Bliss Carman's Letters to Margaret Lawrence 1927-1929

Edited by D.M.R. Bentley

Assisted by Margaret Maciejewski

Letter 2

New Canaan, Connecticut

6. June. 1927



Dear Margaret Lawrence:

Many thanks for your letter, and—maybe you know this little essay1 already very well. If not, I am sure you will be glad to have it.

Heavenly June here now!





  1. Accompanying the letter is a copy of The Star in the East Edition of At the Feet of the Master (Chicago: E.W. Richard, 1926) by J[iddu] Krishnamurti (1891-1986), with a Preface by Annie Besant (see Letter 5 n.8). A note on the back fly leaf of the book states that Krishnamurti is the Head of the Order of the Star in the East, an organization "founded in India on January 11, 1911 . . . to further the work of preparing for the coming World Teacher. It is entirely non-sectarian, welcoming without restriction adherents of all beliefs." Interested readers are invited to write to Krishnamurti at the American headquarters of the Order in Hollywood, California. The note also claims that At the Feet of the Master was written when Krishnamurti was "thirteen years old," but it is now widely believed to have been written by Charles Webster Leadbeater, a leading figure in the Theosophical Society (see Letter 20 n.4). It was Leadbeater who, in 1909, discovered the Indian-born and Telugu-speaking Krishnamurti at Adyar in southern India where his father, Jiddu Narianiah, was an employee in the international headquarters of the Theosophical Society. At that time Leadbeater was collaborating with Besant on Man: Whence, How and Whither (1922), an investigation into the past lives of members of the Society, and the pair became convinced that Krishnamurti was the vehicle of the World Teacher or Lord Maitreya who, two thousand years earlier, had occupied the body of Jesus Christ. In 1911, Leadbeater and Besant formed the Order of the Star in the East, with Krishnamurti as Head (Alcyone), to prepare for the coming of the World Teacher and Besant formally adopted Krishnamurti and his younger brother Nityananda. In 1912, the two boys were removed to England to be inculcated with theosophical principles and English manners, and, in 1922, after accompanying Besant on a trip to Australia, they settled at Ojai in southern California, where the climate would benefit the sickly Nityananda and where, according the Leadbeater and one of the prime movers of the Theosophical Society, Madam Helen Blavatsky, a new civilization was destined to develop. While Krishnamurti was in Europe in 1925, the death of his brother toppled his already shaky faith in Theosophy, but in December 28 of the same year, under a huge banyan tree in Adyar, he suddenly started using the first person while speaking of the World Teacher, an event that convinced Besant of his identity with Lord Maitreya. In subsequent speeches, Krishnamurti increasingly deviated from theosophical principles, however, and in 1929 he dissolved the Order of the Star, distanced himself from the Theosophical Society, and declared that truth could not be approached through any formalized sect, religion, or philosophy. A succinct statement of his subsequent beliefs is contained in the first of his later books and pamphlets, Education and the Significance of Life (1953). Several schools and foundations in India, England, and California still embody and promote his ideas. A Bibliography of the Life and Teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti (1974) by Susunaga Weeraperuma lists his works to the early ’seventies, and recent studies of his life and beliefs include Mary Lutyens’ Introduction to Krishnamurti: His Life and Death (1990) and Hillary Rodrigues’ Insight and Religious Mind: an Analysis of Krishnamurti’s Thought (1990). [back]