Issue #10

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Issue 10: September 1968 to January 1969

Introduction to Issue 10

This issue sees Krishnaji, Mary, and Alain in begin to get information on the shady dealings of KWINC, and their meeting with several lawyers to figure out how to deal with it. The basis for the legal case becomes clear.

This issue also sees the start of the new Krishnamurti organization in the US.

Finally, after considering many properties in England for a school, Brockwood is found and acquired.

The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue 10

Mary: So, we left off with Krishnaji and Alain arriving in New York on the twenty-fourth of September, and I had just arrived from Malibu. Krishnaji had been speaking in Puerto Rico. Alain was with him, and during that time I visited my family in the east, went back to Malibu for less than a week, and returned to New York to prepare the flat that I had rented from my former sister-in-law, which was at 40 East 62nd, a small flat, for the time that Krishnaji would be in New York.

Scott: Where was Krishnaji speaking in New York?

M: He was speaking um…indeed, where was he speaking? I haven’t read ahead in this. [Chuckles.]

S: [laughing] Right, never mind.

M: It will be revealed!

S: Okay.

M: We had no sooner gotten there than we started to talk things over about the school in England, because there was said to be a house in Surrey, which was a possible school. So, it was decided that Alain would fly back to London, which he did the next day. And that he would go and look at it and report. So he flew back, and stayed with the Digbys.

On the next day, which was the twenty-fifth, we rang him and he’d already seen the house. We also received photographs of it and liked it. He liked it too, but said we should wait and discuss it when he got back. So that’s all we know about that house.

Now in the meantime, Blitz was somewhere around, and Krishnaji wanted to talk to him. Blitz, as well as Krishnaji, received in the summer, while still in Gstaad, a letter from a Mrs. [Erna] Lilliefelt, who had read or heard the news that Krishnaji had disassociated himself from KWINC and that it had been suggested on his behalf that people who wanted to help with the work should donate to the new foundation. She was startled because she knew that over the years a great deal of money had been given to Krishnaji’s work and why did he not have it? She wrote a very intelligent letter, I must say, which, when it came to Saanen, was like a breath of good sense.

S: Mm, hm.

M: And Krishnaji said, “Who is this Mrs. Lilliefelt?” It now developed that he wanted Blitz, and Mrs. Lilliefelt, and Rubinstein to come to New York and discuss the situation. So I rang Alain in London to please get Rubinstein to come. And I telephoned Erna, whom I didn’t know at all in those days, and asked if she would come to talk to Krishnamurti. Both said yes. So, those were immediate things that happened.

Blitz came immediately on the twenty-sixth, and we had the meeting set up for the following week. Then what? Oh, we went to a movie! [Chuckles.]

S: [laughing] What did you see?

M: It doesn’t say. Oh, wait a minute. Radio City, we went to an Ustinov movie. It doesn’t say which one. We walked back from there, and Rubinstein called from London to say that he would come.

Alain returned the next day and had news of the house. The pictures were very nice, but it looked too small. It looked VERY nice. It actually turned out to be the house that belonged to…ahh…movie actor whose name we both know well…English actor. Can’t think of it now! I’m not prepared for this. [S laughs.] Anyway, it was an attractive house. It was called the Newal, for some reason.

S: The whole idea was to have a house big enough for Krishnaji to have a place and a school, which is a sizeable building.

M: I know. Well, this building was made for one man, a single man at that. But it was attractive. So we talked about all those things. But, anyway [laughing], Krishnaji decided to buy the Newal [both laugh]. We telephoned Mary Cadogan to have Rubinstein negotiate. So, well, then we lunched and went to another movie not mentioned here, so I’ll skip that day.

Now we come to the twenty-ninth, and Alain went up to Yale to see about Krishnaji’s talking at Yale, and I went with Krishnaji to Mrs. Pinter’s in the afternoon.

S: What was Mr. Pinter famous for?

M: I never met Mr. Pinter because he was dead before I came on the scene. He was a businessman who had known Krishnaji forever. Mrs. Pinter was a retired opera singer, and she was in poor health. Normally, when Krishnaji had come to New York in the recent years, he’d stayed with the Pinters; and with Mrs. Pinter after Mr. Pinter died. Mr. Pinter was the man who warned Krishnaji that Rajagopal was taking over and that Krishnaji would find himself completely excluded from his own organization.

S: Mm, hm.

M: Apparently Rajagopal used to come over to see them, and Pinter would put down, as Krishnaji put it, a bottle of Johnny Walker on the table and a glass. And by the time Rajagopal left, half of it was down his gullet. This loosened his tongue and he was telling Pinter what he was doing here and there, and Pinter saw what was going to happen.

S: Mm, hm.

M: And he warned Krishnaji. He said, “Look into it, or you’ll be out of everything. He’ll have the money and the power and the whole, whole thing.” But, of course, Krishnaji didn’t know how to go about that.

S: Mm, hm.

M: They were down on 58th Street West. And that’s where Krishnaji would have stayed the previous year, when he was talking at The New School, but Mrs. Pinter wasn’t very well, and that’s when Krishnaji asked me to find a place for him and Naudé to stay in New York. And I did that, if you’ll remember, by taking my brother’s flat.

S: Yes.

M: So that’s who the Pinters are. She was more or less an invalid and an elderly woman, and she regrettably died fairly soon after all this, I think. She disappears from the story. Alain also went up to Brandeis University to also arrange for Krishnaji to talk there.

And now Mrs. Lilliefelt makes her first appearance on the scene. She came to New York and came to tea, and we talked. It says here ‘Krishnaji fell ill in the night, but he nevertheless went to his first talk at The New School at 4 o’clock.’ Huh, he must have talked twice at The New School.

Mrs. Lilliefelt came to lunch the next day, October second, and so did Mitchell Booth. Mitchell Booth was my father’s lawyer in New York; and sort of our family lawyer. He still takes care of Bud’s affairs, my brother’s.

S: Mm, hm.

M: And if I had any affairs he’d look after them. He makes wills and things like that. We talked about all these Rajagopal matters. Erna brought with her her research that she had done on the transfers of property—land, houses, real estate that Rajagopal had done where he played what we called the Shell Game. He would transfer something that belonged to the Brothers Association [1] and transfer it to the Star Bulletin and then some other local Star thing, and then he’d move it again. He moved these things around creating little foundations as he went. And, lo and behold, everything went into the ones controlled by him and nothing was left in the ones where Krishnaji had the power that Mrs. Besant had insisted he have, which was meant to be total power.

So everything had just been removed to empty shells. So Erna Lilliefelt had, by tracing land ownership, because land ownership has to be recorded; if you sell me a house, you have to record the sale to me in the county.

S: Mm, hm. So she could trace land?

M: Yes, she could trace land.

S: But she couldn’t trace money.

M: No, she couldn’t trace money. But she traced enough land to show how he would sell a property to KWINC at a high price. Then he would have KWINC pay to improve it vastly. And then he would buy it back from KWINC at a low price. So KWINC’s money was spent, and he wound up with just about everything, including the house, which had been built by James Vigeveno for his daughter. When Vigeveno’s daughter divorced her first husband and moved out, Vigeveno owned the house because he’d built it. That was then sold to Rajagopal by Vigeveno, but with money that Rajagopal had gotten through these manipulations.

S: Mm, hm.

M: So Erna had this really curious picture of the transfer of assets, and that’s what she brought with her and showed to Mitchell Booth.

So the next day, the third of October, there was a meeting with Krishnaji, Alain, Mrs. Lilliefelt, Blitz, and me, and we went through all these papers again. Michael Rubinstein arrived from London at 2:30 p.m. And at 3:30 p.m., Krishnaji and I went to The New School for the second talk, but Rubinstein, Blitz, and Lilliefelt continued to go through all these papers. When we returned, Blitz had gone to Los Angeles, and we talked some more with Rubinstein, who stayed for supper.

The next day, October fourth, Erna Lilliefelt, Michael Rubinstein, Mitchell Booth, and I all met, and we went over all this again until the afternoon, when Rubinstein flew back to London.

S: Now what was the purpose for Rubinstein coming?

M: Well, he’s the one that had done the initial recuperating of the first thing, which was the copyright. He’d been the legal advisor then. But when we get to New York, it’s obvious that all this has to be coped with in the U.S. where he couldn’t participate. So then Mitchell Booth was brought up to date; they sort of talked lawyer-to-lawyer.

S: So it was really to bring Mitchell Booth up to date that Michael Rubinstein came.

M: Yes, yes. And then, as will develop in all this, Mitchell Booth then suggested that we get a Los Angeles lawyer, and he suggested the one that we eventually went to.

S: Who?

M: Saul Rosenthal was the one who handled it, a youngish man, very bright, very nice, but he was in a big—a very prestigious law firm in Los Angeles.

S: Mm, hm.

M: It was good advice that Mitchell gave. Eventually, and this is down the road, but when it was seen that it would be tried, if it came to trial in Ventura county, Rosenthal said “Look, when you get out of Los Angeles, the judges, the courts, the whole thing, tend to favor local people over the big Los Angeles law firms.” So he advised that we get the man we got, Stanley Cohen, who was in Ventura.

S: Mm, hm. Mm, hm.

M: So after the beginnings of it were all handled, things were eventually all transferred to Michael Stanley Cohen, who was the lawyer throughout the entire case for Krishnaji and the Foundation.

S: Mm, hm. Mm, hm.

M: Krishnaji had his third talk at The New School, and Paola, Vanda’s daughter, and her husband, John Cohen, came to lunch. And we went to a movie called Rachel, Rachel, which I don’t remember at all. [S chuckles.]

S: Just while we’re here, if I may interrupt, who would choose the movie? How did it get decided?

M: Well we’d go through the list, and you know, just…we’d say what they were about. It was all tailored to fit Krishnaji’s interests, obviously. Or something we thought he would like. If there was no cowboys, something, then we’d try to figure out, um…I remember once going to a lovely movie, and he liked it, called The Endless Summer. Did you ever see it? It’s a surfing movie. It was the first epic surfing movie. It’s just two boys wandering around the world looking for the perfect wave.

S: Yes, I do remember that.

M: I remember going to that and he enjoyed that. [M chuckles.]

S: Were you eating all of your meals in the flat?

M: Well, sort of. I was scrounging around, I guess. I seem to have done a lot of cooking in those days. We went out occasionally. I see that we lunched at The Colony one day, Krishnaji, Alain, and I [chuckles], which was THE restaurant of my youth and childhood. [S chuckles.] My father used to take me there when I was old enough to be a presentable child [S laughs and M chuckles], when I was nicely mannered and nicely dressed and he felt I did him credit. [More laughing.] I loved it.

S: Does it still exist? I’ve never been in it.

M: It doesn’t exist anymore. It was a wonderful restaurant! And it was THE chic restaurant in New York, but it wasn’t flashy-chic; it was just wonderful food. And it was run by three Italians who had a brilliant sense of what tables to give to whom [both laugh]. There was a terrific hierarchy in New York life in those days.

S: Ah ha.

M: The service was superb, and the food was wonderful. I’ve never been anywhere better. So we went there one day for lunch.

Fourth talk. Did I say that? Erna had gone back to California. Then there was a series of young people’s discussion, also held at The New School.

There was a fifth talk on the tenth of October, after which we did some shopping. There was another discussion for the young on the eleventh. About 400 young people came.

S:  Wow. That’s remarkable.

M: Yes, it was very good.

S: This was all at The New School?

M: Yes, at The New School.

S: Was it at an auditorium there? Or…?

M: Ah, yes, in an auditorium.

Then on the eleventh, Erna called from Los Angeles to say that she’d gone to see Saul Rosenthal, our new lawyer.

On the twelfth, it was Alain’s birthday, and at 10:00 a.m. Krishnaji gave his sixth and final talk at The New School. Then Krishnaji lunched with Narasimhan and U Thant at the UN. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned Narasimhan before. He was at the UN, the second to U Thant, who was the head of the UN then. So, he was Chef de Cabinet, and a cousin of Jayalakshmi’s in Madras. He had known Krishnaji for a long time.

Alain and I went to La Côte Basque, which was another wonderful restaurant.

There was talk of having a New York Krishnamurti office, but K didn’t have confidence in the people who wanted to do it, so nothing happened.

S: Who were these people?

M: I don’t think I listed them all. We’ll let them fall into obscurity.

S: [laughs] Alright, but don’t leave things out, Mary, because this is supposed to be a complete record.

M: The fact that he didn’t want it was sufficient; we don’t want to blacken their names.

S: No, we don’t want to blacken anyone’s name. [Chuckles.]

M: Besides, I can’t remember.

We went to another movie on the thirteenth, which was Rosemary’s Baby, which he did not like.

[Chuckles.] And then at supper, it was decided to cancel the trip to Yale, but go to Brandeis on Thursday. I forget why we cancelled Yale. For some reason.

S: Where did you walk? In the park?

M: In the park or up and down Madison Avenue or 5th Avenue, but usually in the park.

S: Hm. How would you walk to the park?

M: We walked across 62nd Street to the park because 62nd ends at 5th Avenue, which is on the park. The apartment was between Park and Madison.

On the seventeenth, we lunched at Voisin (that’s another old, but good restaurant) and then we went to LaGuardia airport, flew to Boston, rented a car, and drove to the Charter House Motel in Waltham. The dean of students at Brandeis University was there to greet us, and we had dinner in the dining room.

The next day, the eighteenth, we were taken around Brandeis by some students. That was rather fun. We lunched in the faculty dining room, and at 4:30 p.m., Krishnaji gave his first talk to the students.

S: Do you remember how many people came?

M: I’d say about three hundred. It wasn’t big. But it was…

S: That’s enough.

M: It was good. Yes.

The next day, the nineteenth, Hughes van der Straten arrived from Brussels, and came for lunch. I don’t know where we had lunch. Krishnaji gave interviews in the afternoon. Then with Alain we went for a walk, and then Hughes joined us for supper.

On the twentieth, we talked all morning with Hughes about houses in England, and there’s a new one in view, and its name is Brockwood Park.

S: Mm, hm.

M: ‘In Hampshire,’ it says. ‘All four lunched. Hughes left in the afternoon, and Krishnaji, Alain, and I went for a walk’, after which there were more interviews. One was with Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy.

‘There was a morning discussion on the twenty-first at Brandeis between Krishnaji and students. And in the afternoon he gave another talk at 4:30 p.m.’

On the twenty-second, ‘in the morning we watched on TV the return to earth of the astronauts from four-day orbit. At 10:30 a.m. Krishnaji held a discussion with students at Brandeis, and we walked. Professor Klee’, it says here, ‘lunched with us.’ I don’t know who he was, and then ‘in the afternoon there was a third talk at Brandeis.’

On the twenty-third, ‘we had a quiet morning, but at 3:00 p.m. Krishnaji spoke to graduate students at Brandeis.’

He worked an awful lot in those days, as you see.

S: Yes, he did. Giving private interviews in the afternoon, and occasionally…

M: Yes, and discussions and then talks and so forth.

S: Mm.

M: On the twenty-fourth, ‘we left Waltham, drove to Boston, and flew to New York. We lunched at the Colony. We packed.’ Then my family came in, and my father was suddenly in New York, so I had dinner with him.

The twenty-fifth: ‘We left New York at noon and flew to Los Angeles. Amanda [2] met us with the Jaguar; also the Blackburns came from Ojai. We went to the house in Malibu.’ It says here ‘the house and garden looked lovely. Filomena had everything shining and ready. We unpacked, and we had supper in the quiet peace of the house.’

S: Tell me about the contact between Filomena and Krishnaji.

M: Oh, it was wonderful.

S: Describe it. Talk about it a little bit.

M: Well, she immediately…he was all the things that are enshrined in Filomena’s estimation. He was a great gentleman. He was also courteous and friendly, and she immediately took to him. And he recognized all her lovely qualities. Eventually, somewhere in here, she had awful arthritis pains, and he asked me if I thought he could put his hands on her to try and help her. So, I spoke to her, and she, of course, said yes. So he had me be present, I don’t know why. He did what he always did: stood behind, putting his hands on her shoulder. When he finished, as always he did, he left the room to go wash his hands, but he said to her: “Just sit quietly.” So she sat there, as though in a trance and finally got up. Afterward, that’s when she said to me, as I’ve already reported, “A les mani di un santo.” He has the hands of a saint.

S: Mm, hm. Mm, hm. How nice.

M: Well, we started right away having beach walks, which was pleasant. But, you know, Krishnaji’s walks were not a stroll.

S: I know, I know.

M: They were vigorous. I suppose about an hour, all told, by the time we got back.

The next day, the twenty-seventh, Mr. and Mrs. Lilliefelt came.

S: Was this the first time you’d met Theo [3]?

M: Yes, yes.

Then the next day, the twenty-eighth, ‘Krishnaji, Alain, and I went to meet the Lilliefelts at the lawyer’s. The lawyer we saw was something like Berkowitz, Selvin, something and Myers. It was one of those kinds of names. We met a senior lawyer, Mr. Berkowitz, and Rosenthal at 4:30 p.m. Then on our return home, we got a letter from Mary Links about Brockwood. Well, she thought Brockwood was the place. And, as she explained, there was a part of it called the West Wing, which could be a sort of separate residence for Krishnaji. And she’d already picked out who got which room. [S laughs.] We didn’t stick with that as she was giving Krishnaji the room you sleep in now [4]. She liked it right away, and I must say, that had a big influence on us.

We got a cable and a telephone call from Mary Cadogan on the twenty-ninth saying that Blitz had resigned from the Krishnamurti Foundation at the trustee meeting yesterday. We also learned that Brockwood can be ours. And Krishnaji sent a telegram to Rajagopal suggesting that they meet to discuss KWINC.

S: Wait a minute. Let me go back here, because in my discussions with Nelly [5], Nelly was at that trustees’ meeting. And she said that a telegram arrived during the meeting for Blitz, telling him to resign.

M: I don’t think so.

S: From Krishnaji.

M: I have no such recollection. No, Blitz…

S: She said it arrived right in the middle of the meeting. She said it was very embarrassing; it was obviously something that was memorable for her.

M: I remember that Blitz’s resigning was in disagreement over something. I think financial.

S: Well, Dorothy [6] used to say that Blitz insisted that before a school could be started there had to be X amount of money.

M: Yes, I think that’s true. I think that’s what it was.

S: And there wasn’t that amount of money, so he was in disagreement about starting the school.

M: Yes.

S: And I think Mary Cadogan told me that as soon as he resigned he went out and bought a yacht. [Both laugh.]

M: My recollection is that we know that Blitz resigned on this date. I do remember that there was a disagreement financially between Blitz and everybody else, that he was uneasy about starting the school until we had lots of money collected, and of course we didn’t. But we did have enough to buy Brockwood, and that was enough for Krishnaji. So, whatever persuaded him, whether Krishnaji was the author of a telegram and what may have been in it, I don’t know because I don’t have any record of it today. But I don’t think Krishnaji would have told Blitz to resign. That’s unlike Krishnaji, but he would have said that he wanted to go ahead. But that’s speculation, because I have no record of it in this account. And I don’t remember it well enough, but I do know that at the time I felt Blitz was being very high-handed. He wanted his own way in most things, and when it didn’t go that way, he resigned. That was my recollection of it.

S: Mm, hm. Mm, hm. And, if there had been a telegram, it wouldn’t have been sent by Krishnaji personally; it would have been you or Alain?

M: That’s right. Yes. Anyway, he resigned.

To continue, ‘Krishnaji sent a telegram to Rajagopal, saying he would like to meet with him to discuss KWINC and he would like the meeting to be held at the Lilliefelt’s.’ Whereupon ‘Rajagopal telephoned and spoke to Krishnaji, and he refused. Then he called back and Krishnaji had me talk to him, and Rajagopal hung up on me. Then Rajagopal called Erna at home and was insulting,’ according to Erna. So the gist of it, as I recall, it doesn’t say here, but you know: “Who are you to interfere? You people are outsiders. This is between Krishnamurti and me.” That’s the line he always took.

S: Mm, hm.

M: Also on that day, Alain went to Claremont to settle everything about Krishnaji speaking there. Also, my brother got married, but that’s out of [S chuckles] this story. [M chuckles.]

The next day, the thirtieth, ‘Krishnaji decided to have the Lilliefelts head the USA branch of the Foundation, and to commence forming it. The Lilliefelts and Blackburns came down at 3:00 p.m. We talked of plans, and had tea. Later, Rajagopal gave me a message for Krishnaji, who didn’t want to talk to him: There will be no meeting unless they talk alone first.’ That was his pitch the whole time. He wanted to get Krishnaji alone and browbeat him. And Krishnaji wasn’t planning to do that.

S: Mm, hm.

M: ‘Alain went to Ojai the next day. And Krishnaji and I lunched here, then went to Santa Monica to look for…coat hangers!’ [Both laugh.] What in the world did we want with coat hangers?! I guess he wanted to come along. [More chuckles.] ‘We drove through Topanga and Mulholland. Alain got back after having trouble with the car. Krishnaji spoke to Vigeveno, and gave him a vivid talking to on the gravity of the meeting with Rajagopal and the board. Krishnaji said, “It’s very grave and you must realize it and there must be a meeting at which not just Rajagopal, but the whole KWINC board must be there.” And he was very firm.’

‘The next day we talked with Erna on the telephone about getting the KWINC board here for Krishnaji to see. And he invited—’

S: “Here” meaning to Malibu?

K: To Malibu, get them to come to Malibu. And ‘he invited Mima Porter, the Vigevenos, Castlebury…they refused. So no meeting was held. Krishnaji had made every possible gesture,’ which was what he was aiming to do. He didn’t think they’d come. They wouldn’t dare come.

Then it says here, ‘Rosalind called to ask to come here tomorrow.’ So she came the next day, which was November second. She came at 10 a.m. and stayed till 1:30 p.m. in a three-way conversation with Krishnaji and me.’ And I [laughing] have in my notes: ‘ugly people.’ Alain wasn’t there, but I remember what she did. [Chuckles.] I received her at the door, politely as hostess and took her into the living room, at which point she announced, “You sit here, and Krishnaji sits there, and I’ll sit there.” This was in my house, so this was a bit much.

S: Hm.

M: So, we sat down, and I don’t know, she talked in circles, sort of. It was just junk, you know.

S: Give me a feel of it. What do you mean?

M: [Sigh.] She was berating Krishnaji: “How can you have this quarrel with Raja?” and “It’s all awful, and you don’t know what you’re getting into.” You know, it was just picking at him, picking at him. It was just unpleasant. She was attacking Alain, too. And she said to me, “Oh, well, you, you’re infatuated with him.” [Laughing.] And Krishnaji and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. [Both chuckle.] It was ugly.

S: Was Rajagopal financially supporting her at this point?

M: No, she’s a rich woman by this point. She had inherited from Mr. Logan a great deal of money. He left her in his will. Plus, she had several houses.

S: So this was just at Rajagopal’s behest? Do you think? Why would she be doing this? What interest was it of hers?

M: Because she was in cahoots with Rajagopal. The whole thing, in my opinion, in all these things, I mean, they fought over their own complications…she didn’t want him to divorce her, or her to divorce him when he wanted to marry Annalisa, but that wasn’t to preserve a beautiful marriage; it just suited her the way it was. They had fought over that, back in early ’60s. But, no, they were manipulating Krishnaji. They wanted him to be subservient to, in this case, Rajagopal, whatever Rajagopal decided. And she was prepared to testify for Rajagopal in the case. She went to our lawyer, which is absolutely beyond the pale; you can’t do that, and they said that she couldn’t do that; they had to show her out. She wanted to say that there were things they didn’t know about. As though she knew what they knew. So, she tried to blackmail our lawyer before she blackmailed anybody else. It was all blackmail from beginning to end.

S: Extraordinary.

M: The hold they thought they had over Krishnaji were those stories about an affair. She never said it, but she hinted at it, and that Rajagopal had letters that would be compromising. Our lawyer said: “I’m sorry, it’s immaterial, you have nothing, and we can’t talk to you” and they put her out.

S: Hm. [Pause.] Now, she had already somehow gotten hold of the Happy Valley School?

M: Oh, years before!

S: Back in the ’40s or something.

M: Yes, yes. Way back. No, they were, at least to me, perfectly clear, and Krishnaji felt this too, that their interest was in holding Krishnaji, and controlling what he did. It was alright for him to go around and talk and for people to send money, that’s fine. They didn’t think anything was wrong with that, but they wanted to control everything after that.

Now we come to the third of November. ‘The Lilliefelts came at 11:30 a.m. to talk and then have lunch. There was a wire from James Vigeveno saying that a meeting “can be arranged” for K personally with the board at the KWINC office after Claremont,’ because Krishnaji was going to Claremont. ‘It was unacceptable to Krishnaji as it was a rejection of his invitation.’ So, we talked some more to the lawyers the next day and the Lilliefelts. ‘A rude letter came from Byron Casselberry. And we went for a long walk on the beach. Betsy [7] dined with us.’

‘We instructed our lawyers to write to Rajagopal,’ but I don’t remember the details of what that was. It may be in Erna’s account. But in other words, we instructed the lawyers to enter the picture as our lawyers, and it was the first time, as far as I know, this been mentioned straight to Rajagopal.

The next day, ‘Annie Vigeveno turned up and brought a letter from James Vigeveno about Rajagopal, etcetera.’ I’m sure Rajagopal wrote the letter. Actually, a lot of the Vigeveno letters, which are very ugly letters…Gaby Blackburn, who is the daughter of James and Annie, has since told Erna, that James Vigeveno never really wrote those letters. Instead, Annie got her husband to write something, which she then took to Rajagopal, and she and Rajagopal rewrote it, and then James just signed it, and they sent it out.

S: Wow.

M: I thought Vigeveno was a worm to do it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true. Then the same day, on the sixth, ‘we drove in two cars to Claremont. And we met at something called the Blaizedell Institute,’ which is the entity that invited K to come to talk, ‘and a Mr. Rempel, the head of it, showed us to the house that was provided,’ and it was a very nice house. And I remember the first evening, a family of raccoons came to the porch, obviously expecting to be fed. They were charming, and that was enjoyed by Krishnaji and me.

The next day, ‘Krishnaji took a canyon walk in the late afternoon. And I put food in the house. Rosenthal rang’…about legal matters.

‘We were shown around the campus the next day, and at 7 p.m. Krishnaji gave his first talk to the students and faculty and public in something called “Bridges Auditorium.”’

On the next day, the ninth, ‘Krishnaji discussed the threat from Ojai with Alain and me and what to do. There was a student from Fordham, Jim Eagan, who came to lunch with us. We walked.’

On the tenth, the Blackburns came to lunch, Krishnaji gave the second talk after which the Lilliefelts came to the house. They left after supper.

On the eleventh, Frances McCann [8] came to lunch and at 4:30 Krishnaji had a discussion with students.

On the thirteenth, ‘Krishnaji gave a talk and discussion at the School of Theology. After lunch, Krishnaji, Alain, and I walked two miles up the canyon while Krishnaji gave us a history of Zen!’ [M chuckles, then S chuckles.] ‘And back down in the dark,’ it says. ‘Four miles in all.’

On the fourteenth, ‘Huston Smith came for lunch to discuss a televised discussion they are to have tomorrow. At 4:30, Krishnaji held another discussion with students.’

S: How did Krishnaji get along with Huston Smith?

M: Well, it didn’t seem to be going anywhere as far as I was concerned. I was very unimpressed with Huston Smith, why…I don’t remember. Krishnaji didn’t comment.

There was the just-mentioned recording for television discussion in the morning, and at 4:30 p.m. another discussion with students. Then it says, ‘Krishnaji decided to cancel a Tuesday meeting, and go back to Malibu on Monday.’

The next day, Krishnaji ‘decided to cancel the Monday afternoon meeting at the college and leave for Malibu after lunch. But he had an informal discussion with students.’

S: Why did Krishnaji do that? Was he disappointed in the way the talks were going?

M: I really don’t remember. I guess he thought he’d done enough or something; I don’t know. I shouldn’t say because I can’t remember.

On the seventeenth, ‘after lunch, the Blackburns came by and wanted,’ they were always wanting, to get into the work, so-called. So, the only thing that Krishnaji could come up with was, “Well, if you want to travel at your own expense with us”—meaning the 3 of us—“maybe Gaby could type and Al could help record, that was alright,” but it had to be at their own expense, because we couldn’t afford it.

On the eighteenth, Krishnaji recorded a television interview for NBC. ‘We left in the afternoon, and were home in Malibu by 4:20 p.m.’ It says ‘home to stay for a while!’ exclamation point. [S chuckles.]

S: When Alain was there, he was going off and arranging meetings, so what car did he use?

M: That’s a good question. What car did he use? I don’t remember. I only had one car in those days. I suppose I must’ve rented a car for him or something like that. I can’t remember. But, there must’ve been another car because he was all the time going somewhere.

On the twenty-second, ‘at 11 a.m. on the twenty-second, there was a meeting with Krishnaji, Alain, the Lilliefelts, me, and lawyers Berkowitz, Selvin, and Rosenthal. They will now write to Rajagopal to meet with him and his lawyers.’ It’s getting into serious legal things now.

Now, there had been talk that Alain should go away for a holiday, and it had been back and forth between Krishnaji and Alain and me, too. But, at this point, Alain said that he would prefer, instead of going away for a holiday, he would like to do things he enjoys, such as writing, etcetera, here in California. So, that was decided. It didn’t happen that way, but temporarily it was decided.

The next day we went to the Zeffirelli movie of Romeo and Juliet.

S: Wait a minute. This holiday of Alain’s?

M: Yes?

S: Didn’t he suggest to Krishnaji that instead of going away for a vacation, that he would prefer to have a series of discussions with Krishnaji?

M: Yes, that’s what develops.

S: Isn’t that the holiday book, what’s called the Holiday Book?

M: Yes, that is the Holiday Book.

S: Hm.

M: Well, we went to the dentist, we went to the movies, we took walks, we bought a windbreaker for Krishnaji.

S: Where would you go shopping?

M: In Beverly Hills or Westwood. Are we running out of tape?

S: No, we have lots of it.

M: Well, it’s a succession of beautiful days and beach walks for quite a while. We always walked in the afternoon, at sunset, which was lovely.

S: Sounds heavenly.

Give me approximately what would happen on the typical day here, when you’re all having time off.

M: Well, Krishnaji would have, as usual, breakfast in bed.

S: What time?

M: Oh, dear me. I don’t know…eightish, I guess. And then we would often sit, he in bed, and Alain and me sitting on the couch or on a chair or something, for quite awhile. And then eventually, Krishnaji would get up and bathe, and be dressed for lunch, and meanwhile, I usually cooked the lunch. Filomena would assist but I did the main cooking. And then, he’d rest after lunch. And later, in the afternoon, go for a walk. Or, if we were going to do errands, we’d have gone probably in the afternoon.

S: Instead of a walk?

M: No.

S: In between the end of the rest and walk time?

M: Yes.

S: Right.

M: Another young people discussion on December first, and Alain and I went to hear Vladimir Ashkenazy at the Music Center.

Here’s a nice day. December second, ‘Windy day, after lunch, went to town for errands, saw Amanda, had tea with a friend. Radha [9] rang Krishnaji, and Sidney Field came to see Krishnaji.’ Radha gets into the picture to chivvy Krishnaji on behalf of her father. And Sidney Field was a long-standing friend of Krishnaji’s, and Krishnaji would get Sidney Field [10] to help him wash the car! [Both laugh.] That was a big event, or go for a walk on the beach with him sometimes.

S: How often would Sidney Field come over?

M: Well, he came every couple of weeks or so, I don’t know.

S: Where was he living?

M: In Hollywood. Now, here it says that ‘Alain went to the Huntington Library for Mary Links.’ She needed some research. ‘Krishnaji and I went to the dentist, and then there was a meeting held with Mr. Selvin and Rosenthal, and Rajagopal’s lawyer, Mr. Loebl,’ and it says here, ‘pessimistic outlook.’ Alan Watts [11] offered his mailing list to Krishnaji.

S: That was nice of him.

M: We’re getting to the end of the year. Oh, on December fifth ‘After lunch, Jennifer Selznick’—that’s Jennifer Jones, the actress—

S: I don’t know Jennifer Jones, but I hardly know any actresses.

M: Well, Jennifer Jones, what was she in? Duel in the Sun, The Barretts of Wimpole Street, um, all kinds of movies. She’s a big star, big, big Oscar-winning star. And she was married to David Selznick, who produced Gone with the Wind and all kinds of movies that you’ve seen. So, she had a son by her first marriage to an actor called Robert Walker. She called up and asked to come to tea. I knew her vaguely, and she brought her son.

S: Did she come to see you, or to see Krishnaji?

M: Krishnaji, naturally. Her son was on drugs, I think.

S: And she was somehow interested in Krishnaji?

M: Well, supposedly, but not really.

S: Not so you’d notice! [Both chuckle.]

M: Um, now this is interesting: on December seventh, ‘Erna made a draft of questions about KWINC for our lawyers to ask.’ She was the one who knew where all those bodies were buried in the county records. She’d done all that research. In fact, Erna did all the research, really, for the case; she was really remarkable about that.

‘Twenty-odd people came for lunch, and to discuss with Krishnaji’ on the eighth of December.

S: They came to the house in Malibu?

M: Yes.

S: Obviously, the handiwork of Alain?

M: Yes, he was the shepherd.

Next day, that would be the ninth of December, ‘in the afternoon, Krishnaji, Alain, and I went to town, did some shopping, and then at 6 p.m., we had tea with Sidney Field. Then, we went to see Judge Robert Kenny.’ Now, that was a very important day because we had all this data that Erna had dug up, and didn’t know what to do about Rajagopal? Judge Kenny was a very good man. He’d been the attorney general of California, and he was now a superior court judge, or something like that, and just a very nice, very liberal man. He used to fight for all kinds of good, liberal things in California, and he was a friend of Sidney Field. So, Sidney suggested that Krishnaji go and talk to Judge Kenny, and we went on this particular day, the ninth of December 1968, and told him what we knew. He said that there was no question that all this was very suspicious, and that we must take the evidence to the present attorney general immediately and present it to him and he would then advise us. But it was clear that something is there to be investigated. So, that is just what we did.

On the eleventh, ‘Christopher Isherwood and his friend Don Bachardy came to lunch.’ Do you know who I mean by Christopher Isherwood?

S: I know the name.

M: Well, you know Auden, the poet?

S: Yes.

M: Auden and Isherwood were the two young people from Cambridge, and both were writers.

S: Yes.

M: Isherwood’s best-known book is the Berlin Stories, which were about Berlin in the early Nazi days, and it was also made into a movie. He had been living for some time in Santa Monica, and Don Bachardy was the man he lived with, and was a painter/artist. Isherwood became a Ramakrishna disciple, and he wrote the life of Ramakrishna, a very good likeness. It’s well-written. So he was very involved in Ramakrishna things. He was also a friend of Huxley, and all that English literary world.

S: Yes.

M: ‘In the late afternoon, Rajagopal telephoned. Krishnaji picked up the phone, and then put me on.’ [Chuckles.] ‘Rajagopal again said he wanted to meet Krishnaji alone,’ etcetera, you know, the same old thing. I think that was the time that he said, ‘Wasn’t that Krishnaji who answered the phone?’

I said, “Yes.”

He then said, “ I want to speak to him.”

I replied, “He doesn’t want to speak to you. You’ll have to tell me whatever it is.”

The next day, ‘Deborah Kerr and her husband Peter Viertel, a movie writer, came for lunch. Also Amanda. Krishnaji and I had a lovely walk at sunset.’

S: So, people like Deborah Kerr, they would call up and ask if they could…

M: No, no. I knew Deborah. She was in Sam’s picture Quo Vadis, and I used to see her and her previous husband and the children quite a bit. I heard she was in town, so I invited them for lunch, and they came.

On the fourteenth, ‘the first of the discussions that we held at the house began at 4 p.m. and about 15 people came.’ Again, that’s all Alain’s doing.

S: They’d be young people?

M: Youngish, not student age, but people interested in the teachings.

The next two days saw another discussion with youngish people and lots of interviews.

Oh, on the morning of seventeenth of December, ‘a cable came that Brockwood papers were signed today, and is Foundation’s as of today.’ Heh-heh. It’s nice to be able to sit here and say that.

S: Yes, yes, it is.

M: On the nineteenth, ‘we all three drove to Ojai and to the Lilliefelts for lunch. There was a tea afterwards for Krishnaji to see Ojai friends.’ Lots of people came for that. It says here, ‘I was having trouble with my leg.’

On the twenty-first ‘Krishnaji talked to Alain and me about Alain’s feelings of tension between Alain and me, and apparently my remoteness was at fault.’

S: Between you and Alain?

M: Mm.

S: [laughs] You must’ve cured that fault in a big way, because I’ve never known you to be remote!

M: [laughs] I thought I was rather nice! [Both chuckle more.]

On the twenty-second, ‘there was the fourth discussion of the group.’ My leg was too numb to walk, so I didn’t walk on the beach.

S: Mm, this is your famous leg?

M: My famous leg.

[Chuckles.] On December twenty-fourth, ‘in the evening, we had supper and watched the live television of the moon from the Apollo flight. After the tenth orbit, they headed back to earth.’ Oh, they didn’t land that time.

S: They didn’t go till ’69.

M: Oh, I didn’t remember that.

‘We watched a Horowitz concert on television.’ This is Christmas Day.

S: What would you have typically done with Krishnaji on Christmas Day?

M: Well, it says ‘quiet day at home.’ We don’t do anything about Christmas. ‘Miranda, Philippa, Jessica, and Miranda’s beau all came to tea, after which Krishnaji walked on the beach with Steve, the beau, and Jessica, while Miranda and I talked in the car.’

[Chuckles.] ‘Supper as usual by the TV and watched the Horowitz concert. I spoke to all of my family in New York,’ and that was this Christmas. We didn’t celebrate Christmas.

S: Did you ever give each other gifts for Christmas?

M: Oh, no. Heavens, no.

S: Well, I’m just trying to get all this on the record. [Both laugh.]

M: Christmas is a heathen festival. [S laughs more.]

S: Now, where was Filomena on Christmas, because was Filomena a practicing Catholic?

M: Oh, yes.

S: So, she would’ve gone off to mass on Christmas Eve, and would she have made a special meal for Christmas, or done anything like that?

M: No, because I did the meals. We just did lunch. I probably gave her a present, yes. And I probably gave the Dunnes, too, because…

S: I’m sure you did to the Dunnes.

M: But I didn’t go over there or anything like that.

On the twenty-seventh, ‘On seeing the face, I should by now. [12]

There was another group discussion on the twenty-eighth at 4 p.m. and another at 11 a.m. the next day.

Mm. On the thirtieth, ‘Freedom from the Known, Krishnaji’s new book edited by Mary L. arrived, published by Gollancz. This is the first Krishnamurti Foundation copyright book.

I can’t imagine that posterity will be anything but bored by all this!

S: [laughs] No, I don’t know, but anyway, we need something for serious researchers.

M: Like you!

S: Exactly [humor in voice], and maybe this is just for me!

M: I’m sorry, I haven’t got the proper book, which might be a little more flowery.

S: You will for 1969, right?

M: I’m not so sure.

S: You do have 1969, don’t you?

M: I have everything from ’70 on, but I haven’t yet located ’69.

S: You haven’t located ’69?

M: No. I’m really quite worried about it because I…

S: ’69 is a big year.

M: I remembered that you had said, “Please, bring everything.” So, I thought I had. Now, why isn’t it here? It’s worrying…

[End of recording.]



[1] This was an organization set up to look after Krishnaji and his brother Nitya in the late teens or early twenties. Back to text.

[2] Amanda Dunne, Mary’s next door neighbor in Malibu, and Mary’s best friend for many years. Back to text.

[3] Theo Lilliefelt, Erna Lilliefelt’s husband. Back to text.

[4] I was still living at Brockwood at the time this interview occurred, and using what was Krishnaji’s and Mary’s guest room as my bedroom. Back to text.

[5] Nelly Digby, also called Nelly Wingfield-Digby. Back to text.

[6] Dorothy Simmons, Brockwood’s first principal and an original trustee of the Krishnamurti Foundation Trust. Back to text.

[7] Betsy Drake was an American actress, psychotherapist, and writer, and wife of Cary Grant from 1949 to 1962. She and Mary had been friends since the 1940s. Back to text.

[8] Frances McCann, wanting Krishnaji to have a permanent base in Europe, bought Brockwood Park for the Krishnamurti Foundation Trust. Back to text.

[9] Radha Rajagopal Sloss is Rajagopal and Rosalind’s daughter. Back to text.

[10] A comedy actor and successful comedy writer. Back to text.

[11] A well-known philosopher, writer, speaker, and popularizer of Eastern philosophy, especially of Zen, in the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s. Back to text.

[12] This is a long and very intriguing subject, which is dealt with at length in a later discussion. It is just worth noting here because it is the first mention of this topic. Back to text.

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