Going Beyond Conditioned Authority
All throughout his brightly aware and iconoclastic life, Jiddu Krishnamurti, trained in his youth by the authorities of the Theosophical Society (Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater), lectured all over the world on the need for freedom from conditioned authority. But he developed this theme in a rather egomanic and dogmatic style based on his own feeling of his own authority. In his mind, he was The Authority to end all authorities. He was also against self-improvement or Self-realization of any kind whatsoever. As a result of this, he collected willy-nilly a large following of self-stagnating zealots who were clinging to his authority as a loosely organized cult of personality. But now that he has passed on, all this is just tired old stuff without much social excitement left in it. Unfortunately, some very significant issues are passing away with him and his old diehard followers who still run his schools for children, publish his teachings and promote his various dogmatic themes, which contain some deeply urgent insights that are easily glossed over by would-be self-developers who try to cling to one or another of the culture bound self-improvement traditions, such as the followers of the Tibetan Vajrayana teacher, Chögyam Trungpa or the Naqshbandi Sufi teacher, Idries Shah, both of whom have also passed away, leaving behind a vanishing breed of their type of adherents as various Internet forums turn everything into a mish-mash of chaotic and fragmentary cyber-cults in accordance with the Law of Entropy.
Superficialist fragmentation is not the optimum response to dogmatic culture-bound traditional authority.
Both clinging exclusively to traditional authority and engaging in superficial, fragmented dilettantism of fooling around with a little of this and that from everywhere like detectives trying to put together pieces of an incomplete puzzle (and without all the pieces, by the way), are fundamental errors in our Self-discovery and Self-realization. The narrow approach lacks significant elements that are available only in apposite persuasions; the superficialist experimental approach is too amateurish and self-deceptive. The first approach is too tight; the second approach is too loose. So the whole thing is a powerful dilemma in the zones of personal evolution or higher human development. The dilemma is between the Rock of false-authority and the Whirlpool of self-deception and self-defeat. If you cling to a traditional Guru or Master you are wrong; if you try to go it alone and piece it all together with your incomplete library and your frustrated experiments with yourself you are also wrong. And there are New Age hucksters who claim to be universal non-traditionalists who are self-appointed “enlightened Masters” who usually make a business out of all this, charging fees for weekend seminars, special breakthrough retreats and so on. And the number of clairvoyant “counselors” and “healers” is also on the increase. There are the big vultures and the little vultures all competing for gullible adherents. There are at least half a million “Spiritual Masters” out there who can always impress somebody. More people are socializing, trying to influence others, or making claims about themselves or confusedly following someone in a shallow and useless manner, than the real individuals who are studying and realizing something deeply and extensively that is getting them truly beyond all the traps and nonsense.
Are you ready now to take a more complete, realistic and self-honest look at your actual evolutionary predicament?
You are caught between the doubtful outer Guide and the vague and ineffectual inner Guide.
This dilemma requires tremendous clarity. It needs, in fact, a huge new personal awakening beyond all your usual commitments, non-commitments, practices, non-practices, studies and non-studies.
Some aspirants try to get a decisive breakthrough about all this through a massive psychedelic drug trip on the one hand or an all-out fast on a solitary retreat such as the Red Indian Hanblechia, “crying for a vision”, on the other hand. In a way, both of these self-experimental efforts are necessary for just about any aspirant sooner or later, but neither experience can ever be final, complete and fully developmental. There is no cheap way out of personal evolutionary dilemma.
There are other stunts that can seem attractive to an aspirant at some point. One of them is to just consider the whole thing hopeless and try to give up altogether. This is always recommended by Krishnamurti, sometimes recommended by Chögyam Trungpa and slightly recommended by Osho Rajneesh. Of course, all three of these famous figures nonetheless want you to cling to their particular angle on all this, which leads their adherents and enthusiasts into a kind of half-assed “giving up” or “relaxing” or “suspending all effort” that is never fully any such things. What all this actually does is sets up yet another dilemma between The Path of Liberation and The Path of Means, between Effortlessness and Effort, No-practice and Practice, Detachment and Development, Rajayoga and Hathayoga, and other ways it is expressed in various schools of thought.
Another stunt, often expressed in both Zen Buddhism and Hindu Vedanta, is to try to accept the suggestion that you are already fundamentally free and perfect on a higher plane of existence and that the entire problem of spiritual failure, bad habits and various sufferings in life that are leading you inexorably to old age, disease, degeneration and death are not a real problem that you have to do anything about. With this suggestion you are to “cut through the Gordian Knot” without having to unravel it. There is a seriously significant truth about your Innate Buddha-nature, your Atman, your Purusha or “Monad” on the Fourth Level of Existence and beyond, but it may not get you the happy changes and developments you actually need between Being-here (physical everyday life) and Being-there (transcendental Spirit). In fact, this breeds another dilemma between Believing in Transcendental Selfhood and Experiencing Transcendental Selfhood. You have to make up your mind whether you will settle for your Transcendental Selfhood as a clever but empty intellectual exercise in your material brain or somehow enter a stupendous process of rising consciously in a Samadhi of Divine Self-experiencing with its genuine Bliss and Cosmic Consciousness of Omniscience and Real Power. Once it is admitted that merely holding a material brain conviction about your God-Self is not getting the job done, all the issues of necessary intermediate Yogas come back into play, throwing you back into the dilemma of Sudden Awakening and Gradual Development. Then you begin to need an “Enlightened and Miraculous Guide” to show you the way to synergy of Enlightenment-and-Development, which leads you back to the first dilemma of Doubtful Traditional Guide and Vague, Confused Self-guidance “from within” as an argumentative crank. Neither Dependence (belonging to a cult of personality) nor Independence (relying on your own confusion and self-deception) works out very well, no matter how clever or brilliant you are at explaining your position to others as your brand of pseudo-enlightenment or what Chögyam Trungpa rightly calls “Spiritual Materialism” due to the obvious fact that of our material brain where belief and disbelief alternate and weave endless patterns of real confusion, however hidden or rationalized that confusion may be.
You must indeed go beyond false and culture-bound spiritual authorities, even where they are semi-developed and have some psychic abilities. But, again, something far more serious than a proud, opinionated and pseudo-independent and secretly confused floundering is needed for real spiritual and evolutionary progress. Being willing to recognize a genuine Godman can be helpful, if there is enough God awake in you to perform the true recognition and not be blinded by merely hopeful imagination or simply wanting to dump all your troubles and responsibilities on a “Miraculous Master”. It is also helpful to be truly open to a Transcendental Grace or Empowerment from the Unknown Deity Beyond, for this can indeed happen for you, if you, again, have enough Deity awake in your own Self to open to the Real Thing and, again, not just deceive yourself with the imagination that you need not encounter a Perfected Godman, a Siddha-Purusha, and fully cooperate with that incredible person.
If your attitude is right and you have unusual potential, it is not impossible to meet an Immortal Siddha Godman, such as Padma Sambhava the Death Defier, Matsyendranath, Agastya Muni, or Khizr Elias the Wandering Jew, which could lead to an accelerated development resulting in a personal state way beyond the collections of pitiful adherents at places like Auroville, Mother Meera’s place in Germany, the Castaneda Magical Passes cult or the successors of Idries Shah in England or of Chögyam Trungpa in America. Ultimately, it is all up to Swami Brahman Nathji, the Supreme Guide of all souls in the Galaxy, so to speak.
The fact is that no individual soul anywhere in the Universe is ever forgotten or neglected where it really counts in the Godself. Therefore, one can and should attune oneself to the total organic pattern of all development in the Universe. All necessary opportunities will come to you when the time is right. Can you be opportune without greed and patiently wait without depression, despondency or anger? The outer emotional mind is the main evolutional blockage along with proud, argumentative brain ego of outer intellect. Detaching from both emotion and intellect as you normally function in them is what is most useful for cosmic and divine orientation or sense-of-direction. Again and again one has to be very watchful of this.
There is a real but hidden pattern of all aspiration, attempted development and actual development on the Earth. The aspects of this pattern that are visible on the Internet are for the most part the more superficial and incomplete aspects. Direct encounters and real personal and private experiencing are always going to comprise the deeply significant aspects of The Pattern. If you will make a better effort to attune your aspiration to The Pattern, you will find yourself moving sooner or later in a direction you never expected that no emotional hope or reaction nor any judgment of Who’s Who or What’s What in your heart or brain could have revealed to you.
Now, if you have come this far with a genuine light of understanding in the heart and not merely a dead brain scanning ideas to see if they fit your present assessments of everything, Krishnamurti once wrote an amazing article on the problem of identification with himself as a spiritual authority. It was there that he at one time demonstrated maximum insight into the situation of himself and his cult following. Listen deeply and carefully to what he said:
“Why do you identify yourself with another, with a group, with a country? Why do you call yourself a Christian, a Hindu, a Buddhist, or why do you belong to one of the innumerable sects? Religiously and politically one identifies oneself with this or with that group through tradition or habit, through impulse, prejudice, imitation and laziness. This identification puts an end to creative understanding, and then one becomes a mere tool in the hands of the party boss, the priest or the favoured leader.
“The other day someone said that he was a “Krishnamurti-ite,” whereas so-and-so belonged to another group. As he was saying it, he was utterly unconscious of the implications of this identification. He was not by any means a foolish person; he was well read, cultured and all the rest of it. Nor was he sentimental or emotional over the matter; on the contrary, he was clear and definite.
“Why had he become a “Krishnamurti-ite”? He had followed others, belonged to many wearisome groups and organizations, and at last found himself identified with this particular person. From what he said, it appeared that the journey was over. He had taken a stand and that was the end of the matter; he had chosen, and nothing could shake him. He would now comfortably settle down and follow eagerly all that had been said and was going to be said.
“When we identify ourselves with another, is that an indication of love? Does identification imply experimentation? Does not identification put an end to love and to experiment? Identification, surely, is possession, the assertion of ownership; and ownership denies love, does it not? To own is to be secure; possession is defence, making oneself invulnerable. In identification there is resistance, whether gross or subtle; and is love a form of self-protective resistance? Is there love when there is defence?
“Love is vulnerable, pliable, receptive; it is the highest form of sensitivity, and identification makes for insensitivity. Identification and love do not go together, for the one destroys the other. Identification is essentially a thought process by which the mind safeguards and expands itself; and in becoming something it must resist and defend, it must own and discard. In this process of becoming, the mind or the self grows tougher and more capable; but this is not love. Identification destroys freedom, and only in freedom can there be the highest form of sensitivity.
“To experiment, need there be identification? Does not the very act of identification put an end to inquiry, to discovery? The happiness that truth brings cannot be if there is no experimentation in self-discovery. Identification puts an end to discovery; it is another form of laziness. Identification is vicarious experience, and hence utterly false.
“To experience, all identification must cease. To experiment, there must be no fear. Fear prevents experience. It is fear that makes for identification—identification with another, with a group, with an ideology, and so on. Fear must resist, suppress; and in a state of self-defence, how can there be venturing on the uncharted sea? Truth or happiness cannot come without undertaking the journey into the ways of the self. You cannot travel far if you are anchored. Identification is a refuge. A refuge needs protection, and that which is protected is soon destroyed. Identification brings destruction upon itself, and hence the constant conflict between various identifications.
“The more we struggle for or against identification, the greater is the resistance to understanding. If one is aware of the whole process of identification, outward as well as inner, if one sees that its outward expression is projected by the inner demand, then there is a possibility of discovery and happiness. He who has identified himself can never know freedom, in which alone all truth comes into being.”