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'Of All Faiths & None' The Reason Behind the Name - Part 2

The question of 'Faith' is considered in the novel at various times. When I started writing the novel I had no idea who Jiddu Krishnamurti was. However, when I read Lutyens' letters to and from his wife, Lady Emily, I realised that Krishnamurti was a central figure in their lives. I therefore decided that I had to include him in the novel and address 'faith' as a theme. The change in title of the novel from Castle Drogo therefore fitted more comfortably with the finished work.

It cannot be often that someone starts writing an historical novel to find that a character appears that you have not heard of and who many people believe will become the new World Teacher. However, that is precisely what occurred with the character of Jiddu Krishnamurti.

Lady Emily Lutyens was a fervent follower of theosophy, which was in vogue in 1910 in London society. Many people had become wary of Christian tenets and were looking towards eastern religions for alternatives. Theosophy sought to mix some high ideals, like the 'brotherhood of man', with eastern mysticism such as reincarnation as well as the occult. The theosophists took a great deal from the Buddhist religion, wherein they advocated for the identification of the true nature of ones self, and then to live according to it. The theosophists survived scandal after scandal, probably because at the core of the faith was a belief in high ideals.

'Faith' is a theme that runs through the novel. Not only is it examined in relation to theosophy but also, at times, the Christian religion. Lutyens tells a story of faith to his daughter in Chapter 15 of the book, which is a re-telling, in narrative form, of the beautiful poem 'Footprints in the Sand'. Here he tells his daughter, Celia, that faith can sustain you even in your darkest hours. However, Celia decides not to follow any creed or religion and tells her brother "I don't believe in any faith". It is because of this that she must face her darkest hours alone. The character of Gertrude Jekyll also comments on faith as well when she says "a casual stroll through the lunatic asylums shows that faith does not prove anything at all." It is, however, the character of Christian Drewe who addresses faith more than any other in the novel. He listens to a talk by Krishnamurti in Chapter 27 and understands why all faiths are misconceived and that one must question and doubt everything. When he is maimed in the war he asks: "How can anyone have faith ...when we still do this to each other." In frustration and in pain he says to Celia that if Krishnamurti were the messiah, then why doesn't he stop the suffering. The answer I have sometimes heard is that suffering only brings us closer to god. However, I have never found such an answer convincing. I do not try to answer any question about 'faith'. Instead, the novel is intended to raise questions and leave the reader with a tool in which to consider 'faith'; i.e., that "clarity of thought is achieved through doubt."

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