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Order of the Star in the East


Order of the Star in the East

Order of the Star in the East
Abbreviation OSE
Predecessor Order of the Rising Sun
Successor Order of the Star
Established April 1911 (1911-04)
Founder Annie Besant
Dissolved June 1927 (1927-06)
Type Spiritual organization
Purpose To educate and prepare the world for the advent of the World Teacher
Headquarters Benares (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
Subsidiaries Star Publishing Trust
Affiliations National Sections in as many as 40 countries and territories

The Order of the Star in the East (OSE) was an international organization based at schisms in Theosophy.


  • Background 1
  • History 2
    • Early history 2.1
    • "Discovery" of Jiddu Krishnamurti 2.2
    • Order of the Rising Sun 2.3
    • Order of the Star in the East 2.4
      • Objective and principles 2.4.1
      • Activities 2.4.2
      • Claims and expectations 2.4.3
    • Order of the Star 2.5
    • Dissolution and repudiation 2.6
  • Consequences 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


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), a book by Helena Blavatsky, one of the founders of contemporary Theosophy and the Theosophical Society.[1]

According to this view, Humankind's evolution on Earth (and beyond) is part of the Cosmic evolution. It is reputedly overseen by a hidden Spiritual Hierarchy, the so-called 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.[2] Blavatsky stated that these attempts 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".[3] 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.[2]


Early history

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 organization 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[3]

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.[4]

After Blavatsky’s death in 1891, influential Theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater expanded on her writings about the Spiritual Hierarchy and the Masters.[5] 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 in several occasions manifested on Earth, in each case using 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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7][6] They came to believe it would involve the imminent reappearance of Maitreya as World Teacher, a monumental event in the Theosophical worldview.[8] 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 labeled Neo-Theosophy by their opponents.[9]

Besant became President of the Theosophical Society in 1907,[10] and added considerable weight to the belief of Maitreya's imminent manifestation; this eventually became a commonly held expectation among Theosophists.[11] 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.[12][13]

"Discovery" of Jiddu Krishnamurti

Sometime between late April and late May 1909, at the private beach of the Theosophical Society Headquarters in Adyar, Chennai, Leadbeater encountered Jiddu Krishnamurti, a fourteen-year-old South Indian Brahmin.[14] At the time Krishnamurti's father, a longtime Theosophist, was employed by the Society; the family, in relatively poor condition, lived next to the compound. Leadbeater, a controversial figure whose knowledge on occult matters was highly respected by the Society's leadership, 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.[15][16] Leadbeater soon placed the boy under his and the Society's wing, and in late 1909 Besant, as President of the Society and head of its Esoteric Section, admitted Krishnamurti into both.[17] In March 1910 she became his legal guardian.[18]

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.[19] Leadbeater's belief regarding the boy's suitability was strengthened by his clairvoyance-aided investigations of Krishnamurti's reputed past and future lives. The results of these investigations were recorded and eventually published in Theosophical magazines starting April 1910, and in a book in 1913.[20] 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.[21] In the meantime, Krishnamurti was put on a comprehensive multiyear regiment of physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual training in preparation for his probable future role.[22]

Order of the Rising Sun

In late 1910 the Theosophical Society published the first work "by Alcyone", a booklet entitled Central Hindu College (CHC), had been very impressed by Alcyone’s writings: the Order was formed around a previous CHC-based study group of disciples headed by Krishnamurti. The new entity was generally focused on the expected World Teacher, yet the newly discovered Krishnamurti-Alcyone was – somewhat obliquely – at the center of its attention.[23][24]

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 became subjects of new controversies.[25][26] The evolving controversies, as well as objections by

  •  – Hosted at, an independent website by a member of the Theosophical Society Adyar. Scroll to section "Material from before the disolvement [sic] of the order of the star". Katinka Hesselink.
  •  – Information and commentary on the relationship between Krishnamurti and the Theosophical Society, hosted at, an independent website. Govert W. Schüller.

External links

  • "An unwilling Messiah" ( 
  • —— & —— (2003) [originally published 1924.  
  • Campbell, Bruce F. (1980). Ancient wisdom revived: a history of the Theosophical movement (  
  • "Christ will soon visit Earth again. Head of Theosophical Society declares His spirit will manifest Itself".  
  • "Cult is dissolved by Krishnamurti; surprises devotees by asserting organization is not necessary" ( 
  • D. Rajagopal, ed. (September 1929). "Editorial Policy". International Star Bulletin. [New series] ( 
  • Hartmann, William C. (1925). "The Order of the Star in the East" ( 
  • ——, ed. (January 1928 – April 1929). "The Star". The Star (Los Angeles: Star Publishing Trust) 1, 2 (1–12 [vol. 1], 1–4 [vol. 2]):  
  • .  
  • —— (c. 1980). "The Core of the Teachings". J. Krishnamurti Online. Krishnamurti Foundations (published c. 2010). Archived from the original on 2015-07-29. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  • Kalnitsky, Arnold (2003). The theosophical movement of the nineteenth century: the legitimation of the disputable and the entrenchment of the disreputable (  
  • "Krishnamurti to broadcast" ( 
  • Lubelsky, Isaac (2012). Madame Blavatsky and the birth of Indian nationalism (  
  • "Messiah pooh-poohs role; Krishnamurti declares world saving mere rubbish; plans to study on Los Angeles ranch" ( 
  • "Mrs. Besant's Messiah" ( 
  • "New religion is headed by youth".   (OpenURL weblink).
  • Réhault, Ludowic (2006) [originally published 1934 in  
  • Rodrigues, Hillary (2012). "Chapter 19: Young Lord Maitreya: The Curious Case of Jiddu Krishnamurti". In Sasson, Vanessa R. Little Buddhas: children and childhoods in Buddhist texts and traditions (  
  • Roe, Jill (1986). Beyond belief: theosophy in Australia 1879-1939 (  
  • Row, M. C. Nanjunda (29 January 1911). "Thoughts about Matters Theosophical". Letters to the Editor.   (OpenURL weblink).
  • —— (1999) [originally published 1997]. "The Masters and their emissaries: From H.P.B. to Guru Ma and beyond". Alpheus.  .
  • —— (2008). "The State of the TS (Adyar) in 2008: a psycho-esoteric interpretation (draft)". Alpheus.  
  •   Category:CS1 maint: Untitled periodical)
    • ——. "Krishnamurti". In (1930)The Manchester Guardian, p. 8. (pdf) (editorial). Retrieved 2015-10-09.
    • ——. "The Star Camp: Krishnamurti Leaves the Theosophical Society". In (1930)The Manchester Guardian, p. 13. (pdf). Reuters. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  • Taylor, Anne (1992). Annie Besant: a biography (  
  • "Theosophist 'Messiah' will visit America; mrs. Besant to accompany Hindu on world tour—dissenters are quitting cult" ( 
  • "Theosophists give Mrs. Annie Besant confidence ballot; veteran leader threatens to resign as Head of British movement. Delegates divided on 'World Teacher'; official points out that vote is no indorsement of Krishnamurti" ( 
  • "Theosophists prepare for their new Messiah" ( 
  • Tillett, Gregory J. (1986). Charles Webster Leadbeater 1854–1934: a biographical study (  
  • Weatherby, William J. (19 February 1986). "Wise traveller in a pathless land" ( 
  • Wodehouse, Ernest A. (September 1911). "The Order of the Star in the East". The Adyar Bulletin ( 


  1. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 2004, § "The Secret Doctrine" pp. 14–17, 132; Kuhn 1931, pp. 110–130. Retrieved 2015-08-13.
  2. ^ a b Lubelsky 2012, pp. 79–81.
  3. ^ a b Blavatsky 1889, pp. 304–307 [quoted text at pp. 306–307]. Retrieved 2015-08-06 – via Internet Archive.
  4. ^ Lachman 2012, pp. 248–249; Lutyens 1975, pp. 10–11. Members of the Esoteric Section had access to occult instruction and a more detailed knowledge of the inner order and mission of the Society and of its reputed hidden Masters or Mahātmās.
  5. ^ a b Lubelsky 2012, § "Leadbeater's Doctrine" pp. 139–146; Leadbeater 2007, pp. , , , , . Retrieved 2015-09-22 – via Google Books (limited preview).
  6. ^ a b Lubelsky 2012, pp. 132–134.
  7. ^ Blavatsky 1889, . Retrieved 2015-08-06 – via Internet Archive. "But I must tell you that during the last quarter of every hundred years an attempt is made by those 'Masters,' of whom I have spoken, to help on the spiritual progress of Humanity in a marked and definite way. Towards the close of each century you will invariably find that an outpouring or upheaval of spirituality – or call it mysticism if you prefer – 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."
  8. ^ Lubelsky 2012, pp. 136–137.
  9. ^ Kuhn 1931, . Retrieved 2015-08-14.
  10. ^ Vernon 2001, p. 35.
  11. ^ Schüller 1999.
  12. ^ Lutyens 1975, pp. 11–12, 46.
  13. ^ AP 1909. News agency report of Besant's early-20th-century lecture tour of the United States.
  14. ^ Lutyens 1975, pp. 1, 20–21.
  15. ^ a b Lutyens 1975, pp. 12, 124–125; Vernon 2001, pp. 99–100. Krishnamurti was not the first, or only, candidate for Vehicleship. Before him, Hubert van Hook, the young son of a high-ranking American Theosophist was considered promising by Leadbeater. In addition, thirteen-year-old Indian Rajagopalarya Desikacharya ("D. Rajagopal", 1900–93) 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.
  16. ^ Wood 1964, pp. 287–288, 289. From an eyewitness account of Krishnamurti's "discovery". Leadbeater maintained he was directed by "the Masters" (§ Background) on the matter; according to Wood, a close associate at the time, Leadbeater also stated that Krishnamurti should fulfil the expectations, "... 'unless something goes wrong.'" The article includes commentary on related events and controversies.
  17. ^ Lutyens 1975, p. 30.
  18. ^ Lutyens 1975, p. 40. Besant and Krishnamurti developed a very close, lasting personal relationship (Vernon 2001, pp. 46–47).
  19. ^ 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 goddess whose story is related to the so-called halcyon days. In general, 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. The Pleiades star cluster specifically appears in many mythologies: Pleiades in folklore and literature.
  20. ^ Besant & Leadbeater 1922, . Retrieved 2015-09-21 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ 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".
  22. ^ Vernon 2001, "Chapter 4: At the Feet of the Master"–"Chapter 5: Moulding a Messiah" pp. 51–93 [cumulative].
  23. ^ 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; its publication also resulted in controversy regarding the author's identity. Considered a spiritual classic, it was still in print as of 2012 (Rodrigues 2012, p. 462).
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ a b Tillett 1986, "Chapter 15: Conflict over Krishnamurti" pp. 506–553. Information on contemporary controversies regarding Krishnamurti, inside and outside the Theosophical Society.
  26. ^ Row 1911. Long letter by a senior Indian Theosophist published in Indian newspaper The Leader shortly after the formation of the Order of the Rising Sun. In it, Row disputes the Adyar-based leadership's claims about Krishnamurti and their positions on Theosophical doctrine.
  27. ^ Lubelsky 2012, pp. 298–299.
  28. ^ Vernon 2001, p. 64.
  29. ^ a b Lutyens 1975, pp. 46, 125, 227. A.E. Wodehouse, an educator and brother of the poet and writer P.G. Wodehouse, was another prominent Theosophist. He resigned his OSE position in late 1920 and was replaced by Krishnamurti's brother Jiddu Nityananda ("Nitya", 1898–1925). After Nitya's death, D. Rajagopal assumed the post.
  30. ^ Vernon 2001, pp. 10, 22, 38; 1912Grand Forks Daily Herald. "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. His age or birth date have been often misquoted by both the media and people close to him (Lutyens 1975, p. 308 in "Notes and Sources": (note to) p. 2)].
  31. ^ Wodehouse 1911.
  32. ^ Lutyens 1975, p. 74. "Not all of them [i.e. OSE members] Theosophists".
  33. ^ Wodehouse 1911; Hartmann 1925.
  34. ^ 1926The New Statesman, 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.
  35. ^ Lutyens 1975, pp. 46, 64, 75; Vernon 2001, pp. 64, 100. The bulletin listed Krishnamurti as the (nominal) editor. It relocated to London in 1914, revamped as a 64-page glossy magazine with several full-page color illustrations.
  36. ^ Lutyens 1975, pp. 129, 135, 169–170, 171, 172–173; Vernon 2001, pp. 84, 85, 132–133; Krishnamurti talks were also broadcast on radio ( 1926The Manchester Guardian).
  37. ^ Hartmann 1925.
  38. ^ Lutyens 1975, pp. 54–55, 56. Also see Pentecost § New Testament, Holy Spirit (Christianity). 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 (Lutyens 1975, "Chapter 4: First Initiation"–"Chapter 5: First Teaching" pp. 29–46 [cumulative]).
  39. ^ Lutyens 1975, pp. 62, 82, 84, "Chapter 8: The Lawsuit" pp. 64–71.
  40. ^ 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.
  41. ^ 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. Upon acceptance of the OSE members' resignation by the school authorities, Besant, then College President, tendered her own resignation. The school's trustees asked her to reconsider, and she was later awarded an honorary doctorate; Das 1913. A contrary viewpoint to Besant's and Leadbeater's portrayal of events. 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.
  42. ^ Lutyens 1975, p. 129. Many of those present attended at great financial cost, according to Mary Lutyens.
  43. ^ Landau 1943, . 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.
  44. ^ 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".
  45. ^ Vernon 2001, pp. 138–139, 144–145. One of the projects was the so-called 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.
  46. ^ Lutyens 1975, p. 246; 1928–29The Star. Bulletin of the United States Section of the Order.
  47. ^ Lutyens 1975, p. 232n. From the 1926 Annual Report of the Order.
  48. ^ Lutyens 1975, "Chapter 25: The Self Appointed Apostles"–"Chapter 26: The First Manifestation" pp. 210–226 [cumulative].
  49. ^ Lutyens 1975, pp. 214, 222.
  50. ^ 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 rumors of significant imminent manifestations related to the World Teacher. The Convention attracted large crowds and wide representation by the international media.
  51. ^ Lutyens 1975, pp. 223–225. Mary Lutyens, then seventeen-years-old, was present at the event and was one of those affected. In her diary she described the perceived manifestation "as a fact" at the time, and still recalled the event as genuinely unusual in 1975; Krishnamurti also thought the event important at the time of its happening, although he stated that he could not recall details. However, not all of those present noticed anything unusual (Vernon 2001, p. 158).
  52. ^ 1926New York Times; 1926Washington Post. Report of the 1926 Convention of the United Kingdom Section of the Theosophical Society.
  53. ^ 1926bLos Angeles Times. 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".
  54. ^ 1926Boston Daily Globe. "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. In India, where this movement began, this common expectation is revealed in an unusual way, when Mahometans, Buddhists and Christians sit together without any holy war starting, to hear Krishnamurti" [note Mohammedan variant spelling "Mahometan"]; but see NEWCAT – the Library Catalogue of the University of Newcastle, Australia . [Library holding of a title published c. 1926, that presents an opposing view.]
  55. ^ Lutyens 1975, p. 241. Statement by Besant to the Associated Press.
  56. ^ 1928The Star; 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.
  57. ^ Tillett 1986, p. 766; 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).
  58. ^ 1926aLos Angeles Times. Krishnamurti interviewed by the Los Angeles Times 25 May 1926, during a visit to Paris.
  59. ^ Lutyens 1975, "Chapter 18: The Turning Point"–"Chapter 21: Climax of the Process" pp. 152–188 [cumulative], pp. 219–222, 236, 265–266, 276. Krishnamurti experienced life-changing events of physical, psychological and spiritual nature starting in 1922. These mystified the leaders of the Theosophical Society who were ultimately unable to explain them, but provided Krishnamurti with an avenue of growth and life independent of Theosophy, the Order, and the Society. In addition, his younger brother Nitya died in November 1925. His death deeply affected Krishnamurti, who had received assurances regarding Nitya's well-being by prominent Theosophists and reputedly, by members of the hidden Spiritual Hierarchy. His continuing 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; see also Jiddu Krishnamurti § Life-altering experiences.
  60. ^ D. Rajagopal 1929. In the previously official bulletin of the Order of the Star. The bulletin published several issues post-dissolution, following Krishnamurti's new direction (Lutyens 1975, p. 314 [in "Notes and Sources": (note to) p. 246]).
  61. ^ 1929Washington Post.
  62. ^ Lutyens 1975, p. 272.
  63. ^ J. Krishnamurti 1929, pp. 3–4.
  64. ^ Lutyens 1975, pp. 277–279, 315 [in "Notes and Sources": (notes to) pp. 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.
  65. ^ a b Vernon 2001, p. 179; Réhault 2006, pp. 9, 10.
  66. ^ 1930[1]The Manchester Guardian. "[T]he Vehicle stands quite alone"; 1930[2]The Manchester Guardian. Newswire report.
  67. ^ 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).
  68. ^ a b Vernon 2001, pp. 180–181, 186, 213–215.
  69. ^ J. Krishnamurti 1929, p. 14.
  70. ^ J. Krishnamurti c. 1980.
  71. ^ Lutyens 1975, p. 276.
  72. ^ Weatherby 1986. An obituary of Krishnamurti.
  73. ^ Tillett 1986, p. 943n[2].
  74. ^ Taylor 1992, p. 328; Rodrigues 2012, p. 472. "[M]any ... were wealthy and influential in their countries."
  75. ^ Roe 1986, p. 288.
  76. ^ Campbell 1980, pp. 130, 176. Almost half a century later (1980), the Theosophical Society Adyar had about 35,000 members.
  77. ^ Vernon 2001, pp. 188–189.
  78. ^ Schüller 2001. "Introduction by the editor". In van der Leeuw (1930), [2001 Alpheus online edition]. Retrieved 2015-08-14. 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".
  79. ^ Vernon 2001, pp. 268–270. Roland Vernon 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.
  80. ^ Schüller 2008; Lubelsky 2012, p. 317.


[80] It also resulted in governance changes in the [78] The failed project led to considerable analysis and retrospective evaluations by the Society and by well-known Theosophists, at that time and since.

In 1907, the first year for which reliable records were kept,[73] 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.[74] 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.[65] Many members of the Order were also members of the Theosophical Society;[75] consequently, as many as a third of the members of the Society left "within a few years" of Krishnamurti's disbanding of the Order.[76] 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 many Theosophical publications and leading members tried to minimize both 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".[77]


Krishnamurti returned to the donors the estates, property, and funds that had been given to the Order in its various incarnations.[71] 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.[72]

Soon after the dissolution Krishnamurti severed his ties to Theosophy and the Theosophical Society.[66][67] He denounced the concepts of saviors, leaders, and spiritual teachers.[68] Vowing to work towards setting humankind "absolutely, unconditionally free",[69] he repudiated all doctrines and theories of inner, spiritual and psychological evolution such as those implied in the Theosophical tenets described above. Instead, he posited that his goal of complete psychological freedom could be realized only through the understanding of individuals' actual relationships with themselves, society, and nature.[68][70]

Despite the changes in Krishnamurti's outlook and pronouncements during the preceding years, the dissolution of the Order and the ending of the World Teacher Project shocked many of their supporters. Prominent Theosophists openly or under various guises turned against Krishnamurti – including Leadbeater, who reputedly stated, "the Coming has gone wrong".[64] However, other Society members supported Krishnamurti's new direction, and opposed the critical views expressed by Theosophical leaders.[65]

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[63]

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.[58] The shift in emphasis mirrored fundamental changes in Krishnamurti as a person, including his increasing disenchantment with the World Teacher Project. They led Krishnamurti to a thorough reevaluation of his relationship with the Project, the Theosophical Society, and Theosophy in general.[59] Finally, on 3 August 1929, at the Ommen Star Camp, he disbanded the Order in front of Besant and about 3,000 members.[60][61] In his speech dissolving the organization (also broadcast on Dutch radio),[62] Krishnamurti said:

Dissolution and repudiation

Complementing the reorganization and the proclamations of the World Teacher's manifestation, in 1928 the so-called World Mother Project, headed by [57]

  • 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.

In related developments following the perceived manifestation, Besant announced in January 1927, "[t]he World Teacher is here",[55] and many Star members expected Krishnamurti's unequivocal public proclamation of his messianic status. Reflecting the new situation, in June 1927 the name of the organization was changed to Order of the Star, while its main organ was renamed The Star Review. The organization relocated at Ommen, with close Krishnamurti associate and friend D. Rajagopal[15] serving as Chief Organizer. The renamed Order had two objectives:[56]

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.[52] Besant and other leaders of the Society largely managed to contain the dissenters and the controversy, but in the process sustained unflattering publicity.[53] However, the so-called 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.[54]

Order of the Star

The annual Star Congress for 1925 opened at Adyar on the "sacred day" of 28 December, following the much anticipated but uneventful Theosophical Convention.[50] 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.[51]

By year-end 1925, efforts of prominent Theosophists and their affiliated factions to favorably 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. He refused to recognize anyone as his disciple or apostle.[48] Additionally, 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".[49]

Claims and expectations

Financing the venture and subsequent expansion did not appear to present a problem.[44] Properties in several countries were acquired via specially-formed Eerde, Ommen, the Netherlands. Along with an official international bulletin published in Ommen, national bulletins eventually appeared in twenty-one countries, and in fourteen different languages.[46] Also in 1926 it was reported that the Order's membership had reached about 43,000, two thirds of which were also members of the Theosophical Society.[47]

In 1921, the first international Congress of the Order of the Star in the East was held in Netherlands, the United States, and India. They were attended by thousands of members, with coverage provided by local and international media.[43]

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.[41][25]

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.[40]

In 1912, Krishnamurti's father sued Besant in order to annul her guardianship of his son, which he had previously granted. Among the reasons stated in his deposition was the objection to the "deification" of Krishnamurti, said to be 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.[39]

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 obvious Krishnamurti was indeed the chosen vehicle. Thereafter, 28 December became a "sacred day" for the Order.[38]

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.[36] National Sections of the Order were eventually formed in as many as forty countries.[37]

Following its establishment the OSE began its mission in earnest. Lecture tours, meetings and other activities were undertaken by prominent members of the Order.[34] Articles and pamphlets about the OSE and its mission, published regularly by Theosophical organizations, were joined by an official bulletin, The Herald of the Star, originally based at Adyar, which started publication in January 1912.[35]

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
  • The International Star Bulletin continued in a new series


New members received an OSE certificate (see image on this page), and could thereafter display the organization’s emblem, a five-pointed star.[29]

  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[33]

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.[31] By late 1913, the Order had about 15,000 members worldwide; most of them were also members of the Theosophical Society.[32] However, membership was open to anyone, the only precondition being acceptance of the Declaration of Principles, which stated the following:

Objective and principles

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 [29] 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.[30]

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

Order of the Star in the East

[27]1911; however, a replacement had already been formed. 

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