Jiddu Krishnamurti was born in Madanapalle, Andrah Pradesh, British India to Jiddu Narayaniah his father and Sanjeevamma his mother, who were of the highest, Brahmin, caste, on 12 May 1895 (12.30am on May 12 by western calendar) and the 8th of 11 children. He was to become a widely travelled public speaker, teacher, writer and philosopher, though he was a sickly child with malaria when only 2 years old, and had periodic bouts of fever for many years, as well as bleeding from the nose. He was often mistakenly taken to be mentally retarded because of a vague and dreamy nature that gave rise to beatings from his school teacher and his father. He was actually listening and watching but no thoughts were coming in to his mind. He developed a strong attraction to nature in his childhood, but no interest in book learning!
In 1904, his eldest, 20-yr old, sister died, followed by his heart-broken mother in December 1905, when he was only 10, who had been psychic; an ability Krishna had soon after his sisters death and was to reveal later. From 1907 onwards there are many instances recorded (ref.1) by other people of Krishna's unselfishness and lack of self-importance.
After retiring in 1908, Narayaniah obtained a job in January 1909 at the Theosophical Society's headquarters in Adryar, Madras, having been a member since 1882, which was to lead to Krishna's recognition by a high-ranking theosophist, Charle Webster Leadbeater, as a potentially great teacher. Krishna and his 3 years younger brother Nitya were taken under the wing of the Theosophical Society at Adryar by Mrs Annie Besant (Wood-18186), leader of the Theosophical Society, and Leadbeater. During his period of initiation to the 'Great Brotherhood', in early January 1910, Krishna had an out of body experience (ref.1, p.31-33)
Leadbeater was insistent that the boys should continue their education in England, to become English Gentlemen, and on 22 April 1911 departed from Bombay on the S S Mantua, with George Arundale as their Tutor, and Mrs Besant, with Krishna now expected to be the "vehicle" of the Theosophists expected "World Teacher". They arrived in London on 5 May 1911. Soon after he was to meet his future biographer, Mary Lutyens-5, who was 13 year younger.
Between 1911 and 1914, he and his brother Nitya visited several European countries (France, Holland, Italy), whilst residing in England, but despite having an ability to become fluent in other languages, Krishna always had problems with formal schooling and was not academically inclined. So the boys were privately tutored. Krishna had grown considerably in self-confidence by the time he was 18 in 1913, possibly because "his income from Miss Dodge had given him an added self-confidence, a sense of independence" (ref.1, p.60). Around the beginning of 1916 the author was to write "All these years of study and Theosophical conditioning have left hardly a mark on Krishna’s mind. What is in him today was there at the beginning. His true being was all the time slowly, secretly unfolding, hidden even from himself." (ref.1, p.73.) In late 1917, he was to write to Mrs Besanet: "I am developing that power of curing people and I do Nitya’s eyes every day and they are much better." (ref.1, p.77.)
He eventually gave up on university education, never going for any interviews, although he had worked hard, after several attempts at admission, and sitting Matriculation examinations at London University, the last on 20 January 1920, but leaving to go to Paris, knowing he would not pass. Mrs Besant wanted him to learn languages so that he could give talks around the world. He spent most of 1920 in Paris and became fluent in French. Then in July 1921, Krishna and Mrs Besant attended the Theosophical World Convention, which was followed by the first Congress of the Order of the Star in the East, which they opened. Krishna then took charge of the running of the Congress: "But the biggest thing about him was his intense conviction of the reality and omnipotence of the Hidden God in every man, and the, to him, inevitable results of the presence of that Divinity." (ref.1, p.96).
Whilst away on a visit to Holland to in September 1921, he met 17 yrs old Helen Knothe, whom he was greatly attracted to, and Lady Emily said Krishna was really in love with, for the first time (ref.1, p.97), which he confirmed in a letter to her on 17 November 1921. On 19 November he and Nitya sailed on the ship "Morea" from Marseilles to Bombay, India, arriving on 3 December 1921. They had returned to India in 1912 but the visit was cut short due to problems with the boys' father (ref.1, pp.46-47 & Ch.8 pp.52-56). This time they sailed on the "Salsette" from Bombay on 3 February, 1912, and arrived at Dover on 16 February, coming overland from Brindisi as on the previous trip, due to the boys' and Mrs. Besant suffering acutely from sea-sickness. They were met again by Lady Emily Lutyens (Bulwer-Lytton-6)- "Neither of the boys ever seemed to sit down; Krishna was always in a cloud and would jump if spoken to suddenly." (ref.1.p.47.) - who was to become deeply involved with Krishna, in a motherly way, and already had so with the Theosophical Society.
Whilst in Sydney, Australia in 1922, it was discovered that Nitya's TB was more serious than had previously been recognised, so it became important to get him back to Switzerland as soon as possible. The best way, health-wise, was via San Francisco, going to Ojai in California, which had a favourable climate for Nitya's condition, to rest for 3 or 4 months before continuing to Switzerland. Krishna, Nitya and 2 others sailed on 14 June arriving in San Francisco on 5 July. Then moving out to Ojai, where on 3 August he started regular meditation, with the beginning of a strange process on 17 August, with acute pain, leading up to an initial climax on the 19th, all the time nursed by a young American lady Rosalind Williams. He wrote letters to C W Leadbeater, Annie Besant and Lady Emily saying that he had completely changed, after 7 years of unhappiness and being spiritually blind, to being "happy beyond human happiness" and at peace, wanting nothing but to serve the Master and the Lord (ref.1, p.118-119). The "process" continued, with intermissions to October, and has been explained by enormous transformations of energy [kundalini] that opened up the previously non-operative areas of the brain. The agonising process was to continue on and off for years, and Mary Lutyens writes that after discussion with him she would after the beginning of the process refer to him simply as K, who described it writing to "Mrs Besant in a letter of September 16 but gave many more details in writing to Lady Emily the following day" (ref.1, p.121). In the New Year of 1923 K really began to work for the Star and for Theosophy, including a tour of Theosophical and Star centres, and the T.S. Convention in Chicago, giving talks everywhere. Nitya travelled with him but did not attend the meetings, except in Chicago. K's process continued, which CWL described as "so unique". On 6 June 1923, K and Nitya sailed from New York on the ship "Paris", and were met at Plymouth on 11 June by Lady Emily (Arrivals 1 shows the date as 12 June with their destination Darrick House, St James, London). They went to stay at West Side House, Wimbledon, with Miss Dodge and Lady De La Warr, two of K's greatest benefactors. Ten days later Lady Emily wrote to Mrs Besant about K that "one is conscious at every moment of a controlled but immense concentrated power flowing from him. His E.S. talk last Sunday was an immense advance on anything he has given before. He had no notes & spoke for 45 mins, fluently, easily & yet with such tremendous earnestness & force it was like listening to the throbbing of a great machine" (ref.1, p.126). After spending time in Austria and Holland, with the 'process' of K's consciousness leaving his body when the pain, principally in the spine and back of the head, was too much, and a couple of weeks in London, K, Nitya and Helen, sailed for New York on October 22 (Departures 1 shows they left from Southampton on the ship "Volendam", with Jiddu Nityananda's (25) and Jiddu Krishnamurti's (26) last residence at 10 Buckingham St. London S.W.1, and D. Rajagopalacharya's (23) at St John's Cambridge. All 3 were students in 1st Class), where Helen left them, and eventually reached Ojai on November 8. On 20 November, the 'process' started again, reaching it's climax on 27 February 1924, and it's last evening on April 11.
In June 1924, the brothers left New York, Rajagopal and Helen travelling with them, arriving in Plymouth on the 15th. It was a period of travel, around England, and first flights to Paris, Hamburg and Holland. Then a holiday in Italy, but with the 'process' starting again on 21 August, more agonising than ever, until it stopped on 24 September. They returned to London on 7 October to Lady De La Warr's residence at 10 Buckingham Street. Then to Paris and Venice, where they were to sail on the Lloyd Triestino Line ship "Pilsna" for Bombay on 2 November 1924, arriving on 18 November. On the voyage in the Red Sea, Nitya had told Mary Lutyens that he loved her, but two days before they arrived in Bombay he told her that he had coughed up blood again. The party arrived in Adyar on 24 November. [Work in progress]
By February 1925, K was seriously worried about his brother, but had a dream that Nitya would be well, informing Mrs Besant by letter. By the time they embarked on the ship "Ormuz" from Colombo, Ceylon for Sydney, Autralia, via Fremantle, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne, Nitya was looking terribly thin and ill. They arrived in Sydney on 3 April 1925. A place was found for Nitya, where K also stayed, in the elevated Blue Mountains, where he should stay until well enough to travel back to Ojai. They were finally able to leave from Sydney for San Fransico on 24 June, taking Rosalind but not Mary.
Nitya became very ill again by early August, and when K received his 4th Initiation on 7 August he asked for his brother's life to be saved. He was very ill for about 3 months but seemed to be recovering when K was asked by Mrs Besant to accompany her back to India from England on 3 November 1925, he reluctantly agreed. They sailed from Naples on the ship "Ormuz" on 8 November and while passing through the Suez Canal received a telegram on 13 November on the ship with the message that Nitya had died.
Following K's acceptance of his brothers death and the recognition of their oneness, K's talks became as though from the consciousness of the "Lord" (see for example, ref.1, p.168}. There was however discord between the leaders. On 25 August 1926, K, Mrs Besant, Rosalind and Rajagopal arrived in New York from Southampton on the ship "Majestic", K giving his age as 29 and occupation as Author. After Mrs Besant finished her lecture tours, K invited her to Ojai for her first visit there in October. Before leaving Ojai in April 1927, she issued "a statement to the Associated Press of America beginning, ‘The Divine Spirit has descended once more on a man, Krishnamurti, one who in his life is literally perfect, as those who know him can testify,’ and ending with the words, ‘The World Teacher is here’" (ref.1, p.173). However, K was becoming adamant "no one can give you liberation, you have to find it within, but because I have found I would show you the way" (from notes of Lady Emily, in ref.1, p.175-6). This was to be his way, his work, for the rest of his life. To clarify the situation, he was to say on 2 August: "I am one with my Beloved - the open skies, the flower, every human being - I say it to awaken the desire in your hearts and in your own minds to seek out the Truth. I have become united, so that henceforth there will be no separation, because my thoughts, my desires, my longings—those of the individual self—have been destroyed" (ref.1, p.179).
In 1928, K and Annie Besant established the Krishnamurti Foundation (see the next paragraph) that was to lead to the setting up of schools around the world starting in the 1930's, for which the basis was "Education should be, first and foremost, the understanding of oneself. Understanding only comes through self-knowledge, which is awareness of one's total psychological process." This was to be the basis of all his writings and lectures from then on, which was put by K in essentially the same way in 1980, when Mary Lutyens asked K to write what was at the core of his teachings, which are in the statement that he had made in 1929 - “Truth is a pathless land”. Essentially, one "has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of one's own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection."
To assist in this he set up Krishnamurti Foundations with their role:- "The Foundations will see to it that these teachings are kept whole, are not distorted, are not made corrupt. They will not give rise to any sectarian spirit in their activities... nor create any kind of place of worship around the teachings or the person."
For his 'middle years' from the 1930's to the 1950's, and 'later years', 1960's to 1986, see Biography 1, the Wikipedia article on Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Mary Lutyens 2nd (Biography 4) and 3rd (Biography 5) parts of her trilogy on K's life.
His death on 17 February 1986 was published in the London Times on the 19th with his age as 90. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer. He was cremated and his ashes scattered in India, England and the USA.
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