Krishnamurti on Leadbeater

Krishnamurti, the Indian philosopher whom Leadbeater “discovered” on the beach at Madras in 1909, and trained intensely for many years to play the role of Vehicle for the Coming Christ, and who rejected the role as defined by Leadbeater, finally seemed to reject him completely.

Krishnamurti-Leadbeater-Besant (4)

In December, 1976, at a gathering of friends in India, including Dick Balfour-Clarke, Krishnamurti was asked to accept the sincerity of all those who worked closely with him in preparation for the Coming – Annie Besant, Leadbeater, Arundale, Jinarajadasa and Wedgwood.   He replied sternly: “The only sincere one was Mrs Besant.” [Russell Balfour Clarke The Boyhood of J. Krishnamurti, Chetana, Bombay, 1977:42; also interviews with Balfour Clarke, Adyar, 1979]

To Mary Lutyens, when told about my proposal to write a biography of Leadbeater and asked for his comments, he said simply: “Leadbeater was evil”, and refused to discuss the matter further, beyond the comment that he found even thinking about Leadbeater, or hearing his name, distasteful. [Correspondence with Mary Lutyens, 1979, copies of which are in my collection; interview with her in London, 1979]

Mary Lutyens was eager that I should meet Krishnamurti, and, when he and I were both in London, she asked him to agree to such a meeting. He did so, but on condition that I did not ask him anything about Leadbeater or “the past”. There being nothing other than Leadbeater and “the past” about which I desired to talk with Krishnamurti, I (probably ungraciously) declined the offer. I should probably admit to a prejudice: having read a very large quantity of transcripts of Krishnamurti’s talks, and having (literally) sat at his feet for a public talk in Adyar, I am unable to find anything interesting, let alone inspiring, in what he says.

When my account of Krishnamurti’s statements to Mary Lutyens were first made public, a great deal of criticism and hostility was directed at me, the assumption being that I was simply lying. As an alternative (not presented), Mary Lutyens was lying. Did Krishnamurti actually declare that “Leadbeater was evil”? I have no way of knowing, nor did I claim that I did. I simply reported that this was what Mary Lutyens, both in a face-to-face interview with me and in a letter to me, stated. I have no idea why Miss Lutyens would have made the statement if it had not been true.

I suppose I will have to, in due course, publish a reproduction of her hand written letter (from my extensive collection of letters from her) in which her statement is reported. I have my own notes of my interview with her, but it could, of course, be claimed that I fabricated those.


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