Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Film review: Krishnamurti's Search for Truth

The Challenge of Change: The Biographical Film of J. Krishnamurti is a 75 minute DVD in English, produced by Evelyne Blau from 1984 through 2004. Krishnamurti's messages share much with the Doukhobor movement.

Subtiltes in 12 languages.

I was invited to view this video biography of Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986) by Jim Deacove whose firm Cooperative Family Pastimes hosted 'Films from Heart and Soul' at their monthly 'Spiritual Cinema Circle' presented in Perth, Ontario at the Myriad Cinema.

The film includes a series of statements Krishnamurti makes into the camera specifically for the documentary. It includes a wealth of excerpts from various talks and dialogues as well as a biographical sketch of his early life. Jim and his wife Ruth have met this Indian philosopher on several occasions and have been impressed by his revolutionary zeal to inspire people in discovering the truth within themselves. Jim is a volunteer librarian for the Krishnamurti Foundations.

The core of Krishnamurti's teaching is contained in the statement he made in 1929:
'Truth is a pathless land.' ... Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual nor through any philosophical knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation, and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection. Man has built in himself images as a sense of security — religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these dominates man's thinking, relationships and his daily life. These are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man in every relationship.'

This 'pathless land' proposal may scare or threaten people's habitual beliefs. It may seem even anarchistic and rudderless. But wait, have patience. There is wisdom to this exercise.

In the tradition of Socrates, Krishnamurti provokes us to search for truth above and beyond our ready-made solutions as found in established institutions, patterns, and habits. He urges us to cease sectarian thinking, and put away Shankara, Buddha, Christ and God so that our mind is alone, clear, and no longer influenced, controlled or compelled to serve a set dogma. Spiritual leaders, gurus, and things we've read about need to be set aside. The search for the inner truth must take preference; it is an inner journey that seeks a common denominator to the notion of humanity. It is what makes us human.

As reviewer, I have never met Krishnamurti, but have been impressed by his simple, yet difficult formula in truth seeking.

A contemporary of Krishnamurti was the Russian author and philosopher Lev N. Tolstoy who used a similar approach to seeking the truth. Tolstoy criticized sectarian thinking including a critique of his close followers who tended to set up a Tolstoyan society. Tolstoy criticized this society and urged the people to look at the issues at hand (and not to make an icon of him).

A recent example comes from Canada.  As leader of the New Democratic Party in Canada for the past eight years, the late Jack Layton (1950 - 2011) periodically reminded his members that they ought not make an idol of him, but focus on the universal issues of health care, social justice, public pensions and make sure that no one is left behind. This was his way of rejecting the cult of personality, as one of his mentors Tommy Douglas had done many years earlier. Each of us can think of examples in our own lives that require us to transcend economic, political, ethnic, racial and religious boundaries — so as to help us go directly to the core of our humanity, and therefore to the truth of things.

Seeking the truth demands effort, vigour, transparency and discipline. Anthropologists remind us that society requires both continuity and change, so that we need to seek a balance in both. Here we need to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. While seeking the truth, we need to preserve a sense of integrity for our existence as worthy and caring human beings on planet earth.

Friends, be brave and watch your ecology carefully as you enter the path of discovery from day to day, from moment to moment and become liberated in a new level of truth. Find much more on his official website J. Krishnamurti online.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent review, Koozma. I like his analogy of truth being a pathless land. As Gandhi said, Absolute truth is God and it can be only reached through Ahimsa (nonviolence).