Authorship controversy of At The Feet Of The Master

At The Feet Of The Master 

Authorship debate  (Wikipedia)


The identity of the author has been the subject of debate, starting with the appearance of the first edition. It has been proposed that Leadbeater was the actual producer of the work; this proposition has had opponents as well as supporters. 

Shortly after the original publication, the matter found its way to court in India. It was brought up during a custody battle over Krishnamurti between Besant and Jiddu Narayaniah, Krishnamurti's father. 

Narayaniah claimed the book was "fathered" on Krishnamurti in order to promote his messianic credentials, citing as one proof the boy's poor prior knowledge of English. In related litigation, Besant alleged The Hindu newspaper was in contempt over the "publication of certain correspondence ... relating to the authorship of the book 'At the feet of the Master'".


Since the original publication, statements reputedly made by Krishnamurti have appeared in a variety of sources, implying he accepted or rejected authorship.

His own recorded statements on the matter have been subject to interpretation. Decades after the original publication, he stated that he had no memory of writing it, although he did not discount the possibility.


As the original notes by Krishnamurti are missing, the extent of any differences with Leadbeater’s typescript and with the original published edition is not clear. The debate regarding the role of Krishnamurti in the production and promotion of this work persisted, a century after its original publication.

Reception  (Wikipedia)

The book was enthusiastically received by Theosophists and members of the Order of the Star in the East, a worldwide organization established by the Theosophical leadership to promote the World Teacher Project. The extraordinary publicity surrounding Krishnamurti and the World Teacher Project brought increased attention to the book.


(Some) have found the book "simple ... though not platitudinous ... draws on the pious morality that underlies ... all religions". It has also been pointed out that the main body's themes, and four-part layout, bear close resemblance to Advaita Vedanta treatises by, or attributed to, the 8th century Indian philosopher and theologian Adi Shankara.


Despite the demise of the World Teacher Project in 1929, and the subsequent dismantling of the infrastructure supporting it (which included the book), millions of copies had been sold as of c. 2004 ; in addition, the book became a frequent subject of lectures, a practice that continued past the Project's ending, and into the early 21st century.

About the work

The following is stated in the book's foreword: "These are not my words; they are the words of the Master who taught me." 

This statement is related to Leadbeater's claim that over a period of about five months during 1909 - 10, the so-called Master Kuthumi (Koot Hoomi) - a postulated embodied spiritual entity - was releasing to Krishnamurti, through a mystical process and while the boy was asleep, the spiritual instruction that makes up the work. 

Upon waking, Krishnamurti "with great laboriousness" put the instructions into notes; afterwards, the notes were checked for spelling and grammar, and then arranged and typed by Leadbeater. 

The resulting typescript formed the basis for the book's original edition; Krishnamurti's handwritten notes were lost sometime after the book's publication.

K's English tutor:

“I have written in my earlier writing an account of his initiation and of the meeting with the Master and so on which were all told me by Mr. Leadbeater and by Krishnamurti himself.

I was told that he had been put on probation by the Master along with his little brother, on a certain date. And then it was that Krishna used to sit in the early morning and write something very laboriously in his early English, which turned out to be the little book At the Feet of the Master. 

And the writing in the book was in pencil and Krishnaji used to ponder and then write and then ponder. And Leadbeater told me that he was bringing back into his physical brain in the morning what he had experienced and learned and heard during the night before from the Master Kuthumi. 

I never looked at the details of that little book but I did see the book and I saw Krishnaji writing.”

Interview with Russell B. Clarke, Krishnamurti’s first English tutor