Scott Forbes, who was an important associate of Krishnamurti’s during his later years, and also a close friend of Mary Zimbalist, wrote a book about Krishnamurti’s last months. The book is entitled Krishnamurti, Preparing to leave. Published in 2018, it recounts Forbe’s experiences at Brockwood Park School, where he was once the principal, and also his travels and experiences with Krishnamurti in Saanen, India, and Ojai. The book is more a memoir than an explication of the author’s understanding of the Teachings. Scott Forbes was 37 years old when Krishnamurti died, and was one of his trusted companions, to the extent that he was allowed to be at K’s side during his final days.
I liked the book because it does not attempt to preach to the reader about the Teachings. It is more of a personal narrative of events. Scott Forbes is open about his admission of not understanding the Teachings; neither when he was 37, nor presumably nowadays. He was the person who recorded Krishnamurti’s deathbed statement in Ojai, and he is firm in his understanding that it was Krishnamurti’s intention to go on the record as saying that no one “got” the teachings.
All the same, Scott Forbes remains in awe of Krishnamurti, and has devoted his life to focusing on Krishnamurti’s educational efforts. He is currently involved in a project which has as its aim a kind of quantification of K’s educational philosophy. Throughout the book, Scott Forbes stresses what might be called K’s mysterious presence and power. He doesn’t claim to understand the source of the Teachings. He does seem to think that K set out a sufficient roadmap for a practical educational methodology to be developed, which has become his life’s work.
The quote in question is as follows (italics belong to Scott Forbes):
"It seems important to say that whatever effect meeting or knowing Krishnnaji had, it is absolutely clear that the effect alone did not facilitate a greater or deeper understanding of Krishnaji’s Teachings. Krishnaji maintained through his life and even to the very end, that nobody else lived the Teachings. He also insisted that people could. This is important to state, as there could be the mistaken impression that those who met or knew Krishnaji have a better understanding of the Teachings than those who are not so lucky. This is simply not true." - Scott Forbes, Krishnamurti, Preparing to Leave
Whether Forbes has encountered those people since K’s death who have claimed that K was too ill at the end to know what he was saying, and is trying to set the record straight, or if he has met self-described or self-appointed “successors” to K, he does not specify. But his motive in writing that passage seems to me to be that he wants to clarify exactly what K wanted to be understood by others involved in the Teachings and foundations at the end of his life, that nobody was “living” the Teachings. The understanding and compassion which K demonstrated and lived had not been enough, on their own, to generate transformation in others.
In another interesting passage from this book, Forbes writes, that he deliberately did not question certain things that K told him because he accepted that these things were beyond his understanding. “I don’t understand gravity,” He writes, “but I know how to follow its dictates.” This all reminded me of an important feature of Buddhism, or at least some schools of Buddhism, holding that it’s imperative that those who are studying the Dharma should do their best to live within an ethical framework. The ethics that are being put forward by such teachings are part of an important and broader scaffold which is generated by a mind of greater understanding, in Forbes’s comparison a “law of gravity.”
Whether we are talking about a comprehensive mind or about gravity, these things do function as a kind of authority or lodestar. Perhaps K would have used the term “order” in describing such a mind, or the law of gravity; but I have to wonder whether his constant needling about “authority” in the end had the opposite effect of what he intended.