At the Feet of the Master (book)

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1911 Frontispiece - portrait of Jiddu Krishnamurti

At the Feet of the Master is an inspirational work considered by many to be one of the classics of Theosophy. Jiddu Krishnamurti wrote it under the pseudonym or "star name" Alcyone. He was awarded the Subba Row Medal, and the medal was presented in December, 1911 at the annual convention of the Theosophical Society based in Adyar, Chennai, India. During that year alone, the work had passed through 5 English and 22 translated editions.[1] Within a year an English edition was also made available in Braille.[2]

Writing of the book

C. W. Leadbeater reported that on the night of August 1, 1909, Master Koot Hoomi had put Krishnamurti on probation as a chela.

Then, Leadbeater started taking him every night in his astral body to the house of the Master to be instructed for fifteen minutes in occult science. The next morning Krishnamurti would write down what he remembered, and these notes were later published as the book At the Feet of the Master.[3]

In her December 1910 Preface to the work, Annie Besant added:

The privilege is given to me, as an elder, to pen a word of introduction to this little booklet, the first written by a younger Brother, young in body verily, but not in Soul. The teachings contained in it were given to him by his Master in preparing him for Initiation, and were written down by him from memory - slowly and laboriously, for his English last year was far less fluent than it is now. The greater part is a reproduction of the Master's own words; that which is not such a verbal reproduction is the Master's thought clothed in His pupil's words. Two omitted sentences were supplied by the Master. In two other cases an omitted word has been added. Beyond this, it is entirely Alcyone's own, his first gift to the world.[4]

Structure of the book

At the Feet of the Master is a short work, and simple in structure. It addresses the qualifications for a person to enter a spiritual path:

  • Discrimination
  • Desirelessness
  • Good conduct
  • Self-control as to the Mind
  • Self-control in Action
  • Tolerance
  • Cheerfulness
  • One-pointedness
  • Confidence
  • Love
2013 Vietnamese edition

Editions and excerpts

This is one of the most-quoted works in the Theosophical literature. Within the journals produced by the Theosophical Society in America alone, disregarding all other national and international periodicals, there are several hundred references to or quotations from At the Feet of the Master. It has also been extensively covered by journals and books in England, Australia, New Zealand, France, and other countries, and has been translated into many languages.

The following versions are available online:

Book reviews

The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists 52 articles about At the Feet of the Master. Some are reviews; some are commentaries or courses; and others are direct quotations.

Additional resources

Books

Audio

Video

Notes

  1. "On the Watch-Tower" The Theosophist 33.5 (February 1912), 630.
  2. Anonymous, "Braille Council" The Theosophic Messenger 14.1 (October 1912), 71-72.
  3. Mary Lutyens, Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1975), 28.
  4. Annie Besant, Preface to At the Feet of the Master. December, 1910. Available from the Canadian Theosophical Association.