Originally published 1954 with a comprehensive foreword by Aldous Huxley, it was instrumental in broadening Krishnamurti’s audience and exposing his ideas. It was one of the first Krishnamurti titles in the world of mainstream, commercial publishing, where its success helped establish him as a viable author.
The book also established a format frequently used in later Krishnamurti publications, in which he presents his ideas on various interrelated issues, followed by discussions with one or more participants. As of 2015, the work had had several editions in print and digital media.
Krishnamurti was born in India. In early adolescence he had a chance encounter with prominent occultist and theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater in the grounds of the Theosophical Society headquarters at Adyar in Madras. He was subsequently raised under the tutelage of Annie Besant and Leadbeater, leaders of the Society at the time, who believed him to be a ‘vehicle’ for an expected World Teacher. As a young man, he disavowed this idea and dissolved the Order of the Star in the East, an organisation that had been established to support it.
Krishnamurti said he had no allegiance to any nationality, caste, religion, or philosophy, and spent the rest of his life traveling the world, speaking to large and small groups and individuals. He wrote many books, among them The First and Last Freedom,
The Only Revolution, and Krishnamurti’s Notebook. Many of his talks and discussions have been published. His last public talk was in Madras, India, in January 1986, a month before his death at his home in Ojai, California.
His supporters — working through non-profit foundations in India, Great Britain and the United States — oversee several independent schools based on his views on education.
They continue to transcribe and distribute his thousands of talks, group and individual discussions, and writings by use of a variety of media formats and languages.