My first meeting with Krishnamurti was in Boston in 1923 when I was a premedical student. I was a member of the Boston lodge of the Adyar Theosophical Society and heard him lecture there. It was only a few words, as I recall his talk; most of the words were by others. But his made more of an impression than all the others because of his personality, which so clearly expressed his love for humanity. I was lucky enough to be able to drive him to the South Station to catch his outgoing train and during this drive my first impressions were strengthened. Krishnamurti carried with him a peace and quiet happiness that were like a benediction. I saw in him no pose whatever and there was no attempt to make conversation; but he had great enthusiasm for life and for people. I wanted very much to see him again.

The chance came after two years of Harvard Medical School and after my first marriage had taken place in 1924. There was a tremendous fanfare of sensationalism of Krishnamurti in 1926. Mrs. Annie Besant, leader of the Theosophical Society, had proclaimed him in that year as the coming messiah, and reporters were having a field day. The 1926 Theosophical Convention was big news because Krishnamurti was to appear there and speak there. My wife and I were present, of course. She was as much impressed with Krishnaji as I was. We also met the manager of the American office of the Order of the Star in the East, the organization which had been founded in 1911 to prepare the world for what was happening at this very time. He said that my wife and I would be welcome to work at the Hollywood headquarters, if we cared to come, because the work had greatly increased. A month and a half later, we made our first trip to California, arriving on October 1, the birthday of Annie Besant. In Los Angeles, we heard her make a moving speech about the imminence of the coming of the World Teacher, and then we went with a young Theosophical friend to Hollywood, where she showed us the nice bungalow where we were to live.

There followed six months of much activity for both of us. We attended Theosophical meetings, meetings of the Young Theosophists, helped to print the magazine of the latter group, went to their dances, went to the Liberal Catholic Church not far away on Argyle Avenue, in addition to the work at Headquarters which kept us quite busy. We also went to Ojai occasionally, particularly after I had bought a car to make the trip easier. Here we saw Krishnaji (as we had learned to call him) at his home in Arya Vihara and heard him speak on a memorable occasion at Krotona when many said the Buddha spoke through him. In late March of 1927 we were asked by Rajagopal, Krishnaji's friend and manager of the world organization, if we would go to the international headquarters in the Netherlands and work there. Without hesitation, we said we would.

We sailed from New York at the end of April, 1927. Krishnaji, [6] Rajagopal, Mrs. Besant, and C.H. van der Leeuw were the leaders of the group that also included five young Americans: Fenn Germer, whom we had met Arya Vihara as a secretary; Eurith Goold, an accountant from Canada; Marion Cartwright, a secretary; and my wife and I. We landed at Bremerhaven and travelled by train to Ommen, where cars from the castle met us. Baron Phillip van Pallandt had given Krishnaji the use of his castle and his estate and it had been decided to use it as world headquarters of the Order of the Star.


At that time, the "wing" was no yet completed. This was one of the stables, outside of the inner moat, which was converted into modern, centrally heated apartments. So our first night was spent in the attic with the pigeons and the mechanism of the big clock. The Baron himself brought us metal hot water bottles. It was a cold May that year.

In a few weeks, we were all living comfortably in the wing; but sooner than that we were working in the offices in the basement, just above the level of the moat. Now and then stately swans would float past our iron-barred windows.

All meals were served in the castle, buffet style, in the big dining room. Krishnaji usually did not come down to breakfast, but he was always at luncheon or supper and when he was with us and not travelling he would always lead the meditations. These would take place before noon in the largest room of the castle -- originally a reception or council hall, but called by us the meditation room. All work stopped for meditations, which lasted about half an hour. The vision best remembered by me now is one all in white, very intense, as if I were trying each time to storm the gates of heaven: an Italian marchesa.

My wife and I lived at the castle for two and a half years. In the course of that time we saw many changes; but the years did follow a pattern. During the winters we devoted ourselves to office work, magazine editing, skating on the canals, and friendly assemblies in the music room. There original plays were performed, or charades enacted. We also listened to splendid music from one of the early electric phonographs. Leopold Stokowski, when he visited, presented several original records to the large collection. In the summers were first the sanghas at the castle, attended by leaders from all over the world, about one hundred each year. Following these gatherings were the Star Camps on another part of the estate where a large tent city had been set up. Over a thousand people each year stayed here about a week to listen to Krishnamurti's lectures.

At the camp of 1928 Krishnamurti gave his most dramatic and far-reaching talk. The weather was good that year and many of the meetings were outside of the big tent leased for wet weather use. This particular one was on a little elevation called Besthmerberg. Everyone in the vast throng could see both him and Mrs. Besant. He refused finally and firmly, in the nicest possible way, to continue in the role she had chosen for him. He wanted neither an organization nor followers? He [7] did not say he was not the World Teacher, but he did say that he would no longer fit into the Theosophical mold. He told no one what to do about it, of course, but many of his associates dropped out of the Theosophical Society shortly afterwards. The Order of the Star itself was dissolved in a few more years.

Krishnamurti has continued his teaching, but more as a philosopher than as a religious teacher. He still gives talks all over the world. He lives at Arya Vihara and most summers gives his lectures at Oak Grove near Ojai. He has also written many books on his ideas, which are mostly directed to helping one to attain the impersonal point of View and the mystical experience.

Reading back over what I have written, I can see that I haven't said a great deal about life at Eerde. It was a very happy life and Krishnaji's directness and enthusiasm and great love did have a strong effect on all of us, one that has lasted ever since. There were the usual jealousies; there was envy. These emotions were usually based on which one of us was receiving more of Krishnaji's attention and time than the others. But this did not go very deep; it was very ephemeral. We were always ashamed of it later. I have many times regretted not having finished medical school. But I believe I made the right choice when I gave it up to work for Krishnaji.


With so many people speaking of and looking forward to the reappearance of the World Teacher, the so-called Second Coming of Christ, the Director of BSRA thought the Associates might like to read the reminiscences of one who was close to Krishnamurti in the halcyon days of the 1920s. For a more detailed account of those days, and of Krishnaji's intimate beliefs and feelings, read Rom Landau's fascinating "God Is My Adventure". For this journalist also felt the impact of Krishnaji's aura in those meditation circles at Eerde.

Not long ago your director reviewed Krishnamurti as one of the best -- if not the greatest -- of modern mystics, for our Friday class here in Vista. It occurred to me as I presented his teachings on the development of the intuition that perhaps Annie Besant was right after all! That the radical notions of this young Hindu are the spiritual principles of the New Age! Consider this shattering bit of dialog with Landau at Carmel in 1934:

"What is your message today?" Landau asked him.

"I have no message," replied Krishnamurti. "If I had one, most people would accept it blindly and try to live up to it, merely because of the authority which they try to force upon me."

"But what do you tell people when they come and ask you to help them?"

"Most people come and ask me whether they can learn through experience."


"And your answer is?"

"That they cannot," replied Krishnaji firmly.


"Of course not. You cannot learn spiritual truth through experience. Don't you see? Let us assume that you had a deep sorrow and you learned how to fight against it. This experience will induce you to apply the same method of overcoming grief during your next sorrow."

"That does not seem wrong to me," said Landau.

"But it is wrong. Instead of doing something vital, you try to adapt a dead method to life. Your former experience had become a prescription, a medicine. But life is too complicated, too subtle for that. It never repeats itself; no two sorrows in your life are alike. Each new sorrow or joy must be dealt with in that particular fashion that the uniqueness of the experience requires."

"How can that be done?"

"By eliminating the memory of former experiences; by destroying all recollection of our actions and reactions."

"What remains after we have destroyed them all."

"An inner preparedness that brings you nearer truth. You never ought to act according to old habits but in the way life wants you to act -- spontaneously, on the spur of the moment . . ."

Shocking ideas aren't they? Especially to this hard headed Western world that prides itself on concrete thinking, on ordered reasoning based on memory, on mountains of data accumulated out of the past. All this of course is perfectly proper for us; for that was the evolutionary goal of this fifth sub-race, the development of the concrete mind. But the New Age, the epoch of the sixth-subrace will unfold the abstract mind, which does perceive truth direct without reasoning. Such a radical notion could only be received coldly in our day, just as coldly as the Pagan world received the radical notions of another obscure mystic two thousand years ago on the shores of Galilee. Jesus enunciated two spiritual principles for our epoch, that we should worship only the one God, and practice the Golden Rule -- ideas too advanced to redeem the Graeco-Roman world but rather directed toward the New Age that was then dawning in Europe. Today the orthodox Christian fondly looks for the reappearance of the Savior to redeem Europe and America but our civilization is beyond redemption! When and if the World Teacher does appear in our times, whether in the person of Krishnamurti or in some other cosmic medium, it will be to enunciate the new spiritual principles to be learned by the New Age and few there will be who will respond to His call. It will be too unorthodox, too radical for the understanding of most Americans and most Europeans.



  1. Landau, Rom. God Is My Adventure: a Book on Modern Mystics, Masters and Teachers [with Portraits]. London: I. Nicholson & Watson, 1935. Print. <> [Digital (PDF): <>]