Order of the Star in the East

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Order of the Star in the East
PredecessorOrder of the Rising Sun
SuccessorOrder of the Star
EstablishedApril 1911; 111 years ago (1911-04)
FounderAnnie Besant
DissolvedJune 1927; 95 years ago (1927-06)
TypeSpiritual organisation
PurposeTo educate and prepare the world for the advent of the World Teacher
HeadquartersBenares (Varanasi), India
Membership (1926)
43,000 (est.)
Secretary General
  • A. E. Wodehouse (1911–20)
  • Jiddu Nityananda (1920–25)
  • D. Rajagopal (1925–27)
Jiddu Krishnamurti
Annie Besant
C. W. Leadbeater
Main organ
The Herald of the Star
Parent organization
Theosophical Society
SubsidiariesStar Publishing Trust
  • National Sections in as many as 40 countries and territories
  • Servants of the Star (youth organisation)

The Order of the Star in the East (OSE) was an international organisation based at Benares (Varanasi), India, from 1911 to 1927. It was established by the leadership of the Theosophical Society at Adyar, Madras (Chennai), in order to prepare the world for the arrival of a reputed messianic entity, the World Teacher or Maitreya. The OSE acquired members worldwide as it expanded in many countries; a third of its diverse membership c. 1926 was unaffiliated with the Theosophical Society. The precursor of the OSE was the Order of the Rising Sun (1910–11, also at Benares) and the successor was the Order of the Star (1927–29, based at Ommen, the Netherlands). The precursor organisation was formed after leading Theosophists discovered a likely candidate for the new messiah in the then–adolescent Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986), a South Indian Brahmin who was installed as Head of the Order. Almost two decades later Krishnamurti rejected the messianic role, repudiated the Order's mission, and in 1929 disbanded the OSE's successor. The founding and activities of these organisations, as well as the largely unexpected dissolution of the OSE's successor, attracted widespread media attention and public interest. They also led to crises in the Theosophical Society and to schisms in Theosophy.


One of the central tenets of late 19th-century Theosophy as promoted by the Theosophical Society was the complex doctrine of intelligent evolution of all existence. This was said to be occurring on a Cosmic scale, incorporating both physical and non-physical aspects of the known and unknown Universe, and affecting all of its constituent parts regardless of apparent size or importance. The theory was originally promulgated in the Secret Doctrine (published 1888),[1] a book by Helena Blavatsky, one of the founders of contemporary Theosophy and the Theosophical Society.[2]

According to this view, Humankind's evolution on Earth (and beyond) is part of the Cosmic evolution. It is reputedly overseen by a hidden hierarchy, the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom, whose upper echelons consist of advanced spiritual beings. Blavatsky portrayed the Theosophical Society as one of the hierarchy's many attempts (or "impulses") throughout the millennia, to guide Humanity – in concert with the intelligent evolutionary scheme – to its ultimate, immutable objective: the attainment of perfection and the conscious participation in the evolutionary process.[3] Blavatsky stated that these attempts may require an Earth-based infrastructure (such as the Theosophical Society), to pave the way for the hierarchy's physically appearing emissaries, "the torch-bearer[s] of Truth".[4] The mission of these reputedly regularly appearing emissaries is to practically translate, in a way and language understood by contemporary humanity, the knowledge required to propel it to a higher evolutionary stage.[3]


Early history[edit]

Blavatsky also wrote about the possible impact of Theosophy and the Theosophical Society in her book The Key to Theosophy (published 1889):

If the present attempt, in the form of our Society, succeeds better than its predecessors have done, then it will be in existence as an organized, living and healthy body when the time comes for the effort of the XXth century. The general condition of men's minds and hearts will have been improved and purified by the spread of its teachings, and, as I have said, their prejudices and dogmatic illusions will have been, to some extent at least, removed. Not only so, but besides a large and accessible literature ready to men's hands, the next impulse will find a numerous and united body of people ready to welcome the new torch-bearer of Truth. He will find the minds of men prepared for his message, a language ready for him in which to clothe the new truths he brings, an organisation awaiting his arrival, which will remove the merely mechanical, material obstacles and difficulties from his path. Think how much one, to whom such an opportunity is given, could accomplish. Measure it by comparison with what the Theosophical Society actually has achieved in the last fourteen years, without any of these advantages and surrounded by hosts of hindrances which would not hamper the new leader. [Emphasis in original.]

— Helena Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy[4]

Based on this and other Blavatsky writings, Theosophists expected the future advent of the aforementioned "next impulse"; additional information was the purview of the Society's Esoteric Section, which Blavatsky had founded and originally led.[5]

After Blavatsky's death in 1891, influential Theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater expanded on her writings about the spiritual hierarchy and the Masters.[6] He formulated a Christology in which he identified Christ with the Theosophical representation of the Buddhist concept of Maitreya. Leadbeater believed that Maitreya-as-Christ had manifested on Earth in several occasions, using in each case a specially prepared person as a "vehicle". The incarnated Maitreya assumed the role of World Teacher of Humankind, dispensing knowledge regarding underlying truths of Existence.[6]

Annie Besant, another well-known and influential Theosophist (and eventual close associate of Leadbeater's), had also developed an interest on the advent of the next emissary from the spiritual hierarchy.[7] During the decades of the 1890s and 1900s, along with Leadbeater and others, she became progressively convinced that this advent would happen sooner than Blavatsky's proposed timetable.[8][7] They came to believe it would involve the imminent reappearance of Maitreya as World Teacher, a monumental event in the Theosophical worldview.[9] However, not all Theosophical Society members accepted Leadbeater's and Besant's ideas on the matter; the dissidents charged them with straying from Theosophical orthodoxy and, along with other concepts developed by the two, their elaborations on the Theosophical Maitreya were derisively labelled Neo-Theosophy by their opponents.[10]

Besant became President of the Theosophical Society in 1907,[11] and added considerable weight to the belief of Maitreya's imminent manifestation; this eventually became a commonly held expectation among Theosophists.[12] Besant had started commenting on the possibly imminent arrival of the next emissary as early as 1896; by 1909 the proclaimed "coming Teacher" was a main topic of her lectures and writings.[13][14]

"Discovery" of Jiddu Krishnamurti[edit]

Sometime between late April and late May 1909, at the private beach of the Theosophical Society Headquarters in Adyar, Madras (Chennai), Leadbeater encountered Jiddu Krishnamurti, a fourteen-year-old South Indian Brahmin.[15] At the time Jiddu Narayaniah, Krishnamurti's father and longtime Theosophist, was employed by the Society; the family, in relatively poor condition, lived next to the compound. Leadbeater was a controversial figure whose knowledge on occult matters was highly respected by the Society's leadership. He came to believe young Krishnamurti was a suitable candidate for the vehicle of the World Teacher – despite the boy's reputedly dull personality and lackluster intellect.[16][17] Leadbeater soon placed Krishnamurti, and at the latter's insistence his inseparable younger brother Jiddu Nityananda ("Nitya"), under his and the Society's wing; in late 1909 Besant, as President of the Society and head of its Esoteric Section, admitted the Jiddu brothers into both.[18] In March 1910 she became their legal guardian.[19]

Following the "discovery", Leadbeater began occult examinations of Krishnamurti, to whom he had assigned the pseudonym Alcyone – the name of a star in the Pleiades star cluster, and of characters from Greek mythology.[20] Leadbeater's belief regarding the boy's suitability was strengthened by his clairvoyance-aided investigations of Krishnamurti's reputed past and future lives. Results of these investigations were recorded, and eventually published in Theosophical magazines starting April 1910, and in a book in 1913.[21] They were widely read and discussed within the Society, as according to Leadbeater, contemporary Theosophists were involved in various "lives of Alcyone". Such reputed involvement became a matter of status and prestige among Theosophists; it also contributed to factionalism within the Society.[22] In the meantime, Krishnamurti was put on a comprehensive multiyear regimen of physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual training in preparation for his probable future role.[23]

Order of the Rising Sun[edit]

In late 1910 the Theosophical Society published the first work "by Alcyone", a booklet entitled At the Feet of the Master. The book became very popular among Theosophists, and around the same time (officially, in January 1911), the Order of the Rising Sun was founded at Benares (Varanasi) by George Arundale, a prominent Theosophist. Arundale, Principal of the Central Hindu College (CHC), had been impressed by Alcyone's writings, and formed the Order around a CHC-based study group of disciples headed by Krishnamurti. The new entity was generally focused on the expected World Teacher, yet the recently discovered Krishnamurti-Alcyone was – somewhat obliquely – at the center of its attention.[24][25]

Meanwhile, the activities and proclamations of Leadbeater, Besant, and other senior Theosophists regarding Krishnamurti and the expected Teacher became entangled in prior disputes within and without the Theosophical Society, and also the subjects of new controversies.[26][27] The evolving controversies, as well as objections by Hindu members of the CHC faculty, prompted Besant to officially disband the organisation in May 1911; however, a replacement had already been formed.[28]

Group photo includes Annie Besant, Jiddu Krishnamurti, George Arundale and Jiddu Nityananda, London May 1911
Annie Besant and Jiddu Krishnamurti (center), flanked by Jiddu Nityananda (left), and George Arundale (right). London, May 1911.[29]

Order of the Star in the East[edit]

In April 1911 Besant founded the Order of the Star in the East (OSE), based again at Benares, which replaced the Order of the Rising Sun. It was named after the Star of Bethlehem, signifying the proclaimed approach of the new manifestation of Christ-Maitreya.[30] The top positions of the organisation were filled: "Mrs Besant and Leadbeater were made Protectors of the new Order of which Krishna [Jiddu Krishnamurti] was the Head, Arundale Private Secretary to the Head, and Wodehouse Organizing Secretary".[31] News regarding Krishnamurti, the Order, and its mission received widespread publicity and worldwide press coverage; the publicity may have been at least partly driven by aspects of the era's prevailing fin de siècle mood.[32]

Objective and principles[edit]

Reproduction of a membership certificate of the Order of the Star in the East
Order of the Star in the East membership certificate (Netherlands Section, 1917). Black and white copy, reduced.

The goal of the OSE was to educate and prepare the world for the arrival of the World Teacher and to remove any material obstacles and difficulties from his path.[33] By late 1913, the Order had about 15,000 members worldwide; most of them were also members of the Theosophical Society.[34] However, membership was open to anyone, the only precondition being acceptance of the "Declaration of Principles", which stated the following:

  1. We believe that a great Teacher will soon appear in the world, and we wish so to live now that we may be worthy to know Him when He comes.
  2. We shall try, therefore, to keep Him in our minds always, and to do in His name, and therefore to the best of our ability, all the work which comes to us in our daily occupations.
  3. As far as our ordinary duties allow, we shall endeavour to devote a portion of our time each day to some definite work which may help to prepare for His coming.
  4. We shall seek to make Devotion, Steadfastness and Gentleness prominent characteristics of our daily life.
  5. We shall try to begin and end each day with a short period devoted to the asking of His blessing upon all that we try to do for Him and in His name.
  6. We regard it as our special duty to try to recognise and reverence greatness in whomsoever shown, and to strive to co-operate, as far as we can, with those whom we feel to be spiritually our superiors.
— Order of the Star in the East, "Declaration of Principles"[35]

The organisation had no other rules, and there were no membership fees or subscriptions. New members received an OSE certificate (see a digitised copy on this page), and could thereafter display the organisation's emblem, a silver five-pointed star.[31]


Official Bulletins
The Herald of the Star
Jiddu Krishnamurti, editor
OCLC 225662044
The Star Review
1928–29, London
Emily Lutyens, editor
OCLC 224323863
International Star Bulletin
November 1927 – July 1929, Ommen
D. Rajagopal & R. L. Christie, editors
OCLC 34693176
  • Several National Sections of the Order also published their own Star bulletins[36]
  • The International Star Bulletin continued in a new series[37]

External image
image icon Front cover of The Herald of the Star, December 1916 (vol. 5, no. 12) (JPEG). Retrieved 2022-04-09 – via Theosophy Wiki.[38]

Following its establishment the OSE began its mission in earnest. Lecture tours, meetings and other activities were undertaken by prominent members of the Order.[39] Articles and pamphlets about the OSE and its mission, published regularly by Theosophical organisations, were joined by an official bulletin, The Herald of the Star, originally based at Adyar, which started publication in January 1912.[40]

As Krishnamurti came of age, he embarked on an intensified schedule of lectures and discussions in several countries, and acquired a large following among the membership of the Theosophical Society.[41] National Sections of the Order were eventually formed in as many as forty countries.[42][43] An affiliated international youth organisation, the Servants of the Star, was established in London in October 1913 with Krishnamurti's younger brother Nitya as its Head; it accepted persons under 21 years of age as members.[44]

On 28 December 1911, during a ceremony officiated by Krishnamurti at the close of the annual Theosophical Convention (held that year at Benares), those present were reported to be suddenly overwhelmed by a strange feeling of "tremendous power", which seemed to be flowing through Krishnamurti. In Leadbeater's description, "it reminded one irresistibly of the rushing, mighty wind, and the outpouring of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost. The tension was enormous, and every one in the room was most powerfully affected." The next day, at a meeting of the Esoteric Section, Besant for the first time announced that it was now clear Krishnamurti was indeed the required vehicle. Thereafter, 28 December became a "sacred day" for the Order.[45]

In 1912, Krishnamurti's father sued Besant in order to annul her guardianship of his sons, which he had previously granted. Among the reasons stated in Narayaniah's deposition was his objection to the deification of Krishnamurti, said to have been caused by Besant's "announcement that he was to be the Lord Christ, with the result that a number of respectable persons had prostrated before him." Besant eventually won the case on appeal.[46]

Also in 1912, most members of the Theosophical Society's German Section followed its head, Rudolf Steiner, in splitting from the parent Society – partly due to disagreement over Besant's and Leadbeater's proclamations concerning Krishnamurti's messianic status.[47]

Controversy regarding the OSE and Krishnamurti again engulfed the Central Hindu College. In 1913, a number of the Order's supporters resigned their positions at the CHC following opposition by the school's administration and trustees, who considered the Order's activities unacademical.[48][26]

In 1920, Nitya replaced Wodehouse as OSE Organising Secretary.[49] The next year, the first international Congress of the Order of the Star in the East was held in Paris, France, attended by 2,000 members out of then about 30,000 worldwide. At the Congress it was decided that there would be no special ceremonies or rituals associated with the Order or with the World Teacher.[50] Also in the 1920s, regularly scheduled multiday Star Camps, supported by well-organised facilities, started to be held in the Netherlands, the United States, and India. They were attended by thousands of members, with coverage provided by local and international media.[51]

In 1922, during a stay in Ojai, California, Krishnamurti had a series of physical, psychological and spiritual experiences over a period of several months, that affected him deeply. Rumours of strange happenings started circulating among OSE members, yet the events of Ojai (and similar later Krishnamurti experiences) remained unknown outside of the Theosophical leadership and Krishnamurti's inner circle.[52]

In late 1925, close Krishnamurti associate and friend D. Rajagopal[16] was appointed General Secretary following Nitya's unexpected death. While the Order's activities continued without visible disruption, Nitya's death was a privately devastating, watershed event for Krishnamurti.[53]

Financing the venture and subsequent expansion did not appear to present a problem.[54] Properties in several countries were acquired via specially-formed trusts or by affiliates, for a variety of purposes.[55] Donations were regularly solicited, along with project-based funding appeals to the members, some of whom were considerably wealthy.[56] In collaboration with the Theosophical Society, the OSE had been producing a number of publications and propaganda material (see § External links); in 1926, it organised its own publishing arm: the Star Publishing Trust, based at Eerde, Ommen, the Netherlands. Along with an official international bulletin published in Ommen (the International Star Bulletin), national bulletins eventually appeared in twenty-one countries, and in fourteen different languages.[36] Also in 1926 it was reported that the Order's membership had reached about 43,000, two thirds of which were members of the Theosophical Society.[57]

Claims and expectations[edit]

By year-end 1925, efforts of prominent Theosophists and their affiliated factions to favourably position themselves for the expected Coming were reaching a climax. Extraordinary pronouncements of accelerated spiritual advancement were being made by various parties, privately disputed by others. Ranking members of the Order and the Society had publicly declared themselves to have been chosen as apostles of the new Messiah. The escalating claims of spiritual success, and the internal (and hidden from the public) Theosophical politics, alienated an increasingly disillusioned Krishnamurti. His commitment and enthusiasm had been uneven since the Order's early days, and in private he had occasionally expressed doubts about his presumed mission.[58] He refused to recognise anyone as his disciple or apostle.[59] In the meantime, World Teacher-related spinoff projects proliferated: in August 1925 the establishment of a "World Religion" and a "World University" were announced by the Theosophical leadership. Both of them were later "quietly shelved".[60]

The annual Star Congress for 1925 opened at Adyar on the "sacred day" of 28 December, following the much anticipated but uneventful Theosophical Convention.[61] At the opening, an event occurred that was reminiscent of the incident that had happened on the same day of 1911. Krishnamurti had been giving a speech about the World Teacher and the significance of his coming, when "a dramatic change" took place: his voice suddenly altered and he switched to first person, saying "I come for those who want sympathy, who want happiness, who are longing to be released, who are longing to find happiness in all things. I come to reform and not to tear down, I come not to destroy but to build." For many of the assembled who noticed, it was a "spine-tingling" revelation, "felt ... instantly and independently" – confirmation, in their view, that the manifestation of the Lord Maitreya through his chosen vehicle had begun.[62]

Order of the Star[edit]

The reputed manifestation of the World Teacher prompted a number of celebratory statements and assertions by prominent Theosophists that were not unanimously accepted by Society members. One result was the persistence of controversy regarding the project.[63] Besant and other leaders of the Society largely managed to contain the dissenters and the controversy, but in the process sustained unflattering publicity.[64] However the endeavour, often referred to as "the World Teacher Project", was also receiving serious and neutral coverage in the global media, and according to reports it was followed sympathetically and with interest by non-Theosophists.[65]

photo portrait of Jiddu Krishnamurti in the 1920s
Jiddu Krishnamurti in the 1920s

In related developments following the perceived manifestation, Besant announced in January 1927, "[t]he World Teacher is here",[66] and many Star members expected Krishnamurti's unequivocal public proclamation of his messianic status. Land was purchased in Ojai for a "colony project", to serve as a "miniature model of a new civilisation" mentored by the World Teacher.[67] Reflecting the new situation, in June 1927 the name of the organisation was changed to Order of the Star, and its main organ was retitled The Star Review; the organisation relocated at Ommen, with D. Rajagopal serving as Chief Organiser.[68][69]

The renamed organisation had two objectives: [68]

  • To draw together all those who believe in the Presence of the World Teacher in the world
  • To work with Him for the establishment of His ideas

Complementing the reorganisation and the proclamations of the World Teacher's manifestation, in 1928 the "World Mother Project", headed by Rukmini Devi Arundale (George Arundale's young wife), was put in motion by Theosophical leaders. Krishnamurti again distanced himself from this endeavour, which Indian and international press reports dubbed "Mrs. Besant's New Fad", and it was to be short-lived.[70]

Dissolution and repudiation[edit]

By the late 1920s, Krishnamurti's emphasis in public talks and private discussions had changed. He had been gradually discarding or contradicting Theosophical concepts and terminology, disagreeing with leading Theosophists, and talking less about the World Teacher; public interest, and attendance at his speaking engagements, remained high.[71][72] The shift in emphasis mirrored fundamental changes in Krishnamurti as a person, including his increasing disenchantment with the World Teacher Project. Instrumental in these changes, according to his biographers, were among other reasons the reputed experiences that had first occurred at Ojai, and Nitya's unexpected death (see § Activities).[73] Consequently, Krishnamurti stated that he undertook a thorough re-evaluation of his relationship with the Project, the Theosophical Society, and Theosophy in general.[74]

Finally, on 3 August 1929, at the Ommen Star Camp, he disbanded the Order in front of Besant and about 3,000 members.[75][76] In his speech dissolving the organisation (also broadcast on Dutch radio),[77] Krishnamurti said:

I maintain that 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 to coerce people along any particular path.

— Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Dissolution of the Order of the Star[78]

Despite the changes in Krishnamurti's outlook and pronouncements during the preceding years (and more recent rumours of impending dissolution),[79] the ending of the Order and its mission shocked many of its supporters. Prominent Theosophists openly or under various guises turned against Krishnamurti – including Leadbeater, who reputedly stated, "the Coming has gone wrong".[80] However, other Society members supported Krishnamurti's new direction, and opposed the critical views expressed by Theosophical leaders.[81]

Soon after the dissolution Krishnamurti severed his ties to Theosophy and the Theosophical Society.[82][83] He denounced the concepts of saviors, spiritual teachers, leaders and followers.[84] Vowing to work towards setting humankind "absolutely, unconditionally free",[85] he repudiated all doctrines and theories of inner, spiritual and psychological evolution such as those implied in the Theosophical tenets described above (see § Background). Instead, he posited that his goal of complete psychological freedom could be realised only through the understanding of individuals' actual relationships with themselves, society, and nature.[84][86]

Krishnamurti returned to the donors estates, property and funds that had been given to the Order in its various incarnations.[87] He spent the rest of his life promoting his post-Theosophical message around the world as an independent speaker and writer. He became widely known as an original, influential thinker on philosophical, psychological, and religious subjects.[88]


In 1907, the first year for which reliable records were kept,[89] the worldwide membership of the Theosophical Society was estimated at over 15,000. During the following two decades membership suffered due to splits and resignations, but by the mid–1920s it was rising again; it eventually peaked in 1928 at about 45,000 members.[90] The membership of the Order in its various guises kept increasing steadily, yet Krishnamurti's changing message in the period leading to the dissolution may have negatively affected growth.[81] Many members of the Order were also members of the Theosophical Society; [91] consequently, as many as a third of the members of the Society left "within a few years" of Krishnamurti's disbanding of the Order.[92] In the opinion of a Krishnamurti biographer, the Society, already in decline for other reasons, "was in disarray" upon the dissolution of the Order. While Theosophical publications and leading members tried to minimise the effect of Krishnamurti's actions and the defunct Order's importance, the "truth ... was that the Theosophical Society had been pole-axed. ... [Krishnamurti] had combatively challenged the central tenet of its beliefs".[93]

The failed project led to considerable analysis and retrospective evaluations by the Society and by well-known Theosophists, at that time and since.[94] It also resulted in governance changes in the Theosophical Society Adyar, a reorientation of its Esoteric Section, re-examination of parts of its doctrine, and reticence to outside questions regarding the OSE and the World Teacher Project.[95] According to both theosophical and non-theosophical observers, Theosophical organisations, especially the Theosophical Society Adyar, by the close of the 20th century had yet to recover from Krishnamurti's rejection and the entire World Teacher affair, and entered the 21st still dealing with their effects.[96]

Cultural references[edit]

Events and personalities related to the World Teacher Project and the OSE have been portrayed, or alluded to, in artistic and cultural works.

"The Word of the Master" (Finnish: Mestarin käsky), is a 1925 work for voice and piano by Finnish composer Leevi Madetoja (Op. 71/2). Originally published as "At the Feet of the Master (Alcyone)", its devotional lyrics are based on the eponymous book (see § Order of the Rising Sun). The three-minute-long work was republished under the new title in 1929; as of 2002, it was included in contemporary performances on CD-Audio.[97]

"Benares, 1910", an episode in the 1990s US television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles created by George Lucas, is taking place in Benares around the time of Krishnamurti's discovery and the formation of the OSE. The hour-long episode loosely (and sympathetically) portrays these and related events. The including series explores the childhood and youth of the fictional character Indiana Jones; in this instalment, the protagonist gets to meet the boy Krishnamurti, Besant and Leadbeater.[98] Filmed on location at Benares. The episode originally aired on 3 July 1993, during primetime, on the ABC television network; [99] it achieved modest Nielsen ratings.[100] It was later re-packaged in a television film titled The Journey of Radiance (2000),[99] which was also released, along with related documentary material, on DVD-Video (2007).[98]

Blue Dove, a musical in two acts, is based on Krishnamurti's life between his discovery by Leadbeater and the start of his career as an independent philosopher and speaker following the dissolution of the Order of the Star. The musical, with a running time of two hours and fifteen minutes, premiered in October 2004 at Los Angeles' Ivar Theatre and had a three-week stage run; a 40-minute recording of songs was released in 2005. The libretto and plot, by Englishman Peter Wells, employ considerable artistic licence in their portrayals of related persons and events.[101]


  1. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 2004, pp. 1–2, 132, and § "The Secret Doctrine" pp. 14–17; Kuhn 1930, ch. "VIII: The Secret Doctrine" pp. 194–231.
  2. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 2004, pp. 7–8.
  3. ^ a b Goodrick-Clarke 2004, pp. 4–6. "Masters, ... feature ... prominently in the inspiration of Theosophy and its founding myth" (p. 5). Retrieved 2015-11-02 – via Google Books (limited preview); Lubelsky 2012, pp. 79–81.
  4. ^ a b Blavatsky 1889, pp. 306–307. Retrieved 2016-07-07 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Lachman 2012, pp. 248–249; M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 10–11. Members of the Esoteric Section had access to occult instruction and more detailed knowledge of the inner order and mission of the Society and of its reputed hidden Masters or Mahātmās.
  6. ^ a b Lubelsky 2012, § "Leadbeater's Doctrine" pp. 139–146; Leadbeater 2007, pp. 31, 74, 191, 232, and ch. "XIII: The Trinity and the Triangles" pp. 250–260.
  7. ^ a b Lubelsky 2012, pp. 132–134.
  8. ^ Blavatsky 1889, p. 306. Retrieved 2016-07-07 – via Google Books. "[D]uring the last quarter of every hundred years an attempt is made by those 'Masters,' ... to help on the spiritual progress of Humanity .... Towards the close of each century ... an outpouring or upheaval of spirituality ... has taken place. Some one or more persons have appeared in the world as their agents, and a greater or less amount of occult knowledge and teaching has been given out."
  9. ^ Lubelsky 2012, pp. 136–137.
  10. ^ Kuhn 1930, pp. 327, 328–331.
  11. ^ Vernon 2001, p. 35.
  12. ^ Schüller 1999.
  13. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 11–12, 46.
  14. ^ New York Times 1909. Report on the occasion of Besant's early-20th-century lecture tour of the United States.
  15. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 1, 20–21. Mary Lutyens, whose family was involved with Theosophy and the Theosophical Society, was an authorized biographer and longtime friend of Krishnamurti.
  16. ^ a b M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 12, 124–125; Vernon 2001, pp. 99–100. Krishnamurti was not the first, or only, candidate for Vehicleship. Before him, the young son of a high-ranking American Theosophist was considered promising by Leadbeater. Also, thirteen-year-old Indian Desikacharya Rajagopalacharya ("D. Rajagopal", 1900–1993) was "discovered" by Leadbeater in 1913, and for a time it was rumored in Theosophical circles that he might supplant Krishnamurti. However, Krishnamurti was considered the most likely vehicle candidate, for whom the Society made available its resources. Rajagopal went on to become a decades-long close associate and friend of Krishnamurti's, but their relationship soured in old age.
  17. ^ Wood 1964, pp. 287–288, 289. From the eyewitness account of Krishnamurti's "discovery" by Ernest Wood, a close associate of Leadbeater's. The latter maintained he was directed by the Masters (see § Background) on the matter; according to Wood, Leadbeater also stated that Krishnamurti should fulfil the expectations "... 'unless something goes wrong.'" The article includes commentary on related events and controversies.
  18. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 27, 30, 35, 136, 163, 178; Vernon 2001, p. 29. There was a strong brotherly bond between Nitya (1898–1925), and Krishnamurti. In addition, Nitya was charged by Theosophical leaders, and reputedly by the Masters, with looking after Krishnamurti and with assisting him in his presumed mission.
  19. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 40; Besant and Krishnamurti developed a very close, lasting personal relationship (Vernon 2001, pp. 46–47).
  20. ^ Besant & Leadbeater 2003, p. 9. "To this 'himself' or ego [i.e. each of the characters in the Lives of Alcyone] we have given a distinguishing name, so that he may be recognized under all the disguises put on to suit the part he is playing. These are mostly names of constellations, stars, or Greek heroes." Krishnamurti's pseudonym may be related to one of the mythical Pleiades or to another mythological Alcyone, a character whose story is related to the so-called halcyon days; Theosophy assigns occult or esoteric significance to practically all ancient mythologies (Kalnitsky 2003, pp. 294–296, 300), whose theogonies are considered by Theosophical doctrine to be closely related to actual cosmological and astronomical events. See also Pleiades in folklore and literature.
  21. ^ Besant & Leadbeater 1913, Foreword pp. 1–8 [specific context pp. 2–3].
  22. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 23–24. Leadbeater proclaimed his clairvoyance as a matter of fact; this was accepted by many Theosophists. Reincarnation is considered a fundamental doctrine in Theosophy. Besides Krishnamurti, Leadbeater assigned names with Esoteric Theosophical significance to several other actors in the "lives of Alcyone".
  23. ^ Vernon 2001, chs. "4. At the Feet of the Master"–"5. Moulding a Messiah" pp. 51–93 [cumulative].
  24. ^ Vernon 2001, pp. 61–64. At the Feet of the Master went on to become an international bestseller, eventually published in over two dozen languages; Alcyone 1911 is an early edition; the work's publication has also generated controversy regarding the author's identity. Considered a spiritual classic, it was still in print as of 2012 (Rodrigues 2012, p. 462).
  25. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 42–46. "George Arundale [appeared as] Fides in The Lives of Alcyone". The CHC had been co-founded by Annie Besant and counted several prominent Theosophists among its faculty and staff.
  26. ^ a b Tillett 1986, ch. "15. Conflict over Krishnamurti" pp. 506–553. Information on contemporary controversies regarding Krishnamurti, inside and outside the Theosophical Society.
  27. ^ Sands 1912, pp. 575–578. Round-up of news articles regarding the controversies surrounding the Order and Krishnamurti. From a regular police report on the Indian press in the United Provinces, submitted to British Raj authorities.
  28. ^ Lubelsky 2012, pp. 298–299.
  29. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 84.
  30. ^ Vernon 2001, p. 64.
  31. ^ a b M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 46, 125, 227. Ernest Armine Wodehouse, an educator and brother of the poet and writer P.G. Wodehouse, was another prominent Theosophist.
  32. ^ Vernon 2001, pp. 10, 22, 38; Stead 1911. "[The Messiah's] present name is J. Krishnamurti ... "; Grand Forks Daily Herald 1912. "A stripling of fifteen, Krishnamurti, a Hindu is thought by many Theosophists to be a second Messiah and a new sect has been formed for his support with the star of the east the emblem"; Krishnamurti was seventeen-years-old at the time of the article's publication (M. Lutyens 1975, p. 308n"[page]2").
  33. ^ Wodehouse 1911.
  34. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 74. "Not all of them [i.e. OSE members] Theosophists".
  35. ^ Wodehouse 1911; Hartmann 1925.
  36. ^ a b M. Lutyens 1975, p. 246. The International Star Bulletin, with D. Rajagopal as chief editor, joined the pre-existing Herald of the Star; Hotchener 1928b. From the bulletin of the Order's United States Section.
  37. ^ D. Rajagopal 1929a. See a cover image of the August 1930 issue here (at Wikimedia Commons).
  38. ^ Theosophy Wiki 2013.
  39. ^ The New Statesman 1926, p. 255. This comprehensive 1926 report about the World Teacher Project states that Besant lectures on the subject (in London) attracted audiences of 8,000 per talk.
  40. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 46, 64, 75; Vernon 2001, pp. 64, 100. The bulletin listed Krishnamurti as (nominal) editor. It relocated to London in 1914, revamped as a 64-page glossy magazine with several full-page color illustrations (see external image for link to a front cover example and § External links for an archive of issues); it also solicited (Credo n.d.), and published, articles by non-members and non-Theosophists, on a variety of current issues – such as two contributions in 1917 by philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell (Russell 1995, pp. 123, 301); a socio-political article by then Prime Minister of Italy Benito Mussolini, reprinted in the Herald of the Star June 1924 issue, was preceded by a disclaimer from the Herald's editor (Baldini 2015, p. 777n42).
  41. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 129, 135, 169–170, 171, 172–173; Vernon 2001, pp. 84, 85, 132–133; Krishnamurti talks were also broadcast on radio (The Manchester Guardian 1926).
  42. ^ Hartmann 1925.
  43. ^ OSE South Australian Branch 1924. Pamphlet promoting vegetarianism. OSE Sections and Branches independently produced publications on a variety of subjects.
  44. ^ Ellwood 2006, p. 59, § "Krishnamurti and the Order of the Star"; The Herald of the Star 1914, p. 643; B. Lutyens 1914, p. 47. "[O]ur organisation has two divisions: the first, for ... members of the Order of the Star in the East; and the second, for those who have no belief or disbelief in the coming of a World-Teacher, but are not opposed". Barbara Lutyens, Mary Lutyens' sister, was the youth arm's General Secretary.
  45. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 54–55, 56 (also see Pentecost § New Testament and Holy Spirit); according to Leadbeater and other Theosophists, Krishnamurti had previously undergone a spiritual Initiation and had been accepted as a pupil by the reputed hidden overseers of the Theosophical Society (M. Lutyens 1975, chs. "4. First Initiation"–"5. First Teaching" pp. 29–46 [cumulative]).
  46. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 62, 82, 84, and ch. "8. The Lawsuit" pp. 64–71.
  47. ^ McDermott 1992. Rudolf Steiner, at the time leader of the German Section of the Theosophical Society, rejected the claims of Krishnamurti's messianic status. The resulting tensions between the German Section and Besant and Leadbeater was one of the reasons that led to a split in the Society and, in 1912, to Steiner forming the Anthroposophical Society.
  48. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 42–43, 61, 134. Besant, and Leadbeater (who had been the subject of controversy and lurid accusations in the past), portrayed much of the opposition to the OSE and its mission – as well as the litigation regarding Krishnamurti's guardianship – as being part of wider, interrelated conflicts: ongoing debates about the role of the Theosophical Society in Indian life, and campaigns by political-religious opponents who disagreed with Besant's positions on Indian Home Rule; a contrary viewpoint to Besant's and Leadbeater's portrayal of events can be found in Das 1913. The author, a co-founder of the CHC (Lubelsky 2012, p. 258) and former General Secretary of the Indian Section of the Theosophical Society, was opposed to the World Teacher Project, the OSE, and eventually to Besant.
  49. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 125. Nitya was appointed following the resignation of Wodehouse.
  50. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 129. Many of those present attended "at great financial cost".
  51. ^ Landau 1943, pp. 88–103. Rom Landau attended the 1927 Eerde, Ommen gathering and Star Camp at Krishnamurti's invitation. He described his impressions of the proceedings and of the attending members.
  52. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, chs. "18. The Turning Point"–"21. Climax of the Process" pp. 152–188 [cumulative]. Leadbeater and leading Theosophists were expecting similar occurrences as part of the vehicle's preparation for Maitreya's presumed manifestation. However, the novelty of the reputed events mystified them, and ultimately they were not able to explain them satisfactorily. The 1922 events at Ojai were originally revealed in this, first volume of Mary Lutyens' biography of Krishnamurti, where they were described in some detail. They were called the process by Krishnamurti and his circle, while certain experiences were eventually known as the otherness, among other terms. Similar experiences reputedly occurred throughout Krishnamurti's life. See also Jiddu Krishnamurti § Life-altering experiences.
  53. ^ Vernon 2001, pp. 152–153; M. Lutyens 1975, ch. "24. Fears for Nitya" pp. 202–209, also pp. 219–221, 227. Nitya's death shocked Krishnamurti's circle; it "broke him [Krishnamurti] completely". He had received assurances regarding his brother's well-being by prominent Theosophists and reputedly, by members of the hidden spiritual hierarchy. Yet he recovered quickly.
  54. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 74. "Neither the Theosophical Society nor the Order of the Star ever seemed to be prevented from carrying out any of their projects through lack of funds".
  55. ^ Vernon 2001, pp. 138–139, 144–145; one of the projects was the Star Amphitheatre, an open-air temple built in the early 1920s on OSE land in Balmoral, New South Wales. It was to be utilized by the World Teacher as a platform for his message (Roe 1986, pp. 287–288).
  56. ^ Vernon 2001, pp. 74, 134, 169.
  57. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 232n. From the 1926 Annual Report of the Order; the membership included people of many faiths: "In India ... Mahometans, Buddhists and Christians sit together without any holy war starting, to hear Krishnamurti" (Boston Daily Globe 1926) [Mohammedan variant spelling "Mahometan"]; von Weisl 1929, p. 6. "[H]alf the members of the local Zionist group in Bombay,... are also members of the theosophical movement, and many of them ... are ... members of the 'Order of the Star,' ... believers in the so-called new world-saviour Krishnamurti".
  58. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, ch. "10. Doubts and Difficulties" pp. 80–96, ch. "14. Critical and Rebellious" pp. 118–123, and pp. 103–104, 124–125, 127–128, 133–134, 138–139, 147. Krishnamurti reputedly exclaimed about his presumed mission around 1914–15, "... 'Why did they ever pick on me?'" (p. 86). He was admonished by Besant regarding the importance of his work for the World Teacher Project (p. 86). Leadbeater had been critical in the late 1910s, and in 1922 he again made Krishnamurti aware of the Masters' expectations; later that year, following certain experiences in California (see § Activities), Krishnamurti reaffirmed his commitment in letters to Leadbeater, Besant and others (pp. 160–162).
  59. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, chs. "25. The Self Appointed Apostles"–"26. The First Manifestation" pp. 210–226 [cumulative].
  60. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 214, 222.
  61. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 223. The 1925 Theosophical Convention took place on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Theosophical Society. There were high expectations among Theosophists and Star members, mainly due to rumours of significant imminent manifestations related to the World Teacher. The Convention attracted large crowds and wide representation by the international media.
  62. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 223–225; however, not all of those present noticed anything unusual. Krishnamurti later stated that he could not recall details of the incident (Vernon 2001, p. 158).
  63. ^ New York Times 1926a; Washington Post 1926. Report about the 1926 Convention of the United Kingdom Section of the Theosophical Society.
  64. ^ Los Angeles Times 1926b. This press report considered "the strenuous efforts" of Besant "and her cult" regarding the World Teacher as objects of amusement; in contrast, Krishnamurti was said to "have retained no little common sense despite his recent dip into theosophy".
  65. ^ Boston Daily Globe 1926. "Whether one believes in this 'second coming' or not, interest is being displayed in this question throughout the world. In many cases representatives of orthodox religious organizations have expressed receptiveness to this belief. ... There is widespread expectation of such an event, which disregards denominational and religious and even national boundaries"; the Order's membership included priests and clergymen of various faiths and denominations, some of whom actively promoted the organisation's goals (Ellwood 2006, p. 60, § "Krishnamurti and the Order of the Star"); however, others were not supportive, with some considering the messianic claims blasphemous (New York Times 1926b).
  66. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 241. Statement by Besant to the Associated Press.
  67. ^ The China Press 1927; M. Lutyens 1975, p. 240. Almost 500 acres were purchased as the future site of the "Happy Valley" community, which did not materialise as planned; a descendant independent educational organisation, the Happy Valley Foundation, established in 1946, assumed ownership of most of the original grounds (HVF 2021).
  68. ^ a b Hotchener 1928a; M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 178, 245–246. The renamed organization was headquartered at Castle Eerde. The 18th-century castle and 5,000 acres (8 sq mi) of the surrounding estate had been gifted to the OSE in the early 1920s.
  69. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 246, 315n"[page]252". The new bulletin was edited by Lutyens' mother Emily (née Lady Lytton). Like its predecessor, it also increasingly published or republished articles on a wide array of issues. Again, not all contributors were associated with the Order or with Theosophy; among those was novelist D. H. Lawrence, whose essay "Men and Women" was first published in the Review's November 1929 issue (Lawrence 2004, p. xxx [in "Introduction"]).
  70. ^ Tillett 1986, p. 766; M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 257, 258n. In the then–prominent Esoteric Christology of Theosophists, the World Mother corresponded to the Virgin Mary, the World Teacher being the embodiment of the Christ-principle. Rukmini Arundale was to be the World Mother's vehicle; however, the project has also been described as an attempt (by leading Theosophists opposing him) to sideline Krishnamurti, who was by then becoming increasingly vocal in his maverick course (Vernon 2001, pp. 174–175).
  71. ^ Los Angeles Times 1926a. Krishnamurti interviewed by the Los Angeles Times 25 May 1926, during a visit to Paris.
  72. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 257. A Krishnamurti speaking appearance at the Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles) on 15 May 1928 was attended by 16,000 people. His subject was "Happiness through Liberation".
  73. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 219–222, 236, 265–266, 276; Vernon 2001, pp. 131–132. The unexplained experiences provided Krishnamurti with an avenue of growth and life independent of Theosophy, the Order, and the Society. Nitya's premature death from tuberculosis in November 1925, that had deeply affected Krishnamurti, had revelatory consequences. His disagreements with leading Theosophists became more acute, despite Besant's efforts for conciliation. She offered to resign as President of the Society, and in 1928, in sympathy with Krishnamurti, closed the Esoteric Section. She reopened it after the dissolution of the Order.
  74. ^ J. Krishnamurti 1929, p. 14. "So ... after careful consideration for two years, I have made this decision. It is not from a momentary impulse. ... For two years I have been thinking about this, slowly, carefully, patiently, and I have now decided to disband the Order, as I happen to be its Head."
  75. ^ D. Rajagopal 1929b. In the previously official international bulletin of the Order of the Star; the bulletin published several issues post-dissolution, following Krishnamurti's new direction (M. Lutyens 1975, p. 314n"[page]246").
  76. ^ Washington Post 1929.
  77. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 272.
  78. ^ J. Krishnamurti 1929, pp. 3–4.
  79. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 260, 271.
  80. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 277–279, 315n"[page]278–279". Letters by Krishnamurti to Emily Lutyens (December 1929, including reference to reputed quote by Leadbeater) and Annie Besant (February 1930), and reaction of leading Theosophists to the dissolution.
  81. ^ a b Vernon 2001, p. 179; Réhault 2006, pp. 9, 10.
  82. ^ Scott 1930. "[T]he Vehicle stands quite alone." From an editorial in The Manchester Guardian; a related news agency report is in the same issue (The Manchester Guardian 1930).
  83. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, pp. 276, 285. Krishnamurti remained on friendly terms with individual members of the Society; in 1980, he visited the Adyar Headquarters after an almost 50-year absence, and "reconciled the rift that seemingly existed between him and the Society" (Rodrigues 2012, p. 470).
  84. ^ a b Vernon 2001, pp. 180–181, 186, 213–215.
  85. ^ J. Krishnamurti 1929, p. 14.
  86. ^ J. Krishnamurti 2009.
  87. ^ M. Lutyens 1975, p. 276; some OSE assets were repurposed for Krishnamurti's continuing work (D. Rajagopal 1929a).
  88. ^ Weatherby 1986. An obituary of Krishnamurti.
  89. ^ Tillett 1986, p. 943n[2].
  90. ^ Taylor 1992, p. 328; Rodrigues 2012, p. 472. "[M]any ... were wealthy and influential in their countries."
  91. ^ Roe 1986, p. 288.
  92. ^ Campbell 1980, pp. 130, 176. Almost half a century later (1980), the Theosophical Society Adyar had about 35,000 members.
  93. ^ Vernon 2001, pp. 188–189.
  94. ^ Schüller 2001. "Introduction by the editor". In van der Leeuw 1930, (Alpheus reprint). Annotation to commentary about the crisis in the Theosophical Society after the dissolution of the Order of the Star. Original 1930 commentary by a prominent Dutch Theosophist; Schüller 1997. Later analysis from a theosophical perspective, examines whether the project may have failed relative only to contemporary expectations; Rodrigues 2012, pp. 477, 482. A non-theosophical evaluation of the project and its consequences. Such evaluations face questions "without unambiguous answers" according to the author. He states, "features of Krishnamurti's post-Theosophical life aligned itself in certain respects with the dispositions to which he was conditioned as the physical vehicle for 'Lord Maitreya,' but veered away from those dispositions in certain crucial areas".
  95. ^ Vernon 2001, pp. 268–270. Roland Vernon, a Krishnamurti biographer, comments briefly on contemporary Theosophy. He writes of the changes in the outlook of the Theosophical Society Adyar since the era of Besant and Leadbeater, and of the Society's continuing relationship with, and influence by, Krishnamurti and his message.
  96. ^ Schüller 2008; Lubelsky 2012, p. 317.
  97. ^ Djupsjöbacka 2002, p. 7, § "[Track] 30 The Word of the Master (Alcyone)" pp. 31–32; the lyrics incorporate the epilogue of At the Feet of the Master (Alcyone 1911, p. 73); Eskola 2015. The work was commissioned by the Theosophical Society in Finland for the parent organization's 50th anniversary. See At the Feet of the Master § Reception for an image of the cover of the original sheet music.
  98. ^ a b Carrier et al. 1993; Brooks & Marsh 2009; YIJ Media Kit 2007, p. 8 § "Journey of Radiance"; WorldCat listing of DVD-Video at OCLC 173852798. See also List of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episodes [no.] 21 "Benares, January 1910".
  99. ^ a b Syndication Bible 2007, "Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" overview, "Episode Listing", "MOW Listing". Retrieved 2022-04-13.
  100. ^ Gable 1993.
  101. ^ Blue Dove 2004, "Welcome to Blue Dove" (home page), "Synopsis"; Hirschhorn 2004. Review (negative), and production info; for the recording see Blue Dove at AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-05-21.


  • "Christ Coming Soon, Says Mrs. Besant: Theosophist Leader Thinks He May Even Appear in the Form of a Woman. Airships 10,000 Years Ago Common in India Then, Her Sixth Root Race Sense Tells Us – Lecture to 200 Faithful Here". The New York Times. 3 August 1909. p. 5. ISSN 0362-4331. ProQuest 96994418.
  • "'Cradle Of New Race' Planned By Mrs. Besant: Theosophist Leader To Establish 'Happy Valley' In California". The China Press. Shanghai. 4 March 1927. p. 1. OCLC 19708161. ProQuest 1321208776.
  • D. Rajagopal, ed. (August 1929). "New Scheme of Work". International Star Bulletin. [New series]. No. 1. Eerde, Ommen: Star Publishing Trust. pp. 7–8. OCLC 34693176.
  • ——, ed. (September 1929). "Editorial Policy". International Star Bulletin. [New series]. No. 2. Eerde, Ommen: Star Publishing Trust. p. 4. OCLC 34693176.

External links[edit]

  • "Herald of the Star (IAPSOP)" – An archive of the OSE publication, maintained and hosted by IAPSOP (International Association for the Preservation of Spiritualist and Occult Periodicals). As of February 2022 it contained several annual volumes and individual issues.
  • "Krishnamurti" – Information and commentary about the World Teacher Project and the relationship between Krishnamurti and the Theosophical Society. Hosted at Alpheus.org, an independent website. Govert W. Schüller.