The Order of the Star in the East (OSE) was an
organization established by the leadership of the Theosophical
Society at Adyar, India, from 1911 to 1927. Its mission was to
prepare the world for the expected arrival of the World Teacher or
Maitreya. The precursor of the OSE was the Order of the Rising Sun
(1910-1911) and the successor was the Order of the Star (1927-1929).
The founding, as well as the disbanding of the Order in 1929, led to
crises in the Theosophical Society.
One of the founders of modern-era Theosophy and of the Theosophical
Society, Helena Blavatsky, wrote about its future in the Key to
"Not only so, but besides a large and
accessible literature ready to men's hands, the next impulse
will find a numerous and united body of people ready to welcome
the new torch-bearer of Truth. He will find the minds of men
prepared for his message, a language ready for him in which to
clothe the new truths he brings, an organization awaiting his
arrival, which will remove the merely mechanical, material
obstacles and difficulties from his path. Think how much one, to
whom such an opportunity is given, could accomplish. Measure it
by comparison with what the Theosophical Society actually has
achieved in the last fourteen years, without any of these
advantages and surrounded by hosts of hindrances which would not
hamper the new leader." 
Following the original publication of the book in
1889, and based on this passage, many Theosophists anticipated the
advent of Maitreya. Blavatsky had also founded, and led, the
so-called Esoteric Section of the Society, whose main purpose was to
inform and prepare select members of the Society about the expected
World Teacher. 
Sometime in late April or early May 1909, one of
the members of the Esoteric Section instructed on the World Teacher,
the high-ranking Theosophist and occultist C.W. Leadbeater,
encountered 14 year old Jiddu Krishnamurti on the private beach
attached to the headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Adyar.
At the time, Krishnamurti's father was employed by the Society, and
the family lived next to the compound. Leadbeater came to believe
young Krishnamurti was a suitable candidate for the "vehicle" of the
supposed soon-to-reappear World Teacher, and placed him under his
and the Society's wing. In late 1909, Annie Besant, then President
of the Society and head of its Esoteric Section, admitted
Krishnamurti into both  and in March 1910 she became his legal
Order of the Rising Sun
Annie Besant had started commenting on the possible imminent arrival
of the World Teacher in 1896, several years before her assumption of
the Society's presidency in 1907. By 1909 the "coming" Teacher was a
main topic of her lectures and writings. In late 1910 the
Order of the Rising Sun was founded by prominent theosophist George
Arundale (the official founding date was in January 1911). The
organization was generally focused on the expected World Teacher,
yet the newly "discovered" Krishnamurti was - somewhat obliquely -
at the center of its attention. 
Order of the Star in the East
Membership Card of the Order of the Star in the
East (Dutch Section).
In April 1911 Besant founded the Order of the Star in
the East (OSE), which replaced the Order of the Rising Sun. The high
offices of the organization were filled: "Mrs Besant and Leadbeater
were made Protectors of the new Order of which Krishna" [Jiddu
Krishnamurti] "was the Head, Arundale Private Secretary to the Head,
and Wodehouse Organizing Secretary".  
In December 1911 during a ceremony officiated by
Krishnamurti at the close of the annual Theosophical Convention,
those present were reported to be suddenly overwhelmed by a strange
feeling of "tremendous power" that seemed to be flowing through
Krishnamurti. In Leadbeater's description, "it reminded one
irresistibly of the rushing, mighty wind, and the outpouring of the
Holy Ghost at Pentecost. The tension was enormous, and every one in
the room was most powerfully affected." The next day, at a meeting
of the Esoteric Section, Annie Besant for the first time announced
that it was now obvious Krishnamurti was indeed the chosen
In 1912 Krishnamurti's father sued Annie Besant in
order to annul her guardianship of Krishnamurti, which he had
previously granted. Among other reasons stated in his deposition was
his objection to the "deification" of Krishnamurti caused by
Besant's "announcement that he was to be the Lord Christ, with the
result that a number of respectable persons had prostrated before
him." Besant eventually won the case on appeal. 
Because the German Section, under the General
Secretaryship of Dr. Steiner, opposed the pushing of the Order of
the Star in the East within the Theosophical Society in Germany,
Mrs. Besant, as President of the Theosophical Society, in March,
1913, dischartered and expelled from the Theosophical Society the
whole of that Section with all its Branches and over two thousand
members, cancelling the diplomas of all these.  Most of the
German Section left with Dr. Steiner and the Antroposophical Society was formed.
In 1913 some members of the OSE had to leave the
Central Hindu College (CHC) in Varanasi, because the activities of
the Order were deemed "unacademical". 
The goal of the Order was to remove the mechanical,
material obstacles and difficulties from the path of the World
Teacher. Most of the members were also members of the Theosophical
Society;  however, membership was open to anyone, the only
precondition being acceptance of the Order's Six Principles.
The Six Principles
The six principles of the Order of the Star in the
East were: 
- 1. We believe that a great Teacher will soon
appear in the world, and we wish so to live now that we may be
worthy to know Him when He comes.
- 2. We shall try, therefore, to keep Him in
our minds always, and to do in His name, and therefore to the
best of our ability, all the work which comes to us in our daily
- 3. As far as our ordinary duties allow, we
shall endeavour to devote a portion of our time each day to some
definite work which may help to prepare for His coming.
- 4. We shall seek to make Devotion,
Steadfastness and Gentleness prominent characteristics of our
- 5. We shall try to begin and end each day
with a short period devoted to the asking of His blessing upon
all that we try to do for Him and in His name.
- 6. We regard it as our special duty to try to
recognise and reverence greatness in whomsoever shown, and to
strive to co-operate, as far as we can, with those whom we feel
to be spiritually our superiors.
During the existence of the OSE, Krishnamurti held
many discourses and lectures in several countries, and had a large
following among the membership of the Theosophical Society. National
Sections of the Order were organized in many countries, with
official bulletins eventually appearing in twenty-one of them, in
fourteen different languages.  
Order of the Star
In June 1927 the name of the organization was changed to Order of
the Star, headquartered in Ommen, the Netherlands. In ongoing
developments, Besant had proclaimed in January 1927 that "the World
Teacher is here",  and many members expected Krishnamurti's
unequivocal public proclamation of his messianic status. The renamed
order had two objectives: 
- 1. To draw together all those who believe in
the Presence of the World Teacher in the world.
- 2. To work with Him for the establishment of
However, Krishnamurti's emphasis, in public talks and
private discussions, had changed, and he talked less about the
expected World Teacher. This shift in emphasis mirrored fundamental
changes in Krishnamurti as a person, including his gradual
disenchantment with the "World Teacher Project", which led to a
complete reevaluation of his continuing association with it. 
Finally, he disbanded the Order in Ommen on 3 August 1929, in front
of about 3000 members   and Besant herself. The Order had
about 60000 members at the time. In his speech dissolving the
organization, Krishnamurti said:
"I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and
you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion,
by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that
absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless,
unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be
organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to
coerce people along any particular path." 
Krishnamurti denounced the concept of saviors,
leaders and spiritual teachers, and soon after the dissolution
severed his ties to Theosophy and the Theosophical Society.  He
returned to donors estates, property, and funds that had been gifted
to the Order in its various incarnations,  and spent the rest of
his life pursuing an independent course, becoming widely known as an
original, influential thinker and speaker on philosophical and
In 1907 - the first year for which reliable records were kept  --
the worldwide membership of the Theosophical Society was estimated
at over 15000; membership peaked in 1928 at about 45000.  Many
members of the OSE were also members of the Theosophical
Society;  consequently, as many as a third of the members of the
Theosophical Society left "within a few years" of Krishnamurti's
disbanding of the Order.  
- Blavatsky, H. P. (1889). The Key to
Theosophy. London: The Theosophical Publishing Company. pp.
306-307. Italics in quoted text appear in original.
- a b c d e Schuller, Govert W. (1997). "Krishnamurti
and the World Teacher Project". Theosophical History: Occasional
Papers 5. (Fullerton, California: Theosophical History
Foundation). ISSN 1068-2597. Alpheus. 2001. Retrieved
- Blavatsky, H. P. (August 1931). "The
Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society: Preliminary
Memorandum, 1888". The Theosophist 52: 594-595. (Adyar:
Theosophical Publishing House). ISSN 0040-5892.
- Lutyens, Mary (1975). Krishnamurti: The
Years of Awakening. Farrar Straus and Giroux. pp. 20-21. ISBN
- Lutyens p. 30.
- Lutyens p. 40.
- Lutyens pp. 11-12, 46.
- "Christ Will Soon Visit Earth Again.
Head of Theosophical Society Declares His Spirit Will Manifest
Itself." Associated Press (New York City). New York: 3 August
1909. Newswire report on Besant's lecture tour in the United
- Lutyens p. 46. A.E. Wodehouse, an
educator and brother of the poet and writer P.G. Wodehouse, was
another prominent Theosophist.
- News regarding Krishnamurti and the
Order received wide coverage: "New Religion is Headed by Youth".
Grand Forks Herald (Grand Forks, North Dakota). 2 April 1912. p.
1. OCLC 12165939. "A stipling of fifteen, Krishnamurti, a Hindu
is thought by many Theosophists to be a second Messiah and a new
sect has been formed for his support with the star of the east
- Lutyens pp. 54-55. According to
Leadbeater and other Theosophists, Krishnamurti had already
previously passed a spiritual Initiation and had been "accepted"
as a pupil by Theosophy's Spiritual Hierarchy. Lutyens "Chapter
4: First Initiation" and "Chapter 5: First Teaching", pp. 29-46
- Lutyens pp. 62, 64, 82, 84; "Chapter 8:
The Lawsuit" pp 64-71.
- Rudolf Steiner, at the time leader of
the German Section of the Theosophical Society, rejected the
claims made of Krishnamurti's messianic status. The resulting
tensions between the German Section and Besant and Leadbeater
was one of the reasons that led to a split in the Society and,
in 1912, to Steiner forming the Anthroposophical Society;
immediately following this step, Besant revoked the German
Section's charter. The great majority of German members left the
Theosophical Society in 1912-13 to join Steiner in the new
group. Steiner, Rudolph; Buursink, Marijke; Schuwirth, Wim;
Blomaard, Pim & Mees, Wijnand (1993) (in Dutch). Wegen naar
Christus [Roads to Christ. (Bing Translator)]. Partially
translated from German by Marijke Buursink. Zeist, Netherlands:
Vrij Geestesleven. ISBN 9060385128.
- Das, Bhagwan (Bhagavan) (1913). "The
Central Hindu College and Mrs. Besant". (PDF). Parascience.
Guerneville, California: The Science and Spirit Foundation.
Retrieved 2010-04-12. The author, a co-founder (along with Annie
Besant) of the CHC, was in opposition to the World Teacher
Project and to the creation of the OSE.
- Wodehouse, Ernest A. (1911). The Order
of the Star in the East: its outer and inner work. Adyar:
Theosophist Office. Pamphlet. OCLC 258767581.
- "The Star: Its Purpose and Policy" (All
issue dates). The Star [All issues, usually in back pages]. (Los
Angeles: Star Publishing Trust). OCLC 10990552. Bulletin of the
USA National Section of the Order.
- Lutyens p. 241. Statement of Besant to
the Associated Press.
- "The Order of the Star" (All issue
dates). The Star [All issues, usually in back pages]. (Los
Angeles: Star Publishing Trust). OCLC 10990552. Bulletin of the
USA National Section of the Order.
- In sympathy with Krishnamurti, in 1928
Besant closed the Esoteric Section. She reopened it after the
dissolution of the Order. Lutyens pp. 265-266, 276.
- "Editorial Policy". International Star
Bulletin 2 [Volume not numbered in original] (2) [Issues
renumbered starting August 1929]: 4. September 1929. (Eerde:
Star Publishing Trust). OCLC 34693176. From the previously
official bulletin of the Order of the Star. The bulletin
published several issues post-dissolution, following
Krishnamurti's new direction.
- "Cult Is Dissolved By Krishnamurti;
Surprises Devotees by Asserting Organization Is Not Necessary".
The Washington Post. p. M21. 4 August 1929. Associated Press
(New York City). [Dateline Ommen, 3 August 1929]. ISSN
- Jiddu, Krishnamurti (September 1929).
"The Dissolution of the Order of the Star: A Statement by J.
Krishnamurti". International Star Bulletin 2 [Volume not
numbered in original] (2) [Issues renumbered starting August
1929]: 28-34. (Eerde: Star Publishing Trust). OCLC 34693176.
J.Krishnamurti Online. Retrieved 2010-04-12.
- Lutyens pp. 276, 285.
- Lutyens p. 276.
- Tillet, Gregory John (1987). "Appendix
4: Membership of the Theosophical Society: Statistical Summary".
Charles Webster Leadbeater 1854-1934: A Biographical Study.
Volume III: Appendices, Notes and Bibliographies. [Thesis (Ph.
D.)]. Department of Religious Studies. University of Sydney. pp.
942-950. OCLC 271774444. (Context from p. 943n). URI http://hdl.handle.net/2123/1623.
[Filename: "10Append&NotesTillett.pdf"]. Sydney escholarship.
2007. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
- Taylor, Anne (1992). Annie Besant: A
Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 328. ISBN
- Roe, Jill (1986). Beyond Belief:
Theosophy in Australia 1879-1939. Sydney: University of New
South Wales Press. p. 288. ISBN 0868400424.
- Campbell, Bruce F. (1980). History of
the Theosophical Movement. Berkeley, California: University of
California Press. Hardcover. p. 130. ISBN 0-520-03968-8.
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