The cobra would only strike if it sensed fear. A frightened being emits odors. The cobra strikes in order to protect itself. It does not trust human beings. It may kill one human being to protect itself, while humans kill hundreds of cobras for no reason. Naturally, when this happens the field mice have a field day with the crops in the field, because there are no cobras left to eat them. That was some lesson on ecology!
I still remember the day when U.G. spoke to me about distancing myself from Parveen. 'I know it's going to be tough, Mahesh,' he said hesitantly, 'but make possible what is inevitable...' I knew the end was near. Strange as it may seem, U.G. had in a way prepared both Parveen and me for this separation. It was in Gstaad, Switzerland, on a quiet morning that U.G., seeing Parveen's palm, predicted a break in her career. She was right on top in those days. He also predicted the termination of our relationship. The manner in which he said it seemed frivolous but somewhere within both of us a feeling of impending doom surfaced. For months Parveen woke up in the middle of the night staring at her palm terrified. She tried to prevent me from meeting U.G. whenever he passed through Bombay, saying, 'He will take you away from me. Don't meet him. Don't you see, he wants us to break up?' U.G. persuaded Parveen to save money for what he called a 'rainy day'. How helpful those savings are to her now!
On October 26, 1979 U.G., seeing me off in a taxi said, 'When you look back, you will see for yourself that this was the happiest day of your life. Go, Mahesh, and carve out a new future for yourself. You cannot help this girl. It's finished.' There is an end, and there is an ending to that end. With that, my two-and-a-half-year relationship with Parveen Babi, my dependence upon her and our mutual exploitation ended.
My relationship with U.G. had left me shattered and alone. My facades had all collapsed. At that point in my life, I felt like a total failure. My professional identity was that of a 'flop director', talked about only as Parveen Babi's boyfriend. Yet the encounter with this blunt realization gave me an extraordinary drive to become somebody on my own. 'Don't make a virtue of failure. I will never forgive you if you are not a success,' demanded U.G. rubbing salt into my wounds. Thirteen years later, as I drive down the streets of London, I realize that by amputating me from that sordid, dependent relationship and not even offering me a helping hand as a crutch, U.G. gave me the courage to walk by myself. Yes, today, I can look back and call that the happiest day of my life!
The place where U.G. and I lived in London is situated opposite 33 Ovington Square. This is the place from where Mr. C. Jinarajadasa, the Head of the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society, who later became its President, wrote to U.G. who was then in India.
12th July, 1940
I can only reply briefly to your letter of appreciation and enquiries.
It is excellent that you should have the ideals which you have of being of service, but you can work out a great part of the problem before you in the light of the many teachings which you find in Theosophy. Regarding the matter of your desiring to find a Teacher, I might here quote the answer which the Master K.H. gave to the late Bro. C.W.L., who asked that question of the Master in 1883:
'To accept any man as a chela does not depend on my personal will. It can only be the result of one's personal merit and exertions in that direction. Force any one of the "Masters" you may happen to choose; do good works in his name and for the love of mankind; be pure and resolute in the path of righteousness (as laid out in our rules); be honest and unselfish; forget yourself but do remember the good of other people—and you will have forced that "Master" to accept you.'
The hymn of Frances Havergel is often used by me to explain to my hearers certain aspects of the great ideal.
When I return to India and I can meet you, I can give you further advice. In the meantime, look within yourself for the guidance which you think you need. You will find that if you are in a quiet state of meditation, with a feeling of aspiration, some suggestion will come in the matter of helping others. Put it into operation even if the result seems not noticeable. But remember the teaching of the Gita that you must have no thought of fruit or reward, but act righteously because that is a law of your being, or because it is an offering from your heart to God.
Jinarajadasa returned to India toward the end of 1940. He opened the facility built by U.G.'s grandfather for the use of the Andhra Theosophical Federation as its Headquarters. He stayed with U.G.'s family in their home for two days. This was in January 1941. That Summer, U.G. worked in C. W. Leadbeater's personal library, rearranging his books for almost three months. He had always wondered how Leadbeater wrote about the past lives of Krishnamurti published under the title, Lives of Alcyone. When U.G. looked at the collection of books Leadbeater had in his personal library, he said to himself, 'He has read all the ancient histories of practically every civilization in the world. No wonder he could fit Krishnamurti's past lives into these histories.' That confirmed his skepticism about Leadbeater's powers of clairvoyance which he was credited with by the members of the Theosophical Movement. As a child U.G. sat in front of Leadbeater every day expecting that he would clairvoyantly see some spiritual potential in him. To his disappointment, Leadbeater never showed any such recognition.
Be that as it may, the opportunity of working in this library brought U.G. and Jinarajadasa close to each other. Every now and then Jinarajadasa used to walk into the library, talk to U.G. about the contents of the rare books and recommend them to him.
U.G.'s early life, according to him, in no way resembled the life story of a saint. U.G. himself says he was never a good student either in high school or in college. He never passed any examination on the first attempt. Throughout his college years, however, he received letters of support from Dr. Arundale, the President of the Theosophical Society. These letters offered encouragement and sympathy.
10th of July, 1939
Thank you for your letter dated July 8th. I quite realize that examinations are a very great nuisance, and are indeed of extremely little worth. But one has to go through them for the sake of equipment from the standpoint of the outer world. We were very glad to have you here in the Office and hope to see you again when you are next in Madras.
10th February, 1940
I myself certainly have high hopes for you, and I am always glad to see you at Adyar. I do hope you will pass your examinations successfully.
20th May, 1940
I am so sorry you have failed in your examination again. Some of us are not really fit for examinations. We can do other and better things. And if you have an income which will suffice, then why should you not follow your own inclinations and study along your own lines? For my own part, I should not think it is necessary for you to have a university career.
23rd October, 1940
I am very delighted to hear that you have passed the examination. This is very good news. I offer you my very affectionate congratulations.
U.G. offers the following remarks on his college education:
Although I was a student with the lowest grades, barely passing grades, I was admitted into the Philosophy Honors class at Madras University. These courses were primarily for brilliant students. Though I wasn't brilliant, the professor of Philosophy needed students. There were only four students in the class, so he admitted me. Because of my lack of interest in the studies, he always joked that he had four-and-a-half students in his class. I never attended any mid-term examinations, let alone the final ones. My report card revealed nothing but absenteeism. One day the Principal sent for me and confronted me with my last report card. I had struck off the 'Parent or Guardian' entry and signed it myself.
The Principal said that I should get the signature of my grandfather. If I failed to do so, he would fine me twenty-five rupees. I said that wouldn't hurt anybody and that I could write a check immediately for that amount drawn on the Imperial Bank of India (the bank for Government agencies and rich people). The Principal asked me, 'Why are you attending this college, then?' I said, 'For want of a better occupation.' He was not impressed. He insisted that I should still produce the report card duly signed by my grandfather. Luckily for me and unfortunately for him, the principal died of a heart attack the next day.
U.G. comments on the value of political sages and experts:
During those years I lived in Adyar most of the time, the headquarters of the Theosophical Society, and worked for Dr. Arundale as one of his personal assistants. My job was to read newspapers and periodicals from all over the world and choose articles of permanent interest for him to read at a later date.
It was during that time I discovered Time magazine. (I continued to read it from cover to cover for 50 years and enjoyed its style and coverage of world events.) That was when I discovered that there is no such thing as objectivity and an unprejudiced view of human affairs. Those were the War years. The magazine used to arrive six months behind schedule. But we followed the course of events of the war from day to day through the B.B.C. and the daily newspapers.
Two of the noted journalists and columnists at that time were Walter Lippman and H.V. Kaltenborn. Walter Lippman knew everything and predicted everything but most of the time he was wrong about the course of events of the War. Kaltenborn, a news broadcaster and analyst, was famous for predicting the outcome of the election between Truman and Dewey. He proclaimed with great gusto that Dewey would win by a landslide, even when there were reports that he was lagging behind in the race. Kaltenborn explained the reports away saying that it was only a temporary set-back. The next morning, the headlines announced that Truman had won. From such incidents I have concluded that the viewpoint of an uneducated person in some remote corner of India is just as valid as that of the world-acclaimed pundits.
I can say without hesitation that I have learned precious little from either spiritual or secular teachers.
In 1946, Jinarajadasa was elected President of the Theosophical Society, and U.G. the Joint General Secretary of the Indian section. U.G. occupied that position for three years and when that office was eventually abolished, he became a national lecturer for seven years. In this capacity, he spoke at almost every college in India. He then went to England, Ireland, Europe and North America on an extensive lecture tour. He spoke at the annual convention of the Theosophical Society in England, presided over by Mr. Jinarajadasa. It was when he was in England, in May 1953, that he met Jinarajadasa for the last time. It is ironical that the beginning and the end of U.G.'s association with the Theosophical Society took place in 33 Ovington Square, Knightsbridge, London. This is what Jinarajadasa said to U.G.:
I have heard about your reactions with reference to the Theosophical Society and Krishnaji—how critical you have become of everything and everybody! I should like to know your exact viewpoint and would certainly like to discuss it with you. I suggest that you contribute a series of articles in the Theosophist. You can very freely criticize anybody—the President, the General Secretaries, and anybody else, in support of your position. Such articles would be welcome in order to maintain absolute freedom on the platform of the Theosophical Society. It is only by such frank and free expression of opinions that organizations can retain their vigor and vitality. If you feel that the Theosophical Society should be closed down, say so in the articles. Let the members know it and let them begin to think. I feel that I at any rate will be greatly benefited. Yet, in response to this, U.G. told him of his intention to resign his membership from both the Theosophical Society and its Esoteric Section. Jinarajadasa was disappointed. He said that he was leaving soon for the United States and that he would be back in India before the end of the year. He wanted to discuss the matter further with U.G. then. But he died in America in July, the same year.
U.G. continued his lecture tour for the Theosophical Society in Europe. At Oslo, he addressed the One World Movement. At a German Summer School at Rendsberg, he was the guest of honor and gave a course of lectures on 'Man, Nature and Reality'. At the invitation of the General Secretary of the Council of the Theosophical Society in Europe, which was celebrating its Golden Jubilee, he attended the Council meetings and addressed them on Indian ideals of life and thought.
He also gave a public lecture in Brussels, Belgium. The audience consisted of twenty-eight people—twenty-five out of whom were old women in tennis shoes, knitting sweaters. It was then that U.G. said to himself, 'Is this how I am going to serve the cause of Theosophy and the Theosophical Society? All this is second-hand information. Anybody who has brains can gather this information and then throw it out. This is not something real for me. What am I doing? Why am I wasting my time?' Given below is U.G.'s opening address to the German Summer School at Rendsberg in July 1953.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE IN RELATION TO THEOSOPHY
The history of Theosophical thought is the history of the evolution of modern thought. As of all others, the survey of Theosophical thought in successive periods of the Society's history is the general evolution and progress of human thought. The leaders of the Society have a place not only in the Theosophical Movement, but also in the history of world thought itself, in the whole intellectual advance that has been registered these seventy-seven years. Every leader has contributed to this onward and forward movement some small fresh fragment to the Temple of Theosophical Wisdom. Progress always appears in different lights to different people. The Society is not simply a working institution; it is a spiritual organization. It is different from the ordinary human societies or clubs that men form for ordinary purposes of human association; but it is still a Society composed of people of various nationalities, and therefore, not something that you can talk about in the abstract. It is like any other organization made up of members. Sometimes in the life of any spiritual movement, we seem to be just jogging along; nothing very much appears to be happening and we do not seem to be getting anywhere in particular; it is only when we pause to look back and to take our bearings, that we realize what a long way we have, in fact, come from where we started, and what tremendous advances we are really making. There is bound to be loss as well as gain but the leaders have, during these seventy-seven years, made significant contributions in and through the Theosophical Society, to the religious life of the community as a whole. Each of them had something new to say and that is why we revere them, but each of them in a different fashion proclaimed a different facet of Theosophy and they carried the Society forward with them because they journeyed with their faces towards the light. They have left their mark upon its outlook and activities and have also helped to set the general tone. Let us look at the different stages of growth and the gradual objectivization of the ideals of Theosophy. Let me very briefly survey the background of the Theosophical Movement and the conditions of the world before its advent.
The world was then divided into two camps, that of rigid materialism and that of a narrow and bigoted form of religion. It was an age of conquering science when religion was on the defense. The increase of 'valid knowledge' called Science was having a disturbing effect on the religious traditions. Religion had become bankrupt, for it had no real life in it. The mechanistic theory of man and the Universe grew in clarity and prestige. The philosophy that emanated was a materialistic philosophy which sought in matter the solution of all mysteries. Into this maelstrom of opposing and conflicting forces was heralded the Theosophical Society. Thus what was wanted, the Theosophical Society supplied. So the work of H.P. Blavatsky is of great consequence, as she supplied a philosophy of life which was broad enough to include both spirit and matter. The great Theosophical treatise, The Secret Doctrine, by Madame Blavatsky, brought together all sorts of facts in the domain of mysticism, religion, philosophy and science to prove that quite apart from science and religion, dogma and worship, there is one step beyond mind touching spirit, which may be called the transcendental aspect of Theosophy. She tried to establish the Law of Reincarnation, the Theory of Karma, the power of mind over matter, and she stressed the practice which, in fact, is Occultism. It appealed to the intellectuals of that time and so she was able to gather around her great personages like Edison, Sir William Crookes, Alfred Russell Wallace, W.T. Stead and Sir Oliver Lodge, though they dropped out of our ranks later. Thus the early efforts of H.P.B. proved the supremacy of spirit over mind.
But when Dr. Annie Besant came to the scene she tried to contact that spirit and to make that Transcendental into Immanent. And her method of achieving this was the service of mankind. What is the motive for service? Each one of us has to try and delve as deeply as possible within himself to see what really is the propelling force or hidden motive behind his activities. This is how a modern Psychologist, E.M. Delfield, warns us when he says:
'The philanthropist is relatively safe when he acknowledges safely to himself the elements of satisfaction in his work. The person who says: "I give freely and look for no return; I wear myself out for the sake of others; I accept honors and responsibility unwillingly; the money I receive for my work is nothing to me; I do not want gratitude" is being hoodwinked by his unconscious. People do not consider it decorous to realize that they are doing more interesting work and getting better pay than ever before, an outlet for their energies and many are the better for it.' Why the urge for service at all?... Dr. Besant taught us that life is only for service. She stressed the central truth as distinct from dogmatic and institutional forms. This appealed to the modern mind, which was becoming increasingly rationalistic in temper and outlook. She made the evolving Universe intelligible to millions of people and from the heights of her idealism she set in motion thought currents which spiritualized them more than any other single influence.
Leadbeater helped us to see the other worlds to which we also belong, the worlds invisible and intangible. Our citizenship is also in Heaven. The unseen world is only an expansion of that which is seen. There is one more contribution of his. At the time of the inauguration of the Theosophical Society the adepts did not use the phrases 'The inner Government of the world', 'The Ideas of Manu, the Bodhisattva and the Logos'. These were all later revelations. These were elaborated by the investigations of Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater from whom we also heard of the Monad, the Group Soul, etc.
But the cycle is not complete; if we want to complete this cycle we must be able to see the immanence as well as transcendence. It is really the summation, the integration, the climax of the group of thought-forms, the thought processes and evolution...
And in the words of an American Philosopher, adapted slightly, even the Truths of Theosophy may dust the mind by their dryness unless they are effaced each morning and rendered fertile by the dews of fresh and living truth. Otherwise, our love of Theosophy has no reality behind it. The vital principles and truths that operate in any spiritual movement are likely to become a dogma or creed when the movement settles down. Each one of us must discover his own mystery, what the Light on the Path calls 'final secret'. To do this is to discover something in terms of our own experience, a vital transforming experience. Until we have discovered that center in ourselves, whatever may be the magnitude of our contribution, all that activity, all that contribution, is bound to be devoid of the unique and vitalizing factor, namely, individual inspiration. In the ultimate analysis, it is the individual that matters. Only to the extent that an individual is inspired from within himself can he contribute to the common work and thus energize what we call group activity. This process of inwardness, if I may say so, is not morbid isolationism or an ivory tower outlook. Now we cannot go deep down into ourselves except in a state of relationship with others. To the extent that we are periodically able to go deep down into ourselves can we find that inspiration which is necessary...
It is said that the Maha-Chohan has given, as it were, a charter for the work of the Theosophical Society, when he said: 'The Theosophical Society was chosen as the cornerstone, the foundation, of the future religions of humanity.' Shall we not see that day? The world needs Theosophy. The forces of the world are with us, the times and the spirit of the age are with us and I have no doubt the truths of Theosophy which insist on a quest more than on a creed would enable us to join the pursuit of the ideal.
This address was made by U.G. ex tempore. If one goes through this address closely, one observes that the germs of what U.G. is saying now were present even then. U.G. continued to lecture on his own in the United States because he needed the money. He had a manager, Miss Irma E. Crumley, to arrange his lectures. She was able to get him a hundred dollars per lecture. He delivered about sixty lectures on various subjects including Politics, Education, Philosophy, Economics, Indian thought, and world affairs. The lectures were held at various Kiwanis Clubs, Lion's Clubs, Rotary Clubs, University Clubs, Women's Clubs, and universities like the University of Washington at St. Louis, Missouri. Newspaper editorials commented on his lectures. Here is a sample:
INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY SOMETIMES BACKFIRES
Immediately following World War II and continuing down to the present, this country has spent millions of dollars in underdeveloped countries in an attempt to keep them from falling prey to the clutching hands of Russian imperialism. Unfortunately, when the balance sheet has been drawn up it shows that this country is operating in the red and the country receiving the aid is being operated by the Reds.
The explanation for this kind of one-sided bargaining is not so simple. While we may criticize countries for taking our money and then playing 'footsie' with the Reds, who among the peoples on the earth is going to turn down financial help during a time of national distress? To refuse extended money would be going contrary to natural inclinations.
Only a few days ago a highly educated man from India—one of the countries which has received millions of American dollars and still refuses to ally herself with the Western nations—made some statements in a speech in Elgin that were freighted with truth and worthy of profound consideration.
U.G. Krishnamurti was born and has lived most of his life in India—with the exception of the months he has spent traveling and lecturing, much of it in this country.
As graduate of Madras University, he is by no means 'typical' of an Indian as only seven percent of the country's populace are literate. But as one who has traveled throughout his country and lectured at practically every college and university in that vast land, he should be able to reflect some of India's present psychology.
Krishnamurti points out that this country would be better off if she would stop spending money in India and utilize it in other directions. The masses of India—who are in the main ignorant of America's financial help to their country—would appreciate our position more if money were spent on such projects as bringing Indian patients to this country for treatment in American hospitals, and by American doctors; sponsoring Indian farmers who could get a first hand view of an American farm, or letting an Indian industrial worker see our assembly lines in action and visit the home of an American worker.
While Krishnamurti does not decry the student exchange program, he wisely points out that the Indian student is rather far removed from the common people. University graduates don't speak the language of the man in crowded streets of Bombay.
The reducing of tension among the nations of the world will not be solved overnight. If 'understanding' among the various peoples is to come about, however, it will be when they become better acquainted by person-to-person contact and not through an international giveaway program which too often has repelled rather than attracted those whom we were sincerely trying to help.
Courier-News 'Viewpoints', Elgin, Illinois.
Here is sample of the newspaper reports on U.G.'s lectures in the United States in the Fifties:
LIONS CLUB HEARS LECTURE ON INDIA
Speaking at the Lion's Club here Tuesday, U.G. Krishnamurti, one of India's most accomplished lecturers, pleaded for greater understanding between India and America. After thanking the club for the invitation, Krishnamurti paid an eloquent tribute to the Lion's International for the very valuable work it is doing here in this country and elsewhere, and added that such movements could be the greatest forces in a world which is full of misunderstanding, acrimony, discord and prejudice.
Adverting to India's place in world diplomacy, Krishnamurti said: 'To call Nehru a fellow-traveler with "Krush and Bulge" or "Mao and Chou" is a cheap device. Nehru is the most glamorous personality in world politics today. His experiment in India to work out a greater stability and equilibrium and integration in the individual is setting a great pattern for the future.'
Referring to the foreign aid, he said that the country's prosperity could not depend upon foreign aid alone. To share your industrial and scientific experience with India is one thing but how far a nation can use it is a different thing. I always maintain that the prosperity of a country can only be dependent upon its own inherent strength. 'Economic recovery and industrialization were possible,' Krishnamurti said, 'only through one process, that is, collaboration between people and the government. I am not sure that exists in India and somehow people haven't that enthusiasm for all these first and second five year plans.'
Concluding his address, Mr. Krishnamurti sounded a note of hope. 'It is said,' he went on say, 'that America is chosen as guardian of the freedoms of the world. My prayer is that this grand land of freedom can fulfill her mission.'
Toward the end of this period of lecturing , U.G. began wondering why he was doing this, that there must be some other way of making money. He, however, had no alternatives in mind. He knew only how to 'squander' the money he had inherited. He finally told his manager that he did not want to go through with the lecture tour she had arranged for him for the following year. 'You have now become a celebrity of sorts,' she said, 'You are in demand. How can you do this to me?' 'Sorry,' said U.G.
He delivered only one more public lecture in his life. This was years later in Bangalore. The lecture was attended by about three thousand people. The auditorium was packed beyond capacity. Newspaper coverage of the lecture was so extensive that it 'scared' U.G.