17 February 1986: Jiddu Krishnamurti, philosopher and author, died

Known for his extraordinary capability of oration and knowledge of spiritual and philosophical topics, Jiddu Krishnamurti was a well known public speaker and author. He penned down several books on human psychological nature, relationships and meditation. He strongly opposed the barriers of caste, creed and nationality that exist among people. He spent his entire life preaching equality of all and the true essence of being human.

Early life and association with the Theosophical Society

Krishnamurti was born in a Brahmin family in Andhra Pradesh, India. He lost his mother at the tender age of 10. As a child he suffered from recurrent bouts of malaria; he was sick all the time, and was not treated well either at home or at school. His life changed when he met Charles Leadbeater, who discovered the spiritual inclination and narrative power in Krishnamurti and predicted him to be the "world teacher" who will aid to the evolution of mankind. He was nurtured accordingly by the Theosophical Society, with proper secular as well as spiritual education. The Theosophical Society made him the head of the Order of the Star in East and he, along with brother Nitya, travelled to several parts of Europe to deliver speeches and lectures to the OSE members of London. He also wrote several articles for the booklets and magazines published by the Theosophical Society.

Life-changing experiences 

His life changed when he planned to settle down in Ojai Valley in California, and started experiencing a mystical, spiritual awakening, with a sharp deterioration in health, resulting in a complete psychological transformation. He emerged from it a new human being after that.

Breaking old ties

Krishnamurti’s spiritual awakening imparted a new consciousness in him and he decided to break ties with the Theosophical Society completely. This turned the Theosophists against him. He concentrated more on human relationships and psyche, rather than preaching the organised, traditional beliefs, and thus completely changed his outlook. He cut all his connections with the Order of the Star, their affiliates and trusts, and returned all the money and the properties received from them.

Middle and later years

During his middle years, Krishnamurti founded the Star Publishing Trust with Rajagopal, and preferred to engage himself in several tours and lectures all across the world, talking about the sorrow, pain, beliefs of a spiritual life and its effects on human mind. His philosophical thoughts and ideas were expressed in several books that he wrote throughout his life. During this period he became close friends with several well known personalities all across the world.

Personal life and relationships

Krishnamurti was very fond of Annie Besant, whom he considered to be his surrogate mother. During his association with the Theosophical Society, he was in a relationship with a young American Helen Knothe closely attached to the organisation. They two soon parted their ways because the relationship was a hindrance to his life mission. He also had a secret affair with Rosalind, wife of Rajagopal, which was later on mentioned in his biographies written by his close associates.


Krishnamurti was a born orator and even a few weeks before his death, delivered lectures on various aspects of life in New York and India. He had no offsprings and disliked his associates or followers to interpret his teachings on his behalf. He died of severe pancreatic cancer at 90, and his remains were scattered across USA, England and India.


Also on this day:

1883 – Vasudev Balwant Phadke, Indian activist, died

1984 – Sadha, Indian actress, was born

1987 – Aseem Trivedi, Indian cartoonist and activist, was born

2013 – Manoranjan Das, Indian playwright, died

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