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Hitting the spots that Krishnamurti couldn't reach.

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986) is widely, and correctly, recognised having been a teacher of international significance. Not the "World Teacher" that the Theosophists were preparing him to become, but something more usefully ecumenical; a free-ranging philosopher with allegiance only to the truth. Although his writing remains fresh, I prefer videos of him being interviewed. To me they convey someone with more of a sense of humour.

Although Jiddu Krishnamurti was an independent spirit, like everyone else he appears a little staid compared to UG Krishnamurti (1918 - 2007) (and no relation, bizzarrely enough).

'UG' rejected all systems of thought and knowledge: for him there was no enlightenment to be gained, and nothing to understand.

Their lives overlapped sufficiently for them to converse frequently.

However, UG Krishnamurti found those exchanges increasingly frustrating, as he later recounted;

The question that was uppermost in my mind every time I encountered Krishnamurti was this: 'What is there behind all those abstractions you are throwing at me? Is there anything at all? I am not interested in your poetic and romantic descriptions. As for your abstractions, you are no match to the mighty thinkers that India has produced—you can't hold a candle to them. The way you describe things gives me the feeling that you have at least "seen the sugar"—to use a familiar traditional metaphor—but I am not sure that you have tasted the sugar.' I repeated this question time and again, one way or another, at every meeting with Krishnamurti and never received a direct or satisfactory answer. The total break came in Bombay. This was my last visit with him for a long time. Again I asked him if there was anything behind the abstractions he was throwing at me, 'Come clean for once.' Then he said with great force, 'You have no way of knowing it!' Then I said, 'If I have no way of knowing it and you have no way of communicating it, what the hell have we been doing? I have wasted seven years listening to you. You can give your precious time to somebody else. I am leaving for New York tomorrow.' Krishnamurti said, 'Pleasant journey and safe landing!'

What intrigues me about that last interaction is that, with language as his only medium, Jiddu could only communicate what he was able to put into words. And wonderful as his words were, they were also his limitation. What if he could have used touch, or at least communicate the physicality of what he was talking about?

(Coincidentally, it does make me giggle that the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique has three membership categories; 'Student', 'UK Teacher' and 'World Teacher'!)

Extract from the fascinating

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