Putting into perspective Krishnamurti’s life and times

From 1936 to 1986, philosopher and spiritual thinker Jiddu Krishnamurti used to give talks from his home at Vasanta Vihar on Raja Annamalai Puram, Alwarpet. Now, the sprawling, lush house has been transformed by the Krishnamurti Foundation of India (KFI) and designer Miti Desai to feature an experiential exhibition to celebrate the spiritual thinker’s 125th birth anniversary.
Snaps from the exhibition on spiritualist Jiddu Krishnamurti in Vasanta Vihar
Snaps from the exhibition on spiritualist Jiddu Krishnamurti in Vasanta Vihar

Chennai

Named after a book by Krishnamurti, published in 1971, titled The First Step is the Last Step, the exhibition is divided into four parts, titled ‘The Voice’, ‘The Life’, ‘The Study’ and ‘The Teachings’.

“Despite the changing times and circumstances, people find themselves in the same situation as they would have been many years ago. Krishnamurti once said that inwardly man’s still a barbarian despite all the development. His teachings are timeless and eternal,” said K Krishnamurthy, editor of ‘Krishnamurti’s talks in India’.

The exhibition focuses on the basis of his philosophy, that change is spontaneous. “I have been following his works for a long time. What stood out to me was the perspective, as well as his personality. Both came through in his life, and so I tried to bring out his memory, teachings and perspectives in the exhibition,” said Desai.

‘The Voice’ features audio recordings from Krishnamurti’s speeches playing under a white banyan tree. According to Desai, as the banyan was an important motif for Krishnamurti and his followers, ropes were added to the tree with excerpts from his speeches.

‘The Study’ featured a few of his books, which covered more than 80 volumes across 60 languages. ‘The Life’ was a series of panels covering his life, especially that in Chennai, and his time with as the World Teacher and the Theosophical Society.

‘The Teachings’ covered his teachings across the fields of love, death, education, violence, religion and fear. “His teachings rejected the idea of a horizontal, vertical and dimensionality in your pursuit of truth. Thus, I incorporated various levels in the exhibition,” said Desai. The exhibition will be held till February 8 from 9 am to 8 pm. A concert and curated walk is set to be held on February 7 and 9 respectively.

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