“To meditate is to transcend time. Time is the distance that thought travels in its achievements. The travelling is always along the old path covered over with a new coating, new sights, but it is always the same road, leading nowhere except to pain and sorrow. It is only when the mind transcends time that truth ceases to be an abstraction. Then bliss is not an idea derived from pleasure but an actuality that is not verbal…On every table there were daffodils, young, fresh, just out of the garden, with the bloom of spring on them still. On a side table there were lilies, creamy-white with sharp yellow centres. To see this creamy-white and the brilliant yellow of those many daffodils was to see the blue sky, ever expanding, limitless, silent. Almost all the tables were taken by people talking very loudly and laughing. … And there they were, the yellow daffodils, and nobody seemed to care. They were there for decorative purposes that had no meaning at all; and as you watched them their yellow brilliance filled the noisy room. Colour has this strange effect upon the eye. It wasn’t so much that the eye absorbed the colour, as that the colour seemed to fill your being. You were that colour; you didn’t become that colour – you were of it, without identification or name: the anonymity which is innocence. … those shapely daffodils seemed to take you beyond all time. Love is like that. In it there is no time, space or identity.”
In this introductory series of four articles in the New Statesman, David Skitt writes about Krishnamurti in a personal and accessible way. He ends his last article with a question: “So is Krishnamurti’s case for a radical shift in human consciousness … what life now demands? Good question. One to plant like a seed.”
David Skitt was educated at Cambridge. From 1955 to 1985 he worked as an editor for the OECD and the European Space Agency in Paris. He is a emeritus trustee of the Krishnamurti Foundation Trust and an editor of several recent books including “To Be Human.” The articles were published in 2007.
In Ommen, Holland, a train has been named after Krishnamurti, to honor the important role he played in the town’s history. People used to come from all over the world to listen to Krishnamurti speak at the Star camps, held in the forests near Castle Eerde. From the railway station of Ommen one can even go on a guided walking tour to explore “Krishnamurti’s Ommen”. Go here to read more (in Dutch): http://www.spoor7.nl/krishna.html. Brochures are available at the railway station.
Rare footage of the young Jiddu Krishnamurti in New York (1928) and Ojai (1930). In the Ojai footage he is reading parts of his “Truth is a Pathless Land” speech, which he first delivered at the Ommen Star Camp on August 3, 1929. There, he dissolved The Order of the Star in the East, the organization set up around him.
“The mind has to be empty to see clearly.”
Krishnamurti, The Little Book on Living
This past Sunday during Inquiry time, BP students and staff went on a trust walk. Students Ara and Jing-Yi had arranged everyone into partners. Each person was blindfolded and then guided through a 30-minute walk by their partner. The purpose of this exercise was to be able to see and feel some of nature’s beauty while being blindfolded, only to be guided by the direction of your partner.
These were the instructions Krishnamurti cabled to England when it was thought a suitable house had been found in which to start a school. Shortly afterwards Brockwood was found and hundreds, if not thousands, of daffodil bulbs were planted during the following years. Now they are flowering in profusion and at their peak, as this bevy of photographs show.
In her biography of Krishnamurti’s life ‘The Years of Fulfilment’ Mary Lutyens beautifully describes the lead up to and the discovery of Brockwood and mentions the instruction from Krishnamurti:
“In their absence the trustees of the new Foundation in England had been looking for a house for the school. It had to be fairly close to London and with enough land to ensure complete privacy. Ayot Place having been turned down, a second house near Horsham, called Nore, belonging to Dirk Bogarde, was considered sufficiently promising for K to cable, ‘Plant 2,000 daffodil bulbs immediately’, and for Alain to fly over from New York for the night on September 24 to inspect it. I went with him to see it and we came to the conclusion that it was too small. While K was giving talks in New York at the New School for Social Research, a third property was found which seemed ideal—Brockwood Park, Bramdean, in Hampshire, midway between Petersfield and Winchester about sixty-four miles from London, belonging to Lord Chesham. It was a large, low, white, late-Georgian house, set in thirty-six acres of park and garden, surrounded by farm land in some of the most beautiful country in England, with extensive views to the south of rolling hills and woodlands. It had a small swimming pool, a hard tennis court and a vast derelict walled kitchen garden (ideal for vegetarians when brought under cultivation), and a little way from the house, an enclosed grove full of azaleas and rare trees, including a great ‘handkerchief’ tree and some of K’s favourite sequoias. A beautiful beech avenue led from the Winchester road to the park lodge, and a further avenue of copper beeches curled round to the back entrance.”
This video shows The Krishnamurti Centre, a retreat centre in the UK Hampshire countryside, about an hour and a half south from London. The extract in this video, “Can I be a light to myself?” by J. Krishnamurti, is taken from a question and answer meeting at Brockwood Park in 1979. To arrange a visit or make a booking please go to www.krishnamurticentre.org.uk. (Filmed by Brockwood Park School student Ewan Benoit and edited by mature student Ohm Ungsriwong.)
The following is an incisive description of Brockwood Park School and its intent first published in the KFT Bulletin No. 38 in 1980. It was published again in Friedrich Grohe’s 1993/94 Newsletter to mark the 25th anniversary of the place. To the best of our knowledge it has not been published since.
Brockwood Park has been in existence for ten years, and extraordinary things have happened in that time. Since the large estate was first purchased with a lovely Georgian house, a residential cloisters of 31 individual rooms has been built, a fine Assembly room added and a school brought into being starting with two students in 1969 and growing to sixty students in 1980, with a dedicated and fully qualified residential staff.
Krishnamurti (left) with students at Brockwood outside the main house in 1972
We are frequently being asked ‘What has been accomplished?’ ‘What methods do you use?’, ‘What are the results?’, ‘How are you different from other schools?’, ‘How do you deal with specific problems?’, ‘What happens to the students when they leave the shelter of Brockwood Park?’ These are valid questions that can be very easily asked but which cannot be easily answered in terms of results, except superficially and academically. The school has its fair share of good ‘O’ and ‘A’ level results, a good percentage of students going on to university and so on. But this is not what primarily interests us.
We are interested in the possibilities of bringing into being a whole human being in the fullest sense of that description, and we can only say that there is something going on at Brockwood which is not measurable in ordinary terms; and this is evident to most people who stay here for any length of time. We feel that every student who has been here has come into contact with something that has been of profound and immense significance in their lives. This is not to speak mystically or hopefully, but to speak factually and honestly.
The reason for this is clear: it is that the main direction of Brockwood, as set out in the school Statement sent to all prospective students and their parents, is to explore in our daily living the implications of the immense work of Krishnamurti. Though his work covers the whole range of human experience, the main theme is to enquire whether it is possible for us to be free of our conditioning—the conditioning which each one of us carries from a long distant past and which includes the race memories, tradition, demands of society, of the family and one’s own personal acquisitions and aspirations. Students and staff come here more or less unconscious of these conditioning influences which so mar and warp our lives: but as we investigate our eyes open wider and our hearts are more sensitively aware of the need for inward freedom, as well as physical stability.
Krishnamurti at Brockwood with students in the sitting room in 1975
This is what we are exploring at Brockwood, finding out as we live each day whether this freedom is possible and whether it can be discovered each day. In exploration one starts from the known and feels out into the unknown. And what is the known? Here it is a group of people, students and staff, from widely varying backgrounds, from twenty different countries with different customs and experiences yet having in common the basic human problems, conflicts and confusions. But they also have, and this is crucial when they arrive at Brockwood, the expressed intention of taking part in this exploration. This exploration is to discover whether it is possible to live together in relationship happily, intelligently and in freedom.
Explorations that man has so far known—whether physical as in earlier times by discoverers of the so-called ‘new world’ or whether spiritual, as with religious mystics—involve hardships, sacrifices, dangers, so it is not surprising that in this particular exploration there are some who set out with firm intentions but find what they encounter too much for their not-strong-enough commitment, and who fall away. But there are some who though not clear, sustain and nourish the energy to go on probing. There is really only one gigantic obstacle to this exploration—the self. This self is made of the very conditioning we are examining, and we understand enough to know that to be free of conditioning is to be free of the self. That terrifies. For it would seem that without the self we are nothing, and it is this nothingness that is the real unknown.
How then is one to proceed with the work that has been undertaken in the school? First it is essential to have in the community one or two or a few who) if not themselves free from egotism, nevertheless see clearly the trap of selfcenteredness. By their degree of perception and abiding interest, they may throw a shaft of light to others—which quickens them to learn of the vital significance of relationship and of working together, of being of one mind.
But there is more to it than this. Out of the group, by the fact of living together in the spirit of enquiry, there comes something quite different, something new, a growing awareness of the wholeness of life which gives meaning to the common endeavour. This does not happen all at once; each school year starts with at least one third of the school being newcomers. So each new year the process of being together in this exploration of the self starts over again, and it is usually only towards the end of the third term of the year that the school begins to feel somewhat at one.
Krishnamurti at Brockwood in September 1982
But in the process of this exploration into ourselves, particularly in the early terms of the school year, problems are revealed. These problems arc similar year after year—the confusion of freedom with license and slackness; the strength of habit in the matter of food, smoking, drugs, sex, pleasure and authority. Each problem as it arises has to he met with great care and real affection, and the staff have an immense responsibility for they not only have to be aware that the student is caught in a trap, but they also have to see that they themselves are in a similar trap, and all the while be mindful that we are not a precious, isolated school community, but part of the world as a whole with a responsibility and a concern towards the whole.
In dealing with specific problems such as alcohol, drugs and sex, we have to meet each situation as it arises and, as a school community, work at it to resolve it. This is done by weekly staff meetings, weekly meetings of the whole school, by smaller, daily meetings of staff and students together (rotating groups which eventually include everyone in the school) and by ‘tutorials’ in which each staff’ member has particular care and concern for one or two students. At these meetings there is no problem which has not been gone into deeply and discussed at length. From time to time there may be a situation which seems unable to be met by the community as a whole, but, by as many of us as possible staying with the facts, an action eventually emerges. In addition to the discussion meetings there is a daily coming together of the whole school, first thing in the morning, where we do not proceed through discussion but through the sense of being together quietly in this endeavour to live with intelligence and affection. During these precious fifteen minutes thought is watched—and perhaps falls silent.