Krishnamurti's Multiple Personalities (DID)

From In the Presence of Krishnamurti, Mary’s Unfinished Book,derived from her memoirs,(p. 464 Vanda Scaravelli, while K was staying with her at Chalet Tanneg): “K was in his room and suddenly fainted, and then as Vanda described it, his eyes became enormous and another being spoke to her through K’s body. An extraordinary change came over the face. It happened on July eighteenth 1961. The voice said, ’Don’t leave me until he comes back.’ Then, ‘He must love you if he lets you touch me as he is very particular in this. Don’t let anyone come near me until he comes back.’ On the following day it happened again. K fainted after trembling, the eyes became larger and deeper and the voice said, ‘I feel very strange, where am I. Don’t leave me. Will you kindly stay with me until he returns? Are you comfortable? Take a chair. Do you know him well? Will you look after him?’…Mary (Lutyens) and I guessed there were 4 entities in all this: the one who goes away—presumably K; the one who tells what should be done; the one with the great eyes; and then probably the childlike one who spoke to me in Gstaad when K was delirious.”

Today, it would not be considered “multiple personalities (entities)” but Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) brought about by severe childhood trauma. Leadbeater’s crimes and the trauma induced to young boys are well documented in court papers. We’ve listened to how important it was to K that the child was left “unmarked” by all this. Suppressed memories, lost time, fragmented identity are all aspects of Dissociative Identity Disorder. My question is, which personality gave which precepts of the teachings? We know of the profound and beautiful teachings that resonate with us, but some parts are not so great for mental health like: 'Be nothing, Die everyday to everything, Don’t have ambition, Don’t acquire knowledge, No becoming", etc. (At least, we wouldn’t teach these to children.) When K said “Be a light to yourself.”, there is reason behind it.

1 Like

More intellectual image making delusions which have no value in the daily life.

As for “Don’t acquire knowledge”, didn’t he make a clear distinction between practical, necessary knowledge, and knowledge that served no practical purpose? And he did stress the importance of self-knowledge.

Wouldn’t you say that mental health experts are more concerned with their patients developing a “healthy” ego than with questioning the actual existence of the ego? We know, for instance, that there is greater incentive to believe in the existence of God than there is to question it because belief promises reward, and doubt promises nothing, at best, and punishment, at worst.

It’s just a suggestion, but perhaps rather than spending your time questioning K’s sanity (or whether he should or shouldn’t have worn nice clothes, etc), it would be more relevant to actually explore the issues you have with K’s teachings? - because this seems to be one of the motives involved in your research.

For example, when you write:

what is it exactly that you are objecting to? Is K the first religious teacher to question ambition, the movement of becoming, or our dependency on knowledge? Is K the only well-known religious teacher to have invited people to die daily, or to empty themselves and be inwardly nothing? One can find all this in Buddhism, Taoism, in Christian and Sufi mystics. Are all these well-known religious teachings bad for mental health? For sure, if the mental health you are talking about is dependent on being ambitious, on holding onto the past, on building up riches where moth and rust steal in to destroy, then the good news of dying to self will be disturbing indeed. But then is it a ‘mental health’ worth defending?

There is a nice passage in the Tao Te Ching which may be worth pondering over:

The Master helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
in those who think that they know.

And K was a Master after all…

We have to presume so much to ask these questions - can we be sure of the presuppositions that give rise to the questions?

For example, does DID necessitate fainting and lying prone?

But if your diagnosis is correct, obviously it was the ascended master guru personality. (and full marks to the guru, for I presume it managed to make up these excellent teachings from the mish mash of theosophical lore)

Examiner, Inquiry, James and MacDougDoug, I don’t know how to highlight and address you individually.
Examiner, Your comment is appreciated and indicates who you are.
Inquiry–Knowledge does get in the way of discovering new things. When K spoke with a group of scientists/specialists, he tried to open up their perspectives by denouncing knowledge as an hindrance.
James–DID doesn’t indicate insanity. It indicates a tragic childhood. And K’s expensive tastes were paid for by others. As I’ve said, I accept K for the man he was–very interesting, inspiring, thought provoking, a revolutionary of sorts, but also traumatized.
MacDougDoug–As far as the fainting goes, there are 3 theories I’ve heard. Rosalind said he only fainted around women as a ploy to get closer to them. Dr. Parchure thought it might be insufficient blood to the brain, and as mentioned in " K’s Process", possibly narcolepsy.

But the bottom line is, not all of his teachings are good for mental health. And I definitely would not teach them to children.

Actually I was wanting to respond to this.

I am not sure that we can do any of this - as in : making the effort of trying to follow these guidelines/rules is a form of confusion. I would say that they only arise from 2 things :

1)understanding/seeing the function/process of self (ie. suffering as the motor for progress and survival of the species)
2)the silence of awareness.

1 Like

This is not for children!

Speculating about K’s occult or inner life is a rather meaningless exercise to me. Probably there are more things in heaven and earth, Ruth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

And if I might say, you haven’t replied to my question to you. What part of negating ambition, questioning the accumulation of psychological knowledge, the movement of becoming, or dying to past memories and recognising one’s essential nothingness, do you feel is mentally unhealthy? Apparently you think these are outrageous, unnatural statements - despite the fact they have been made by people like the Buddha, Jesus Christ, the author of the Tao Te Ching, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Meister Eckhart. Perhaps you can say why these statements are outrageous?

You seem to have a very narrow definition of what constitutes mental health, and that mental health involves accumulating knowledge, being attached to one’s self-image, and being ambitious - but if mental health is premised on deceiving oneself then is it mental health at all?

As K said:

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

1 Like

I agree in general that certain aspects of K’s teachings are not for children, because of their complexity - but K always felt that the essence of his teachings was relevant and teachable to people of all ages, including children. He of course spoke to many children during his life - in India especially - and in his last journal (written in 1983) he muses on how the meaning of death might be communicated to children as part of their education:

As you walked along quietly, without much thought, you saw a dead leaf, yellow and bright red, a leaf from the autumn. How beautiful that leaf was, so simple in its death, so lively, full of the beauty and vitality of the whole tree and the summer…

As you teach children mathematics, writing, reading and all the business of acquiring knowledge, they should also be taught the great dignity of death, not as a morbid, unhappy thing that one has to face eventually, but as something of daily life—the daily life of looking at the blue sky and the grasshopper on a leaf. It is part of learning, as you grow teeth and have all the discomfort of childish illnesses. Children have extraordinary curiosity. If you see the nature of death, you don’t explain that everything dies, dust to dust and so on, but without any fear you explain it to them gently and make them feel that the living and the dying are one—not at the end of one’s life after fifty, sixty or ninety years, but that death is like that leaf…

The child with his curiosity can be helped to understand that death is not merely the wasting of the body through disease, old age and some unexpected accident, but that the ending of every day is also the ending of oneself every day…

As one looked at that dead leaf with all its beauty and colour, maybe one would very deeply comprehend, be aware of, what one’s own death must be, not at the very end but at the very beginning. Death isn’t some horrific thing, something to be avoided, something to be postponed, but rather something to be with day in and day out. And out of that comes an extraordinary sense of immensity.

(Krishnamurti to Himself: His Last Journal)


Modern psychology/science has zero understanding of occult phenomenon. Best not to conflate the two.

1 Like

If we do not understand what a thing is, can we say what it is?

When we say : “occult phenomenon” - what do we mean?

Thanks for posting the accompanying quote James - it’s one where great intelligence simply shines through. K was a man way ahead of his time.

1 Like

In the context of this discussion about the ‘multiple personalities’ that manifested during K’s process, it may be worth looking at what K himself had to say about it.

In the series of conversations that K had with Bohm in 1975 he went into the topic quite a bit.

Bohm asks K about why he called out for his mother sometimes during the process - occasionally in the childlike voice that Pupul and Mary Lutyens and Zimbalist mention in their accounts - and K remarks that it is merely the body’s reaction to pain:

DB: As I can remember reading about this thing which took place over a period of years, I mean some of the phenomena were, you know, intense pain in the head or in the neck or the spine, but there appeared to be periods when he called for his mother.

K: Because I think that’s merely physical reaction to [pain]… because when you suffer somebody wants – you know, that’s all. That’s nothing.

DB: Yes. It was not very significant… But then do you have any idea or any explanation of what the trouble was about – do you see? Or was it just something you don’t know anything about?

K: I’m afraid I don’t know actually anything about it.

(Dialogue 6, Perceiving without the Perceiver)

In 1977 K underwent a prostate operation in Los Angeles, and warned Mary Zimbalist that he might disassociate from the body and “go off”. In the Lutyens biography K’s account of what took place is recorded, and what followed was a “dialogue with death”, in which K was aware of death insisting that the body - which was in great pain - give itself up; and that another entity intervened to persuade death to leave the body alone.

So the body seems to have been an entity in itself that was aware in its own way of the responsibility it had to the entity of K (or sometimes ‘the other’). When the body was in great pain - as often happened during the process - the entity relating to K’s mind could disassociate and be quite separate for a time.

Could this dissociation be the consequence of mental disease or childhood trauma? In their 10th conversation K and Bohm explore this at length, in reply to a question from (the psychologist) David Shainberg, who had asked whether the process might not be a form of mental illness. I will quote a longish extract from the conversation, as they explore the whole question of whether K has mental illness, and mention some quite interesting things - including K mentioning that he once lost ordinary consciousness for 3 weeks (!) in Ojai, and that he has to be careful when going for long walks because he can very easily “go off” and lose consciousness when he is not involved in practical affairs (which keep him tethered to ordinary daily reality).

In short, neither K or Bohm feel that K was mentally ill, partly because mentally ill people do not usually sustain their insights into reality in the way that K was able to do, and partly because it is clear that K needed to be healthy and in a very quiet, undisturbed environment to undergo the process properly. K also mentions that the whole issue is tied in with other esoteric things like clairvoyance, telepathy, and healing that K was able to do.

K: I have really gone into this question whether I have imagined the whole thing, an illusion which I have perpetuated to give me importance, to give a feeling there is something abnormal – not only in the religious sense or in the abstract sense, something abnormal because I have had an odd life. I don’t know if I am making myself clear. So, I have gone into this. I don’t think it is imagination. And I don’t think it is a traditional acceptance of, you know, this whole question of Kundalini and all that. And I don’t think it is ill health, because I am very well when it happens.

DB: Yes, well let me comment on that because, you see, some people thought it could be a form of ill health, because they say some people in ill health report some similar happenings.

K: No, on the contrary. With me, it only begins when I am completely rested, when all the environment is right, when there is quietness, when my body is completely relaxed.

DB: Yes, well, this is for the sake of, you know, a complete account.

K: Go on, go on. Of course.

DB: I regard this partly as a good opportunity to make the thing entirely clear. Right?

K: Yes, yes, yes. Yes, I would really like to discuss this with you and, say, like Shainberg, and go into it.

DB: Yes, now Shainberg has said that some of the patients he observes have to go through some sort of thing like what you describe, in being cured, you see. I mean, not exactly, perhaps, but… and then other people say that, you know, some of the things you describe might have been symptoms which mentally disturbed people have undergone.

K: Mentally…

DB: Well, Shainberg works with people who are somewhat disturbed.

K: Yes. I may be mentally deranged!

DB: No, I am not saying that. I am only saying that I think we should make it clear, you know, what the difference is.

K: Yes – quite, quite, quite

DB: Now, what I said about the difference was this, you see, when I was asked, was that there may be some similarity in some of the things that happen, but the mentally disturbed people do not come out with any perception of truth, you see. That difference is more important than the similarity. (Laughs)

K: Yes, quite! (Laughs) They end up in a hospital and I don’t.

DB: Yes, and they say things that are rather stupid, or else confused. They may get an occasional flash of insight but on the whole they are very confused, you see.

K: Yes, I understand that.

DB: And so I say that there must be a fundamental difference.

K: I think there is. From mentally sick people and from this person, I think there is a great deal of difference. Not difference – a totally different thing altogether.

DB: Yes, well that is what I meant, that it is fundamentally different.

K: Fundamentally different… Because it demands – sorry to go into all this – it can only happen when the body is perfectly relaxed, when it is in very good health, and when the environment is right, in the sense quiet, not disturbed; it must have a certain sense of beauty, and all the rest of it. So I have gone into this question whether I have imagined, whether it is a traditional acceptance of something I have been told in childhood – you follow? – all that, and whether it is illness, a form of mental illness or a disease

DB: Let’s say it may turn out to be an inevitable by- product of a very intense perception.

K: It may be a by-product of… This is what happens – you want to know all about it?

DB: The point is to get… no, you see, since this is intended eventually for publication it should be clear so that people will not have questions left in their minds…

K: I never talked about all this.

DB: No. And does this state imply anything near a loss of consciousness or anything like that, would you say?

K: A little bit.

DB: A little bit. Not quite the ordinary kind. The ordinary consciousness is somewhat reduced.

K: Yes. Not quite, no. No.

DB: No. What would you say? It is not quite normal, is that what you mean?

K: It is not unconscious.

DB: No, but I meant that it is not as… in some way it is not quite the ordinary state of consciousness.

K: No, it is not.

DB: Maybe in some way a little less attention to all the things of reality, or something. Is that what I mean?

K: I don’t quite get your…

DB: Well, no. Perhaps I am putting it wrongly. But I am saying, would it be something that somebody could think of as in some way a tendency to loss of consciousness, or losing it?

K: I have lost consciousness.

DB: Yes, well that’s the sort of…

K: I was unconscious I believe for three weeks.

DB: When was that?

K: At Ojai, right at the beginning of… (inaudible, but likely during his process of awakening and “God-intoxication” in 1922)

DB: Yes, but after that you didn’t?

K: If, given the right environment and no work, no talks, no writing letters, perhaps it might happen again.

DB: Yes. In other words… what I was trying to get at is, being involved in what we call reality helps hold you into what we call consciousness.

K: Yes, that’s right, that’s right, that’s right.

DB: Therefore, not being involved in reality you might sort of drift away from this consciousness.

K: Drift away. That’s right. Oh, it happens. Another peculiar thing happens. Do you want to know?

DB: I don’t particularly want to know myself, it is just I think that if we have gone this far we should make it very clear.

K: I used to go for very long walks at Ojai, and I would go on. I had deliberately to make an effort to turn back and go home. I was completely lost with – you know. And it happens here, several times. I go for a walk and I have to be very careful.

DB: Yes, you might sort of lose track of some ordinary reality.

K: Yes, I have to be very careful to say, ‘I must go back home.’ Otherwise I would go on [i.e. lose ordinary consciousness].

DB: You see, I think we have to make this very clear, partly to see the nature of the thing and partly because some people may say that people whose minds are disturbed may do the same, you see. But that may be the difference.

K: It is quite different.

DB: It is quite different, still, because, as I said before, the disturbed mind does not produce anything interesting. But still, the point I wanted to make is that when a person is seriously disturbed psychologically, he may find the ordinary equilibrium of reality broken up.

K: Quite, quite.

DB: And going into this may also break it up, in a very different way.

K: In a different way – quite.

DB: And you may have to face something which people would superficially think is like a breakdown of the mind, but it is really not.

K: Quite.

DB: I mean, that is the point I was trying to get at, really.

K: I understand.

DB: But it might be that people approaching this might have gotten a bit frightened, thinking that their mind is breaking down – do you see?

K: Quite. No, I have no fear.

DB: No, but it could very readily induce fear.

K: Yes, yes. After all these years, I am pretty sane, physically very normal. I have got plenty of energy, and so on. I think it is not… it’s something out of the ordinary, without being abnormal

You see, also, if I allowed myself I can read people’s thoughts – which I don’t like to do because it’s like reading a private letter. And I can very easily become clairvoyant. And I have done a great deal of healing, you know, quietly, without telling anybody. So it is involved in all that. Which is not an abnormal state. I don’t know if I am putting…

DB: No, I don’t want to say… It is not an ordinary state.

K: Yes, it is not an ordinary state.

DB: It may be neither normal or abnormal, but it is not ordinary. (Dialogue 10, Truth does not belong to an individual)

Later in the discussion K suggests that the process may have something to do with the “manifestation of goodness” in the world. The whole conversation is available to listen to on YouTube.


Mein Gott! More like fodder for opinion (for both sceptics and believers), than success at clearing anything up by DB there.


From the DSM-5: Functional Consequences of Dissociative Identity Disorder: “Impairment varies widely, from apparently minimal (e.g., in high functioning professionals) to profound. Regardless the level of disability, individuals with dissociative identity disorder commonly minimize the impact of their dissociative and posttraumatic symptoms. The symptoms of higher functioning individuals may impair their relational, marital, family and parenting functioning more than the occupational and professional life (although, the latter may be affected).” Me, Myself, and I: Dissociative Identity Disorder - YouTube

I’m borrowing this from a Think on This thread, as it is very appropriate here: " When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it. It is not the things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance. Things and people are not what we wish them to be nor are they what they seem to be. They are what they are.


That clarifies the difference between a mentally ill cuckoo and him.

Examiner, your comment is disrespectful to the mentally ill.

Respectability comes from fear . And fear is the root cause of all mental illnesses. K had no fear so mentally ill doesn’t stick to him.