Review: As One Is, by Jiddu Krishnamurti

By Psyche | September 1, 2007

As One Is: To Free the Mind from All Conditioning, by Jiddu Krishnamurti
Hohm Press, 1890772623, 147 pp., 2007

Jiddu Krishanmurti (1895 – 1986) was born in Madanapalle, India, and, after meeting C. W. Leadbeater in 1909, was subsequently raised by both him and Annie Besant, then leaders of the Theosophical Society. They proclaimed him the latest incarnation of the Maitreya Buddha and various spiritual figures, honours which Krishnamurti later renounced at the age of 34. He spent much of his life travelling, speaking to large and small groups, as well as authoring a number of books.

As One Is is composed of a series of eight talks given in Ojai, California in 1955. As noted in the forward, “[t]hese eight talks were spoken without notes, ex tempore, in the shade of a grove of oak tress in the summer…before an audience of perhaps several hundred…”

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The lectures don’t bear specific titles; instead they are referred to by number. That the lectures were unscripted comes across clearly; they’re often circular, and as I read, I could, at times, almost hear the dramatic pauses for effect.

The talks dance around conditioning of the mind, consider the problem of concentration versus attention, and self improvement without ever actually settling on anything that would offer a useful suggestion as to what to do about it.

These lectures may have faired better when delivered in person, but the endless regurgitation of vague and empty themes without resolution doesn’t make for particularly stimulating reading.

While As One Is may prove useful as an historic record of these talks, it appears more an odd relic of a time happily gone by.

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