Selected Correspondence Peter
PETER to No 7: Just a note to follow on from my recent post.
I realized that I had posted two consecutive quotes from Mohan Rajneesh to the List and thought I would include a quote from Jiddu Krishnamurti just to indicate that the ‘I do not know – therefore I am Wise and Holy’ syndrome is endemic in all spiritual teachings –
The Book of Life: Daily Meditation with J. Krishnamurti
The other reason to include this quote is to indicate that I have no particular axe to grind in relation to Rajneesh – he was merely yet another in a long, long, long line of failed Gurus who promised lotus flowers and left nothing but mud, bewilderment, ignorance, unliveable teachings and shattered dreams in their wake. Krishnamurti exited quietly leaving behind stories of clandestine love affairs, intrigues and malicious legal battles. Rajneesh had the temerity to declare ‘I leave you my dream’ on his death bed. ‘His Dream’ had collapsed in tatters around him in Oregon ten years earlier while he sat in his room in Splendid Isolation, above the mundane activities of the building and running of a ‘City to Challenge God’. His dream failed, a ‘million lights’ didn’t light up the world, and peace is yet to miraculously descend on the planet, let alone in the Pune Ashram. And yet another religion is born, yet another group following their own particular dead God-man who for them was the master of masters, the only God, the beloved, the Sacred One. So ‘in love’ with their God-man, so trusting, so unquestioning loyal and devoted, that they will figuratively and literally surrender their life for Him.
RESPONDENT: At various times (being aware that ‘I’ am the thorn in ‘my’ side, but unable to penetrate through it) I’ve looked into various spiritual teachings that are light on metaphysics eg. J Krishnamurti and Zen.
PETER: Perhaps a better way of saying it is that they are very careful to couch their teachings in words that can’t readily be seen to be meta-physical. Jiddu Krishnamurti played largely to Western audiences so he was usually very careful to couch his teachings as being non-religious and was very careful in his use of words so as to disguise the religiosity of his message. Zen’s metaphysics on the other hand have been penned by men who have spent so long isolated from the world-as-it-is and people as-they-are that their teachings are but rarefied nonsense … which apparently is why they have such widespread appeal, particularly amongst those with an intellectual-only bent.
RESPONDENT: Once you wrote to Alan something of the kind that: Whenever you (Peter) ask people about the way Gurus behave towards women, you get blank faces. What did you observe in reference to Osho’s (or any other Guru’s) behavior towards women. Do you have some first hand information ? You want to write about them. Those personal observations/experiences would be facts. Your facts, but facts.
PETER: How on earth can you have a fact that is ‘your’ fact – that would mean that you have your own versions of facts. Methinks you are talking about truths which are definitely not facts, as Mr. Rajneesh has clearly pointed out above. As I wrote to Alan, Richard has written an excellent piece on facts, if you are interested.
Some ‘first hand information’ from a post to the Sannyas mailing list about the same question that you have asked –
I would only add an additional fact and that is that Guru is a Sanskrit word meaning elder or teacher and as such is one who propounds Eastern Religions. It is common in Eastern Religions to regard women as second-class citizens, needing to be re-born as a man in order to be worthy of even undertaking spiritual practice, being excluded from temples, being mere possessions of men, etc. This attitude is still very prevalent in the Eastern Religions and permeates into popular spiritualism. All of the male Gurus have women disciples who worship them and regard them as Gods, and this is actively encouraged by the Gurus – a pathetic and abysmal behaviour towards women.
RESPONDENT: I came across your website recently and took some time going through the discussions and the content in the website. I have been reading Jiddu Krishnamurti for a while and have been attracted to his style, clarity and his philosophy in general. While your writings take the excerpts and try to prove that he is yet another eastern philosopher in disguise, I find that the analysis may be incomplete in the sense that it leaves out other aspects looking only for the ‘spritualist signature’. If you have time and inclination, if you can take this piece, which is my favourite, and comment on the points raised by Krishnamurti, I will appreciate it greatly. http://www.ratical.org/many_worlds/K/ObsWoMe.html
The reason is because while I read your responses on Krishnamurti and nod my head by the force of logic, when I come back to reading Krishnamurti, it rings bells again.
PETER: Eastern spirituality spawned two infamous Gurus in the 20th Century, both of whom left a legacy of discourses very carefully tailored to suit their largely Western audience – Jiddu Krishnamurti and Mohan Rajneesh. Krishnamurti’s appeal was largely an intellectual one and his lasting legacy is a league of intellectual sluggards – faithful followers not only unwilling but incapable of thinking for themselves. On the other hand, Rajneesh’s appeal was largely the passionate lure an alternative, superior society and his lasting legacy is a reclusive social club – followers not only unwilling but incapable of standing on their own two feet.
That old spiritual dimwitticism, ‘leave your mind at the door, surrender your will and trust your feelings’ has suckered a whole generation of searchers of freedom and peace into becoming faithful mindless followers of Eastern religion. The post World War Two generation turned away from their naive interest in peace on earth and settled instead for the utterly selfish search for an inner peace and the ultimate self-gratifying Eastern experience – the dream-like state of God-realization, commonly known as Enlightenment.
The good thing is that you have serendipitously discovered actualism and now have a chance to break free from your own spiritual/ religious beliefs. It was my experience that one of the essential first aspects of this was to begin to stand on my own two feet and to dare to think for myself – the second was to learn how to do so.
RESPONDENT: I had read to Krishnamurti suggesting to stay with fear or anxiousness, because I am the fear. He was expriming it saying that the observer is the observed. What do you say about that?
PETER: As I said, actualism has nothing to do with practicing dissociation. Dissociating from feelings when they get too raw or too potent is a common psychological reaction and it is well-documented that in some cases this reaction can be so severe that altered states of consciousness can result, either partial or permanent. Of course, in the spiritual tradition dissociation is lauded as the panacea to grim reality and is actively practiced by many people – one simply imagines there is an alternative non-physical spirit-only world, a Greater Reality, and then feels oneself to be living in this world, thereby dissociating from grim reality. With practice, one can even start to feel ‘At-One-With’ this Greater Reality or even be convinced solipsistically that one ‘Is’ that Greater Reality – leading to such twaddle as ‘I am God’ and ‘God is me’, or ‘I am the Universe’ and ‘the Universe is me’ and so on.
Then ‘the observer is the observed’ – which is what J. Krishnamurti was talking about. Spiritualists do take their ‘selfs’ very, very seriously.
I’ve often contemplated on the fact that, in my father’s time, anyone who went around declaring they were God, by whatever name, would have been confined in a mental institution. Nowadays, with the current fashion for Eastern religion, the world is littered with people who say they are God, or God-realized, and yet rather than be incarcerated they are venerated.
RESPONDENT: So, when I was speaking about the observer and the observed, I was meaning it this way: When I look at my fear, then there is duality. Me (the observer) looking at fear (the observed).
PETER: This means ‘you’ (the observer) are separating yourself from your feeling of fear (the observed). You have created this duality by creating a new superior-feeling identity (the observer).
RESPONDENT: Then me being different from fear, I try to do something about this fear. To end it, to exprime it, etc.
PETER: If you investigate Eastern spiritual teachings a bit, you will find that what they are talking about is transcending fear – as in rising above – and not in ending fear. Nowhere do the ancient teachings talk about eliminating fear because this can only be done if the self-centred instinctual passions are eliminated in toto.
This is what actualism brings to the table and it is brand new in human history – a scientific investigative process that results in freedom from the instinctual passions as distinct from a mystical dissociative freedom from the fears of being here in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are.
RESPONDENT: When I stated that the observer is the observed, then I was meaning that I and the fear are the same thing. There are not two different things.
PETER: And yet only two sentences before you said ‘Then me being different from fear, I try to do something about this fear’. Either you believe you are different from fear or you believe you and fear are the same thing – to have a bet each way only leaves you confused. In the actualism process you find the facts of the matter for yourself by your own investigations which saves the confusion and uncertainty of having to rely on believing what others tell you is the Truth.
RESPONDENT: Actually I was meaning the opposite of dissociation. When I say I am afraid then dissociation takes place.
PETER: You have just totally redefined dissociation to mean exactly the opposite it does in psychiatric terms.
When you say ‘I am afraid’ then there is no distance between ‘you’ and fear – ‘you’ and the feeling are one and the same thing. You acknowledge the fact that there is no difference between ‘you’ and the feeling of fear.
On the other hand, when you say ‘When I look at my fear, then there is duality. Me (the observer) looking at fear (the observed)’ then you have separated yourself from your feeling of fear. You have dissociated from your feeling of fear by inventing a new identity – the one who observes fear but is separate from the feeling.
The actualism process of self-investigation involves neither denying, repressing or dissociating from any feelings that may arise in this very moment, nor does it involve indulging in, expressing or associating with any of those feelings. This enables the actualism process to be an unbiased scientific in-depth investigation of one’s own psyche, a process aimed at promoting the felicitous feelings and eliminating the so-called good and bad feelings, i.e. those that are the invidious and self-aggrandizing. (...)
RESPONDENT: The problem arises when the dissociation takes place and I say I AM AFRAID.
PETER: Again you are redefining the word dissociation to mean the exact opposite it is taken to mean as a psychiatric term.
RESPONDENT: That means of course that I must not name it as fear.
PETER: This seems to be common Krishnamurti moral – ‘Thou shall not name thou feelings’. You may not be aware of the fact that Richard wrote extensively on a Krishnamurti mailing list for some four years. Eventually a few Krishnamurtiites started to talk about their feelings although most were such faithful followers and had so repressed their feelings that they could not bring themselves to say words such as fear, anger and depression – let alone bring themselves to acknowledge that they had these feelings from time to time.
RESPONDENT: The word creates the dissociation, because is the I who says this is fear. Then the I is different from fear.
PETER: I am reminded of the icon that nicely sums up Eastern Religion – three monkeys sitting in a row, ‘See no evil’, ‘Hear no evil’, ‘Speak no evil’. In modern times this translates as ‘Don’t watch television’, ‘Don’t listen to common sense’ and ‘Deny your own anger and blame everyone else for the violence in the world’.
RESPONDENT: I never believed in higher selves and gods and all these nonsense. I mean I was not meaning identification with god universe etc.
PETER: And yet, by what you write, you believe every thing that that old Indian God-man, J. Krishnamurti, spoke the Truth.
Again, the ‘Book Review’ will throw more light on the subject of Guru worshipping.
RESPONDENT: I was not speaking about enlightenment. I never was able even to understand what that means. Can be any hallucination and illusion.
PETER: And yet, by what you write, you are a firm believer in the teachings of Eastern religion – the teachings which say that it is possible for a man to become God-realized, aka Enlightened, on earth before entering into Heaven, aka Nirvana. To believe in the teachings is to actively participate in the delusion.
PETER: (...) I have no interest in writing yet more about my experiences of the hypocrisy of the spiritual teachings and the duplicity of spiritual teachers. If you are interested you will find that I have already written a good deal on both subjects, much of which is catalogued for easy reference on the website.
The following comment I recently made to a spiritualist is relevant to your current interest in spiritual matters –
RESPONDENT: Yes, J Krishnamurti knew the old ways didn’t work, but he did not go far enough. He eliminated his social self, but the instinctual self lived on.
Whilst the comment I made in this post was in response to someone who espouses U.G. Krishnamurti, it equally applies to Jiddu Krishnamurti. As for him not going far enough, he frequently expressed that he had got himself to the top of the spiritual ladder. Having gained such a lofty and revered position, why do you imagine he would have been looking to go further (assuming of course that he knew that there was something beyond Enlightenment, which can only be a presumption as he made no mention at all of an actual freedom from malice and sorrow in his writings or in his talks)?
RESPONDENT: As for being perfect: It is all too subjective. An enlightened person is not hung up on what society says is right or wrong, which is largely based on just belief handed down by other egos. Like Krishnamurti was found to have been having sex with his friend’s wife for many years. Many people thought this was so very bad. ‘How could a truly enlightened person do that?’ His friend had decided years earlier that he did not want to have sex for spiritual reasons. So he stopped. Well, his wife wanted to have sex.
So she did with Krishnamurti. Should she have suffered the rest of her life because her husband didn’t want to have sex? And why shouldn’t Krishnamurti have sex? You are not more spiritual because you have or don’t have sex. I have been celibate for 12 years, but that doesn’t make me any better than someone who has sex every hour on the hour. That is just the way my needs have changed over the years. People could say how bad it was that Krishnamurti didn’t let people know he was not celibate. He knew full well where most people’s heads are at in this matter. It most likely wasn’t from lack of honesty but from knowing many people might stop listening to what he had to say, and what he had to say was very important for people to hear. I will let others judge people like him. He did the best he could for over 60 years of teaching.
An interesting point of view. What Krishnamurti had to say was so ‘very important for people to hear’ that it was okay to deliberately conceal a long standing affair with his friend’s wife and engage in subsequent long and bitter legal battles against his friend in order to suppress any knowledge of it becoming public. Sort of a ‘don’t look at the finger, look at the moon’ argument or ‘I’m only a poor humble messenger but my message is pure gold.’ Do you not take a stand, presume a position, make a judgement on Krishnamurti by refusing to pass a judgement yourself and leaving it to others?
RESPONDENT: I am awake, but I am not perfect in the eyes of some, perhaps most. So what? Most people have such a misunderstanding of what it means to be enlightened. Enlightened people are just people who have seen the fact of our being one with all life. I just live my life not harming any one or any thing. That is simple, we can all do that, awake or not.
Well, that’s a bit of a come down for the exalted and much prized state of Enlightenment. This seems to none other than the ‘we are all enlightened, we only have to realize it’ psittacism that is floating around the spiritual world. So now, I assume your teaching is simplified even further to – if everyone sees ‘the fact of our being one with all life’ and ‘just lives (their) life not harming any one or any thing’ then there will be peace on earth.
As for, ‘you may also see where I am coming from’ – where I see you coming from is a position of back-peddling and I would only encourage you to keep doing it all the way totally out of the spiritual world. Most people think there are only two worlds – the real world or the spiritual world, but if one dares to step out of all illusion there is an actual physical-only world of purity and perfection and the evidence of this is the pure consciousness experience. It far exceeds Enlightenment for all the capricious feelings and unfulfilled promises of purity and perfection of the spiritual world are experienced as an actuality in a ‘self’-less state – a perfection and purity that is rock-solid, sensately experienced, touchable, visible, tasteable, smellable, audible, ever-present, each moment again.
RESPONDENT: I agree that the way the Krishnamurti group handled that whole thing was wrong, and K should have stepped in and stopped that. But the fact remains that what he was saying was very important and if it had all come out many people who have been helped by what he had to say may not have been.
PETER: Who are you agreeing with No 8? Certainly not me. Now you are blaming the Krishnamurti group, presumably because they didn’t conceal their Master’s duplicity and deceit. You don’t seem able to bring yourself to question Krishnamurti’s actions for that would mean you would be questioning a revered teacher and that is a sacred no-no. This ethic that the message of Enlightenment is more important than the veracity and conduct of the Enlightened Ones has forever humbled seekers into silence and cognitive blindness. But in his day and age of increased information and communication this sacred code in the spiritual community is being broken down. Even on the mailing list there is some debate about various teachers and their behaviour. This questioning is tentative and selective for there is a definite pecking order as to who is fair game to question and who is considered too high up on the scale, or too close to home, to question.
I see you have joined in this delicate selection process and, as a teacher yourself, you obviously have a dilemma as to who to blame and who to praise. You have put Father Dionysus, Otto Kernberg and Ammachi down so far, but your comments deriding students who hang around teachers may not endear you to the Cohenite students so it may well be politic to tone down a touch in this area. There seems to be a very profound dilemma amongst spiritual teachers these days – how watered down does one make one’s message so that it doesn’t appear live old-time religion without it being nothing more than a set of morals, a bit of feel good and lot of dis-identifying? The other approach is to go for the full-on charismatic God-realization approach but this does have its drawbacks in terms of being forever on-guard and on-stage. Added to all this, the Guru business is such a crowded market nowadays that it is tough to get enough customers to qualify as a bona fide teacher.
PETER: This new and non-spiritual down to earth path to freedom has only recently been discovered and is now in its initial pioneering phase.
RESPONDENT: The path you describe sounds very similar to what Krishnamurti espoused beginning in the early part of the 20th Century, and thus hardly qualifies as ‘new.’
PETER: I take it when you say ‘sounds very similar’, you mean feels very similar. If you had read what I am saying you would have understood that I am an atheist through and through whereas Jiddu Krishnamurti was a God-man through and through.
To quote the man himself –
He is describing well your desired state of ‘pure, thoughtless awareness’. I find it a blatant deceit for the great and revered teachers to claim they are thoughtless, for it is clearly nonsense. A human being has to think to operate and function at a level of intelligence beyond a dog or a chimpanzee. What they are talking about as thoughtless is, in fact, the training of right thinking – thinking in a certain trained spiritual way so that one can eventually ‘realize’ – as in think and feel – oneself to be God.
RESPONDENT: I too am fascinated by the discoveries in the field of neurobiology but fail to see how an understanding of the origin and functioning of the reptilian brain gives us any advantage in controlling it.
PETER: Human beings have been forever trying to control their instinctual passions and it has clearly failed, for law and order in the world is still only maintained at the point of a gun. Further the Eastern religious practice of Divine Transcendence, whereupon one suppresses one’s bad feelings and savage passions and identifies solely with one’s good feelings and tender passions, does nothing but spawn human beings who believe themselves to be Gods and thus reek even more malice and sorrow on a blighted Humanity. I am talking about a new method that results in the elimination of the blind instinctual passions – not the failed methods of controlling or transcending. I am talking about a third alternative.
RESPONDENT: What Peter and Vineeto are saying, their willingness to look at facts no matter about what or how painful for the ego, should be the first step for anybody on the road to freedom. The first step and the last, as good old J. Krishnamurti would say.
PETER: Of course good old J. Krishnamurti was talking of God and spiritual freedom in what was merely another adaptation of the Eastern message – realize that you are God. Richard is at present on the Krishnamurti mailing list and as such is an expert on his teachings if you are interested. Krishnamurti and other like-minded teachers all question merely to the point of finding God and none bar Richard have ever bothered, or dared, to look further.
RESPONDENT: It’s good to see that you can also be brief. As for your statement on Krishnamurti, I wouldn’t have used ‘of course’ for openers. I understand him to incite us not to jump to conclusions on spiritual, psychological or religious matters. He’s all for total denial of any concepts on these matters. Freedom as total denial. It’s impossible for me to see him as spiritual in the sense you mention and certainly not as an adaptor of the Eastern message as you call it. I heard him lecture by the by.
PETER: So, I take it that you follow Krishnamurti’s advice and you never come to any conclusions about anything to do with what it is to be a human being. You deny everything, and therefore you will, on principle, deny the possibility that anything I say is factual.
I usually don’t suggest to anyone what to do with their lives, but why don’t you try denying Krishnamurti’s concepts and try to make some sense out of spiritual, psychological and religious matters. After all, it is your life you are living here on earth, right now, and Krishnamurti has already scooted off to his after-life.
PETER: Krishnamurti’s and other like-minded teachers all question merely to the point of finding God and none bar Richard have ever bothered, or dared, to look further.
RESPONDENT: Sweeping all teachers except Richard on one heap makes reasoning about them easy. As I said before you and Vineeto oversimplify enabling you to make sweeping statements. Finding God is not the issue with Krishnamurti or Osho or other masters.
PETER: Maybe you can tell me what the issue was with Krishnamurti, Osho or other masters?
RESPONDENT: Whenever there is pain, there’s the ego; hurt defines the boundaries of the ego, the attachments. Hence hurt is an opportunity to know these boundaries, to get to know oneself. ‘Know yourself’ has been said down the ages by many masters.
PETER: ...‘and then know that you are God’... is the bit you left out.
RESPONDENT: Not at all. Getting to know yourself is enough. No promises. God is irrelevant. I hereby didn’t say God doesn’t exist.
PETER: I take it that you know yourself then. What is it that you found out about yourself then? Are you happy and harmless? Do you live with a woman in peace, harmony and equity? I know you can’t put your knowing into words, but how is everyday life? Do you get angry, upset, sad, melancholy? Do you like your fellow human beings?