Issue #14

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Issue 14 – April 1970 to June 1970

Introduction to Issue 14

In this issue Mary brings up what she perceives as Krishnaji speaking on several different levels simultaneously, and also living on different levels.

There is also a discussion of what Krishnaji may have meant by “dialogue” or the exchange he was always looking for in his discussions.

Krishnaji’s interest in why he wasn’t conditioned as a boy is explored, as is “silence.”


The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue 14

Brockwood Park

Brockwood Gathering 1970

Scott: We’re picking this up where we left off, which was April twenty-fourth, 1970.

Mary: Good. Well, we were then at Brockwood. And on that day, I went to Paris and stayed in the Hotel Plaza Athénée.

S:  Was this to see your father?

M: It was to see my father because his wife, my stepmother, was very ill. She looked dreadful, and she was in the hospital. So, I stayed there.

I got back to London on the twenty-seventh, and went from Heathrow to Waterloo Station in London. Mary Links met me there, and we both met Krishnaji when he came in by himself at 3 o’clock. Dorothy would’ve put him on the train.

We all met at Waterloo. [Chuckles.] And then we went to the dentist, who did more X-rays on Krishnaji’s teeth. And…oh dear! There was a necessity of three more of Krishnaji’s teeth to come out.

S:  Oh dear.

M: The dentist was to confer with Dr. McGowan and report. But while we were waiting in the dentist’s waiting room, Mary, Krishnaji, and I, to some degree, talked about the biography.

So, we went back to Brockwood, and Dorothy met us at Alton. Krishnaji had written to me both of the days I was away. He had letters for me, which was lovely. [Both chuckle.]

S:  He wrote to you, and then gave them to you when you came back?

M: That’s right.

S:  Yes, how nice.

M: Yes. He wrote whenever I was away. And even though I came back two days later, I had two letters, two letters.

S:  How nice. If I can come back to Mary’s biography, how did she come to write that?

M: Mary must’ve been in communication with Shiva Rao[1]. You know, Shiva Rao was supposed to do the biography, and he assembled a lot of material. But then he got too ill and old and so forth, and so Krishnaji asked Mary to take it over, and Shiva Rao turned over all that he’d written and also the research material, which he’d gathered quite a pile of it, he turned all that over to Mary. She continued, really out of politeness I think, to communicate with Shiva Rao for quite a while. But the book that came out eventually is really all hers because she has a very different style, I think. But that day, he talked very much of what he talked often about, which was, why was the boy unconditioned, and what looked after him? He wanted to discuss it some more another day. He kept coming back and back to that. It’s such a…well, now, I find, reading through things, his teachings I mean, his writings, I keep highlighting some things. It keeps jumping out at me, this necessity for everyone to be able to have this emptiness.

S:  Mm, hm.

M: He talks so much about emptying the mind. There’s some place where I’ve probably come upon it in notes where he says that every night, before you go to sleep, empty the mind, go through what happened, what you’ve been preoccupied with that day, and empty it. Finish it! So the mind can start anew the next day. And, of course, this is something few of us even think of trying to do, much less doing it.

S:  Yes. There are two things, Mary, in regard to this. It is extraordinary that even up until the end, through all the time I knew him, Krishnaji was interested in why that boy, meaning himself…

M: Yes, yes.

S:  …why that boy was never conditioned. And, I can remember Krishnaji also talking about himself once and talking about the Buddha. As you know, it’s never a kind of egotism with him, but he was talking about the extraordinariness of the Buddha, but the Buddha had been conditioned and then freed himself, liberated himself from his conditioning; whereas Krishnaji never was conditioned.

M: You know, one of the great mysteries of right now, and I would think it will continue to be mysterious to people who really take this very seriously, is the apparently extraordinary fact or phenomenon of this man who apparently was unconditioned and yet he lived on so many different planes.

S:  Yes.

M: I mean, I can rattle on about everyday life with him, but the infinite fact of this man is that that played a very small part, I think—I mean, I’m guessing actually, in the totality of what he was. A lot of what I’ve been talking about this summer with Dr. Parchure is looking in old, early talks of the 1930s (the collected works that are part of the record), and the hints which a lot of us mightn’t pick up in the writing because he’ll say something, but it has a much deeper meaning in another context, and yet it seems understandable in our context. We understand it on our level, but it has a deeper significance if you continue to study and see how he’s really testifying, or there seem to be very strong hints of a lot of things he didn’t go into in depth with that audience, because they wouldn’t have understood it. Or, he may come back to it later and deepen it. The study of Krishnamurti seems infinitely subtle.

S:  Yes. But he really was living on all of these levels simultaneously not because he’s skipping from one to the other, but what he expressed sometimes seemed to have been about different realities.

M: Yes. He moved…it seemed he could operate on all of them.

S:  He seemed to operate on all of them at once, which is also what, to me…well, one of the extraordinary things was how fascinating it was to watch Krishnaji do anything, even the most mundane thing.

M: Yes.

S:  Getting his food from the school buffet…

M: Yes, how he would do it.

S:  …or going for a walk…because there seemed…there were always intonations, there were all these hints of some vastly different consciousness that was at work.

M: Yes.

S:  It’s not that he was just picking up his salad. It was something…

M: Yes.

S:  …which is why, I could’ve sat and just watched him, just watched him, all day. And I think there is this, it was almost as if Krishnaji was speaking a language which had different kinds of meanings.

M: Well, it did. It did.

S:  Yes. And it had a very profound meaning; it had a surface level…

M: And he would take language, the computer, just working on, and rearrange its position, he would substitute a new word for an old word, but it really was the same thing he was talking about.

S:  You know what also comes across whenever we talk about this kind of thing, something that strikes me, and almost it’s like an ache of how alone Krishnaji was. He had no kind of soul mate; he had no real colleague that actually could journey with him…

M: Yes.

S:  …wherever he went. And he seems often, in the things I read, to be calling for someone to go with him.

M: Well, he was calling…

S:  And no one was capable.

M: …in the sense, he was looking, or at least he hoped we would find, someone. I think that he felt that with David Bohm, he’d gone as far as they both could go. But he used to say, there’s more…

S:  Yes.

M: And, I would say to him, “Krishnaji, couldn’t you just talk?” And he said, “No. It takes, a kind of”…he didn’t use the word stimulus, but…

S:  …a resonance.

M: Yes, a process of having not only just a listener, an audience, but there’s that communication, you know…we sit here opposite each other on either side of this kitchen table, and I know from your face if what I’m saying is registering, and similarly, he could tell, or so he said, what the other person was picking up. Therefore, he knew, had he explained it properly.

S:  Yes.

M: He did this in talks. This he did tell me. He would find a face somewhere in the audience that seemed to be following, he could tell, and he would talk at that person, not necessarily just looking at him constantly and excluding the others…

S:  No.

M: …but that was like a thermometer of the temperature of interest, or what he was saying was communicating to somebody; somebody was going with him. And he used to say, he used to say, “Does this interest you?” or “Do you understand?” or “Are you going with me?” He wanted that reciprocal response.

S:  Yes.

M: Not that he had to have it, but it made it easier.

S:  I think this is what Krishnaji also meant by dialogue.

M: Yes.

S:  The other person that one is talking to forms a part—their listening, their understanding forms a part of what is expressed.

M: Yes, yes. That’s probably why he would say to the audience it was dialogue, even though he was doing all the talking.

S:  Yes, exactly.

M: But there was that sonar going out and coming back, which somehow paced his talking. In other words, if he had to go into it again, or that curious pattern of how he would go forward and then he would loop back part of the way, and then go a little forward, like endless figure eights on the side.

S:  Yes.

M: And therefore, he also needed the challenge. He wanted someone to challenge him, which would make him dig deeper into his perception and his language to bring it out.

S:  Yes, is this partly…it’s not that Krishnaji didn’t have the insights or the depth of perception without this, but to form this into an expression, to form these things into a communication, words, it needed someone who was listening, who was understanding, and he could test whether this communication worked or not. So, it’s not as if Krishnaji needed…

M: Well, maybe we don’t disagree about this, but I’d like to put that, it wasn’t that he sat there and saw the whole distance of whatever it was infinitely into…who knows what. It was that in order to talk and have this…because he was communicating something, he had to get something back to tell whether he was communicating it adequately. But, at the same time, the challenge of questions made him look deeper. It wasn’t that he was sitting seeing, you know, a whole ocean there; he had to go deeper into his power of perception to meet the challenge of a question, and what he brought out of that made it…it sort of stimulated another step.

S:  Yes, yes.

M: It’s, it’s, uh…

S:  This is very important because I’ve often thought that Krishnaji…and I’m convinced of it…that Krishnaji heralded in a new age, as the Buddha heralded in a new age.

M: Yes. I think so, too.

S:  And part of this new age is the way in which one can find the ultimate truth. Whereas the Buddha seems to have done this through a solitary meditation, and then set up a teaching…

M: Steps…

S:  Steps, but it’s also a teacher and the students, and somehow the teacher would teach the disciple and so it was passed down. Whereas Krishnaji was really saying that this process we are trying to engage with, we’re fumbling around with, which one can call dialogue or…but what was so extraordinary is that two people, neither of whom was enlightened, could—by this process of exploration that I feel Krishnaji demonstrated in every talk—by this process, they could come upon the ultimate truth.

M: Yes.

S:  And that’s unprecedented, as far as I know, in religious literature. And that’s quite an extraordinary thing. And Krishnaji kept talking about this dialogue; I feel he kept demonstrating it and I feel also Krishnaji kept dropping whatever it was he had seen before, and it was always dropped, stopped…and…

M: He never wanted people to turn it into a process.

S:  Yes.

M: Even when he was saying to negatively look at what’s going on in you, don’t try to look at what’s out there. Nevertheless, people tend to say, “Oh yes, I must be aware.” Well, people have no idea what he meant by awareness. I don’t know what he meant by awareness, but I know from reading and talking and so forth, that it’s infinitely deeper than just being aware of sitting in the kitchen, and flowers on the table, and I’m sitting here trying to think.

S:  Yes.

M: Also, he seems to be calling for…I’ve been talking about mutation with Parchure and what Krishnaji meant by that, and Parchure has looked up what science has said causes mutation, to try to see what this thing is in outward life. In other words, scientifically, it’s mostly medical, about the genes, all the genetic things they found and how that works. And the thing that Krishnaji’s always said which is it’s the constant change and flow, which is really of life. I mean, as we sit here, we’re both changing, both organically in various ways and psychologically. And he was trying, I think, by all the ways that he spoke of awareness and watching and all these things, to bring people into that perception that thought is never the flow. In other words, the stuff of thought happened, it’s over; it’s a reflection of something that is by now static and over. And to bring people into a state where psychological change can occur, because the mutation is a psychological mutation, obviously. This is also why he was so interested in talking about the brain, and the repercussions of perception in the brain cells; and even into genetic change. He seemed to foresee all this way back before science caught up with all these things, that that is the evolution, not some step-by-step unfolding of human potential. I don’t know what else to say. It’s a psychological “going further.” We’ve evolved physically over a period of whatever it is, but now what is required in order to survive, and it’s part of the survival thing. The mutation that’s possible and the next…what human beings should be doing is to mutate psychologically, which would be into this state of not being bound by conditioning, and all the level that we live at ninety-nine percent of the time, and which we perpetuate in a way, by thinking; because as we think and talk, we’re adding more data into our brain cells, which is indeed, that’s where the self lives, and the self wants to keep that going and resists the emptying, resists the something that threatens it.

S:  Mm, hm.

M: I don’t know. I may be doing a lot of interpreting here or this isn’t too…?

S:  No.

M: But you see, it’s fascinating to read…read almost between his lines…

S:  Yes.

M: …and not without interpreting, but seeing he says this, and that on that level is what he meant to say, but what else…the depth of these things.

S:  Yes, yes.

M: People don’t realize the extraordinary depth of what he was saying.

S:  Yes.

M: Sometimes it sounds so simple, which is where people get hung up because they think it is simple. It isn’t. It’s immeasurable.

Click here to hear Mary. 

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S:  Yes. Let me come back to this, Mary, because this question that Krishnaji kept asking, why wasn’t that boy ever conditioned? And then, tie that in with something else that Krishnaji said, which is that you only need one Thomas Edison to invent the light bulb.

M: Mm, hm.

S:  And everyone after that only has to flip the switch.

M: Yes. (Chuckles.)

S:  There is something about the role of Krishnaji and the fact that for whatever reason, and one can only suppose that they’re other worldly, he was not conditioned, and therefore could continue to speak out of this unconditioned state and communicate to all of us in our conditioned state from an unconditioned state.

M: Yes.

S:  And that this communication, I’ll call it from the unconditioned to the conditioned, this dialogic process, had the potential to foster or encourage or assist in this mutation. That he, well, one can’t say he underwent that mutation, because it’s almost as if he started off mutated! (Both laugh.) He called himself a freak often.

M: You can’t mutate to something you already are.

S:  Exactly. You have to be something to mutate from, yes.

M: Yes. It’s two things.

S:  Exactly, so I feel this ties back into this thing that started off this diversion here, which is Krishnaji being so interested in why “that boy” was never conditioned. Because it’s not just curiosity…you know, “Oh, it would be nice to know why this boy was…”

M: No.

S:  But, it is deeply related to something that is absolutely at the core of the teachings about this mutated brain. He might have been the Thomas Edison, and while we might be able to just flip the switch, we don’t do it!

M: (chuckling) That’s right.

S:  So, it would seem that somehow whatever allowed him to be the Thomas Edison is probably directly related to our being able to flip the switch—this facility with electricity, or this facility to be unconditioned, or to have an empty mind. It seems that somehow, with all the teachings, with all that Krishnaji has said about desire, and love, and meditation, and death, and all of the…there is something extraordinary…about silence.

M: Yes.

S:  And emptiness that Krishnaji keeps coming back to, and seems more important than everything else, almost.

M: Yes.

S:  And it seems, this silence is directly related to the state of mind that Krishnaji spoke from. It seems also directly related to having no conditioning and to this dialogue process that he talked about so often.

M: Yes.

S:  And while Krishnaji was talking about why wasn’t this boy conditioned, he often, in almost the same sentence, would talk about how that young boy had such a vacant brain. So, it’s related to that, too.

M: Yes, yes.

S:  Somehow the vacancy is what perhaps contributed to his not being conditioned or…

M: Oh, yes!

S:  …maybe it’s a reflection of his not being conditioned. One doesn’t know what comes first but…

M: It wasn’t resistance to conditioning, because he didn’t resist anything. He said it just went through him. You know, they told him all these things and the heavy conditioning of a Brahmin life at that point.

S:  Yes, and Theosophy and…

M: And then Theosophy. And he went along with it, I mean, he was…

S:  Mm, hm. Yes, he didn’t rebel, or…

M: No. On the contrary he loved to go to the temple with his mother.

S:  Mm, hm.

M: In fact, he went to temples by himself in Rishi Valley, there was some temple way up some mountain that he used to climb up and go to it. I think it was a deserted temple or something. So he didn’t either embrace it or resist any of all this. The more, the more one ponders all this, both Krishnaji as a human being and his teachings, the more extraordinary both become.

S:  Mm, hm.

M: It’s just our shortsightedness that prevents us understanding all that or seeing it.

S:  Yes.

M: But it’s important, I think, to realize that, to know that. To never say, “Oh yes, this is, this is what he meant. I understand this.”

S:  Yes. Yes.

M: It’s just like the light coming in this window. You can’t say, “I’ve so much light now and I’ve got it.”

S:  Yes, yes.

M: It’s alive; it’s there.

Click here to hear Mary. 

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Well, now, I guess we have gotten to the twenty-eighth of April, and Krishnaji went on dictating chapters of a book. You know, we mentioned that earlier. And then the dentist rang, and said that he would come and pull the teeth out here at Brockwood.

S:  Good grief!

M: Yes. He wasn’t coming that day, but that’s what was said. And let’s see, we went to Winchester, and bought some warm gloves, etc.

S:  Where would you have gotten them in Winchester? At Jeeves and Hawks?

M: Oh, I know, there’s a place that isn’t there anymore. No, not at Jeeves, it had nice sweaters, those things Krishnaji liked that turn up at the collar and the long sleeves.

S:  Ah, ha.

M: So that’s where we went. And then we came back wandering around all the lanes, you know, behind Brockwood on the way back from Winchester.

S:  Yes.

M: Krishnaji liked to do that and I loved it.

The next day, Krishnaji ‘dictated another chapter. And we talked to Mary Cadogan and also to Mary Links about publications. Mary and Joe were to go to Venice the next day for a fortnight.’ Also it says, ‘In the p.m., Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I drove to pretty country beyond Petersfield and walked there.’ Well, I now know exactly where that is because when I go over to see Christopher Fry I go on that road, and there’s a field where we walked. I discovered it later on in going there, realizing that, “Oh yes, that’s where we were.”

S:  Oh, how nice.

M: Because, at the time Dorothy was driving and I didn’t really know where I was at the time.

For the thirtieth, it says, ‘Nixon sends troops into Cambodia, and Krishnaji dictated another chapter and we went for a walk.’

On the first of May, ‘Again Krishnaji dictated in the morning, and in the afternoon Mr. Campion and a nurse arrived and they set up their equipment in the guestroom. Campion pulled two of Krishnaji’s lower left molars. They came out very easily. Krishnaji felt well enough to listen to a little of some Indian musicians who came to play for him at the school. He went to bed and had a liquid supper.’ He had a terrible time with his teeth all the time. And as a dentist once said, they just wore out.

S:  Yes.

M: The next day, ‘Krishnaji was feeling fairly well, and he got up for lunch and came with me on errands to Petersfield, and we went for a walk.’

S:  That must have been pretty unusual though, for the dentist to be making a house call.

M: I know, well this is, remember, many years ago. We’re talking about 1970. [S laughs.] A different civilization! A different society! Medical people came to you if necessary [S laughs more]. No more!

On the third, he spoke to the students.

S:  My goodness, after having two teeth out.

M: Yes. For the fourth, it says, ‘it was a spring day at last,’ so it must have been rather cold. [Chuckles.] ‘There was a Saanen meeting in the morning. And we walked across the fields and down into the lanes, and started cleaning ivy off trees.’ He was very intent on getting the ivy off the trees.

S:  I know.

M: Yes, so there was a lot of ivy cutting. It still bothers me!

S:  I know! It’s one of my stories also because in later years when he and I were going out for walks, we’d clean the ivy off of the neighbors’ trees…

M: [chuckling] I know.

S:  …which is not necessarily something they wanted! [Both laugh.] So, at one point I asked Gary[2], who was then the principal gardener, to clean the ivy off some of the trees because it was too thick.

M: Yes.

S:  Gary said, “Well, it doesn’t hurt the trees at all, and it’s good for butterflies” and I can’t remember what else. When I reported this to Krishnaji, Krishnaji looked at me like I was absolutely crazy (M chuckles) and said, “Can’t you see it’s strangling the trees? Can’t you see?” (M laughs) as if he had direct communication from the trees that they didn’t like it; and what was I doing asking for scientific, biological, or horticultural advice when I could have just asked the trees?!

M: Yes.

S:  And it made sense actually, but I remember thinking to myself [laughs]: I’ve done this completely backwards by trying to get the existing knowledge about this, rather than just looking at the tree and having an insight that, “Yes, of course the tree doesn’t want this.”

M: Well I, to this day, if I pass a tree and I think the ivy isn’t too strong, if I can get a grip on the ivy and pull it off, I will.

S:  Yes. Yes. [Both laugh.]

M: It makes sense!

S:  Yes, it does make sense. I continue to do it, too.

On the fifth and sixth, I went to London, and Krishnaji came on the second day. ‘Usual errands.’ And, oh, ‘we looked for raincoats in a place on Piccadilly called Cordings.’

S:  Oh yes, of course.

M: Do you know that place?

S:  Oh, yes!

M: ‘Then to the L’Aperitif for lunch. Good lunch,’ it says here. ‘We bought books at Hatchards, sweaters at Peale’s and W. Bill, and reached Mr. Campion at 4 o’clock.’ You know, to see how the missing teeth place was. And it says here, ‘On the train in the morning, we had a discussion of what is sacredness, and what freedom is to the sacred.’  I’m afraid I don’t remember the contents of that. ‘Later Krishnaji had an idea to bring his Mercedes to England and sell mine in January.’ But then he changed his mind because he didn’t want to bring the little one.

Now we come to the eighth, and ‘a student meeting and made a tape from it on education to be used in Finland at an educational conference in June.’

The next day, James Brodsky interviewed Krishnaji and stayed to lunch. Saral and David Bohm came for the weekend.

On the tenth, Krishnaji spoke to students in the morning. I talked to the Bohms and the Simmonses about trying to raise money by the English Foundation for a grant for Brockwood. Obviously, we didn’t get it.

According to India, the eleventh was Krishnaji’s seventy-fifth birthday. And it says here, ‘as he brushes it away, no reference is made to it in the school. He dictated on the book in the morning. And he washed the Mercedes very thoroughly.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘I went for a walk alone as he’d had enough after the car washing.” [Chuckles again.] That was his seventy-fifth birthday. [Both laugh.]

The next day we went to London and Huntsman for a fitting for each of us, and then to the dentist…

S:  Huntsman is working very fast in those days if you’re having two fittings within…

M: Yes. Within a month.

S:  …two weeks.

M: Two weeks, yes. Well everything was different in those days. [S laughs.] You don’t realize because you’re so young that there’s another era [both laugh], which I remember well. Now this is the day that Huntsman, I realized, wasn’t going to do too well by me, and they realized that, too. So they gave me the name of a Mr. Hewitt who now no longer exists, and I went to him for a tweed skirt. [Chuckles.]

S:  Was he just around the corner?

M: Yes.

S:  Near Gieves and Hawkes?

M: He was up, well, in those days he was up the street on, um…what do you call it, the street? [Chuckles.] Anyway, Mr. Hewitt disappeared after a bit, but he was a nice round-faced man who made things nicely. Then we had lunch at the Aperitif and then went to Mr. Campion and Krishnaji had a bridge fitted while I went and cased the Friends Hall for parking because the talks were coming up. And then we drove home. Krishnaji drove from Guildford to Brockwood. In the evening, ‘we watched on television a BBC film of the trial of Roger Casement and Krishnaji remembered it a little.’ You probably don’t know who Roger Casement was.

S:  I don’t.

M: He was an Irish patriot, very distinguished, bright, intelligent, quite remarkable man, and he was tried and I think executed for treason, for having favored the Germans in the First World War. Apparently there was tremendous feeling at the time because he wasn’t a traitorous man; he was a very distinguished man, supposedly. But Krishnaji remembered the trial.

So, he spoke to students again on the fourteenth about, ‘What is stupidity and what is prejudice? And in spite of the rain, he washed the Mercedes in the afternoon and then we went for a walk.’ [Both chuckle.]

The next day, ‘Krishnaji did a dictation for The Bulletin, on the functions and future of the Foundation and Brockwood.’

On the sixteenth, ‘Krishnaji and I left at 11:30 a.m. and drove to London, taking a picnic lunch, which we ate in Richmond Park.’ In those days we drove in quite a lot because

it was possible to park. After eating, ‘we went to Mrs. Bindley’s at 2 p.m., and Krishnaji slept for an hour, and then he went to the Friends Hall where he gave the first of his London talks. The hall was just about full. We drove back to Brockwood easily; no traffic. It wasn’t too tiring for him.’

The next day, ‘there were some Dutch visitors, and Krishnaji discussed with them about a school.’ For many years there were people from Holland who wanted to start a Krishnamurti School in Holland, but it never came to pass.

For the eighteenth, my diary says, ‘House still full of Dutch people. Donald Hoppen returned from California. In the afternoon, there was the showing to the school of the first of the three parts of those NET 1966 talks,’—those first ones that were ever filmed of his talking—‘and Krishnaji again washed the car!’ [Chuckles.] ‘A Miss,’ something like, ‘Tara McCarthy of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation came and wants to do a taped interview of Krishnaji.’

On the nineteenth, ‘Krishnaji dictated a statement for The Bulletin, the Dutch all left, and the house was quiet again. We walked across the fields and back by the lane. Again pruned ivy from the trees. I had a telephone from my father that his wife was dying, so I rang my brother in New York and asked him to fly over, and I will go.’

The next day, a Wednesday, ‘Krishnaji and I drove to London and went to the Digbys, where Krishnaji rested and then, taking Nelly with us, we drove to the Friends Hall for his second London talk at 7 p.m.’

S:  Yes, because the Digbys lived very near Mrs. Bindley.

M: Yes, just about three blocks away. It says here, ‘the talk went wrong for him. He felt that the talk didn’t get going. The answer period went better, but the audience was not good at all. We came back to the Digbys, and had supper. Krishnaji and I spent the night there.’

‘We left the Digbys the next morning, picked up Mary Links. Krishnaji had an appointment with the dentist to have the bridge looked at, during which time Mary and I sat in the car and talked. When Krishnaji was finished, we took Mary to lunch at L’Aperitif, and then went on to Huntsman. After that we went to Hatchards for books, and Krishnaji had his hair cut at Truefitt while I fetched my Air France ticket. Then we drove back to Brockwood, with Krishnaji driving from Gilford the rest of the way.’

Well, the next two days are not material to all this:  I was in Paris visiting my father and very ill stepmother.

On the twenty-fifth, ‘I flew back and when I got to Brockwood, it was a lovely warm day. Krishnaji had washed the car [chuckling], and we went for a stroll in the Grove.’[3]

Again, we went by car to London on the twenty-seventh, taking a picnic to eat in Richmond Park. Krishnaji rested at Mrs. Bindley’s all afternoon. I went to tea with Mary Links and then came back and took Krishnaji to the Friends Hall for his third talk at 7 p.m., a very fine one this time. We had a quick picnic supper on Wimbledon Common in the car on the way home and arrived at Brockwood after 11 p.m., which was too late.

I went to London the next day to see my mother, and then went to a Publication Committee meeting at the Digby’s.

On the thirtieth, Krishnaji and I left Brockwood at noon, had a sandwich lunch while driving, and reached Mrs. Bindley by 2 p.m. Krishnaji rested, and then we went to his fourth and final London talk in the Friends Hall, a very good one. Drove straight back to Brockwood.

On the thirty-first, there was an all-day trustee meeting with the Digbys, Hughes van der Straten, David Bohm, Dorothy Simmons, and me.

Krishnaji’s hay fever began on the first of June, and he had to stay in that day, the next day, and the following day; but still gave an interview to a French woman from Pondicherry called Jannie Pinson.

On June fourth, Krishnaji and I had one of our lovely days in London. We went to Huntsman, then I went to Mr. Hewitt for my fitting, then to W. Bill for a cashmere turtleneck, and Demiel’s for underwear. Then, as usual, we met Mary for lunch at L’Aperitif, and again to the dentist while I hunted for hay fever remedies! Then we went [chuckles]—this was fun—we went to Mallett at Bourdon Street, that’s the antiquaire, where we saw a beautiful eighteenth-century Italian table and then in another shop on Davis Street, we saw three large pictures of trees made by needlepoint. They were hung over the stairs, and I remember he was behind me, and we were both looking up at these needlepoint trees, and he said, [mimicking in a whispery voice]“Oh, that’s very nice,” in that kind of a voice.

S:  Yes.

M: And that’s how we came to get the ones downstairs. Krishnaji felt well in London as his hay fever was less there. Anyway, we went back to Huntsman, and he gave me two scarves and then we went back by train.

On the fifth, Mary Links came down, and I met her at the early train. She interviewed Krishnaji for the biography, and I taped it and sat in. Later, Krishnaji chided me for not pursuing questions, and for trying to guess what he does or doesn’t want to say, and editing my own questions. He seemed to be pushing us to inquire, though not stating himself what it was that was behind “the boy,” and what, if any, power looked after him, etcetera. Mary stayed to lunch; we walked in the grove and saw the handkerchief tree and talked. Francis McCann arrived to stay, and the Digbys came for the weekend. Also, the Finnish ladies and Joan Wright are here. [Long pause.] All through this, my brother was with my father and he was talking about his life being over.

On the sixth, ‘after lunch, Krishnaji, Dorothy, and Sebastian put two hives of bees, which arrived in cartons, into the new hives in the orchard. Krishnaji said later, “Now I feel this is a real place; it has bees.”’ [Both chuckle.] “Bees are a marvelous thing,” he said. He used to take care of bees, as you know, in Ojai.

S:  Yes.

M: Yes. So he felt very pleased with the bees. [Chuckles again.] ‘At 4 o’clock, he held a discussion for about 200 people who were invited. It was held in the big room, and he talked mostly on violence. Afterward, he gave an interview to Mrs. Zarick. I talked to Sybil Dobson and the Digbys about The Bulletin. Supper was served out on the lawn. It was a cloudless, hot day.’

On the seventh, ‘Krishnaji held a second group discussion in the big room. It was videotaped, but the picture was faulty. We had a picnic lunch on the lawn afterwards. It was a very hot day.’

The next day, ‘in spite of his hay fever, Krishnaji went for a walk. It was very hot.’

Here’s something on the ninth: ‘Krishnaji said there was a different something in  meditation in what would have been described in old terminology as an initiation.’

S:  A different something?

M: I don’t know what that means. I don’t remember. Alas, I wasn’t keeping proper extensive notes at this point. But we’re getting into July, when I did.

The next day is the tenth, and I went hunting for furniture with Paul Anstee in London, on the Fulham Road. That was always fun; we’d wander down the Fulham Road and go into all the antique stores. And also, we went to the Antique Dealers’ Fair, and I lunched at Cranks. Then I took Krishnaji’s trousers to Huntsman.

The next day was less hot, so Krishnaji washed the car! [Both chuckle.]

The twelfth of June, oh, this is a nice day! ‘After lunch, Krishnaji and I drove to the Traverses’ for tea, but got caught in a cloudburst outside Dorking. The car stalled for over half an hour. We finally got there. Ginny and Bill were there with the four children; we had tea.’ Well, I could tell this, so I don’t have to read it. I’d heard from Ginny Travers that…shall I explain who the Traverses are for posterity?

S:  Yes.

M: Well, the Traverses are Virginia McKenna and her husband Bill Travers, both actors. I’ve known them for many years, since they both acted in a picture that Sam did many years ago in London. And they have lived near Dorking with their children, and they made the film in Africa called Born Free, about Elsa the lioness who was taught to be free. So they, as a result, have a passionate interest in not only lions, but all animals, which has become almost a career with both of them. And some of their children, too, later on, but this is back in 1970. Apparently what had happened was that they were in London one day walking down the Kings Road, and Ginny went into some store for clothing or something, and Bill wandered into an antique store. There was a young man who was there, the salesman, who recognized him, and said, “Mr. Travers, I think I have something that would interest you in the back.” So Bill went into the back expecting to see a table or a desk or something, instead of which he saw a young lion, a young male lion. Bill said, “Where did you get him?” The young man replied, “Harrods.” It seems that at Christmas time in those days…

S:  Yes, yes, yes, I remember.

M: …maybe today, Harrods would have all sorts of exotic, odd things to sell to customers, including this lion cub. This young man was so horrified by this that he bought the lion cub and raised it, but by now it was getting pretty big, and it was getting difficult to keep in the back of an antique store on the Kings Road in London. Apparently, Bill asked, “How do you manage it?” And the young man said, “Well, there’s the vicar of a church down the Kings Road, who allows me to bring it at night time to the graveyard so I can exercise it.” [Both laugh.] Well, as a result of this, Bill and Ginny took over the lion’s fate and they had it at their place near Dorking, which is where Krishnaji and I went on this day, the twelfth of June, to see the lion. And indeed we did. We went out in the back and they had in the garden an enclosure with a high wire fence, and there was this young male lion. It had a great big rubber tire as a sort of plaything. Krishnaji immediately wanted to go in and touch the lion, but both Ginny and Bill said, “No, I think not.” Ginny said, “We can go in because he’s used to us, but we’d rather you didn’t.” So, we stayed outside. Bill went in and fed it. And indeed, I could see why they were so careful because one of their younger children, who was about four years old, came trotting along and outside the fence with us, and the lion looked and immediately began to stalk it from inside.

S:  Mm, hm.

M: And the parents said, “You see, they think that humans, because we’re taller than they are, get some respect, but a small child is prey in the lion’s mind.”

Anyway, Krishnaji was delighted by seeing that. ‘After seeing all that, we drove home via Billingshurst, Petworth, Midhurst, and Petersfield. Krishnaji’s hay fever was better in the rainstorm, but Brockwood is still in a month’s drought, and he coughed a great deal in the night. It has moved into his bronchial tubes a bit.’

On the weekend of the thirteenth and fourteenth, ‘the Digbys came for the weekend. We rang the doctor, Mr. McGowan, for a new remedy for the hay fever. In the afternoon, Krishnaji had the third group discussion, which was videotaped. The big room was full.’ Where are these tapes?

S:  No idea.

M: The next day, he held the fourth Brockwood discussion. Narasimhan came for lunch, and we ate it in the West Wing. We went for a short walk. Later [pause], Krishnaji asked if I might carry on the work when he is gone: “You have listened to all this.”

The fifteenth of June was spent in ‘Krishnaji giving an interview in color for the BBC television. He was questioned by Oliver Hunkin, head of the religious department of the BBC, and a Miss Shirley du Boulay was the producer of the show.’ I remember that; it was in the drawing room.

On the seventeenth, ‘we went to London for Huntsman and then the dentist for Krishnaji’s bridge to be adjusted. Then we lunched with Mary at her flat, and continued the discussion of Krishnaji’s early life for the biography. The Uher’—that was my tape recorder in those days—‘didn’t work, so I took notes. Krishnaji felt tired on the train back and quite sick when we got home. He coughed a lot, and though he was without fever, he became somewhat delirious. And he said, “He shouldn’t have gone to town. Who’s looking after him? He’s left the body. No, no, not that.”’

S:  Can we talk for a minute about Krishnaji’s, what we have called, “going off”?

M: Yes, “going off.” You see, he wasn’t well that day, and he’d done too much. When he first told me about the “going off” thing, he said, “If I have fever this may happen.”

S:  There’s an interesting and an unexpected correlation here, because this “going off,” which was associated originally with some spiritual or some religious process, and at the same time it could occur because of an illness.

M: Yes. When it happened to me in Gstaad, it was a fever when he left, you know, “Krishna’s gone away.”

S:  Yes. It’s unusual in any case, but something spiritual is not normally thought of as being brought on by an illness.

M: Yes, but remember the fainting, when he told us about the fainting…

S:  Yeah.

M: …and not to be worried. That often happened after some physical strain, either being tired…

S:  Stressed. Yes.

M: …or stressed or when he had that cyst in his mouth, I think we went into that, and he fainted in the car coming home…

S:  Yes.

M: …three times, I think. And Krishnaji said it was like violence to the body: apparently illness or fever, particularly fever. The time in Gstaad he said, “If I…if my fever goes up…”

S:  It’s really as if this leaving the body was so ready to happen, that the slightest excuse, the body couldn’t hold this…

M: When the body was under great stress, and in the hospital it happened, too. See, when the body was under stress from either operation or fever or a slight, even…

S:  Mm, hm.

M: …thing in his lip, Krishna would leave the body. Krishna would go away. And the little creature that was left…

S:  The little person…

M: Yes. I don’t remember that it was a child’s voice, this time. You see, he went by train that day; and then he went to Huntsman, and then the dentist, and then the lunch with Mary, the discussion, and he was tired on the train and sick when we got home. He coughed a lot. It says here ‘without fever, he became somewhat delirious. He said, “He shouldn’t have gone to town. Who was looking after him?”’ He’s left the body. And then he said, ‘“No, no, not that.”’ I don’t know what that refers to.

S:  Mm, hm.

M: And the fainting, he later explained, was a kind of leaving the body to rest something.

S:  To rest something?

M: Yes. He didn’t say that, it’s not a quote, but that was…and once he fainted after arriving on a plane from London; in the apartment he fainted.

S:  In what apartment?

M: It was the apartment that I took in New York. We passed that, I don’t think I mentioned it. He fainted in the apartment I took on 62nd Street. And yes, we came in from the airport, and I was showing him his room and so forth, and he fainted. It was fatigue, in a way. But he would only faint when he was with people he trusted. He wouldn’t faint in public.[4]

S:  Mm, hm.

M: So, we finally got there, and I took him in a sort of back room, the main room, and showed him where it was and ah, he was standing by the window and fainted.

S:  Did he fall on the floor or…?

M: [in a whispering voice] Yes. He fell on the floor. I wasn’t quick enough to catch him. I’d turned away or something. That time, I was not warned. Every other time I’ve…something has always warned me.

S:  Has warned you?

M: Yes. But it’s some relief from some kind of strain.

S:  So it’s healing in some way?

M: Yes.

S:  Would you imagine that Krishna going away, when he comes back he somehow is stronger or he, ah…?

M: I don’t know. I can’t make even an imagination of what that is.

S:  But it is healing?

M: It seemed to be, yes. It’s as though from time to time…well, again, this is such speculation, that as though he needed to be away from the body, and perhaps when these things happen to him in sleep, it’s that happening, you know these strange sort of meditation things, where…I don’t know. That’s all just speculation.

S:  There’s in some of the early process things, it’s as if [pause] when Krishna is away from the body, other powers are doing something to the body.

M: Yes.

S:  They’re doing something to the brain, they’re doing some…

M: Yes. It’s to spare “Krishna” that.

S:  It’s to spare Krishna that. So, in a way, one could also say that that would then tie it in with this illness because if Krishna is away while the body is not well, and the body is healed by whatever, then Krishna comes back. Then there’s an equation between the illness and the spiritual realm.

M: Mm, hm. Maybe. We must be careful not to try to fit it into something.

S:  No we mustn’t, I agree. But at the same time, one has to say all these things because people in the future will speculate. So, we can say what we know and…

M: Well, we’re speculating now; we don’t know, really, what happened. We can only say…we can describe what happened and what was said.

S:  Right.

M: Those are the only facts.

S:  Yes, but we can say something like, that Krishnaji would be stronger afterwards or would be healed slightly, and that is something that is significant.

M: Yes, it…I, and again this may be just me, but I feel that the faintings in the car, when they happened, especially the one after Paris that first time, it was like…it, it was a rest.

S:  Mm, hm.

M: A rest and therefore restorative.

S:  Mm, hm. Mm, hm.

M: It’s like a kind of…

S:  Relief?

M: Relief, yes. But that…who knows.

S:  Yes.

M: The next day, the eighteenth, ‘Krishnaji was shaky and weak at first, but he stayed in bed all day, but felt better after lunch. He read and watched television. I put Kaolin poultices on his chest. The new blue sofa came for the drawing room, and so did the needlework trees. My stepmother was in a coma in Paris.’

On the nineteenth, ‘Krishnaji stayed in bed all day and had poultices again and rested. But he was coughing less by then.’

The next day, ‘he remained in bed till 4 o’clock when there was a discussion in the big room. He’s weak but much better. It was another warm day, and there was a picnic supper on the lawn.’

On the twenty-first, ‘he held the sixth discussion at Brockwood, but he stayed in bed otherwise.’

On the twenty-second, ‘I went to London for furniture, but Krishnaji stayed in.’ Then there’s nothing much for a while as I had to fly off to Paris. So perhaps, we should end here.

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[1] Shiva Rao had been part of the circle of people around Krishnaji since at least the early 20s, in the days of Theosophy. Back to text.

[2] Gary Primrose was head gardener at Brockwood for many years. Back to text.

[3] The Grove is a one-acre ornamental grove at Brockwood with spectacular rhododendron and azalea bushes and redwood trees. Back to text.

[4] As strange as this may seem, I heard about this several  times, and it is as if there was something protecting him from fainting at times that would be dangerous or deleterious to him. Back to text.