This book is a very brief account of the life of a man who refused to be a guru, a leader, a teacher, though thousands of people came to listen to him, sought to follow him and hoped to be fundamentally transformed by his words. But his message was always that the word was not the thing, the description not the described. He likened himself to a wayfarer, who points out the way to one who seeks it. That, he said, was all. He refused steadfastly to be deified or worshipped.
This small book is a condensation of the notes made by the author from the talks of J.K. she listened to and the books she read, the visits she made to the Krishnamurti schools and the conversations she had with the people close to him. The reader may discover in it that K's life and words are themselves an enquiry into the root causes of violence—and that, in the enquiry itself, perhaps, lies the answer.
Shanta Rameshwar Rao had her education in Mangalore, Patna, Hyderabad and Lucknow. Later she travelled extensively with her husband, the late Shri J. Rameshwar Rao, both in India and abroad. During the years she spent in West Africa where her husband was posted, she discovered the writings of J. Krishnamurti which awakened her interest in his philosophy and in the philosophies of other teachers. It also led her to start an experimental school (1961) in Hyderabad which continues to function. Her books include In Worship of Shiva, Bekkanna and the Musical Mice, Matsya the Beautiful Fish and Mohini and The Demon.
Many years ago I came across, quite by chance, (while dusting the books in my husband's collection) a book by J. Krishnamurti that had the intriguing name "Education and the Significance of Life". I stopped dusting and began to read. Thus started a journey into the unknown, a journey which has no end, and which changed my life. I was amazed by Krishnamurti, and I enquired about him. I realised that he was the same Krishnamurti I had heard adults talk about when I was a child...People were constantly asking questions like "Is he indeed the Messiah? And the Masters—are they all a hoax, or is this man a hoax—?" As a child I understood little of the grown-up talk. Twenty odd years later I read the first chapter of Education and the Significance of Life. I thought with amazement and excitement about the man who had written the book. I understood here was someone who was saying something that was the essential Truth, and I must find out more about him. I must know all about the system of education he was talking about, (little realising at the time that Krishnamurti never spoke about systems), learn about it, for in 'it and through it, I believed, lay my own salvation.
His language fascinated me. When I heard him in the years that followed, he kept warning his audiences not to be trapped in "the net of his words", I was trapped...When I saw his slim, elegant figure on the dais, his slender hands gesticulating eloquently, and heard the words he spoke, I could not free myself from the snare.
But after a while, it came to me that if I did not free myself, nobody else would....Krishnamurti certainly would not. There were other problems I had to address myself with, problems that concerned living in a very real world, problems of relationships, problems inside of me and problems outside of me. I had to seek help elsewhere, side-track for a bit, and read other things, explore other paths. The way of the Buddha, taught by many others who had trodden that path, the path of Sri Ramakrishna, the path of Ramana Maharishi and the path shown by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. I read what I could, listened to whomever I could, and cried out for my life to be transformed. During those years I read Krishnamurti, but not exclusively. I came to realise that "Truth was a pathless land". And somehow I knew, wordlessly that no one can bring you to your salvation. Books would not bring you to the promised land, nor rituals, nor meditations, nor anything at all. If you sought liberation from sorrow and suffering it must come from yourself, it must come from your daily living. Nor is your liberation something tangible to be achieved and possessed. Nor can it be recognised or named....It is beyond the realm of words, beyond the realm of thought. Again and again I learnt this as I read Krishnamurti and listened to his talks.
And yet I was happy when the Sahitya Akademi asked me to write a monograph on Krishnamurti...It is many years since I read that first book Education and the Significance of Life," many years since I heard Krishnamurti's talk in the grounds of the J.J. School of Arts in Mumbai. And since then I must confess, nothing has really changed. In Krishnamurti's words I know lies the end to sorrow and suffering. He points the way, but no more than that: the rest is up to us.
Working on this little book brought me back to this extraordinary man and his message, several years after he was gone from the world. After some years of trying out the Krishnamurti way in an experimental school I am involved in, I began to re-read books by and about Krishnamurti. It seemed to me that his words sparkled with the light of the Truth, and once again they opened up for me, new vistas, new horizons.
I am conscious that I have put down is but a poor fragment of what Krishnamurti has spoken. And yet each word has been to me a new education, a discovery of the meaning and significance of life.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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