Star in the East: Krishnamurti--The Invention of a Messiah

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9780312238254: Star in the East: Krishnamurti--The Invention of a Messiah

The extraordinary story of Krishnamurti, hailed early in life as the messiah for the 20th century, is told here in the light of a century of changing spiritual attitudes. It is a tale of mysticism, sexual scandals, religious fervor and chicanery, out of which emerged one of the most influential thinkers of modern times. Krishnamurti was "discovered" as a young boy on a beach in India by members of the Theosophical Society, convinced that they had found the new world leader, a spiritual savior as historic and as influential as Jesus himself. By the 1920s he was attracting worldwide press attention and people flocked to his talks in the thousands. In 1922, Krishnamurti broke with the society and set out on a teaching mission of his own as a secular philosopher of spirituality. He ultimately had a career that spanned six decades, founded seven schools, published 50 books and encompassed thousands of talks. This extraordinary story is told for the first time by Roland Vernon in the full light of 20th-century attitudes in a narrative that is as compelling as any novel.

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Review:

Roland Vernon's biography of Krishnamurti, subtitled The Invention of a Messiah, could also have been called simply Understanding the Man. Krishnamurti's life has been well chronicled, but Vernon keeps his sights on the people and events that shaped Krishnamurti's life. We learn about Charles Leadbeater, the allegedly pedophilic discoverer of and tutor to Krishnamurti; Annie Besant, the notorious social activist and Krishnamurti's second mother; and the mysterious and painful "process" that brought Krishnamurti to enlightenment. Besides the influences on his public persona, Vernon is also fascinated by the sometimes contradictory and less well-known private side of Krishnamurti. He had close ties to his brother Nitya, whose death galvanized Krishnamurti to forsake the organization that created him. And he carried on an extended clandestine affair with Rosalind Williams Rajagopal, his early companion and later wife of his friend and business partner. Not quick to pass judgment, Vernon looks at various perspectives of these people and events, unafraid finally to come down with his own well-reasoned opinions. Star in the East depicts Krishnamurti as a complex man who encouraged everyone to think for themselves. --Brian Bruya

About the Author:

Roland Vernon lives in Somerset, England with his wife and children. This is his first book.

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