J. Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti to Himself: His Last Journal — Book Review

© 2012 Peter Free


12 March 2012



Who this book is for


Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) was a highly regarded non-sectarian spiritual philosopher.  Those who met him thought that he projected a strong aura of saintliness.


He was humble enough to reject the idea of himself as teacher.  So what is in print was generated courtesy of those who saw the glow in him.


Krishnamurti’s thoughts are potentially valuable to spiritually courageous people who want to become more adept within their own traditions.


However, his emphasis on the need to find one’s own way psychologically threatens fundamentalists.  He was not interested in providing people with a false sense of security.





© 1987 Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Limited and J. Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti to Himself: His Last Journal (HarperOne 1987)



Krishnamurti to Himself is a short, convenient source for his basic ideas


Relatively early in life, Krishnamurti concluded that unexamined belief systems get in the way of understanding.  Humanity’s erroneous concept of time motivates us to construct divisive political and religious systems, which result in unnecessary conflict.


He suggested that becoming unjudgmentally aware of one’s thoughts is the way to spiritual clarity, harmony, and love.


Yet, he was unusual in abhorring the idea of using prescribed meditation methods.  Techniques, he thought, narrowed and falsified reality.


Krishnamurti to Himself delivers the core of his thinking:


No statesman, no teacher, no guru, no one can make you strong inwardly, supremely healthy.  As long as you are in disorder . . . you will create the external prophet, and he will always be misleading you.


[T]o be psychologically free and original can only come about when you are aware of your own inward activities, watch what you are thinking and never let one thought escape without observing the nature of it, the source of it.


When you watch attentively, with diligence, there is nothing to learn; there is only that vast space, silence and emptiness, which is all-consuming energy.


Death . . . [is] something to be with day in and day out.  And out of that comes an extraordinary sense of immensity.


Love is as real, as strong, as death.


© 1987 Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Limited and J. Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti to Himself: His Last Journal (HarperOne 1987) (respectively at pages 62, 122, 70, 82 and 134)



Of course, the people who would benefit the most from the book are the least likely to read it


Regimented, pig-headed cruelty seems to be the most defining measure of humanity.



A summary of other thinkers’ criticisms of J. Krishnamurti


Krishnamurti has been criticized for assuming that “ordinary” people could meditatively “progress” without the guidance of teachers and methods.


I happen to agree to agree with his perspective, based on personal experience, but I can see his critics’ point.


Perhaps a compromise position is workable.  I see no reason why initially confining oneself to a method might not, eventually, generate freeing insights — provided open-mindedness remains subliminally in the mix.


In all likelihood, people are drawn — as Krishnamurti suspected — to that which is easy, to their personal taste, and subtly confining.


It may be that we are destined to be as we are and end.



Recommended as a short and excellent introduction to J. Krishnamurti


If Krishnamurti to Himself hooks you, his many other books provide greater detail.