In an earlier post on this blog, I talked about David Bohm’s doubts concerning the ultimate usefulness of Krishnamurti’s teachings. In his book about the Oak Grove School, David Moody recounts a conversation with David Bohm in which Bohm states that Krishnamurti’s work lacked a “fine focus” in its depiction of the nuances of consciousness. Apparently their exchange did not go forward into the details of why they perceived this “lack”, leaving the question of where the deficiency lies. Many people who are devotees of Krishnamurti tend to dismiss Bohm’s doubts because Bohm was not (even by his own admission), “enlightened.”
This situation is interesting in and of itself because it comes back to the issue of questioning the teachings. Krishnamurti encouraged this “questioning” as long as it was set up as a sort of Koan in his listeners’ minds. There were boundaries set as to what the questioning could be. For example, questions about K himself were off limits. K seemingly knew where he wanted people to go with their “questions” and David Bohm was unable to get there. He also suffered from depression and had dependency issues which Krishnamurti viewed as a sign of failure on Bohm’s part.
It had to be Bohm’s failure and not Krishnamurti’s.
Many people think that someone like K is beyond criticism because they take it as a matter of faith that he was enlightened. Following this manner of thinking, David Bohm cannot be right about a lack of fine focus in the teachings because he himself was not enlightened. A question comes to mind: in what way can one’s discernment about a supposed enlightened person be valid if one is not himself enlightened? How might this idea even be functional? How can David Bohm discern that the teachings lack something?
A tentative answer: everything comes down to discernment.
Also, there are different kinds of “enlightenment”.
One thought on “Was David Bohm right about Krishnamurti and how could we know? (Part 1)”
Krishnamurti used to think that habits are not conducive to spirituality, not realizing that he himself had hundreds of habits because of which he used to dwell on particular thoughts very often during an inquiry. Each such thought was written in his memory powerfully, and so when he used to pause in conversation, often he used to have a thought that was repeated often in his inquiries. For instance, the thought: you are the world; or the thought: it is important to have a vacant still mind, or the thought: “that boy had a vacant mind”
These thoughts were habitually repeated. …. and that is very good. Because after all, habits are the man and the man is habits. On the physical level, a habit creates a biochemical secretion in the body and the mind responds to this secretion by having the habitual thought.
If you think that habits are useless, let me define “habit” and then you will see how important habits are in one’s life.
A habit is a repetitive thought/emotion that gets imprinted in one’s memory strongly. The more strong the imprint, the stronger the habit. AS you study the mind and the thoughts that arise, you will notice that certain types of thoughts arise more often that others. Such frequently arising thoughts are nothing but memory imprints or habits. In fact, 90% of our thoughts are repetitive (though they may differ in the context).
Now, we come to the important role habits can play in one’s mental purification. To purify the mind, it is important to condition the mind with powerful ideas deliberately, and then repeat these ideas to oneself often. THe result of this **practice** will be a conditioning of the mind in such a way that these ideas will keep arising as thoughts in the mind…… so if the ideas are true and good, true and good thoughts will keep arising in the mind.
You might think that that was not K’s approach. But I say that this was K’s approach except that it was natural (based on enquiring very often daily). This daily inquiring created powerful thought-habits that kept repetitively appearing in his mind throughout his life. So even though he was against habits, his daily practice of inquiry created an atmosphere in which certain thoughts became habitual, without K’s realizing it. In other words, his left hand did not know what his right hand was doing.
But what is so very important is for the left hand to deliberately know what the right hand is doing. K was natural in his habit producing mechanism. But it is also possible to deliberately create situations in which certain habits are formed, which will then effortlessly repeat in one”s life as thoughts. The only difference will be that one way is natural, and the other way is deliberate. But the effect on the mind will be the same.