Krishnamurti's Notebook

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Krishnamurti's Notebook
front cover of 1976 first edition with photo of Krishnamurti in a nature walk
AuthorJiddu Krishnamurti
CountryUnited Kingdom, United States
SubjectAutobiography, consciousness, philosophy
  • 1976 (1st edition) (UK: Gollancz, US: Harper & Row)
  • 2003 (full text edition) (US: Krishnamurti Publications)
  • 2008 (Kindle edition) (US: Krishnamurti Publications)
Media type
  • 252 (1st edition)
  • 387 (full text edition)
ISBN978-1-888004-57-1 (full text hardcover)
OCLC54040143 (full text edition)
LC ClassB5134.K75 A35

Krishnamurti's Notebook is a diary of 20th-century Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986). Written during 1961–62, it was first published in book form in 1976; an expanded edition was published in 2003. The work, which includes first hand accounts of persistent, unusual physical experiences and states of consciousness, has been called "a remarkable mystical document" in press reports; an authorized Krishnamurti biographer described it as containing "the whole essence" of his philosophy.

About the work[edit]

Krishnamurti's first entry in this handwritten journal is dated 18 June 1961, with the location given as New York City. He continued writing almost daily for nine months while at various locales; the last entry is dated 19 March 1962, at Bombay (Mumbai).[1][2]

The diary portrays Krishnamurti's world from the inside; in particular, his experience of a nearly lifelong, often acutely painful condition he called the process, and the manifestations of a state he refers to as the otherness – a state that often, but not always, appeared concurrently with the process.[3] As is the case with other Krishnamurti works, the entries often include his impressions of nature, individuals, and society, noted by some for "their poetic quality".[4] The journal begins (and ends) without preamble.

Krishnamurti biographer Mary Lutyens wrote in the foreword to the original edition (published 1976), "[i]n this unique daily record we have what may be called the well-spring of Krishnamurti's teaching. The whole essence of his teaching is here, arising from its natural source."[1] Elsewhere, she observes, "apart from its content, it is an extraordinary manuscript, 323 pages without a single erasure."[5] She devoted a chapter to this book in the second volume of her authorized biography of Krishnamurti, The Years of Fulfillment (published 1983). In it she mentions objections raised against the diary's publication by Krishnamurti associates who had read the manuscript and thought it presented a picture of Krishnamurti at odds with his public pronouncements; his responses to these objections are included.[6]

Lutyens revealed the existence of the process in The Years of Awakening, the first volume of her biography of Krishnamurti (published 1975). This physical condition – which Krishnamurti and those around him did not consider as medical in nature – and experiences similar to the otherness, had reputedly originally appeared in 1922. At the time, Krishnamurti was associated with the so-called World Teacher Project and the Theosophical Society. The existence and history of these experiences had remained unknown outside of the Theosophical Society leadership and Krishnamurti's circle of close associates and friends.[7]

Roland Vernon, another of his biographers, states that previous attempts (by others), at revealing details from his past, including these reputed experiences, were suppressed by Krishnamurti. According to Vernon, Krishnamurti "believed, with good reason, that the sensationalism of his early story would cloud the public's perception of his [then] current work".[8] However, Krishnamurti often hinted at otherness-like states in later talks and discussions.[9]

Around the time of the diary's publication – more than fourteen years after the final entry – Krishnamurti stated, "I did not write it for publication ... I have attempted to put into words the actual pain and sensation which goes with the heightened consciousness."[10]


As one sat in the aeroplane amidst all the noise, smoking and loud talking, most unexpectedly, the sense of immensity and that extraordinary benediction which was felt at il L., that imminent feeling of sacredness, began to take place. The body was nervously tense because of the crowd, noise, etc. but in spite of all this, it was there. The pressure and the strain were intense and there was acute pain at the back of the head. There was only this state and there was no observer. The whole body was wholly in it and the feeling of sacredness was so intense that a groan escaped from the body and passengers were sitting in the next seats. It went on for several hours, late into the night. It was as though one was looking, not with eyes only but with a thousand centuries; it was altogether a strange occurrence. The brain was completely empty, all reaction had stopped; during all those hours, one was not aware of this emptiness but only in writing it is the thing known, but this knowledge is only descriptive and not real. That the brain could empty itself is an odd phenomenon. As the eyes were closed, the body, the brain seemed to plunge into unfathomable depths, into states of incredible sensitivity and beauty. The passenger in the next seat began to ask something and having replied, this intensity was there; there was no continuity but only being. And dawn was coming leisurely and the clear sky was filling with light. – As this is being written late in the day, with sleepless fatigue, that sacredness is there. The pressure and the strain too. [Emphasis in original.]

— Krishnamurti's Notebook, "9 July 1961"[11]

Publication history[edit]

The first edition was published in May 1976 by longtime Krishnamurti publishers Gollancz in the United Kingdom and Harper & Row in the United States (see § Original edition, below). The front and back covers of both impressions feature the same set of contemporary photographs of Krishnamurti. Copyright was held by the Krishnamurti Foundation Trust (KFT), a UK-based organization. After the Foreword by Lutyens there is a table of contents labeled "Itinerary", listing the places the diary was kept.[12]

Following the discovery in the year 2000 of thirty-two additional diary pages,[2] the work was republished in an expanded edition in 2003. This so-called Full Text Edition was published by Krishnamurti Publications, the official publisher and distributor of Krishnamurti's works.[13] This impression includes facsimiles of original diary pages and an additional, edition-specific foreword. It features a photograph similar to the first edition's on the front cover (Krishnamurti alone in a nature setting); a 1935 portrait of his by Edward Weston is on the back cover. This edition's copyright was again registered to the KFT.[14]

The work was first published in digital media in 2008, as a Kindle e-book release of the expanded edition (see § Select editions). By 2010, print versions had several reprints, with the expanded edition offered in 13 languages and dialects;[15] around the same time, the work was made freely available as an electronic document through J. Krishnamurti Online (JKO), the official Jiddu Krishnamurti online repository.[16]

Original edition[edit]

Select editions[edit]


The Library Journal stated in review, "[Krishnamurti's] insights are, as always, written in plain, nonsectarian language, and give perhaps the best picture we have today of the life of the spirit outside a strictly religious context."[17]

Kirkus Reviews described it as "[m]ore approachable, more intimate than Krishnamurti's didactic writings, this will speak ... to all readers with a feeling for the mystery of existence";[18] however, London's Observer thought it better suited to those already familiar with Krishnamurti's life and outlook.[19]

The Guardian (London) carried a sympathetic report about the book in June 1976; the article was not exclusively focused on the Notebook, also describing Krishnamurti's life and philosophy.[10][20]

The reputed inner experiences as described in the diary and in Lutyens' biography aroused the interest of Krishnamurti's audiences. After their publication he was questioned by his listeners on the subject; he was generally dismissive of the importance of process-related events, asserting that all discussion of mystical experiences was trivial, and, although he continued alluding to otherness-like states, he again avoided any elaboration.[21]

The book continued to attract attention, and favorable mentions, in the following decades. In its obituary of Krishnamurti, The Times (London), described it as "a remarkable mystical document",[22] while in 2006 the work was cited in a conference paper as "probably ... the most extensive documentation to date of a mystic's inner thoughts, perceptions, and sensations".[23]

Other diaries[edit]

Following this diary's original publication, two other diaries of his were published in book form: Krishnamurti's Journal in 1982, and Krishnamurti to Himself in 1987.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lutyens 1976. "Foreword". In J. Krishnamurti (1976a), pp. 5–6.. Retrieved 2019-05-14 – via J. Krishnamurti Online ["legacy" website]. The first seventy-seven pages of the manuscript were in a small notebook, and the remainder in a larger, loose leaf book.
  2. ^ a b c McCoy 2003.
  3. ^ Lutyens 1976; Holroyd 1991, p. 46. The otherness is alternately called by Krishnamurti benediction, immensity, presence etc. [This and all similar emphasis added]. "The benediction literally discloses reality, in the sense of making manifest that which is closed off and hidden from the partial and limited awareness that human beings accept as normal." (Holroyd 1991, p. 47).
  4. ^ Holroyd 1991, pp. 44, 47–48.
  5. ^ Lutyens 2003, p. 210. Lutyens is referring to the manuscript published as the original edition (McCoy 2003); Krishnamurti manuscripts and other original works are part of the official Krishnamurti Archive Project, set up by the Krishnamurti Foundations (KFA n.d.).
  6. ^ Lutyens 1983, ch. "10: Krishnamurti's Notebook" pp. 107–119. "One or two people among the handful who read the manuscript were averse to its publication. They feared it would dishearten K's [Krishnamurti's] followers. He maintains that human beings can transform themselves radically, not in time, not by evolution, but by immediate perception, whereas the Notebook shows that Krishnamurti is not an ordinary man transformed but a unique being existing in a different dimension from ordinary humanity. It was a valid point and I put it to him. His reply was, 'We do not all have to be Edisons to turn on the electric light.' Later he was to say to a journalist in Rome, who suggested that he had been born as he was and that therefore others could not attain to his state of consciousness, 'Christopher Columbus went to America in a sailing ship; we can go by jet.' What he was trying to convey in both these metaphors was, of course, that he had discovered arduously how to free men from sorrow so that now anyone could benefit from his discovery without having to go through all that he had gone through." (pp. 118–119); Krishnamurti also used the Columbus metaphor in answer to audience questions about his reputed inner experiences as related in Lutyens' The Years of Awakening (J. Krishnamurti 1975, "Para 6", "Para 15". Retrieved 2019-05-14 – via J. Krishnamurti Online ["legacy" website]).
  7. ^ Vernon 2001, p. 228. Krishnamurti allowed information about the process and other details of his life to become public knowledge through Lutyens' biography, which included detailed descriptions of the first such occurrences (Lutyens 1975, chs. "18: The Turning Point"–"21: Climax of the Process" pp. 152–188 [cumulative]).
  8. ^ Vernon 2001, pp. 227–228.
  9. ^ J. Krishnamurti 1956, "Para 35". Retrieved 2019-05-14 – via J. Krishnamurti Online ["legacy" website]; J. Krishnamurti 1962, "Para 27". Retrieved 2019-05-14 – via J. Krishnamurti Online ["legacy" website].
  10. ^ a b Neustatter 1976. "A ... personal document ... in which he [Krishnamurti] describes the acute physical pain he suffers as a result of attaining higher consciousness". Report on the original UK edition.
  11. ^ J. Krishnamurti 2003, pp. 17–18. Retrieved 2019-05-14 – via J. Krishnamurti Online ["legacy" website]. Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine. By "il L.", he refers to a house near Florence, Italy, where he had stayed previously (p. 5n).
  12. ^ Lutyens 1975, p. x; J. Krishnamurti 1976a, edition notice, Foreword pp. 5–6, "Itinerary" p. 7. The Krishnamurti Foundation Trust (KFT) is one of several official Krishnamurti-related organizations.
  13. ^ Krishnamurti Publications 2009, p. 2 [not numbered].
  14. ^ J. Krishnamurti 2003, edition notice. Fascimiles are of items at the Krishnamurti Archives (KFA n.d.).
  15. ^ Krishnamurti Publications 2009, p. 12. See also Worldcat search link for information on editions and reprints. Retrieved 2015-12-16; Gollancz published a "Revised edition" in 1985, with a portrait of Krishnamurti on the front cover. It was listed on Amazon UK as a 256-page paperback ("Krishnamurti's Notebook Paperback – 29 Aug 1985". Retrieved 2015-12-22 – via Amazon UK).
  16. ^ Wayback Machine n.d. A snapshot of the JKO document's pages was archived December 2012. However, as of June 2018, the work was not available at the contemporary version of the official repository.
  17. ^ Bagby 1976. Positive review of the original US edition.
  18. ^ Kirkus Reviews 1976. Positive review of the original US edition.
  19. ^ The Observer 1976. Neutral mini-review of the original UK edition.
  20. ^ Krishnamurti was aware of The Guardian article, which an associate termed "undistinguished", and decided to review the book himself; he then dictated a review, "laughing as he went along": Zimbalist n.d. "§ About Krishnamurti's Notebook – A Book Review". In Grohe (2012), p. 86. Preamble to Krishnamurti's review, by his then personal secretary and close associate Mary Zimbalist; the review was partly reproduced in Lutyens' The Years of Fulfilment. Lutyens states that he must have glanced at the published Notebook. According to her, from the 1950s on, Krishnamurti rarely bothered with his finished books (Lutyens 1983, pp. 88, 212–213, 240 [in "Source Notes": no. 39]).
  21. ^ J. Krishnamurti 1979a, "Para 167". Retrieved 2015-12-04; J. Krishnamurti 1979b, "Para 23". Retrieved 2019-05-14 – via J. krishnamurti Online ["legacy" website]; J. Krishnamurti 1983; J. Krishnamurti 1985, "Para 10", "Para 18". Retrieved 2019-05-14 – via J. krishnamurti Online ["legacy" website]
  22. ^ The Times 1986.
  23. ^ Daniel 2006.