The "Star of the East" debacle

Annie Besant, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and co

It was the Adyar branch of Theosophy, and more specifically Leadbeater, who in 1909 discovered the young Krishnamurti (then fourteen years old), and made the unfortunate claim that he was to be the body of the World Teacher, the Christ. The Order of the Star in the East was founded in 1911, and was a great success, with badges, newspapers, and heraldry, to welcome in the new Messiah. Mrs Besant was very enthusiastic about the whole thing, but Leadbeater eventually lost interest in his dis-covery, concentrating more on his Liberal Catholic Church, which he and a certain James Wedgwood (who was secretary of the Society in England) promulgated in Australia. Finally, the maturing Krishnamurti could stand no more of the adulation and expectation heaped upon him, and in 1929 he dissolved the Order, renounced all claims, and repudated all religious sects and organisations. From then on he taught his own personal philosophy, and in spite all of his anti-guru and anit-authority statements still found himself the guru to many devoted followers.

The dissolving of the Order of the Star in the East, together with new revelations concerning Leadbeater's paedophilia, had a disastrous effect on the Theosophical Society, which shrunk from 45,000 members in 1928 to 30,800 in 1933 [ [Gregory Tillett, The Elder Brother, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1982, p.242], and has never really recovered since.

Yet in spite of everything, it was this Adyar Theosophical form of metaphysics that had a strong formative influence on other important esoteric writers and schools, such as Rudolph Steiner (Anthroposophy), Alice Bailey (Arcane School), White Eagle Lodge (a Spiritualist group), Paul Twitchell (Eckankar), Robert and Earlyne Chaney (Astara Foundation), Mark and Elizabeth Prophet (Summit Lighthouse), and innumerable others. These Theosophical teachings and concepts have also had a strong influence on certain forms of Spiritualism, Occultism, and Neo-Paganism, and also on many Channeled teachings (probably via the Medium's subconscious mind).

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content by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 25 March 2000; last modified 7 August, 2004.