Order of the Star in the East
International Self-preparation Group
In 1921 at the Star Congress in Paris, Krishnaji met several of his National Representatives, and discussed with them the work of the Order. His interest in all that was being done in the various countries was very great, and many conversations took place in which he asked for suggestions for future work. The result of these appeared in the October Herald, 1921, where we read that:
Following a suggestion which had worked well in Holland, Mr. Krishnamurti urged very strongly that each country should, if possible, form four different groups:
3. Study and Action
and in his speech given at the Champs-Elysée Theatre on July 27th, 1921, he speaks very strongly on individual preparation saying that we have to a great extent:
been willing to prepare the outer world, but rarely willing to mould the world that is within ourselves. We are afraid to do many things, we are afraid to practise what we believe, we are afraid to face certain realities of life. Why should we prepare ourselves? we ask. . . and in reply I say 'verily it needs an arduous preparation, a special understanding to be able to respond immediately to the noble appeal of the Master of Compassion.'
At the close of his lecture he says:
Try to realise the immensity of life, practise the presence of the Lord in your daily life, do not try to find seek happiness in little things, where you will not find it, but seek happiness in infinity and then you will realise the spirituality that knows no compromise.
With those indications of the necessity for self-preparation and
of the goal to be attained, it was left to us to find out the way that
leads to it. Wisely, Krishnaji abstained from giving any rules, wanting
everyone to find out for himself the line most efficient. And so each National
Representative set out to make experiments - till in 1923 a tentative scheme,
evolved in America, appeared in the Herald, which Krishnaji hoped
all National representatives would study and follow as far as possible.
And in March of the same year we received his first Message, with the clearly
defined condition "that all who applied for membership should mean business".
Great enthusiasm was created by the very close relationship those Messages
established between Krishnaji and the members of the Self-Preparation Group,
and the stimulus they gave to the work can hardly be overestimated.
Of course, some members interpreted these Messages to literally; for instance, when Krishnaji recommended certain kinds of diet, they followed them as if their spiritual life depended upon diet alone. An amusing incident in Ehrwald shows us how little such members understood what he meant. Once several members were staying in the village whilst Krishnaji and a group of his friends were living in Mr. Steinacker's lovely chalet. Krishnaji in his remarks on diet had hinted that he considered chocolates not very wholesome, and yet many of his young people came down to the village daily to buy chocolates till they almost exhausted the supply of the small shop, and this gave rise to shocked surprise and unreasonable comment.
While there were others who paid very little heed to valuable advice given in the Messages, they said "Well, Krishnaji does not make it a hard and fast rule, and he always says, use your common-sense." These members were lax in their practise and used their common sense not for what was best for their growth, but for their convenience.
So things went on till the Vienna Congress in 1923 and there we met Krishnaji many times to discuss difficulties and possibilities. A wonderful sense of power and love was felt by all at these meetings, when he impressed us so strongly with the need for "honest introspection without morbidness," and for "action instead of reposing lazily in our armchairs".
It was however at the Arnhem-Ommen Congress, 1924, that for the first time the note was struck, which since then has been so strongly the predominant one, that Self-Preparation should lead to Discipleship and that all must and could reach the Path if only they willed strongly enough. No one who had the privilege of assisting at the afternoon meetings at Arnhem will ever forget the deep earnestness and love with which he assured us that he would give us all the help he could.
Definite conditions of admission were issued as a result of the opinions gathered from various sources, though the greatest freedom was given in regard to details. It was announced that a discipline for members would, in due course, be issued by Krishnaji, and that it would be left to the option of members to follow it, and in the meantime National Representatives were invited to find out what the majority of their members wished. When the Protector of the Order presided over a meeting of members of the Self-Preparation Group in Ommen during the summer of 1925, it was found that the desire for a discipline was certainly not unanimous: some thought it would be a great help, and others, that it would prove a hindrance. In consequence of that, no discipline was given.
The spirit of Self-Preparation as understood by Krishnaji is expressed in the following words, which he used at Ommen:
For me, Self-Preparation consists of one vital thing: we must control karma. The purpose of Self-Preparation is to make you realize that you need capacity, power to change, in order to be able to serve the teacher.
And now, here in Adyar in December, 1925, where the realisation has come to so many of what hitherto was perhaps mere expectation, it is inevitable that this will also apply to self-Preparation. And so some of us feel, that a new chapter is about to begin, and that it will be written in characters of Light, shedding a glory over all who read.