At the Feet of the Master

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At the Feet of the Master
At the feet of the master.djvu
Front matter of the 1911 edition.
Author Alcyone (Jiddu Krishnamurti)
Country India
Language English
Subject Theosophy, Religious text
Publisher Theosophist Office
Publication date
December 1910 (1st edition)
Media type Print (cloth)
Pages 84 pp.
OCLC 465903996
Text At the Feet of the Master at Wikisource

At the Feet of the Master is a book attributed to Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986), authored when he was fourteen years old. Written under the name Alcyone, it was first published in 1910.[1] It has since gone through dozens of editions, and has been translated in many languages.[2]

Authorship debate[edit]

Frontispiece in the 1911 publication.

The identity of the author has been the subject of debate.[3] It has been proposed that Charles Webster Leadbeater, one of Krishnamurti's mentors, was the actual producer of the work; Leadbeater had assigned him the pseudonym (Alcyone).[4] Krishnamurti's statements on the matter of authorship have been changeable and open to interpretation; his final position (decades after the original publication) was that he had no memory of writing it, although he did not discount the possibility.[5]

The following is stated in the book's "Foreword": "These are not my words; they are the words of the Master who taught me."[6] This statement is apparently related to Leadbeater's claim that the so-called Master Kuthumi, a postulated embodied spiritual entity, was "releasing" (through a mystical process) the spiritual instruction that makes up the work to young Krishnamurti while the latter was asleep.[7] Upon waking, Krishnamurti "with great laboriousness" put the instructions into notes; these were spell-and-grammar-checked, and then arranged and typed by Leadbeater.[8]

The original notes by Krishnamurti are missing; the extent of any differences with the typescript and the original published edition is not clear.[9] The debate regarding the role of Krishnamurti in the production and promotion of this work persisted, a century after its original publication.[10]


The original edition, featuring a then-recent photograph of "Alcyone" in its frontispiece, was bound in blue cloth, with a limited number of copies bound in blue leather.[1] The book includes a "Preface" by Krishnamurti mentor and legal guardian Annie Besant (then–President of the Theosophical Society), and the previously mentioned "Foreword" by Alcyone. The work is then laid out in four parts, corresponding to its proclaimed requirements for disciples on the spiritual path:[11]

  1. Discrimination
  2. Desirelessness
  3. Good conduct
  4. Love

The book is considered a theosophical classic, and as of 2010 it had never been out of print. As of the same year, early editions of the work were in the public domain within several jurisdictions.[12]

Select editions[edit]

Later editions may be listed as co-authored, or solely authored, by Jiddu Krishnamurti.

  • Alcyone (J. Krishnamurti) (1911). At the feet of the master (American ed.). Chicago: Rajput Press. OCLC 560831417.  – Edition is in the public domain. See External links below.
  • Jiddu Krishnamurti (Alcyone) (2001). At the feet of the master and towards discipleship. Add. material by John Algeo (Revised, expanded ed.). Wheaton, Illinois: Quest Books. ISBN 978-0-8356-0803-9.  – Expanded edition includes 1924 lecture by Krishnamurti entitled Towards Discipleship and background material by John Algeo, past president of the Theosophical Society in America.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b M. Lutyens 1975, p. 44n.
  2. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 28.
  3. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 44; C. V. Williams 2004, pp. 24–29, 476–478 [in "Notes": nos. 93–100].
  4. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 23. Alcyone is the name of a star in the Pleiades star cluster and of characters from Greek mythology.
  5. ^ C. V. Williams 2004, pp. 196–197.
  6. ^ US edition 1911, p. 1 [not numbered].
  7. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 28, 43.
  8. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 44.
  9. ^ S. L. Williams 2010, [the author concludes that the work is rightly attributable to Krishnamurti].
  10. ^ US edition 1911, p. 3.
  11. ^ C. V. Williams 2004, pp. 196–197, 528– 529 [in "Notes": no. 50].


  • Williams, S. Lloyd (July–October 2010). "Did J. Krishnamurti write at the Feet of the Master?". Theosophical History (Fullerton, California: Theosophical History Foundation) XIV (3–4 [double issue]). ISSN 0951-497X.