This and that from the "K World" & More -- January 2007
This and that from the “K World” & More - By Reza Ganjavi, January 2007, by Reza Ganjavi
TABLE OF CONTENTS
"K" refers to the great author/educator/philosopher, J. Krishnamurti (www.jkrishnamurti.org)
It’s important to preface this article by saying a) I am not a Krishnamuti follower, believer, etc. and b) there is really no such thing as “K’s world” in itself. Krishnamurti does not have any organizations that one can become a member of, pay a fee or follow the rituals of. I use the term loosely to refer to the four official foundations that K started as minimal organizations for tasks such as publishing and preserving his work, the schools he started to provide holistic education of the best kind, and people I know who are interested in K’s work or whom I’ve met at various gatherings in relationship to K’s work.
When I first started reading K as a teenager, I had an insight that I didn’t want to have anything to do with anyone associated with his work because I felt they would bring the level down and hinder an understanding that could best take place as a sole explorer. The level at which K was speaking was so sublime, and I, like everyone else, was perfectly capable of addressing it directly. So, I went solo for a long time, saw him speak about 15 times, read every book of his I could find, and utilized his explorations in academic study of philosophy (GPA: 3.95/4) . Then I could face others, have dialogue, etc. A couple of decades later, that original insight is back.
It just turns out that due to life’s circumstances I’ve attended several gatherings around K's work, and as a result met several good friends, and also became highly alerted about the different attitudes toward K and his work by people of various ages and nationalities. Like every other circle in life you have the whole spectrum in the “K circles”: from people you can swear by due to their values, dignity, and integrity, to many whom you want to have nothing to do with.
Sorry about the long intro, but here are a few notes I made the last few months on some k-related and some non-K-related contacts and activities:
Online Publication & Copyright
From: Reza Ganjavi:
To: < lunch participants>
Subject: Further to lunch conversation...
I spoke with a couple of people after our luncheon at Friedrich Grohe's where there was a suggestion regarding making K's work available on the internet for free, and the discussion that followed around book revenues, copyright, etcetera.
From what I gathered, the question has been raised with some of the foundations.
KFA has given the question thought and it sees reasons not to provide the teachings as such, until the work has gone public domain in a few decades. The main reason for this is that KFA is responsible for getting everything [they own] out in the original form with the authenticated stamp of the foundation. Anything short of that makes the work open to distortions and there have allegedly been cases where people rewrite K, or add their own material and publish it as K's work online. I don't think the other foundations have as definitive of a position presently.
Reply By Arne (KFT Publications) (reprinted with permission):
I believe it is much simpler than all these "positions" one might have. The material is already on the Internet, pirated of course. So, copyright does not help to prevent people from
1. making available
2. commenting on
5. making fun of etc.
K's original material. And it is not a matter of 70 or 75 or 125 years after the death of the author, depending on which national law may apply, whether somebody starts doing this or not.
The teachings are a living thing, just like truth itself. Facing the world as it is - not necessarily in crisis - the Internet is about to revolutionize all areas of information and has now reached the publishing industry. The only answer I can think of is making best use of our copyrights for the next 5-10 years in all channels of distribution.
If the Foundations are able to build up the original, trustworthy on-line-source for all K material there might be a chance to make pirates, who are not all evil, cooperate with us, making them our distribution partners. This website must be much more than only the "authentic text" it must provide service, service, service around K's work together with powerful means of communication among the people using it.
There will always be books and DVDs but the audience will soon see the advantages of on-line distribution. Just as we can see all the advantages it has over the traditional way of books, using publishers, trying to get onto the shelf with all this cost involved which minimizes our margin to 5-10% royalties. The margins of on-line sales are much higher.
So, I would say, all this is my personal opinion, let's face it. There were a lot of wake-up calls from Google, Amazon, Microsoft and all the rest of it. The recording industry hasn't taken it seriously with the effect that iTunes is now owning 80 % of the on-line music market. They believed in CDs and that at some point all of them would have a platform in the Internet. Now, they have to negotiate with Apple - and no-one of the industry likes it.
I think forward-thinking is needed. By the way, does anybody have a good idea how to prevent the teachings from being distorted after the copyright has run out? Any support from people interested in this is appreciated
Too Early for Myths
Last spring I came across a statement propagated on the world-wide-web regarding the book "The Timeless Way of Building" by Christopher Alexander as follows:
“Towards the end of his life, the philosopher and teacher J. J. Krishnamurti enjoyed having sections from the Timeless Way read to him each evening.”
The statement appeared on the website of Nikos A. Salingaros and it was apparently copied from there to other places. I spoke with Mr. Salingaros and he said he heard that from an ex-teacher in Ojai by the name of Lee Nichol. I finally located Mr. Nichol and he said he never made such a statement. Also, a couple of people close to K denied the truth of that published statement. As a result, the author removed it from his website…
K in Iran
A couple of translator friends in Iran said that as the government has turned more conservative the review board applies more stringent rules and has stalled new publications of many books of different authors, as well as reprints, however, K still has a big presence in Iran's bookstores.
In a random visit to a bookstore in the city of Shiraz, there were 45 K books by 8 different translators on the shelf. Really amazing in a way, and not surprising in another way. Take a look at Shiraz’s literally and mystic history to know why.
Michael Rogers, Hollywood, People Did “Get” K
I met Michael back in the days of K's Ojai talks. MR was helping another good friend, Michael Mendizza record the talks. He also composed the music to some of the K documentaries. He's a wonderful musician.
I met Michael recently after many years. He drives a 1959 half-Cadillac half-Jaguar with an amazing color of purpule-blue, with wings. “If you live in Los Angeles, city of angels, you’ve gotto have wings”. He has an interesting house in Hollywood which includes a recording studio where several great artists have recorded. He knew Madonna before she was a super star and she recorded one of her hits “open your heart” there – interesting stories! We jammed on guitar and piano which was fun.
He wrote a memoir of K – the first edition had a number of issues which got some people upset; I pointed out some of the problems to him and apparently, he made a major revision (which I have not yet read). He’s got a collection of old K pictures (with Charles Leadbeater, Annie Besant etc.) on a wall. Ozzy Osborn was looking for a keyboard player for his band and didn’t think MR would be the right person after seeing those photos.
Regarding how people abuse K’s remark that people around him didn’t get it (interpreted by some lazy people as “no-one in the world got it so I can’t get it so I’m off the hook with regards to the challenges that once resonated deeply and shook me up”), Michael said:
“Of course people got it.. My life has been changed, yours has been changed. Without K there would be no John Lennon: Imagine.”.
He once asked K: why don’t you give talks in Italy? K responded: they don’t need me – they already know how to live!
“The Present Moment” is an interesting book published by a gentleman I recently met who was a teacher at Brockwood Park school (UK) for 14 years and prior to existence of Brockwood he taught at Rishi Valley school (India) for 4 years.
Just noticed that the “quote of the day” on KFT’s website is a very interesting one, “why do we gossip”. That quote was already on my website). I asked Jim who is sitting next to me now, a well-traveled man, from the UK originally, if he ever wondered or noticed how the British conditioning is so tolerant to gossip and saying things behind people that you would not say in front of them. I observed this time and again, having lived in the UK etc., -- one British friend attributed it as politeness at any price which often results in double-faced-ness.
Enjoyed good conversations with Jim in the jungles.
“Think on These Things” / Bruce Lee
A while back I wrote to the publisher encouraging them to change the text on the back cover to a more accurate depiction of K (documented on www.rezamusic.com). Looks like the change was done!
Talking about Think On These Things, recently read that Joe Lewis, a world Karate champion and student of Bruce Lee said that two of his favorite books are Think On These Things, and A Dialogue With Krishnamurti. He said that Bruce Lee applied a great deal of K’s teachings to both martial arts and acting. More quotes on K on www.rezamusic.com
Very interesting notes from Bruce Lee’s documentary which also includes several Krishnamurti citations can be found on www.rezamusic.com
“Book of Life”
Interesting site that showed up:
“WWW RESOURCES FOR THE ON-LINE - DAILY THOUGHTS AT YOUR HAND - A FREE personal 2007 Book of Life Calendar”.
The Only K Ritual
I wrote a lot of [unedited] notes from a recent visit to Ojai. Here’s the most important part: Friday afternoon soccer :-)
Friday afternoon soccer(football) at Oak Grove School is it. Rain or shine, no matter what, it happens. Today Reinaldo said even if there is an earthquake, the game happens. I’ve written about it extensively in the past, about the special spirit of the game, and the amazing natural surroundings. Today’s game was grand fun. The cultural contrast is obvious when you encircle different countries and continents in a short period, e.g. between California and UK.
As the sun goes down a magical feeling descends on earth and fills the heart, brain, body, embracing everything including the football field.
Brockwood Work Party
The dialogues were much better than last year in the pleasant absence of a dominating mentality of “arrogance of ignorance” that was brought there to the last work party by a visitor, you know, the mindset that has obviously not bothered to delve into what K had to say at any depth, yet concludes that “K doesn’t work”, etc.. This seems to happen to a mind that feels the challenge but doesn’t have the capacity or energy to meet it, and therefore wants to relieve itself of the demands of that challenge by contending that it is the teachings that are faulty and confusing, that K doesn’t work, and all the associated doom and gloom [see the Saanen report for more on this subject].
On the other hand, new comers to this work in general, are often so insightful, as are old timers who have studied and tested the teachings and have arrived at certain things first hand. When you smell a flower you've smelled it - the guy who pointed out the flower is unimportant. K’s teachings deserve to be skeptically examined and studied as you would with any subject like sciences.
Taught a few yoga sessions (Vini / Hatha, Raja) which was enjoyable to do. [Some would say K didn’t refer to Hatha yoga as yoga and only to the breathing exercises. I understood his point to be, you can’t find order, freedom, happiness, etc. through just doing yoga – that yoga can help the body be more healthy, alert, flexible, sensitive, intelligent, but it takes more than that - and this is very true].
Sometimes it’s clear that someone is uncomfortable in her/his body. One lady related it to her lack of listening!! Wait! It may be purely physical tension, why make it complicated? I won’t mention all the coffee and sugar an average person takes. She came to the yoga class and found benefits immediately. People give too little importance to the role of the body in happiness, clarity, etc., - the brain is physical after all ! And at the same time of course, a person could have the healthiest body and be utterly confused.
Unlike last year we had a excellent facilitator (Pamela Ferchl) -- it was nice to have someone who’s deeply gone into the teachings. The group for the most part was very cohesive.
One of the teachers wrote later: “Thanx for the photos Reza. I was not at the work party but they convey a sense of cozyness of the whole thing. And it's nice to connect faces to all the work I found done when I came back to the school.”
For last year’s work party I wrote:
“Every time a group is put together, cooperation is a key challenge. In Organizational Behavior a dominant model of group dynamics is that of Dr. Tuckman's five stages: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. The Brockwood workparty group didn't go through these stages. It performed from day one at full force. It hit the ground running and worked very hard, such that even those who are used to physical work were knackered at night. We also had great fun. There was so much love and laughter, friendship and understanding, formal and informal dialogues, good food and music, and best of all, improvements to our beloved Brockwood, that the event was well worth attending.”
[work party] World Cup
We enjoyed playing a couple of games in the spirit of the World Cup which was a lot of fun.
“Germany won the world cup!” such was (and still is) the belief of our good friend Arne. He's in charge of the Publications at the KFT – a great person to have around.
[work party] Sleep Prayer
A bulky short sweet Nigerian Catholic nun was behind me in the line at the Washington airport
- Sister pray for me.
- what do you want prayer for?
- okay, you pray for me too.
- what do you want a prayer for?
- what's wrong sister?
- I have hypertension etc.
- do you walk?
- no but I should
- yeh you really should go for walks. . .
At Winchester station lady came near and sat to hear the guitar, she had a friendly face and an aura of childish innocence despite her old age.
With her heavy Scottish accent she said: "lovely playing, is that classical guitar? You can play that anywhere. It's always pleasurable. Never evasive."
- what do you do?
- I am a sleep worker! a sleep therapist [wow! The nun’s prayer came true].
So we talked about sleeping vs. too much work.
I hope the Nigerian nun will go for walks too!
[work party] Pop Psychology
There was a gentleman who prompted people to attend his lecture about self-empowerment by announcing he would be “flying abroad tomorrow” (which turned out to not be the case as he stayed more days). I left 10 minutes into his “short biography”. The self is way too small and no matter how powerful it gets in defining what it wants and how it should get it, it is miniscule. There is a glorious movement of a completely different quality which can only be when the limited movement of the self is not there. New age pop psychology is about crystallization of the self (“self-empowerment”), and it is so uninteresting and boring.
Michael Mendizza, the noted film maker, photographer, author, educator and philosopher has a series of very interesting audio CD’s of talks he gave on the subjects of education, intelligence of play, and so on. Zdenka “Z“ Jiroutova’s wonderful Zfoli Gallery has newly opened in Solvang, California. Michael’s photography is featured on Zfolio’s site.
In one of his talks, Michael uses an interesting word: “neoteny” which means “Retention of juvenile characteristics in the adults of a species, as among certain amphibians.”
“Picasso: It takes a long time to grow young.” (from Quotes section of www.rezamusic.com)
Michael has some very interesting thoughts on “Romantic Fools” which I can fully relate to (LOL “laughing out loud”). On that subject, I had a interesting discussion with a great friend, Rik Ganju, a philosopher of his own right, and we did a semi-research which tends to indicate that ladies beyond teenage years are very practical while gentlemen remain dreamy romantic fools for the rest of their lives (LOL). Of course there are lots of exceptions to this as to other stereotypes but for fun try asking 20 people how many love letters they’ve written and tally the results by gender and age :-)
Eric was an early student of Brockwood, first yoga teacher there, and now a famous yoga teacher in Venice, California. I took a yoga class with Eric after coming across his work via a book I found in India. He is clearly an excellent teacher with lots of insights and I hope to attend his teacher training course at some point. The daily homework he prescribes to everyone: sit quietly even if for a few minutes.
Many yoga studios in the West have turned yoga into aerobics, another ambition, a way of becoming, in an ever-competitive society. “Power yoga”, “Punk yoga”, etc. – you hear it all. They recently shutdown a studio in Los Angeles due to overcrowding.
Eric was teaching an advanced class how to do a full lotus during a head-stand! What's next? :-) Experience is always limited.
Bill Angelos is working on a book and DVD project. Saw some interesting clips of his talks with Dr. Bohm (Amsterdam 1990) which were videotaped by the Dutch TV Network.
Archive of Websites
http://www.archive.org/ archives many websites and plans to do so forever! As of mid-last year they had archived some 55 billion pages: “The Internet Archive is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.” (Any site can get excluded per request of the owner).
Here are some archives of K related sites:
Came across these recently…
(by J. Krishnamurti)
You cannot learn spiritual truth through experience. Don’t you see? Let us assume that you had a deep sorrow and you learned how to fight against it. This experience will induce you to apply the same method of overcoming grief during your next sorrow… It is wrong. Instead of doing something vital, you try to adapt a dead method to life. Your former experience has become a prescription, a medicine. But life is too complicated, too subtle for that. It never repeats itself; no two sorrows in your life are alike. Each new sorrow or joy must be dealt within that particular fashion that the uniqueness of the experience requires… By eliminating the memory of former experiences; by destroying all recollection of our actions and reactions.
You never ought to act according to old habits but in the way life wants you to act – spontaneously, on the spur of the moment. You must try to eliminate from your life all old habits and systems of behavior, because no two moments in life are exactly similar.
You don’t need to search for the positive; don’t force it. It is always there, though hidden behind a huge heap of old experiences. Eliminate all of them, and truth – or what you call the positive – will be there. It comes up automatically, you cannot help it.
Truth is for me the release of the mind from all burdens of memory. Truth is awareness, constant awareness of life within and without you... What matters is that we should live completely at every moment of our lives. That is the only real liberation. Truth is nothing abstract, it is neither philosophy, occultism nor mysticism. It is everyday life, it is perceiving the meaning and wisdom of life around us. The only life worth dealing with is our present life and every one of its moments. But to understand it we must liberate our mind from all memories, and allow it to appreciate spontaneously the present moment.
You must understand that I can only talk to people who are willing to revolutionize themselves in order to find truth. You cannot find truth by living on an emotional diet or by using an elaborate system of mental exercises.
Nothing is wrong if it is the result of something that is really within you. Follow your urge, if it is not created by artificial stimuli but is burning within you – and there will be no sex problem in your life. A problem only exists arises when something within us that is real is opposed by intellectual considerations.
For me this problem does not exist after all, sex is an expression of love, isn’t it? I personally derive as much joy from touching the hand of a person I am fond of as another might get from sexual intercourse.
[thanks to Carol Goehausen for locating this quote]
And, after all, why have we to live in the routine of an office to earn money, to have a job? Sir, have you ever tried not doing anything, really giving up, not calculating? Then you will see that life will feed you. But renunciation with a calculation is not renunciation. Renunciation with an end in view, giving up in order to find God, is merely the search for power. It is not renunciation. To renounce, you cannot look to tomorrow.
This has Nothing to do with Krishnamurti. K-girls, Katie, Kelly, and Kerry are like my daughters (a good friend’s kids) and we play music together sometimes.
The Myth of “Nobody got it”
The Saanen Gathering
On KLI / Kinfonet / The Link
Kriben Pillay & Andrew Cohen