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The Mystique of Enlightenment: The Radical Ideas of U.G. Krishnamurti Paperback – April 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although U.G. Krishnamurti claims that enlightenment can neither be described by language nor attained by practices or preparations of any sort, this book ironically enough offers his ideas on the subject. Krishnamurti prefers the term "natural state" to "enlightenment" because it occurs in spite of, not because of, spiritual devotions. No guru, religion or belief can induce the natural state, he says, and therefore spiritual leaders are false in dictating practices. Still, Krishnamurti claims that the natural state is the same as that attained by the Buddha, Jesus and even Socrates. As a precursor to the natural state, Krishnamurti experienced a physically torturous period that he calls "the calamity," a deathlike process characterized by headaches, swelling at the chakras and intense heat like an explosion that destroys "the illusion that there is continuity of thought, that there is a center, an `I'...." U.G. Krishnamurti takes pains to distance himself from J. Krishnamurti no relation, although the two did travel in similar circles and knew each other informally a spiritual leader whose own enlightenment was presaged by a physically torturous period known as the "Process." Indeed, the philosophy of U.G. Krishnamurti is not radically different from that of many other gurus. Metaphors of death and acausality are hardly exclusive, and the heart of his experience the dissolving of the "I" belongs squarely within the realm of nondualistic Hindu tradition. What typifies this book is the unfortunate way U.G. Krishnamurti dismisses other practitioners while offering little more in their place.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

U.G. Krishnamurti (no relation to Jiddu Krishnamurti) is an unclassifiable voice on the modern spirituality scene. First published in India in 1982 and edited by a Krishnamurti associate, this book collects transcribed conversations with the iconoclast, in which he aims to demolish any belief that is brought before him. He leads his listeners through a deconstruction of spirituality, enlightenment, gurus, and all of the other trappings of religious striving. He repeatedly emphasizes that he has nothing to offer anyone and that any attempt to achieve "self-realization" is pointless. He is so enigmatic that it is of special interest that the book includes his own account of his life and a description of his experience of the "natural state," his preferred term for what others might call enlightenment. Krishnamurti's radical approach is evident even in his copyright statement, in which he gives permission to anyone to reproduce or "even claim authorship" of the material in the book without his consent. This work will not have wide appeal, but it would make a good purchase for libraries with strong patron interest in Eastern philosophies and their modern exponents, even though Krishnamurti would certainly deny being the latter. Stephen Joseph, Butler Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Pittsburgh
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 159 pages
  • Publisher: Sentient Publications; New Ed edition (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971078610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971078611
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #774,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By R. Schwartz on January 27, 2005
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A unique and radical view on the idea of enlightenment that is an interesting read. In this U.G. Krishnamurti goes to the extreme side of the ineffable, he has no message to give, as all thoughts, all teachings, are contaminations, all of them!. This book is not for all who wish to metaphysically transcend. And Krishnamurti specifically says so. Do not follow him. Do not look for meaning into anything he has to say. Do not imitate anything he speaks of. If you do follow or try to learn from him then you have completely missed the point of his book.

Krishnamurti's answer to our search of enlightenment is that if we look to him for answers, we are wasting our time, he has none to give us. Nor does he have any worthwhile information at all except the idea that searching for truth is in itself a worthless task.

Then why be interested in reading what Krishnamurti has to say? Three factors. First of all, Krishnamurti was originally from the Theosophy Society, which he rejected. Secondly, he spent seven years with K. Krishnamurti, who he also rejected. Third, and most significant, he has encountered major biological changes in his body, which he goes into some fascinating details; an interior explosion of some sort that effects every last cell in the body. Most of us would interpret such bodily changes as pointing to Buddha consciousness. This Krishnamurti emphatically rejects, stating that there is no type of consciousness called Buddha, Christ, & etc. consciousness, as such ideas are completely erroneous.

The whole biological change in him he relates as an individual flowering of the self that occurs differently in all people, that is, in the very few, only one in a million/billion or so, that possibly have these changes take place in them.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By N. Rivera on December 30, 2005
I really wish I never read this book, stay away from it. It opened my eyes to "things" and now I have no idea what to do. The real reason for me being spiritiual was for me to be special and know more than the next man and for people to garnish their attention on me. I always knew this but I was lying to myself. anyway, great book, dont read it. it will turn you upside down.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Srikrishna Ghadiyaram on July 14, 2004
As it is said that TRUTH can't be explained in words, one should understand the nature of TRUTH directly. The words of UG will strongly discourage you from using the 'thinking apparatus' for this purpose. The style is aggressive, blaming and fuming (many times). I think, not all will be happy with his style. One has to search out the message for himself. There may be a more pleasant way of comunicating the same message. His anti-guru, anti-religion voice is some thing you may have to bear with and get moving, and take only the clues about 'enlightenment'.

UG has undergone various practices in yoga and vedanta. Though now he denounces 'any system', he does use terminology from various Hindu disciplines, to explain the 'natural state'. I too appreciate UGs views that if we can free ourselves from all the 'past', that will be enlightenment.

He is communicating that 'liberation' is being free from notion of an individual-self and he says that it is the 'natural state'. He also says that it is not volitional i.e you can not get to that state by your choice and effort. But, he also says that you can not escape 'sadhana' by volition. So, people who are trying to understand and live that state of 'absence of individual-self', at this time by volition, will surely benefit by reading his expression of what it means to live as 'no individual-self'.

Here are some paragraphs, which I picked from the online book at [...] They may help to understand this phenomenon of enlightenment. It will not go waste if any seeker reads it. But be warned that he is not going to come out as a 'kind' teacher. I regret that I am not able to present here many beautiful thoughts of UG, because of space limitaion.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 9, 2004
The UG. books are all dialogues between UG and others that were recorded on various topics. U.G. Krishnamurti is definately a character in the "spiritual" (he dislikes that word associated with him)community.
It is quite difficult to describe him and his system of thought since he doesn't really have one. I will attempt to do so only for the sake of the reader, not that it will be totally accurate since it will still be a label which he would probably himself disagree with. He's part philospher, guru, social commentator, and ironically-an anti-guru.
He seems to be a self realized man. His main attitude about spirituality is that of pointing out the traps of all these spiritual systems and the gimmicks, money making, scamish guru businesses that have existed over time. In short, pointing out the stranglehold that society can create in an individual who has been sucked into the system of always trying to fix yourself, change, improve or naively following a false spiritual teaching only to become more confused than when you started. His books do a lot of bashing. He's not a gentle, passive kind of guy, he's more a negator of man made concepts and their many traps. Mostly he's tearing down ideologies not creating them.
Most of what he says makes for stimulating contemplation. You may not agree with it at first, but he plants a seed in you that germinates later, and makes you question. He even can come across a bit repulsive at first because he's so on the attack always.
UG Krishnamurti is not to be confused with the famous J. Krishnamurti who UG personally knew and criticizes because he felt that although J. Krishnamurti kept claiming the "no guru is necessary" philosophy, UG.
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