Issue 27 – April 28, 1973 to July 14, 1973
This issue starts in Paris with Mary describing difficulties with her new car that breaks down several times in Paris and on the ferry to England. The incident prompts an extended discussion about the unique and subtle challenges that Mary faces in travelling with Krishnaji which provides insight both into Krishnaji’s character and Mary’s sense of responsibility for his wellbeing.
The issue ends with an editor’s note to include a loose note found in Mary’s large diary for this period in which Krishnaji describes to her one of the strange phenomena that he periodically undergoes.
The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue 27
Scott: Okay. We’re starting on April twenty-eight, 1973.
Mary: Well, we open this session with Krishnaji and myself in Paris, and we were staying at the Plaza Athénée briefly, having flown from the U.S. It says here, ‘At 1 p.m., Mr. Moser delivered the Mercedes to us from Thun. We discussed Krishnaji getting his new one, which must be taken this year in July. So, after he left, we joined my brother Bud and his wife Lisa at Chez Conti, the Italian restaurant that Krishnaji liked. We talked about the proposed new Krishnamurti school in Ojai, raising money, etcetera. Back at the hotel, we put all the luggage in the Mercedes, and then it wouldn’t start.’ [S laughs heartily.] ‘It had come all the way from Switzerland but it wouldn’t start’ [laughter in voice] ‘and the man had gone. So, the doorman got a cable and got it going.’
‘I bought the cable to take along in case we had this adventure along the way, and we set off for Le Havre at 5 p.m. We stopped for petrol en route, and it started up. At Le Havre, we put it in a queue for the Thoresen Ferry, and we walked to a restaurant called Monico, where we have had dinner before. Luckily, the car started when we got back and we were able to get it onto the ferry. The Plaza Athénée had managed to get us both a state room on the new ferry, and Krishnaji had one with a bath. We got to Southampton in the morning, but’ [chuckles] ‘the car wouldn’t start!’
S: Oh, no.
M: ‘And it humiliatingly had to be pushed off by hand, while I jumpstarted it. Then we motored off from Southampton, on a lovely misty morning, and got to Brockwood by 8:30 a.m. We had breakfast and talked all morning with Dorothy, and then Krishnaji slept all the rest of the day.’ [Chuckles.]
S: Now, if we could just stop here, because this might be a good place to unfold a nightmare that I know you had, which is when you’re traveling with Krishnaji [M quietly chuckles, followed S laughing] and something doesn’t go well…
M: You’re desperate!
S: …you’re desperate, and you don’t know what to do—how to give attention to that thing that hasn’t gone well, and to simultaneously take care of Krishnaji. You can’t just leave him beside the road.
S: So, explain all that you would feel and all about that.
M: Well, it happened to me on a similar…I’m mixed up in what year anything happened; but when I’d taken a brand-new Mercedes—mine not his—in Paris; Moser delivered it. I don’t think this is the year because this wasn’t a new one. Everything was marvelous and off we went, and on the highway to Le Havre, I was coasting along and suddenly the motor went off and the momentum was keeping us going but there was no motor. Terror! [Chuckles.] So, we’re in the middle of god knows where, no villages, nothing in sight but highway, and I naturally pulled over and the car rolled to a stop.
S: Mm, hm.
M: And there we were. What was I going to do? [Laughter.]
S: The prospect of something like that must’ve been a nightmare always!
M: It was because it’s not any fun if it happens to you when you’re alone, but if it happens to you, with him in the car, it is the worst thing that could happen. I can go back to my first experience of driving with him in traffic, which I’ve described previously when I hired a car and took him to Wisley Gardens, in England; and I had to come back through very heavy traffic in a great hurry because Doris had said he must be back at 6 p.m., and 6 p.m. was approaching rapidly, and the traffic was thickening, and I was driving on the left, which I was not used to it, and I had him in the car…
S: I know…
M: Alain Naudé too, but that didn’t matter.
S: But the whole sense of taking care of him…
M: The responsibility! And what if I had an accident…
M: It was just too awful.
S: That whole sense of being responsible and also how vulnerable Krishnaji was. I mean, Krishnaji wasn’t exactly what you would call street smart. [Both laugh heartily.]
M: That’s the farthest thing from whatever he was. And it was my job to get him to where he was going safely, comfortably, and pleasantly, if possible.
S: Yes. I want to put this on the record, because people are liable to think, “Oh, how very pleasant, how very nice for Mary to just, you know, drive him around all the time.”
M: I know.
S: But the heavy responsibility of it, they don’t think about.
M: And also where he stayed. I spent hours doing research, mostly in the Michelin guide, for what would be a proper place for him to spend the night.
M: And I’d never seen these places before. I had to guess. So all the computing of whether this was good or not, it took a lot of anxiety.
S: Yes, yes. And where you eat and whether the kitchens were clean and whether…
M: …there was vegetarian food, and would it be quiet…
M: And would it be not crowded and…it was endless!
S: Yes, the atmosphere…
M: The atmosphere, all those things. And coping with it when we got there, you know, I was in charge and he just stood there gracefully.
M: All the logistics, in other words.
S: Yes. You see, if this is going to be a record of what it was like for you to be with Krishnaji, it needs to be understood that you are just happily sailing through different…
M: Yes. Yes, wasn’t she lucky to…
S: Yes, nice restaurants and nice hotels…
M: …all over these wonderful places.
S: Yes. [M chuckles.] It was full of travail!
S: And challenge, yes.
M: When we stayed at Barbizon for a short rest, just outside Paris, I think we’ve already passed that time, I went out ahead of time and cased the place on a previous visit; lunched, looked at the rooms, talked to the management, all that way beforehand, before I ever engaged the rooms.
S: Yes. And also, it needs to be said, that this wasn’t just out of some manic spoiling of Krishnaji.
M: No, I think…
S: But there was a sense that for his finest sensitivities and qualities to flower, or to…
S: He needed that kind of support.
M: That’s what I mean. A lot of carping people, I think, who don’t understand or just like to criticize, think, “Why was he always surrounded by luxury?” But, in fact, for a lot of his life, he was in the opposite: he was in awful places. But that wasn’t right for him, not just because one wants him to have nice things, but because his energy was supposed to go into the teachings.
M: His health had to be maintained. He was physically fragile in the sense of he wasn’t tough and rough…
S: Yes, yes.
M: …and made to endure difficulties. He was much more aware of things, if the food was wrong or if…
M: And it wasn’t that he was fussy.
M: It was that those were the conditions of his being able to constantly travel and talk into his ninety-first year.
S: Yes, yes.
M: And I hope anybody who listens to this down the way will try to understand that.
S: Well, exactly; that’s why this is a good point to make. This was clear to me, I saw this clearly. Krishnaji was the least demanding, the least grasping, the least self-centered or self-concerned person I have ever come across, but these things were like infrastructure, support, and alright, he would and could endure the things Rajagopal and Rosalind put him through, you know, he could deal with all that…
M: Well, he never complained.
S: …and he never complained, and he’d just get on with things. But it took his time and his energy and did not support the thing which he cared most about, and which we care the most about, which was his speaking.
M: Well, that was…it was more than that he cared about it…it was his…
M: …it was his job…because…
S: That’s right, that’s right. Yes, yes.
M: He said that he lived for that…that was his thing he had to do. But it was his lack of being grasping and demanding that was being abused by people…
S: Absolutely, absolutely.
M: I mean in Ojai, in the Rajagopal days, he would do all the dishwashing to get rid of the others [chuckle]. Rajagopal would always get out of doing it, making a great fuss and he’d say “No, no,” and Krishnaji would say “Let me do it.” It was less trouble for him to do it than to put up with the fuss, and he did it. And he would clean up after the dog messes of Rosalind’s poodle. He was a person who never expected to be given anything or to be waited on. In fact, he was fussy about people going to trouble for him; he would try to prevent that…
S: Yes, yes.
M: …he would try to do it himself. So, one had to sort of do it kind of invisibly, not…
S: Mm, hm, mm, hm. Yes, he didn’t like being waited on.
M: No. And all that I described about clearing up the dishes with me…
S: Well, he didn’t feel it was…he didn’t feel it was right somehow, that you do it.
S: …he had extraordinary humility.
M: Yes. So, all of the fun with the fuss we made over…
M/S: [said together] doing dishes.
S: I know, I know [laughing].
M: And [chuckles], but he was very firm about that. And I used to, I think I’ve said this, but if I haven’t, I’ll say it again; when it was in my house in Malibu or Ojai or elsewhere, people were there and I’d cook the meal and so forth, I implored him not to get up and clear the dishes. “Let me do it invisibly. You stay at the table and keep the conversation going,” I would say. “No, no, no, no!” he’d reply, he couldn’t do that. [Both chuckle.] So I would get up and try to take the plates away because he would jump up, and then everybody in the room would jump up and utter chaos would follow, which made it much harder for me [S laughing]. It ruined the whole way the luncheon should’ve gone. But, I think he also didn’t want it to be seen that he was being waited on.
M: He also felt that, “No, ladies shouldn’t do that.” A wonderful old-fashioned thing.
S: [laughing] I know. Ladies shouldn’t wait on gentlemen, yes.
M: No! He accepted it in India because that’s the sort of structure that is there…
M: …you let servants be servants.
M: There’s actually no way you can do things for yourself there, anyway. But once in the Western world, when servants disappeared, as indeed they did, it wasn’t right for your friends to wait on you.
M: He had a wonderfully old-fashioned courteous thing about ladies.
S: Oh, very much! Yes, he was very much the old world gentleman.
M: Yes. And of course his manners would baffle some people; opening the door for me to go through first and things like that. That shocked people. But, I wouldn’t have interfered with that because it would’ve been like asking him to be rude.
S: Yes, yes.
M: I couldn’t ask him to be rude.
S: And this same thing of my waiting on him; a couple of times I can remember his saying to me, “Sir, you mustn’t wait on me.” And I would say to Krishnaji, “But, I’m having fun,” and then it was alright.
M: Yes, yes.
S: If I was doing it just for fun, then it was okay…
M: Yes, because then it accrued to you more than him.
S: [laughing heartily] Exactly, then it was alright.
M: Yes. And the same for me. I mean it was…
S: Of course.
M: It was a delight to do things for him.
S: Of course.
M: I’m sure that many people will criticize the fact that he was staying at the Plaza Athénée. Well, to me, nothing was too good for him.
M: And it gave me fun…
S: Of course it did.
M: …to be able to make that happen.
S: Yes, yes. And it’s lovely, you see, that Krishnaji didn’t block that because of appearances or fear of what some people might think, or something else. It’s lovely that that…
M: Yes. And it, in a way, I mean, we did go to that one place, I can’t remember which year it was. We went down into Touraine; we stopped at a very opulent place, the Michelin over-rated it; it was just pretentious…
M: It was a wealthy industrialist’s château. He had built it and then he died, and they turned it into a hotel. And it was opulent and vulgar and pretentious, and we couldn’t wait to leave in the morning.
S: Mm, hm.
M: So, he was sensitive to that kind of thing. But because a place like the Plaza Athénée gives excellence, it was different.
S: Yes. See that’s the other thing which is interesting to think of, that because Krishnaji was so sensitive to all these things, the fact that the atmosphere was correct or the place was correct, or the food was correct, it was more obvious, at least to my seeing, the importance of these things is more obvious. For someone who was of a more general insensitivity, if they stayed in a place with excellence or they stayed in a place that was mediocre, they had a bed—what does it matter? But in fact, it does matter, and the more sensitive a person is, the more it matters, and because Krishnaji was so sensitive, you could see that it really mattered…
S: …and it wasn’t just superfluous…
S: …to care about the atmosphere, to care about the excellence, to care about the beauty of things and the quality of the food; it wasn’t superfluous. It actually had a real discernible impact. And that’s why these things were important.
M: Yes. He valued excellence in all things, but he didn’t depend on anything.
S: No. Quite right. So, he could benefit from it, but without being dependent on it.
M: Yes. Yes.
Anyway, ‘we got to Brockwood. We had a telegram waiting for us from Mar de Manziarly saying that Sacha had died the day before when we were motoring.’ If you recall from our last discussion, Krishnaji had gone to see Sacha in the American hospital…
M: …those few days we were in Paris. And I had a long talk with him.
S: What did Sacha die of?
M: I don’t remember. I think something like a stroke, something like that. I’m not sure.
S: This is also a side track, but it seems that most of the people who were, I want to say close to him, or who were real friends of Krishnaji’s, were female.
S: And Sacha was one of the few male friends that he had from his youth.
M: Yes, yes. He had…
S: …he was the only male friend he had from his youth.
M: Well, he had, of course, what is his name…oh, really, my memory…there was someone who should’ve done the job that Rajagopal fell into, but who died very suddenly years before, who was a friend…
M: Oh, the names…I can hear it in my head and I can’t say it…anyway, he had friends in those early days, but as you point out…
S: They died.
M: …they disappeared.
M: People were taken away from him that were…
S: Yes, it’s like Nitya.
M: Aldous Huxley.
S: Huxley, exactly. There were friends that he had, but they died.
M: Yes. That’s true. But it might be interesting, thinking of this, Sacha dying and Krishnaji went to the hospital and saw him, because it was coincidence that we came to Paris at that moment and that Sacha had just gone into hospital, I think. And then later, or maybe it’s before this, when Mrs. Bindley died; she’d fallen down stairs. He went to the hospital, and saw her, and she died very soon after that, a few days later, I think. It was somewhere south of London in a hospital. When we went in, she was asleep. Krishnaji stood at the door, and I went over to the bed and very quietly sat down, and said quietly, “Mrs. Bindley, Krishnaji is here and has come to see you.” In her sleep almost, or just as she was coming to, she said, “Oh, lovely, lovely, lovely.” [Chuckles.]
S: Mm, how nice.
M: It was so touching. And then I went out of the room, and he talked with her, and she died quite soon.
It says here, ‘I went to the garage because of my car sometimes not starting, and they found that one cell of the battery was gone, which is why it was happening. So then there was unpacking’ and all of that.
On the second of May, ‘we took the train from Petersfield and lunched with Mary at Fortnum’s after a Huntsman fitting for Krishnaji. Mary and Joe were about to leave for Canada and California, a business trip for Joe.’ Then something ‘with Alain, they will spend the last weekend of the month in the house in Malibu.’ I wasn’t going to be there, but I offered them to stay there.
S: So the Linkses and Alain were going to be in your house?
M: Yes. On the third, ‘Krishnaji resumed dictating To the Schools.’ Then there’s written ‘“Nitya!”’ with an exclamation point. ‘The way Krishnaji said the name gave me the sense of a brother’s relationship.’
On May fourth, ‘Saral and David Bohm came for lunch, and spent the night in the West Wing. We talked to them about a scientist meeting at Brockwood, and David Bohm said he would write to David Hall,’ who seemed to be in on all this, although I don’t know if he came.
S: I don’t think he did come.
M: On the sixth, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school.’
On the seventh, ‘Mary Cadogan came down and talked to Krishnaji and me before and after lunch, catching up on all the Foundation affairs.’
On the eleventh, ‘Krishnaji saw Yves Zlotnitska, who wants to film Krishnaji in India, and he was told that it was being done by KF India.’
On the twelfth, ‘it was Krishnaji’s seventy-eighth birthday, but we don’t mention those things around him.’ [S laughs.] ‘Krishnaji dictated a letter to Dr. Pollock about the Happy Valley land for use as a KFA school.’ That was when we were casting about for a place. I’ve gone into that with you.
‘The Digbys came to lunch, also Georgio Barabino of whom we will hear more later.’ [Chuckles.] ‘After lunch, Krishnaji talked for a while to the Digbys and I joined them. It was our first meeting since the fracas in October’—that was when Nelly wouldn’t go to talk to Michael Rubinstein if I went. ‘Things went fairly smoothly. As trustees, Nelly, Dorothy, and I discussed the conveyance of Brockwood from the old Foundation to the KFT.’
On the thirteenth, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school in the dining hall. And he gave an interview to Alex Cadogan. I sent a letter to Dr. Pollock from Krishnaji formally asking the board of the Happy Valley Foundation to make land available in Ojai for a school.’
On the sixteenth, Krishnaji, Dorothy, Doris, and I drove in the Mercedes to the New Forest and had a picnic there, and went on to Buckler’s Hard.’ Have you ever been to Buckler’s Hard?
M: It’s a tiny fifteenth-century village where…
S: Ship building.
M: …these amazing ships were built. ‘We drove on to Christ Church and then back through Lyndhurst. Krishnaji was tired; the drive was too long.’
S: What did Krishnaji think of going to a place like Buckler’s Hard, which was really only of historical interest?
M: I don’t know. He didn’t say. He liked the driving, looking at the country, and we got out and walked around.
S: But he wasn’t particularly interested in historical things.
M: Not really, I wouldn’t say. I don’t say that he wasn’t, but it wasn’t something he enthused over. He was not a museum man at all.
M: In fact, when we went the first time to Chenonceau, we got out and walked around but he didn’t want to go into the château. Later, we did—he went in later when we were staying with the Marogers. We went to Amboise and Chambord, and I forget where else, and he did go in because everyone was going in.
M: But he didn’t comment much upon it.
On the seventeenth, ‘Krishnaji decided to stay at home and rest, so Dorothy and I went by train to London. We did errands, and I went to the Digby’s for a meeting of the KFT trustees and members of the Publication Committee, which lasted till 6:30 p.m. What we decided is subject to a further meeting with Krishnaji, Mary Links, and Alan Kishbaugh. The KFT is to be kept informed via minutes of the Publication Committee meetings, and in case of disagreements in the Publication Committee, the Foundation is to decide. George resents not being consulted before the suit was brought against KWINC.’
S: Ah, ha.
M: Well, nobody outside of the KFA was consulted. ‘I didn’t get back till 9 p.m., and was tired,’ it says.
On the eighteenth, ‘Krishnaji held a staff meeting.’
On the twentieth, it starts with a quote from Krishnaji: ‘“I had an odd dream last night. There was a certificate that the mother, probably our mother, was dead. And I sat down on the bed and put my hands on her, and gradually I felt the warmth return to her and she sat up. Then I woke up. Probably it is symbolic.” Then, Krishnaji talked to the school in the dining room. He questioned why the students are so silent in meetings with him, and don’t discuss, also why there isn’t a fire and energy in them. Are they bored, listless? Some said because there is no pressure, i.e., grades, and other demands of study, there isn’t a prod to do things. One must supply one’s own interests, energy. There was then a discussion of authority: “If X doesn’t come to the morning meetings, how does a staff member deal with him?”’ [Chuckles.] That’s the sample problem. “‘I would describe to him the reasons for the morning meetings, the coming together quietly in the sense of unity. And if he refuses, what do I do? I tell him twenty times; but he still doesn’t come. I leave him alone on this subject but talk to him at meals here and there. I give him the sense that I care about him. I point things out. Then I go back and ask him to come to the morning meetings again. I have talked this way for fifty years. Do you know why? Because I love you. You are my son or my daughter.”’ [In a very quiet tone:] That’s what he said.
M: The next day, ‘Krishnaji held a staff meeting and I worked on things for Erna and the case.’
On the twenty-second. ‘Krishnaji again talked to the school, but without visitors. The students spoke up more,’ it says. ‘Peters Racz visited, lunched, and spoke to Krishnaji after.’ Remember Peter Racz? A Brazilian boy. He was also very friendly with David Bohm.
M: [chuckles] ‘Doris lent me her little mini-car, and I went to Winchester for more bedding for the guests, while Krishnaji cleaned the engine of the Mercedes.’ [Laughing.]
On the twenty-fourth ‘we both went to London and had an early lunch at Fortnum’s, and then he went to the dentist, Hamish Thompson, and I did errands while he was there. Then, we went to Huntsman where Krishnaji ordered a light-ish grey suit and to Sulka, where we both ordered shirts made of Indian silks that Krishnaji brought back from India. Krishnaji inspected Maxwell, whose shoe shop is on Bond Street and is now owned by Huntsman. We looked at picnic baskets at Asprey’s and bought one at Fortnum’s’ [laughs]. ‘Then we went to a craft center gallery to look at Peter Collingwood rugs and caught the 4:20 p.m. back to Petersfield.’
On the twenty-fifth, ‘Krishnaji held a staff meeting at 11:30 a.m. Dr. Pollock is not coming to Brockwood.’
‘It was a warm summer day’ on the twenty-sixth, ‘and the start of midterm holiday for the school, also a bank holiday. Krishnaji washed the car in the afternoon while I weeded’ [chuckles] ‘a section of the rose garden. It was too hot for the usual walk, so we sat and wandered about in the grove.’
On the twenty-seventh, ‘we planned a picnic, but for fear of Krishnaji’s hay fever this season, we didn’t have it. We had a nice quiet day.’
May twenty-ninth. ‘A letter from Erna saying the pre-trial court meeting was on the twenty-fifth, and resulted in postponement to June fifteenth. Other postponements on both sides’ interrogatories. The Lilliefelts postponed their departure till after the fifteenth.’
The next few days, it just says ‘desk, walk, desk, walk…’ Um…
On the first of June, ‘Krishnaji met with the staff. At 6 p.m., I met Mar de Manziarly at Petersfield train station. She is here for the weekend, staying in the West Wing. I spoke to Mary Links, who arrived last night from Malibu. They stayed in the house three days.’ I’d forgotten that.
On June second, ‘Krishnaji dictated anotherLetters to the Schools. Mar came on the walk with Krishnaji, Dorothy, and me.’
On the third, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school, and again we had walks,’ the same kind of walks. Then there’s a lot about my family…
On June fourth, ‘Mar showed Krishnaji and me letters written by Nitya to her in the early ’20s. Very moving. They seem so alive, and there was such humor and irony, and somehow sad, as though much of that world they occupied was tiresome to him. “Theosophy is the most boring thing of all.”’ That’s what Nitya wrote. ‘Krishnaji was moved by the letters, and said, “I saw what it was like, but he was much more mature than I was.”’
S: Where do you suppose those letters are, Mary?
M: I have no idea. I don’t know. She gave me them, and I put them in the archives, some letters that Krishnaji had written to her, but I don’t remember being given letters written by Nitya.
S: Where could we begin looking for these letters, do you think?
M: There’s nowhere to look. Mar is dead; her sisters are both dead; Sacha’s dead.
S: They did not have any children?
M: Nope. Except for Mima, none of them ever married. And all of them are now dead.
S: Are there any uncles, aunts, cousins?
S: No family that we can think of?
M: They had no relatives that I know of, never heard of any. Mar died in Ojai. Mima died…they all died in Ojai, except Sacha, who died, as we just saw, in Paris. Mima had a house in Ojai, and a bee garden. She moved there early on. She married this man from Chicago and he committed suicide not long afterward. And she then moved to Ojai, bought a house and land, and lived there for the rest of her life. She had inherited from her husband, who was very wealthy, and I know that the sisters were financially dependent on her, but I don’t know about Sacha. He may have had a pension or something. Mar and Sacha shared a flat in Paris, on the Rue Jacob, and lived there till Sacha died. Not long after that, I think Mar gave it up.
S: And moved to Ojai.
M: She had an old maid who looked after her for some time. But then the old maid either died or retired, and she couldn’t cope on her own. Yo had in the meantime a friend with whom she shared a place, somewhere in New England, and when the friend died, Yo went to live in Ojai at first with Mima, and then she had a little flat in upper Ojai, and Mar joined her there and had a little flat next door. Then, I don’t know what happened to Yo, but Mima found Mar a flat in Ojai. I visited her there, so I know that. And Mar died there, after Krishnaji’s death. I don’t know what happened to Yo, except that I’ve been told she’s dead; where she died or what happened, I don’t know. The house that Mima had has been sold. So, the de Manziarlys vanished from the earth.
S: It is tragic that those letters are lost.
M: Yes. What will happen to all of Krishnaji’s letters to Vanda, of course, is also unknown.
S: I know. I do wish we could get those letters from Vanda.
M: Well, I can’t do it.
M: I can’t ask for them. I said to her, and I know I’ll say it again, that I do think the preservation of those letters is important. And I’ve asked her what she wants done with them, and things like that, but I can’t say what I think she should do with them.
S: Mm, hm. No. Of course not.
M: The fifth of June. ‘I drove Mar to Petersfield station, where she got the train to London, and she spent the day in London with Mary Links on material for the biography Mary is writing before returning to Paris. It was a marvelously lovely day. I drove back slowly through East Meon. The countryside ravishing—totally beautiful. Krishnaji talked to the school about what is distraction. He then said how he would teach mathematics. “I will show you.” Begin by asking the students if they have habits, any habits. So you see that if you have a habit, you are unaware of it, and that will lead to habits of mind? Discuss that. Then with that mind discuss mathematics, he said.’
The next day, ‘I went to Winchester with Dorothy for more sheets, blankets, etcetera for guests. It was a most beautiful day. I was back in time for lunch. Krishnaji, with Carlos’s help, had Simonized the Mercedes. We went for only a short walk. I did the first dictation of letters using a small IBM recording device and then sending the tape to Cadogan’s office, where I have left an IBM transcribing unit.’
S: Hold on, because the archives list says there’s another Letters to the Schools.
M: Well, I don’t know.
M: Yes, if you can read that, here.
S: Oh lord!
M: Yes. [Both laugh.]
S: I think you were writing with water!
M: I know.
S: [long pause] You’re right, it doesn’t say anything about another Letters to the Schools. Boy, this is hard to read.
M: [laughs] I know. Pale blue ink on pale blue paper! [Laughing.] Not a good plan.
Well, the next day’s just as pale. It says, ‘it’s a warm, marvelous day here. Worked at the desk most of the day. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked across the fields and in the back of the pretty house on the lane.’ That’s that half-timbered house that I had a great fancy for in those days. I used to think, “Why don’t I buy that?” [Chuckles.]
S: Yes, quite right.
M: The eighth of June. ‘It was a hot day. Krishnaji and I went to town on the 10:45 a.m. from Petersfield. I sent flowers to my mother, who was there. Mary Links and Amanda Palandt had lunch with us at Fortnum’s. Krishnaji had three fillings at the dentist, Hamish Thompson. Then we went to see Mrs. Bindley. I stopped for some fruit. We caught the 4:50 p.m. back.’
On June tenth, ‘Krishnaji talked to the school.’ [Laughs.] ‘Egyptian dancers in afternoon then Swami Venkatesananda and his admirers dropped by to see Krishnaji.’ [Chuckles.] ‘Eventually we got out for a walk.’ That reminds me [chuckling] of the scene in the doorway here in the West Wing when the swami was arriving. Krishnaji was with me at the door, and the swami insisted on prostrating himself in the doorway, a most awkward spot to have chosen, and Krishnaji didn’t want him to do it, and sort of tried to get him up, and it was kind of a humorous struggle. [Laughing.]
S: Yes. Insisting on prostrating toward this man who never wanted that kind of thing. Yes. [Both laugh again.]
M: Oh, the next few days is all about going to buy things for the Cloisters and meeting my brother and sister-in-law at Claridge’s, and talking business. Mother was there. Bud and Lisa came with me to Mallett’s, where I bought two eighteenth-century Chinese bird paintings, which are on the wall behind you. I got some more later.’
June twelfth, ‘we walked as usual. Krishnaji has hay fever, but the tulip extract from Dr. Wolff seems to be helping.’
On the thirteenth, ‘Krishnaji talked to the students and staff in the morning and finished by 1:10 p.m. I went to London in the afternoon about my family and errands. I went to Victorian Albert Museum where the Cooper Hewitt had an exhibition.’ Lisa, Bud’s wife, was head of the Cooper Hewitt. There were all sorts of people we met, the director of the Tate, blah, blah. Eventually I got home.
June fourteenth ‘was a marvelously lovely day, but not good for Krishnaji’s hay fever. He began taking Acktang, a German allergy medicine from Dr. Wolff, which helps. Krishnaji came with me to Petersfield on errands. I bought plants for the house and then I worked with Edna Cleeve’—that was the cleaning lady we had for the West Wing—‘in the afternoon on beds, etcetera for the dining room now converted to a bedroom to house Pupul and family. Walked with Krishnaji and Dorothy.’
June fifteenth. ‘A warm day. Krishnaji and I took the train to London and went to Mallett’s, where we chose four more Chinese bird paintings. Then, Krishnaji had a tooth filled at Hamish Thompson’s. Then, we lunched with Mary Links at Fortnum’s. Krishnaji and I went to Huntsman, after which Krishnaji had a haircut at Truefitt. We bought sweaters for Vanda, Fosca, and Dorothy. Then Krishnaji and I went to the Vigo Street rug place, and chose a Persian rug for the drawing room,’ which you can see over my left shoulder. We then caught the 5:14 p.m. to Petersfield and back to Brockwood. Amanda Palandt is staying at Brockwood to help with the coming guests. She brought a couple of vases as a gift from Mary and Joe.’ That’s the one in the hall.
S: Ah, yes.
M: The next day, ‘there was work everywhere getting ready for visitors. Enormous cleanup in the Cloisters. I have a sore throat. I changed beds around in the West Wing. I didn’t walk, and had a fever at night.’
On the seventeenth, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school. My fever is gone, and I feel better. I went on fixing rooms. Walked with Krishnaji, Dorothy, and Amanda Palandt. At 4 p.m., Krishnaji gave interviews to Jamie Thompson, son of dentist Hamish Thompson. The work done on the Cloisters is not finished, but they are ready for visitors.’
Now, we jump to the big book, and the eighteenth. ‘Intense work all weekend to ready the Cloisters. The builders’ men went off on Friday, leaving piles of debris in the courtyard and no way to remove it except by hand and barrow. Ian Hammond and Robert Wiffen just looked helpless, but when Dorothy sent out word that she would pay a pound an hour for anyone who would work on the cleanup, by this morning, after drudgery by older boy students, and Billy Bud…’
S: Billy Bud, oh yes. I remember him. He was the forester for the estate surrounding us.
M: Yes. ‘…and his family and friends, four tons had been removed. The courtyard was smooth and Amanda Palandt ’—here to help out—‘had borrowed green shrubs in tubs to catch the eye here and there. Each little room was neat, clean, bright, and ready. Three quarters of the quadrangle is complete. The work continues on the fourth side and sitting room, but the deadline was met. Similarly, in the West Wing, things came down to the wire. The man from Heal’s came for a third time, and with the necessary parts, installed a wardrobe in my upstairs office’—temporarily another bedroom—‘bought five weeks ago. It was finished an hour before the Indians arrived [quiet chuckle]. The Chinese bird paintings Krishnaji and I bought at Mallett’s on Friday were hung this morning and the Persian rug we bought the same day is in front of the drawing room fireplace. It does look pretty. Suddenly the school group is alive and pulled together, and Krishnaji is really pleased, which is my fun. Ruth Tettemer and Albion Patterson arrived from Ojai this morning. Ruth was last in England in 1928. I met them at Petersfield. They are in the Cloisters. The Indians, Pupul, her daughter, Radhika and her children, Sunanda and Mia’—that’s the names of Radhika’s children—‘arrived with Balasundarum, and Sunanda and Achyut Patwardhan. Pupul is in the West Wing dining room, where I moved the big bed; the others are in the Cloisters.’
‘Albion and I discussed the agenda for the meetings. He has written a good letter of suggestions, which Krishnaji wants distributed. It is strong on the need for archives kept at professional standards. The standards of authenticity for future scholars.’ Good for Albion.
Tuesday, June nineteenth, ‘Krishnaji talked to Pupul alone and then with the other Indians. He then held a school discussion in which a question was asked about what love is. He explored it, in part drawing it out of the students. He again repeated the fact mentioned by David Bohm that in the Eskimo language, “thought” and “outside” are the same words. [Chuckles.] Alan Kishbaugh arrived at Petersfield at 1 p.m. I met him. Then, at 3:30 p.m., Krishnaji held a meeting to discuss the agenda with the trustees present. Krishnaji, Ruth, Albion, Alan, Dorothy, Pupul, Balasundarum, Sunanda, and Achyut Patwardhan.’
So we now go to June twentieth in the little book again. ‘Krishnaji talked to the Lilliefelts and me. The Digbys arrived for the opening meeting, but Mary Links and Mary Cadogan were late. We agreed with the agenda discussion before lunch, and then at 4 p.m. with both Marys there, Krishnaji opened the meeting with moving words on trust and working together. Then we discussed whether the Foundations should continue and in what form. He spoke for two hours. Later, Mary Links, Alan K., and I talked about the Verhulst-Servire mess, which will be gone into tomorrow.’
On June twenty-first, ‘We met all morning on the agenda. After lunch, the Publication Committee and the KFT met with Krishnaji on the new structure, i.e., the Foundation is to call annual meetings and be ultimately responsible and we came to an agreement on proceedings with the Verhulst matter. Krishnaji then went out with Ian Hammond and decided on wooden benches instead of a wall for the Cloisters. At 4 p.m, the Foundation meetings resumed. Hughes arrived and with the Publication Committee Members present, we went into the thorny matter of world publications. India, again, made a play for sharing the copyright. It was exhausting, but tentative agreements were made. I talked to Hughes about a French gift for a French Bulletin.’
On the twenty-second, ‘there was a morning meeting of the Krishnaji Foundation’s Publications Committee and Doris. Mary C. and Balasundarum had hammered out statements that we had agreed on yesterday, and it was gone over sentence by sentence, giving definitions. India accepts the copyright situation as is, solely England’s, but the KFI has new and permanent publishing rights for its own territories. There is a much better feeling today, more trust and cooperation. In the afternoon, we went on with the agenda and made progress. There was a late walk. The weather is turning lovely.’
On June twenty-third, ‘Krishnaji held a discussion in the morning for trustees and Mary L. The meeting in the afternoon completed the agenda.’
The next day, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school. The trustees met again in the afternoon and finished the agreements. Mary L. urged that all of Krishnaji’s ashes be given to the Indians. The Americans thought this to be sectarian, but didn’t speak up. Krishnaji says Indians have told him they will scatter his ashes in the Ganga. Mary L. left with Joe.’
June twenty-fifth ‘was a day off. The Indians cooked the lunch. Saris were worn by many students. I took time to go to Petersfield on errands, and felt poorly in the afternoon Sinus problems.’
On the twenty-sixth, ‘Krishnaji held a discussion in the morning with the trustees. We all signed the agreements that had been reached. Balasundarum, Achyut Patwardhan, and Alan Kishbaugh left. I felt worse with sinus problems and slept poorly.’ I don’t know why we put that in, but that’s what it says.
S: Leave it in.
M: The next day, ‘Pupul’s daughter, Radhika, and her children left with Sunanda. I still felt sick. I worked at the desk all afternoon. Krishnaji suggested saltwater douches in the nose, which helped. I had a liquid diet all day.’
On June twenty-eighth, ‘I went to the doctor. Then I met Evelyne and Lou Blau at Petersfield. They talked to Krishnaji, Erna, Theo, Ruth, and me before and after lunch and I showed them the place. Lou gave lawyer’s advice on the case. Erna and I drove them back to Petersfield station. Later, Krishnaji called KFA members together to speak of being open and letting things develop with the school and center in Ojai.’
The next day, ‘I still have a cold. Erna and Theo left to go to see Anneke in Holland about papers for both the Ojai and the Vasanta Vihar cases.’ This, by now, to remind whoever it may concern, that the case had developed in Madras because Madahvachari was holding Vasanta Vihar for Rajagopal, but it developed that for legal reasons I can’t explain, that Vasanta Vihar belonged to Holland.
S: Through all the shell games of Rajagopal.
M: That’s right. So, the KFI had to have papers from the Holland Stichting to present in Madras to the court, etcetera. So that’s what they did. ‘I went to fill a prescription in Alresford and took Ruth, Albion, and Verna Krueger along for the drive. We met Krishnaji, Dorothy, and Whisper walking along the lane as we came back.’
On the first of July, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school, and I began packing.’
The next day, ‘When I woke up and I realized that I needed to get Krishnaji’s Swiss visa, so I rushed up to London and got it. Came right back.’
The third was ‘more packing. Then I discovered that the British dockers are striking for the week against French boats because of the French atomic bomb tests in the Pacific. So our Normandy ferry for tonight had been canceled. I quickly called Thoresen Townsend, which has accepted our car reservations. We walked in the afternoon Krishnaji and I had supper downstairs. The car was loaded, we said goodbye to everyone, and left at 9 p.m. We drove to Southampton and onto the Thoresen Ferry. After the ship sailed, I got the purser to provide a cabin for Krishnaji.’
‘We arrived in Le Havre the next morning, and disembarked at 7:15 a.m. We stopped in Bourg-Achard for croissants, and had a picnic breakfast using the new hamper, and reached Paris and the Plaza Athénée at 11 a.m. It was very hot in Paris. I bathed, changed, and lunched nicely in the hotel garden. Krishnaji was very splendid in a brown birds-eye suit. He took a nap afterward, after which we went and bought a new Phillips razor. I had a fitting at Chanel and met him at 5 p.m at Charvet, where four new shirts were ordered. Came back, hot and tired, to the hotel. Bathed again. Supper in rooms and early to bed.’
The next day, ‘we left the Plaza Athénée at 9:30 a.m. on another hot day and drove south on the autoroute to Chalon, which took four hours. Krishnaji drove for one of those hours. At Chalon, we took Route National 78 through Louhans and Lons-le-Saunier. We finally found a shady quiet lane and had a late picnic lunch, then drove on through Morez and over the Col de la Faucille into Switzerland. We arrived at Geneva and the Hotel du Rhône at 6:30 p.m., hot and tired. I telephoned Vanda, who had just arrived at Tannegg. We had supper in the rooms and Krishnaji said, “No more of these long motor trips. It’s too much!”’ [Laughs.]
On July sixth, ‘we went to Patek and to Jacquet. Krishnaji ordered seven ties and some socks. It is not as hot as yesterday. Narasimhan lunched with us at the hotel, then we drove along the lake to Lausanne and over the hill, stopping for gâteau at Bulle.’
S: Oh, yes, of course. [M laughs.] The famous Gâteau Bullois. Krishnaji loved that! They were good, from that one particular bakery.
M: Yes, on the left. [S laughs.] ‘We drove through streaming rain up the valley. Arrived at Tannegg, 568 miles from Brockwood. Vanda and Fosca had everything in order. We also have Madame Walsh’s apartment downstairs this year. The other apartment’—I guess that’s the one in the middle—‘is being remodeled. I unpacked, had supper, and went to bed. Amanda is being operated on again that day. Krishnaji said in the car, “I will be thinking of it at night. One is quieter then.” Today too was to be a day of the court hearings on the case.’
S: Before we go on to the next day, didn’t you always have the same rooms at the Plaza Athénée?
M: Yes. At the Plaza Athénée we did.
S: Which room numbers were they?
M: Who knows? I can’t remember that.
S: [laughs] No detail is too small. Do you remember what floor they were on?
M: No. [Laughs.] But what I can tell you, which was important to us, is that the rooms didn’t look out on the courtyard, because noise would rise up. In the summer, people ate in the courtyard as it was pretty with flowers all around. But there’s another courtyard on the other side which I guess goes down to nothing. It has a grill separating it from another building opposite. So, there was no noise, and it was protected from the street.
On the seventh of July, ‘there was a cable from the Dunnes saying that Amanda’s operation was successful. Krishnaji said, “I woke up feeling happy.”’
S: Mm. In reference to Amanda?
M: Yes. ‘I cabled back from Krishnaji and myself. No news from Erna on what should have been yesterday’s court hearing in Ventura. Did errands in the village. Rested. Wrote letters.’
July ninth, ‘No special mail, no news. Krishnaji rested. I did letters. After lunch, Vanda and I drove to Château d’Oex to find some miso for Krishnaji. Meanwhile, he had his hair cut by the good barber Nicola now in the new barber shop. We picked him up on the way back.’
On July eleventh, ‘There was a letter from Erna written on the fifth. The court meeting was again postponed until the twentieth. Christensen,’ that’s Rajagopal’s lawyer, ‘is to have submitted a settlement offer okayed by Rajagopal on sixth. Krishnaji worked on a statement for the Bulletin about the international foundation agreements made at Brockwood. I bought a new Hermes typewriter at Madame Cadonau’s and typed up Krishnaji’s statement and sent it to Erna, Mary C., and Balasundarum for comments.’
The next day, ‘Krishnaji dictated To the Schools number 8 on freedom and order. Edgar Graf came to lunch.’
On the thirteenth, ‘I worked on a revision with Krishnaji of the number 8 To the Schools. Barabino came to lunch, after which I took Vanda down to the village for errands. I got a silk jersey for Amanda, and met Krishnaji on his walk.’
The next day, ‘the Simmonses and Doris arrived in Saanen in the Land Rover.’ Now we can jump to the big book for the fifteenth, but it’s getting late. I suggest that we call a halt.
S: Alright. So, we’ll start next time on the fifteenth in the big book.
Editor’s Note: The following is on a separate piece of paper that was folded into Mary’s large diary that covers the dates of July 13, 1970 through October 14, 1974. The piece of paper is undated, so there is no way to know where the right place would be to insert this, but Mary was clearly taking down what Krishnaji was saying, and it seems right to include it somewhere. So, it is here.
“I woke up yesterday morning. I don’t know how to describe it—I never had it in my life before. I had it all day. It is there now.
“A sense of tremendous brain power—not to do something—just pure brain power. It went on. I got a little nervous of it, watching. Yes, it is in the head. Entirely different—never had it before.
“Woke up with it.
“Woke up and there it was. Then I got a little nervous—it was so strong, as though tremendous power was there—limitless, vast. I don’t know how to describe it.”
 Joan’s Acre, part of the Hinton Ampner estate next to Brockwood.
Back to text.