Krishnamurti and Osho are as different as Truth and Truth

Questioner: Sir, today let’s talk about the two very famous and inscrutable Masters of the 20th century.

Acharya Prashant: (Reading the questioner’s mind)

Yes, you want to talk about Osho and J. Krishnamurti, that whether there is any difference in their method, or they converge at some point.

Q: Sir, you are saying that the Guru takes different forms. Each rung of that ladder has a different colour. Not only it is different in colour, it may also be different in Silence. So, each rung is different, right? But these two greats are North Pole and South Pole to each other.

There is a quote by Osho where he says, “Krishnamurti failed because he could not touch the human Heart.” This is Osho on Krishnamurti. The title of the book is from where I have taken this quote is ‘Socrates poisoned again after twenty-five Century’.

He further adds, “Krishnamurti failed because he could not touch the human Heart. He could only reach the human head. The Heart needs some different approaches. This is where I have differed with him all my life. Unless the human Heart is reached, you cannot be over-repeating parrot-like words. They do not mean anything.”

“Whatever Krishnamurti was saying is true, but he could not ‘manage’ and by managing I mean, could not take a particular form related to your heart. In other words, all I am saying is that, J. Krishnamurti was a great philosopher, but he could not become a Master. He could not help people; prepare people for new life, a new orientation.”

Then at some other place, he also says, “I feel such deep affinity for Krishnamurti, that even to talk of connection, is not right. Connection is possible only between two things which are separate. I feel Oneness with him. In spite of all his criticisms, in spite of all my criticisms, which were just joking with the old man, Krishnamurti teaching is beautiful, but too serious.”

So my question to you Sir is – what is the difference between these two- seriousness, humour or one essential, crucial element?

And let me add that when we listen to Krishnamurti, what he has to say about Osho, he says that “People have often asked me that why don’t you speak on this man, but I don’t have much to say, because I don’t get into this business of talking of people.”

Whereas Osho is somebody who has given discourse on almost everybody, all philosophers, all mystics, all saints, all poets.

One thing Krishnamurti says, which creates strong difference between him and Osho is, “You can never submit to a person.” And Osho has always advocated this. So, both of them have different opinions on ‘authority’.

So, one difference is – ‘authority’, the other difference is – humour in the style of their spiritual discourses. So, one difference is the style of the Guru, and the other is the method of the Guru.

And here I am sitting in front of you, the one who has brought these two, Krishnamurti and Osho together in 21st century.

In your discourses, we find humour, we also find seriousness, and intense attention. And your method is akin to both Krishnamurti and Osho. Your style is close to both Krishnamurti and Osho. So, today I want to ask you, “What is your opinion on this contradiction, if there is any? And how does anybody, who is a reader of both, react to it?”

AP: There is really no contradiction. It is just who is saying, and to whom are things being said.

Osho, yes he believed in authority. It actually does seem that at times, he was referring to the ‘person’ of the Guru, as the authority. Krishnamurti says, “There can be no authority.” Now, both are saying much the same thing, provided we understand the central statement. And the central statement too has been made by both of them, and by countless others.

Understand first what Osho is saying:

Osho is saying, “The Guru can be the authority.” Or rather, “The Guru is the authority.”

What is Krishnamurti saying?

“There can be no authority.”

The central statement from where both of them are deriving their statements is:

“Truth is the only authority.”

So, what Osho is saying is, “The Guru (standing for the Truth), is the authority.”

Because what is the central statement?

L: Truth is the only authority.

AP: So what Osho is saying is, “The Guru (standing for the Truth), is the authority.” So what he is saying, is totally alright. Because if Truth is the only authority, and if there can be an entity that stands for the Truth, then there can be an authority. Whether or not it can be in the shape of a person, having continuity in time, that is a different matter. We will come to it.

Coming to Krishnamurti’s statement, what does he say? “There can be no authority.”

What he is saying is, “There can be no authority (except Truth).” What he is saying is, “There can be no ‘worldly’ authority. Truth is the only authority.” So both are deriving their statements, from the same, central statement.

But whenever you talk, in terms of derivations, there is always the danger of corruption. So what then happens is that, people who listen to Osho, they often get into the trap of personality worship. Now, it is not the Silence he can bring them to, which matters, but rather the ‘words’ themselves become all important.

The worth of Osho’s words is, that they can bring you to Silence. And if you ask him, he would surely agree that, Silence has the prime value. But if you become member of a cult, then instead of the Silence, you start giving prime value to the words. And unfortunately then the words fail in their intended function.

The words were uttered, and were designed, so that they may bring you to Silence.  But if you start latching onto words, you suddenly find that words have started failing. Now the words can no more give you Silence.  Are you getting it? So that is one type of corruption that can happen.

Coming to Krishnamurti’s case, when you say, “There can be no authority,” but you have not make it clear, very clear, that (except Truth) – though he has said it, many a times, but I don’t know how the whole mix spreads – what happens is, that even Truth, is then not taken as an authority.

So there can be no authority, the ‘No’ includes – a ‘No’ to Truth. And when there is a ‘No’ to Truth, there is a ‘Yes’ to ego. So when even the Truth cannot be an authority, who becomes the authority? The ego becomes the authority. And that is what happens with lot of Krishnamurti followers.

(Quoting Krishnamurti) “There can be no authority,” so even if a person is sitting in front of you, and you can see that in his presence, in his company, you are being led towards peace, you would still deny respect and authority to that person, purely because – there can be no authority!

What you are forgetting is, that, if Truth is the authority, and if this fellow is leading you towards Truth, then at least, ascribe to him, a shade of that authority. So nobody has any authority, but the fact is, somebody ought to have an authority, because something ought to be the Truth. When you are saying, “There is nothing as an authority,” you are saying, “Nothing is True. All is false.”

What do you mean by ‘authority’? ‘Authority’ means that which is central, authorship, the first one. Something has to be the First, right? And when nothing is First, then all you have is falseness. And that is what often happens with people who have been with Krishnamurti for long; Krishnamurti or his works. They cannot surrender.

And remember, that surrendering, in your human form, would always happen in front of another human form. Though it is not the body that surrenders to another body. It is your mind which surrenders to the call of ‘Peace’. But in the human form, it is bound to appear, as if one ‘man’ is surrendering to another ‘man’.  That is just the appearance, that one ‘man’ is surrendering to another ‘man’, but it is bound to appear that way.

And if you are hell bent, and if you will not let it appear that way, then what are we going to do? Are you getting it? So, the best thing is to keep it absolutely pure. Why hide any part of the pure statements? No brackets needed.

Truth is the only authority and if the Truth decides that it will be manifested in the form of a person, then the authority of the Truth is vested in that person, not unconditionally. Only to the point when that person sheds all his personality, and acts purely as a vehicle for the Truth, only to the point.  Only till that point. Beyond that point, No.

So, are you getting it?

The Guru has no unconditional authority. The authority of the Guru flows from the Guru’s proximity to the Truth. And the day, the ‘person’ of the Guru, loses that proximity with the Truth – it may happen, strange things may happen on this earth. It may happen that the ‘person’ of the Guru does lose proximity to the Truth – that day he loses all his authority.

Because ‘authority’ does not belong to your eyes, to your shirt, to your hair, it belongs to your Heart. And the day you yourself have lost touch with your Heart, losing touch with your Heart you have also lost touch with your authority. Now you have no authority. Are you getting it?

These are not so difficult to reconcile – the position that Krishnamurti had taken, and Osho had taken.

L: These contradictions, it seems to me, are a result of misreading.

AP: Misreading , and misstatement also.  Why not just keep it simply pure and say, “There can be no authority, except Truth.”

L: So, what you are saying now, it is a reconciliation that you have brought forward. Don’t you think that these two ‘personalities’ were also aware of this?

AP: Of course, they were aware of it. You see, everybody operates in a particular context.  Krishnamurti was operating in a context, where had he said, “There can be no authority, except Truth,” Truth would have been objectified. Everybody would have said, a lot of people would have stood up and said, “We stand for the Truth, and hence we are the authority.”

So he said, “I strike down all of you. I will leave no scope for any of you rascals. Because the moment I say that there is no authority, except Truth, everybody claim to be the ambassador of Truth. So, I leave. I am closing that door.”

And had Osho said, “Guru is the authority (only as long as he stands for the Truth),” then all the disillusioned, and disenchanted followers, the day he would have struck at their ego, the day he would have applied Neti-Neti (neither this nor that) with them, and really attacked their falsenesses, what would they have said?

“Oh, he no more stands for the Truth, so we are leaving him. He is no more an authority, because he himself said that the Guru is authority only till the day he stands for the Truth. Today we have seen that he no more stands for the Truth.” So therefore, he had to hide this part.

L: But weren’t their followers almost the same? They had same audience, same people, same environment.

AP: No, it is not that way. Even today they are not the same. You can easily tell apart a Krishnamurti follower from a Osho follower.

L: So, this contradiction falls apart.

AP: There is no contradiction.

L: It is only apparent.

AP: It is only apparent.

L: So this methodological contradiction…

AP: There is a difference in ‘methods’.

L: What about style? Humour etc.

AP: Krishnamurti was not dry, and Osho was deeply serious, at times. Krishnamurti did use to joke, and there is often a hint of a sarcasm in what he says. There is that ever present wit. He wasn’t a dry man, he knew how to joke. He did use humour, and at times I have seen him use sarcasm, like anything. Sarcasm is usually something we associate with Osho.

Ultimately you are operating as a human form, there is some remnant of your individuality. You are bound to have different methods as a result of your upbringing, depending upon the audience you are dealing with.

Osho says, “Krishnamurti is too serious.” The fact is just the opposite. The fact is, Osho is extremely serious, Krishnamurti is not. What is ‘seriousness? If ‘seriousness’ means commitment, then Osho needed to be probably little less serious.

He was a man in hurry. From one place to the other, from one ashram to the other, and then to the commune, and within five years he wanted to challenge all the systems, and all the people. He was extremely serious about something. He was racing against time.

You look at the way he made a joker of himself, wearing all those dresses, (referring to the portrait of Osho hanging on the wall in the room) we have a photo of him here. He was a very serious man, an extremely serious man. You can be very serious, and yet keep joking.

If you look beneath the jokes, you find a man who is very-very dedicated, extremely dedicated. He was serious, extremely serious, more serious than probably Krishnamurti. And this is no offense to Krishnamurti.

L: So this contradiction is nothing but an example of how the world treats fetishes.

AP: When you don’t understand, all you see is differences. When you don’t understand, all you see is differences. And when you understand, everything is just the same and the One.

L: Sir, interestingly this topic, which to me appears so vast, so interesting, suddenly appears very simple, right?

AP: Very simple. You know, once you gain nearness to the Truth, it appears so ordinary. In fact, that is why the Guru has to then disappear, because the Guru starts appearing stupid. Having brought you to your destination, the Guru must inevitably disappear, because now he will appear stupid. “It is so obvious, why are you telling it to me? It is obviously true.”

And that is the role of the Guru – to bring you to a point where you can say, “It is obviously True, what is the big deal?” But before you can complete your sentence, you will find that he has vanished.

“What is the big deal? It is obvious. Obviously it is not the big deal. When Truth is all that there is, what’s the big deal?”


~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

View the session at: Krishnamurti and Osho are as different as Truth and Truth| YouTube

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