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More Indians Need To Know About Jiddu Krishnamurti

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India is not alien to the phenomenon of Godmen and Spiritual Gurus. Even in the current post-modern age, our country continues to churn out pseudo-intellectuals at an alarming rate. India has also been known to export a few Gurus to the west as well. Most notable of the lot is probably Osho, who, to this day, still occupies the mind share of a large number of Indians. But there is another Indian mystic – a contemporary of Osho himself – who was accorded a celebrity status in the west. But he is relatively obscure in India, especially when compared with the likes of Swami Nityananda, Baba Ramdev, Sadhguru and the like.

His name is Jiddu Krishnamurti.

Followers of Theosophy and other more nuanced new religious movements might have heard of him. But the fact remains that a large portion of Indians find his doctrine inaccessible. There are many reasons for Jiddu not finding the mass connect in India, while he used to find large crowds for his speeches in the West.

That’s mainly because the man himself was an oddity of sorts. Raised as a World Leader under the watchful eye of Annie Besant in the Theosophical Society in Adyar, Madras, he was expected to lead and champion the cause of an organisation called The Order of the Star of the East. He was christened “Maitreya”, used to refer to a prophet as per the Theosophical Order. However, the man renounced his allegiance to Theosophy, and dissolved The Order of the Star of the East.

He believed there was no place for an authority in anyone’s life. Spiritual life, or the aspiration of one cannot be nurtured by any Guru. He denounced all spiritual movements, religions and religious societies. Jiddu’s primary belief was that it was up to the individual and the individual alone to bring about a spiritual revolution. Of course, the world and its systems can change, he said, but they cannot change unless the individual changes from within. It was loosely akin to what Jordan Peterson says about cleaning one’s room before anything else.

According to Jiddu, the only arena for a spiritual revolution was the human mind. He was also a major supporter of meditation, but all his practices were rooted in psychology.

As intense and revolutionary as this line of thinking was in the mid 1900’\s, Jiddu remained largely unknown in India. Why?

Well Osho himself had a commentary on this-

“Krishnamurti failed because he could not touch the human Heart. Krishnamurti failed because he could not touch the human Heart. He could only reach the human head. The Heart needs some different approaches. This is where I have differed with him all my life. Unless the human Heart is reached, you cannot be over-repeating parrot-like words. They do not mean anything.

“Whatever Krishnamurti was saying is true, but he could not ‘manage’ and by managing I mean, could not take a particular form related to your heart. In other words, all I am saying is that, J. Krishnamurti was a great philosopher, but he could not become a Master. He could not help people; prepare people for new life, a new orientation.”

While they may seem disparaging statements, one should not read Osho’s comments in isolation. He respected Jiddu, and was known to have also quoted that he felt a deep sense of affinity toward Krishnamurti. However, his commentary is telling. You see, Osho believed that authorities were necessary in one’s life; more so, in one’s spiritual life. Jiddu did not. Also, Osho felt that touching the human heart is the best way to bring about change in one’s life, and to re-orient oneself. This is one of the main reasons for Osho’s mass appeal in India. By advocating the need for a Guru in one’s life, and putting an emphasis on human emotion and feeling, he was tapping into deep cultural codes in India – the collectivist need for community, for love, and so on.

On the other hand, Jiddu’s philosophy was largely based on self-reliance – You want to change your life? You want to end your suffering, and live more fully? Don’t look at me, dude. I can’t help you. I’m not a Guru. No one can help you but yourself. It’s all up to you! How you do it, is all up to you.

This dispassionate view is something that will not go well with most people. The overwhelming sense of isolation and the feeling of being lost, unmoored is disconcerting for all of us. Why are Jiddu’s teachings hard to follow? Because they need work. Lots of it. It’s not easy. And it’s all on you, and how you are better able to manage your own internal psychology.

We at indieA feel that Jiddu’s philosophy is criminally underrated in India. It’s also a pity of how little is known about the scope of his influence in the world. For instance, he is known to have influenced one of the greatest pop culture icons the world has ever seen- Bruce Lee.

That’s right, Jiddu influenced some of Bruce Lee’s most iconic philosophies.

We were so moved by our discovery that we made a video (above) on it as well. 

It’s time for Indian youth to know more about Jiddu Krishnamurti.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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