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December 18 , 2008

The Penguin U.G. Krishnamurti Reader


My teaching, if that is the word you want to use, has no copyright. You are free to reproduce, distribute, interpret, misinterpret, distort, garble, do what you like, even claim authorship, without my consent or the permission of anybody.' Thus spoke U.G. Krishnamurti in his uniquely iconoclastic and subversive way, distancing himself from gurus, spiritual 'advisers', mystics, sages, 'enlightened' philosophers et al. UG's only advice was that people should throw away their crutches and free themselves from the 'stranglehold' of cultural conditioning. Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti was born on 9 July 1918 in Masulipatnam, a coastal town in Andhra Pradesh. He died on 22 March 2007 at the age of eighty-nine in Vallecrosia, Italy, at the villa of a friend. The effect that he had, and will continue to have, on legions of his admirers is difficult to put into words. With his flowing silvery hair, deep-set eyes and elongated Buddha-like ears, he was an explosive yet cleansing presence and has been variously described as 'a wild flower of the earth', 'a bird in constant flight', an 'anti-guru' and a 'cosmic Naxalite'. UG gave no lectures or discourses and had no organization or fixed address, but he travelled all over the world to meet people who flocked to listen to his 'anti-teaching'. His language was always uncompromisingly simple and unadorned, his conversational style informal, intimate, blasphemous and invigorating. This reader, edited by long-time friend and admirer Mukunda Rao, is a compilation of UG's freewheeling and radical utterances and ideas. UG unceasingly questioned and demolished the very foundations of human thought but, as Rao says, in the cathartic laughter or the silence after UG had spoken, there was a profound sense of freedom from illusory goals and 'the tyranny of knowledge, beauty, goodness, truth and God'
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