Issue 19 – August 1971 to September 1971
This issue covers less history (just two months), but much more discussion.
A settlement with Rajagopal seems tantalizingly close.
Also discussed is Rosalind’s disturbing physical abuse of Krishnaji, which he tolerates, even though he would not tolerate any attempt to influence his teachings.
Krishnaji’s peculiar memory is explored, as well as his inability to visualize from maps or architectural drawings, and what this may imply about image making.
There is a discussion of Krishnaji’s seeming fragile health, and the possible relationship there might be between this and his inner life and “the process.”
There is also brief mention of Krishnaji’s peculiar aversion to using the telephone.
The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue 19
Mary: Alright, we’re picking this up at August first, 1971.
M: Well, that date finds Krishnaji in Saanen, obviously, and ‘he gave his seventh Saanen talk, which was on intelligence—intelligence that comes when thought realizes it cannot go beyond itself, and is still. It was a very hot day, and Krishnaji said that he felt ill that day. He said he was as tired as though he’d been ill. And he said that he felt like disappearing after the talk. Instead of that, he treated people: de Vidas, and the Kossiakofs. Marcelle Bondoneau came to lunch, and we discussed doing an interview for French television.’ You’ll remember that, later on, as a result of all of this, Krishnaji did a television interview in French for a Monsieur André Voisin, who was an interviewer on French television. We’ll come to that later, because we did go over to Paris for that.
S: Mm, hm.
M: ‘We discussed also the dead-end of hippy-ness in the young, and their need to see that intellectual action is not against Krishnaji’s teachings, but lives alongside it. He said that he wanted to go into this in his next discussion. He was tired, too tired to walk, but dusted the car’—[chuckling]—‘instead. And I went off up into the meadows, high on the hill for my own walk.’
The next day, the second. ‘He was still tired. He felt as if he had been sick, he kept saying. I went to the village on errands, and he met me at the station, and we started for a drive, but it was too hot. He was nervous for some reason that day. I don’t know why. Coming up the hill, something punctured the right tire on the car, and I somehow got it all the way up the hill and into the garage before it was literally destroyed. There was no tire left.’
‘At four o’clock, all the Ojai people came to tea. And Krishnaji spoke about what was going on.’ It doesn’t say what here. ‘Dorothy came at 5:30 p.m. and went for a walk with us to the river. Krishnaji persuaded her and Montague to move up to Tannegg to try to get some rest.’ When they were in the camping site, they didn’t have a moment’s privacy, and people were always dropping by unexpectedly, and it was wearying. ‘Later that day, we watched the Apollo astronauts, Scott and Irwin, take off from the moon and dock with the space capsule.’
‘The Simmonses moved in the next day to Tannegg downstairs. They had lunch with us. A new tire was put on the Mercedes, and Dr. Padma Modulka came for tea with me.’ I don’t know if you’ll remember that Indian lady.
S: Oh, a little.
M: She’s a doctor.
S: Yes, and she was a small lady. Yes, I do remember her.
M: And she lives or…lived—for all I know she’s still there—up near Uttarkashi, I think.
On Wednesday, the fourth of August, ‘Krishnaji held the first of seven daily public discussions in the tent. This one was on conscious and unconscious, and seeing the whole. Madame Duchet, Marcelle Bondoneau, and Gisela Elmenhorst came to lunch, and that Fred Williams came afterward and brought an anti-Semitic book for Krishnaji. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I had talked about new teachers for Brockwood.’
On the fifth of August, ‘Krishnaji gave his second Saanen discussion, a marvelous one, one on the old brain and the new brain.’ Do you remember when he…well, you weren’t there then. ‘Thought is the old brain, and cannot find that which is beyond itself, which is the new.’ Make a note; it would be interesting to hear that one again. “The perception of this is intelligence,” he said. In this perception, the old is quiet and in abeyance, but it’s there; it just doesn’t interfere. Then the new one can be, and this is intelligence. Intelligence can perceive the unknown, the new, and this can use the old when it is necessary.’ An interesting talk.
S: Mm, hm.
M: It says here ‘it was a talk that left me drained with its intensity. We came back, and at 3 p.m., Krishnaji came with me to the bank to close an account that Rajagopal had opened, and which he was co-signatory of. Also, we bought some detective novels and a Mao book, which I’m to read and report on to him later,’ it says [chuckling].
S: Which Mao book?
M: The Little Red Book! [Both laugh.] And I never read it! [More laughing.] Or reported on it, and I don’t think it was ever referred to again, but that was my task! [Both laugh.]
S: I don’t see you walking around with The Little Red Book for some reason!
M: No. I didn’t either; in fact, I just forgot about it quickly [chuckling]. ‘At 4 p.m., the Saanen Gathering Committee came: Krishnaji, the Grafs, Doris Pratt, and me. Later, Krishnaji and I walked alone by the river. I spoke to Vanda in Rome, and we will renew Tannegg for the following year.’
On the sixth, ‘Krishnaji held his third discussion in the tent. This one was for young people. A letter finally came from Leipziger saying that Rajagopal is trying to get the firm ____’—and then I have a blank because I don’t know the name of firm—‘to represent him either with or without Loebl. Rothman’—that’s a member of the new firm—‘is to look into whether to take the case, and hence another delay. Erna and Theo came for lunch and we discussed all this. Sybil Dobinson also was there, and we discussed with Krishnaji material for The Bulletin. It was still hot, and Krishnaji and I were both too tired to walk.’
The next day, ‘Krishnaji gave his fourth discussion. I fetched the Suarèses up to lunch. The Lilliefelts also came. Later, Mr. and Mrs. Sloss, the parents of Radha’s husband, came to tea. Mr. Sloss said that Krishnaji should take Rajagopal to court. He has no use for Rajagopal or Rosalind. Krishnaji and I washed the car.’
S: So, she’s still married to…?
M: This is her in-laws.
S: Right. So they have no use for Rosalind or for Rajagopal! [Laughing.]
M: No, that’s right.
On the eighth, ‘Krishnaji gave his fifth Saanen discussion, mostly on fear. The audience seemed limp. At lunch were the van der Stratens, Topazia Alliata, and Frances McCann. Krishnaji was abstracted during lunch. The ladies talked heatedly about education and permissiveness. Topazia thought marijuana should be legally sold. Krishnaji said she didn’t know the dangers of it. They left, and Krishnaji went for a nap. At 4 p.m., Sybil Dobinson and the Lilliefelts came to tea with me to discuss The Bulletin and the German Publication Committee,’ and then it says here, ‘there really is none. A Mr. Werner, whom we haven’t seen and whom Grafs says doesn’t want a committee around him, and a Mr. Kanthor’—remember Mr. Kanthor?
M: …‘a humble, earnest, not too educated man, not capable to deal with publications.’ That’s my comment. [S chuckles.]
‘Nelly had copies of letters given her by Mrs. Fidélius written by Methorst saying that he had been asked by Krishnaji and the KFT to show films, play tapes, and collect money to pay for films; also that he had been asked by Dorothy Simmons to collect for Brockwood. Dorothy Simmons told Nelly this is untrue [chuckles]. Erna, Theo, and Sybil Dobinson arrived, and Krishnaji joined us. We had tea and went into some of this and then discussed The Bulletin. It was agreed to condense business news and to make the rest of it Krishnaji’s material. Sybil, who had had no material given to her, could now have Indian discussions and possibly talks, the Australian ones, and discussions from the KWINC period. It was agreed to go ahead. If Rajagopal challenges, we will deal with it.’ That’s about publications challenges.
‘Krishnaji and I told Erna and Theo of the meeting at tea yesterday, when Mr. and Mrs. Sloss, parents of Jimmy Sloss, came. Mrs. Sloss obviously wanted to find out the Rajagopal situation. Krishnaji asked them if they wanted him to speak of it, and Mrs. Sloss replied, “Yes, but before you do, I want to tell you, I’m on your side!” [Chuckles]. Krishnaji described ten years of Rajagopal’s refusal to let him know anything about KWINC, the necessity for the break, etcetera, efforts to find a settlement, and Rajagopal’s refusal to answer. Krishnaji said that he had gone three times to see Rajagopal. Mr. Sloss said that Krishnaji should get a lawyer and sue Rajagopal, that Rajagopal wouldn’t listen to anything else. Mr. Sloss also said that Rajagopal lied to him the first time they met. He repeated that Krishnaji must sue and “let the chips fall where they may.” He took me aside and said that he had no use for either Rajagopal or Rosalind Rajagopal, and that Jimmy had told him he wanted nothing to do with either of them. We reassured him that we had excellent lawyers and had gone to the attorney general and we had him on our side as a result of his investigations. Sloss left saying, “You go ahead.”’
‘After the Lilliefelts left, Krishnaji and I started to go for a walk just as Iyengar was coming in with Mrs. Walsh.’ Mrs. Walsh was the lady who lived in the east apartment, downstairs in Tannegg. She took that every year. And she was the hostess to Iyengar every year.
S: Mm, hm.
On the ninth, ‘Krishnaji held the sixth Saanen discussion; this time on education. The questions were mostly poor. Madame Welser came for a treatment’—that was that paralyzed lady. ‘Peter Racz, the young Brazilian, and Bill Burmeister, a nice boy from California, came for lunch. At 3 p.m., Mrs. Henry Heller came to see me about the possibility of starting an Austrian committee. She’s a teacher of hatha yoga in Vienna and learnt it in India under a Raja yoga teacher, but she teaches only exercises. She also has classes in English for an atomic commission of the UN in Vienna [chuckles]. She was a Jewish refugee from Hitler, and her family went to Scotland.’ I don’t know why I tell all this, but anyway…‘She seemed businesslike, aware of things to be avoided, i.e., propaganda, interpretation, etc. Would want three others to form a committee under Austrian law. She has an apartment that could be used for offices.’ [Seems to make an aside:] I don’t think anything ever came of that, as far as I know.
M: ‘She seemed sensible and workmanlike in her approach. I suggested she write to Cadogan and see if during the winter she finds other seriously interested people to share the work and committee-hood. Then come here next summer and discuss further whether to become an accredited committee.’ Then I went for a back treatment’—I was having back treatments by a chiropractor. ‘Ran into Cragnolini, Pietro. He says the eclipse of the moon affected Krishnaji in his health because it was Aquarius or something. I met Krishnaji coming down the hill, and we went up. I paid a deposit on Tannegg for next summer. They have raised the rent by five thousand francs [chuckles] to eleven thousand for two months.’
On the tenth, ‘Krishnaji held his seventh Saanen discussion, completing this year. We had a quiet lunch alone. Dorothy and Jean-Michel Laborde’—that was the Jean-Michel that we’d talked about, and his wife.—I mentioned the couple earlier—Margot Laborde.
S: Right. So she went off?
S: But he stayed?
M: He stayed around for a while.
‘Dorothy, Jean-Michel Laborde, Sara Garetson, and Sunita Mahtani came for tea.’ Sunita and Sara were in the first group of Brockwood students…
S: Yes, yes.
M: …and in the film Can You Live This Way?
M: ‘Then, Krishnaji spoke to six young, lost-looking people who want to start a school as a result of yesterday’s discussion. They haven’t the vaguest qualifications or plans. [Both laugh.] Suarès brought a Monsieur Bey, editor of Stock, to greet Krishnaji briefly.’
The next day, ‘Madame Welser came at 9 a.m. Erna came to lunch, Theo was in Zurich. They leave on Saturday for Majorca before going home. I had a back treatment; met Krishnaji at the foot of the hill, and we walked up together. I dined with Suzanne and ‘met parts of their vast family, the van der Stratens’ [chuckling]. ‘The car was drenched with rain, and when I got back, just after nine o’clock, Krishnaji came out and said it must be wiped dry, so we did it.’ [Both laugh.] Oh, goodness!
On the twelfth, ‘Madame Duchet came to talk to me about a French committee. At noon, Krishnaji and I walked down the hill and met the Grafs at the new curling building, as a possibility for the talks. It is large and efficient, but looks like a factory. Krishnaji didn’t like it at all. So we will stick with the tent, which is a very good one this year, but costs Swiss francs 37,000—$9,000 to rent. The Grafs lunched with Krishnaji and me at Tannegg. At four, Nadia Kossiakof saw Krishnaji. I invited her to stay in the West Wing during the September gathering at Brockwood. Bruno Ortolani and his lady friend came to tea.’
The thirteenth ‘was a clear, warm, beautiful day. Taking Dorothy and Montague, Krishnaji and I drove to Thun. We left the Mercedes to have its door lock fixed and walked to the steamer, where we boarded for the two-and-a-half-hour sail to Interlaken and back. We took a picnic and also ordered on the steamer to be able to use a table.’ [Chuckling.] You had to order some food to use a table.
‘The lake was a deep jade and the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau were majestic in their snows. It was a peaceful, far away day. The car lock disgorged a piece of metal mechanism that Moser said might have been part of an attempt to break into the car. I arranged to store the car with him this winter. We drove back to Tannegg. Dorothy and Montague dined upstairs with me and we went to a concert in Saanen church. Maurice Gendron played the Bach unaccompanied cello pieces. Then Menuhin, in beard and kurta, sat on the stage with Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha and played a raga. Lastly, Shankar played without Menuhin. Some of the usual audience left, and the hippies clapped wildly. Bad form in the church. [S chuckles.] I got noddingly sleepy.’ [S chuckles again.]
Saturday, the fourteenth of August. ‘The Simmonses left for Brockwood, somehow taking two of our bags in the Land Rover. This was Krishnaji’s suggestion; he doesn’t want the Mercedes to carry too much!’ [S and M laugh heartily.] Oh, dear! ‘How Dorothy managed that I don’t know’ [laughing]. Yvon Achard came to see me at eleven. He’s going to make an anthology of Krishnaji’s writings in French, which will give much circulation in French academic circles. He teaches hatha yoga.’ He lived in Grenoble.
‘When he had gone, I opened the letter box and there was a three-page cable from Leipziger saying that he had met the day before with Tapper and Rothman (Rajagopal’s new lawyer), and at Rothman’s request discussed settlement along the lines of the memorandum we drew up: Rajagopal and the KWINC board to resign, and the KFA to have control, plus two or three others’—meaning on the board—‘with publishing or educational background.’ That was the project. ‘All property, archives, etcetera to be turned over. Rajagopal to do some limited editorial work, but copyright goes to KFA. Tapper wants only California residents on the board, suggests not having Krishnaji on the board because of his age and travel. And KWINC retained as an entity as the easiest way to accomplish things, rather than dissolve it. Leipziger wants a reply by Monday from us so that he can tell Tapper who will present it to Rothman. Rothman says that he will have a reply from his client’—meaning Rajagopal—‘within a week. Leipziger is due to leave for England a week from today.’
‘Krishnaji said, “I knew something had happened” when I relayed all this to him. Meanwhile, Erna and Theo had left Schonried this morning en route to Majorca. But I caught them at the Hotel du Rhône in Geneva and told them. Krishnaji wanted them to come right back, which they immediately did, moving into the room downstairs that the Simmonses had vacated. They arrived around 3:30 and the four of us talked for two hours, and then rang Leipziger in Beverly Hills. Erna took it all down in shorthand. The call lasted sixty-nine minutes.’ [Almost inaudible:] ‘Expensive.’
‘Well, the Biascoecheas came for lunch on the fifteenth, and they and Erna and Theo and I talked about all this possible settlement business all afternoon.’
August sixteenth was ‘another hot but lovely day. I had a back treatment. The Suarèses for lunch. The Lilliefelts were out. Had my hair cut.’ This is boring!
S: No, it’s not. Let’s get it all down. There might be a little gem in there. We’re not going to say that everything is fascinating, but…
M: Alright. ‘I met Krishnaji at the station at 4:30 p.m., and we went to shop for walking shoes for him in Saanen. When we came back, we took a walk with the Lilliefelts. They and I had supper together.’
On the seventeenth, ‘The Lilliefelts went off to see the Matterhorn. Topazia saw Krishnaji and then lunched with us. Aurobindo Bose…’ Who was he?
S: I don’t know.
M: [chuckles] Familiar name; I can’t put anything to it. ‘…came to see Krishnaji. After that, we went down to the village and changed the shoes, bought the paper, and read that Nixon is floating the dollar. Froze wages and prices for ninety days, etcetera. The stock market rose thirty-two points on a $31 million share day, and the dollar has dropped everywhere, and there is difficulty changing dollars in Europe [both chuckle]. We went for a walk.’
August eighteenth ‘is a hot day. We left at noon and drove through Cheseaux, where we picked up the Nagra from Kudelski. It had been serviced. Stopped along the autoroute for a picnic lunch and went to Geneva. Picked up Alain’s watch, which had been serviced, and then bought the Naviquartz clock for Krishnaji. Came back to Gstaad, with Krishnaji driving about fifty miles. The Lilliefelts were also back. They and I had supper and went to a Menuhin concert in Saanen—Schubert trios.’
There, we get to August nineteenth, which is…
S: Back to the big book.
M: …other book again. ‘As Erna, Theo, and I were finishing breakfast, Krishnaji came in and began a talk that lasted until a quarter to one, when we had to go to the Biascoecheas for lunch. Krishnaji began casually by asking when we might have word from the lawyers on the results of the Tapper settlement proposal.’
‘Then he said, as he has so often, what went wrong with Rajagopal? He was intelligent, chosen for the work, able when young, chosen by Leadbeater, but never especially liked by Leadbeater, nor was Mrs. Besant close to him. He was the son of a district judge. His brother was like him. Krishnaji described seeing the brother in India, and thinking for a moment that it was Rajagopal. He sat just so, expecting to be waited on, had Rajagopal’s refusal to do anything with his hands. Krishnaji used to clean up after the dog in Ojai. Rajagopal always had reasons not to do the dishes. Has Rajagopal remained Theosophist at heart or has been in fact all these years? Did he go with Krishnaji to eventually lead him back to Theosophy?’
‘Krishnaji doesn’t think so. But Erna remembered an odd remark by Radha when discussing what might happen to Happy Valley School at the time when Rosalind was managing it, and was being possibly unbalanced. Radha said she didn’t think Erma Zalk would object’—Erma is the sister of Rosalind—‘would object to returning it to the T.S. Rosalind considers herself the representative of Mrs. Besant. Anna Lisa Rajagopal’—that’s Rajagopal’s second wife—‘joined the T.S. after marrying Rajagopal. Krishnaji spoke of incessant quarrels with Rajagopal and Rosalind. He said it was surprising they had not shot him. Rosalind Rajagopal once taking a hammer and hitting him on the head in the car, taking a bottle and trying to hit him with it in India, witnessed by Sunanda, etcetera. Telling him to jump under the train once at a station’—that was in Santa Barbara. ‘And hitting him in the groin with her knee once so that he could barely walk for a day.’
‘Why, I asked, had he not turned away from these people after all this?’
‘“I don’t know,” he said. Talk went to the protection of the boy when young. There were always with two initiates to accompany him, the right food, etcetera, etcetera. Necessity for the body’s protection. But if the body was attacked by Rosalind, why was she tolerated by him? And if there are some powers watching over him, by whatever they may be, why did no one else help him out of the situation until Alain Naudé and Mary Zimbalist and now Erna and Theo Lilliefelt came along? I asked him if the two
Rajagopals had ever tried to influence him in his speaking. “Never,” he said. “I would not have tolerated that.” Suddenly it seemed clear, and I asked if it was that if he were attacked personally he would do nothing, but if an attempt were made to influence his teachings he would not have tolerated it for an instant. “What would you have done?” I asked.’
‘“I would have left,” he said.’
S: Now let’s just review this. [Sighs.] Rosalind hit him on the head with a hammer in the car?
S: Is that what you’re saying?
S: And she tried to hit him with a bottle…
S: And that was witnessed by Sunanda Patwardhan.
M: In India.
S: In India. And has Sunanda spoken to you about that?
M: No. I don’t know if it was only Sunanda.
S: And this whole thing that he would put up with anything physically against himself…
M: But not against the teachings.
S: But not against the teachings.
M: Mm, hm.
S: But why wasn’t he protected?
M: I don’t know. I’ve asked myself that for twenty years. If he was protected and…
S: The protectors were doing a lousy job.
M: To leave him in the hands of these two really despicable people. [Long pause.] I never understood it, and I still don’t.
M: Now, there are no more entries in the big book until October.
S: Alright, so let’s go back to the little book.
M: The little book. That was the nineteenth, so now the twentieth. ‘Erna and Theo left for Frankfurt and California. Krishnaji and I are alone. Then Krishnaji and I went to the village, him to have his hair cut and I to the bank. The car wouldn’t start. Then it started. I drove to the post office; then it wouldn’t start again. It was towed to the Mercedes man in Saanen. It started, and we drove back to Tannegg. Must have it fixed by Moser. Later, it started perfectly. [Chuckles.] Krishnaji gave me a long talk on my face and hands, my restless habits that get on his nerves.
S: Hm, what, you fiddle with your hands or…
The next day, ‘Packing, and Moser sent a mechanic from Thun who checked out the car and tightened one wire connection. I went to the bank, the post, etcetera. We lunched alone, and both walked down to the village for last minute errands. Then we washed the car and loaded it with almost all the luggage. Telephoned Vanda in Rome.’
On the twenty-second of August, ‘we got up at 3:15 a.m.!’ Heavens. ‘After saying goodbye to Fosca and Silvana’—Silvana was the girl helping—‘we left at 4:10 a.m. The roads were dark and empty. It was light when we reached the border at Saint-Cergue. We drove through Morez, Lons-le-Saunier.’
S: Mm, hm.
M: [chuckling] Remember those days?
S: I remember them all. I think I could drive from Brockwood to Saanen and back in my sleep.
M: ‘To Chalon-sur-Saône in four-and-a-half hours and 175 miles. We bought croissants on the way and had our picnic breakfast with fruit by the roadside.’
I will digress from reading for a moment to talk about Krishnaji’s strange memory, which didn’t remember all kinds of things, but he would remember places on the road. And this place, where we ate our croissants, I guess this was the first time. We did this every year after that. We’d buy croissants and then we’d drive to this little place sort of off the road, like a bypass in England. Behind some trees and bushes.
M: And we would have our breakfast there; we’d carry fruit and breakfast from
Tannegg, but we’d buy these lovely hot croissants, just out of the oven!
S: [chuckles] How nice. I’ll just also digress on this point because when I would drive to Saanen, inevitably Krishnaji would say, “Which route did you take?”
S: And he knew them all. Again, this funny thing about his memory. I remember once reporting to Krishnaji that “We got off the highway at the Chalon-sur-Saône exit and then we went by…” and I couldn’t remember the names, but he knew the names of the villages.
S: And then you can either go through Nyons or you can go to Geneva.
M: Yes. He knew all that.
S: He also impressed me later on when we would go out for a walk on his first time back to England for the season; walking around the grounds, he would notice small things that had been changed. Small things.
S: So it’s as if he had an extraordinary memory for things that were not personal.
M: Yes. Yes, the look of things, the look of places. But at some point, when we were going some places we didn’t know, I tried to get him to be the navigator, look at the map, and he was hopeless! He’d tell me, “Drive on, drive on, drive on!” when I should’ve gone left or right or something. And I’d have to stop and look at the map and back up and turn around. He was no good at that at all. But when he’d seen it; it was a visual thing.
S: That’s interesting, because the same thing as his not being good with maps, he was also not good with building drawings.
M: No. He had no visual sense, imaginary visual sense. But once it was imprinted…
S: Yes, exactly. There’s something strange about this, the ability to go from an abstraction or representation, which a map is or an architectural drawing is, to see the real thing. That’s something that he just didn’t…
M: Didn’t have at all.
S: …have, or didn’t do it.
M: No, no.
S: But, and I’m not sure that I could have said to him, if I was with him in India or in California, “Well, Krishnaji, you know going through the gate to the grove…”
M: Mm, hm.
S: “…we changed the little gate closure.” I don’t think, or I’m not sure he would’ve remembered that. But actually being there…
S: …and seeing that the gate closure had been changed, he’d say, “Ah, you’ve changed this.” So it’s something, there’s something…
M: Yes. Well, that ties in with, for instance, he said that he could not evoke his brother’s face.
M: And yet, if you showed a photograph, he not only naturally knew his brother, but he knew all these other people because he saw them.
S: Yes, yes.
M: He once told me that he couldn’t tell me what Vanda looked like when she was away. And one of the reasons he wrote to me all the time, he said [chuckling] was that…
S: It kept the memory alive.
M: …it kept the memory alive.
S: So, there’s something very strange in this.
M: Mm. It’s interesting. At some point in the building of the Centre, didn’t we have a maquette> or something?
S: Yes, we had a model.
S: That was for the first architect.
M: Yes, yes. We didn’t have one for…
S: The eventual building, no. But it’s only because we didn’t have time. I really had that model made for Krishnaji.
M: Mm, hm.
S: And that’s when he saw that he didn’t like it.
M: Yes, he had to look at a thing.
S: Yes. There’s something sensible about that. But…
M: Well, now we’re talking about all these people. Unless you’d never met them, at least some image comes into your mind.
M: Mine, too. I don’t remember the man who was the chiropractor; that is blank.
M: I didn’t remember the name. But all the other people, I can see them in my mind’s eye…
S: Yes, yes.
M: …as I read their names.
S: One of the things that we do is that we make a confusion, or I’ll say me, I make a confusion between reality and images. It’s part of the human condition that Krishnaji spoke of.
S: But, it seems that Krishnaji didn’t make images. His brain just didn’t seem to make them.
M: Mm, hm.
S: If I see the drawings of a building, I can visualize what the building would be like. I can walk through it…
M: Mm, so can I.
S: …from the drawings. But then I think that that capacity also leads to some quirky things about creating images of things that aren’t really there, and mistaking them for things that are there.
M: I’m trying to relate this to building the house in Ojai, or remodeling it. But again he… he was relating to things he’d seen.
S: Mm, hm.
M: He wanted the brickwork because he liked the house in Malibu, which was white brick. So he wanted it to look like that. And the floor, the tiled floor…
S: Mm, hm, mm, hm.
M: …he knew what that looked like, and he liked that. And then when I asked him how big he wanted the living room to be in Ojai, he related it first to the number of people to have at meetings. When I asked how many people, he said, “Oh, about fifty.” But then I said, “Do you want it as big as the Malibu living room?” which was I think only thirty feet long. He wanted the Ojai one a bit bigger, but, again, he was relating to a physical thing that he knew.
S: Krishnaji also did the same thing with the Centre. He’d asked how big the guest rooms would be; I would have to mention rooms here at Brockwood.
M: Mm, hm.
S: Yes, now that you mention it, he always did that.
S: What would this or that look like…
S: …and we’d have to talk about something that he had seen.
M: Yes, yes. Hm. It’s interesting. Well, I don’t know how we can better describe this, but it’s something to do with the way his mind worked.
S: Mm, hm.
I wonder if we could talk about something else at some point, and this is possibly a good time. Krishnaji’s fragile health. Because Krishnaji never seems to have been robust, at least in my understanding. And I never questioned it, or looked at it, or thought about it, but it seemed to be a consequence of the extraordinary sensitivity that he had, and perhaps also of internal things that he was going through. It’s not as if he was just someone who was frequently poorly because his body didn’t work well; quite the opposite. In fact, it seemed that his body worked extremely well, but it was put under such severe pressure…
S: …by his internal life, or by his sensitivities, or by the process, or something like that, or the demands that he made on it with what he gave out to the public in his talks.
S: So, I might have just imagined all this. But there was also a very strange phenomenon —and we have already talked about this—of his not being well, and we didn’t know if he could give a talk or not; and then, suddenly, this incredible force would be there, and he would be fine.
S: And he’d generally be fine until the talks were over and then…
M: Yeah, that’s right.
S: …he would collapse.
M: No, this thing about energy coming to him through…what other, what source, I don’t know what to say. But it was from the viewer’s point of view; it was extraordinary. Where again and again and again, he would be ill the day before or two days before, and then…
S: I know. Just roaring…
M: Blazing in effect…
S: But what about his kind of fragile health? Do you feel that this is just a connection I’ve imagined?
M: No! I mean, that’s the way I saw him, too. Now, he would sometimes say that it was something he ate if he didn’t feel well. But I don’t think it was something he ate. I think it was that he was under too much demand physically. And all the traveling around, he said it more than once, that if he just sat in India under a tree and people came to him, that he’d probably live longer.
S: Oh, yes. And at one point when he said that to me, I asked, “Like a hundred?” He said, “Oh, no, very old!” as though a hundred wasn’t. [Chuckles.]
M: Well, his predictions of how long he’d live were so varied.
M: It’s like the, um…
S: Coming back to his health; it’s just very strange, for instance, that Krishnaji would have a fever…
M: Mm, hm.
S: For no apparent reason, no apparent infection, and then it would be gone…
M: Mm, hm.
S: …in a day or two. That’s all very strange; people just don’t get fevers and then it goes.
M: Well, of course, he did have…he did have medication of some kind, naturopathic or homeopathic. But, yes, his health was delicate, but on the whole his health was very good when you consider it, except for certain times like in Indian when he was so sick for so long. And in the ’40s, when he was supposed to go to India, and he had some sort of kidney trouble.
M: But on the whole, he didn’t have any of the things like heart trouble or any of those things.
S: No. He didn’t have any of those things. He took just immaculate care of himself. But, at the same time, his body just didn’t function like a normal body. At least, it didn’t seem to me.
S: It seems…it was like his saying that the, the line between life and death was v e r y faint and v e r y thin, or there is a very thin thread.
S: So, it’s just not…there was just something odd about his delicacy that didn’t seem to be biological or physiological. It seemed to be a physiological consequence of something else.
M: You have to also consider thiS: An awful lot of conflict went on around him…
S: Oh, yes.
M: …when he lived with the Rajagopals, it was awful. And later on, in the school, we know all that.
S: I know.
M: And in India there were always problems.
S: I know.
M: Now, the things that make for stress and worry and wear and tear that the rest of us all cope with, in a way, he didn’t. They bothered him at the moment they were happening, because that was what was happening, but he then dropped it. I mean, it was gone. It was dropped. I don’t know how to put it, when it wasn’t in front of him. Now, that would have a lot of effect on your physical health. I mean, the way that we worry about something that affects our health, but he didn’t have those things.
S: No, he didn’t…exactly. He didn’t have any of those.
M: He didn’t worry. But, he would say to me, “You mustn’t get tired, or it will affect me.”
S: Mm, hm.
M: And you must do so and so because it will affect me. Now that, if you put two and two together, it was as though it would affect him in the moment, if you know what I mean.
S: Mm, hm.
M: It wouldn’t affect him beforehand or the next day, but if I were tired, that would be what was happening then, and that would affect him.
S: Mm, hm. Is it that, if you’re tired, it’s as if that puts something into the atmosphere…
S: …and being so sensitive, and taking things in…
M: That’s right.
S: He would then take that in.
S: And so, when he went to London or he went to the airports, all of the crudeness and insanity and violence and all of that…human condition…
S: …was just so intense and that’s what was hard on him physically.
M: That’s right.
S: Well, he said as much…in many, many things.
M: Yes. And, for instance, his not wanting to go into hospitals is part of that. When I had the skin graft on my leg, it wasn’t serious, but he said to me, “You know that I can’t come and see you in the hospital,” and I said, “Of course I know, I wouldn’t hear of you coming to see me in the hospital!”
S: Mm, hm.
M: He knew I was in the hospital, but it wasn’t so much me in the hospital, but it’s all the terrible things that are happening to people all around. It was the hospital, not me.
S: Yes. I’d like to come back to this because to continually deal with the awfulness, which Krishnaji did—as he traveled, as he spoke publicly, as he subjected himself to terrible atmospheres with different people, problems in Brockwood, and all…
M: Mm, hm.
S: …god knows what. All of that seems to have taken a physiological toll. It’s not that it created some kind of psychological stress where it made Krishnaji anxious or whatever…it’s not that.
M: No, he didn’t sit up worrying about things.
S: It was actually a physical assault.
M: Yes. And when he said to Dorothy or to the school, “If you don’t settle all of this between you, I will close the door to the West Wing,” and that would be a physical cut-off.
S: Yes. But also, it seemed that he was saying that if that happened, then something like his aura or the atmosphere around him would then not go into the school.
S: It would be stopped…
M: Yes, yes.
S: …at that door. Which, to me, was the most horrible thing that could possibly happen.
M: And when he would come to Brockwood, when the troubles were going on, he would pick it up the minute he got here, that it was…
S: Yes. And it had physiological consequences. This is why I feel that part of his fragile health is that all of this would physiologically attack him.
M: Yes. It also ties in with him saying that he wanted students, when they came through the gate, to feel something.
S: Yes. They were to be instantly changed the moment they set foot on Brockwood…
M: Yes. Well, that would be, for him, a normal thing! You see what I mean.
S: Yes. Perhaps it is normal for all of us, but most of us are not conscious of it, whereas Krishnaji was conscious of it.
S: I don’t know; maybe it attacked him physically, not just because he was conscious of it, but also because…there’s a sense that he almost wasn’t really meant to be…and was only just…
M: How do you mean?
S: Well, all of these things in the different accounts of people when Krishnaji was going through “the process” that there would be, you know, “is Krishna going to come back? Watch out…”
S: …you remember when the bell tolled in Austria…
M: It nearly killed him.
S: …and it nearly killed him, and all kinds of things where his being here was just sooo iffy.
M: It’s an extraordinary extreme of sensitivity, an extreme of protection from the results of that sensitivity.
S: And being subjected to extremes of awfulness.
S: The whole thing—it’s a very bizarre mixture. I mean, quite frankly, if I had grown up, with my insensitivities, but physical robustness, etcetera, in an environment with Leadbeater, Arundale, and Wedgwood, and then in the clasp of Rajagopal and company, I think I would have been dead by the age of twelve! [Laughs.] I mean, it was just an awful existence! An extreme sensitivity, being brutalized terribly, having fragile health, almost not meant to be, or just barely meant to be, and yet surviving all these things. It’s just …it’s very strange.
M: It is. [Long pause.] I keep coming back in my mind—I know we talked about the angels. Two angels who were looking after me.
And he asked me the next day, “Do remember what we talked about?” and I said, “Yes, about the two angels.” And then I said, “What did you mean by that?”
S: Mm, hm.
M: And he said, “You should have asked the man then.” That has been haunting me.
M: What did he mean by “the man”?
S: Yes. [Long pause.] Who was saying that?
M: And when I said something, he said, “Probably.” I mean that was a bystander’s comment.
S: Mm, hm.
M: It’s very strange if you start questioning these things.
S: I know, but one needs to question them, because this thing that Krishnaji said to you, and what he said to Mary Lutyens about water can’t know itself. It seems he couldn’t just say who he was…
S: …but he could answer your questions.
M: He would know if we were right.
S: He would know if you were right. So, you could say things and…it’s almost like the person who said, “Probably”…
S: …or the person who says, “Well, you should have asked the man.”
M: Yes. It’s not necessarily the same, and there’s that strange repeated statement reported by Nitya in “the process” times of “the man who came to watch.” Did you read those things?
S: I did, but I can’t remember them.
M: Well, there were different entities during “the process”; there was Krishna, who went away; there was the little child who was left; and there were entities or “somethings” who were doing operations.
M: And then the man who came…
S: That was in Pupul’s account.
M: Well, Pupul got it from Nitya. Yes, but the man who came to watch.
S: Yes, there was a man who came to watch. [Long pause.]
M: So, “the man”…
S: Yes. [Long pause.] Mm.
There are three clips below to hear Mary.
Sound Clip 1 – Issue 19 –
Sound Clip 2 – Issue 19 –
Sound Clip 3 – Issue 19 –
S: Anyway. Yes, let’s go on. [Chuckles.]
M: [chuckling] Where were we?
S: I don’t know! [Both chuckle.]
M: We go wandering around in this uncharted land. [S chuckles.] Ahhh…the picnic place, that’s where we were.
M: ‘We stopped again for a picnic breakfast with fruit that was with the croissants, by the roadside. At Chalon we took the autoroute, and Krishnaji drove for fifty miles. We stopped again for a picnic lunch, went through heavy showers and reached Paris and the Plaza Athénée at 2:30 p.m., 160 miles from Chalon, or a total from Gstaad [chuckling] to Paris of 385.5 miles.’ [S chuckles.] Being very statistical! ‘We unpacked a little and then went to a movie, Big Jake, with John Wayne at 4:30 p.m. [Both chuckle.] Supper in our rooms. While driving, Krishnaji said he had a meditation,’ it says here. ‘“Be empty and aware from within.”’
M: That’s what he told me out of that.
The next day was the twenty-third of August. ‘We lunched in the garden at the hotel. While Krishnaji rested, I went for a final fitting at Chanel. We both went to Charvet to order eight shirts and sport shirts! To have four at Malibu and four at Brockwood. [Both chuckle.] Then we went to a movie,’ ah, I can’t read my writing…it’s a French movie. It’s something Des Hommes. ‘We had supper in our rooms.’
The next day, ‘I went back to Chanel and looked at winter coats. Then I met Krishnaji at Charvet; he came back briefly with me to Chanel to look at the possibilities. We lunched at Chez Frances,’ wherever that is. ‘Bought some linen for Brockwood at Porthault; rested; then went to a late afternoon movie, The Horseman.’ Don’t remember that. ‘Supper in the rooms.’
On the twenty-fifth, well, family things. My father was in Deauville at that point. ‘We had lunch in the garden at the Plaza Athénée; the Chanel things were delivered; we left at 2 p.m. and were soon out of Paris on the autoroute. Krishnaji drove all the way until we got off it, and we went via Arras to Montreuil. Spent the night at the Château de Montreuil, and took a walk before dinner along the ramparts.’
The next day, ‘we left Montreuil for Boulogne and took the 11:30 a.m. hovercraft to Dover. No difficulty with the car at the customs’ [chuckles]; that was the anxiety for me. ‘We drove the 145 miles to Brockwood via Ashford, Tenterden, The Hawkhurst, Cross In Hand, Petworth, etcetera.’
S: The old 272 route.
M: Yes. ‘Stopping to eat picnic lunch. [S chuckles.] A long winding trip, which took until 6 p.m. to reach Brockwood.’
S: I know.
M: ‘Five-and-a-half hours from Dover.’
S: I know.
M: ‘Everything looked beautiful. It is so good to be back.’
S: It would take as long to get from Dover to Brockwood as from Geneva to Paris.
M: That’s right.
M: That’s the 272’s fault. Well, ‘unpacked; talked to Mary L. and the Digbys; went for a walk.’ Father suddenly was in the American Hospital, but it wasn’t serious.
On the twenty-ninth, ‘In the afternoon, I met David Leipziger, the KFA lawyer, and his wife at the Alton train station. They came for the night. Krishnaji met them at tea, and Leipziger recounted the Tapper-Rothman meeting and settlement discussion in detail. Rothman should have his reply on Tapper’s desk by tomorrow.’
The thirtieth of August, ‘Leipziger talked to Enrique Biascoechea and Doris Pratt about Rajagopal in the past. In the afternoon, I took him and his wife to Winchester and the train.’
The next day, ‘Krishnaji and I went to London by train to Huntsman for a fitting, shopped for shoes, and met Mary L. and Alain at Fortnum’s for lunch. Krishnaji went to Mr. Campion,’ the dentist, ‘and then we took the train back to Alton and Brockwood.’
On September first, actually through the third, ‘Krishnaji dictated three essays, the first of which was on attention. People began arriving for the Brockwood Public Talks. I fixed flowers and the Digbys arrived to stay in the West Wing for the weekend and to bring lovely porcelain “Japanese porcelains for the drawing room.”’ They brought all those lovely things.
‘Krishnaji gave his first talk on the fourth in the tent at Brockwood,’ marquee as we say here. ‘It was a lovely day, a big crowd; everyone ate in the tent afterward. We are seventy-two people at meals in the house. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I went for a long walk.’
On September fifth, ‘Krishnaji gave his second Brockwood talk. It was again a lovely day, and it was a very great talk’, it says here. ‘At tea time, Mr. Albion Patterson talked with Krishnaji, the Digbys, and me about the anthology he wants to make of Krishnaji’s published works from 1945 to 1968.’
The next day, the sixth, ‘in the afternoon, just as I was leaving for a walk with Krishnaji, my brother telephoned from Paris saying that Father had a sudden fever of 105 degrees. The doctors are unsure if he can survive the night. I caught the 6 p.m. train to Woking, a taxi to Heathrow, and would have left on Air France at 8 p.m. but the flight was delayed till after 10 p.m. Reached the flat in Paris by midnight. Father is slightly better. Bud and Lisa’—that’s Buds wife—‘were at a hotel. I sat with Father till 2:30 a.m., then slept on the sofa. Father couldn’t recognize me. He has heavy congested breathing, which I encouraged him to cough up. He heard and tried.’
The next day I’m still in Paris. ‘Father’s fever is slightly less. The doctor said it was pneumonia as a result of poor heart function. Penicillin is controlling it, but the brain function has lessened. He may get a little better, but cannot be cured. Father seemed to see Bud and me for a few seconds. When I said all the family is together, he repeated it.’ Oh, I won’t go on about all this.
‘I spoke to Krishnaji on the telephone and said I would return tomorrow. Doctor Theng came again; Father’s about the same, but he cannot pull through this, said Theng, but Father is without pain or discomfort. He cannot say when it will end. Father replied “no” when asked if his hiccups bothered him. Bud and I talked till late.’ Well, this goes on…Father didn’t die then…‘He had a quiet night. Bud and I talked at length; then after seeing Father one more time, as he slept quietly, I went downstairs to where Marcelle Bondoneau was waiting for me for a lift to the airport. I said goodbye to Bud. He and Lisa are flying to New York at 5 p.m. Michael,’ that’s the chauffeur, ‘drove me and Marcelle to Le Bourget. Nadia came there, too, and we took Cambrian Airway flight to South Hampton, and then by taxi to Brockwood. Was unpacked by the time Krishnaji awoke from his nap. I was very tired by nighttime, but we took a beautiful walk across the fields.’
On September ninth, ‘Krishnaji held the second discussion in the tent. It is perfect weather, warm. He gave an interview in the afternoon. Then, he, Dorothy, Whisper, and I took a walk across the fields. Krishnaji had supper downstairs, and then went to the tent to see the Felix Greene film on China. I slept the sleep of exhaustion again.’
On the eleventh, ‘Krishnaji gave his third Brockwood talk in the tent, and he also had lunch in the tent. The Digbys brought some more china for the shelves in the drawing room. Krishnaji met first with the Grafs and then Mr. Kanthor, the German Committee, and Mr. Struzenegger…’ Do you remember him?
S: [laughing] No!
M: [chuckles] ‘…about the Swiss German Committee work. They want Krishnaji to talk in Munich or Hamburg. Then Anneke, Nadia, and Marcelle met with Krishnaji and me about the functions of a committee and relationships to people who want to talk about Krishnaji and the teachings.’ My mother-in-law, Sam’s mother, had died the day before.
On the September twelfth, ‘Krishnaji gave his fourth Brockwood talk—a marvelous one. We lunched in the tent, and I talked to Cadogan and Mr. and Mrs. Agashi’—I’m not sure that’s correct—‘an Indian who lives in Canada and who has written a book on the effect of Krishnaji’s teachings on himself. He wants the KFT to publish it. We explained that that was impossible. Then discussed with the Digbys, Cadogan, and Anneke a problem with someone in Holland who is a self-proclaimed authority on Krishnaji’s teachings. Krishnaji spoke briefly with Miss Helen Meyer’—it looks like—‘of the BBC book review program on BBC radio. They will do a broadcast on the Urgency of Change using what Krishnaji said. We had the Digbys up for a brief tea. Then Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked across the lovely fields. In the evening, we ran a film of Krishnaji’s interview made in 1968. Felix Greene talked to me about doing an interview with Krishnaji, on film, for young people. Krishnaji agreed to do it.’ When do you get into your story?
S: I arrive in ’74.
M: Oh lord, we have a long way to go.
S: Yes, I know. I go to my first talk in Saanen in ’72, but I’m invisible until ’74.
M: [chuckles] I feel you were there through all of this.
S: [laughs] I am now.
M: ‘Most of the visitors left on the thirteenth. We walked in the fields. Father is slightly better. The fever is gone, and he is taking a little soup.’
On September fourteenth, ‘Krishnaji and I went to London. We both had Huntsman fittings, and both went to the Dior boutique, but it was too crowded. We went to Hatchard’s and ran into Mary L., who was lunching with us at Fortnum’s. We had a “just right”’—that’s from him—‘lunch there. Looked at some clothes, but Krishnaji found them cheap-looking. I was wearing my new Chanel coat for the first time, and he liked it. He had a filling put in by Mr. Campion, which fell out by evening!’
S: Oh dear!
M: ‘On the train, Krishnaji observed with horror three businessmen, commuters. “Society must change! Some other way to live must be found,” he said. [Both laugh.] We came wandering home from Alton via Selborne, Liss, Hawkley, Privett. Found a letter from Leipziger in which the Rothman-Tapper settlement was discussed.’ Doesn’t say what happened. Nothing happened [chuckles].
The next day, ‘we telephone Erna in Ojai regarding Leipziger’s letter, but we are to await her letter.’
On September sixteenth, ‘at 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji held a meeting with the staff on what we are trying to do in the school. A new physics/chemistry teacher arrived from the U.S. and was present.’ I don’t remember him.
S: He didn’t last very long.
M: ‘Students are arriving for the start of school on the Sunday. After lunch, Krishnaji and I telephoned Erna in Ojai as we had received her letter. We are all in agreement about the settlement terms Tapper should offer to Rajagopal. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I for a walk across the fields. Father is physically better, but there has been cerebral deterioration in the last three days.’
S: While we’re just talking of you and Krishnaji calling Erna, it just reminded me of something…Krishnaji didn’t like speaking on the phone very much.
M: No! He would sit beside me and cue me.
S: [laughing] And cue you, I know! But that’s also rather funny.
M: He very seldom talked on the phone.
S: I know, and the times that I’ve spoken with him on the phone, you could tell he was uncomfortable.
S: And he made it as quick as possible.
S: And then, I think he always just handed the phone to you. It was like a few words from him and then [laughing] passing it on to you.
M: Yes, he always did that. Mostly. [S laughs.] Sometimes I’d have to almost force him to speak so the person would know that it wasn’t just me!
S: That he was there…yes. [Both laugh.]
M: On the seventeenth, ‘Krishnaji and I went to London. Huntsman fittings; I bought a raincoat and some shoes; we lunched at Fortnum’s; bought some sweaters’ [chuckles]. ‘And he went to the dentist, and the tooth was filled for the third time!’
M: Yes, ‘the tooth he filled last week and which fell out the same evening. Then we caught the 4:12 p.m. back to Alton and were at Brockwood in time for a late walk across the fields and down to the lodge to look at a sign from Ojai.’ That’s the Brockwood Park sign made by that man in Ojai who makes those signs.
S: Mm, hm.
M: [chuckles] I don’t know why we had to send it to Ojai, but…[S laughs]. Krishnaji had…
S: Things were always better if they came from somewhere else.
M: Somewhere else, yes! Also the sign man made them lovingly out of…you know, something. [S laughs.] ‘Krishnaji had supper downstairs. The Sherman twins have come in; Krishnaji took a particular interest in them.’ That was…oh, dear! They were two children that Krishnaji ran into down by the river in Saanen with their mother. Their mother was, well…but two beautiful children. And we took them on as students. Yes, it says here ‘he saw them in Gstaad while on a walk and thought they were nice children.’
S: [chuckling] That’s a nice admissions policy! [Laughs heartily.]
M: Well…the next day nothing happened, except Krishnaji held a discussion for the staff. So…
S: Alright, so we’ll start our next discussion on September nineteenth?
M: Okay, good.