TT: martin gardner on
I first heard of J Krishnamurti more than ten years ago. At that time, the impression I had of him was that of a man who respected no tradition and generally that of an iconoclast. As I grew older, I came in contact with people connected to the Theosophical Society and Krishnamurti. His books seemed definitely interesting. It was difficult for me to characterize JK as belonging to any particular faith or stream of thought.
I've gone through a couple of his books. One of them - "On Fear" is a collection of speeches and writings delivered by JK on fear. His thought seemed clear. Forget what Martin Gardner says in this mentioned article, but JK seemed clear enough to me. I kind of envied him for being 'free' of fear. Because only one who is free of fear could honestly truthfully write a book on the mechanism of fear and how to overcome it. So I had thought of JK as a fearless man.
But this particular article and a bunch of others seem to convey something else. There is a letter that JK wrote to his long time associate Raja that shows everything. That letter can still be construed to be from a fearless person - but it generally seemed to convey an otherwise impression. JK, while not bound by any tradition, also seems to fall in the class of charlatans and mountebanks, fooling people with his verbosity and a facade of wisdom. So, if this article is true, JK was like any other guru - the kind that he detested and well trapped in the web of human frailty.
Martin Gardner, for his part, has been needlessly harsh in criticizing JK's teachings, I feel. Also, I would like to know where JK said that a man's brain would undergo mutation upon realization.
Before I ended up on this page, I was googling for Martin Gardner, whose achievements are quite remarkable for a non-professional mathematician and scientist. Gardner, who is a ripe 91 as I write this, loves to junk parapsychology. His belief of philosophical theism is interesting. I loved his work on Recreational mathematics and want to read his "scrivener" work when I can get around to it.
MG refers to JK as "one of the most peculiar gurus ever to come out of Mother India". Is he sarcastic here? I felt more than a hint of it. Do others feel the same?
The linked article is quite interesting as a person hailed by someone like Doug Hofstadter (author of GEB) as one of the prominent intellects of America has expressed his views on a brilliant physicist and a guru. (a title that JK detested)