature is shallow, since the very thing he critiques it as being — a mere metaphysical abstract system, a rational or logical construct of concepts and ideas about “reality” — was not the real aim of the original sources (from The Mahatma Letters, Blavatsky’s writings and other disciples). Aryel Sanat, in his chapter Secret Doctrine, Krishnamurti and Transformation (from the book The Inner Life of J. Krishnamurti) demonstrates how much of Krishnamurti’s teachings were an exposition of the “secret doctrine” and essence of Zen Buddhism. There are Theosophists and Hindus whom have demonstrated, that Krishnamurti’s teachings are an advanced Advaita-Vedanta, and that he was explaining things that no ordinary person could quite comprehend without undergoing having undergone the first and second stages of inner transformation. Memorably, a small group of people interviewed in one of the talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti all remarked how they wished they could really understand what he was saying, but could not. Hitherto, many discover Jiddu Krishnamurti and come away with a negative perception of the Theosophical Society, but have not learned the full story.
Aryel Sanat and Mary S. Lutyens books on Krishnamurti’s life demonstrate, he not only believed in the existence of Theosophical Masters, his inner life intensely involved the esoteric and psychic. Jiddu Krishnamurti’s main frustration in his speeches is people not listening, but instead comparing teachings to his, which he finds a distraction, an excuse, and another illusion of the mind obstructing you from obtaining a lucid perception of the conditioning, the thought-patterns and operations of the mind. Sometimes, people would catch the illusions in the middle of talks with him, while he is explaining these very machinations.
The Mahatma Letters was not in publication in this period, because they were initially only private letters. If it had, J.K. would have read that its denunciations, and the correspondents with A.P. Sinnett and A.O. Hume were similar to his own, and movements within the T.S. like the ‘Back to Blavatsky’ movement would not have felt alone in their efforts. H.P. Blavatsky exclaimed against the exact things, which he did (see Krishnamurti on Theosophy). However, Krishnamurti had his own plan to emancipate himself. In speaking on Theosophy, Krishnamurti stated:
“Please do not think that in the combination of your ideas and mine, you are going to realize a unified whole.”—Jiddu Krishnamurti, Ommen 27 Jul., 1933. “You cannot take what I say and add it to your own. You cannot mix oil and water.”—Twelve Ommen Talks, Benares 1933.
Krishnamurti tells his distraught followers, that the Masters they foster onto him is a projection.
“Drop your nationalism, your societies, do not be greedy, do not be cruel. You would soon leave them and pursue others who would satisfy you. There is a lot of talk about [Masters]; it has become a cunning means of exploiting people.”—Jiddu Krishnamurti, Madras 18 Dec., 1949. “You have invented the Masters and every kind of theory, ideal, gurus, god, and none of them have helped you actually. You are still in pain.”—Madras 29 Dec., 1984.
Imagine hearing this, still wondering if he will declare, that he indeed is the “World Teacher,” which involved a process involving a being called “Maitreya-Christ” overshadowing him. H.P.B. had spoken similarly to the organization, telling the members and leaders to stop the cant about masters; and that a strange influence was breeding esoteric popery. K.H. even says, when will people stop being deluded about who they really are — mortal men. The teachings of those Masters were a reality in Krishnamurti’s everyday life. He openly discouraged the notion of “esotericism” yet in his own life to his colleagues taught one way well after his emancipation from the Theosophical Society, and even supposedly possessed special abilities, which he suppressed. In one story involving Besant and Leadbeater’s Liberal Catholic Church, it was said, he filled the space with an atmosphere, that was holy, and when people prostrated, he became fed up and saddened by the situation.
Unfortunate, that J. Krishnamurti clearly did not read H.P. Blavatsky’s articles to learn the origins of the situation he was in:
“(…) A new and rapidly growing danger (…) is threatening (…) the spread of the pure Esoteric Philosophy and knowledge (…) I allude to those charlatanesque imitations of Occultism and Theosophy (…)” (H.P. Blavatsky, Esoteric Instruction, No. 1., 1889.)
“By pandering to the prejudices of people, and especially by adopting the false ideas of a personal God and a personal, carnalized Saviour, as the groundwork of their teaching, the leaders of this ‘swindle’ (for such it is) are endeavoring to draw men to them and in particular to turn Theosophists from the true path.” (H.P. Blavatsky, Esoteric Instruction No. 1., 1889.)
This is 1889—10 years before this issue begins to initiate, hence H.P.B. is aware of the issue.
“(…) Nothing is more dangerous to Esoteric Truth than the garbled and distorted versions disfigured to suit the prejudices and tastes of men in general.” (H.P. Blavatsky, Esoteric Instruction, No. 1., 1889.)
H.P. Blavatsky pleads! —
“(…) save us from the impudent distortion of our theosophical teachings (…)” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Year Is Dead, Long Live The Year!, Lucifer, London, January, 1889.)“(…) deliver us (…) from (…) the ‘Solar Adepts’ as they dub themselves, and their sun-struck followers (…).” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Year Is Dead, Long Live The Year!, Lucifer, London, January, 1889.)
“These are the ‘Solar adepts’ (…) No event could vindicate the policy of our journal [Lucifer] better than the timely exposure of these pseudo-adepts, those ‘Sages of the Ages’ who bethought themselves of trading upon the public hunger for the marvellous ad absurdum.” (On Pseudo-Theosophy, Lucifer, London, March, 1889.)
The researchers, even the Ojai Krishnamurti organizations hardly go into this conflict. We are fully-aware, that Theosophy is not taken seriously within scholarship. The opinion about Theosophy is formed by conjecture: the first Hodgson report, and the Besant-Leadbeater period.
The origin and more clearer view of the conflict between Jiddu Krishnamurti and the Theosophical Society should be laid out. Judging from Jiddu Krishnamurti’s attitude to religion in general, he himself mirrors statements in the correspondences between A.O. Hume, Sinnett, and the Adepts.
So then comes Jiddu Krishnamurti repeatedly denouncing the entire tradition of gurus, rabbis, masters, lamas, &c. It is alright denunciation and reactionary, partly because of the cocooned life he was subjected to, and the lies told to him. The real Occult Philosophy breeds self-reliance, and rejects the worship of the gods and men.
“Theosophists and others say that truth has many aspects: Christianity is one aspect, Buddhism, another, Hinduism another, and so on. This merely indicates that we want to stick to our own particular prejudices, and be tolerant to other people’s prejudices. To me, truth has no aspects.”—Auckland 31 Mar., 1934. “We are so entrenched in prejudice, in tradition with its special beliefs and dogmas, that we repeat dogmatically, readily, that there are many paths to truth. The leaders of organised interests try to cover up, in weighty phrases, the inherent brutality of division.”—Madras 20 Dec., 1936. “The idea that there are separate paths to truth, that truth has different aspects, is unreal; it is the speculative thought of the intolerant trying to be tolerant.” (Jiddu Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living, Vol. II Ch. 44, 1958.)
Theosophy versus Neo-Theosophy —
By the admittance of Krishnamurti himself, of his reluctance to read most books, though Mary Lutyens demonstrates he did read books, it is seems he never really studied Theosophical literature. Krishnamurti was raised in a cocoon of what Charles W. Leadbeater wanted him to know. So, what he knew he rejected, and perhaps as he claims, he did read the Theosophical literature and decided to blow it all up, given the fact, years later he maintained relations with the Theosophical Society privately. Hence, it is clear that people who write about the T.S. history and Krishnamurti think it was a fraud, because Jiddu Krishnamurti said so. Then, we show, that it did morph into a cult post-Blavatsky, under the influence of Besant and Leadbeater.
The Theosophical Society was not founded around the idea of coming Messianic figure, or World Teacher. Helena P. Blavatsky did believe however, that Theosophy in its original direction and mission, would become noticeable to the extent, that it would cultivate minds, more prepared for future individuals who would definitely prove the validity and existence of the Esoteric Doctrine. This would prepare them to be taught by real “Rosicrucian Illuminati” and would encourage them to reveal themselves more. There will be inevitably such minds to come. At this period in time, the whole operation failed, and the mission must bide another time, regarding serious and genuine efforts. Apparently, the teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti clashes with many past philosophers.
Many have adopted Jiddu Krishnamurti’s way of thinking. A new generation finding him, equally show a disdain for intellectual thinking, systems, forms, and organization, and many have used J.K. to disregard Theosophy. As Theosophy is the compendium of all Ancient Wisdom, it demonstrates to possess more experience than one man, who himself did not want to be worshiped. This wisdom teaches, that higher spiritual development must be accompanied by intellectual development.
He himself rejecting the division of the esoteric and the exoteric, yet taught the Advaita Vedanta. He denies that it is any philosophy, after those listening to him would say, ‘but sir, you are teaching exactly what we teach.’ To his dismay, this consequently confused his own audiences, who as stated relayed that they could hardly understand the teaching. He was a great man with an amazing story, and became a teacher in his own right, but his teaching can and has bred an anti-intellectualism. The intellectual development has to be met also by the development of our intuition. Theosophy is not for mental sluggards, or those who are not willing to strive and break their perceived limits. Privately, Jiddu Krishnamurti taught one thing. Publicly, he taught another thing, indicating he indeed had read some literature, or heard certain concepts around him, which he contrasted his own view against. For example, take this passage:
“So again one can see the falseness of the systems offered. Then there are other systems, including Zen and the various occult systems wherein the methods are revealed only to the few. The speaker has met with some of those but discarded them right from the beginning as having no meaning.” (Jiddu Krishnamurti, Stanford 1969: Talk no. 4)
Right. Yet, he himself told things only to the few he knew, that he did not reveal publicly. He is one man, out of so many before him, and in some sense, he’s a prodigal babe. In other words, there have been many before him, whom he disregards, disrespectfully at times.
“The undeniable existence of great initiates — true “Sons of God” — shows that such wisdom was often reached by isolated individuals, never however, without the guidance of a master at first.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, Key to Theosophy, 57-58.)
In some way, he still believed he was fulfilling a mission of his own, and Mary Lutyens books demonstrate this.
Section ii The Organisation of the Star in the East
Order of the Star in the East Charade
An organization founded from 1911-1927, that gave rise to its international movement months after Arundale’s Order of the Rising Sun—led to the “The Order of the Star in the East,” formed by Annie Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater. The successor of the O.S.E. was “Order of the Star,” in June 1927, which was dissolved at Ommen, on August 3, 1929 by head, or rather puppet — Jiddu Krishnamurti.
The ‘Order of the Star’ began as Annie Besant put it, to:
“draw together those who, whether inside or outside the Theosophical Society, believe in the near coming of a great Spiritual Teacher for the helping of the world.”
The first Declaration of Principles for admittance, read [cult alert]:
“We believe that a great Teacher will soon appear in the world, and we wish so to live now that we may be worthy to know Him when He comes.”
A lecture in Stockholm printed in Superhuman Men (London. 1913. pg. 37) shows, that the ideal of the World Teacher to Annie Besant was not a “New Messiah,” as Charles W. Leadbeater enthusiastically portrayed it at first. A.B. and C.W. Leadbeater viewed J.K. to be a vessel for the indwelling of the coming World Teacher. C.W.L. the Spiritualistic Bishop, attempted to force this incarnation into a boy, to be the next Messiah.
Charles W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant espoused this idea, which he believed occurred in the same process with Moses, Zarathustra, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. This idea firstly assumes the historical verification of certain controversial figures, and builds a new hierarchy of recognised “World Teachers.”
It was first, the Persian Mani who arguably created this idea, and one whom claimed to be the last and final messenger of God before Muhammad. Historically, he is the first to have been an actual “world prophet,” due to Manichaeism’s geographical reach. This concept of considering all these personages as apart of the same “plan,” was espoused by the modern Benjamin Créme and Alice A. Bailey. It never makes question of their existences, nor separates history from myth. Leadbeater contended, according to his “psychic ability,” that Jiddu Krishnamurti was really a female from past eleven lives, whose real name was Alcyone; and lived “from 20,000 BC to 624 AD,” according to Mary Lutyens. All this authority depended solely upon his untrained “clairvoyance.”
Rather than scholarship, everything became dependent upon the clairvoyant proclamations of C.W.L.
E.L. Gardner wrote of this time period:
“Most of the Sections and Lodges of The Theosophical Society accepted this proclamation with confidence and diverted much of their energy to the Star Campaign — in preparation for his Coming. Obviously there has been no Coming. Bishop Pigott, writing some years ago, expressed the truth of the matter in the words ‘Leadbeater was wrong.’”
How could such influence be exercised?
Bishop Pigott, Presiding Bishop of the Liberal Catholic Church, wrote in 1952:
“The Lord did not come in the way foretold (…) The Lord has not come, so far as we know (…) Leadbeater (…) was wrong about the Coming (…) Theosophists are in no sense bound to accept Leadbeater as an infallible teacher.” (August, 1952).
Imaginary “Lord Maitreya” approves
of C.W.L.’s Quasi-Catholicism!
E.L. Gardner states, that this was the suspicion in the 1930’s, but how did the Society mostly get diverted by such a proclamation entirely antithetical to the original mission of Theosophy?
In Letters, between the year 1916-20, Leadbeater wrote to Annie Besant, about the coming of a ‘Lord Maitreya,’ and the Liberal Catholic Church, that was being founded. There in Sydney, Charles W. Leadbeater had been initiated into the organization — Co-Masonry; which began in France in the 1890s with the forming of Le Droit Humain. E.L. Gardner, was a member of the Theosophical Society, whom had knew and met Charles W. Leadbeater. C.W.L., who joined the Society in the 1880’s, was a early contributor to theosophical publications, who began to publicize his own ideas in Man, Whence, How and Whither, and The Masters and the Path.
Annie Besant later endorsed the founding of the Liberal Catholic Church, as well as Theosophists, on the belief that the Lord Maitreya approved the new Churches liturgy! If only H.P. Blavatsky lived to see this.
In April, 7, 1920, Leadbeater in a letter, claims that this Lord Maitreya told them to put questions towards K.H., who had long removed himself from anything to do with the Society. E.L. Gardner wrote, that they “relate to the celebration of Mass, the effect of consecration and of priesthood, and to numerous details of ecclesiastical procedure. The answers to these many questions all support and endorse the clerical views of Bishop Leadbeater himself. Evidently the ‘Lord Maitreya’ knew nothing of K.H.’s strong views on religions and sacerdotalism.”
The viewpoint of religion, both Charles W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant espoused, is the same diplomatic view towards the religions, widely-known today. It is a worldview, where quite every and any historical personage is regarded as part of a hierarchy and new angelology.
While many think that Charles W. Leadbeater was just a charlatan, as to “psychic ability,” it has been argued, the abnormality of his senses, mediumship, or untrained clairvoyance requires more explanation. E.L. Gardner attributed Leadbeaters’s ability to unconscious thought power, mental automatism, visualisations, and over-imagination.
As E.L. Gardner writes:
“On the large scale of religious movements and nations, the power of creative thought — conscious and unconscious — is abundantly evident. The mentally projected figure of an ‘Almighty God’, or the ‘God of our Fathers,’ is still a popular idol, though being widely challenged today. As the Master K.H. wrote:
The word ‘God’ was invented to designate the unknown cause of those effects which man has either admired or dreaded without understanding them.”
Theosophy entirely moves away from the old formula of religion. The mission is not to found a new religion, but to gradually remove this pattern of human reliability on gods, religions, sacerdotalism, and priesthoods, who stand their knowledge on infallibility. It is profitable to the program of some religious leaders to found a doctrine, or pluralism that insists all the traditions are valid — in their own way, or the Vatican to promote ecumenicism, but this was not the purpose of modern Theosophy.
“To enumerate the various ‘Messiahs’ and their beliefs and works would fill volumes. It is needless. When claims conflict, all, on the face of it, cannot be true. Some have taught less error than others. It is almost the only distinction. And some have had fine powers imperilled and paralyzed by leadings they did not understand.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs, Lucifer, London, July, 1890.)
In that last passage, in my opinion, Theosophy and H.P.B reveals to be the experienced veteran.
Further Reading —
 E.L. Gardner, There is no Religion higher than Truth: Developments in the Theosophical Society
 The Truth about the Future Maitreya Buddha in Theosophical Writings
 Alpheus: Comparison Column between Krishnamurti and Theosophy