Krishnamurti’s Art of Teaching Without Teaching

A prominent scene in the Bruce Lee film ‘Enter the Dragon’ comes to mind when describing the late enigmatic, spiritual philosopher, Jiddu Krishnamurti. The scene in question involved a cocky and brash martial arts expert who challenges Bruce Lee to a fight on a junk boat. Instead of Bruce taking the bait and letting either machismo or an apparent insult on his honour trigger him into conflict, he instead demonstrated the ‘art of fighting without fighting’, which defeated his opponent whilst at the same time avoiding physical combat. In other words Bruce beat him peacefully with his mind without resorting to actual violence. Krishnamurti’s philosophy on the art of teaching is in some ways comparable to the wisdom Bruce Lee used in that scene.

Krishnamurti was a person of immense compassion, wisdom, and understanding of the enormous issues that humans face on a daily basis. These identical difficulties, according to Krishnamurti, are created by our thoughts being imprisoned by generations of indoctrination. This conditioning has caused psychological divisions that can lead to violent conflict outwardly, and worse still, serious consequences for the planet in general.

Because of this urgent need to liberate the minds of human beings, Krishnamurti sacrificed the majority of his life traveling the world giving talks and lectures discussing all areas of living, as well as addressing the different emotions that affects us inwardly. The ultimate goal for Krishnamurti was to encourage human beings to liberate their own minds from divisible man-made conditions imposed by an authority in the forms of accepted traditions in their cultural upbringing, and institutions in society.

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According to Krishnamurti, for the human race to have any hope of perpetual peace and harmony one must partake in earnest self-observation and self-analysis of the mind so to develop a deep understanding of its workings in respect of the mechanical operation called ‘thought’. Through this observational analysis comes simultaneous ‘action’ and ‘transformation’ (it must be noted that ‘psychological time’ is the enemy of man which delays right ‘action’, as stated by Krishnamurti, hence the need to see, act and transform all in one movement) before we can become sensitive, intelligent and conscious beings. Otherwise, if we cannot understand and change the inner we will be forever in conflict with ourselves and with others.

Krishnamurti enlightened many thousands of human beings worldwide during his lifetime (he died aged 90 in 1986), talking to people from every conceivable social and cultural backgrounds; from rich to poor, young to old, black to white and beggar to prime minister; he did not discriminate. But the first most important thing Krishnamurti stressed before giving talks was to state to the audience that he was no teacher who can be depended on to carry them out of their ignorance; but for them to look at him as a mirror or a pointer to truth, so they themselves can do the necessary work towards transformation of the self.

Krishnamurti’s attitude to ‘the teacher’ and ‘teaching’ in general is powerfully expressed in the following quote:

“You must understand it, go into it, examine it, and give your heart and your mind, with everything that you have, to find out a way of living differently. That depends on you, and not on someone else, because in this there is no teacher, no pupil; there is no leader; there is no guru; there is no Master, no Saviour. You yourself are the teacher and the pupil; you are the Master; you are the guru; you are the leader; you are everything.”

~ Talks by Jiddu Krishnamurti in U.S.A 1966 p.73

Personally for me, Krishnamurti has had a huge influence on my own thinking and perceptions of life and I owe him a great deal for opening my mind towards learning about myself and overcoming obstacles. And believe me, I have had to learn to adapt due to changing circumstances in my life ever since meeting my girlfriend four years ago. Since that time we have moved in together and now have a nine month old kid in tow. You try finding the time to play happy families, work, and maintain a blog whilst dealing with the other stresses of everyday life! How wonderful it was to be young, free and single in days gone past. To be honest with you, I have no room to complain as there are plenty of people out there with tons more problems than I will ever suffer, but still manage to rise above it.

However, just to let you guys know that although Krishnamurti was somewhat of an inspiration for me in life, I in no way worship him or thought him of being some perfect being. In fact, for a man who was groomed to be a world spiritual teacher and was treated by his peers as a god-like figure, Krishanmurti’s life was filled with nothing but contradictions and unflattering behaviour on his part. You could even go as far as accusing Krishnamurti for being a hypocrite considering he encouraged others to observe their own desires and impulses (inner energy) so to utilise it in the right direction.

To put Krishnamurti’s apparent flaw of character into context, have you ever heard of the saying ‘do as I say, not as I do’? Well, the aforementioned saying should have been repeated by Krishnamurti to everyone who he happened to talk with. Why so, you may well ask? Well, Krishnamurti was surprisingly found (he actually admitted it in the end) to be having a secret affair with his close friend’s wife which carried on for many years. My initial reaction to this shocking revelation was, how did Jiddu find the time for this extracurricular activity in-between all the many talks and travelling that he did? The answer was, I don’t know, and that is still the case even today. I’m guessing even spiritual men of peace can suffer from uncontrollable sexual urges like the rest of us mere mortals, and would go through hell and high water to satisfy it. Mind you, I would never recommend one to have an affair with a best friend’s spouse just to relieve a particular desire, but this only goes to demonstrate that Krishnamurti suffered from human weaknesses too.

Despite that slight misdemeanour (depending on where your moral standing lies) by Krishnamurti, in my opinion it has in no way detracted or tarnished his legacy regarding his efforts toward revolutionising the human psyche. With his unselfish wisdom, pinpoint insight and phenomenal self-knowledge Krishnamurti has guided (and continues to guide through the many books, audio, and DVDs available today) us to the path of freedom which has allowed us to take the precarious steps towards learning how to become wise, peaceful and loving beings. I for one will not forget the lessons learned from him.

I’m hoping that you too can learn a great deal from Krishnamurti’s teachings, if we are indeed to achieve peace in this troubled world.

You can learn more about Jiddu Krishnamurti’s life by reading his biography. Also, watch out for more from Krishnamurti in the future, as I will be posting book recommendations.

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