This is a document that I really didn’t want to write and not wanting to do so, it took forever to write it. For years I’ve been pointing out things to a group of people – referred to herein as the “fifth foundation” (vs. the four official foundations) – who’ve set themselves up as an organization around Jiddu Krishnamurti's ("K") work – about certain aspects of their activities – and over the years nothing but superficial reactive changes have come about in the way they handle those activities.
Despite all the good work it’s done, this unofficial yet financially powerful organization has exhibited a lack of intuition, carefulness, sensibility, clear mission, and regards that K’s teachings are precious and need to be handled with care, that sometimes less is more. It is an irony that on the one hand their founder is a very good man, a great man, an amazing powerful person in his gentleness and humility, with a keen interest in K’s work and one who’s been incredibly kind and generous in helping the official foundations and schools, yet, he is either cut off from some the realities of what he supports, or he does not take K’s warnings about dangers of organizations seriously.
The straws that broke the camel’s back were the interpretations of K’s work that appeared in Kinfonet’s last year’s circulars and another article in The Link spreading confusion, discrediting K, and deterring new comers from exploring this work. And I could see how these movements could have a negative impact and in some cases be absolutely contradictory to what I understood of K saying. What also made writing this article difficult was the unsolicited information I received from credible sources with regards to aspects of this fifth foundation which the sources were hesitant to tell the founder – why? I do not know, except looking at it through the eyes of history and human tendencies.
Speaking about tendencies, given humanity’s track record, K’s work is probably going to get distorted and misinterpreted and abused in due time, but it’s too early. The man has only passed away about 20 years ago and his work deserves to be handled with care. I found this memo to be the only way to get these points across after trying every other way. At the very least I’ve stayed true to my professional management consulting background and communicated this chapter of observations and ideas for whatever it is or isn’t worth. This is purely a personal work and I did not spend the time to make it into publication quality. It was not intended to be a service or revelation to the official foundations because they probably are already aware of what's discussed here, and it was not written in order to gossip or get pleasure. It was done to document certain facts and opinion.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (“K”) devoted his life to speaking about fundamental questions of existence. Although his work may not be readily accepted in academic curriculums but due to the immense depth of his inquiries and insights, his work is well respected within various disciplines by academics and professionals who have taken a personal interest in it, as well as people of various religions and walks of life.
K did not start a new religion and warned against the tendency of those who might want to turn his work into a new religion. His work is not some sort of a cult or dogmatic belief system, or any system for that matter despite the fact that it can be looked upon systematically as Professor Hilary Rodriguez has done in his fine book: “Krishnamurti's Insight: An Examination of his Teachings on the Nature of Mind and Religion”.
K also warned time and again against interpreters, authorities and hierarchies that may come about or be setup around his work. I don’t think he ever said: don’t setup a business around my work, but that maybe just common sense given his attitude toward the subject as I understood it.
Since K’s death, a new organization has been formed around his work which has done a lot of good work but has also acted recklessly with regards to handling the work. Given its financial power, the reckless acts of this “foundation” are cause for alarm, especially in the long term. This article take a current snapshot of the organizations that have been setup around K, officially, the four Foundations, and semi-officially, “the Fifth Krishnamurti Foundation”, comprising, KLI, Kinfonet, The Link, and a very brief look at the “Saanen Gathering”.
As I read K’s discourses, listened to him in person and on recordings, read through the biographies, and talked to people who were close to him and lived with him, I gathered that he was not keen on organizations setup around his teachings. In his early years he dissolved a very powerful, rich, and big organization which he was made the ahead of, and went his own way, detached from any affiliations. Of course, people were upset at that time because they realized they had to do the work themselves instead of relying on a guru to do the work for them.
Later, minimal organizations were set up to take care of preservation and dissemination of his work (e.g. archival, publications). Yet, the idea of dissolving one or more of these organizations occurred to K from time to time as documented in the biographies, till the last days of his life. (The notion of minimal organization ought to provide guidance for those who want to expand organizations around K).
Today, there are four official Foundations: KFA (USA), KFT (UK), KFI (India), and KFL (Latin-America). These are non-profit charitable entities and some also oversee and run schools and study centers. In the last 21 years since K has passed away, these organizations have gone through a great deal of refinement and change, and are lean, cohesive, minimal organizations with dynamic boards of directors fit to act in accordance to a clear mission. The following are a few comments about these official organizations based on my limited observation:
- The KFA (USA) has a very competent leadership team including such astute and wonderful people as Evelyne Blau, Mary Zimbalist, Dr. Frode Steen, Craig Walker who’s recently joined the board as Secretary, Tom Heggestad, and others..
- The Oak Grove School (USA) has gone through its own history of ups and downs but is now flourishing. There are several long term teachers and staff members at the school who are delights to have around – you know, the kind of teachers that you adored and loved as a kid – like Karen Hesli and Linda Lambert – as well as Paul Herder, a wonderful musician and educator.
- KFT (UK) includes an outstanding team of trustees and editors including Ray McCoy, David Skitt, the writer, broadcaster, and long term friend of K: Mary Cadogan, musician and entrepreneur: Derek Hook, and a topnotch administrator: Donna Broughton.
- Brockwood Park School (UK) has Bill Taylor, another superman, in its leadership team, and many flowers among the staff such as Yannick Bennoit, Trevor Pemberton, Dr. Bridget Thomson, Lorenzo Castellari, and several others. The school has faced many challenges over time but is now booming and continues to deliver holistically-educated humans to the society.
- It has been some time since I have been to India but run into Indian trustees from time to time, such as good friends, Dr. Satish Inamdar and Professor P. Krishna. I gather that some of the Indian schools continue to face the challenge of finding teachers who are not only competent academically, but also have a keen interest in exploring the challenges set forth by K.
In summary, the official foundations and schools are in good hands.
KLI, Kinfonet, The Link
KLI: Another organization built around K
Since K’s death, an organization, apart from his official foundations, has been built up around his work, one that I here refer to as the “fifth foundation”, although that is not its official name and I am not claiming that it is legally a “foundation”, nor that the described components are legally one entity – it is an organization best known as “KLI” (“Krishnamurti Link International”) which has apparently set itself up to fulfill K’s reported (no reference available to the author) desire for international collaboration between the official organizations (which is happening anyway). KLI’s founder noted recently: “I have been thinking again about K's statements that the Foundations are one and that the Schools and Centres and so on should be international. He put a great deal of emphasis on this.”
The founder, a very generous and good man, was very close to K during the last few years of K’s life (we met K the same year). He is an avid student of K’s teachings and has taken a genuine, deep interest in exploring and sharing it. He’s been instrumental in helping a number of charitable causes. We’ve been friends for many years and walked many trails together, and I love him like my father. Although he is quite wealthy, having had a good job and career of my own, I never had an eye on his money and this might have been one reason I was able to tell him things directly whilst others might have viewed open communication as putting potential donations at risk.
Aside from its charitable and other K related activities, the fifth foundation publishes a free magazine (The Link), and supports an organization that runs websites that are engaged in business and various activities around K (Kinfonet & Pathless).
KLI’s Mission, Duplication of Effort, Contradictions, Future
Over the years KLI has produced various statements of purpose, the latest being: “The general intention of KLI’s work is to make Krishnamurti’s teachings more accessible and to facilitate further engagement with them.”
Further, “KLI’s current activities include: publication of The Link; liaison with and support of Krishnamurti Foundations, Schools, Centres, Committees and related projects; facilitating contact between interested groups and individuals internationally; subsidising archival work and the distribution of authentic Krishnamurti material; supporting the Krishnamurti Information Network website (www.kinfonet.org); and assisting the investigation into Krishnamurti’s views on education”.
It’s interesting that most of these roles are those of support, which I assume is financial support, and some, if not all of these activities are already carried on by the official foundations, except for publishing of The Link, and supporting of Kinfonet. Without going into the details, a simple examination of KLI and Kinfonet vs. the present and prospective work of the official Foundations quickly reveals that there is plenty of redundancy and duplication of effort, with the difference that the work that the official foundations are doing is far superior in its quality and clarity of mission.
There are also clear contradictions within the activities of KLI, especially with regards to those roles other than support, i.e. Link and Kinfonet. As the following discussion will demonstrate, the risks associated with this organization, in terms of their interpretation, giving power to K bashers, doing business around K, and careless use of his name, outdoes their benefits minus the financial support.
And it just seems like common sense that such an organization is not needed to carry on the benefits of financial support while the official foundations, fit and refined over the years, are in the best position to allocate and utilize such support if that financial power is left in their arms after the fifth foundation’s founder has passed away, instead of, having a group of organized folks with less than careful actions, and less than clear intension in charge of a huge resource that is currently competing with the foundations in certain ways and is contradicting the founder’s intension as described above, and doing so, while the founder is still alive and keeping the group at bay!
In summary, the author humbly suggests that KLI should set itself up to dissolve upon the passing away of the founder, or before, and have its resources go to the official foundations (donate its funds to the official foundations and maybe even integrate its staff to work under the auspices of the foundations).
Such a move may seem grand due to all that's gone into building this fifth organization, but it’s not bigger than the dissolution of the Order of the Star of the East! I would have full trust in the official foundations to use the funds wisely for carrying out activities according to their charter. I can not speak for K but from what I understood of his attitudes, I would think that he doesn't need a fifth foundation. He barely put up with four.
It seems that while the intentions of its founder and his entourage are good, there is a degree of recklessness in the activities of the fifth foundation which are cause for concern, specially, in light of:
a) what I heard K describe regarding perils of organizations that maybe setup around him;
b) our track record as humans in dealing with the legacy of noble minds;
c) the tremendous financial power of the fifth foundation coupled with its sometimes careless attitude;
d) apparent attitude of the fifth foundation that more is better, whereas often it is less that is more, when it comes to handling the extremely precious;
e) apparent contradiction in purpose within the fifth foundation and in its relationship to the official foundations;
f) duplication of effort and competition with the official foundations, however unintentional or as result of reckless behavior;
g) isolated, sometimes non-transparent, non-communicative style of parts of this organization;
h) appearance that some important concepts that ought to be intuitive are not so to some of the folks involved and therefore concern about long term decisions and actions of a powerful organization; when a person or an entity is missing the necessary intuition and need to rely on feedback to act properly / react, they might seem unfit for the task, could do worse later, or maybe the task itself is superfluous;
i) possible lack of information flow or clarity thereof, to the founder;
j) potential conflict of interest when some of the founder's entourage and support recipients are tightly linked to an official foundation;
k) prospects for the future, and consequences of the a reckless momentum when the founder is no longer alive.
I have discussed some of these concerns with them to the best of my ability, in a spirit of friendship, but there seems to be a wall. One of the subjects we discussed which I think is important in shaping their attitude is the following:
The misconception that K’s teachings are incorruptible
There seems to be an unfortunate misconception among some people that K’s teachings had its own intrinsic protection. He might have referred to this himself at some point but possibly within a certain context and maybe not as an absolute (I have no concrete reference for this). People that I talked to who were quite close to him about this subject tend to refer to his concerns about the possibility of spoilage. And it's common sense that even if it existed, we cannot expect some esoteric protection to be a carte blanche. In fact, several documented statements of K which were made within the context, testify to the contrary:
"The Foundations will see to it that these teachings are kept whole, are not distorted, are not made corrupt..." Time and again he emphasized, for example, that interpreters distort.
One of his close friends, Mr. Asit Chandmal, with whom I spoke not long ago, recalls a conversation with K a few days before his death:
"The storm passes on Friday, February 14. I speak to Krishnaji that day. I say, 'All your life you have helped others, you have been concerned about others. You have helped me all my life. May I ask you, if it is at all possible, can I help you?... ' He listens with his eyes closed.
He opens them, smiles and says very seriously, 'Don't let anyone spoil the teaching.'”
“Don’t let anyone spoil the teachings”. That statement implies that he might have thought that the teachings are spoilable. That would not be surprising since humanity has had a strong track record of spoiling great teachers’ works, and doing exactly contrary as such teachers wished. This is indisputable history. This is our track record as humans, the momentum / force of habit in our consciousness. It seems to me that the official foundations are far more aware of this than the fifth foundation.
There seems to be an underlying value in the fifth foundation, promoted by the apparent group mentality, that a lot of words are a good thing. That’s the first impression I had of the Kinfonet owners when they first came into the picture: lots of words but not enough depth – my mind was boggled at the time as to how shallow it all can get despite so many words. Same thing with some of the Link’s editors: as long as I’ve known them, they tend to get thrilled by impressive, verbose things without the level attention to quality which dealing with this work deserves. It seems that no great effort is put into discerning the quality of the arguments, or their consequences which can be serious in light of the organization’s strong distribution resources.
Before he passed away in his 90’s I used to visit Albion Patterson, an old-time friend, scholar, trustee, and housemate of K’s. He used to say, from time to time, that in these circles, there is too much talk, and not enough study, which has proved to be true over the years.
Kinfonet runs websites, out of Hawaii, comprising of a discussion board, bookshop, classified ads, etc., and it distributes a periodic newsletter, solicits donations as a “non profit” and archives The Link (web searchable and retrievable). Although Kinfonet is claimed to be a separate entity than KLI, it is supported by KLI and seems to be tightly knit with it. The author believes this close association with KLI has been significant in shaping the attitude of Kinfonet and has emboldened it to handle activities around K’s works carelessly in ways that no other unofficial organization would venture.
It also appears that Kinfonet sought to fill a gap in web-presence, which later the official foundations caught up / are catching up with and the official foundations have done a much better job at it.
Reckless use of K’s name: “Krishnamurti Dialogue”?!
Kinfonet abused K’s name in hosting the sometimes most obscene discussions while entitling it as “Krishnamurti Dialogue”. Such associations dilutes K’s name and work negatively. I believe there was no malice involved in this, but that it was just a case of recklessness, carelessness, and lack of common sense which is quite alarming when they’ve apparently taken upon themselves to be a significant “service” related to K, and acting while they’re supported by such a strong entity as KLI – strong, both financially and politically.
It took me 1.5 years, and it was like pulling teeth, to get Kinfonet to remove the words "Krishnamurti" from these pages marked with huge letters as "KRISHNAMURTI DIALOGUE" which absolutely had nothing to do with K and on the contrary, were quite vulgar at times. I am too shy to print some of the content that was printed under that heading. And all that was associated with K. The long length of time it took testifies to their level of responsiveness.
Kinfonet: An Interpretation Engine
"The teachings view conflict as an ever-present factor in the mind and not something that intermittently overshadows our daily life." (Kinfonet’s interpretation). Anotherwords, the Kinfonet guys are saying: ‘not that this is how we understand it, but that this is how the teachings are, this is what K meant to say’ – commentaries and interpretations of the teachings appeared in almost every monthly issue of the Kinfonet circular (e.g. article titled “Human all too human”). Moreover, often they would take direct quotes from K and intermingle them with their own interpretation to the point that even some old time friends of K / trustees were not able to tell which was K’s writing and which was Kinfonet’s. And the quality of the interpretations were sloppy – they tended to take one phrase within one context and assume it’s absolute and tell the reader this is what K meant: it reminds me of a band I saw last night that played renditions of hit songs but very poorly at least because they smoked too much (I joined them for a number on vocals and the audience went nuts because the band woke up J).
I believe they received feedback to this matter – which should have been totally intuitive to begin with. Lack of such intuition or insight or care is a cause for concern specially given the kind of presence these guys are promoting through their advertising and circulars and the kind of backing they have: of a very powerful entity, financially and otherwise, KLI. Such an insight should come to anybody with some common sense who bothered studying a fraction of K’s work where you could not miss the message that was being put across with regards to the perils of interpretation as applied to his work. K didn’t say this once or twice, he said it a gazillion times over the years, and somehow for the Kinfonet guys to miss this is quite strange, but given the business they’ve set up, maybe it’s not so strange. To get donations, funds, and be somebody you’ve got to do something – so you start interpreting … put this in historical perspective in case you haven’t seen any cause for concern yet, and ask yourself where is this going in 20 years?
After the feedback they received, which should not have been necessary to begin with, in their latest issues they’re now adding a disclaimer with regards to their interpretations but the fact is they continue to interpret and therefore distort. As one long term friend of K put it, in relationship to the Kinfonet editorials, “interpretation of K’s work is not necessary”.
Competition with the official Foundations
Kinfonet competes with the official foundations at least for “clicks” on online advertising. On numerous occasions I have seen that every time there is an advertisement for KFA or KFT, Kinfonet’s bookshop “pathless.com” is advertising right beside them, competing for visitors – my impression based on this observation is that Kinfonet may have a bigger advertising budget than the official foundations which would not be surprising.
“Not-for profit”?! Using K for business
Kinfonet solicits donations of funds and books for resale based on the notion that it is a “not-for-profit endeavour” / a “non-profit service”. And goes on to explain that their proceeds are reinvested into the business. But it is not referred to as a business because it’s supposed to “help increase public awareness of the works of Jiddu Krishnamurti”. This is an organization whose nonprofit status I could not locate in the official registries I looked at in July 2007; that solicits donations in the name of K including books that it resells; that justifies calling itself a non-for-profit because it reinvests its proceeds (empires too have been built by reinvesting revenues), and because it has intension to publicize K’s work (and they have not stated they’re registered as non-profit) while their publicity effort has at times included promoting anti-K material.
Promoting K-bashing Books: Sloss
For a while Kinfonet was promoting Sloss’s book on the main page of one of its sites for every visitor to that site to see. I read the book when it first came out, got out of it that K was a human which I already knew, and got out of it that this woman has some serious logical flaws in her arguments, and apparently old ax to grid, perhaps related to her father (Rajagopal)’s relationship to K which K once referred to as having been like putting your money in the bank and the banker claiming it as his (I heard in the most recent biography of over 800 pages which I just ordered and have not read yet, that documents have been revealed that Rajagopal had bought numerous houses. . . ). This book does everything it can in a logically inconsistent and poor way to bash K; and Kinfonet was giving it free publicity just to make some money – that’s what bookshops do. In fact, I called them up and asked them about this and they said just that – that they’re a business that buys and sells books.
Promoting K-bashing Books: Ravindra
Another terrible book they’re featuring (yet not promoting like they did on their main page) is Mr. Ravindra’s “Two Birds on One Tree” – one of the few awful books written about K which on one hand puts him on a pedestal and on the other hand shoots him down with gossip at its worse. I wrote a point-to-point review of the book years ago and this year met Mr. Ravindra for the first time in Ojai and attended one of his talks which was quite boring, and extremely revealing – I am reminded of Mary Lutyns in her K biography referring to those who burn by being too close to the sun. It is an interesting and yet sad subject of how someone can be around this work for so long, be a personal friend of the teacher, and not have a clue. This is not a judgment – when people talk you listen and when they admit to things, you don’t have to judge it. It’s a long story – self-pity, oh, this poor little self who does not understand. . . I have enough material, having read another one of his recent books, to write a separate article later. It’s as though K came and went, and he’s completely ignored – this is how extremely strong the power of tradition is, and Mr. Ravindra is right in it as apparent by what he says.
Kinfonet’s feature page of this book quotes Mr. Ravindra calling K’s work of fifty years “partial and incomplete” (not his understanding of it). There is an undertone around this work perpetuated by Kinfonet and The Link alike that the problem is with the room not the dancer. This is quite an interesting subject which I hope to expand on in ‘the myth of “Nobody got it”’ – a frequently referenced myth with significant psychological implication.
Need to justify existence
It seems to me that Kinfonet has started a business around K which, in principle, I believe is a reckless thing to do. And they seem to want to justify their existence and donations and support they receive by doing various activities which appear to me to be counterproductive. There is a notion in today's world that “more of a good thing is better” – we had an economics professor in the Master’s program who used to refer to this as “pig’s postulate” :-) But in fact sometimes less is more. I think in a way there has been a mindset within KLI that more activity is good activity. To a certain extend I can appreciate the sincerity of this attitude but reckless activity has negative consequence, specially when dealing with such a pliable thing given our historical habit of opting for security, conclusions, idealizations, interpretations, and so on which lead to distortion. Sometimes inaction is the right action.
What’s next for Kinfonet?
My suggestion would be for my dear Kinfonet brothers to explore making a livelihood other than by running a business around K. For example, they might want to explore organic clothing, which is getting more and more popular or a web-based business which they seem to have acumen for. They could refer book seekers to the official foundations’ online bookshops.
Alternatively, they could take a radical step of working totally under the auspices and direction of the official foundations (if the foundations would be interested) and truly cooperate with them by offering their web expertise, for example, in running a discussion board which I’ve heard one of the official foundations maybe looking into. As an immediate step, they should halt their interpretations immediately and revisit their entire mission and attune it with those entities who seem to have a much better sense of K’s purpose, i.e., the official foundations.
The Link started as a periodic personal newsletter to friends, in the early 1990’s, which was very enjoyable. Starting with the 11th edition, in Autumn of 1996, it was renamed as “The Link”. It has since evolved into a book of about 70 pages that’s published annually using first class paper and graphic design, and distributed freely through post and is available on the internet for free download and viewing. It features marvelous nature photographs taken by its founder (though in the last edition a photo was featured by Carol Brandt, one of K’s bashers whose terrible article appeared in a previous version of The Link (see my response from 2003 on www.rezamusic.com), and various articles by and about K and related material. The Link was sometimes criticized in the past for authoring interpretations on K’s work.
Apparent contradiction in purpose
I still read the “dear friends” section of The Link with great interest and love the nature photos. Some of the articles are wonderful, most of the commentaries on K’s work and stories of self-pity and struggles through a self-made maze, I can not read, and some articles are redundant (already printed in official foundations’ newsletters)...
Some of the articles are reckless and harmful to the causes that the official foundations, and I believe the Link’s own founder, stand for. It is appropriate for a journal to be controversial and publish opposing views – anyway, hopefully nobody is stuck to a belief that is threatened by challenges – but what the Link does, seems contradictory to its apparent mission of linking and bringing together, and to the mindset of its founder whom I “know” quite well, love, and revere greatly.
I sense something that I can only characterize as shallowness, a lack of seriousness, or lack of awareness of danger in the editors of The Link. It is difficult, and perhaps senseless to tell the inner workings of a mind or an organization of minds – e.g., who sets the tone, who tolerates the tone, and who influences it. I can only see the end result which is the tendency to want to do more than less, to organize around K, and while doing a lot of good work, a recklessness to spread confusion. Sometimes one feels that this organization maybe thrilled by and finds entertainment in controversy.
Discussion with a Link editor over K-bashing articles
On August 4 of last year, I had a discussion with one of the editors of The Link in the presence of the founder about articles they publish that bash and discredit K, and in particular, a recent instance of one in the last Link (which at least three trustees of the official foundations said they disapproved of). Over the years they’ve published a number of such articles which seems to totally clash with their charter. The founder’s presence gave rise to what I can describe by two impressions:
Firstly, that he may have delegated the selection of articles to his team, thereby entrusting them with compliance to their charter. On the face of it, my impression is that the values of the founder and his team might be too far distanced – including their attitudes towards K’s work. The founder, on the one hand, as publicly reported recently by the same editor, has given away “1000’s of books”. Part of the team, however, seems to be moving to a different beat, and those who are not might be too complacent to try to affect the tempo which is already sounding like a boring beat of status quo.
Secondly, I had the impression that there might have been an attempt by the part of the editor to save face in front of the founder, or defend her position, which felt kind of strange, especially as it was done in sort of a sloppy way, as described below:
The first response was that they publish such articles to stimulate inquiry or something to that effect. Inquiry starts with a question not a conclusion. The article we were examining (issue 25 page 17, “Why the teachings seem not to work”) started and ended with a conclusion, a closed door, and several false assumptions and abstractions. As for providing stimulation, the grocery store checkout lines are full of stimulating magazines. (on the subject of stimulants, see www.rezamusic.com).
Any student of K’s work can not help but to come about several major challenges he puts forth – some of which to the author are life-long challenges, such as: Is it possible to live without fear? Is it possible for the brain to be quite until it’s necessary for it to work? Is it possible to not live with a single psychological image, of one self, or recursively? And so on. Anyone who can not find these answers for themselves, can not find them through reading another person’s struggles, and especially, “can’t do” conclusions.
Then she said, we printed it because we didn’t have enough articles to print. I could not believe my ears (glad I was not the only one there). The Link’s editorship publishes completely inappropriate articles (as discussed above) because they have nothing else to print! A magazine that doesn’t get enough articles to print either reduces its number of pages, or closes down (see discussion of less is more in the above section under Kinfonet section, titled: “Need to justify existence”).
Persuasive design; Non-captive audience; 1-yr-delay rebuttals
Rebuttals are sometimes published in the Link but only after a terrible article has been in circulation for a year (not that the rebuttals are always any better than the original nonsense).
As a friend from one of K’s schools put it, as this magazine doesn't go to a captive audience it has the potential to reach newcomers (and students) that read these types of articles and fall right into tendencies of wanting to brush things aside due to information overload, short attention span, and the high-speed mode of modern life, and the momentum that this is too difficult, that the problem is with K, that K is confusing, that it doesn’t work, and other such myths that circulate around this work, and get deterred from study (coming up: The myth of “Nobody got it”). Such dissuasion is even more effective given the persuasive beautiful ambiance of the magazine (topnotch graphics etc.).
Appendix – Note on “Saanen”
If you want to observe these momentums, take a trip to a summer gathering (called “Saanen” for years) once and go to one of the panel discussions. Last year’s panels featured some of the most confused people I’ve ever known, including a German psychologist who was an expert at making things too complicated, and seemed pretty confused himself. His arguments were feeble yet convincing to the gullible. He’s invited again to be a panel member this year, or an organizer who’s been talking about whirls of confusing turbulence turning in her head, in almost every meeting I’ve seen her in. I really should not get started on this subject :-).
Don’t get me wrong, the majority of the people who attend this gathering are wonderful sane people but a few are not. Some old timers are determined to push their images of others onto new comers in a territorial way – a status quo of underlying authority.
A few other old-timers worship K by getting glued to the video screen, as they probably did to the stage while he was alive, literally worshipping him, making him into an ideal, and perhaps for that very reason, completely missing the boat, as evidenced by what they say: entrenched in self-pity which is really a subtle form of self-extension, they are confused about things like “psychological time”, and “concentration vs. attention” as though it’s rocket science. Don’t even mention observer & observed because that is real rocket science (not).
On that note, earlier this month, in a wonderful dialogue with the revered scholar, David Skitt, I said Krishnamurti is not rocket science. He responded, very interestingly, having worked in that field, that “rocket science is pretty easy”! If rocket science is easy, K can not be difficult!
A really funny incident happened in a K-related gathering when they said let’s go around the room and each person say what their understanding of “Observer & Observed” is. One lady said, “there was the Big Bang, and suddenly I am here, and I have 2 legs and not 3, and I observe this, and this is the observer/observed”. Good God!
I don’t mind any of this, people can understand or not, but organizing around K, specially when there is a business aspect always needs to be done with great care because organizations tend to want to perpetuate themselves (and post-K “Saanen”also probably made good revenue while at Saanenland though I have no doubt it's not done for money). This year it’s moved to a hotel in another valley. The organizer, who is also a trustee of KFT works hard at managing this gathering and is a talented, earnest and patient manager. The background mindset of the theme seems to be one of K as an idol -- and this immediately gives rise to comparison, insufficiency, becoming, and the rest of that cycle. But it is a good meeting, with walks and music and the best kind of dialogues, which are the informal ones.
I have met many wonderful friends at “Saanen” and the natural beauty of the location, the hikes, and the informal talks have always been quite fruitful. I’ve kept a detail diary of it during the last years which might some day turn into a book or article, including the inquiries, relationship, joys, tortures, the clear wise folks, the jealous ones who can’t stand to see the clear and the happy, the gossip-brained ones; and lastly, those who worship K, and those who bash him : two sides of the same coin.
Some members of the fifth foundation often play key roles in this gathering. One was giving boring talks but those who worship K also adore such “priests” – it’s just the human condition. In general lecturers were eliminated. One of the positive aspects of the gathering is that the organizer strives to be flexible and improve the format based on feedback received. On occasion it has felt like the exclusive attitude of the fifth foundation gets into the heads of some of its members who allow themselves to take on a superior attitude. This is not some illusion, it’s backed by evidence, and it’s no surprise: when people are put on pedestals it often backfires. But as this teachings points out when one becomes aware of something fully, change can come about, and that happens.
Someone wrote: Last time we were in Villars... and my feelings did coincide with the description you made. Mediocre and confused people talking to the rest in pannels, etc., or 'facilitating' groups...
My only hope is the founder, who is still alive and has the power -- unless he’s signed everything over and/or built an irreversible legal structure -- to take a bold step and have this organization dissolve now, or after his passing away. He could consider donating his resources to the official foundations that not only fully share his mission, but have the capability to put those resources to proper, careful use.
Addendum1: Some responses to this document
Responses from some trustees
- That the foundations have tolerated the fifth foundation and are aware of many of the things stated in the report, and thanked for “raising the obvious questions about that operation”.
- “the content shows serious inconsistencies of the way they conduct their work”.
- “its proximity to k foundations and relationships makes it appear one with the spirit of the foundations. But that in effect and actual functioning, it is differently located, somewhat confused and likely to err out of a lack of caution.”
- “your report is very clear and direct to the point and you have done your work. From now on, things must take their own steps… So, thanks again for your article, because from it I have learned a lot of things, but I do not have the feeling of division or separation, on the contrary, we are in the same boat, and in doing all of us have the possibility to learn…”
- “You have voiced quite well the dangers of interpretation of K.”
- “Thanks… for your KLI/Kinfonet piece. It has stirred up some interesting discussion around here.”
- “I believe you raise several important questions which deserve to be investigated and responded to… I think you have done a good service with your essay, but I suspect there will be those who will object to your concerns. I expect there will be those who will consider you to be an annoyance...be prepared for disagreement and rejection from those who don't wish to question "what is."”
- “GOOD FOR YOU REZA! It needed to be said, and the manner in which you presented it, from attention and concern and with kindness is appreciated very much.”
- “in general I feel that what you are saying makes sense. In some way this 'foundation' seems redundant…. I sure appreciate your pointing to the wisdom of 'less is more', particularly with respect to K.”
- “Interesting article, Reza. Congratulations on pouring your energies into this enquiry. Your struggle and research seems to come from a
good place. All gardens need to be weeded. You shine light into awkward places like behind the shed and in the rockery - places where most people don't tread for fear of spiders and beetles. Reza,
you have been blessed with a razor sharp intelligence, a sort of genius, and a personality that allows you got go into meticulous details about certain topics.”
- “Many interesting points you raise… I too cannot read the link, finding it in the main to be verbose and often talking around and around a subject rather than penetrating it.” He went on to say that the Link fills a gap that the foundations have had. Perhaps so. I am not against the Link, if they don’t clash with the official foundations’ objectives.
- “My goodness Reza, you certainly have had a lot on your mind... As to it's relevancy, I'm afraid I must not only agree with you, but say that it is long overdue.” and continued: "Finally, I am reminded of something I heard K say to author Frank Waters (The Book of The Hopi) on an audio tape that has never been published, and perhaps what K had to say, is the reason why. Waters begins the conversation by stating that he's been coming to Ojai, year after year, and always sees many of the same faces. He goes on to say that, in his opinion, none of these same faces look to him to be any different, than the first time he saw them. To which K replied: "Some of them have gotten worse!"
- “I read carefully what you have writen about the 5th, and sincerely I want to thank you for the courage to say or to point out possible wrong paths that in the name of K. can make the whole thing trivial, or as a kind of stiring the brain more than it already is, o even to confus new people, or just give a misfortuned picture of the people talking K, etc. I appreciate the clarity of your words. I must say that I connect with them more through the feeling than through knowledge of facts described, since I seldom read the Link, and we don't know much. But with many of your views I fully agree. Specially with trying 'to do so much, instead of doing so well'.
- "Dear Reza, thanks a lot for speaking out on a very important subjects. Thanks for being not in the silent majority. We know very well, how organization can bring harm and corruption. Reza, your voice has weight I believe you can make changes. May be it will be not enough but you do a very good job. Also I know that people like you, should speak out loud."
- Dear Reza, Thanks for your text Re.: The Fifth Foundation. Here is what I think [he wrote a 16 point response]. 1. Absolutely brilliant! You've analyzed the whole situation very objectively and pointed out the positive and the negative. .
- Just remember, he is the head of... I think anything that smacks of questioning anything in regards to the foundations will raise a red flag.
- Hi dear Reza! Thanks so much for sending me all these emails.Your perception about the danger of some people trying to become interpreters of K complicating and spreading confusion to the minds of the readers is very
Addendum2: Infrequently Asked Questions
QUESTION 1:Why was the document distributed to more people that just the KLI folks or the official foundations
ANSWER: As stated in the document, the reason for this was that these points were communicated already, directly to the parties responsible, and I realized the only way to for this message to get through the walls of respectability, status quo, hierarchy, and authority that prefers to shoot-the-messenger instead of hearing the message, was to raise the awareness of the issues. In fact, this was a last ditch step. Otherwise, the sole purpose of this was to document the movements that are so traditional, and which occurred so early after passing away of a man who was so passionate about questioning traditions.
QUESTION 2: Were the points made in the document a surprise to KLI?
ANSWER: It should not have been. I can cite exact instances where almost every point raised in the document was communicated with the founder or his close associates.
QUESTION 3: Do you feel antagonistic towards the founder of KLI? Towards the team members?
ANSWER:Not a single bit. I love him dearly and have already stated this in the document though some people like to ignore that and want to make it seem like I have something against him. Similarly with his team, I have no personal problems with them.
QUESTION 4: Do you see yourself as a protector of K's work?
ANSWER: This is the biggest nonsense I've ever heard, and unfortunately even from KLI. Those who are convinced of the image they have of my image of myself should know that they're wrong. I do not think of myself as a protector of K's work. That is the most absurd and baseless opinion. I have not said anything to imply that. What I have said is laid out below. If you have the patience to read you will see there is no "me" in there as one who wants to protect. I think all those associated with this work should handle it with care, and I point out with concrete examples how some are not which is a cause for concern specially given their financial and therefore, political power.
QUESTION 5: Are you thrilled by Friendrich's money?
ANSWER: Not a bit. I support around 18 charitable and non profit organizations using my own money [as of 2007], and have always worked hard for every cent I've earned. I have no interest in anybody else's money. I have tremendous respect for Friedrich primarily as a K scholar and as a generous and a good hearted person with nothing but good intension.
QUESTION 6: Are you jealous of KLI and want to be a part of that team and frustrated that you're not?
ANSWER: That was one of the funniest jokes I heard out of the K-mountain-holiday entertainment/gossip channel. No, absolutely not. There is not a trace of envy or jealousy for being a part of that organization. I've always had successful careers and never had the desire to make a career out of K. He's already done the work! Our real work is to live life fully. The administrative side is being handled by the foundations with their minimal staff/setup. My work is best done without affiliation with any organizations.
QUESTION 7: Do you think Friedrich is gullible?
ANSWER: No. I did not say nor implied that anywhere. In general all "romantic fools" like myself are gullible when it comes to women. Joking aside, there are many examples of benevolent persons in history whose goals and actions undertaken under by organizations they support were not always synchronous.
QUESTION 8: Were you being practical in proposing solutions?
ANSWER: Entirely. But maybe it was too big to be noticed! Like that big elephant pillow that Angela missed to see because it was too big, or like the so-called "subconscious" which as K questioned: is it the subconscious or is it that it's so obvious that one tends to not see it! My concrete proposals were as follows:
For Kinfonet people to find something else to do if this is their main business because I think trying to make money around K doing what they did, e.g. pushing Sloss book and other things as described below is wrong.
For the Link to be careful about what they print and not print articles just because they're short on articles or just to stimulate controversy for the sake of stimulation.
For KLI to set itself up to dissolve now or after the founder has passed away and integrate its resources with the official foundations. I see great danger if this thing continues given some of their less than careful activities while the founder is alive -- once he's gone, I'd be very nervous of what this team will do in the name of K.
QUESTION 9: Did you make any mistakes in writing this document?
ANSWER: Yes, I made two mistakes:
Timing. I should have released it after the Swiss Annual Krishnamurti-Holiday in the mountains (a.k.a. Saanen or Murren Gatherings). I am not being antagonistic. I know many people who go there and they go for a holiday. A serious student does not need 2 weeks a year for learning -- s/he's always inquiring/learning. But it's a good holiday with good food and wonderful nature walks and beauty of mountains, music, love affairs, serious inquiry and topics of gossip for those who seek it (I don't). Unfortunately my letter was reportedly food for the gossip channel with all kinds of people commenting on it who had not even read it based on some faulty images and hearsay. On that "Saanen" note, I must say that I have learned a lot there in relationships, as in all relationships. I have also learned a lot in daily life! These gatherings were mostly a ton of fun with friends and laughter and living. K is about living, the art of living, and the observation, understanding, and transmutation of all the inartistic stuff, things of the mind, that touch and ruin relationships and inner and outer peace.
My second mistake was not making it clear to the official foundations that this was not written for them. Actually, I never said that it was but one of the four foundations took it "personally" and I have some responsibility in that. However, it was interesting how the ego-centric predicament applies to organizations as well as persons. No surprise: we and the world are one and the same. The reaction of this one foundation was initially positive, that, yes, there are a lot of unanswered questions that deserve to be addressed about this Fifth Foundation and I was even thanked for writing this, but then politics got involved. And politics and philosophy are often contradictory. Politicians are often not interested in truth. And this very thing happened in the form of institutional image making in order to protect the organization against questioning whether it was doing its job properly -- I did not question the official foundations and said, to the contrary, that they're set up just fine, in my humble opinion.
QUESTION 10: Did you write the letter to get attention?
ANSWER: No. I can get a lot more attention playing going out and playing the guitar. I don't need attention. Life in quit rich. As John Lennon said in Strawberry Fields, "it's getting hard to be someone but it all works out, it doesn't matter much to me". It doesn't.
QUESTION 11: Is what you call the Fifth Foundation really a Krishnamurti foundation?
ANSWER: No. I used that term rhetorically.
QUESTION 12: Why didn't you send the letter to one of the KFA trustees but to the rest of them?
ANSWER: I have no obligations to send anything to anybody as I am not a employee or member of any organizations. In this case the trustee in questions, probably the only one out of all foundation trustees, has mis-represented facts on at least two occasions to fit images of what appears to be her distraught and distressed state of mind. I have no problems with her personally but I think she's too political and cunning, to be trusted as a trustee. It seems that often people forget the example K set by the way he lived which was cleansing itself and could help anybody/brain and those that had gone through major abuses in the past.
QUESTION 13: Why did you not use then name of the founder of KLI?
ANSWER: Those who know him know who he is, those who don't can find out on their own. I had no particular intension for not using his name and any complaints to that effect are frivolous. If I had named him someone would complain why did you.
QUESTION 14: Why did you refer to some of KLI team as Friendrich's advisors?
ANSWER: That's a terminology from my management consulting background. Maybe I should have said "team members". It was not meant as a derogatory term as management of world class organizations have advisors and that is not a bad thing.
QUESTION 15: Who do you think you are? You're not a trustee or staff member so what do you care?
ANSWER: I go through life with no image of myself -- not as an absolute thing -- but my mind has learned the limitations of image making. I am just a human. Isn't that enough to question and point out contradictions around the work of a friend after he's died? I'm just a free-lancer, an independant human who can not be put in a box or category, and therefore some people may find that uncomfortable.
Love Rules :-)
Addendum3: Related Updates
16 DEC 2007
Thanks for sending the personal version of "Friedrich's Newsletter" which I always enjoy reading.
I'm glad to see a major improvement to the Kinfonet's newsletter format -- at least now they're clearly distinguishing K's writing from their own.
On the face of it, the latest Link looks wonderful. I will read it in due time.
"Miss" you -- it's been a long time. I am sure we will meet sometime somewhere :-)
Love & Best Wishes