Issue #41

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Issue 41—April 27, 1976 to July 10, 1976


The two most significant events for Krishnaji’s work that occurred during the period covered by this issue is the video recording of his discussion with David Bohm and David Shainberg, and the publication of Krishnamurti’s Notebook, both of which were remarkable and singular. Otherwise, Krishnaji and Mary are following their well-worn path of New York, England, and Switzerland. But we are increasingly allowed access to the extraordinary inner life of Krishnaji as he tells her and sometimes even dictates things to her about that remarkable inner life.


The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #41

Mary: Well, we start with Tuesday, April twenty-seventh, 1976, and we’re in New York. ‘Krishnaji’s nephew, also named Narasimhan, is a brother of Narayan, and he came to see Krishnaji that day. He has a thin, sharp face, no resemblance to Krishnaji. He’s an engineer who has been in the U.S. for 10 years, and is now looking for a new job. Then I went to the market for supplies. My brother came by at 12:30 p.m. Then, Krishnaji, he, and I walked to the Côte Basque for lunch. Bud spoke of Krishnaji’s biography and the large impression it made on him. He sent it to all the members of the family, and he asked Krishnaji about the communications reported between Theosophy and the Masters. Krishnaji explained the beliefs that were held by the Theosophists, and way back, before that, by the Hindus and Buddhists. He said he has no memory of those days. Bud noted that Krishnaji had always spoken and written of what is amiss in human thinking, but not directly about the Other. The book gave Bud some glimpse into that. I mentioned the about-to-be-published Krishnamurti’s Notebook. Bud asked if Jesus figured in the Theosophical hierarchy. Krishnaji said Jesus was considered to be “a disciple,” [S laughs] not an original. We walked back, stopping at the Belgian Shoes, where we each bought a pair.’ [M laughs.] That’s these flat shoes—this is one of Krishnaji’s shoes that I have on now…

Scott: Right, right.

M: He liked them, and I wear nothing else. So, we went in there and made some shoe purchases. ‘Krishnaji had his hair cut. He then rested.’

S: Where did he have his hair cut in New York?

M: There was a good barber, a block away, at the Hotel Lombardy.

S: Hm.

M: I think my brother must’ve advised that, or somebody did. ‘I walked to Bergdorf Goodman to send my mother a birthday present. We made our supper, and so to bed. Krishnaji is thinking he can put questions to the psychiatrists tomorrow.’ We were going to that psychiatrists’ meeting that Shainberg arranged.

S: Yes.

April twenty-eighth. ‘At 11 a.m., we went to the psychiatrists’ conference organized by Shainberg. Krishnaji and I took the Patwardhans to lunch’—they were there—‘at the Madras Woodlands on 44th Street.’ You must know the Woodlands restaurant in Madras. You may have been there. If you ever went to a restaurant in Madras, you went to Woodlands. There’s a branch of it in New York. ‘Narasimhan came by.’ This is the UN Narasimhan.

S: Right.

M: He’s also the cousin, I think it is, of Mrs. Jayalakshmi in Madras. Anyway, ‘Narasimhan doubted that Krishnaji should go to India.’ Krishnaji was concerned, you know, because Mrs. Gandhi still had martial law in place. ‘Sunanda and Pama came back with us to the RitzTower, and we talked at length. They left, and my brother came by again to talk to me about business.’

Now, there’s nothing for the twenty-eighth, and very little for the next day. I think those were the days of the psychiatrists’ meetings, so I’ll have to do that from memory. First of all, they weren’t all psychiatrists; there were psychologists, too. They were sort of unintelligent [chuckles] about asking good questions of Krishnaji. I think it’s at this one that the subject of fear came up; and everybody had anecdotes about patients with trouble with different fears, fears of death, fears of illness, fears of mothers-in-law, endless fears they trotted out. But they never were interested in discussing what fear itself is.

S: Right, right.

M: Krishnaji tried to cope with that. But they were, I don’t know…that’s partly why I feel they were trivial, just being critical of a lot of people.

S: Right. I seem to remember those talks not being very successful.

M: No, no, they weren’t.

S: And this again was arranged by Shainberg.

M: Oh, yes. He was head of some psychiatric organization in New York, and so he whistled in all these people. I don’t know, but I felt it didn’t produce much, but maybe it did.

S: Well, who knows.

M: So, there’s nothing either on the twenty-ninth or the thirtieth in either books. I don’t know why I didn’t write it up, but I didn’t. But that’s my memory of it.

S: That’s okay.

M: I think we lunched with the Shainbergs. I think I asked David Shainberg once in the taxi going to lunch about why the psychiatrists wouldn’t examine what fear is, and he said, “Oh, they’ll never do that!” [Both chuckle.] Dismissing it.

S: They’ll never really look at the nature of fear itself. They want to…

M: No, no. They want to talk about their patients’ problems. Anyway, so we have to rely on my…

S: Thirty-year-old memory.

M: Thirty-year-old memory. [Both laugh.]

We go now to May first, where there is something in the little book. It says ‘we arrived at Heathrow at 7:30 a.m., and Dorothy, Doris, and Ted Cartee were there to meet Krishnaji. We drove to Brockwood on a lovely, sunny day. The trees are just beginning to leaf. The school turned out for his arrival. I unpacked, took a nap, and spoke to Mary Links.’

The next day, ‘The weather turned cold. I put luggage away and tidied things. Telephoned to Filomena, Vanda, the Digbys, Ginny Travers’—that’s Virginia McKenna. ‘We went for a short walk. David Bohm gave a report of the Ojai scientist conference to the school. Aditi Mangaldas, Nandini’s granddaughter, arrived from India for a three-day visit.’

On the third of May, ‘I got the Mercedes out of Mr. Morton’s barn, where it had been all winter, and took it to be put in order. I worked at the desk. It was cold. Britain is having a drought. We had our walk in the afternoon. Krishnaji decided to have meetings alone with students one day a week, starting Thursday.[1]’ You might remember that.

S: I do.

M: So, next day, May fourth, ‘Krishnaji talked to the whole school. Mary Cadogan came to lunch, and we talked over things. We walked, but it was cold.’

Wednesday, the fifth. ‘The car was delivered. It now lives in the new garage. After lunch, Krishnaji and I drove to Chandler’s Ford to find a charger for his Philips razor. [S and M chuckle.] He was always looking for the latest thing in razors!

S: I remember.

M: ‘Krishnaji slept little last night, he said. We walked across the fields.’

The sixth of May, ‘Krishnaji spoke alone to the students, no staff were present, and no tape recorder. Mary Links and Amanda Pallant drove down in the morning and spent the day with us. We discussed the Krishnaji and Bohm dialogues for publication and/or cassette sale. Mary was against it.’ She was very resistant about the Bohm dialogues.

S: I remember.

M: She felt—she misunderstood, I think—that Bohm might give the impression of being too dominating in the discussions. But that was because most of these dialogues between them were held as Krishnaji got up from his nap, and he was sort of still a bit fuzzy, waking up. So, David would reprise a little bit of where they’d left off. But Mary felt that it sounded like he was telling Krishnaji what he should say.

S: But also, I’m quite sure, because I remember these as they were going on, and at the end of these, Krishnaji didn’t like them. I was listening to them every day as they were being done—I think it was the year before—every day as they were being done, and I thought that they were fabulous. You could say that David dominated, but in a way, it was just the form that they had. Krishnaji and he were going back and forth.

M: I never feel he dominated, and I was there at every one of them.

S: Yes, but toward the end, I remember Krishnaji saying that he also didn’t think they should be published.

M: Well, I think that was Mary’s influence.

S: It may have been Mary’s influence, but I remember Krishnaji saying that too, and I remember thinking, well, I understand why. It’s one thing to probably hear them, but when you see them written, it looks a very different thing, which is why I was a little disappointed when these actually did come out as a book, because Krishnaji himself had said he didn’t think they should. And I can’t remember if I heard him say it, or what. I wasn’t close enough to him in those days to have been told anything special by him. But, Krishnaji himself did not want these things disseminated. He didn’t think that they were fruitful, or he didn’t think that they were useful, or something like that.

M: He didn’t want enough to say “No. Don’t.” He usually, when things were over, he sort of—they were over. I do remember Mary objected to it.

S: Right, right.

M: And Mary wasn’t too interested in the intellectual aspect of things.

S: Yes.

M: Which is Bohm’s contribution.

S: Yes. And David was very disappointed that they were not being done.

M: Yes.

S: I might even have heard it from David because I was seeing him a lot in those days.

M: There were…to this day, or the last time I saw Saral, there were some early ones before Brockwood…

S: I remember those.

M: And those were not published till later.

S: I remember.

M: And there’s some, Mary Cadogan had some—I’ve forgotten the rationale for it, there was some publication committee and I sat in on all the discussions, but I don’t remember exactly—it was something to do with publishing, and eventually, they were published. But that was a different batch.

‘We walked, Dorothy, Krishnaji, and I.’ And it says there was a big earthquake in Udine. Udine is in northern Italy.

On the seventh, ‘it was Filomena’s birthday. I tried to telephone but couldn’t get through. It was a hot summer day.’ And that’s all it says.

And then the next day is even less. ‘Another hot day. We walked in afternoon.’

Then, on the ninth, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school at noon. He talked to the Moorheads about RishiValley. Another hot day.’

May tenth, ‘The weather cooled. I went to Petersfield for plants, etc. Walked. At 9 a.m., Pascaline Mallet came and I met her at the Petersfield station. She’s staying in the West Wing until Friday.’ That was a Monday.

On the eleventh, ‘Krishnaji talked to the students only. The staff held a meeting at the same time. We walked in afternoon. Cold!’—exclamation point.

May twelfth, ‘Krishnaji, on his eighty-first birthday, came in as I was ironing in the pre-exercise dawn. “Oh,” he said, in dismissal of his birthday.’ [Both chuckle lightly.] ‘He was joking in the kitchen while we made breakfast. Later, the Guardian book review department rang up asking to interview him about The Notebook. Its publication date is the twentieth. The BBC is sending down a Radio 4 interviewer to interview him. Krishnaji asked, “Why are they interested?” He brushes aside the obvious replies.’ [Chuckles.] ‘He spent the morning in bed reading and sleeping. He greeted Dorothy with a “Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday.” And kept going, saying to Doris, too, “That takes care of that.” It is Dorothy’s birthday, too. I had no present for her, and hence a quandary. I gave her several of the photos of Krishnaji I took in the cottage last month. In a great wind, he, she, and I walked our way four miles across the fields. Krishnaji was glowing with vitality. In the evening, we watched a long Kojak on TV.’

May thirteenth, ‘Krishnaji talked to the whole school at noon. We walked. I had a long talk with Ted Cartee.’

On the fourteenth, ‘Pascaline Mallet, who has been staying in the West Wing, left. I took the 9:45 a.m. train to London, did errands, then went to the U.S. embassy. I filed Krishnaji’s application for an immigration visa and permanent residence in the U.S., a green card. Then, to Morgan-Guaranty, where I opened an account and transferred the balance from both Morgan-Paris and Chase-London accounts, thereby closing them. Jackie Kornfeld arrived at Brockwood and I put her up in the West Wing, where she will stay during the videotaping.’ She was paying for that, as you well know.

S: I remember, I remember well.

M: The next day, ‘the video producer and director, David Hoffman and Harry Wyland’… Do you remember them?

S: I do. I remember them both.

M: …‘arrived. So did the Bohms and David Shainberg. There was a meeting in the afternoon to discuss the project.[2] There was a walk. Aditi Mangaldas’—that’s Nandini’s granddaughter—‘danced in the evening for the school.’

On May sixteenth, ‘Krishnaji spoke to everyone. It was very good, regarding the religious life. The video equipment was set up in the drawing room. We walked, but came back a little sooner so Krishnaji could appear at the end of a musical recital. After supper, I talked video business with Jackie Kornfeld, D. Hoffman, and H. Wyland.’

On the seventeenth, ‘At 11 a.m., Krishnaji, David Bohm, and David Shainberg did a one-hour videotaped discussion. There was an excellent, very professional crew of nine people, plus Hoffman and Wyland. Three color cameras, and recorded on two-inch tape. Krishnaji had a large clock off-camera, so he kept pace, and cut off at the right moment. I watched on a monitor in the hall outside the drawing room, where the director’s set-up was.’

Then, it is Tuesday, the eighteenth. ‘The second day of videotaping. They recorded discussion number two in the morning and number three in the afternoon. It went well. Krishnaji stayed in; no walk this week as he has signs of hay fever beginning. He said to me in the evening, “I had the most extraordinary meditation while sitting at breakfast. I went off. I must be very careful. You know, death is very close. You mustn’t look like that when I mention death. It isn’t that; it is complete emptiness, nothingness.”’

May nineteenth, ‘Krishnaji and the two Davids did discussions four and five, and number four was particularly good.’

S: Yes, it was.

M: ‘Krishnaji is still not going out because of hay fever. He does his exercises in his room.’

May twentieth. ‘Videotaping of discussions six and seven, both of which were marvelous. The videotaped discussions are now finished. I went to a staff meeting.’

The next day, ‘At 11 a.m., they videotaped an introduction to the discussions, then it was finished. Hoffman and Wyland left. John Hawking of Zoom Television went over things with Jackie Kornfeld and me. I am buying two-inch quads for KF Trust and a set of cassettes for Brockwood. Joe Kornfeld, Jackie’s husband, joined us for lunch, and then they both left. By mid-afternoon, all was back in place, clean and peaceful. But a very fine record was well-made, professionally and of greater depth than any discussion so far recorded visually. Krishnaji is still staying in bed as the pollen count is high. There’s no rain in sight. Dorothy and I walked with Whisper. There was a school meeting.’

S: Is there any point in saying that probably Krishnaji encouraged you to go out for a walk without him? In other words, if he couldn’t go out for a walk, he still wanted you to go out and walk.

M: He would want me to go out for a walk in a snowstorm!

S: [laughs] I know!

M: Many was the day it was raining, and I looked rather bleak at the prospect, and he said, “Come, come. Walk!”

S: [laughs] Yes, and just because he couldn’t walk doesn’t mean that you could get out of it!

M: No! And, it’s not worth noting [S laughing] because it was just standard procedure.

S: Yes, well, the standard is also worth noting sometimes.

M: [laughs] So, that’s that.

The twenty-second. ‘Nelly and George Digby came for lunch. Krishnaji didn’t walk, but Dorothy and I took both dogs.[3]

The next day, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school,’ and that’s all it says.

On May twenty-fourth, ‘from the BBC, Monica Furlong and James Priestland came to lunch, and then interviewed Krishnaji about Krishnamurti’s Notebook for the program Chapter and Verse, which reviews books with a religious bent. Krishnaji saw them alone, but he said they hadn’t asked any intelligent questions.’

On the next day, ‘it was a half-term holiday. Krishnaji rested and stayed in bed to avoid hay fever.’

And on the twenty-sixth, ‘A Ms. Angela Neustater came from The Guardian newspaper to interview Krishnaji about Krishnamurti’s Notebook. She saw him for one-and-a-half hours, took copious notes, and went off with two other books and the biography. Krishnaji said she was more intelligent than the BBC pair.’

On the twenty-seventh, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school reassembled after the half-term,’ and that’s all.

On the twenty-eighth, ‘I took the Mercedes for its 15,000-mile service to Chichester. I spent the morning, while it was being done, pleasantly wandering in Chichester, and the cathedral. I found small turquoise earrings, and I bought them’ [chuckles]. ‘I did errands in Petersfield on the way back. I sent copies of the newly printed Krishnamurti’s Notebook to my brother, Amanda, Evelyne Blau, and Cynthia Wood. Suzanne and Hugues van der Straten arrived for the weekend and were staying in the West Wing.’

For May twenty-ninth, there is almost nothing. ‘Desk. Went to a meeting David Bohm held for the school. Walked with the van der Stratens.’

May thirtieth, ‘Krishnaji spoke to school, and it was one of the best; on images, and the self. Tura’—remember her, the student?

S: Oh, yes.

M: …‘an Israeli student, sang and played the guitar for Krishnaji, Bohm, etcetera, in the afternoon in the West Wing. The van der Stratens left. The BBC book review of Krishnamurti’s Notebook was broadcast in the evening. A nothing.’ I guess that’s what I thought. ‘Priestland didn’t seem to have read the book’ [chuckles] ‘and asked nothing but pointless questions about Mrs. Besant and Leadbeater.’

Monday the thirty-first. ‘Desk mostly. In a light rain, Krishnaji took his first walk in two weeks with Dorothy and me and the dogs. Even in the rain, he felt some hay fever afterward.’

The first of June. ‘I went early to London and to India House, for the police clearance from India necessary for the U.S. immigration application. Narayan, who was on the train, offered to come with me and was very helpful. We saw a Mr. G. Vettakhan, secretary for education, who took me to see a minister, Mr. Abrams. After comic to-do in which pompous minister—’ [stops mid-sentence].

S: Go ahead, read it. [Chuckles.]

M: She’s very critical, this woman.

S: Well, she should be, undoubtedly. [Both chuckle.]

M: …‘after comic to-do in which pompous minister who was oh-so-tactfully corrected by deferential Sikh underling, with elastic under the chin,’ [chuckling] ‘offering all submission gestures and jugular vein to his superior,’ [both laugh] ‘it was found the clearance could be given by the minister and didn’t have to be referred back to India. All well in the end!’ [More laughter.] ‘Thank you, smiles, etcetera. Then, Mr. Vettakhan invited Narayan and me to lunch in an Indian restaurant nearby, which was accepted. I escaped later, went to the bank and to Air France for our tickets, and caught the 3:50 p.m. back to Petersfield.’ [More laughter by both.]

S: Yes, we want these details!

M: Well, we had some there. [More laughter.]

June second. ‘Krishnaji and I went to London, to Huntsman’—naturally [chuckles]—‘looked at patterns. Mary L. lunched with us at Fortnum’s. Then back to Huntsman for me to get some tweeds to be made into a skirt and trousers by a new tailor, Mr. Pitts on Cork Street, as my previous tailor at Rowe’s has gone elsewhere. Then to Hatchards for reading matter. To Waterloo train station, but our train was delayed, and we only got home at 7 p.m.’

June third. ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school. I sent Krishnaji’s papers to India House, and did errands in Alresford. Erna telephoned about the videotapes.’

So, we go to June fourth. ‘There was a publication committee meeting at 11:30 a.m. Krishnaji and I were both there. They all stayed for lunch. I walked with Dorothy and the dogs. Krishnaji is still staying in.’

For June fifth my diary says, ‘A desk day. Went to the Bohm discussion. Walked with Dorothy and the dogs. Telephoned Erna about donors for the videotapes.’

S: Now, we should probably just say that when you refer to the Bohm discussions, Bohm used to have discussions…

M: …with the school.

S: …with staff, I think.

M: Staff or something. It wasn’t Krishnaji discussing with Bohm.

S: No. No. I think at one point he discussed with the whole school, or anyone who wanted to come, but eventually it was just the staff.

M: Well, you would know that better than I because I didn’t go to them.

S: Yes, I went to them all.

M: You went to them all, and I don’t have any notation about those.

S: Yes, so I’m just saying for the record what they are.

M: June sixth. ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school about being hurt. There was a walk with Dorothy and the dogs. I telephoned my mother on her birthday, but she was beginning a nap and couldn’t come to the phone. I talked to my stepfather, who said…’ Well, we don’t have to go into that.

‘Shortly afterward, my brother telephoned from Paris. He and his wife Lisa had been in Europe twelve days, Paris and Bonn, but were unable to reach me. He also told me that Dr. Wolf died last Thursday, age 93, in the Janker Clinic in Bonn. Bud wants to have Dr. Sheef at the Janker become his and Lisa’s doctor, and arranged for their and Krishnaji’s and my records to be transferred. He’s more than ever impressed with the clinic’—that is my brother who is impressed. My sister-in-law, his wife, she had all sorts of things wrong with her.

Dr. Wolf was the old German doctor in White Plains that, you will remember, Krishnaji and I and my brother went to.

S: Right, right.

M: He’s the one who came up with Krishnaji having gout in his finger, left hand, fourth finger, and that gout is caused by too much uric acid in the system. Based on that, at some point, I must’ve told Parchure about it, and he looked in an herb book and found that nettles are very good for too much uric acid.

S: Right, it gets rid of it.

M: So, he went out…[chuckles]

S: Oh, I remember, and collected vast sways of …

M: …and then had to dry it. Do you remember?

S: I remember, I remember, all over the West Wing landing.

M: So, I thought, where in the world can I dry a ton of green nettle, but the stairs that we never use…

S: I remember, [chuckling] I remember.

M: …had sheets put down on them, and that was covered with nettles. It’s much easier to buy it in a health food store, but we didn’t know that. Anyway, that’s what happened with that.

June seventh, ‘A hot day. Oh, for some rain. The drought in southern England and the northern half of France is severe. We went to London. I left a skirt to be copied at Huntsman. Then we walked to Fortnum’s, where we lunched with Mary and Joe. Mary took Krishnaji to the dentist, Mr. Thompson, while I took the Huntsman tweed and models of skirts and slacks to be copied at Hillier’s on Cork Street. I got a pair of shoes at Ferragamo, joined Krishnaji at the dentist, and then we caught the 3:50 p.m. train back to Petersfield. It was a hot day.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji spoke to students at noon, while the staff had a staff meeting. It was a hot day.’

The ninth, ‘It was another very warm day. Krishnaji stayed in. I went to Winchester on errands, but was back in time for lunch. In the afternoon, I did letters.’

There’s even less for the tenth. ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school.’

June eleventh, ‘Krishnaji did letter dictations. Jean Michael de Bloos did a fine job of washing and waxing the Mercedes.’ I remember him.

S: Yes, he was a very nice chap.

M: Yes, he was nice.

On the twelfth, I drove to the Meyer’s in Sussex for lunch.

S: Who are the Meyers?

M: The Meyers are Fleur and Tom. Fleur was known by her first husband’s name, Cowles.

S: Oh, yes, the painter.

M: She’s a painter. I have one of her paintings in the other room. Her first husband owned and ran Look magazine. She divorced him; then she started a short-lived, but very eccentric and interesting magazine called Flare. When you opened it up, things blossomed out of the book; it was very interesting. It cost quite a lot of money, and didn’t last long. [Both chuckle.] So, she then went off and traveled a lot. She met Tom Meyer, who lived in London, and he was in the lumber business or something in the Far East, and they married. We met them, we being Sam and myself—my husband and me—met them in Madrid once when we went for the weekend. Fleur had tremendous taste, and she found all sorts of lovely objects and decorated places beautifully. She wrote books and painted, and she’s still painting and showing all over the place. She and Tom had this really extraordinary flat at Albany[4]. You remember Albany?

S: Yes, indeed.

M: Well, they lived there, and then had in the country a beautiful, old, Elizabethan-era farmhouse down in Sussex. And again, she had done it wonderfully inside. She would find extraordinary bits of furniture and things, and it was always a pleasure to visit her. And she knew everybody in the world! So, if you went there, you would likely meet interesting people. She talked about herself, [chuckles] as though she was describing her life in an Alice in Wonderland way, but it wasn’t affected, which made it very interesting. [S chuckles.] It was sort of name-dropping, but with substance—interesting people, what they were doing and saying. Anyway, I still am fond of her, and think of her as a friend, though I haven’t seen her in ages. Now, where was I?

‘I drove to the Meyer’s in Sussex on the 272’—that’s the route—‘through Midhurst and Petworth to Fleur and Tom’s for lunch. It was a warm, lovely day, and pleasant to drive unhurriedly through southern England. The only other guest was a John van Astin, an Englishman who does films. It was, as usual, a good lunch: a first course of broad beans in a delicate sauce that might have had ground mushrooms in it. We talked mostly of the mess in the world. Fleur goes on the twenty-fourth to a hospital, where a specialist will try to find out why and what to do when her heart goes into fibrillation, as it does, or has as much as six times already this year. She said that her heart is okay, but that’…well, you don’t want to hear…I don’t want to go on about my friends’ medical problems.

S: Okay.

M: Anyway, I drove back at 3:30 p.m. That was that day.

The thirteenth simply says, ‘Krishnaji spoke to school. I worked at the desk.’

There’s even less for the fourteenth, ‘Desk. Walked with Dorothy in the afternoon. A hot, dry day.’

Then there’s really nothing until the sixteenth when, ‘I took the 8:45 a.m. train to London, and got Krishnaji’s Swiss and French visas. He took the 10:45 a.m. train alone and taxied to Huntsman, where Mary L. and I met him. That was a big discussion of whether that was alright.’ [S chuckles.] ‘We all walked for lunch to Fortnum’s. I had a fitting at Hillier’s, the new tailor, on skirt and trousers. Krishnaji insisted on coming to Hillier’s because he felt that he only could judge the length of trousers. He felt they should break in a certain…’

S: Right.

M: You know all that.

S: Yes, yes. [Both laugh.] I remember well, yes.

M: And if he didn’t okay it, it wasn’t right. He was very particular about those things.

So, he obviously came back with me…

S: To make sure that you got it right.

M: Yes. So, Krishnaji vetted the length of my trousers in the fitting. We then bought jerseys for Vanda, and caught the 3:50 p.m. back to Petersfield.

S: Would you have gotten the jerseys in the Burlington Arcade?

M: Yes. At that shop at the top.

S: Uh, Neil’s?

M: Yes!

S: As you’re coming back onto Piccadilly, on the left-hand side, at the top?

M: Yes, that’s where we would’ve bought it, and walked through. We always walked through the Arcade to go on to Fortnum’s from Huntsman.

June seventeenth, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school. I did deskwork. There was a light, drizzly rain. So, Krishnaji took his first walk in weeks with Dorothy, Whisper, and me. The hay fever is better because of the rain.’

The next day just says ‘Desk.’

June nineteenth. ‘Rain! Desk. The Guardian review of Krishnaji’s book by Angela Neustater is undistinguished.’ I’m very fussy. ‘Krishnaji didn’t read it through, but gathered it was nothing much; and said, “I will review it,” and he dictated a splendid review, laughing all the way as he went along.’ [Both chuckle. M laughs more.] Do you remember that?

S: Yes, I do.

M: June twentieth. I went to Petersfield with Narayan to meet Mr. Vettakhan and Mr. Sundaram, head of passports in the embassy in London. They attended Krishnaji’s talks with the school and stayed to lunch. Krishnaji walked down to the main road and back. In the evening I attended a cello and piano recital by M. Russell and Alan Rowlands.’

On the twenty-first, ‘Krishnaji and I went to London. At lunch with Mary at Fortnum’s, Krishnaji gave her the book review that he wrote of Krishnamurti’s Notebook without telling her who wrote it. He watched with a merry look’ [chuckles]. ‘Mary didn’t guess, though I thought she would. At the end, she asked, “Who wrote this?” and laughed a very great deal when she was told. She and Joe, Amanda, and the children are going to spend their summer holidays at Brockwood[5]. Krishnaji took a taxi to dentist Thompson and returned by himself to Huntsman, where I met him. These solo flights of his make me nervous. I am a fusser, apparently. He fitted some trousers. A man came up to me while I waited, and said, “How do you do?” Out of context, I didn’t recognize him as John van Astin, whom I met at Fleur’s a week ago. Krishnaji and I took the 4:50 p.m. train back to Petersfield. There was a school meeting in the evening.’

June twenty-second. ‘I worked at the desk most of the day. Krishnaji spoke to the students. In the afternoon, there was a staff meeting. It was a hot day. I walked a little with Whisper. The cows got into the grove.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji dictated letters. I met Cynthia Wood’s friend, a Ms. Dale Duff, at the Petersfield station, and returned her there after she had lunched at Brockwood.’

June twenty-fourth, ‘Krishnaji talked to school, a good one,’ underlined. ‘It’s very hot.’

June twenty-fifth, ‘The temperature was 104 at Wimbledon. Krishnaji dictated letters, and I typed.’

June twenty-sixth, ‘London is ninety-five degrees[6]. Highest ever recorded. I started packing. I got a letter from Lorna, my cousin.’ Oh, dear. She had an awful life. I’m not putting this in.

So, to the twenty-seventh, ‘The heat is unchanged. Krishnaji spoke to school and guests. Very interesting. On registering only at the biologic or technical level but not at the psychological level. A “thin, thin” surface registering without reaction of the psychological me. Packed.’

June twenty-eighth, ‘It is still over ninety degrees. There is a drought and a withering sun. I spent all day packing, and putting things in order.’

June twenty-ninth, ‘Another broiling day. I was up early, and put all in good order. Dorothy drove Krishnaji and me to Heathrow, leaving Brockwood at noon. We stopped for a picnic brunch at Virginia Waters, where we found some shade and a gentle breeze. We took British Airways to Paris, landing for the first time at the new Charles de Gaulle airport. Paris is even hotter than England. Only the lobby at the Plaza Athénée is air-conditioned. We had our usual rooms, but on the fifth floor. In spite of the heat, we took a walk around to stretch our legs and then had supper in our rooms.’

S: Where were your usual rooms at the Plaza Athénée?

M: Well, I forget which floor, but I can see them, sort of at the end of the hall, and Krishnaji had one here, with bath, and I had the one next door.

S: What was the view out the window?

M: Courtyard, with a funny…they put trellis on things, another building.

S: Right. So, it looked off onto a courtyard.

M: It looked off, yes. It was quiet, you see. It was quiet back there. They were very nice. And we had dinner in either bedroom. Didn’t matter which one. I brought the tray in, and the table and all.

June thirtieth, ‘the temperature was in the nineties. We stayed in all the hot morning. Then lunched in the hotel garden on melon gazpacho, tiny haricots verts, tagliatelle au gratin, and fraises des bois. Nadia Kossiakof joined us for a cup of coffee.’ Do we have to identify Nadia?

S: I think we have but we could do it again.

M: Nadia was a very nice woman. She was Egyptian. She had beautiful turquoise eyes. She was large, but she had this beautiful, nice face and beautiful eyes. And she was married to a Russian, Nicolas, and she would’ve been part of the Krishnaji people in the Paris world.

S: Way back in the ’30s and ’40s?

M: I don’t know how far back she went, but when I came along, they were all one group. And she dealt with the publishers.

S: Right. I remember that.

M: Yes. I don’t think she came to Brockwood, but we always saw her in Paris.

S: She came to Saanen, didn’t she?

M: She would, I’m sure.

S: Yes. I’m sure I met her there.

M: She had beautiful skin and a lovely face, these eyes, and sort of skin that is faintly colored but smooth, and lovely complexion. ‘So, she joined us for coffee. Nadia reported that she needs to have an operation soon, for gall bladder, etcetera. Madame Duchet, who has a slow cancer, is working nonetheless on three translationS: Krishnaji’s Notebook, Tradition and Revolution, and Krishnamurti on Education. Suarès is terminally ill’—that’s Carlo Suarès—‘of cancer. I later asked Krishnaji if he wished to do anything about the Suarèses; he said, no, he didn’t want to contact him. After lunch, we went to Charvet, Krishnaji minus his jacket, and me in the least possible. We saw some nice shirting. I couldn’t replace my yellow shirt that disappeared in May, but ordered four others. Krishnaji ordered two. After Charvet, we came back to the Champs-Elysées and went without knowing what it was to a Japanese movie called Super Express, a suspense bomb on a train.’ [Laughs.] That was the plot. ‘Krishnaji was pleased. “As good as an American film,” he said. We had supper in the rooms. The heat was in the nineties all day. I took three showers before going to sleep.’

S: If I may just ask you to explain something here. Would you say a little bit more about when you asked Krishnaji if he would like to do anything about the Suarèses—what did you mean?

M: I meant telephoning and commiserate or communicate with them, in some way.

S: Right.

M: Yes. The Suarèses had behaved very badly toward Krishnaji.

S: Right. Okay. I know, but I’m just trying to have it all explicit here.

M: The Suarèses made Krishnaji, the last time he stayed with them, don’t ask me when it was because I can’t remember, but you and I discussed it in these memoirs.

S: They made Krishnaji feel uncomfortable or unwelcome there.

M: Yes, she, Mrs. Suarès, said something like, “Oh, there’s so much to do when you’re here”—so that he felt he was imposing on them. And that was when Marcelle Bondonneau—do you remember her?

S: Yes.

M: …who was sweet lady, nice lady, and a great, close friend. They were all sort of old, old friends from the ancient days, but she was the one who suggested to me that I rent a place in Paris for him to stay because the Suarèses made him feel unwelcome, and that he was…

S: Right, I remember. I remember now.

M: …imposing. Which is what I did.

S: Right, right.

M: And with the help of Marcelle, because I didn’t know how to rent a place in Paris, as I was going to be in California. So, she and Elmenhorst, they were friends…

S: Giselle Elmenhorst.

M: Giselle Elmenhorst. And they found the little house that I then rented…

S: Near the Bois.

M: …in the Boulogne-Billancourt, down there, south of the Bois.

S: Mm, hm.

M: …which was very nice, I must say. We took it two years, at least.

S: I remember.

M: But, of course, the Suarèses, then, were furious because they didn’t have Krishnaji staying with them, in spite of having made him feel uncomfortable.

S: So, they felt offended that he didn’t go back there?

M: They were offended that he didn’t go back. And that started the disagreeableness.

S: Right, okay. Alright.

M: So, anyway ‘we had supper in the rooms again that night.’

The first of July. ‘The heat is withering. We went around the corner to Courrèges for jerseys and to Dior for little things.’ That means handkerchiefs and little things like that. It’s across the street, so it was close. ‘We lunched again in the garden, which manages to seem cool with flowers, awnings, parasols, shrubbery, climbing vines, birds, and impeccable service run by Roland’—that was the maître d’hôtel—‘and good food. Krishnaji had a sorbet au fraises for dessert. Obviously the good food agrees with him.’ If it didn’t, he couldn’t keep it down.

S: Yes.

M: ‘After a small rest, we walked to Butch Cassidy and Le Kid. [M and S laugh.] I thought Krishnaji had seen it, but if he had, he’d forgotten. So, it was a success. I saw it all over again for the first time.’

S: In French, probably?

M: Well, it had subtitles, but yes.

‘In the evening, we had vichyssoise. The garden was very popular, with people who seem to have walked off the pages of the nonsense thrillers we read.’ [Laughter.] ‘We had supper in the rooms as usual. The upholstered style of the Plaza makes it seem hot. Air conditioning is only in the lobby, and there’s no cross-ventilation in our rooms. I kept taking showers instead of sleeping.’ [Laughs.]

July second. ‘We are delighted to leave Paris. It is as if the air hadn’t ever been changed in the city. Breathing is oppressive, like being inside a vacuum cleaner. Both Krishnaji’s and my legs and feet are like cushions. We went to Roissy and the Charles de Gaulle airport again. We sat in what felt like a wasteland of idiotic pretentiousness,’ [chuckles] ‘passengers are fed along moving walkways, up through plastic tubes and tunnels like blood cells,’ [chuckling] ‘and exhorted by peremptory loudspeakers to go to one’s satellite,’ [S chuckles] ‘not gates. The language of promotion, like operation so-and-so, or the pompous seriousness of cabin attendants who will now go to their stations for takeoff.’ You know, those announcements?

S: Yes, yes.

M: ‘We were on Air France this time and were given a surprisingly good vegetarian lunch. But, we were charged $20.00 overweight for the luggage that British Air allows free.’ [Both laugh.] ‘A fifty-minute flight, and we were in the plain, simple airport in Geneva. Hertz provided a screamingly green Opal instead of the expected BMW. As the luggage fitted in, we took off into town. Parked underground and walked to Patek.’ This was the ritual, every year…

S: Yes, I know, I know.

M: …we have to go to Patek, and they look at the watches and adjust them a little bit. ‘…and then to Jacquet where Krishnaji chose six ties for himself plus two for Joe Links. Choosing material for ties took a great deal of discussion and attention, and my advice was respected.’

S: Indispensable! [M laughs.] I know, in the matter of ties, it was indispensable.

M: Well, he had a theory that I knew about clothes because I had known about Huntsman before I knew him.

S: Yes, I remember that wonderful story of your first meeting in Gstaad.

M: ‘After Jacquet, we went to Grand Passage for’—what did we do this time—‘odds and ends. And then, we drove along the lake and on to Gstaad.’

S: Oh, so you didn’t stay in the hotel then in Geneva?

M: No, we didn’t. We were hoping it would be cooler in the mountains, I guess. ‘So, we set off on the Route du Lac, and it was not like Paris. One could breathe. The country is dry for Switzerland, but not the scorched look of France. Krishnaji was thirsty, so we stopped for apple juice and drove on. The country above Lausanne is as beautiful as ever, and the air tasted of mountains. Finally, Gstaad: cool, green, rained upon. Vanda and Fosca were in the chalet. And, oh, oh, oh, how good to be here, cool, clean, quiet. The mountains have snow imperturbably. I unpacked, and disappeared into sleep.’

S: Nice.

M: July third. ‘How narrow the limits in which the body can function properly. Krishnaji and I are both revived by the cold climate. The edema is gone’—that’s our feet—‘we feel renewed and normal. It rained a little. Oh, luxury. Did a few errands in the village, and Krishnaji had his hair cut by the good barber Monsieur Nicolas.’

S: Where did Krishnaji have his hair cut in Gstaad?

M: Monsieur Nicolas. He was in Gstaad on the main road. You know where the…what was the name of the grocery store? Oh…

S: Yes, yes, I can see it.

M: Well, it was a block or so toward Saanen, on that side of the street. Remember, there was a shoe place?

S: Yes.

M: Well, it was in the block before that.

S: Okay.

M: It was a barber shop. I think we always went around in from the back; there was a parking area in the back. And he was very good, Monsieur Nicolas. How can I remember that, when I can’t remember…

S: [laughs] This is why we’re getting it all down, here.

M: Well, yes.

S: The important things.

M: July fourth. ‘The Israelis rescued a hundred hostages hijacked in Uganda.’ Do you remember that?

S: I certainly do.

M: Well, anyway, they got rescued most dramatically. ‘And then the Siddoo sisters, Jackie and Sarjit, with Tapas, came in the afternoon with mangoes to see Krishnaji. They have bought thirty-two acres and a house on the sea on Vancouver Island for a school. They showed us photos. They want to open it in September. We discussed the pros and cons of Narayan being the director. Krishnaji has received a letter from Sunanda saying that Balasundaram presently is thinking of relinquishing the principal-ship of RishiValley. Later, I joined Krishnaji in the woods for a walk.’

On July fifth, ‘Mar de Manziarly came for lunch. Krishnaji eats now in his room alone, but joined Vanda, Mar, and me for coffee. I did errands and walked in the woods. The heat continues in France and Britain.’

July sixth, ‘Krishnaji rested, and then he saw Mr. Russu in the afternoon, who claims that he had been at the point of death in hospital several months ago, and Krishnaji came to him for eight hours and saved his life. He also claims that he met the Lord Maitreya. Krishnaji says he’s getting a little gaga.’ You knew Mr. Russu, didn’t you?

S: Yes, I did, very well. He was the person who suggested I apply to Brockwood.

M: ‘Krishnaji went for a walk, and I drove Mr. Russu home. I saw Graf about videotapes. The tent is up. Then, Krishnaji told me in the morning of a “strange happening,” and then while at his lunch, he spoke of it again to Vanda and me, and dictated the following: “Before beginning asanas, he generally sits quietly, thinking of nothing. But this morning, a strange happening took place, most unexpected and in no way invited. And besides, you can’t invite these things. Suddenly, it appeared as though in the center of the brain, the head, right inside, there was a vast space in which was unimaginable energy. It is a part, or it is there that nothing whatever is registered, for that which is registered is a wastage of energy. If one can call it, it was pure energy in a limitless space, a space that had nothing but this sense of immensity. One doesn’t know how long it lasted, but all during this morning, it was there. And as this is being written, it is as though it was taking root and becoming firm. These words are not really the thing itself.”’

‘“Basta. I better go ahead and eat.”’ [S chuckles.]

Listen to Mary speak.

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That’s interesting.

S: Yes, it is.

M: July seventh. ‘Krishnaji has a letter from Pupul, saying that she had just met the prime minister, and “have arranged everything regarding your visit here this winter. I told her that the Krishnamurti Foundation of India was anxious to invite you to come and hold discussions and talks in India this year, and we wanted to talk it over with her so that there would be no embarrassment on any side. She assured me warmly that ‘Krishnaji is most welcomed to come and speak here.’ I then told her that you would be holding discussions and public talks, and she said that would be no problem and that this arrangement would be ‘perfectly alright.’ She knows of your talks and has read several of your books. I have also told her that if any local arrangements have to be made in Bombay and Madras, where the public talks will be held, I will tell the chief ministers that this matter has been cleared up with her, and she has asked me to do so. There is, therefore, no problem of any kind, and you should go ahead and fix your program to come to India accordingly. I am prepared to stand absolute guarantee.” This was dated the second of July, 1976.’

S: The letter?

M: The letter, yes.

S: Just to say, this was because Indira Gandhi had imposed martial law, and there was uncertainty as to whether Krishnaji could get away with saying the kinds of things he normally said, without being arrested.

M: That’s right. ‘Krishnaji also received a separate letter from Pupul dated the twenty-fourth of June from Bombay, saying she and Nandini had been writing all they could remember about the incidents at Ootacamund in May and June of 1948. This is an attempt to fill in the missing parts of the record written by Pupul at the time, given then to Rajagopal, but missing from the photocopies he provided KFA in the spring 1975. Pupul states that she wrote down every night what had taken place during the evenings that she and Nandini were living at a hotel nearby, and Krishnaji was staying with Ms. Hilla Petit and Maurice Frydman. She describes Krishnaji’s pain in spine, nape of neck, and tooth. Krishnaji had asked Pupul and Nandini to sit quietly, not interfere and not be afraid, not to touch him except to close his mouth if he fainted, and on no account to leave the body alone. He would toss on the bed, have fits of shivering and would call out for Krishna, and then put his hand to his mouth and say, “I must not call him.” The body appeared to be only a shell. In this state, the voice was frail, childlike. “Then, suddenly, the body appeared to fill with a vast presence, Krishnaji would sit up, cross-legged, his eyes closed, the fragile body would appear to grow and fill the room, and there was a palpable, throbbing silence that poured into the room and enveloped us. In this state, the voice had great volume and depth.” They remembered one incident vividly: Krishnaji in great pain, stomach swollen, tears streaming down his face, suddenly fainting, and the body becoming intensely still. “The traces of pain and fatigue were wiped away. The face was greatly beautiful. There was a radiance, a light that illumined it and a stillness, and a sense of vastness that we had never witnessed. A quality of sacredness filled the room.”…“For moments, he lay unmoving. Then, his eyes opened. He saw us, and after sometime said, ‘Did you see that face?’ We said, yes, but could not say anything else as we had no words. Krishnaji lay silently, and then, ‘The Buddha was here.’ And then after sometime, ‘You are blessed.’…“Most of the time in the room, we had no part to play in what was happening, and yet, we had a role we could not understand. We questioned him during the day, but he became vague and would not explain…On most occasions, while the pain rocked him, he spoke of trees and wind, rain, nature, its storms, and vast silence. There was nothing personal in him during the incidents, no emotion, no relationship to us. The ordeal appeared physical, and yet the next day it left no traces on his face or body. Not a word that was said by him had psychological overtones. What he spoke was totally impersonal. The sense of the sacred permeated the room and the atmosphere on every occasion.” It is signed by Pupul Jayakar and Nandini Metha, dated 23-6-76. Krishnaji didn’t read it for quite a while. He said, “We’ll read it together later,” and then put it off. When I asked about it later, he said, “I’ve seen it. I’d be shy to have it read out loud.”’

Listen to Mary speak.

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S: Hm. Where is that letter now?

M: Well, you see, she’s quoting…Rajagopal shortchanged us[7], as we now know…

S: Right, yes.

M: …on the account that they had written.

S: Right.

M: And then, in talking about all that…I forget how Pupul saw what we had, she realized it was incomplete. So, she was filling it in, in this letter to Krishnaji.

S: Right. Yes, but where is that letter?

M: Where is that letter? It must be in the Brockwood archives. I don’t know.

S: You have a file here of Pupul, but I haven’t looked at it.

M: It wouldn’t be in my file. I would’ve handed it in.

S: Okay.

M: Or maybe. We’ll look, but have you already looked?

S: No, I haven’t. I didn’t look at Pupul’s file.

M: Oh. I don’t think it’s here, but we’ll take a look later.

S: Okay.

M: The rest of my entry for that day is, ‘Krishnaji is absorbed in All the President’s Men. He didn’t go for a walk, but I did.’

July eighth, ‘Edgar Graf lunched with Vanda and me. Later, I went down to tea with the Siddoos and Tapas. Krishnaji’s idea is that I should talk to them informally. I didn’t bring up the subject of Narayan, one of the situations I would sooner stay out of. They should work it out for themselves.’

‘Krishnaji put his hands on Mr. Russu.’

‘Vanda has been urging Krishnaji to see Iyengar, who is in Gstaad for a few days. Krishnaji wants nothing to do with him. He wouldn’t take a lesson from him. Vanda showed Iyengar the yoga stool that Krishnaji is using for head stands. He said it was alright for Krishnaji, but to avoid the blood it gives to the head, something should be placed so part of the weight is on the forearms. He said it’s not good for anyone with high blood pressure. Vanda persuaded Krishnaji to let Iyengar come by to greet him before leaving today. I wasn’t in then, but Krishnaji said he is a man full of arrogance and self-importance. Iyengar has given Frances McCann exercises to relax her, lessen her odd sensations. Krishnaji is disgusted at this approach. It is amazing how much effort will be put into useless therapy and avoiding psychiatric help.’ Iyengar, of course, was put out because Desikachar had replaced him. But Iyengar came every year to teach yoga to Menuhin.

S: Right.

M: And he was put up by Mrs…what was her name? At the downstairs flat in Tannegg.

S: Ah, right.

M: Anyway, Vanda was always friendly with Iyengar. Vanda never took lessons from Desikachar. She was an Iyengar student, and she thought that Krishnaji should try to make a kind of peace with Iyengar.

S: Right.

M: So, she got Iyengar to come and pay his respects.

July ninth. ‘Evelyne Blau rang. She, Lou, and her mother, Mrs. Kraft, arrived last night, and are using a friend’s chalet near Eggli. Lou leaves on Tuesday. They all came for lunch, plus Vanda’s guest, Chloe Murdock’—that’s the woman who lives here in Ojai. ‘Krishnaji quizzed Lou on Jimmy Carter. Lou gave a good report’—Lou was a staunch Democrat—‘and Krishnaji was pleased and said later, “I would vote for him.” At 4 p.m., Krishnaji saw the Siddoo sisters alone. At the station, I ran into Shakuntala and Narayan, who have just arrived, and Sue Radowich…

S: Oh, Radowich, she used to work in the kitchen.

M: Yes, yes. ‘I drove them to Lauenen, where they share a little chalet with the others from Brockwood: Ricardo, Frode, and Denise. Dorothy, Montague, and Doris arrived in Saanen, camping.’ So, Frode materializes. [S chuckles]

On July the tenth, ‘A quiet day. Krishnaji saw Mr. Russu for a treatment.’

S: We have to end here. We’ve run out of tape.

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[1] These meetings were Krishnaji’s response to the students’ reluctance to speak in the meetings Krishnaji held with the whole school to which any visitors to the school were also invited. Back to text.

[2] This series of videotaped discussions between Krishnaji, Bohm, and Shainberg were eventually titled The Transformation of Man. Back to text.

[3] Dorothy had by now acquired another dog. Back to text.

[4] An apartment complex in Piccadilly made from a mansion built in 1770 for the Viscount Melbourne. Back to text.

[5] For many years, Mary L. and Joe and her daughter and grandchildren spent the summers at Brockwood during the period it was empty except for a skeleton crew, as everyone else was at Saanen. Mary L. always reported it as idyllic. Back to text.

[6] Thirty-five degrees Celsius. Back to text.

[7] When Mary and Erna asked to see this account, they were only given one page. Back to text.