Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fallacy in Methodology

My friend in Facebook, Francois Buisson, asked me regarding my take on Jiddu Krishnamurthy’s philosophy and I wrote to him that Jiddu's philosophy centres around the concept which he put out in his speech in Ommen, the Netherlands, on August 3, 1929 “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 coerce people along a particular path”.
Though he had his roots in Theosophy, he departed to a self propelled seeking more in line with Buddhism where ‘attaining pure land’ can be achieved only through one's own chosen methodology and this process is unique to that individual.
There creeps in etymological fallacy when words such as ‘path’ and ‘truth’ are encountered in philosophical discussions. The concept of a path immediately takes one to boundaries and predetermined layout and this is the meaning that is implied when Jiddu talks of method of grasping or approaching ‘truth’.
A path taken by an individual while climbing a mountain peak can vary depending on your physical strength, stamina, climbing skills and how well you are equipped. In theory we have an infinite number of paths to the peak if there are infinite numbers of people aiming to climb the peak. In practice there are defined paths based on the experience of past climbers and the daring approach of one pioneer. This is what the role of religion should be in attaining the ultimate goal of one’s spiritual life. It should be a path not the only path. What has happened over a period of time is that the very peak you wanted to climb has been falsely located at a much lower altitude due to the vested interest of the custodians of the path. The path takes priority rather than the peak itself.
Jiddu’s condemnation results from this aberration and he recommends that each one of us becomes a pioneer and we find our own unique path. (While this is subject to criticism due to the assumption that everyone is an expert climber, this methodology should be addressed only to the expert climbers or the spiritually adept). Vedic methodology provides space for such variance through what are known as Bakthi, Karma, Jnana and Raja marga (Way).
Next comes, the definition of the goal, the peak. If after more accurate survey we find that we have another peak which is higher than the one which had earlier been defined as the tallest and loftiest then the target shifts. Hence defining the highest peak to be scaled becomes a knowledge dependent entity.

Truth itself is not a definable commodity but that which approaches the absolute reality, that beyond which there is no cause and effect or any form of emanation, or as Nagarjuna defines, at which stage there is no ‘dependent arising’. The pure land is the state of ultimate abode in Chinese Mahayana philosophy. In effect, being born into the Pure Land is akin to achieving enlightenment, through escaping samsara, the Buddhist concept of ‘the wheel of birth and death’. To reach this ultimate stage which is hidden from our perception we need to progress through many stages of having climbed the highest peak only to realize that there is another loftier one than one on which we are standing. To this new peak there could be a totally new path from the base camp.
This is the reason for Jiddu calling for a pathless open approach as against a rigid system to allow the inherent divine force, in each seeking individual, to take control. An organized universal methodology completely negates the role of karmic accumulation or the action of the indwelling divinity.

Love to you all


  1. thank you very much Tib, your comments are very highlighting.

  2. How true! There can not be a defined path to reach the ultimate truth.The peak we have attained may lead us to higher peaks.In our philosophical search towards the ultimate truth,these words would always guide us not to get stuck and become rigid.

  3. An individual path within any path I think may lead one to the peak without the 'lowering peak effect'.

  4. SS,Very true. Paths were laid with an original and highly effective purpose, hence one who sees this despite the trappings of modified agenda can follow the path and discard any deviating elements present. Good thought.