... woke up early with that strong feeling of otherness, of another world that is beyond all thought ... there is a heightening of sensitivity. Sensitivity, not only to beauty but also to all other things. The blade of grass was astonishingly green; that one blade of grass contained the whole spectrum of colour; it was intense, dazzling and such a small thing, so easy to destroy ...
The date of birth of Jiddu Krishnamurti is a matter of dispute. Mary Lutyens determines it to be 12 May 1895 but Christine Williams notes the unreliability of birth registrations in that period and that statements claiming dates ranging from 4 May 1895 to 25 May 1896 exist. She uses calculations based on a published horoscope to derive a date of 11 May 1895 but "retains a measure of scepticism" about it. His birthplace was the small town of Madanapalle in Madras Presidency (modern-day Chittoor District in Andhra Pradesh). He was born in Telugu speaking family. His father, Jiddu Narayaniah, was employed as an official of the British colonial administration. Krishnamurti was fond of his mother Sanjeevamma, who died when he was ten. His parents had a total of eleven children, of whom six survived childhood.
In 1903 the family settled in Cudappah, where Krishnamurti had contracted malaria during a previous stay. He would suffer recurrent bouts of the disease over many years. A sensitive and sickly child, "vague and dreamy", he was often taken to be intellectually disabled, and was beaten regularly at school by his teachers and at home by his father. In memoirs written when he was eighteen years old Krishnamurti described psychic experiences, such as seeing his sister, who had died in 1904, and his late mother. During his childhood he developed a bond with nature that was to stay with him for the rest of his life.
Krishnamurti's father retired at the end of 1907. Being of limited means he sought employment at the headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Adyar. In addition to being a Brahmin, Narayaniah had been a theosophist since 1882. He was eventually hired by the Society as a clerk, moving there with his family in January 1909. Narayaniah and his sons were at first assigned to live in a small cottage which was located just outside the society's compound.
In April 1909 Krishnamurti first met Charles Webster Leadbeater, who claimed clairvoyance. Leadbeater had noticed Krishnamurti on the Society's beach on the Adyar river, and was amazed by the "most wonderful aura he had ever seen, without a particle of selfishness in it." Ernest Wood, an adjutant of Leadbeaters at the time, who helped Krishnamurti with his homework, considered him to be "particularly dim-witted". Leadbeater was convinced that the boy would become a spiritual Teacher and a great orator; the likely "vehicle for the Lord Maitreya" in Theosophical doctrine, an advanced spiritual entity periodically appearing on Earth as a World Teacher to guide the evolution of humankind.
Krishnamurti and Nitya were taken to England in April 1911. During this trip Krishnamurti gave his first public speech, to members of the OSE in London. His first writings had also started to appear, published in booklets by the Theosophical Society and in Theosophical and OSE-affiliated magazines. Between 1911 and the start of World War I in 1914, the brothers visited several other European countries, always accompanied by Theosophist chaperones. Meanwhile, Krishnamurti had for the first time acquired a measure of personal financial independence, thanks to a wealthy benefactress, American Mary Melissa Hoadley Dodge, who was domiciled in England.
During this time Krishnamurti had developed a strong bond with Annie Besant and came to view her as a surrogate mother. His father, who had initially assented to Besant's legal guardianship of Krishnamurti, was pushed into the background by the swirl of attention around his son. In 1912 he sued Besant to annul the guardianship agreement. After a protracted legal battle Besant took custody of Krishnamurti and Nitya. As a result of this separation from family and home Krishnamurti and his brother (whose relationship had always been very close) became more dependent on each other, and in the following years often travelled together.
Krishnamurti was unrelated to his contemporary U. G. Krishnamurti (1918-2007), although the two men had a number of meetings.
Ex-girlfriend Helen Nearing, who had known Krishnamurti in the 1920s, said that Krishnamurti's attitudes were conditioned by privilege, because he had been supported, even pampered, by devoted followers from the time of his "discovery" by the theosophists. She also said that he was at such an "elevated" level that he was incapable of forming "normal personal relationships".
In 1921 Krishnamurti fell in love with Helen Knothe, a 17-year-old American whose family associated with the Theosophists. The experience was tempered by the realisation that his work and expected life-mission precluded what would otherwise be considered normal relationships and by the mid-1920s the two of them had drifted apart.
Since the initial occurrences of 1922, several explanations have been proposed for this experience of Krishnamurti's. Leadbeater and other Theosophists expected the "vehicle" to have certain paranormal experiences, but were nevertheless mystified by these developments. During Krishnamurti's later years, the nature and provenance of the continuing process often came up as a subject in private discussions between himself and associates; these discussions shed some light on the subject, but were ultimately inconclusive. Whatever the case, the process, and the inability of Leadbeater to explain it satisfactorily, if at all, had other consequences according to biographer Roland Vernon:
Nitya's persistent health problems had periodically resurfaced throughout this time. On 13 November 1925, at age 27, he died in Ojai from complications of influenza and tuberculosis. Despite Nitya's poor health, his death was unexpected, and it fundamentally shook Krishnamurti's belief in Theosophy and in the Leaders of the Theosophical Society. He had received their assurances regarding Nitya's health, and had come to believe that "Nitya was essential for [his] life-mission and therefore he would not be allowed to die," a belief shared by Annie Besant and Krishnamurti's circle. Jayakar wrote that "his belief in the Masters and the hierarchy had undergone a total revolution." Moreover, Nitya had been the "last surviving link to his family and childhood. ... The only person to whom he could talk openly, his best friend and companion." According to eyewitness accounts, the news "broke him completely." but 12 days after Nitya's death he was "immensely quiet, radiant, and free of all sentiment and emotion"; "there was not a shadow ... to show what he had been through."
The Krishnamurti Foundation, established in 1928 by him and Annie Besant, runs many schools in India and abroad.
Krishnamurti dissolved the Order during the annual Star Camp at Ommen, the Netherlands, on 3 August 1929. He stated that he had made his decision after "careful consideration" during the previous two years, and that:
During the 1930s, Krishnamurti spoke in Europe, Latin America, India, Australia and the United States. In 1938, he met Aldous Huxley. The two began a close friendship which endured for many years. They held Common concerns about the imminent conflict in Europe which they viewed as the outcome of the pernicious influence of nationalism. Krishnamurti's stance on World War II was often construed as pacifism and even subversion during a time of patriotic fervor in the United States and for a time he came under the surveillance of the FBI. He did not speak publicly for a period of about four years (between 1940 and 1944). During this time he lived and worked at Arya Vihara, which during the war operated as a largely self-sustaining farm, with its surplus goods donated for relief efforts in Europe. Of the years spent in Ojai during the war, he later said: "I think it was a period of no challenge, no demand, no outgoing. I think it was a kind of everything held in; and when I left Ojai it all burst."
Krishnamurti broke the hiatus from public speaking in May 1944 with a series of talks in Ojai. These talks, and subsequent material, were published by "Krishnamurti Writings Inc" (KWINC), the successor organisation to the "Star Publishing Trust." This was to be the new central Krishnamurti-related entity worldwide, whose sole purpose was the dissemination of the teaching. He had remained in contact with associates from India, and in the autumn of 1947 embarked on a speaking tour there, attracting a new following of young intellectuals. On this trip he encountered the Mehta sisters, Pupul and Nandini, who became lifelong associates and confidants. The sisters also attended to Krishnamurti throughout a 1948 recurrence of the "process" in Ootacamund.
Krishnamurti continued speaking in public lectures, group discussions and with concerned individuals around the world. In the early 1960s, he made the acquaintance of Physicist David Bohm, whose philosophical and scientific concerns regarding the essence of the physical world, and the psychological and sociological state of mankind, found parallels in Krishnamurti's philosophy. The two men soon became close friends and started a Common inquiry, in the form of personal dialogues–and occasionally in group discussions with other participants–that continued, periodically, over nearly two decades. Several of these discussions were published in the form of books or as parts of books, and introduced a wider audience (among scientists) to Krishnamurti's ideas. Although Krishnamurti's philosophy delved into fields as diverse as religious studies, education, psychology, physics, and consciousness studies, he was not then, nor since, well known in academic circles. Nevertheless, Krishnamurti met and held discussions with physicists Fritjof Capra and E. C. George Sudarshan, Biologist Rupert Sheldrake, Psychiatrist David Shainberg, as well as Psychotherapists representing various theoretical orientations. The long friendship with Bohm went through a rocky interval in later years, and although they overcame their differences and remained friends until Krishnamurti's death, the relationship did not regain its previous intensity.
In the 1970s, Krishnamurti met several times with then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, with whom he had far ranging, and in some cases, very serious discussions. Jayakar considers his message in meetings with Indira Gandhi as a possible influence in the lifting of certain emergency measures Gandhi had imposed during periods of political turmoil.
Meanwhile, Krishnamurti's once close relationship with the Rajagopals had deteriorated to the point where he took D. Rajagopal to court to recover donated property and funds as well as publication rights for his works, manuscripts, and personal correspondence, that were in Rajagopal's possession. The litigation and ensuing cross complaints, which formally began in 1971, continued for many years. Much property and materials were returned to Krishnamurti during his lifetime; the parties to this case finally settled all other matters in 1986, shortly after his death.
Krishnamurti died of pancreatic cancer on 17 February 1986, at the age of 90. His remains were cremated. The announcement of KFT (Krishnamurti Foundation Trust) refers to the course of his health condition till the moment of death. The first signs came almost nine months before his death, when he felt very tired. In October 1985 he went from England (Brockwood Park School) to India and since then he was feeling exhausted, losing weight and having fever. Krishnamurti decided to go back to Ojai (10 January 1986) after his last talks in Madras, which made it necessary to have a 24-hour FLIGHT. Once he arrived at Ojai he underwent medical tests that revealed he was suffering from pancreatic cancer. This cancer wasn't treatable either surgically or otherwise, so Krishnamurti decided to go back to his home at Ojai, where he spent his last days. Krishnamurti was nursed by friends and professionals. His mind was clear till the very last moments. Krishnamurti died on 17 February 1986, ten minutes past midnight California time.
In reflection of the ongoing changes in his outlook, he had started doing so before the dissolution of the Order of the Star. The subtlety of the new distinctions on the World Teacher issue was lost on many of his admirers, who were already bewildered or distraught because of the changes in Krishnamurti's outlook, vocabulary and pronouncements–among them Besant and Mary Lutyens' mother Emily, who had a very close relationship with him. He soon disassociated himself from the Theosophical Society and its teachings and practices, yet he remained on cordial terms with some of its members and ex-members throughout his life.