Now about "the Talks" that Mr. Krishnamurti (JK) asked me if I would be attending in a day or so.
I told him that the Talks were why I had asked permission to come and see him this time, and in doing so also told him about meeting David Bohm's brother-in-law in Israel, explaining that it was he who called the Bohms and asked them to convey my request to him. He complimented me on my resourcefulness and then invited me to join him for lunch in an hour or so, where I might actually meet Professor Bohm, who would also be joining them. That was the first time I heard him referred to as "Professor" Bohm. I thanked JK for the invitation and said I'd be there for certain.
Walking back to my room I wondered what Professor Bohm was a Professor of...
My room was exactly that. The school had only been in operation since 1969, but in those four years they had managed to build a small compound of rooms for visitors they called "The Cloisters". Each room was spartan-like in its accouterments, yet quite comfortable, despite its similarly spartan-like dimensions. Just enough room for a bed, a small desk, and an adjoining shower and toilet facility. I managed to unpack my bag, take a quick shower and get to the main dining room on time, where the school's students, faculty and guests were all dining together.
I sat down at a long table with JK, Mary Zimbalist and Dorothy Simmons, a remarkable woman who was the school's original Administrator and the person who was instrumental in pulling the entire concept of a Krishnamurti School in England together. Mary Z. explained that we were responsible for getting our own lunch from the nearby facility and bringing it back to the table. By the time I returned, a nice-looking gentleman wearing a tweed jacket, a dark blue sleeveless sweater and complementing shirt, tie and pants was already seated at the table with his lunch in front of him. Someone, I forget who, introduced us and that's how I met Professor David Bohm, the man who would become the other pivotal figure in the entirely new direction my life would soon be taking.
I wish I could say that a sparkling conversation immediately ensued. If it did I have no recollection of it. In fact I don't remember Professor Bohm uttering a word other than 'Hi" when we were introduced, and it was only later that day that I was told by someone that he was a well-known Professor of Theoretical Physics - which got me to wondering what Theoretical Physics could possibly be about. I would later (much later) also learn that Professor Bohm was a very shy man who sparked into animated life when he was talking about what he loved most - Physics and its relationship to the nature of Consciousness.
mentioned earlier, it was that single phrase, "the observer and the
observed" that had
originally drawn him to meeting JK. It is a fundamental aspect of Quantum Physics which states that it's not really possible to divide the world into separate components on a quantum level -- and that includes a scientist and whatever he is observing through his microscope. The scientist, the microscope and the object itself are all indivisible from each other by virtue of the quantum - which is the smallest possible element of measurement and is itself a discrete unit of energy.
It took about a year or so for DB
to track JK down and arrange for that first meeting. Soon the two men were meeting regularly in an ongoing series of dialogues (from 1965 to 1984) looking for the common ground - the common language - which would allow them to explain - first to each other, each from their own perspective and then to the world, why this single aspect - the relationship of the observer and the observed - was so significant. Was it possible that what Quantum Physics was talking about from a material perspective and what JK was talking about from a so-called "spiritual" perspective were somehow related to each other?
Mrs. Bohm would later tell me that the exploration began at that initial meeting of the two men - at which she was also in attendance. In response to JK's asking DB what his work was about, he was explaining to JK how his specific interest in Physics was focused on and striving towards an understanding of what he called, "Totality". Hearing that word, JK literally jumped to his feet and said "That's it, Sir! That's it!" And from that point on, it was each man's understanding of the word "Totality" and what stood in the way of our understanding of it, and perhaps even somehow connecting to it through that insight, that would fuel the dialogues that would be ongoing for more than two decades.
DB continued that exploration even after JK's passing in 1986, and until his own passing in 1992, by finding new ways to articulate his insights, in a series of seven annual Dialogues he held in Ojai California with people who came literally from around the world to hear what DB had to say and to actively participate in the dialogue process themselves.
So, in a sense, Professor Bohm continued doing what he had begun to do even before he had met Krishnamurti -- which was to find ways to communicate his perception of the worlds of Relativity and Quantum Physics with words rather than just equations and formulas. Only now his focus would be on the nature of Consciousness.
As a postscript to that endeavor, Professor Bohm once told me, that when the famous historian of Science Carl Von Weisacker asked him how it was that such a distinguished scientist in the field of Theoretical Physics had turned his attention to the study of Consciousness, Bohm answered him quite simply and honestly with these seven words: "To me it was all one movement."
Regarding when we first met during lunch in Brockwood Park, I do recall one thing that happened at the table that day. Maybe because you can take the comedy writer out of Hollywood but his love of the comedic form stays with him forever. And on that day, at that table during lunch, JK would deliver a set up and punch line for what I consider to be one of the all-time great "lawyer jokes" - a genre of jokes that is built around lawyers and the practice of their profession that goes back at least to Shakespeare's own contribution, in his famous line from Henry VI "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." - - Only the character who said it wasn't kidding. He was explaining how to ward off a revolution in the kingdom.
While we were eating and talking about things I can't recall, JK looked past me and spotted a man, a visitor, seated at another table. He turned to Mrs. Zimbalist and asked: That man seated at the table over there, what is his name, again?" Mrs. Z told JK the man's name. "And what is his occupation?", asked JK. Mrs. Z. answered "He's an attorney". Without missing a beat, JK said: "Ah, he's doomed!" and we all went on with lunch.
Now, about JK's Public Talks.
It's been estimated that during the 60 years he circled the globe, he talked to more people - "Live" - than any other person who ever lived. Moreover, a steady stream of books, videos and DVD of his work have been released since the 70's, and in the past few years there's even been a sudden interest in his work in China. Has his message in any way been assimilated by the countless generations of people he continues to reach? There's no real way of knowing, nor will there be for years to come. Certainly neither the Buddha nor Jesus nor any other "teacher" ever knew if the seeds of what they were communicating had been sown. Not while they were alive.
What we do know is that although what JK had to say has been compared with other teachers, there is something significantly different about the content of his Talks, beginning with the fact that he spoke in contemporary terms of the very real psychological toll our mediated, deeply conditioned perceptions of the world exact from us.
Back in the days of the Buddha, the word "psychology" hadn't been invented yet. However, we are told that in spite of this, what he had to say might have been similar in its approach. Unfortunately, over the years, others developed concepts based on what they think he meant by what they think he said and a religion was formed based on those concepts. The same is true of Christ's original message. What people thought he meant by what they think he said, would become the basis for a religion. The Buddhists are told about the Eightfold Path they should follow, and Christians are told that they should live their lives by literally "imitating" the manner in which Christ lived his life. Except, I suppose for the being crucified part.
On the other hand, perhaps because he was quite aware of what had happened to others before him, once he realized that a very serious attempt to build a religion around him was taking place (while he was still alive!) JK stopped the world-wide movement dead in its tracks. How? He simply walked away from it.
And in that final speech in which he told his followers around the world that he was walking away, he stated quite emphatically that "Truth is a pathless land"- - meaning, Truth (capital T" ) is not merely a mental concept or idea that can be captured and frozen by the intellect. Consequently there are neither roads, nor people that can lead one to it, including himself; adding that: "Leaders destroy their followers and followers destroy their leaders."
About that incident:
Back in 1970, just a few months after I first met Krishnamurti, he asked me to join him and Mrs. Zimbalist one day, when they would be coming to NBC Studios in Burbank for him to do an on-air interview. I happened to be working at those same Studios at the time, on a television Special with Bing Crosby. (Remember him? Nice man.)
The interviewer was Bob Abernathy who was then a local Los Angeles newscaster. A few years later he became the producer and principal on-air personality of a PBS Show about "Religion and Ethics" - which is still on the air. So it seems that his interest in JK at the time, wasn't just idle curiosity.
Abernathy was seated behind his desk when we entered his office. I noticed that he had an open copy of one of the (then) rare texts of JK's talks called "Verbatim Reports" on his desk. After the introductory amenities, Abernathy wasted no time in cutting to the task at hand. It was no more than an hour before air-time and the live interview. His first question, after explaining that he'd been reading some of JK's talks was, how was it, that he had come to, what Abernathy called, "this position of authority".
I knew enough even back then to know that JK would have liked to take issue with Abernathy's "position of authority" phrase, since one of his most astonishing statements that would separate him from other "teachers" and priests and rabbis and gurus and mullahs and Lamas - past, present or future - was that there were "... no authorities in matters of the spirit". But instead he proceeded to give Abernathy a brief overview of the events regarding his "discovery" when he was about 12 years old, by two famous psychics as he was running along the Adyar River in India with his ragamuffin friends. His life would soon be taken over by the psychics who were also leaders of the Theosophical Society .
Note: The TS had been established decades before in the 19th Century as the instrument that would fuse Eastern (Buddhism and Hinduism) and Western (Christianity) religions in fulfillment of a prophecy. This was no storefront operation and listed among its illustrious members around the world, inventor Thomas Edison, writer Oscar Wilde and and poet William Butler Yeats .
The Society's leaders claimed that the young boy would soon become the "vehicle" for an entity known for millenia as "Maitreya" in fulfillment of the Hindu perspective of the same prophecy. When that happened he would become "the World Teacher" - a term that everyone apparently agreed was a proper one. And in preparation for that event they started structuring a religion around him, even when he was still a child, complete with rituals and a hierarchy of priests and bishops. Not surprisingly, the religion was given a name that related to Christianity, since the organization's leaders were all former members of various branches of that religion. It was called the Liberal Catholic Church.
JK explained further to Abernathy that the older the boy became ( he referred to "the boy" in the third person) the more he questioned what was happening around him.
That's when JK spoke the ten words that upon hearing them, created a defining moment in my life, just as the incident the words described became a defining moment in JK's life, as well. As he painted the picture of what was happening around him almost half a century before, he said:
"Then someone mentioned the word 'Messiah' and the circus began."
And when "the circus" began, was when JK walked away from the prison that being worshiped by others would have imposed on him. From that point on, he was a free man. His mission? - if he had one? To point the way for others to set themselves free - not by following anyone, including himself, but by doing it in the only way possible -- through the never-ending, ever-deepening understanding of their own selves.
In the half century that followed, he appears to have done just that. Just what? How do you communicate a message that has no Ten Commandments, no Gospels according to Mathew, Mark, Luke or John, no Koran, no Upanishads, no Torah, no Tao Te Ching and no Guru to "guide" you ?
Oddly. the closest I ever heard anyone who studied JK's work come to explaining its essence was Bruce Lee, who claimed his approach to Martial Arts was based on what he learned from JK. He used to give out a pendant to those whom he personally instructed in his free-wheeling method which confounded all of his opponents, right to the end. The pendant read: "The Way of No Way."
The links below are to an audio recording of a particular JK Public Talk that required a little detective work to uncover. Recall please (as I did) that prior to visiting the Brockwood Park School, I was in Israel where the last event we videotaped for Israel's 25th Anniversary celebration, took place in the Caesarea Amphitheater. That specific event was called - in Hebrew - "The Kumzits of the August Moon. A Kumzits is exactly what it sounds like, "come and sit"; in this case under August's Full Moon in 1973 . That meant I arrived in England for the JK Talks toward the end of August. A little research led me to the revelation that the talks I attended took place during the first week in September of 1973. And the first of those talks took place on September 1st.
And that's the audiotape you will be hearing should you choose to listen.
It's never before been published, but I have friends in high places who were kind enough to make its acquisition possible. So this is its "World Premier" - on the web. To underscore the uniqueness of this particular Talk, in my research I learned that it contains more references to the phrase "the observer and the observed" than any of the more than 350 other Public Talks during which JK mentioned it -- 18 to be exact. He apparently first used it, way back in 1936 when he mentioned it only once, this way:
"If there is constant alertness of mind without the duality of the observer and the observed, if mind can know itself as it is, without denial, assertion, acceptance or resignation, then out of that very actuality comes love, creative intelligence."
Did he focus on the term during the September 1st Talk because he knew Professor David Bohm was in the audience? Possibly, although they'd already known each either for more than a decade, and surely Bohm had attended countless Talks prior to that one . Well then, maybe it was because he knew that 36 years later I'd be writing this entry for this blog and that it had gotten too long, so I'd need an intriguing ending to get me out of here and to get you to click on the links below and listen to him say what he had to say, before you got out of here...
Just kidding... Like I said, you can take the comedy writer out of Hollywood, but...etc.
NOTE: There are no edits in these tapes... so there's about 40 seconds of silence between the time someone identifies the date and place of the Talk and Mr. Krishnamurti speaks. But once he gets started... well... the rest is up to you...