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Sunday, 3 March 2013





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Ideal philosophy for the 21st century

Great sages of history such as the Buddha, Jesus Christ, Confucius, Socrates, Aristotle and Plato have left a few significant writings. As a result, their teachings have been orally transmitted to us in incomplete renderings. Although mankind has immensely benefited by their philosophies, many of their views have been lost. To fill the gap, man has to fall back on faith, reconstruction and interpretation of their philosophies by modern teachers.

Although there is a severe shortage of authentic philosophers in the modern age, Jiddu Krishnamurti has impressed us as a real pathfinder whose discourses come within the understanding of everyone. For six decades, until his death in 1986 at the age of 90, Krishnamurti travelled widely, disseminating his thoughts to those who listened to him. He visited Sri Lanka twice and we were quite fascinated by his personality and timelessness of his philosophy.

His radiation and charisma compelled most of his admirers to consider him a saint. He addressed the audience in impeccable English evoking personal intimacy. Aldous Huxley who observed Krishnamurti critically said, “It was like listening to a discourse of the Buddha - such power, such intrinsic authority.” Although some of us who belong to the older generation had the rare opportunity of listening to him at the John de Silva Memorial Theatre a few decades ago, the modern generation is fortunate enough to listen to his recorded discourses and read many books published by the Krishnamurti Foundation India.


While many philosophers in the past tried to guide people in the right path, Krishnamurti believed that people need awakening more than guidance. Ordinary people find it easy to follow a guru. However, Krishnamurti never wanted people to follow him. On many occasions he emphasised that human beings have no limit on development. He was, in fact, referring to spiritual development rather than achieving success in worldly matters. In this respect he differs from some of the world’s religions.

Jiddu Krishnamurti: Truth is a pathless land

Krishnamurti never tried to destroy other religions. But he saw the misleading power of certain organised religions that prevented man’s original thinking. Although his radical thinking may not have shaken the foundations of organised religions, to some extent he exploded the inertia of conformity. His discourses now available in books cover a wide spectrum of subjects ranging from education, human relations, communication and nationalism.

It is not easy to find his essential teachings in one book. If any reader wishes to enlighten himself on Krishnamurti’s philosophy, he has to read a range of books such as On the Teachings, On God, Meeting Life, Exploration into Insight and the latest book Total Freedom – the essential Krishnamurti. It is a safe bet that even after reading all his books, some of us may not understand his core philosophy. This is because we have been conditioned to believe what sages said without questioning.


The core of Krishnamurti’s teachings is contained in the statement he made in 1929 when he said, “Truth is a pathless land.” What he meant was that man cannot find truth through any organisation, creed, dogma, priest or ritual. Even philosophical knowledge is not going to help. Man has to find the truth through relationship, observation and understanding of his own mind. According to him, man’s thinking is clouded by symbols, beliefs and ideas.

Krishnamurti summed up his philosophy by saying, “When man becomes aware of the movement of his own consciousness he will see the division between the thinker and the thought, the observer and the observed, the experiencer and the experience. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation which is insight without any shadow of the past. This timeless insight brings about a deep radical change in the mind.”

Reading and understanding Krishnamurti’s philosophy ideal for the 21st century can be pretty hard for the beginner. However, if you wish to find precious gems, you have to dig deep into the earth which is not an easy job. What is more, no philosophy is offered to us on a platter!



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