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Houston, TX
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Erin Prophet Blog



A Clear-Headed Look at the Perils of Guru Worship

Erin Prophet

It's not easy to achieve objectivity when one has grown up in a tradition. One book that achieves a surprisingly objective stance is "Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti," by Radha Rajagopal Sloss. Many people are familiar with Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) as a spiritual teacher. He was recognized in the Theosophical tradition, repudiated his role as world teacher, and went on to become a well-known spiritual teacher in his own right. I am impressed with Ms. Sloss's ability to critically examine his tradition without discarding its meaningful contributions. Although she never professed Krishnamurti's teachings herself, her father was his chief editor and manager, and she grew up literally in his shadow, in a close family relationship with the man she called "Krinsh" as a young girl. The book deals largely with the double-life led by Krishnamurti as he sought family and normalcy in a sexual relationship with her mother, largely overlooked by her father. While maintaining a facade of celibacy expected by his Theosophically and Hindu-influenced followers, he sought intimacy with the wife of his close friend. The strains and deceptions caused by this arrangement are laid out well in the book, which does not however neglect Krishnamurti's genuine contributions to and influence in among the many people who sought some kind of coherence after the difficulties besetting the society's many factions after the decline of Besant and Leadbeater's leadership. I bought this book at the Theosophical History Conference in London. I think it shows strength and health when a tradition can look critically at its own history and assess the future based on the past.