Issue 34—January 1, 1975 to April 5, 1975
After a difficult sojourn in India, during which Krishnaji was sick most of the time, we see two major occurrences in this issue: Krishnaji and Mary slowly beginning to move back to Ojai, and the Oak Grove School in Ojai gradually taking shape.
The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #34
Mary: We start at the beginning of 1975. Krishnaji was in India, and I was in Malibu, and nothing seems to have happened of note for our purpose here. I’ll just scan through until we get to things worth noting which pertain to Krishnaji.
From the little book we have something for January tenth. ‘Erna received a letter from Krishnaji, who said he had received consent from Cohen and Christensen to send a copy of the case agreement to be used in regards to the Vasanta Vihar litigation. She tried unsuccessfully to telephone Balasundaram and find out where to send it. I wrote to Krishnaji this morning.’
I got a letter from Krishnaji on January thirteenth. ‘Pupul, Achyut, Sunanda, and Balasundarum wrote to Rajagopal about “working together” and asking for a quit-claim to Vasanta Vihar. Also, KF India wants the right to sell Indian books in English outside of India. Evelyne Blau telephoned. Dr. Pollock was dropped from the HappyValley school board during his absence. Rosalind Rajagopal says he is on the KFA board, representing KFA.’
The next day, ‘I drove to Ojai, and spent the morning repainting Krishnaji’s room and other things to Pine Cottage and seeing the contractor, Mr. Ojacks. I also did some work in the office building. I spent the evening with the Lilliefelts discussing money things.’
S: Wait a minute. Where was this place that you painted?
M: Pine Cottage. We got Pine Cottage in the settlement, you see.
On the fifteenth, ‘Alan Kishbaugh came to my house in Malibu, and at 8 a.m., we drove to Ojai. We looked at the Oak Grove and the land adjoining it. I then showed him the Arya Vihara houses. At 11 a.m., we had a KFA trustee meeting at Erna and Theo’s and then lunch. In the afternoon, Mark Lee came about the school.’ Then I seem to have done some more things with the cottage.
S: What things did you do?
M: Well, ‘I drove to Ventura and bought a cooking range and a refrigerator for the cottage. And then I met Theo about paint at the cottage. Talked to him and Erna until dark, then drove home.’
On the twentieth, ‘there was a cable from Krishnaji about tickets to fly to London and here on the eighth instead of the first.’ Then I did some more errands about the cottage.
S: What errands?
M: Oh, furniture. Don’t be so…[laughs]…picky!
S: This is all very important historically. [Laughs.]
M: It is not. Alright, so, I had curtains made, and some other things.
S: Well, that’s great, you see, because it shows how it’s being prepared and…
M: Alright, ‘a table with four chairs.’
Then, ‘I talked to Mary Cadogan about the tickets, and I went out about the curtains again. Alan Hooker had azaleas and camellias planted next to the cottage,’ which was nice of him.
‘I came home to find two letters from Krishnaji sent from Bangalore on the eighth and ninth. He went for three weeks without any of mine reaching him. My letters numbers fourteen and sixteen have not arrived.’
On January twenty-second, ‘Balasundarum telephoned Erna from Bombay about the legal papers. He said to tell me Krishnaji has had fever for three days, but is over it.’
I drove to Ojai on the twenty-fifth. ‘I met Erna, Theo, and Evelyne Blau. We walked all over the land near the Oak Grove and down to the main road. It is beautiful land. We showed Evelyne the Arya Vihara houses, and at 4 p.m. in Arya Vihara we ran the Canadian film of Krishnaji for a few people. There was a letter from Dr. Parchure, written on the seventeenth, in which he says that Krishnaji had a fever on the fifteenth and his Bombay talks on the eighteenth and nineteenth had to be canceled.’ Then I have more about the cottage; putting in the refrigerator, etcetera.
S: Now, where would you have put those, Mary?
M: The refrigerator?
M: In the kitchen [laughs].
S: But as I know Pine Cottage now, there is no…
M: Well, it had a kitchen before, which is now my bathroom.
S: And what was your bedroom?
M: A little dining room.
S: And what was eventually Krishnaji’s bedroom was his old bedroom?
M: Yes, that was his bedroom, and his sitting room was his original sitting room, but his bedroom was smaller. I enlarged it by pushing out the eastern wall.
S: Toward the office?
M: No, toward my bedroom.
S: Oh, I see. These are interesting historical facts.
M: [laughs…then both laugh.] Oh, heavens.
S: So, then, your bedroom door that goes outside would’ve been a back dining room door.
M: Yes. If I remember correctly, I pushed the whole porch out a little bit. I know that Krishnaji’s room was much narrower, from the closet to the wall.
S: Mm, hm.
M: So, I enlarged it, made it a better shape. It was dark, also.
M: It was horrid, actually.
On February second, ‘Krishnaji left Bombay after midnight and arrived in Rome. I telephoned Vanda’s and spoke to him at 9:30 a.m. local time here, but late in the evening there. He says he is over the flu and bronchitis. His voice sounded himself.’
On the fourth, ‘Krishnaji flew Rome to Brockwood.’
S: Why didn’t Krishnaji fly across the Pacific in those days?
M: Because he wanted to go to Brockwood to pick up his clothes, and to look in on Brockwood.
S: Yes, but Bombay to Rome, Rome to London, London to LA, that seems…
M: But remember, it wasn’t so easy or quick to fly those distances in those days. When we flew to Australia in 1970, it took twenty-four hours.
S: From LA?
M: …and then he went on from there to India later; he had to go via Singapore.
S: Ah, yes.
M: There was none of the direct flights in those days. Or, they were long.
M: On the sixth, ‘I took all the furniture to Ojai. Cleaned the cottage and put things in order all day. Curtains were installed in Krishnaji’s three rooms. I was there till after 8 p.m., then drove home. Mark Lee says the fire department and the building inspector will not allow Arya Vihara to be either a school or a center.’
The next day ‘was a quiet day at home putting Krishnaji’s room in Malibu in readiness,’ …and something about the Dunnes.
From the big book: On the eighth of February, ‘Krishnaji, after four days at Brockwood, left Heathrow at 12:30 p.m. on TWA and arrived at Los Angeles at 3:20 p.m. His one bag took a long time to appear and so it was an hour till he emerged, looking better than I had feared after the fever in Bombay and all the traveling since. He came home to Malibu and had supper in bed, but, though tired and half-falling asleep, he wanted to go on talking and staying up. He slept wakefully. I have an enormous sense of relief at his being here. I had an intense feeling of his coming all day long.’ I could feel him…‘He brought his letters to date, and one written on the plane.’ He always brought his letters right up to date, including the day on the plane. [S laughs.] It was lovely.
S: Yes, it is lovely.
M: February ninth. ‘Krishnaji was in bed all day, having his meals on a tray. He slept most of the morning, but after lunch he gave an account of the events in India. He has not felt well all the time there. He never really was over the flu from Rome in October. He said he felt “sick” most of the time. He found much deterioration in India. Rajghat is full of conflict and indifference between the students and teachers. The students walked out in the middle of one of his talks as a demonstration, not against him, but against the teachers. Krishnaji met both sides later and both said they were antagonistic. He has hope that Ahalya Chari and Upasini will pull the place together. RishiValley has a strong sense of deterioration. Balasundarum is running it as an autocracy, and also spending too much time on other matters. Krishnaji talked to him, and Balasundarum was silent, afraid of him. Krishnaji insisted the school be run by a group of teachers working together. The principal and Foundation secretary shouldn’t be the same person. He told Balasundarum to take six months to go into himself. Sunanda and Achyut are to spend more time at Vasanta Vihar to see to things, and probably Sunanda will do more of the secretary of the Foundation work. Pupul…’ Let’s not let this out while everybody’s alive.
S: No, that’s right. No, we won’t.
M: ‘He said Pupul has deteriorated too, intellectually, etcetera. She is to leave government work and will do more work for the Foundation. Socially, politically, India is in a greater mess. He spent two hours talking to Mrs. Gandhi , and felt sorry for her, the enormity of her problems. He has told Pupul, Sunanda, Achyut, and Balasundarum that unless there is change in the schools, they will “not see my face.” This had a bomb-like effect.’
Tuesday, the eleventh of February. ‘It was a lovely, clear day. In the Green Beauty Mercedes, with Krishnaji driving, we left at 9:30 a.m. for Ojai. We met Erna and Theo by the Ranch House Restaurant, and then went around and walked in the Oak Grove and in the adjoining land. Krishnaji had forgotten how beautiful it is. He was surprised and very pleased. He walked across the field to the other side of Besant Road and up around Rajagopal’s place to the top of the hill where we could see down to Ventura Road, the part we will sell.’ It says here [laughter]. Alas!
S: [laughing] It’s still for sale!
M: And it’s still for sale! ‘Then we drove to Arya Vihara. For the first time since 1966, Krishnaji entered the house. The Lees, Ruth, and Albion were there. Krishnaji went through the house except for upstairs where the Lees are living. On the ground floor west bedroom, Krishnaji said, “My brother must’ve died here,” and, “Dr. Besant used this room.” In the hall, he said to me, “What quarrels there were here.” We walked through the orange trees to Pine Cottage, and Krishnaji went through it and through the office rapidly as though wanting to get away from something repellant. “I couldn’t spend a night here.” Too small, too closed in. “I have been spoiled by Brockwood and your house. I need space.” We went to the Lilliefelt’s with Ruth and Albion. Later, with Mark Lee, we discussed at length. Krishnaji now thinks the west end is good for the school. He asked, though, if any of us wish him to try to get the HappyValley land. None of us did. So, it is to be the west end. Krishnaji will speak in the Oak Grove on April twelve, thirteen, nineteen, and twenty. We left at 6 p.m. Coming home in the car, he said he felt the houses were contaminated and had an idea that, if he lived in the cottage, it would be for good. I said it was fixed up only for use for a few nights this year. We were home in time for supper.’
S: Tell me, just for the record, which room is it in Arya Vihara that, that Nitya died in?
M: It’s the one on the road, of the two bedrooms…
S: Alright, so, when you come in the front door, you turn right…
S: …you go through the living room.
M: And it’s the one on the right. It’s not the one looking out on the back garden. It’s the one that looks out toward the road, McAndrew Road.
M: Wednesday, February twelfth. ‘Krishnaji slept in the morning. After an early lunch, we drove to Lailee Bakhtiar’s office, where Krishnaji had his first appointment and checkup.’ She was then our doctor.
S: Mm, hm.
M: ‘She said his blood pressure was 130 over 80, and had excellent circulation in his extremities. We will get blood chemistry results next week. He had a cardiogram. While this was happening, I told her of his wishing never to be in a hospital. She said she understood and respected that, and if ever he is ill, we will manage at home. Later he told me he must never be given anesthesia that would make him unconscious, only local anesthesia. “I might not come back,” he said with a small laugh. Lailee wanted a chest X-ray, so we went to Dr. Jafer’s office, and Krishnaji had that. Then, in Westwood, we found two pairs of loafers, size 6D, just what he wanted. Then we saw Winkey’—Winkey was a friend who worked in a bookstore—‘and ordered a book, bought some ice cream, and came home. Accomplishing day. Krishnaji had me cable the Drs. Siddoo in India that he cannot visit Vancouver after San Francisco.’
The thirteenth. [Laughs.] ‘I am sixty. Don’t feel sixty. Feel well and rather young.’ [Both laugh.] ‘Krishnaji doesn’t heed birthdays and didn’t know it was the day until he asked me how Naudé happened to telephone.’ [Both laugh.] ‘A white azalea plant came from the Simmonses and Brockwood. My family telephoned. Krishnaji rested, and we had a pleasant, quiet day at home, which is everything wonderful a birthday could be for me.’
Friday the fourteenth of February. ‘We drove to Ojai. Met John Rex’—that’s the architect—‘Erna and Theo, and walked again over the Oak Grove area. Rex is enthusiastic about it for the school. It is the best place we could find in California, he said. We showed him the three houses on McAndrew Road. The Lees had lunch for us all, including Ruth and Albion. We then went to the Lilliefelt’s and discussed what is needed for Rex to make a tentative master plan to be able to show people at the April talks. After Rex left, Krishnaji spoke of concentrating everything in the west end, keeping McAndrew property private. He said he didn’t like the cottage or office building, and if he were to use Arya Vihara, it would have to be pulled down and begun all over again. But later, in the car going home, he spoke of trying the cottage and using it part of the time, spending the rest of the time in Malibu, i.e., keeping Malibu as our main place.’
On the fifteenth. ‘I made lunch in the kitchen. Krishnaji said he felt like saying something and he didn’t know how to tell me, it was about a feeling he has had the last few weeks, which he once had years ago before his brother had died. At Adyar, standing outside of the building in which they lived, looking up at their chambers, a feeling of emptiness, of no association at all.’
‘We unpacked two suitcases found at Arya Vihara; one a magnificent crocodile, one with his initials. We found some kurtas  and lots of socks. Some socks had JK woven in them, and one pair had JKN. It was as if they had been left there years ago by his brother when they shared their clothing. The cupboard was cedar and all the things now cedar-y. Krishnaji was interested in the clothes but wants to give most of it away. We went to town and saw a movie Chinatown.’ Did you see that?
S: I can’t remember.
The nineteenth of February. ‘I spoke to Erna. She just discovered an easement made by Rajagopal and the Vigevenos last summer that runs through the land between Rajagopal and Krotona , making it more or less un-saleable by us.’ [Laughs.] ‘No end to crookedness. Krishnaji stayed in bed all morning. After lunch, I went to town and saw Lailee Bakhtiar about Krishnaji’s tests. All are excellent. The lung X-rays show all is clear. There are some old scars which she surmised are probably from TB in his youth. His cardiogram is normal, liver/kidneys normal, blood count normal, cholesterol 200, blood sugar normal. There is nothing wrong. She thinks his only difficulty is his allergy, the hay fever. She gave me an antihistamine cough syrup, similar to Benadryl, to take during hay fever season. Also Dimetapp, tablets which are a little stronger. In spite of these, if he develops bronchitis and fever, or green sputum, he must take Tetracycline—which has the least side effect of antibiotics and reduce fever with aspirin, ten grains, and put baggies with ice under his armpits and at the back of the neck.’ That’s how she felt one should reduce fever.
M: ‘I reiterated my admonition that if ever I am seriously ailing, I expect her to tell me all underlying facts and the decisions are mine. I do not wish to be kept alive at all costs. She agreed. I got back and found that Krishnaji had dusted in and out of the Mercedes and walked sixteen turns around the lawn.’
The twentieth. ‘The Lilliefelts, Ruth, Albion, and Alan Kishbaugh and Mark Lee and Evelyne Blau came at 3 p.m. to discuss the scope of the school for John Rex to use in the plan. Later, Lou Blau joined us and discussed the Rajagopal and Vigeveno easements that snake around KFA land, and also to discuss fundraising. Blau described vividly the amounts of funds we will need as beyond what we can raise from the present mailing list. Krishnaji listened and said to Blau, “Should we not have a school?” Blau said that we should and we will, but we will need professional fundraising help.’ Well, he was right.
M: The twenty-sixth of February. ‘We left at 9:30 a.m. for Ojai. Elfriede’—that was my housekeeper—‘followed in a truck with rugs for different rooms in the cottage; the dining room, the porch, and part of the sitting room. The Lilliefelts, Ruth, Albion, and both Lees came to the cottage, and at 11 a.m., we went over articles on the meaning and function of the school, which Krishnaji wrote yesterday. Erna stayed to lunch with Krishnaji and me. It is our first meal in the cottage. I had cooked a pot of Spanish rice and vegetables at 6 a.m. and brought it along. During lunch, Krishnaji asked Erna and then Theo, “What is the right thing for Maria about a place to live in Ojai?” I was a listener, not a participant in this; Krishnaji silencing any comments.’ [Chuckle in M’s voice; S laughs.] ‘His feelings about the cottage are quite different today. When we arrived, he went in and out, walked off among the trees, and during the meeting he kept looking at the room and exclaimed at the comfort of the director chairs, for the first time noticed the curtains, etcetera. The feeling is changing, he said. The building inspector says we could start the school temporarily if it’s very small, using Arya Vihara for no more than five resident children, and maximum ten in classrooms, using the annex to the cottage and ground floor of the office. This would rule out Krishnaji’s using the cottage until the school could move to Oak Grove. Krishnaji seemed to be saying that the McAndrew property be kept for KF use, and if I move to Ojai, it should be a new piece of land at the east end.’
S: If you move?
M: Yes. ‘The others were not part of this discussion, but when they came back, we went on with the meeting. Albion made some suggestions to alter Krishnaji’s article which would only replace Krishnaji’s style and language with clichés.’
S: Which article is this?
M: It was what the school was about.
S: Ah, ha.
M: ‘Rajagopal’s name came up, regarding the zoning—the easements he, the Vigevenos, and Zalk got last July that run through the land KFA now has, east of Rajagopal’s house.’ They apparently put it in at the last minute when they knew they’d have to give it up. ‘Cohen has written a stiff letter about it to Christensen. Albion said that Rajagopal had been “behaving better lately,” and I said, “How? By keeping $3,000 interest due KFA but sent by error to KWINC when Erna telephoned about it?”’ That’s true—the bank got mixed up. [Both chuckle.]
Editor’s Note: In keeping with our policy of trying not to hurt people’s feelings, we have another Person X in this issue. Person X in this issue is a different person to the Person X who appeared in a previous issue. Person X in this issue had no function in either the proposed school or any of the foundations, but was invited to some of the meetings as a courtesy.
‘Person X came out with platitudes’—oh, lord, this is awful [S chuckles]—‘knowing nothing of what has happened, Person X would like to talk to Rajagopal and tell him to be friendly.’ [S laughs heartily.] ‘This sort of sentimental effrontery makes me tired.’ [M laughs and seems to say aside to S:] We’ll have to disguise this…
S: Yes, yes, yes, we will, we will, but it’s good to have it for the record.
M: [chuckles] ‘Krishnaji found it necessary to dissociate himself from Rajagopal and we found it necessary to wage a lawsuit to regain things for Krishnaji, and yet the sentimentalists tend to want to smooth Rajagopal. I find it an incredible phenomenon. Krishnaji rather silenced Person X, and other people in the room looked as if they would like to do the same. Krishnaji, Erna, and I walked up to the oak tree at the edge of the property. There was a discussion of my buying adjacent Topa Topa  land, but I don’t warm to the idea’ [voice cracks with humor in reading]. ‘On the way home, Krishnaji kept exclaiming over the curtains, which he finds very pretty. The atmosphere there is changing, he said. It was after 7 p.m. when we reached Malibu, but he wasn’t too tired. He said the body is now feeling relaxed. He’s sleeping better. Meditation again. It didn’t come in India, his body was too tired.’
M: For the next several days there is nothing of significance. I did lots of deskwork, we went to see a movie (Godfather 2, which he liked), walked, etcetera.
On the third of March, ‘we drove up to Ojai in the afternoon and moved into Pine Cottage for the first time. I made supper, but first we took a walk up toward ThacherSchool. People passing in cars recognized Krishnaji and smiled to see him here again. After supper, Krishnaji seemed disoriented, and had that “listening to something” look. It had begun in the car, though he was driving, but by bedtime he looked as if he didn’t know where he was, which is always strange, and he wanted me at hand. I slept on the couch I bought and put in his sitting room so that it could be used to sleep on,’ because he had his room, naturally, but there was nowhere for me.
On the fourth of March. ‘I gave Krishnaji breakfast as usual on a tray. Yesterday on the way up, Krishnaji said he felt suddenly like writing. The sight of the wild, bright yellow flowers that grow on the slopes by the beach sent him off. We stopped in Ventura to get a notebook and also a nightshirt and bathrobe, which we forgot to bring. I went for an eraser and marketed at Bayliss and made lunch for Krishnaji and Erna and Theo. Person X is a bit of a problem’ [chuckles]. ‘Person X expects to be included and consulted on everything. Krishnaji said he would handle it, and so he did.’
‘Mark Lee came after lunch, and first, Krishnaji told him the outline of Rajagopal’s history and then went into the question of wives interfering; the responsibility of the director’s position, vis-à-vis the Foundation, etcetera.’
‘Krishnaji and I went for a walk up HornCanyon to the river. It’s wild and lovely, but Krishnaji came back with sneezes and allergy. One more weight in the scale of where we should live.’
The fifth of March. ‘Krishnaji slept better last night. It rained all day. I interviewed a seventeen-year-old girl who had wanted to go to Brockwood because, “People are friendly.” Then, she was kicked out after one term for smoking. Empty, not very bright impression. Krishnaji and I lunched at Arya Vihara with the Lees, Lilliefelts, and Bruce and somebody Meyer, a couple, who will join the school venture with their two small children. Krishnaji and I redid the announcement of the school plans for The Bulletin. Krishnaji slept all afternoon.’
The sixth of March. ‘It rained lightly in Ojai, one inch in Malibu. Theo came over to tell me that he and Erna wanted to lend Krishnaji their house if the cottage is not right. Mark came to speak to Krishnaji. I made lunch, and Erna and Theo joined Krishnaji and me. We had a useful discussion about a center. I suggested it have several purposes rather than just having a constant program; that we have as well a retreat in which we offer quiet and a chance for people to go into themselves and Krishnaji’s teachings on their own, with an absence of outside influence.’ I seem to have had the idea early, didn’t I? [S laughs.] That’s news to me! ‘There should be tapes and books available if they seek them, but not served up in a program.’ Oh, how smart of me! [Laughs.]
S: It took a long time to come about, but…[laughs]
M: Well, this is a surprise to me. ‘At 4 p.m., Krishnaji and I drove to Malibu and Krishnaji discussed our redoing the cottage completely into a proper house for us. If the cottage is to be used partly for a school next year, we will have to wait till the west end school is built.’
Saturday, the eighth of March. I suppose there was a seventh, but it’s not worth reporting.
S: I’m sure it was.
M: Alright. Here goes. ‘Rained most of the day.’
S: You see! [Laughter.] We never would’ve known.
M: [laughs] March eighth. ‘We went to choose ten dwarf navel orange trees, and also various shrubs to plant along the large wall in Malibu. Elfriede and Fred’—Fred is her husband—‘came in their truck and brought them to Malibu. Krishnaji and I had a picnic in the Jaguar and went to a 2 p.m. movie, The Towering Inferno. When it got harrowing, I asked Krishnaji if we shouldn’t leave, but he shook his head and we stuck it out. Later at home, he said, “The temple does me good.”’ [S laughs.] Going to the movies was one of his temples. [More laughter.]
S: I understand that.
M: I thought you would. [S chuckles more.]
Monday, March tenth. ‘A gentle rain commenced the day. Cooking at 6 a.m. as Elfriede is off. The Lilliefelts, Ruth, Albion, and Kishbaugh and Mark Lee came at 11 a.m. for a day-long discussion with Krishnaji about the center, school, arrangement of buildings on the land, etcetera. There was much on the center’s activities. The need for a place where people can come to explore Krishnaji’s meetings and the teachings. To begin with, trustees should be available for this; not as interpreters, but to explore and discuss. This and retreats should be available during the nine months that Krishnaji is away. We went over what would be the best arrangement of buildings. Krishnaji was stressing the sense of security and freedom necessary for children. We are all to meet with John Rex and his people on Wednesday. Later, I asked Krishnaji if he thought the trustees are capable of the necessary discussion when he isn’t there. “That’s what I was trying to find out!”’ [Both laugh heartily.]
On the twelfth of March. ‘In the morning, he said three words to me. “But it is much more, something tremendous, and it has to do with that.”
S: What three words?
M: That was more than three words…I don’t know. His mathematics was a little off. ‘In p.m., the…
S: But it’s much more than that?
M: Something tremendous…well…it is much more, something tremendous. It has to do with That.” That is always the Other…the, you know…
‘In the afternoon, the Lilliefelts, Ruth, Albion, and Mark Lee, John Rex, Reibsamen, and Nichols of the Rex firm came to talk all afternoon about the master plan for the center and the school on the Oak Grove land. Krishnaji dictated an earlier memo on “protection, security, affection in buildings and space, freedom.” The quality of a monastery he has seen outside Florence. You do not see it till you come close, it is so much a part of the land. Quiet, dignity, a sacred place. Decided on two students maximum to a room. Later Krishnaji warned Erna that he felt Rajagopal would try to prevent KFA getting the balance of the KWINC’s funds through K&R.’
The thirteenth of March. ‘Krishnaji didn’t sleep too well. So, he spent the day in bed. I went to town on errands. We had supper, as usual, on trays in his room, while a noisy western with Burt Lancaster shot it out as The Law Man.’ That’s the name of the film. ‘Krishnaji’s face changed. His eyes were heavy-lidded. He was far off. I felt the change, motioned to turn off the TV, but he shook his head. He asked, “Do you feel it?” There was a something electric close at hand. He didn’t want to speak of it.’
The fourteenth of March. ‘Krishnaji has slept well. “Something had continued.” At lunch he had asked me if I was keeping a record of these things. “You should keep a complete diary.” I asked what relation there was between what happened last night and the noisy television. He said that the movie rests and relaxes the mind, then the other comes. He used to go to the movies for rest. Later, he washed both cars. In the evening, he said, “It is still going on. I wonder why. Maybe because of the talks. I don’t know, and I don’t ask.”’
Alright, now we’ll go to the little book for the fifteenth, which is doubtless uninteresting.
S: [chuckles] You shouldn’t be so positive.
M: On the fifteenth, ‘Krishnaji and I had an early lunch, then went to the movies in Pacific Palisades and saw The Odessa File. We came back and watered the new bushes.’
The next day, ‘We both packed. It was a quiet, beautiful day.’
The seventeenth of March. ‘A lovely, clear morning. People came to plant some things. Krishnaji and I finished packing. Amanda and Phil came over briefly to say goodbye and see the plantings. Krishnaji and I had lunch, and then Elfriede drove us to the airport. We took a United flight to San Francisco. Alain Naudé met us at the airport, and drove us to the Huntington Hotel. We had the nice suite we had on two previous visits. It’s a very nice hotel; quiet and dignified. We went for a walk, bought some fruit, etcetera, and came back. Alain had supper with us. Krishnaji told Indian stories. Alain suggested that so much yoga makes Krishnaji oversensitive and hence he has hay fever.’
On the eighteenth of March, ‘there was a telephone call from a William Stanijer, a cultish type who wants Krishnaji to meet his foundation, and then have an interview with them on KQED. I said no to it all, and added that, as his letter referred to Vimala Takhar and the Happy Valley Foundation, he should know there was no connection between Krishnaji or KFA and them. It seemed to leave him speechless.’ [Chuckles.] ‘I have learned to say such things quietly, briefly, and then stop, no elaborations. If there is a silence, let it be. Naudé came at 1 p.m. and we all went to Ghirardelli Square, decided on Chinese food, and lunched at the Mandarin Inn looking out over the bay. We had an excellent vegetarian version of Chinese spinach broth and bean curd, pea pods, and water chestnuts, bean sprouts, rice, almost raw asparagus sliced bias lengthwise.’ I hope you’re appreciating the details.
S: I am, completely. [Laughter by both.] You neglect to mention the menu number, but…
M: You’re right. [Laughs.] ‘Krishnaji liked it. We bought an Aubrey Menen book. Then, Alain took Krishnaji back to the hotel to rest while I walked to the Cannery for some groceries and returned by taxi. Walked with Krishnaji to Mrs. Mathias and did some more marketing while he visited her.’ Shall I identify Mrs. Mathias or have we done that already?
S: We’ve already done that.
M: ‘Mrs. Mathias is almost blind, and Krishnaji put his hands on her. He was walking up the block when I went to meet him. It is extraordinary to see him walking toward one, the whole meaning of the world seems to be centered in that advancing grace. We walked six times around the small square gardens across from the hotel and came in. At supper there was a call from Dorothy and Montague, who had arrived at Kathy Harris’s  from London and staying in Atherton with Kathy’s family. There was another call, this from Frances McCann, saying Carol Allwell  came on the same plane with her. Krishnaji said in the evening that there is a great deal of evil in the world. He said he didn’t like to use the word evil—discord and it is caused by organized belief. For instance, Christians say Jesus is the only one, our god is the only one. It excludes everything else. Krishnaji had a stomachache before going to bed. Took Nux Vomica and it stopped.’
The next day, ‘Krishnaji at breakfast said, “Dogma always makes for division and therefore it is evil.” We spoke of killing and he said organized killing results from dogma. Christianity has resulted in organized killing. I spoke of the human response to things that intrude—killing pack rats, flies, ants in the kitchen. Krishnaji said there was a difference.’ [M chuckles] ‘It’s not organized killing, because they come into a place that is not theirs. I said they consider it theirs. I said that if an intruder, for example, with a knife came to attack him, I would do anything to protect him. He said that is different in that it is a spontaneous reflex to protect, but killing a human being is still wrong, and the destructive animal, the pack rat, the gopher, etcetera must not be allowed to destroy what it wants—coyotes, sheep, etcetera. Krishnaji told of the fox he saw stalking chickens in Ojai. He watched it come slowly close, then let out a great shout’ [M chuckles], ‘and the fox disappeared and never came again.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘Krishnaji walked alone to Mrs. Mathias’—that was just across the street—‘to help her eyes. I waited for Dorothy, Montague, Kathy Harris, Erna, and Theo. Dorothy and Montague are looking very pleased to be here. We went downstairs and Krishnaji came along, carefully crossing with the light as he said he would when alone. When with me, he wants to cross anywhere.’
S: Cross the street?
M: Yes. ‘We all went to Ghirardelli Square and had lunch again at the Mandarin. The Lilliefelts brought Krishnaji and me back, and we looked at the Masonic Hall. Krishnaji very struck by the one chair in the center of the hall.’ It was a curious hall which I don’t think shows on video. It was a big hall and it had seats in a horseshoe shape, and the stage came out into the middle of the audience. ‘We came back and rested and later walked down and up a hill. At supper there was a curious Otherness in the room, or something I felt, like clear invisible water running in the air. Krishnaji noticed something in me and asked if I were upset about something. I didn’t try to describe but said I was fine, because it is the night before the talk and silence is best.’
On March twentieth, ‘Krishnaji stayed in and rested all day. I marketed in the morning. We lunched in the rooms. I walked down in the afternoon and stopped at the Regent Hotel and saw Frances McCann and Carol Allwell. Then, went back to the health food store, bought two shirts at Brooks Brothers, and a book at a bookstore, and came back on the cable car. At 6 p.m., we walked next door to the Masonic Hall and Krishnaji gave his first talk. It was a good audience. Krishnaji used a new word, the “scaffold” of the self. He also spoke of learning, freedom, and the observer and the observed. Afterward, he had to wait backstage a little to recover, and then we left.’ It was most convenient as the hall was across the side street, just thirty feet away from the hotel. We just walked across the street.
S: Oh, great.
M: March twenty-first. ‘“Knowledge is always the outer,” Krishnaji said. We lunched with Mrs. Mathias. She is almost totally blind, but knows where everything is in her apartment, and she moves naturally, talking as she looks at you as if she could see. The conversation went eventually to the Rajagopal case. She said that many were hurt by Krishnaji. Krishnaji asked who. She said, “Well, I was.” Krishnaji explained that what he considered in this, as when he dissolved the Order of the Star , was what is the right thing to do. Mrs. Besant had been hurt when he dissolved the Order, though she came to say, “If the World Teacher is doing this, it is right.” Krishnaji said he had tried for years to get Rajagopal to inform him, consult him, etcetera and got either nothing or abuse. “Are people hurt or is it their image of how things should be?” Krishnaji had me tell my conversation with Rajagopal in 1971 when he said that working together was a plot against him.’ He did! I was trying to say, look Rajagopal, this is so simple. We could work together and so forth, and in an angry voice he said, “That is a plot against me!” ‘Mrs. Mathias has two extraordinary photographs of Krishnaji taken in 1934, ones I have never seen and which should be in the biography. She says she has many letters from Krishnaji, which she is thinking of giving to Yale for a “Blanche Mathias Collection.”’
S: I wonder if she did.
M: I don’t know. ‘I also told her about our conversation with Judge Kenny, who told us to go to the attorney general and how he eventually said that Rajagopal was to be pursued because of “grave impropriety with regard to a charitable trust” and directed us to commence litigation in which he was co-plaintiff. I told her that Krishnaji was not involved in this, but was brought in when Rajagopal and company countersued and served papers on Krishnaji as he was about to give his first talk in Santa Monica.’
‘When we left, there was a tearing gale and rain. Krishnaji was almost swept off his feet. We clung together and managed to go the two blocks back to the Huntington, our umbrella inside out and half-drenched.’
S: Mm, hm.
M: ‘Alain came in for tea later and stayed to supper. We talked about homeopathy and astrology. I took him to task, not in front of Krishnaji, for withholding information. He said he had only looked at certain aspects of Krishnaji’s chart, which indicated not commencing a project to do with his personal life, such as building a house, etcetera during the second half of this year. By December it would be okay, Alain said. He also said that Krishnaji must’ve been born at 12:25 a.m., not 12:30.’ Oosh. That astrological stuff leaves me nowhere.
S: I know, I know.
M: Saturday the twenty-second of March. ‘Krishnaji gave the second talk in the Masonic Hall. Very good, intense, well-shaped, a vivid and splendid one of tremendous vitality. We lunched in the rooms. I cooked. Krishnaji slept all afternoon, and walked around for forty-five minutes in lieu of going out.’ We had a nice flat there, with a good kitchen, a sitting room, and two bedrooms with two baths. Very nice.
M: On the twenty-third, ‘Krishnaji gave his third talk in the Masonic Hall on suffering and death. Some hysterical woman named Solange again got backstage afterwards, grabbing his hand and sobbing that she loves him. At the hotel, Naudé, the Simmonses, Kathy Harris, Kishbaugh, and the Lilliefelts came and then we all went to lunch at Señor Pico Restaurant in Ghirardelli Square. Naudé and the Simmonses had not met’ [chuckles] ‘since the terrible to-do in Gstaad in 1969 when Alain left. No surface scars remain. Came back and Krishnaji had practically no rest before he saw Dr. Feldman from Argentina, who is becoming a psychiatrist and might head the Fundación. He is thirty-four and enthusiastic. He has been reading Krishnaji since he was seventeen, but never heard him speak until today. We went for a short walk around the square and came back to watch TV of Mike Wallace interviewing Haldeman. Supper and Kojak. Kissinger says there is failure in the Israel/Egypt negotiations.’
March twenty-fourth. ‘Dr. Feldman and the Lilliefelts came to talk to Krishnaji at 11 a.m. The Lilliefelts stayed to lunch with us in the rooms. Later, they, Krishnaji, and I went to tea with Mrs. Mathias. She “now knows” us. I wonder if it has made any difference.’
Editor’s Note: Mrs. Mathias, like so many people who had a contact with the Rajagopals, had had her views of “the new people” (i.e., Mary, the Lilliefelts, Alain Naudé, etcetera) shaped by a public relations onslaught from the Rajagopals. The unpleasantness from this continued long after the lawsuits were settled.
Mary seems to have won over Mrs. Mathias, which she usually did, as evidenced by Mrs. Mathias leaving Mary in her will the two photos of Krishnaji taken in 1934 that Mary had never seen but so admired.
Tuesday, March twenty-fifth. At 10:30 a.m., Krishnaji saw Narayan’s brother, G. Krishnamurti , who came here for the talks and is an electrical technician. There is no resemblance to Krishnaji but the thin build and certain delicacy of bone. I went down the hill to cash some checks for Dorothy and Montague’s trip to Yosemite, Carmel, and air tickets for LA in a week. When I came back, I made our lunch. A Mrs. Sally Richardson came to see me at 3:15 p.m.; southern, sentimental, nice, well-meaning, and who just lost her husband. She was at Happy Valley and couldn’t take Rosalind Rajagopal. She might be helpful in the school when it really gets going. She said she would do anything for Krishnaji, “to be near him. I would be his servant,” she said. At 6 p.m., Krishnaji gave the fourth talk, completing this series at the Masonic Hall. It was on meditation, a very fine one. The Solange woman cut up again. Alain Naudé joined us for supper. Krishnaji gave him the Dodge income as he has since he left. 
March twenty-sixth ‘was a bright, clear day. We packed. Krishnaji went to give Mrs. Mathias one more eye treatment. I walked over to accompany him back as I fret at his crossing streets alone. I made lunch with the remainder of our larder and then Alain Naudé came at 1:15 p.m. and drove us to the airport. Elfriede met us in Los Angeles. The garden is looking lovely. The lawn sections that were replaced look very handsome. New planting, shrubs, and oranges look at home, and Elfriede had planted a row of yellow and orange marigolds as a border. Krishnaji said, “This is a nice house,” and was eager both to see the barn owl, who looked down on us owlishly on our arrival, and the garden.’ [Chuckles.] ‘He seems to like being here, more now than in the past. Talk of selling and moving to Ojai has disappeared for me. We had supper on trays. I have a sore throat, and the beginning of a thorough cold. I suppose this is as good a time as any to have it, but worry about Krishnaji. Erna may have given him hers at lunch, or I may be the villain.’
Friday the twenty-eighth. ‘My cold is heavy. I worked at the desk all morning. At lunch time, Erna telephoned that Cohen says he doubts Rajagopal will listen to Christensen about the easements, and he wants a meeting of all of us to discuss the matter. Erna wants Blau to be there. At lunch, Krishnaji said suddenly, “I realize how they deliberately forced me to go to cheap places to try to break my dignity. I had to go to…what are those places when you sit in a car…”’ He means drive-ins! [Laughs.] ‘“…ride on buses, I didn’t care. But that is what they tried.” Then he said, “It is extraordinary that I feel such an energy. It must be having good food.” We went to town at 3 p.m., bought some beautiful houseplants and a hose, and other things. Krishnaji had some more dental work done. Coming home, when we turned up the coast, the mountains were clear against the blue sky and he said, “Look at those mountains. That is god!”’
The twenty-ninth of March. ‘Krishnaji, after breakfast, had a pain in his stomach, and vomited a very little, so I put a hot pad on his stomach. He took Nux Vomica and it subsided. He felt well enough for ice cream!—his idea for lunch, but that came up. We spent a quiet day but found the new St. Augustine grass under-watered and so watered it by hand and felt the better for it.’
Sunday the thirtieth is Easter. ‘A lovely morning. I ran the sprinklers, then telephoned Filomena in Rome and urged her to come to visit us in Brockwood around May twelfth. She said she would. Krishnaji and I took off in the Mercedes by 10 a.m. for Ojai, Krishnaji driving most of the way. The cottage has had an exterior coat of new paint, not cream, not pink, not white, rather like the magnolia colors at Brockwood. It looks improved. I left things for the Simmonses to use in the office upstairs where they will stay. I have had the sitting room where they will stay and the bath painted white and natural-color curtains made. We went to Arya Vihara where the Lilliefelts, Ruth, and Albion were and where the Lees had a Professor Rush, who is an accredited ecologist and who has listened to Krishnaji and is willing to give advice on building the school. We talked of “patterns” of living, relationships in various kinds of buildings. He said we should study the land for a year before deciding where and how to build. We are always in a hurry.’
‘At lunch on the patio, Rush said he has a school of his own for ten to fourteen-year-olds, about forty of them. Krishnaji listened to what he had to say about it, and later spoke to Erna and Theo and me about Rush being someone for our school. “It will work out,” said Krishnaji. At 2:30 p.m., we all went to the Oak Grove. Met John Rex, his wife, and his partner, Reibsamen. They presented a tentative plan for various buildings on the land. We walked about and discussed. Krishnaji wanted the large open space in the center left open. They will rethink it and present a new suggestion to us on Wednesday. We drove back to the cottage to leave some things. Mark had Bruce and somebody Meyers leave yesterday because he said they were too occupied with themselves and their own two children, and too messy in their habits. The new iron gate at Arya Vihara is handsome. Rosalind Rajagopal is already objecting, and claims she has an easement. None is recorded. Krishnaji had tea with Erna and Theo. We’re waiting for Louis Blau to return on the second before discussing with Cohen the Rajagopal easement “fraud” as Cohen has called it. We now find easements to Rajagopal and his wife all over the west valley land. Krishnaji and I got home after 7 p.m. Krishnaji in the car said, “Why was ‘the boy’ sensitive to taste? Brahmins aren’t. Why did he know about such things?” I said he had obviously had it from the beginning, as in other things, he was not the product of something as others are. He was born with certain faculties, had the greatest taste in everything, save one. “You mean those two?” he asked. I said, [chuckling] “How you would put up with them is beyond comprehension.”’ [Both chuckle.]
S: Mary, just for posterity and other cultures, explain what easements are.
M: Well, for instance, if I own some land beyond your piece of land, I can get an easement to go through your land to get to my land. A person has to apply for it, to be given the right. And you can have an easement to run a pipe through a land, or run a telephone wire or something. It’s a right of way for some useful, necessary purpose, through someone else’s land.
S: So, when Rajagopal put these easements…
M: He had easements put on the land that he controlled before he gave it to us.
S: Right. So these easements were to go through the property.
M: Yes. [Chuckles.]
The thirty-first of March, 1975. ‘Tree pruners came to do the pepper tree and three stone pines and the coral tree. Krishnaji observed, with great interest and approval, through the windows. It rained faintly in the morning. After lunch we went to Beverly Hills and Krishnaji had his hair cut and Dr. Christensen took a little more off his dental bridge where it made a sore. I went for special lined paper for the notebook. He wants to start writing again. He has been wanting to start but the first notebook was too narrow!’ [Laughs.] ‘He asked, “Must I write every day?” I replied, “Of course not, just when you feel like it.” “But I like to do it in an orderly way,” he said. He seemed satisfied with the present new notebook and some lined paper. When we were home, Erna telephoned. Sir Edmond Hillary ’s wife and daughter were killed in a plane crash near Katmandu and Barbara Lama and her husband Angali were with them in the plane and also killed.’ That was, if you remember, Albion Patterson’s stepdaughter…
S: Ah, yes.
M: …who was considered to be a director of the school…
S: Yes, yes.
M: …or Albion wanted it to be.
M: …and she was married to, I think, a Tibetan.
S: Mm, hm.
M: ‘I told the news to Krishnaji, and he listened. A few moments later, he asked me to repeat it. A little later he said, “One shouldn’t die violently, suddenly. It is too much of a shock.”’
‘“A shock to the one who dies?” I asked.’
‘“Yes. It should be willingly, healthily.”’
‘“Few people die willingly,” I said.’
‘“I’ll talk to you about that another time.”’
‘He told of the time some years ago when Kitty Shiva Rao was with him on a flight from Delhi to Benares and the plane came into thick fog. Kitty, sitting beside him, got panicky, and Krishnaji took hold of her hand and said, “If we are going to die, we are going to die. Let’s do it happily.” She calmed down, but pretty soon as the plane lost altitude, she began to get hysterical. Krishnaji spoke to her again and then the pilot got below the fog and was able to land.’ There’s another…I thought it was in that anecdote, but there’s another anecdote with Kitty, too, when he said, “Nothing will happen because you’re with me.” He always thought that if he was in a plane, it would be safe.’
April first. ‘Today Krishnaji began to write again. The first one is in pencil, and he wasn’t comfortable at the desk. I have arranged a folding table for him in front of the window. He gave it to me to read and wants me to “correct” it without consulting him. There are only bits of syntax that go wrong because he probably doesn’t read what has gone before when he pauses. I doubt he rereads any of it as he goes along or when he is through. It is again in the form of a nature description and then what he has to say about something. Today on space and division.’
It’s true, you know. He was so turned toward the present that he didn’t reread something he’d written.
S: Yes. Even in the middle of writing it.
M: Exactly. It was strange. It’s hard to imagine.
S: Mm, hm.
M: And he didn’t like to hear about it afterward. Often, after he’d written something or dictated, I would have to ask him something, and he never wanted to hear it. He’d say, “Oh, do whatever you want,” or “fix it” or something, but I’d persevere because I wanted it to be just what he intended, and if I did that, he would want to change it completely.
S: Yes, I know. I had that experience with him as well.
M: Yes, he would say, “There’s no sense reading it to me because I’ll change it.” [S chuckles.] It’s silly to compare, but if I write a letter and have to rewrite it for some reason, I have to begin all over again. I just don’t want to amend what I wrote.
S: Well, I know one’s never satisfied with what one has done, but Krishnaji was just more so.
M: Yes, he would come to the thing anew! [S chuckles.] But it’s not surprising when you imagine how his mind worked.
S: Of course, of course.
M: And of course, The Notebook and all that, as Mary said, it’s without erasures. It’s just written.
So, we’re still on April first. ‘I got up early this morning, around 5 a.m. and put replies to seventeen letters on the dictating machine. I took them to the secretarial service to be typed, marketed, and got back in time to put together pasta baked in tomato sauce, cheese, etc. Evelyne Blau came to lunch. I tried to nap after lunch but the telephone interrupted. So, I pruned the bushes in the tubs, hosed the terrace, and finished at 6:50 p.m.—a full day. The TV news is anguish. The suffering of the refugees in Vietnam. Krishnaji stopped me from watching as I wept so much the other night.’
April second. ‘Krishnaji wrote again, this time in ink. “The skill of intelligence is to put knowledge in its right place.” Intelligence “comes out of the understanding of the whole consciousness of man; yourself.” And “freedom from the known every minute is the essence of intelligence.” He did this before a meeting at 11 a.m., and later said he wanted to keep on. I cooked beans and rice. Architects Reibsamen and Nichols came with the new placing of the buildings on the plot plan. It is well done. Erna and Theo were there; Ruth and Albion, Kishbaugh, Mark Lee, Evelyne Blau, and Professor Rush. Krishnaji took the latter aside and, after the architects had left, he asked Rush if he would like to join in creating the school. We only met this man on Sunday!’ [S chuckles.] ‘But there is something about him that leads one to think of him for the school. He seems to really want the thing that we do, and is willing to go right at that. He has a certain maturity and yet is quite young. There will have to be much talk, but Krishnaji has seized the situation. We had a buffet lunch. I left at 2 p.m. for town and errands, then to the airport to meet Dorothy and Montague, and bring them back to stay here till Sunday. After getting home, Erna telephoned and read a letter of Christensen to Cohen about my letter saying that Krishnaji and some of us wish to see the archives. The response was “yes” to seeing the books and manuscripts, but the letters and archive material are not yet in order, he said.’ That was Christensen.
The third of April. ‘Krishnaji said, “Something has been happening since that day in San Francisco. The head is almost to the point of bursting. It’s full. All last night it went on and the night before. There is tremendous attention inside the head, a physical feeling. It’s going on now.” He had a far-off look on his face. Then he said, “All energy is concentrated there inside, in the eyes and head.” Krishnaji stayed in bed all morning and read a book about whales and dolphins after he had written his number three notebook piece. He got up for lunch with the Simmonses. We listened to a recording of the humpback whales. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked around the lawn. I watered the new turf.’
April fourth. ‘Krishnaji wrote in the morning. Dorothy and I went to the Dunne’s in the afternoon.’
The next day. ‘Surprisingly, it rained. We took Dorothy and Montague to Ojai. Krishnaji driving partway, first to the apartment they will use above the office, and then to Erna and Theo’s to lunch. Erna telephoned Rajagopal to confirm the appointment to see the archives Wednesday. Rajagopal had replied to my letter saying Krishnaji wished to see the archive by having Christensen write to Cohen: “As Mrs. Zimbalist is represented by council…”’ [M laughs.] You see, the suit was in my name, and Krishnaji wasn’t one of the plaintiffs.
S: Mm, hm.
M: …so he could correctly say the letter from me should go through council. [Both chuckle.] ‘Rajagopal was unable to speak immediately and had to call back…after fixing up a tape recorder? We inevitably wonder. He wanted to know who was coming. Erna said she hadn’t asked Krishnaji exactly but he and I and probably herself. Afterward, we speculated about Rajagopal setting up to try to upset Krishnaji before his talks. I suggested he go after the talks, and only Erna and I and possibly Theo go on Wednesday. Krishnaji is to decide later. Came home in time for supper.’
S: Okay, so let’s end there because we’re running out of tape.
M: Okay, so we end on the fourth of April.
 Indira Gandhi, India’s third Prime Minister, and the second-longest-serving Prime Minister was a long standing admirer of Krishnaji’s. Back up to text..
 Adyar is in Chennai (Madras), where the Theosophical headquarters is located. As a boy, when Krishnaji and Nitya first became charges of the Theosophical Society, this is where they lived. Back up to text..
 Upper garments used in India (like shirts) by both men and women. Back up to text..
 A Theosophical colony relocated from Hollywood to Ojai in 1926. Back up to text..
 A large ranch that adjoins the KFA property. Back up to text..
 Kathy Harris was a young woman from California who was a teacher at BrockwoodPark. Back up to text..
 Another young American woman teaching at BrockwoodPark. Back up to text..
 The Order of the Star (1927 -29) and it’s precursor The Order of the Star in the East (1911- 27) were created by the Theosophical Society were created for Krishnaji. Krishnaji disbanded it in 1927. Back up to text..
 G. Narayan and G. Krishnamurti were sons of Krishnamurti’s elder brother who had not been taken in by Theosophy. Back up to text..
 In 1913, Miss Dodge gave Krishnaji an income for life of £500, a substantial sum of money in those days. I have only ever heard of this money as something Krishnaji was giving away to a school, or, as in this case, a person. Back up to text..
 This was often how Krishnaji referred to himself as a boy. Back up to text..
 The first person to climb Mount Everest. Back up to text..