A debut philosophical memoir describes the life of a spiritual thinker’s devotee.
A child of sunny Santa Barbara, California, in the 1950s, Lee began to ask the big questions early on: “What had stirred in me was an awareness that there is a very great and unexplainable and forceful otherworld presence in life that is ever present, just here—close and intimate—but seldom manifest.” Disenchanted by the limitations of Christianity from an early age, he discovered meditation on his own, though he had no word for it. Introduced to the teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti by a friend, Lee had the opportunity to meet the guru at a talk in Switzerland in 1965 and quickly became one of his most devoted followers. Lee recalls: “When Krishnamurti entered the tent and took his place on the platform…I thought he was the most elegant and intelligent person I had ever seen.” Over the next half-century, Lee served as a teacher, administrator, and trustee in various schools and foundations dedicated to the teachings of Krishnamurti, a celebrated speaker and author—born in India—who hoped to reform society through a revolution in human consciousness. With this book, Lee recounts the lessons he learned as an associate of the thinker as well as his encounters with other luminaries of the time, including Indira Gandhi and the Dalai Lama. Lee, a serviceable writer, records his memories in clear prose that makes even the more abstract philosophical notions comprehensible. For those seriously interested in the life and teachings of Krishnamurti, the book represents a valuable resource regarding the inner workings of his movement. Even so, it is an arid read. Lee does not have much critical to say of his mentor, and there is little in the way of dynamism or a narrative arc. For all the discussion of the man’s teachings (along with some of Lee’s extrapolations), those unfamiliar with Krishnamurti are unlikely to become adherents. Readers with any passing familiarity with New Age movements will likely be left wondering just what all the fuss was about.
Thorough, if dry, recollections from a guru’s follower.