The teachings of Maitreya
and Krishnamurti -- a comparison
by Bette Stockbauer
An esoteric comparison of ideas and teachings on silence, inner space, self-awareness, honesty, sincerity and detachment.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895 -1986) was one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the 20th century. Through his books, his schools, and speaking engagements to audiences throughout the world, he shared his unique vision of inner liberation. According to Benjamin Creme, he was born a third-degree initiate, who, in his younger years, was being prepared, by overshadowing, as a possible vehicle for Maitreya. When Maitreya decided to manifest through His own self-created body, Krishnamurti began his teaching work. Again according to Creme, at the age of 49, Krishnamurti took the fourth initiation.
Maitreya, through one of His associates, said of K: "He was a true disciple of Maitreya. The teachings of Krishnamurti are the teachings of Maitreya." (Share International, 9/88,10)*
Many have commented on the unique nature of the teachings of both Maitreya and Krishnamurti. Both teachings are subtle and elusive, yet express a simplicity that cuts straight to the heart of the present problems of humanity. They urge the student to seek within for those answers that are only found in the depths of each person's soul.
Though the teachings can be approached in many ways, a striking feature is the groundwork they lay for the changes we are witnessing as we move from the Age of Pisces into Aquarius. We are today witnessing the relative weakening of the 6th-ray Piscean energies of idealism and devotion. This is reflected in the words of Maitreya: "If you want peaceful coexistence on planet Earth, do not bring in ideologies." (SI-11/88,6) Both teachers have said repeatedly: "Do not follow me."
Concurrently we can see a strong emphasis in their thought on the Aquarian energies of the 7th ray of Ceremonial Order. The 7th ray deals with the building forces of nature and the finding of practical solutions to human problems. Maitreya repeatedly urges attention to those most basic needs that humanity consistently ignores -- adequate food, housing, health care, and education. K found philosophical musings about an ideal world a pointless exercise, saying: "... all that becomes rather meaningless if you don't know how to live." (WSM)
A common thread for Maitreya is His triple teaching of honesty of mind, sincerity of spirit, and detachment. Similar ideas with different names comprise K's essential thought. When the teachings are studied side by side, they illuminate one another. The following thoughts seek to draw parallels between the two. Unless otherwise noted, Maitreya's thought is first discussed, followed by K's. Maitreya's teachings are placed in italics for ease of comparison.
All action begins at the center -- in silence, the sacred space where true discovery resides.
Maitreya: "Individuals are going to experience, for the first time, that Divinity is not 'outside' but situated simultaneously in the heart and in the universe, in all of creation.... the true Lord is in the heart. If you want to know Him try to understand the Voice of Silence.... Silence is that space which is free from conditioning ... The day the Self within is free of the stresses and strains inherent in the processes of being and becoming, yet fulfils its duty in a detached manner, the Kingdom of the Lord is experienced by the Self in the heart." (SI-11/88,10)
K's writings were filled with references to silence -- of the trees, the deep rivers and ancient mountains, of the soul lost in meditation: "Silence grew and became intense, wider and deeper. The brain which had listened to the silence -- of the hills, fields, and groves -- was itself, now, silent.... It was still, deep within itself; like a bird that folds its wings, it had folded up on itself. It had entered into depths which were beyond itself. It was a dimension which the brain could not capture or understand." (WSM)
'Inner space'/'empty mind'
When Maitreya speaks of 'inner space' and K of empty mind, they are outlining a new paradigm for human life -- one that reaches beyond thought, space and time to touch the universal -- the center of intelligence, compassion, and love.
M: "Everyone needs 'inner space' where there is no one directing you, telling you where to go and what to do. You have been given that space so that the confusion and chaos around you will dissolve. You must never surrender that space to anyone, except your true self. Meditation is really a journey back to that space to find peace and happiness." (SI-6/89,9)
A pervasive theme in K's teachings is his focus on the misuse of thought. As a fourth-degree initiate, presumably beyond illusion on the mental plane, he could, in a very unique way, focus a full and brilliant light on the machinations and contrivances of normal thought. Humankind, he claims, is always tied to time and thought. Fears and memories from the past are a constant inhibition to free action in the present, while projections into an imaginary future prevent us from truly experiencing the realities of today. All of these movements away from the 'now' immerse us in constant misery. Freedom can only be found when the personal self vanishes.
K: "The roots of heaven are of great emptiness, for in emptiness there is energy, incalculable, vast and profound." (KH,22)
Self awareness/choiceless awareness
M: "Awareness is the mother of creation ... Awareness can never be divided, nor imposed ... Awareness can only be experienced." (SI-6/89,6)
"Awareness alone is more powerful than nuclear bombs, more powerful than anything else in the universe. Awareness is even 'beyond light'." (SI-12/88,6)
"The Self is endless. Awareness is endless. Mind, spirit and body have a beginning and an end...The destiny of one and all is to be, one day, free of mind, spirit and body. This in itself becomes salvation." (SI-9/89,8)
"The only way to deal with any problem in life is to understand how it came into being. The moment you know its process, you can reverse it." (SI-9/88,5)
As a child K spent hours perfectly still, watching the tiny insects, the leaves, or the motion of the wind on the land. As an adult, his writings were filled with images of the natural beauty of the places he knew. Woven through all of his thought was the stillness of his own being as he looked upon the world. To see life without reaction or judgement, with no choice or any projection, this he called Choiceless Awareness. In this very action, he said, begins the birth of a new state of being.
K: "When one is attentive (in this way) ... then out of that comes insight.... Insight is like a flash of light. You see, with absolute clarity, all the complications, the consequences, the intricacies. Then this very insight is action." (KH,73)
Honesty of mind/freedom from conditioning
Benjamin Creme explains that by "honesty of mind" Maitreya means much more than not lying or stealing. Creme states: "He means a mind which is not conditioned by ideology and 'isms' -- a mind that is honest to itself, free and open to the experience of life, moment to moment, expressing itself perfectly, purely, spontaneously, without conditioning.... Only a non-conditioned mind can know what freedom is." (MMII,259)
M: "Be what you are. Do not surrender your self respect, your dignity, to others. The moment you surrender yourself to some other self you become a zombie. Do not allow any shadow, even, to possess you. Your destiny is to be free." (SI-10/88,4)
"You must become free from any ism -- for that is the deadliest drug. It is like a sponge -- it absorbs illusions like water and engulfs the Self." (SI-1/90,6)
Although he was revered by millions, K renounced the position of guru. His only concern was to "set men absolutely unconditionally free," to help mankind throw open its self-created cages. The real revolution begins when the individual is able to live beyond the narrow strictures of race, religion, and nationality created by the larger society. At that moment he can taste the supreme happiness of truth.
K: "... it is up to you. There is no leader, there is no teacher, there is nobody to tell you what to do. You are alone in this mad brutal world." (NE,39)
Sincerity of spirit/perception of 'what is'
Benjamin Creme describes Maitreya's use of the term "sincerity of spirit" as "... seeing reality without distortion.... (It) is freedom from the glamours of the emotional plane, so that you see life as it is.... When you are speaking from the heart, totally sincere, consonant with who you are and what you are, without pretensions or glamours ... but direct and pure and true to yourself -- that is sincerity of spirit." (MM II,260)
M: "If you follow others instead of being yourself, you lose your sparkle; you cannot reflect the light of individuality." (SI-12/88,9)
Through many ages, K said, the world has been building ideals of perfection -- ideals of non-violence to mask its violence, ideals of love to mask its hatred, ideals of the perfect state, the perfect community to mask the prevailing chaos. These ideals are an excuse, and only offer escape from the real. It is only in perceiving the actual, the concrete, and only in accepting "what is", that insight comes.
K: "Apparently it is tremendously difficult not to have ideals ... (but) ideal concepts have no value at all because they move away from 'what is'.... What we have been saying for years (is that) the actual is more important than the ideal.... Facts in themselves bring about a change." (KB,446)
Detachment/ability to die to each moment
Much of Maitreya's thought on detachment deals with personification -- or attachment to spiritual powers. Perhaps in these teachings He is preparing the world properly to utilize the increasing potencies of energy that surround us.
M: "There are times when you become aware that someone is behind you, within you, over you, around you -- something is present. That 'something' is the Almighty. It does not participate; it observes....Then, as your awareness grows, if you practise the discipline of detachment, you will know Me in My totality. The moment you think of Me, I am with you." (SI-9/89,8)
"Detachment is the most powerful 'drug'. It becomes so effective that it immunizes the Self from the processes and proceedings of mind, spirit and body.... To learn detachment is an art. A scientist, with detachment, will learn the laws of physics and chemistry.... The artist, with detachment, will be able to describe God through his own experiences." (SI-9/89,8)
Biographers of K have expressed their difficulties in research because of K's almost total loss of memory of his younger years. His orientation was always to the present, never to memories of a dead past. To run from the memory of a bad experience or desperately to hope for a good one can only sow the seeds of conflict. His own meditations were filled with the wonder of a small child. The energy that came he never tried to capture, give name to, or repeat.
K: "One must die each day to all one's memories, experiences, knowledge and hopes.... Not to gather, but to die each day, each minute, is timeless being.... These are not just words, but the statement of an actuality." (CLII,159)
Being and becoming
Even as a young teacher K would impress on his listeners the imperative for radical change. Perhaps it was the urgency he felt, that the world was at a point of crisis, which made him totally reject the idea of becoming, or gradual evolution. He considered it just another illusion of thought -- a stalling mechanism to hinder acceptance of the present reality. In discussions with physicist David Bohm, he explored the idea of complete mutation of the brain cells, a movement that would happen instantaneously, finding direct contact with Universal Mind. By completely rejecting the validity of the evolution of consciousness through time, he allowed his listener absolutely no escape from the present.
Maitreya is more patient. He says: "... isms, ideologies and beliefs are essential stages in the life of every human being .... evolution can only take place through them." He cautions that "we should not tell people to abandon their beliefs and philosophies because they are important for survival in our present world.... They 'get us up in the morning and send us to work in order that we may pay the bills and care for our family.... "(SI-3/90,5) Nevertheless, on the path of evolution, "... the moment a person gives up his brand of ism he will be free. He will find that I am within him for I am free of all ideologies." (SI-1-2/90,5)
The ideas included here are but a small portion of what both Maitreya and Krishnamurti have shared. The interested reader who further explores these realms will find many such parallels and may, in addition, experience the wonder and blessing that association with such thought can bestow.
*Quotations are drawn from the following sources:
(SI-4/90,5) -- Share International -- month/year, page; MM II -- Maitreya's Mission II, Benjamin Creme;
CL II -- Commentaries on Living II, Krishnamurti; KH -- Krishnamurti to Himself, Krishnamurti; KB -- Krishnamurti, a Biography, by Pupul Jayakar; WSM -- Mystic Fire Video/With a Silent Mind; NE -- On Nature and the Environment, Krishnamurti.http://www.share-international.org/ARCHIVES/Krishnamurti/k_bs-teachings-MnK.htm