1929 Full Dissolution Speech

I have a friend who asked me about this, and thought it would be good to share this with the group and see if others have any thoughts and feelings on this. These are his thoughts and questions:

Have any of you read the full version of K’s 1929 “Dissolution Speech” recently? I would love to hear how you feel about it as a whole, without being sidetracked by its overstressed emancipation proclamation “truth is a pathless land” slogan. In it he lays out in startling terms, what he thinks of himself! He also speaks about his vision of a small future community. Also he speaks of “The Kingdom of Happiness” and wrote a book by that title!
What do you think? Are K students and aficionados today those who live in, by or in Light of “The Way” of “The Kingdom of Happiness”?
For years I only read the more easily available edited versions and like others thought of it as “The Truth is a Pathless Land talk”. It is far more than that. I wonder “is the idea that truth is a pathless land more important than a Kingdom of Happiness”? Why or why not? I would like to know what others think. I think this document should be taken out of mothballs and the closet and deeply reflected upon. At least I would like to hear a good argument for why not!

The Order of the Star in the East was founded by the Theosophical Society in 1911 to proclaim the coming of the World Teacher. Krishnamurti was made Head of the Order. On August 3, 1929, the opening day of the annual Star Camp in Ommen, Holland, Krishnamurti dissolved the Order before 3000 members. Below is the full text of the talk he gave on that occasion:

We are going to discuss this morning the dissolution of the Order of the Star. Many people will be delighted, and others will be rather sad. It is a question neither for rejoicing nor for sadness, because it is inevitable, as I am going to explain. You may remember the story of how the devil and a friend of his were walking down the street, when they saw ahead of them a man stoop down and pick up something from the ground, look at it, and put it away in his pocket. The friend said to the devil, ‘What did that man pick up?’ He picked up a piece of Truth,’ said the devil. ‘That is a very bad business for you, then,’ said his friend. ‘Oh, not at all,’ the devil replied, ‘I am going to let him organize it.’

I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountain-top to the valley. If you would attain to the mountain-top you must pass through the valley, climb the steeps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices.

So that is the first reason, from my point of view, why the Order of the Star should be dissolved. In spite of this, you will probably form other Orders, you will continue to belong to other organizations searching for Truth. I do not want to belong to any organization of a spiritual kind, please understand this. I would make use of an organization which would take me to London, for example; this is quite a different kind of organization, merely mechanical, like the post or the telegraph. I would use a motor car or a steamship to travel, these are only physical mechanisms which have nothing whatever to do with spirituality. Again, I maintain that no organization can lead man to spirituality.

If an organization be created for this purpose, it becomes a crutch, a weakness, a bondage, and must cripple the individual, and prevent him from growing, from establishing his uniqueness, which lies in the discovery for himself of that absolute, unconditioned Truth. So that is another reason why I have decided, as I happen to be the Head of the Order, to dissolve it. No one has persuaded me to this decision. This is no magnificent deed, because I do not want followers, and I mean this. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth. I am not concerned whether you pay attention to what I say or not. I want to do a certain thing in the world and I am going to do it with unwavering concentration. I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies. Then you will naturally ask me why I go the world over, continually speaking. I will tell you for what reason I do this: not because I desire a following, not because I desire a special group of special disciples. (How men love to be different from their fellow-men, however ridiculous, absurd and trivial their distinctions may be! I do not want to encourage that absurdity.) I have no disciples, no apostles, either on earth or in the realm of spirituality. Nor is it the lure of money, nor the desire to live a comfortable life, which attracts me. If I wanted to lead a comfortable life I would not come to a camp or live in a damp country! I am speaking frankly because I want this settled once and for all. I do not want these childish discussions year after year.

One newspaper reporter, who interviewed me, considered it a magnificent act to dissolve an organization in which there were thousands and thousands of members. To him it was a great act because, he said: ‘What will you do afterwards, how will you live? You will have no following, people will no longer listen to you.’ If there are only five people who will listen, who will live, who have their faces turned towards eternity, it will be sufficient. Of what use is it to have thousands who do not understand, who are fully embalmed in prejudice, who do not want the new, but would rather translate the new to suit their own sterile, stagnant selves? If I speak strongly, please do not misunderstand me, it is not through lack of compassion. If you go to a surgeon for an operation, is it not kindness on his part to operate even if he cause you pain? So, in like manner, if I speak straightly, it is not through lack of real affection–on the contrary.

As I have said, I have only one purpose: to make man free, to urge him towards freedom, to help him to break away from all limitations, for that alone will give him eternal happiness, will give him the unconditioned realization of the self.

Because I am free, unconditioned, whole–not the part, not the relative, but the whole Truth that is eternal–I desire those, who seek to understand me to be free; not to follow me, not to make out of me a cage which will become a religion, a sect. Rather should they be free from all fears–from the fear of religion, from the fear of salvation, from the fear of spirituality, from the fear of love, from the fear of death, from the fear of life itself. As an artist paints a picture because he takes delight in that painting, because it is his self-expression, his glory, his well-being, so I do this and not because I want anything from anyone. You are accustomed to authority, or to the atmosphere of authority, which you think will lead you to spirituality. You think and hope that another can, by his extraordinary powers–a miracle–transport you to this realm of eternal freedom which is Happiness. Your whole outlook on life is based on that authority.

You have listened to me for three years now, without any change taking place except in the few. Now analyze what I am saying, be critical, so that you may understand thoroughly, fundamentally. When you look for an authority to lead you to spirituality, you are bound automatically to build an organization around that authority. By the very creation of that organization, which, you think, will help this authority to lead you to spirituality, you are held in a cage.

If I talk frankly, please remember that I do so, not out of harshness, not out of cruelty, not out of the enthusiasm of my purpose, but because I want you to understand what I am saying. That is the reason why you are here, and it would be a waste of time if I did not explain clearly, decisively, my point of view. For eighteen years you have been preparing for this event, for the Coming of the World Teacher. For eighteen years you have organized, you have looked for someone who would give a new delight to your hearts and minds, who would transform your whole life, who would give you a new understanding; for someone who would raise you to a new plane of life, who would give you a new encouragement, who would set you free–and now look what is happening! Consider, reason with yourselves, and discover in what way that belief has made you different–not with the superficial difference of the wearing of a badge, which is trivial, absurd. In what manner has such a belief swept away all the unessential things of life? That is the only way to judge: in what way are you freer, greater, more dangerous to every society which is based on the false and the unessential? In what way have the members of this organization of the Star become different? As I said, you have been preparing for eighteen years for me. I do not care if you believe that I am the World Teacher or not. That is of very little importance. Since you belong to the organization of the Order of the Star, you have given your sympathy, your energy, acknowledging that Krishnamurti is the World Teacher–partially or wholly: wholly for those who are really seeking, only partially for those who are satisfied with their own half-truths.

You have been preparing for eighteen years, and look how many difficulties there are in the way of your understanding, how many complications, how many trivial things. Your prejudices, your fears, your authorities, your Churches new and old–all these, I maintain, are a barrier to understanding. I cannot make myself clearer than this. I do not want you to agree with me, I do not want you to follow me, I want you to understand what I am saying. This understanding is necessary because your belief has not transformed you but only complicated you, and because you are not willing to face things as they are. You want to have your own gods–new gods instead of the old, new religions instead of the old, new forms instead of the old–all equally valueless, all barriers, all limitations, all crutches. Instead of old spiritual distinctions you have new spiritual distinctions, instead of old worships you have new worships. You are all depending for your spirituality on someone else, for your happiness on someone else, for your enlightenment on someone else; and although you have been preparing for me for eighteen years, when I say all these things are unnecessary, when I say that you must put them all away and look within yourselves for the enlightenment, for the glory, for the purification, and for the incorruptibility of the self, not one of you is willing to do it. There may be a few, but very, very few. So why have an organization?

Why have false, hypocritical people following me, the embodiment of Truth? Please remember that I am not saying something harsh or unkind, but we have reached a situation when you must face things as they are. I said last year that I would not compromise. Very few listened to me then. This year I have made it absolutely clear. I do not know how many thousands throughout the world–members of the Order–have been preparing for me for eighteen years, and yet now they are not willing to listen unconditionally, wholly, to what I say.

As I said before, my purpose is to make men unconditionally free, for I maintain that the only spirituality is the incorruptibility of the self which is eternal, is the harmony between reason and love. This is the absolute, unconditioned Truth which is life itself. I want therefore to set man free, rejoicing as the bird in the clear sky, unburdened, independent, ecstatic in that freedom. And I, for whom you have been preparing for eighteen years, now say that you must be free of all these things, free from your complications, your entanglements. For this you need not have an organization based on spiritual belief. Why have an organization for five or ten people in the world who understand, who are struggling, who have put aside all trivial things? And for the weak people, there can be no organization to help them to find the Truth, because Truth is in everyone; it is not far, it is not near; it is eternally there.

Organizations cannot make you free. No man from outside can make you free; nor can organized worship, nor the immolation of yourselves for a cause, make you free; nor can forming yourselves into an organization, nor throwing yourselves into works, make you free. You use a typewriter to write letters, but you do not put it on an altar and worship it. But that is what you are doing when organizations become your chief concern.

‘How many members are there in it?’ That is the first question I am asked by newspaper reporters. ‘How many followers have you? By their number we shall judge whether what you say is true or false.’ I do not know how many there are. I am not concerned with that. As I said, if there were even one who had been set free, that is enough.

Again, you have the idea that only certain people hold the key to the Kingdom of Happiness. No one holds it. No one has the authority to hold that key. That key is your own self, and in the development and the purification and in the incorruptibility of that self alone is the Kingdom of Eternity.

So you will see how absurd is the whole structure that you have built, looking for external help, depending on others for your comfort, for your happiness, for your strength. These can only be found within yourselves.

You are accustomed to being told how far you have advanced, what is your spiritual status. How childish! Who but yourself can tell you if you are beautiful or ugly within? Who but yourself can tell you if you are incorruptible? You are not serious in these things.

But those who really desire to understand, who are looking to find that which is eternal, without beginning and without an end, will walk together with a greater intensity, will be a danger to everything that is unessential, to unrealities, to shadows. And they will concentrate, they will become the flame, because they understand. Such a body we must create, and that is my purpose. Because of that real understanding there will be true friendship. Because of that true friendship–which you do not seem to know–there will be real cooperation on the part of each one. And this not because of authority, not because of salvation, not because of immolation for a cause, but because you really understand, and hence are capable of living in the eternal. This is a greater thing than all pleasure, than all sacrifice.

So these are some of the reasons why, after careful consideration for two years, I have made this decision. It is not from a momentary impulse. I have not been persuaded to it by anyone. I am not persuaded in such things. For two years I have been thinking about this, slowly, carefully, patiently, and I have now decided to disband the Order, as I happen to be its Head. You can form other organizations and expect someone else. With that I am not concerned, nor with creating new cages, new decorations for those cages. My only concern is to set man absolutely, unconditionally free.’

Copyright © Krishnamurti Foundation of America


It is good that you draw attention to this.

I always enjoy getting the raw, unedited versions of his talks.

For example, I was very touched by the first series of dialogues with David Bohm in 1975 that were released as audio tapes.

Only parts were published in two books “truth and actuality” and “the limits of thought.”

The non-verbal search element comes out so beautifully there and I have not come across it like that anywhere else.

Yes. It is a remarkable speech, and signified a completely new beginning for Krishnamurti’s public teaching.

In his much later conversations with Bohm and others he apparently felt that nothing substantial had changed in his teaching over the intervening years, even though the language underwent significant revision.

One of these linguistic revisions worth highlighting is the way that the later Krishnamurti used the word “self”, which is very different from how the earlier Krishnamurti uses the word in this speech.

It is clear that - as a non-reader of philosophy - the earlier Krishnamurti wasn’t much influenced in this usage by evolved traditional systems such as Advaita, so it would be entirely wrong to assume a direct comparison here with what they call atman (and all the associations surrounding that word). And K definitely moved away from any talk of an incorruptible “self” not long after this.

But the fact that he later felt that nothing substantial had changed in his teaching from that time makes this usage of “self” interesting, and it is worth trying to understand what he means by it here.

I will highlight the way he uses the term in the following quotes:

As we can see, the way he is using the word “self” here implies that it is something that can be “realised”; and that either it is intrinsically “incorruptible”, or it can be made so through “purification”.

It surely doesn’t need my pointing out to see that this is entirely different to how he used the word “self” in the mature phase of his teaching.

For the older Krishnamurti the “self” is entirely the product of thought, and entirely divisive. In this sense it is much closer to the way the word is understood by Buddhists: i.e. the “self” is a dangerous illusion, something that ‘appears’, that has temporary force and power, but in the end is discovered to be entirely empty - a mere nothing.

Yet in this early phase the “self” is something positive, something real, true - like intelligence and love are in K’s later expression.

So the 1929 Krishnamurti is clearly not talking here about a personal self or ego; nor of a collective “self” put together through our conditioning. He appears to be talking of something set apart, something outside the field of conditioning - something “unconditioned” as he says.

What could this “unconditioned” thing be?

Is it simply the intelligence and love beyond thought that K would later make central to his teaching?

David Bohm, much later on, discussed this issue of the self briefly and had this to say:

The basic meaning of the word ‘self’, according to the dictionary, is the ‘quintessence’—the essence of the essence… whatever the self is, its essence is unknown but constantly revealing itself. (Thought as a System)

“Essence”, by the way, simply means “being”, from its PIE root es- “to be.”

But if self is the essence - in this context - what is it the essence of? As far as I can understand it, K is simply talking about the essence of the mind, the essence of human consciousness purified of all limitations and conditioning.

In his last years K talked about the mind as being ‘outside’ the brain:

Psychologically, subjectively, we are very limited. That’s part of the brain. The mind is something entirely different. The mind is outside the brain.… Like love is not within the brain. It is outside. (Brockwood Park 4th Public Talk 2nd September 1984)

The brain with all its content, with its struggles, with its pain, anxieties, can never know, understand the beauty of love. Love is limitless. (Bombay Question & Answer Meeting 9th February 1984)

So, to me, it seems that what K in this 1929 speech is calling “self” is identical to what K in 1984 is calling love and intelligence (or mind ‘outside’ of the brain).

It is the brain or mind free of all limitations, free from the conditioning of thought - free, in fact, of ‘self’!

What do you mean by more important? To explain my confusion, its like looking at the statement : “This ice-cream costs a dollar” - and asking which is more important : the dollar or the ice-cream?

You cannot get to the Kingdom of happiness by following some path or method; by believing in some static Truth.

Is the above itself a path (of no-path), method (negation), static Truth (‘Truth is a pathless land’)?

If so, where does that leave us? In free-fall, untethered, view-less?

Thank you all for your replies so far. Thank you James for your detailed helpful post, for taking the time to do that. It really puts it in perspective regarding the self. You did a much better job highlighting that than I could have done.

Two things come to my mind regarding Ks talking about the self here. First is, he probably was still influenced by Theosophists and their language at this time in his life, he still did not totally speak on his own, but from his past influence of the Theosophists and his upbringing there.

Second, he probably was still using the positive approach here, as many Traditional paths do, regarding what the self is. Asserting things about it, rather than the negative approach, the via negativa, the neti neti approach, eliminating all that is not it, and then what is left is it. He seems to later have adopted the negative approach and dropped asserting anything positive about the self.

This speech is indeed well worth looking at again and one can see the core of Ks teachings in it.

It means that following some practise will not lead us to Truth. (it is a model/description that can be demonstrated in practise and logically)
If I decide that therefore I will not follow any spiritual practise, why should that lead anymore to truth ? - and also makes a method/path out of a simple statement/model. This could be useful when dealing in stuff (cars, planets, dripping taps) over which you have some outside control - but if you are the thing being discussed (my relation to truth) some further understanding is necessary : why is Truth a pathless land?

Not knowing, as we were recently discussing, is probably more exact/truthful than mistaking our models/beliefs/stories for truth - however, by practising “not-knowing” I have just known myself into a confused corner - am I making any sense?

I hope not!

Exactly. Practicing anything conditions. It might free one from X, but the price is more conditioning.

It seems like something’s gotta give:

Either conditioning is inevitable: It can be minimized or optimized but not eliminated.
And/or the Buddhist raft metaphor holds: Conditioning (practice) is needed until it’s no longer needed.
Or it is possible for conditioning to end without making use of any, even the subtlest path/method.


My intuition says: I-Rick-ego am my conditioning. An unconditioned self is an oxymoron. (An unconditioned Self is something quite different.)

The motto is “freedom from the known” not elimination of conditioning. We will always (at least) be conditioned by our biology (eyes, ears, bladder, and animal instincts) and culture is what gives us air-conditioning and one day hopefully, hoverboards.

The teaching is useful until you notice all the holes, in which case, you are probably no longer dependant on the explanations anyway - when you finally taste vanilla, you notice how bad the descriptions were. This is why dialogue can be useful, because we don’t have to rely solely on dogma, we can address the actual confusion taking place.

We are freed from conditioning not by a path, but instantaneously by understanding it. from which arises the new habit of awareness/freedom. Zazen would be the most minimal path, for it attempts to go directly to seeing/surrender/freedom/awareness. (which is impossible to achieve, thats why they say don’t try) Though it does rely on a guru and a huge library of text.

How do these differ?

What you are talking about I’d call: a path. It’s a path whose own dissolution is built in.

(Are we getting into a tangent, messing with the energy of the thread?)

Thanks for your concern Rick, but it is okay, carry on. You are not on a tangent nor messing with the energy of the thread. As long as it is sincere enquiry, which it is, all is welcome in the thread.

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A smoker is not dependant on cigarettes, a smoker is, the existence or not of cigarettes is practically irrelevant.

Explanation can be considered a path to understanding (though explanation does not lead there).

Sorry, ich verstehe nicht. Try again?

If explanation is a path to understanding, how could it not lead there?

Freedom from something, in no way implies that the something is destroyed, or does not exist.
If you still don’t understand, please try and explain the confusion.

Considered a path to understanding, by those who confuse the model of cause and effect as the actual reality - or confused by semantics. eg. Have you ever tried to explain stuff so simple you can’t understand why someone doesn’t understand - yet the person doesn’t understand.?

We organise belief all the time eg.culture, tradition, human rights etc
By organising Truth, we transform it into belief and dogma.

Is being unreasonable beyond reason? What can be gained by being unreasonable?

I am free from X if I am not psychologically attached to X. Ja?

Say X is envy and thoughts-feelings of envy appear over and over, dozens of times a day, but you just let these thoughts rise and fall without any attachment. Are you free from envy?

If this happens, I’d hope the person would ask me to re-explain rather than to get it wrong or let it slide.

Thank you phronesis for your sharing and great questions here. This is a very valuable addition.

A few comments I have. It is interesting that you noticed that K uses 'I" a lot. I do that too. I have been told that using “I” a lot means one is self-centred. I know in my case it is true, in Ks case, I am not so sure, but still very interesting observation.

Also, I think K did see himself as a Messiah, like Jesus in many respects, that he was infallible. I remember an exchange with Bohm where they are talking about K basically being infallible and not making mistakes (in the realm of Truth) and Bohm questioned him deeper and said basically, even if you do make a mistake, you correct it quickly, you see it was an error and K agreed. So it seems K saw himself as some sort of infallible being in regards to Truth. And what this triggered for me, is that we tend to look at beings like Buddha, Jesus, Krishnamurti, Ramana Maharshi, etc as infallible beings, that they always know what the Truth is. We are conditioned to believe this.

It is fair also to question whether K Foundations are spiritual organizations or acting like them. I know even when K was alive there was some conflicts in the organizations and the schools and I think I heard many times he wanted to just shut them down too.

There is a lot more to unpack here, and hopefully some of the brighter minds/brains here can delve into these questions and explore.

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Thanks for sharing your Dissolution Speech reflections. Rather than respond to the whole thing, which would require writing a small book, I’m’a home in on number 8:

Talk about tilting at windmills! It’s such a quixotic mission: To set man unconditionally free. Guaranteed to fail, but life/world changing in the process. A beautiful, noble failure! My issues with Krishnamurti are largely methodological, the way he chose to impart his message. I don’t think he was a terribly skilled communicator. His genius lay elsewhere, think of a brilliant pianist who is just a so-so teacher.

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To what Rick just wrote about “To set man unconditionally free”, it triggered this, which came to my mind:

Krishnamurti was like a Bodhisattva, he came to this world to help others and to relieve the world of suffering. He lived in this world and tried to change this world for the better.

Some other free men like Ramana Maharshi, did not have a mission or purpose like this, to set all men free. He just stayed put on the mountain and never left it, as compared to K who travelled the whole world talking and trying to change humanity. Ramana did not care it seemed what happened in the world and just said things like know yourself, find out who you are first, and then worry about the world, etc.

I agree with Rick, of course, Ks mission failed, he did not set men unconditionally free. However, his mission had some success and planted seeds in our consciousness and the affect is still to be seen in humanity at large.

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