Launch Of a book on J. Krishnamurti that features a disciple's diary-entries, notes and letters

The title of the book, Non-Guru Guru, My Years with J. Krishnamurti, sounds paradoxical. As Principal of Rishi Valley School, Andhra Pradesh, from 1958 to 1977, S. Balasundaram was well positioned to write the book. (Rishi Valley is one of the six Krishnamurti schools in India). Recently when the book was released at Vasanta Vihar, Chennai, headquarters of Krishnamurti Foundation India, M.V. Prasad, who edited the book along with R.E. Mark Lee, narrated how the book acquired the title. Balasundaram was fond of describing Krishnamurti as a “Non- Guru Guru”, using the word “Guru” for the second time in the sense of one who awakens the intelligence, with clarity, of a person on the path of wisdom and one who does not impose his authority on others.

Balasundaram had interacted closely with Krishnamurti for more than 40 years, and several years before Balasundaram died in 2009, he asked Prasad and Lee, who were earlier teachers in Rishi Valley School, to compile his memoirs of Krishnamurti and the school from his big collection of letters, photographs, documents and tape-recordings. As the Editors' Introduction says, Balasundaram told them that he wanted the book to convey “the extraordinary importance his relationships with Krishnamurti, the Rishi Valley School and his wife, Veena Visalakshi, had in his life.”

Prasad, who was headmaster of Rishi Valley School, called Balasundaram a scientist, researcher, teacher, administrator and a religious seeker. Balasundaram rescued the school from near-oblivion and built it up into an international education centre, inspired by Krishnamurti. So the book is “a colourful chronicle” of diary-entries, letters and notes from copy-books of a man who met this challenge. Prasad said he took the cornucopia of material to Ojai, California, where he and Lee sorted them out, edited and put them in the form of a book. Despite his illness, Lee cooperated with Prasad in this.

Lee said “Non-Guru Guru, My Years with Krishnamurti” was the eighth of memoirs on Krishnamurti, written by those who knew him. All the eight books have been published by Edwin House Publishing, Inc., USA. Radhika Herzberger, director of Rishi Valley Education Centre, called Balasundaram “a connoisseur of life.” S. Meenakshi, niece of Balasundaram, released the book.

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MetroplusJune 28, 2012