Analysing a New Age guru

Krishnamurti explained: a critical study

The acclaim accorded Jiddu ‘Krishnamurti’ (1895–1986) — as an apparently major figure in our modern understanding of all things spiritual — shows just how shallow western popular culture is when it tries to extend its reach beyond science, materialism and celebrity.

Peter Eastman
31 min readApr 12, 2021

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(Wikimedia Commons)

Introduction

The acclaim accorded Jiddu ‘Krishnamurti’ (1895–1986) — as an apparently major figure in our modern understanding of all things spiritual — shows just how shallow popular culture is when it tries to extend its reach beyond science, materialism and celebrity. The dismal truth is that western society still has no objective and independent metaphysical ideas of its own, and no ambition to explore topics other than psychoanalysis and popular theories of wellbeing, and this leaves us vulnerable to all kinds of esoteric vacuity. We can’t tell the difference — in terms of spiritual significance — between simple truths and well-meaning hot air, so anyone declaiming confidently on topics other than money or politics is sure to be granted a gilded platform and an eager audience.

The roots of our severely defective approach to metaphysics and spirituality lie deep in western intellectual history, and warrant a detailed study of their own. For our purposes we can only analyse some of the more superficial features of this deficiency in the light of the way we revere figures who, with just the slightest bit of extra reflection, hardly deserve their elevated status. Krishnamurti is one such, and his story makes for an interesting study.

To begin with, Krishnamurti liked to portray himself as a wholly independent thinker, and as someone who encouraged similar independence of thought in others, yet he played the role of an oriental guru tirelessly, discoursing from on high in an autocratic and commanding manner. He didn’t wear orange robes, or pretend to be a sannyasin, but he still managed to look strangely unworldly, with an odd, helmet-like comb-over, sepulchral features, and an unsettlingly disconnected manner. He claimed to be on intimate terms with the key problems of…

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Peter Eastman

Independent Buddhist counsellor, teacher & writer. A quest for an objective spiritual Truth, devoid of any type of doctrine, belief or religion. Scepticism 101.