Krishnamurti in the tent at Brockwood, 1974
This is the first in a series of impressions of Jiddu Krishnamurti.
I was exposed to Krishnamurti’s teaching from the age of 11, when my father became a student.
When we were children, there were two things we mocked our father incessantly about. When he arrived back from a London trip, we left for him, in the front door porch, cartoons of tangled high-brows sitting cross-legged with bubbles coming out – I MUST NOT THINK. Some of the bubbles contained CND posters – another of my father’s commitments. K’s bubble was blissfully blank. We kindly allowed my father a reduced activity in his.
In his bookshelf among spines of philosophy, fruit management and violin playing, lay a very slim little volume – “Who Am I?” This too, prompted roars of childhood mirth. Inside the book was an old photo of one of those white-haired Indian saints, sitting on a rock with a kettle beside him. He had beautiful deep brown eyes. So did Krishnamurti. I remember remarking this especially, and searching through the bookshelves for more.
Krishnamurti’s influence on my teens, gave me many existential difficulties. After leaving school, I traveled with my father up from Somerset, to Wimbledon Town Hall for one of the early Krishnamurti gatherings:
Even lavender passes into the air, in the end. One should be brave enough to move all the time in tune with the present. When I’m alone in the City, I look for what is behind, and my eyes are in front. I should like to feel, and only then write or speak.
When Krishnamurti sits and speaks, the whole of him to his beautifully shined boots, quivers with his message – to Be. It is as simple as that. But we would rather make life difficult, and hide behind it.
My father sat downstairs, next to a friend of his called Ralph. I sat up in the balcony among rich old ladies, earnest businessmen, young Indians and hippies, a few cranks and intense women. Next to me, a man with a big nose in bright purple trousers watched, as I sketched. We got talking about Art and God. His name was Barry Fantoni, and he was more or less running the Sixties scene at the time, and painting a portrait of Beethoven. We exchanged addresses and wrote some letters. He became an intermittent but kindly friend.
Balcony, Krishnamurti gathering at Wimbledon, 1967
(“Barry” is just behind the Afro, to the right.)
Shortly after, amid all the bustle below, a distinguished small figure with brushed-over silver hair and nut-brown, clear cut features, ascended the improvised platform. This was Himself. As the hush swiftly dampened the shifting crowd like an asbestos blanket, he sat down on a narrow chair, exquisitely dressed before a barrier of microphones, moved his hands a bit beside him, and waited. This one little person concentrated all the Unity which was lacking in hundreds.
Then he started to speak. Microphones, tapes, were adjusted; then all was still, before him.
It was all familiar stuff … but from K himself, this time. He is at peace when he has no fear. I found it hard to stop thinking about everything going on, and to concentrate. The essence radiated out before him. I feel we are all diseased.
He only answered two or three questions at the end – mostly from an American moustache, who didn’t understand his concept of “discipline”. Then he got up and walked down and out. He never speaks for more than an hour.
The next day’s Talk, I sat downstairs. I shut my eyes and his beautiful words probed my being. He spoke of peace, violence and the gap between the observer and the observed. He said there isn’t one. When people asked questions, he only showed them that he had already answered them.
The drizzle spat from the sky. I love to associate certain areas of London with … Putney with Joe, Battersea with Ben – and yet how dare I, why must I, after hearing Krishnamurti speak of the paralyzing, destroying power of image and association? No! Sentiment is not worth sorrow. Romance shines in every moment, if one is open. I mustn’t be afraid to turn my back to the luscious past, for its glamour only bleeds to death.
Yet the torment, the sentiment, the turmoil, won’t stop.
A Poet & his Daughter 1968
My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.
This blog is a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.
I write, illustrate, design and print my books. Watch this space.