Is Krishnamurti unique?

In the latest edition of Friedrich's Newsletter, Friedrich Grohe writes: "Some time ago, an old friend said that K was one among many others, while I always thought that K was unique in his so-called "teachings" containing the whole of life. So, I asked my friend and colleague Javier Gómez Rodríguez for his thoughts about this, and here is his interesting statement:"
By Javier Gómez Rodríguez 13 February 2019
K is one among many ... Yes and no. For me, K is a Buddha, a truly great enlightened being. As far as I can tell, the depth of his illumination is unlike anything that has been reported in the last 2000 years. When looking for similarities in the record of history, K himself would come up with just two other figures, namely Buddha and Christ, with the former a bit more prominently delineated, as the record on the latter was both sketchier and historically more doubtful. The Buddhists, though, maintain that Siddhartha Gautama was the latest incarnation in a long line of Buddhas. And they might even consider, like the Theosophists did, that K was the Maitreya, i.e. the Buddha of the future predicted in their scriptures. But even if he belonged in the long line of Buddhas, one still has to bear in mind that a real Buddha is always unique, for Truth is unique, from moment to moment. That’s why such beings are incomparable, because no measure can be applied to their wisdom. 

What I think our friend is saying, though, is that even if K were the Buddha of our time (not her words, but mine), that would not grant him a monopoly on the expression of truth. Others might be able to express it differently and it might still mean the same. By this she also means to warn against turning K’s impressive teaching into the exclusive doctrine of a particular sect. Implied in this is the sense that no matter how deep K may have gone, at certain levels he is saying very much the same thing that others have said. When it comes to inquiring into the human condition, K certainly touches on many things that others have also investigated and his insights are not unique, for others have also had them, no matter how differently expressed. The depth and range of K’s understanding, however, is so total and complete that it is hard to find anything resembling it anywhere. So, while there is a great deal of ground that has been covered by many others, there is quite a different dimension to K because of the all-encompassing nature of his insight. That is for me the difference. 

But there is indeed a danger in saying this, as it would tend to elevate K’s teachings to a kind of exclusive expression of truth. Unfortunately, the word is not the thing, so the truth is not in the expression, no matter how truthful the expression might be. The expression may be conducive to seeing but it is the latter that is the key to truth. And that’s why at the end of the day it is to truth we must look and not to its expressions. 

Take the seminar on K’s life and teachings I started in its new briefer incarnation this past Friday. Just trying to give the 12 participants a sense of the content I mean to cover was an incredible experience, for, as it seemed to me, all life was being addressed in a miserable 10 chapters. That is part of the fascination and beauty of the teachings, namely the deep and panoramic mirror they offer of our human condition and its needful transformation and transcendence. And they come with a quality of total freedom, since they are devoid of authority and imposition, of sectarian identification and idolatrous following. This is wonderful, for it really faces us with one of the most fundamental challenges of all, which is to become fully aware of and responsible for our own lives in the fullness of their accidental particularity, necessary universality and beyond. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing like it in the whole world and probably never was. This too makes K’s teachings, and thus K himself, unique. 

On the other hand, I don’t mind any reference to other people. The thing is not who says what but whether what is being said throws any light on our human predicament. A couple of days ago, trying to locate two quotes I might use as headers in two chapters in the book-in-the-making about K and his teachings, I looked through the pages of my collected works of Shakespeare. And I could not believe the wisdom of the old bard from Stratford-upon- Avon. The old boy had an extraordinary grasp of human motivation and of the deeper questions involved in relationship and existence. So much so that I mean to take up reading his plays and poems once more, savouring as best I can the beauty and wisdom they so skilfully reflect. 

This reminds me of a curious incident while I was a staff member at BPS. A number of people used to question me about why I was reading so many other authors when K was just about the only one who spoke the truth. I tried to explain that although K might have been the only one who had indeed lived in the truth and spoken from there, there were realms of understand- ing that others had also reached and it was nice to hear their voices, even though they might be neither so deep nor so absolute. This kind of argument did not convince any of these K fundamentalists. So imagine my surprise when one day one of them comes along brimming with joy and enthusiasm. There had been a school trip to London to see Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. Well, guess what: Shakespeare was saying exactly the same things as K!! So I told this good friend of mine that there were plenty of others besides Shakespeare who were saying the same things as K. Did she want me to provide her with a reading list? 

This is the kind of thing that one can get into in relation to this question of K’s uniqueness. He was unique, but not exclusive. He went beyond anyone I am aware of, but others have gone a long way in the same direction. I am quite happy to join them all and not to make a fuss about the degrees of understanding. What matters is the honesty and the concern with truth. And then one finds K in everyone, just as everyone can be found in K.