Issue #20

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Issue 20 – September 19, 1971 to December 31, 1971


The winter introduced in this issue is one of the few in which Krishnaji doesn’t go to India because he is exhausted and he says, his “body is rebelling against it.” So, after a few weeks in Italy, Krishnaji joins Mary in Malibu, and we, as readers, see more of him than we would normally over this period.

This issue includes discussion about an aspect of Krishnaji’s presence that is very difficult to put into words—that people could have a sense of what he was saying without knowing (in any conventional sense) what he was saying.

The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #20

Mary: So, we’ll begin on September twentieth, 1971 because nothing happened on the nineteenth.

Scott: This is at Brockwood.

M: Oh yes, we’re at Brockwood. And on that day, ‘Krishnaji talked to the students and the staff on the opening day of school. We had thirty-two students, of fourteen nationalities, and they looked like a nice group.’

On the twenty-first, one of my godchildren came by to stay for a while.

On September twenty-second, ‘Mary Cadogan came to lunch and Krishnaji, she, Dorothy, and I discussed the building at Brockwood and Donald Hoppen’s [1] failing to return until possibly in December. We decided not to do a new building, which would cost almost as much as Brockwood did when we first bought it, but to remodel a bit in the house and convert remaining external buildings.’ So much for that.

On the next two days, ‘Krishnaji held a discussion with the staff and students. But also, on the twenty-fourth, my’ [chuckles] ‘Tiffany clock disappeared!’ [Laughs.] There was much drama that ensued.

S: Now, wait a minute, what? Was it stolen?

M: I’ve still got it. But, yes.

S: It was stolen?

M: It must have been stolen because nobody could find it, and I searched my room minutely. Then I had the good idea, as it turned out, to get the students in to help me search. Perhaps they were better at searching. And lo and behold, it turned up [chuckles] in my room.

S: Mm, hm.

M: Somebody had put it back.

S: Mary, what was going on with Donald Hoppen at this time? Because this was also, um, a small drama in the making, wasn’t it? Or in the unfolding by then?

M: Yes, he had that plan for a building, which was going to be…

S: A multistory building where the art pavilion was. And the students were going to help, or something like that.

M: I don’t remember the details, but it had the look of no results from the beginning. But let’s let it unfold. The next couple of days are busy with nothing in particular.

On the thirtieth of September, ‘I taped on the Nagra a discussion Krishnaji had with the students. Then, he and I caught the 12:50 p.m. train from Alton. We had a picnic lunch on the train, then Krishnaji had his hair cut at Truefitt & Hill. After that, we went, for the first time, to a new dentist, Mr. Hamish Thompson.’ He was the good dentist who took care of Krishnaji’s teeth from then on. ‘He was recommended by Mary Links’ sister, Mrs. Herbert Eggar. Krishnaji said he was excellent.’

Then on the second of October, ‘a letter from Marcelle Bondoneau came saying that Mr. de Vidas had died.’

On October third, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the students in the paneled study. I taped it on the Nagra. The Moorheads came to lunch and they spoke to Krishnaji later, and so did David Bohm at 4 o’clock. I copied the Nagra tapes onto the Uher. Then we went for a walk.’

October fifth…oh, we can jump to the big book.

S: Read out the whole thing.

M: Okay. ‘Krishnaji gave a wonderful talk to the students on the vividness of awareness and a quiet mind. He showed them pranayama. We went to Winchester after lunch for the Normandy Ferry tickets, intending to go on to South Hampton to scout out where we would dock, but Krishnaji was tired after trotting around Winchester, so we came back. It was a marvelous, clear, sparkling autumn day: very exhilarating. We went for a walk and Krishnaji said, ‘This is better. Now I feel better.’ [Chuckles.] Later he told me he had dreamt he met Winston Churchill talking to a girl. Churchill said to Krishnaji, “Oh, it doesn’t matter if you marry a girl or not.” Krishnaji said to Churchill’—[laughing] I’d forgotten this—‘“If you’ll forgive my saying so, Churchill, you are naughty!”’ [Both laugh.] ‘To which Churchill replied to Krishnaji, “I love you, I love you.”’ End of dream! [Both laugh.] ‘Krishnaji said to me, “I’ve met very many distinguished people on the astral plane.”’ [Both chuckle.]

S: But he’s joking about that?

M: Of course.

S: Well, we have to make that clear for posterity. [Laughing.]

M: Well, take it as you like, but it was said with humor. ‘At lunch, a Tony Fergusson telephoned to know why he hadn’t a reply to his letter to Krishnaji. He had joyous news about the reincarnation of Annie Besant. He said that there was a rumor that Krishnaji wouldn’t see him.’ [Chucking] ‘Krishnaji said, “Oh, for god’s sake,” when he was asked about it. Ian Hammond[2] telephoned; he will come down Saturday about plans to enlarge the dining room, etcetera.’

Now we’re back to the little book, but [chuckles], it was worth that one entry.

On the sixth of October, ‘we went to London. There was the usual visit to Huntsman, and then lunch with Mary and Joe at their flat. Afterward, we went to Mrs. Bindley’s for tea, and then came back to Brockwood.’

‘Krishnaji had another discussion with the students on the next day, and then on the eighth. Mr. van Praag of Holland, who did the film interview with Krishnaji in June, came back and did two nine-minute segments in color.’

S: Oh, on film?

M: Yes. On the ninth, ‘Ian Hammond came at 10 a.m. and with Krishnaji, Dorothy, and me, went over our plans for enlarging the Brockwood dining room, and making the Cloisters where the kennels and potting sheds are.’

On October tenth, ‘Krishnaji talked to the students, and I taped it on the Nagra. The Digbys came for lunch, and we discussed publications with Krishnaji after deciding to go ahead with the Cloisters building plan. It is still lovely weather, warm and dry.’

The eleventh. ‘Dorothy and Doris drove me to the 8:50 a.m. train Monday to London. I went for Krishnaji’s Italian and French visas, and purchased his air tickets. I walked to Harrods, where I lunched with a friend. Then I went to the Digby’s for tea with Nelly. Changed at 6:30 p.m. and went with them to a preview of a Cecil Beaton exhibit of photos at the Victoria and Albert Museum. We came back to the Digby’s and dined, and I spent the night there.’

The next day, ‘after breakfast at the Digby’s, I went to Waterloo train station where I met Mary Cadogan. We discussed business on the train to Alton. Dorothy met us, and we reached Brockwood just in time to set up the Nagra for Krishnaji’s discussion with students. After lunch, Krishnaji, Mary C., Dorothy, and I went over money and other matters. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked across the fields.’

The thirteenth. It says, ‘Rain finally. Went to Winchester. Met Mary L. and Amanda at the Wessex Hotel and brought them back to lunch at Brockwood. We all went out to look at the Cloisters space. I had an idea for a garage and parking on the Morton land behind it. Eventually, I took Mary and Amanda to Alton; and came back to tea with Krishnaji. He, Dorothy, and I walked in the rain.’

On October fourteenth, ‘Krishnaji again talked to the students and the staff, and I taped it on the Nagra. It was a cold, clear, beautiful day. Krishnaji washed the Mercedes. He, Dorothy, and I took a long walk.’

‘I was packing all day on the fifteenth. Jane and Ian Hammond came for lunch and brought drawings of the proposed Cloisters. It looks very nice. Krishnaji was pleased.’

Again the next day, ‘I packed all day. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked across and around the fields. How marvelously lovely it is. We had supper downstairs and then loaded the car with the luggage, and the school was there to say goodbye. Krishnaji and I drove off in a light rain to South Hampton, where we loaded the car onto the Normandy Ferry. We have state rooms, fairly comfortable. The seas were a bit rough in the night, but alright.’

On the seventeenth, ‘the ferry docked at Le Havre, and we drove off at 7 a.m., going in the direction of Rouen. Stopped on the autoroute for a breakfast and were in Paris at the Plaza Athénée shortly after 10 a.m. It was an easy drive. I unpacked, bathed, and telephoned L’Hotel’—that’s a hotel called L’Hotel. ‘I found that my brother and Lisa had got in at midnight. She is there for a museum conference. They came over to see us before lunch. Mary and Joe Links are here for a Venice exhibition, and came over as well. We all sat and talked. Moser arrived from Thun and took the car off for its winter storage. Then Mary, Joe, Krishnaji, and I lunched in the Régence. At 4 p.m., Nadia Kossiakof came to talk to me, and then Mr. Voisin and an aide came to discuss doing a filmed interview for O.R.T.F. Krishnaji said yes. He and I then went for a walk and had supper in the rooms.’

On the eighteenth, ‘I went early to see my father. Monsieur Voisin and his crew set up for a TV interview in the sitting room. Krishnaji came there at noon, and the interview was filmed. Afterward, Nadia Kossiakof and Marcelle Bondoneau lunched with us in the Régence. Krishnaji rested a little and I went to Chanel for fittings on a coat. Krishnaji came by taxi to see if he liked it. I ordered a tweed suit. Then, Krishnaji and I went to Charvet, and then walked back to the hotel, and had supper in the room.’

On the next day, ‘Krishnaji did a further interview in French for O.R.T.F. He has done a total of four hours, including yesterday.’

S: Four hours of interviews?

M: Including the day before. They recorded four hours of interview. And he was talking French through all that, you must realize.

S: What was it for again? What’s the name of the company?

M: O. R. T. F.…um…something television Français.

On the twentieth of October, ‘Krishnaji flew on Alitalia to Rome. I went with him in Father’s car to Orly. Returned to Paris, saw Father, etcetera, etcetera. Came back to the hotel tired.’

‘A letter from Erna came, regarding the counteroffer from Rajagopal: he wants to keep  the K & R Foundation, and $400,000. This is unacceptable to Tapper. Tapper is to call in the KWINC membership as a last ditch effort to settle. If not, the complaint will be filed.’

On the twenty-first, ‘I telephoned Krishnaji in Rome and told him of Erna’s letter. Rosalind tried to telephone him at Vanda’s last night. She had postponed her trip to Israel in order to see him, “not about the dispute.” Krishnaji sent a reply via Vanda that he did not wish to see her about anything. Erna’s letter stressed that it was more important than ever that he not see Rosalind.’

On the twenty-fourth, ‘my brother and his wife left for New York, and nothing of interest happened. Talked to Dorothy at Brockwood; all is well. Wrote to Krishnaji.’

The next day, I’m still in Paris. ‘I went to exhibits at the Orangerie. I saw my father, had a fitting, then came back to the hotel, and telephoned Krishnaji in Rome. He has been resting since his arrival. There is still no decision yet on his going to India. The war news between India and Pakistan is still tense.’

The following day, October twenty-sixth, ‘I left the Plaza Athénée and went to Orly. Took a TWA plane and got to New York at 2 p.m. Went to my brother’s, and dined with him.’

I have a feeling there’s not going to be much in these while I was there. ‘I went up to Martha’s Vineyard to see my mother and stepfather; the island was lovely. Saw the redone town hall, gift of Katherine Cornell. They came for dinner.’ Well, you don’t want to hear all this stuff.

‘Telephoned deMarxov about Krishnaji’s decision to liquidate Alzina.’

S: Mary, why wasn’t Krishnaji going to go to India that year?

M: The war.

S: Which war?

M: Well, there was a war, I mean, a possible war between Pakistan and India.

S: Mm, hm.

M: On October thirty-first, it says, ‘Krishnaji was to give a public talk this morning in Rome.’ Now I’m back in New York. It’s all family stuff.

On the first of November, ‘I got letter #1 for that year from Krishnaji in Rome, which he began writing on October twenty-first.’

On the second, ‘I flew to Los Angeles.’ Then there are things about the Dunnes, Filomena, the house. ‘We have a new cat called Timosi.’

S: Where did the cat come from?

M: I don’t know. Cats just come, you know, they turn up and you have a cat! [S chuckles.] ‘Rothman’—that’s Rajagopal’s lawyer—‘told Tapper that the KWINC board refused to see him unless he had a substantially better settlement offer to make. Tapper has no such intention and therefore authorized Leipziger to file the complaint. I cabled this to Krishnaji in Rome. How arrogant to tell the attorney general “Don’t bother to come unless you’re…”’ [S chuckles.] Really! ‘I spoke to Leipziger; on Erna’s return, we will go to the next steps in the R-KWINC matter. I wrote to Krishnaji.’

Nothing interesting. Just home things.

On November sixth, ‘I had a letter from Krishnaji. He has decided not to go to India. Not because of the war possibility between India and Pakistan, but because “body is rebelling against it.” Needs a complete rest. He’s staying in Rome till the sixteenth, then goes to Brockwood, and then comes here’—meaning Malibu. ‘I feel infinitely relieved and happy. I cabled to him.’

On the seventh, ‘a letter from Vanda came that Fresia has died.’ He was an old friend of Krishnaji’s, and he was head of, well, as much as there was a head, of the Italian committee. He lived in the north of Italy. Nice man.

On the eighth, ‘I talked to Erna, who returned yesterday; also Leipziger.’

The next day, ‘at 4 p.m., there was long conference between Leipziger, Saul Rosenthal, the Lilliefelts, and me about the next steps in the KWINC-R issue.’ I guess the complaint was filed by then.

On November tenth, ‘Alain Naudé turned up. He was speaking at USC and staying with Alan Kishbaugh. We had an early supper, and he went off to make his speech. I went to Ojai and saw the Lilliefelts.’

S: What would Alain have been talking about? Music or Krishnaji?

M: Krishnaji.

S: Mm, hm.

M: In the beginning, he wanted to talk about the teachings. That was his original intention. I don’t know how far he went with it. He used to say that he’d been talking here or there, places.

S: Mm, hm.

M: On the thirteenth, ‘a letter came from Krishnaji. He is very tired and worried he may be involved in the Rajagopal case. He must be protected. I talked to Erna and agreed that he must be totally shielded, no matter what.’ Then, I did all kinds of errands, and came home. ‘I telephoned Vanda in Rome. She says Krishnaji is alright. Just tired. I spoke to him and reassured him about the case and about getting money for the Cloisters.’ I don’t know what that was. ‘He goes to Brockwood on the nineteenth and will be here on Thanksgiving.’

On November fifteenth, ‘Alain Naudé came from Ojai for dinner and to stay in the guest house till Wednesday.’ That was on Monday. ‘He says that Rajagopal and Annalisa Rajagopal were served with papers in the complaint.’

The next day, ‘Alain was here all day. Alan Kishbaugh came to an early dinner and went with Alain to the Bodhi book shop where Alain spoke.’

On November nineteenth, ‘Krishnaji flew from Rome to Brockwood, and I had a letter from him.’ And…well, nothing happens the next several days.

On the twenty-fourth, ‘I got an express letter from Krishnaji sent from England, Monday. Leipziger telephoned about Biascoechea doing a deposition and it being possibly taken here. Also, there are possibilities of protecting Krishnaji if he should be subpoenaed by Rajagopal.’

On the twenty-fifth, we jump to the big book. It’s Thanksgiving, and it says: ‘Krishnaji began this day awakening at Brockwood at 3 a.m. He couldn’t sleep and so got up and did exercises and later left in the Land Rover with Dorothy Simmons and Doris Pratt for Heathrow, where he took a 10 a.m. TWA flight for Los Angeles. It was misty here. Philippa came over. I made soup and left early for the airport. The plane wasn’t due until 4:15 p.m. Driving, I had that curious intense sense of awareness of every inch of the road and the other cars, because once again, I was on Krishnaji’s business. It is conscious, but more than that, it is as if something took charge and my actions become, as Krishnaji has so often told me, responsible to whatever his are. That was a very strong feeling.

S: Do you want to talk about that a little more?

M: [sighs] Well, I can only say that I felt it, you know. I wasn’t just trotting along in my own life. Suddenly, the things became serious.

S: Mm, hm. Also implied is that this is not subjective, this is not subjectively created. It’s not that you suddenly decide, “Oh, I must get serious,” and so you create it.

M: No, no. Oh no, no. It’s something I become aware of. For instance, whenever I went to an airport to get him, I thought, what if I have an accident on the way? He’ll arrive and he doesn’t have any telephone numbers, he has no money, what happens to him? You know, I’ve felt that intense sense of responsibility. Drive carefully. Get there, be there.

S: But now, there’s also something else in this.

M: Yes, there’s something else. It was a feeling; people could say, “Oh well, she imagined it,” but…

S: Well, people can say all that, but I mean according to you, something affected you.

M: Yes.

S: Something came that affected you.

M: Yes. I mean it…it was, it was there. It was happening.

S: Yes, I understand.

M: And the responsibility was both to him personally, because I naturally wanted to do everything for him that I could, but it was, as he had said to me early on (somewhere I must have talked about it), “You are no longer responsible to yourself, you are responsible to the Other.”

S: Mm, hm.

M: ‘So, sitting at the airport, waiting for him was for me a feeling of at once a very quiet intentness and the limitless feeling of joy at his coming. Again, most intensely personal and at the same time beyond and apart from any personal dimension. The plane came in precisely on time and through a window I could see him second off the plane, carrying his Gucci bag. In half an hour, his two bags were wheeled out of customs behind the porter. He was here! Somehow, his coming now, only five weeks from when we were last together in Paris, seems more momentous than it had been after the long weeks of the Indian tour. In some way, it is intently important that he has changed course and come here for, at last, a thorough rest.’

‘He looked bright and very well in spite of accumulated fatigue, and the very long flight of eleven hours. Once turning onto the freeway, I thought he was about to faint, but touching him lightly seemed to prevent it. It was only when we were unpacking in his room, and he had just given me a little bottle of eye drops, that he suddenly fainted toward me, so quietly that I could only break his fall. It lasted about two minutes. Then he was alright, took a shower, and insisted on having his supper tray in front of the television news. Then, quickly to bed. He is wound up from traveling, chattery, and full of sparks, but his very simple supper came up, as had the food on the plane. He brought me a letter he had written at Brockwood, and today, to me, written on the plane.’

‘He wrote, “There was a right action when the Order of the Star was dissolved. There was a right action when the castle and land were returned. There was right action when he broke with Rajagopal, and there is right action now. We are dealing with a crook, unscrupulous, utterly unreliable, and deeply antagonistic, with a considerable hate. Action, any action where he is concerned will have in it the elements of distortion. We are not concerned with him. He’s unbalanced and self-centered. It is not the money we want, nor the property, nor the manuscript, etcetera. I feel that money was given with great devotion, sacrifice, love. To those people who gave it, we are responsible. And what is our responsibility? People, including Signora,”’—he always called Vanda, “Signora”—“‘have said to me, ‘Is it not violence to embark on the path of lawyers?’ Signora was wild about it. Personally, money, etcetera is nothing. But to leave it all in Rajagopal’s hands seems and feels totally wrong and not right.” And then, “Right action under any circumstances is always true, and from that everything flows easily. It is like a flowing river. The flow of the river is not inaction. Its action is of itself from the beginning to the end. There is a right action in this.”’

‘And later, he said, “One must be a complete outsider, and so the most true revolutionary, and then action will be incorruptible. We must act as outsiders with Rajagopal.”’

S: Mm, hm.

M: I think that’s important…

S: Yes, it is.

M: …that that be part of history.

S: Absolutely.

Click here to listen to Mary.


M: Monday, the seventeenth of April…oh, it jumps again!

S: The seventeenth of April?

M: Yes, oh, big jump. Yes. I was very bad about…I mean, I wrote something like that, but the daily things I was not good about. There’s a lot that’s going to be…

S: It’s okay. We’ll just take it as it comes from the little book.

M: The next day. ‘We just were home and he walked around the garden.’

On the twenty-seventh, ‘the Lilliefelts and Ruth Tettemer came for lunch. Krishnaji talked at length over what is best to do with the Rajagopal affair. What is right action in this? We came to the decision to proceed with the Biascoechea deposition and request for an injunction for a receiver…’ Oh, I had to have a receiver appointed for KWINC. That didn’t happen.

On November twenty-eighth, ‘Krishnaji slept all morning and again after lunch.’ [Chuckles.] Krishnaji and I watched the Walter Mitty movie with Danny Kaye on television, and Krishnaji laughed endlessly.’ He was a great fan of Danny…Donny Kaye, as he used to call him. [S laughs.]

S: That’s right, I remember!

M: “Donny Kaye is the funniest man,” he used to say. [M chuckles.]

On the twenty-ninth, ‘we were home all day except for my going to the market. Leipziger telephoned about Biascoechea coming here for the deposition.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji and I drove to Ojai. We each had a treatment by Dr. Lay’—she was a chiropractor—‘and then we went to lunch with the Lilliefelts. Ruth was there. We held a KFA trustee meeting with Krishnaji, and Krishnaji temporarily withdrew from the board to avoid participating in the litigation. He suggested Theo Lilliefelt as a substitute member, and this was carried out.’ That’s how Theo became a member; we had to have one more.

S: Mm, hm.

M: And so, there we were. We have usually been against having husbands and wives on boards.

S: Yes.

M: But anyway, that’s what happened. ‘We then discussed Alan Kishbaugh as a possible trustee and agreed to invite him to become one. Krishnaji walked ahead down Grand Avenue with Theo, and I followed in the car, and we drove home from there for supper. Doctor Lay had said that his body is bone-tired. But Krishnaji says his mind is bursting with energy. He needs to slow down till his body can rest and catch up.’

The first of December was a quiet day at home.

The next day, ‘we went to town, had a picnic in the car under the trees.’ We used to find shady streets in Beverly Hills. There are lots of trees there, and we would sit in the car and eat our picnic. ‘We shopped for French records and books’ [chuckling] ‘and went to Saks Fifth Avenue, where Krishnaji saw monstrous, devouring women shoppers!’ [Both laugh.] ‘He was horrified! We went to Bullock’s for a windbreaker. Bought a small record player. Krishnaji fainted leaving Veteran Avenue. Drove home safely. It rained a little bit.’

December third seems to have been ‘gardening. We had two gardeners come and help plant things. Krishnaji and I did a French lesson. Later we went into Westwood and saw the movie The French Connection.’ Do you remember that? It was a thriller.

S: Ah, yes.

M: [chuckles] December fifth ‘was a lovely, quiet day at home. We did French lessons in the morning. Alain Naudé telephoned from San Francisco. He’s moving into an apartment. We walked on the beach road. Krishnaji dictated during lunch an article for The Bulletin on relationship.’

The next day, ‘we did a French lesson, and we walked on the beach. There was a cable from Balasundarum about hearing from Friedman in Bombay that Krishnaji was in a New York hospital.’ This happened all the time, rumors about Krishnaji.

S: I know, I know.

M: ‘Erna says Biascoechea is coming out for the deposition in January.’

On December eighth, ‘Krishnaji came with me on errands and to arrange to buy a Nagra 4.2. We had a picnic lunch in the car. Then we went to a movie, Man in the Wilderness, in Hollywood.’ Don’t remember that at all.

The next day, ‘we did another French lesson in the morning. Sidney Field came for lunch. And we walked on the beach.’

S: What were these French lessons you were doing? Because Krishnaji already spoke French, and so do you.

M: Well, we were supposed to get better.

S: Mm, hm.

M: We played records.

S: Ah, you played records?

M: That’s all we did, yes. You know that he…you know the story, the very last year of his life he wanted to improve his French.

S: I know.

M: ‘I talked to my brother in Paris. The whole family, except me, were there with Father for Christmas.’

December tenth, ‘Donald Hoppen came to lunch and talked afterward with Krishnaji about his relation to Brockwood, etcetera. I left them and took Filomena to the doctor for her arthritis. Krishnaji had walked in the garden when I got back, but had had no nap. He went to bed early.’

December eleventh, ‘“No more interviews,” said Krishnaji. He’s tired from the Hoppen one yesterday. He said he awakened in the night with a sense of joy and felt the room was filled with people. Quote: “Eminent, holy beings who seem there when something happens in his brain. My head felt enormous.” We did French lessons in the morning and…’

S: He said that those people, those beings seemed there when something happens in his brain?

M: That’s what it says, “who seem there.” “Eminent, holy beings who seem there when something happens in his brain.”

S: Yes.

M: ‘…and in the afternoon we went to a movie in Santa Monica, Play Misty for Me. That was a Clint Eastwood movie. It says here, ‘not very good,’ but…

S: No, that’s only you…

M: …doubtless…

S: Doubtless, it was wonderful.[3] [Both laugh.]

M: It says, for the next day, ‘home all day. French lesson. Walk in the garden.’

On December thirteenth, ‘Krishnaji said to me, “You must be cured, not corrected.”’ I guess that was my ailments or maybe my habits [chuckling], I don’t know which. [S laughs.] It doesn’t say. [Chuckles.]

December fourteenth, ‘we went to Ojai. We each had a chiropractic treatment with Dr. Lay. Then to lunch with Erna and Theo, Ruth, and Albion Patterson. There was discussion of the origins of the Happy Valley School and dissident teachers there wanting to hear the facts of it from Krishnaji. Would he see them or not? He and Theo walked, and Erna and I met them on the road. Krishnaji and I drove home, seeing a marvelous sunset.’

The next day, ‘cold weather. Indian troops almost into Dhaka.’ I haven’t been following the war in this little book.

On the sixteenth, ‘The East Pakistan army surrenders. India orders a ceasefire on West Pakistan front. Yahya Khan says he will fight on.’ See, there was a war.

S: Yes.

M: That’s when East and West Pakistan…

S: Yes, I remember, and Bangladesh broke off.

M: Yes, that’s right. ‘We went early to town on miscellaneous errands. Went to get the new Nagra. Krishnaji had rested all day. He walked around the garden, and had met me when I drove in. Krishnaji remote, as if aware of other things in the house. “Something is going on in the head,” he said, but he slept throughout the night.’

On December seventeenth, ‘India and Pakistan officially end the war after fourteen days. Yahya Khan accepts the ceasefire. We were home all day, and we walked on the beach. Krishnaji’s head hurts.’

The next day. ‘The pain in Krishnaji’s head continues. He rested all morning, but wanted to go to a movie, so we saw the Disney Bedknobs and Broomsticks with Angela Lansbury. The pain stopped for Krishnaji, but resumed as we came out of the theater. He fainted in the car on the Pacific Coast Highway. We walked around the lawn on returning home, and at supper saw a TV program of the Indian war.’

On December nineteenth, ‘Krishnaji’s head was better. The Perrines came to lunch. Krishnaji talked to them about the purpose of a hot springs place they are thinking of having in the mountains in the back of Big Sur.’

The next day, ‘we had a beach walk. Krishnaji felt better. No pain in his head.’

On December twenty-first, ‘we drove to Ojai, and we each had a chiropractic treatment from Dr. Lay. We lunched with Erna and Theo afterward. Barbara Lama…’ Barbara Lama was Albion Patterson’s stepdaughter, I think, something like that ‘…and her husband. Albion Patterson and Mr. Sperry, a former teacher at Happy Valley, and the Essels came to ask Krishnaji about the background of Happy Valley, and under what condition he would be interested in the school. He said only if the trustees remove Rosalind. Krishnaji walked and talked for half an hour with Erna and Theo, and then we drove home.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji, Filomena, and I went to a movie, Fiddler on the Roof. My bedroom roof leaks.’ [Both chuckle.]

On the twenty-third, ‘I went to the airport to meet Alain, who is spending Christmas with us. In the p.m., I took Filomena to the doctor,’ etcetera. Well, anyway, ‘when I came home, Krishnaji and Alain had gone for a walk.’

On the twenty-fourth, Christmas Eve. ‘Talked to Mother in New York. All the Taylors are in Paris with Father. Philippa and her young man came to lunch with Krishnaji, Alain, and me. Krishnaji, Alain, and I walked in the afternoon along the beach road.’

Christmas. Well, nothing. [Laughs.] ‘I went over to the Dunnes’ in the morning. Just another day.’

S: Hm, hm. Mary, you and Krishnaji didn’t exchange presents on Christmas, did you?

M: We didn’t even exchange “Happy Christmas.”

S: Right, I know that, but I’m just saying this for the record. [Both chuckle.]

M: No. We ignored Christmas totally.

S: Right. [More chuckling.]

M: As we did birthdays, too.

S: Yes, I know.

M: On December twenty-seventh, ‘Pouring rain. Took Alain and John Diegis to the airport. Shopped at Lindberg’s’—that’s the health food store—‘and came home. Krishnaji got a letter from Vigeveno. Dr.…’ somebody, looks like something ‘…Cotton and George’—looks like—‘Ariba of the Happy Valley School board came to see Krishnaji. It is clear that the school is in a total mess, and that the board is totally under Rosalind’s thumb.’

December twenty-eighth, ‘there was rain in the early morning and then it ended. Six inches had fallen. We were home all day except for the trip to the Pacific Palisades, and then we walked on the lower road.’ I don’t know what we did at Pacific Palisades, probably marketing. ‘Krishnaji dictated a reply to Vigeveno. I discussed it with Leipziger.’

On December twenty-ninth, ‘The rains stopped, and it was a clear, beautiful day. While talking to Erna on the phone, we heard there was snow on the mountains in Ojai. Krishnaji said, “Let’s go.” So, we took a picnic and drove to the Lilliefelt’s. Had our picnic there, and then walked with them three miles. The mountains are powdered with snow. We came home for supper.’

S: Hm.

M: [soft chuckle] That was the twenty-ninth, so we’re almost finished with 1971.

On December thirtieth, ‘we had an early lunch and then drove to Hollywood and saw a movie, Dirty Harry, a detective one. We came back [chuckles] via Pacific Palisades and bought a twelve-inch Sony color TV. We discussed in the car, “what is it to be bourgeois?” It is self-centered, desiring ego. Material things, concepts, but more than that, an inelasticity. I asked if I were that. Krishnaji thought I am not attached to money or things, and I answered, “no” to deriving ego from them. We posted Krishnaji’s reply to Vigeveno.’

There was wind all night on the thirty-first. ‘It was a beautiful, bright day. Krishnaji dictated a piece on what the bourgeois mind is. The wind was less in the afternoon, and we walked at low tide on the beach.’ It says, ‘a blessed way to end this year.’

S: When he would dictate one of these things, you would tape it or just take it down?

M: I would take it down.

S: Okay.

M: He dictated reasonably slowly, so even though I don’t know shorthand, I could, with my horrible writing, scratch it out. And then immediately afterward, I would go through it, and if I were uncertain about anything, I would read it back to him.

S: Yes.

Mary, I also wanted to ask about something that came up the last time we recorded.

M: Yes.

S: It’s something that I should have picked up before. And this has to do with Krishnaji waking up and saying that he’d had a marvelous meditation during the night. Now Krishnaji said that many times, and even to me…

M: Yes.

S: Toward the end of his life, also.

M: Yes.

S: The reason I want to pick this up is because Krishnaji is using the word meditation in such instances in a very different way from the way he uses it when he gives his talks. In the talks, for Krishnaji, meditation seemed to be a state of being that one should live in all day long. It wasn’t something you sat down and did. But here, this is something else, because this is something that comes to Krishnaji.

M: Yes.

S: And in his sleep.

M: Or waking.

S: Or semi-sleep.


Editor’s Note: This discussion seems important, but also challenging, at least partly because the word “it” sometimes refers to Krishnaji’s meditation, and sometimes it is a grammatical device (e.g., “It is a grammatical device.”). It is clear in listening to the audio tapes which “it” is being used, but less clear in the transcript. To help the reader avoid confusion, when the word “it” is used to refer to meditation, it will be in bold and italics (it), but will otherwise remain in the normal font.


M: And sometimes in there, he says that it came in sleep and continued when he was awake.

S: Yes.

M: But, he has said, I think many times, or certainly elsewhere, it comes to you; you cannot go to it.

S: Well, he would sometimes use the word other for that.

M: Yes, but he used meditation in various ways. I mean, he would say, “I had a marvelous meditation last night.”

S: Yes.

M: Well, what are you going to call it? People would say, “Why use the word teachings?” But, what are you going to call them?

S: I know.

M: So you use the word teachings finally, although he resisted the word at times.

S: Yes.

But what I’m trying to get to here, and I don’t know if we can say anything more than what we’ve said, but it’s the relationship, perhaps, of this meditation to sleep. So that somehow when the brain was quiet or, well, sleeping, it would come.

M: That’s right. And you remember at the end of his life in the hospital.

S: I know, I know.

M: It came to him.

S: Even when he was back home right to the end.

M: Yes.

S: And his face would just…

M: Yes.

S: glow.

M: Yes.

S: Did he ever say anything to you about…? Now, presumably this also came to Krishnaji during the day—I don’t know. I can’t remember him ever saying that, but it seems that when he said this was mostly when it would come at night.

M: Well, I don’t think there are any rules about this. It came at night, and it came when he was awake. It came—I think, I don’t know this—but I feel that when he was walking by himself ahead and far off. But I find hard and fast definitions of words…

S: No, I don’t want that. I’m not looking for that.

M: I know that you’re not looking for that, but I think we have to; when we’re talking, recording this way, people are apt to seize on words.

S: I know.

Well, this is something that I feel that they’ll seize on. This is why I’m bringing it up…

M: Yes.

S: …because they’ll say, “Ah, but look at what Krishnaji said in all these public talks about meditation, and this seems to be something different.” And indeed, it does seem to be different. He is using the word in a different way.

M: Well, I don’t know if it’s different; it may be wider than whatever we conceive of as meditation.

S: Mm, hm.

M: One instance of it, and I’m uneasy of trying to explain anything too much because I don’t think I have any right to…

S: Of course. What I’m doing is fishing around for any comments he made, anything else he said. See, even your saying “maybe it came when he’s walking off alone…far ahead on his own in nature that…”

M: And he wouldn’t talk about it then, but he would say afterward something about it. He wouldn’t say, “I am having a meditation.”

S: Yes.

M: It would only be mentioned afterward because…

S: Mm, hm.

M: Though once, I remember when we were in that house in Kingston Vale, and Alain was with us. I must have already talked about it in these discussions. He had us come in and sit on the floor in his room. And just be silent like a sort of meditation where nobody spoke, a sort of an emptying-the-mind kind of a thing.

S: Mm, hm.

M: But he wasn’t very specific about anything. But it was to sit and sort of be very quiet and turned in.

S: But you see that’s something very different.

M: Mm. That is different.

S: You sit down and you deliberately do this.

M: Well, you sit down and you make yourself available by sitting down…

S: Exactly, yes. Exactly.

M: You see, it isn’t that you do something.

S: No.

M: You make circumstances possibly more conducive to something happening if something is going to happen.

S: Exactly. But something else seems to happen at night or can happen.

M: I don’t even want to call it something else.

S: Alright.

M: Because I don’t know what happened at night, and I don’t know what happened when he was walking in the hills. I don’t know in the sense of something definable or describable.

S: Mm, hm, mm, hm.

M: And yet it seemed, well, it was, to the degree that anything could be said about it, it was not only something deeply important, fundamentally important in his life; it was persistently a presence of something that he—it was something centered in his life, I felt.

S: Mm, hm.

M: I mean, I felt, in a way, the reality of that for him was stronger than all the exterior things.

S: Mm, hm, mm, hm.

M: Maybe I’m inventing that, I don’t know, but it was…

S: That’s your sense of it.

M: …a strong feeling, a sense of it, yes.

S: Yes.

M: [pause] It’s so easy to assume things. To make something…fit…what one can imagine.

S: I know.

M: And I’m very leery of that.

S: Yes, rightly.

M: Judgments about these things are…

S: We’re not in a position to know anything.

M: No, no.

S: But I feel very strongly that we are in a position…and I feel we even have a responsibility to simply report what we saw…

M: Yes.

S: …and also what we sensed, recognizing…

M: What we sensed…

S: …that we might be completely gaga[4]

M: Yes.

S: …and it makes no difference. But we still have to say these things.

M: It’s like talking about the teachings. I feel profoundly, and also Krishnaji, in a way, okayed it, that one can talk about the teachings if there’s always the ground rule that one’s exploring, and one may be totally wrong, up a tree, who knows. And anyone who listens or participates or joins you, or reads this or listens to whatever happens to all these tapes, must look at the whole reporting of it, because…

S: Yes.

M: …I suppose if I had to sit down and separate out what I could say of absolute facts that I could vouch for, like, you know, we walked on the beach on such and such a day [chuckling], things like that, there could…but so much else was happening with Krishnaji all the time that is not verifiable.

S: I know.

M: And, in a way, I feel uneasy about going on about “we did this; we did that; we did something else; went to the movies; we walked on the beach”—as though that was his life. His life was…who knows where? What we find so difficult or impossible to put into words was his life.

S: I know, I know.

M: This was his outward, physical life, his human life.

S: Yes. This is absolutely what was so interesting to me; the small time I had with Krishnaji, every year, or the years that I saw him here, there was an intensity and there was a fullness in his presence…

M: Yes.

S: …I mean, it just seemed that there was an awful lot going on.

M: Yes.

S: But if you reduce it to the physical, measurable—call it what you would get if you were following behind him with a television camera,…

M: Mm, hm.

S: …that kind of recordable information, well, it wasn’t much.

M: Mm.

S: He went here and he talked, he then went there and he talked, and he shopped, and he went there and he talked, and…

M: Yes.

S: …you know, ad infinitum. But that’s not really what was going on.

M: That’s right.

S: And this is a little bit…this is why I keep prodding, I keep prompting, I keep trying to find some way of making more of that presence…

M: Mm, hm.

S: …that was going on, somehow, even though it is our subjective opinion, our…

M: Well, I think, we must…because all this stuff is really dangerous. Supposing somebody plays only one or two of these audio cassettes seventy years from now. It sounds all sort of trivial because we’re putting in so much trivial…stuff, over and over and over.

S: I know, but somehow, this is why, whenever we have a chance to abstract something that’s significant, or talk about something that’s significant, I feel we always have to do that. It’s like this thing about Krishnaji saying that he had a marvelous meditation at night. Well, we could just glance over that, or we could stop and say, now wait a minute…

M: Yes.

S: …this has significance here. Or, for instance, the feeling that you had which you wrote about so eloquently…

M: Mm.

S: …on that one page when you wrote that you had a sense of responsibility when you went to meet him at airports[5]. See, all of that, now, that charged the atmosphere around him. And I would maintain that it was not subjective…but one doesn’t know how to talk about it. I mean, it is actually very difficult to talk objectively about things that are taken in.

M: Yes. Because the measure of them is, to the listener, you or me.

S: I know.

M: And people just have to, well, do whatever they’re going to do. I don’t know.

S: It’s probably is a good analogy for talking about these things with Krishnaji, to say it’s like talking about love, even puppy love between two young teenagers who don’t know anything about what they’re experiencing.

M: Mm.

S: It’s actually very difficult to talk objectively about that.

M: Yes.

S: But that does not mean that it’s not going on. Whatever they’re experiencing, whatever they’re feeling, it is there, going on. And just like you were saying, it is more real than a lot of the physical phenomenon…

M: Yes.

S: …so much of this that was around Krishnaji, it was more real than the physical phenomenon.

M: Absolutely.

S: And much more intense and much more alive and…

M: It’s just…I mean, statistically, we’re flooding this tape recorder with trivia, in a way. Providing…this other sense that you’re talking about now, can be seen to be the important part.

S: If it can come out, exactly. If it can just somehow come out at all, it makes the whole thing worthwhile.

M: [very softly] Yes.

S: Because this whole question that Krishnaji used to ask over and over again, “What will you say when the man from Seattle comes up to you and asks, “What was it like to be with K?”…well, we can say, “We went here, we went there, we did this, we did that.”

M: Mm.

S: But that’s not what Krishnaji was asking about.

M: No.

S: And it’s that very difficult task of conveying this other, almost impossible state of being that was around him. I don’t know how else to talk about it. I mean, here’s myself, here’s this physical body. It goes here, it goes there, it goes to another place, but there are different states of being depending on what one lives. And the state of being that was there because of Krishnaji’s presence…

M: Yes.

S: …was absolutely remarkable, I think, because of his state of being. It just affected the other states of being around him.

M: Yes.

S: And maybe it was because of him and maybe it was because of something beyond him. One doesn’t know. Krishnaji told you that you are responsible to the Other. But we don’t have to conjecture what that means.

M: No, we don’t. Except that we have to speak for the fact that there was a great deal that was beyond. And that we can’t prove it or come up with…

S: Well, also, what we can say, though, Mary—and this, I think, is just a little bit the kind of thing we don’t like to say—but we can say that when Krishnaji said something like, “You are responsible to the Other”…

M: Mm, hm.

S: …we had a sense of what he meant, rightly or wrongly…

M: Mm.

S: …and it made sense at the time. It seemed, “Yes, that’s true!”

M: Yes. Of course!

S: It was “Yes, of course, it is correct” because there was a sense of that thing.

M: Yes, yes.

S: And that’s important also to say. It’s not just someone coming up and saying, “Oh well, you’re responsible to, you know, the holy spirit or something…” We’d say, “What is he talking about?”

M: Well, the reason it seemed so right is that, at least for me—you’ll have to say for you—is that one had already felt that.

S: Yes!

M: And it wasn’t that you’d thought it up or imagined it; it was a sense of great reality that was already that way.

S: Yes. Exactly. And this is why I…

M: And it wasn’t from him.

S: Right.

M: And it wasn’t from me. It was from…I don’t know what.

S: Yes. And it was obvious.

M: That’s how it was, it was like the sun is shining today. It’s a fact.

S: Exactly. It’s just obvious. You don’t even have to ask about it.

M: That’s right.

S: And this is the source of my many regrets about the questions I didn’t ask…

M: Yes.

S: …and should have.

M: Yes.

S: Because Krishnaji would say something of this nature, and, as you say, one would just say, “Yes, it’s obvious, there’s nothing…” you knew what he was talking about…there was nothing really to ask. But, of course, later on, when trying to talk about it or explain it or think about it, one thought, “I should have asked him, ‘What do you mean?’”

M: Yes.

S: Or, “Would you explain that?” or “Could you go into detail?” Or, all these things, which I don’t know if they would have been answered or not…

M: Well, I…yes…“You should have asked the man,[6]” you see.

S: Exactly!

M: Now I should have said, “What man?” or “Who do you mean?”

S: Yes, yes. “Is that man different from you?”

M: Yes! You see.

S: All of…I know. [Laughing.]

M: But I had this blanket thing about not prying.

S: Mm, hm.

M: If he wants to tell me something, wonderful. I want to hear. But, because I have this extraordinary opportunity of being able to ask him, I’m not going to nag him with questions.

S: Yes, I know.

M: If he wants to tell me something, he will tell me. And if he doesn’t, I’m not going to pry.

S: I know, of course; I had that sense, too.

M: And that was true about everything.

S: Yes. But what I don’t know is…it seemed right at the time, but… [Both laugh.]

M: Well, I took it to be…

S: But I do wish now that I had asked some of those questions.

M: Yes, I know. I know. Well, I used to say to Krishnaji, “Don’t answer this if I’m asking the wrong question.”

S: Yes.

M: Which I figured was, um…cricket.[7] [Both chuckle.] But I could have done that a little bit more.

S: Right. Well, I don’t know. What is significant is that it is our reasoning, rationalizing, mechanical brain that says we should have asked more, but at the time, these things were obvious.

M: Yes.

S: A lot of these things just were obvious. One didn’t have to ask any more.

M: No, no.

S: And that’s also significant because that says something about the nature of the presence that was around him, and I think also the state of being that he elicited in us.

M: Yes.

S: There was a different way of knowing. There was a…or a different sensing or a… something. No one…I can’t go too far with this…

M: No.

S: …but it’s just that, it was different. And now, looking back, there are a hundred times…I think it’s like your good example of “You should have asked the man.”

M: “Should have asked the man,” but one thing I should really not have been so retiring about is on one of the last mornings, he wanted to tell me something, wanted to teach me something. And I don’t think I said anything, because I felt, you know, he mustn’t make any effort for me.

S: I know, I know.

M: And when I later said to him, “You wanted to tell me something. Do you want to tell me now what it is?” And it…it…

S: It was gone.

M: It was gone. I was…I was probably wrong.

S: I don’t know, Mary. I don’t know.

M: I mean, the way it seemed to me at the time was…

S: I know. Don’t make any efforts that…

M: Yes. If I don’t learn anything, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the way he, his energy, his health, his everything was. And I probably made a mistake.

S: No.

There are three clips below to hear Mary.

Clip 1.


Clip 2.


Clip 3.


[Long silence.]

M: It’s now 7 o’clock.

S: And we have gotten to 1972!

M: So we have. [S laughs.]

S: Great, okay. We begin there.

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[1] A young architect who contributed to the early years of Brockwood. Back to text.

[2] Husband of Jane Hammond who has appeared preciously in these accounts, and who was an architect. He was the eventual designer of the Assembly Hall and The Cloisters complex. The Cloisters were a square-shaped housing complex with a covered walkway around the inside, resembling a traditional cloister—hence the name. Back to text.

[3] Krishnaji and I were great Clint Eastwood fans. We would watch his films together on TV or rented video, and Mary would generally leave the room. Back to text.

[4] English slang for “insane.” Back to text.

[5] See the earlier discussion of November twenty-fifth. Back to text.

[6] Refer to Issue 19’s discussion of August twenty-second. Back to text.

[7] English slang for “fair” or “just.” Back to text.