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The Mystique of Enlightenment

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The Mystique Of Enlightenment: The Radical Ideas Of U. G. Krishnamurti is the compelling and candidly personal story of author U. G. Krishnamurti's life, the evolution of his beliefs, and his relentless pursuit of an enlightened state until he achieved a dramatic series of physical and psychological phenomena that rendered him fit to pass on his enlightened wisdom to readers and believers everywhere. As much a philosophical critique of contemporary spirituality as it is a autobiographically based guide to better understanding the universe without and within, The Mystique Of Enlightenment is fascinating, insightful reading for all who wish to metaphysically transcend themselves. --Midwest Book Review; May 2002 In the foreword to The Mystique of Enlightenment, the book's publisher quotes U.G. Krishnamurti in explaining the purpose of this publication: "To clear away the occultation and mystification in which those people in the 'holy business' have shrouded the whole thing." In a series of interviews that took place between 1973 and 1980 with various interlocutors in India and Switzerland, the author puts forth his political, social, and spiritual views and tells much of his story. Krishnamurti is not related to J. Krishnamurti, although the two spent seven years meeting daily to explore for truth. U.G. Krishnamurti was raised with the expectation that he would become a guru. Both his father and grandfather devoted themselves to create "a profound atmosphere for me and to educate me in the right way." Krishnamurti's spiritual radicalism began most earnestly in 1961, when he abandoned his family, sending his wife and children back to India, and moved to London. Krishnamurti dispels many common spiritual beliefs, although his own replacement concepts often sound suspiciously similar. He dismisses concepts of God and happiness and goes on to say, "I don't like to use the words enlightenment, freedom, moksha, or liberation," but admits, "It happened to me." He says, "The holy men are all phonies," although he is not, because he tells people up front, "I've nothing to say." His experience is one, he says, of "the natural state." A person in the natural state recognizes that he is "a brute," "a monster," "full of violence," "callous, indifferent, unconcerned." Entering the natural state "is like a nuclear explosion," Krishnamurti says. "It shatters the whole body S It is the end of the man-such a shattering thing that it blasts every cell, every nerve in your body." Reaching Krishnamurti's natural state is an act of "calamity." It also is what Krishnamurti calls "acausal"-you can't meditate, study, or become religious to reach it. It is similar to the Puritan state of grace that is granted by God and is unconditional and unattainable. "The solution to your real problems is, in any case, not possible for you unless you undergo the sort of biological transformation that has happened to me," Krishnamurti says. "All we can do is be ourselves, and no one can help you be that." This is no book for the faint of heart or the casual reader. One comes away with thoughts and feelings similar to having read a work of nihilism or atheistic existentialism: confused, angry, disillusioned, and frustrated. And this might be just what the provocative Krishnamurti is going for. Readers who consider themselves enlightened or on the path to such a state will both connect to and disagree with much of what Krishnamurti has to say. These readers also will be challenged and intellectually stimulated. The book's cover is as provocative as the contents: A scowling photograph of Krishnamurti encompasses the entire front cover. --R. John Allcorn, National Review Network, July/August 2002 Deftly edited by Rodney Arms, this volume's conversations (which occured in India and Switzerland between 1972 and 1980) are gathered in four bounteous chapters: U.G. (which contains a wealth of autobiographical material), The Mystique of Enlightenment, No Power Outside of Man, and Betwixt Bewilderment and Understanding. What most spiritual writers call "enlightenment" U.G. Krishnamurti calls "the natural state." He says that this non-state becomes apparent to us (we don't attain it, for it is already there) when we are "completely free of culture, conditioning, religious thinking, and intellect." Further--and how unequivocal, this--"it is a state in which the questioning has stopped." People who have not read the late-author closely purport that he claims that there are no ready means to discern your natural state, that you simply have to hope it will happen. Not so. For instance, U.G. winningly tells one questioner that "so-called self-realization is the discovery for yourself and by yourself that there is no self to discover." All there is, he says, is awareness/ consciousness, and "you are not separate from that consciousness." Reflecting upon such nondual pointers--as well as speaking with an awakened person--are certainly easy and viable ways to open yourself to your Self. U.G.'s trademark humor teems throughout this ripe and refreshing work. Concerning spiritual renunciants who opt for poverty and misery, the author cautions: "The natural needs of a human being are basic: food, clothing, and shelter. You must either work for them or be given them by someone. To deny yourself the basic needs is not a sign of spiritually...but a neurotic state of mind." Sentient Publications has produced a beautiful edition of this spiritual classic. (Ditto their production of the sage's Mind Is a Myth.) The pages are sturdy, the text is easy on the eyes, the book fits holdably in the hand, and U.G.'s rakishly-handsome color photos adorn both the front and the back covers. -- Rodney Stevens, Nonduality Highlights

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