Issue #43

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Issue 43—September 23, 1976 to December 31, 1976


In this issue we see more than we have before of Krishnaji’s concern about how his teachings will continue after he is gone. This continued to be a vexing question for the rest of his life.

Mary gives accounts (one quite long) of discussions Krishnaji held which weren’t recorded. It seems these are the only accounts we have of these.

The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #43

Mary: We’re starting on September twenty-third, 1976, and we’re at Brockwood. My diary says, ‘Krishnaji talked to Balasundaram at some length. Students started to arrive [1]. We walked in the rain; Krishnaji, Balasundaram, Dorothy, and I.’

And for the next day, all it says is, ‘Balasundaram left. The rest of the students arrived.’

On the twenty-fifth of September. ‘Today is the start of the term for the school, so students are seeing teachers about their studies, etcetera. Krishnaji spent the whole day in bed resting, something that he would like to do once a week. I drove to Ginny and Bill Travers’s for lunch with them and their children,’ one of whom is my god-daughter. We don’t have to put that in. ‘I gave them a copy of Krishnamurti’s Notebook, and drove back in time to get Krishnaji’s dinner tray. It was an intense evening of TV: The Two Ronnies,’ [S chuckles] ‘who make Krishnaji laugh, and Starsky and Hutch.’

September twenty-sixth, ‘Krishnaji gave his first talk of the term to the school, looking marvelous in new beige trousers,’ [both chuckle] ‘like mine, a brown jersey, and seeming no more than thirty years old. His face was alive, quick, full of laughter and shine. He spoke on listening, what it can be.’

‘In the afternoon, just as we were about to watch a full BBC repeat of the first Carter debate in the U.S., Mr. T. Santhanam arrived for tea an hour early. With him was his younger son, a very nice young man of about thirty-one. They left after 5 p.m., and Krishnaji, Dorothy, I, and the dogs walked down to the lodge and across the fields. There were many mushrooms. The air was soft, warm, and wet. The grass is green, green at last [2] —all the delights of England.’

September twenty-seventh. ‘I worked at the desk and laundry. Krishnaji slept most of the morning. He, Dorothy, the dogs, and I went for a different walk, to look first of all at the young apple orchard, very good this year. Tasted an apple that tasted like the ones I remember in my childhood in Mill Neck, on Long Island—real apples from the tree, tart and sweet, and tasting of early autumn. We went across the fields, north and then west and around—a new good walk.’

‘On our return, I learned that Jackie Kornfeld had telephoned. I got Krishnaji’s supper and then rang her at her home in Tuxedo Park, New York. WGBH, the public broadcasting channel in Boston, want definitely to broadcast and distribute three forty-five-minute segments of the Krishnaji-Bohm-Shainberg videos. They want our collaboration and the editing to be done in November in Boston. That means my being there then. Talked to David Bohm about it. He would like to do numbers 4 to 7. He wants us to try to persuade them to take all four. Krishnaji and I watched I, Claudius on TV. Krishnaji looked a little tired and delicate. His bridge is hurting him.’ That’s his dental thing.

Scott: Mm, hm.

M: ‘We will go to the dentist Wednesday. Meanwhile, I put his salad through the blender. I made all his plane reservations today. He will go from Bombay to Rome on January twentieth, and Rome to London January twenty-fourth. From Ojai, I will get his ticket for London to LA for January thirty-first. His India program worries me. It is too demanding. Pupul doesn’t realize that he must be protected.’

S: Just to add something here about those WGBH tapes: I remember editing them.

M: You?

S: For some reason, I did at least the machine editing.

M: Well, good.

S: And we have them in the archive. They were first edited on paper.

M: Yes.

S: And I think you and David were involved, weren’t you? I’m not sure.

M: Yes, may have.

S: And then, I did them on the machines. It was really tiresome, tedious work. But it was also extraordinary in a way, because to look that closely at them…because you can’t just edit anywhere, even when it looks good on paper…

M: No, no.

S: …you have to make it look good on the video…

M: That’s right.

S: …to do the editing. So, I spent weeks on this, and really got to know those videos.  I still think they’re the best things we have, on video.

M: Especially the last one, and the last part of the last one, where Krishnaji just takes off…

S: Yes. It’s extraordinary.

M: …is extraordinary, both in what he says, the way he said it, the way he looked…

S: Yes.

M: …the tremendous authority, in the right meaning of authority…

S: Absolutely.

M: …in the certainty of what he was saying.

S: Absolutely.

M: Yes.

S: Even after seeing them as much as I did, I still found them just absolutely wonderful.

M: Yes, yes.

So, the twenty-eighth, ‘Krishnaji talked alone with the students. I drove to Southampton about insurance for the Mercedes and then to Winchester on errands. I found a foam mat for Krishnaji to use doing yoga. I was back to Brockwood in time for the walk.’

Krishnaji dressed for London

Krishnaji dressed for London

September twenty-ninth, ‘Krishnaji and I went to London, to Nelson’s for remedies for him to take to India, to Brigg’s for his sun umbrella, to Hatchards for two detective novels, and to Fortnum’s to lunch with Mary. She is against using the Krishnaji-Bohm dialogues mixed in with talks for the next book.’ We’ve already discussed Mary’s reluctance with those dialogues. ‘We told Mary about the videos being broadcast on WGBH. Then, Krishnaji began rather intensely talking about India, about nothing having been done there in all these years. Would Sunanda be able to? She is immature still, he said, still may feel personally about him. “Haven’t we all, in our time?” said Mary.’ [Chuckles.] ‘We all doubted India would accept a Westerner being in charge one day. “They are snobs,” said Krishnaji. He was very critical of Pupul, whom he saw on television showing, “selling,” he said, rugs to Mrs. Thatcher. “A Brahmin?”’ [S laughs.] ‘He was shocked.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘His distaste for this got mixed up in the more realistic criticizing of Pupul’s association with Mrs. Gandhi. He suggested a group: me, David Bohm, the Lilliefelts, Mary Lutyens, Dorothy, and probably Fritz. But this didn’t sound too good in the train later; he said to me, “I want to talk to you.”’

S: Mm, hm.

M: September thirtieth, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the whole school. I did desk work. Walked with Krishnaji, Dorothy, and the dogs. We watched Kojak on television.’

October first. ‘Krishnaji saw Tapas at 10 a.m. Then, he said to me that we must have some serious talk about the work. He said that we care for each other, that is understood, we put that aside. Then he said, “You block yourself by defending and saying that things are impossible. Not free. The Lilliefelts have not gone into things deeply. The Indians are good at repetitive inquiry, but not free. That is what is left at the end of sixty years. So, really, there’s actually no one. Someone may turn up in the next five to ten years, but now there is no one. What to do? Mary Links is out of it. She can’t do it either. We must take things as they are, and work from there. The Digbys are out. There’s you and Sunanda. In India, I will meet Sunanda, Achyut, Pupul, Ahalya, Radha Burnier, and Balasundaram. The best of the lot are in England: you, David Bohm; Dorothy is not pliable enough. In Ojai, there is the Lilliefelts, you, Fritz Wilhelm if he proves right. He will be on trial in India this winter. India sometimes makes people crazy.”’ [Both chuckle.] ‘I asked if there’d ever been anyone. Krishnaji said Jadu and Rama Rau had capacity, but Rajagopal drove them away.’

S: Mm, hm.

M: ‘In India, leave it open. Radha might have something. Theosophy?’ (question mark). ‘She can’t leave it. It is her job. What to do with these few? Build everything as though I’m going to die tomorrow. At Brockwood, David Bohm, Dorothy, and you. At Ojai, it’s the Lilliefelts, you, Fritz, and David Bohm again. You and David Bohm are kingpins between U.S. and England. Both are liked and trusted. In India, Pupul may be finished or might come out of it. Sunanda will cooperate with you. He then said I must remind him when he is in India to talk about who will come to Ojai in March for complete confidence in each other. It is doubtful about Balasundaram. The point of all this is to keep the teachings fundamental and vitally in the schools and centers. If the schools don’t vitally reflect the teachings, they are better cut loose. He wants me to talk to Dorothy about her defensiveness, lack of pliability. I pointed out that her qualities and David’s complement each other. Together, it might work at Brockwood. I said he’—meaning Krishnaji—‘was   stuck with me, and please to hammer on my head. “I will, he said.”’ [Both chuckle.] ‘He doesn’t want me to go to India. He said the climate is too rough. I must keep healthy for all of this.’

October second. ‘There were heavy showers. Krishnaji spent the day in bed resting. I spent it at the desk. I went to the David Bohm discussion. In evening with David Bohm, Scott Forbes, and Joe Zorskie, we edited transcripts of the videos of Krishnaji-Bohm-Shainberg discussions. We did numbers 4 and 5. We have to get them down to forty-five minutes for WGBH broadcasting. I eventually had to stop to go watch Starsky and Hutch with Krishnaji.’ [S chuckles.]

S: That’s right. Joe was involved in that.

M: Yes, I remember.

S: I’d forgotten that.

M: We went into the drawing room and conferred about it.

S: Right.

M: I remember that.

S: Yes, I remember Joe now. So, we edited them on paper in the drawing room?

M: I guess so. Yes, yes, it had to be on paper.

October third. ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school and visitors most movingly on love and suffering. A new glimpse. It rained all day. We walked to the lodge and back in spite of the rain. Tapas left after lunch. David, Scott, Joe, and I finished editing transcripts of videos 4 and 5. Krishnaji saw Joe and Carol at 4 p.m. In spite of the rain, he, Dorothy, and I walked with the dogs to the lodge and back. In the evening, I asked Krishnaji why all his talk about “after my death,” and reminded him that he had said recently he would live another ten to fifteen years. “That still stands,” he said, “and luckily my brain is alive as ever and will be till I die.”’

S: Hm.

M: And so it was.

S: It was indeed.

M: My brother telephoned.

October fourth. ‘I worked at the desk all day, except for a school meeting in afternoon. Krishnaji talked to Mr. and Mrs. Goldschmidt who are in a Krishnamurti group in Israel. And later he talked to a French group who want to do a school. I talked to Phil Fry and to Fleur.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji talked alone to the students. I went to Winchester in the car, but must go to Salisbury. A cold, rainy day. Did assorted errands there, and got back by 6 p.m. Krishnaji didn’t walk. It was too wet.’ It has to be pretty wet for him not to go for a walk, I would add!

S: Yes. [Chuckles.] Said with feeling.

M: Yes, yes. And with memory and experience of same.

English Mercedes

The English Mercedes. Krishnaji going to the train station to go to London.

October sixth. ‘To get British registration for the gray Mercedes, I left early and drove to Salisbury, only thirty-five miles away, a pleasant drive with more glimpses of countryside. The cathedral spire led me to the city, a nice, neat tower. The office was found, formalities accomplished. WHO 354 R is the number for some continuing odd reason. I am relieved it is settled and made English. Went off on foot to see the cathedral rising out of the green turf; gray stone, solid and soaring. The cloisters would’ve pleased Krishnaji. I wandered pleasantly in the solitary way I like, and have done so on and off all these years. Exploring, seeing at one’s own pace. I came back via Romsey in time for the end of lunch. I had a long walk later with Krishnaji, Dorothy, and the dogs.’

M: The seventh. ‘I took the 9:15 a.m. train to London, then to Eaton Place for Krishnaji’s Italian visa, then to Morgan Bank, and walked to Marks & Spencer for cardigans for Filomena, Caterina’—that’s Filomena’s sister. ‘Then, I went to meet Krishnaji, who came in on the 10:45 a.m. to Mary Links’s house. She had the Fortnum’s menu: cheese flan and spinach. Krishnaji went on about her cooking until she confessed that the flan was from Marks & Spencer and the spinach was frozen.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘His mind was only barely on the topic we were discussing: should a little of the Krishnaji-Bohm dialogues be put in the book that is mainly of the Saanen and Brockwood talks? The Digbys have suggested it as a compromise to printing all the dialogues now, which some, Mary especially, feel give a wrong effect on paper of David Bohm’s interpreting the teachings to Krishnaji. Joe came in after and drove Krishnaji to the dentist, dropping me at John Bell and Croyden for miscellaneous shopping for Krishnaji. I met Krishnaji at the dentist, where he had a gleaming new spare bridge by Mr. Thompson the dentist. We caught a taxi to Waterloo and then the 2:50 p.m. train to Petersfield. Krishnaji dozed in the train and kept waking himself up with what he calls shouting.’ You remember he used to do that?

S: Mm, hm. I do.

M: Mmm.

S: Maybe you should just describe it a little bit. I think we described it before, but I think you should just describe a little bit for people who don’t know.

M: Yes. He would sort of doze off, sometimes in the car driving, and he would come to with a start, a physical start where he would come forward, and he’d make a sound he called shouting, but it wasn’t shouting-shouting.

S: No. It was more like ‘Ahh.’

M: Yes, yes. Exactly. You’ve imitated it.

S: Yes.

M: Good. [Both chuckle.] Better than words. Anyway, as I was saying, ‘He kept waking himself up with what he calls shouting, more of a sudden start and cry. “I don’t know why I do it. I’ve tried to figure it out, and never could.” It happens when he is in light sleep, dozing, and there are no dreams in it. He has done it for years. I worked on video editing in the train. Got back tired. We watched Kojak and now I must go to sleep.        ’

October eighth. ‘I fetched Mary Cadogan at Petersfield. Krishnaji spoke to the school. After lunch, he talked with Mary Cadogan, Dorothy, and me about David Bohm, and the danger that is “assuming the mantle” when Krishnaji is gone. We all felt that David Bohm doesn’t intend it, is a good man, devoted to Krishnaji and the teachings, but his weakness is liking praise and being able to be pushed by more dominant personalities. There is a difficulty of having someone talk, go into things, without assuming authority. Krishnaji is bothered by Dorothy’s “defending,” and not having new ideas. He said again to me that I see difficulties ahead instead of how things can be done.’

S: That you see troubles ahead?

M: Yes. He was annoyed if I said, “But, Krishnaji, if we do that, this will happen.”

S: Oh, I see. Right.

M: I would foresee difficulties where he would plunge ahead with something.

S: Right. I’ve got it.

M: And that bothered him. I shouldn’t always look for reasons not to do something. He was right.

‘He wants to get good teachers from Brockwood, Ojai, and India together. Later, we watched on TV a series called Victorian Scandals, this one on the Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh trial for publishing a tract on birth control.’ I remember that. Bradlaugh was an early colleague of Annie Besant before she got into Theosophy.

S: Mm, hm.

M: ‘Krishnaji said, “Amma didn’t look like that”’—[S chuckles]—‘and the same of Bernard Shaw [3]. “She never talked to me about Bradlaugh. She talked about lots of things, but not him.” She said, “Jinarajadasa…”’ [Begins to laugh.] I know what’s coming [laughs some more]. He’s quoting Annie Besant: ‘She said, “Jinarajadasa shouldn’t be the head of the TS because he liked to look at naked ladies.” “Oh, Amma,” he said.’ [Both laugh.]

October ninth. ‘Krishnaji reviewed his statement, written in June for the Bulletins on his being responsible only for schools under his direct supervision, and hence, only they should use Krishnaji’s name. It will be printed in the next issue. He then saw Narayan at some length. I went to West Meon, where British plates were put on the Mercedes, completing its import to the UK. Settled at last. I then went to Petersfield to fetch a washed bedspread and Magnolia paint to send to California as a sample, possibly for the cottage.’ Magnolia’s the color that most of the interior of Brockwood is painted, for people who don’t know that. ‘Back in time to fix Krishnaji’s lunch tray, as he spent his day in bed. He was pleased with Narayan. Feels he can do well. He discussed with him a man named Graham, whom Tapas had here last Sunday; a former British consul in Madras, married to an Indian, who wants to live in India, capable of going to RishiValley as a senior teacher if Balasundaram deteriorates further. Could become the principal. Krishnaji asked Narayan, if Canada doesn’t work out, would he go to India? And Narayan said, “Of course,” which Krishnaji liked. He is pliable. Krishnaji presently is very bothered by the lack of this in Dorothy. He kept repeating, “What will we do?” at me. “She isn’t moving forward.”’

S: Mm, hm.

M: ‘“What do we do if something happens to her? Brockwood will fall apart.” He is disturbed that there is no one else. She hasn’t found anyone as a backup. This doesn’t seem Dorothy’s doing as it is with Balasundaram, who apparently dismisses capable people. Krishnaji wants me to talk to Dorothy, as she gets so upset when he does. I said that, “I, too, defend.”’

‘Professor Maurice Wilkins arrived for the weekend and is in the West Wing guest room. I went to David Bohm’s meeting in the afternoon. There were only six students; his audience was mostly staff and visitors. It was an intellectual plowing in depth, but rather in circles, I felt. After supper, Dave, Scott, Joe, and I worked on editing numbers 6 and 7 of the videos. Got it done. Dave provided a summary introduction on the long side.’

S: I remember that.

M: You remember that?

S: I think we ought to just say a word here about…

M: Yes, what?

S: …about Krishnaji wanting to make it clear that only schools he started and was responsible for could use his name.

M: That’s correct.

S: Because otherwise, if we don’t say anything more, it sounds a little bit…

M: No, he felt that it was…I’m talking from memory now, I couldn’t tell you when he said it, but he said it often.

S: Right. Well, what I want to add here for the record is that, as you mentioned in the previous discussion or perhaps a couple of discussions before, that there was a group from France that was interested in starting a school. There had previously been a very interested group from Germany that had come and spent a long time trying to do this. So, there were different groups around the world, in South America, for instance, there were several, who wanted to start Krishnamurti schools.

M: And he didn’t want any of them.

S: Well, he didn’t want them to use his name.

M: Name. That’s right.

S: He was very happy for people to start really good, intelligent, sensitive schools.

M: Yes, and doing the things that he talked about in education.

S: Right. But, he just didn’t want his name used because he wasn’t responsible for them.

M: Correct.

S: So, I’m just adding that, because otherwise it sounds like he was against starting schools.

M: And I think, in a way, he was wary of what he’d seen happen in India…

S: Yes.

M: …where ostensibly, they were Krishnamurti schools.

S: Yes, and a lot of money was given in his name to start places, and then the schools just go on and have nothing to do with his teachings.

M: Yes. But the teachers aren’t really interested in the teachings.

S: Yes. Exactly.

M: So, the next day is the tenth. ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school, mostly on what love is (i.e., where there is no self), and beauty, which is when there is no thought. Students seem to see the latter more easily. It was a tiring session for Krishnaji, as he had to put much energy to get through to their understanding. There was much talk then at lunch. A Madame Maroger sat…’ Oh, that’s the mother.

S: Jean-Michel’s mother. Yes.

M: ‘Madame Maroger sat next to him, a nice and distinguished-looking French woman with her son and granddaughter Arian, the latter is a possible student. Madame Maroger has been long interested in Krishnaji. Her group are very young, consisting of her grandchildren and a few others who would meet, and so she was interested in the ways of teaching very young children. She and her son spoke fluent English. The son gave me a cassette on which is one of the Saanen’s talks with the son’s translation into French following each sentence of Krishnaji’s. The French feel it is very helpful and want to get permission to make them.’ I thought that was wonderful; that’s when we started the audio translations. As you know, Jean-Michel handled it very well.

S: Yes, yes, he did.

M: He spoke as good English as a non-English person could speak, and he did it beautifully. ‘Fritz Wilhelm arrived last night. He and Margrete are married. She remains in Denmark while Fritz goes on the Indian tour, then they will both go to Ojai. Scott and I went over Krishnaji’s immigration papers as he will accompany Krishnaji to the U.S. embassy in January. A walk with Krishnaji and Dorothy. Krishnaji had at Dorothy on who would run Brockwood if he and she weren’t there. Dorothy thinks a group, and will try it in March when she comes to the meetings in Ojai that Krishnaji wants to hold on the future of the work. She suggested the group should be Joe Zorski, Scott, Steven Smith, Shakuntala, and Ingrid. Krishnaji was very urgent, and belabored her on not taking enough rest. Everyone at Brockwood Park is overworked, has too long hours. Later, he attacked me for the same.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘He seems to raise this when he himself is tired and when pressure is inescapable, as now, when we are about to leave and there are endless things to be done. He was impatient with me. “You always say the same thing. I must keep away from you,” as though my fatigue affects him, which I suppose it does, though I keep it to myself. His objection to both Dorothy and me is that one is not able to give time to what he is teaching. There is too much energy channeled into the necessities of everyday work. This is so, but how is one to make it possible?’

S: Yes.

M: ‘I telephoned Vanda, also Nadia Kossiakof in Paris, who is much better.’

The next day is the eleventh. ‘We went to London, to the bank, and then to Huntsman, where Krishnaji fitted handsome tweed trousers. Mr. Lintott’—that’s the tailor who ran Huntsman—‘showed me patterns for copying my brown tweed coat. Four yards are needed. Then off we went to Fortnum’s, where Mary lunched with us. Krishnaji talked intently with Mary about who should see to the teachings being alive in the schools and centers: me, Sunanda, possibly Erna. Mary felt that three was a better number than two, and that Krishnaji should leave it as a request and instruction as it can only be done that way, not as a legal thing. We said goodbye to Mary. Krishnaji had his new bridge adjusted by Mr. Thompson, and we had luck and a quick taxi to Waterloo. We relaxed into the familiar, and these days, rather dirty compartment in the train. A day like this, so very much the familiar trip to London with Krishnaji, has the added fondness to it because it is so familiar. He dozed in the train coming back, “shouting” twice, but only a little gasp as there was another passenger in the compartment.’ In those days, we went first class.

S: Yes.

M: Then, later on, he decided it was too expensive, and we gave up first class. [S chuckles.] ‘I felt sleepy too and quiet in the warm happiness of seeing Krishnaji opposite, the beauty of his sleeping face, grace, and neatness of hands. These quiet moments are infinitely precious, like warm sun in a lee.’ You know, when you’re in the lee of the wind.

S: Yes.

M: On TV in the evening, on the news we saw via Barnaba Oriani where three Palestinian Black Tuesday terrorists broke into the Syrian embassy, which is downstairs from Vanda’s apartment. They were after the ambassador, who wasn’t there, and they were captured.’

S: What?

M: It’s true.

S: Vanda had a flat above the Syrian embassy?

M: Yes. It was a building with flats on each floor, and one of them was the Syrian embassy, and one above the embassy was Vanda’s, and we were about to go there. [S laughs, M chuckles.]

October twelfth,‘I work mostly at the desk, and began to pack. Krishnaji spoke to students while the rest of us went to a staff meeting. Krishnaji, Dorothy, Fritz, and I walked with the dogs. Vanda telephoned from Florence about the Syrian embassy event. She is going to Rome tomorrow, and is uncertain if Krishnaji should come there Friday.’

The next day. ‘I went to Winchester on errands, then returned to work at the desk. Krishnaji, Dorothy, Fritz, and I walked. In the evening, I telephoned Vanda in Rome. Her place is an armed camp. She had to show her passport to get into her own flat. She is uncertain whether Krishnaji should come there. He talked to her, and it was decided to postpone coming Friday for a week. And then, if it is still not alright, Krishnaji will go directly from London to Delhi. We’ll change the reservations tomorrow. I felt a large relief at not having to get off so soon. A week is a boon. I am more tired than I realized. So is Krishnaji.’

This is October fourteenth. ‘Krishnaji decided to talk to the school, and then rest until he leaves. I changed our reservations to a week from Friday, the twenty-second. I booked us both to Rome with an alternate booking for Krishnaji if he shouldn’t go there at all. He is on a new Japan Air flight that he is due to board in Rome, but he can start it instead in London, where it originates. Does that make sense?

S: Yes. The flight that he was booked on goes London-Rome-Delhi.

M: Yes. So, he could go on the same flight, but starting in London on the twenty-fifth.

‘The question the students asked in the meeting was on meditation. He spoke on thought, the chattering mind, the quiet mind, and mentioned seeing with all the senses, which gave me a chance to ask what is meant by that. Is there not memory involved, i.e., I see the wind in the trees, hear it, possibly smell it, but the tactile sense of rushing wind, cold, etcetera, is partly knowing that feeling, as I am not out in the wind. Krishnaji replied that looking with all the senses implies looking without a center, a self that looks and reacts.’ It was a good meeting.

‘There were gale winds and heavy rains all day. We stayed in, and I rested a little, the pressure of leaving is off. Oh, pleasant space of time. I telephoned Filomena about the delay, but couldn’t reach Vanda. I wrote to Pupul about Krishnaji’s need for rest, and described the way he needs to live while talking; e.g., meals alone, one day a week in bed, etcetera. In the evening, we watched Kojak and then Lord Hailsham in a speech on British government.’

October fifteenth, ‘Krishnaji spent the day resting in bed. I spoke to Vanda, who said that things are quieter in her building. I told her we would arrive a week from today. I worked peacefully at the desk. Dorothy and I walked the dogs.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji again spent the day in bed resting. A lovely clear morning. He urged me to go out, so I took the camera and wandered about taking photos. I wanted to do this during all our time here this year. Went to David Bohm’s discussion in the afternoon. Round and round on what “you are the world” implies. Krishnaji and I watched The Two Ronnies on TV, which Krishnaji finds funny, and he laughs with his high-pitched child laugh.’ You know, he would, when found something was funny, his laugh would go way up.

S: I know, I know, yes.

M: Then, we looked at Starsky and Hutch. Rather poor, but it held.


Editor’s Note: What follows is Mary’s memory (almost certainly in the evening) of the discussion that took place earlier that day. The paragraphs and punctuation have been left exactly as she wrote them, as changing these can change the meaning, and without hearing a tape of the discussion, that seems wrong. Unfortunately, no audio recording of this discussion exists. It seems worth noting that what follows is the most extensive account of any discussion that has so far appeared in Mary’s diaries.

October seventeenth, ‘Narayan, Fritz Wilhelm, and David Bohm had planned to have a discussion. Krishnaji said he would sit in “as an observer.” Dorothy and I also were present. Once there, of course, Krishnaji participated.’ [S laughs, M chuckles.] ‘They began to examine the way a child learns, motor-learning, action-learning, then touch, etcetera. After a bit, Krishnaji jumped it way forward to insight.’ [S chuckles.] ‘He asked if our consciousness can be aware of itself. He said that if insight is not acted upon, it dies. He spoke of observation in which there is no distortion; distortion is the me. He said there is no action before insight. If there is action, it is the action of learning. Dave said humans handle their lives through action-learning, therefore, insight must be different. Bohm said, “You”’—meaning Krishnaji—‘“say insight comes before action, something goes beyond action—what is it? Perception?” Krishnaji said there was fragmentary perception. “Insight implies holistic action, which affects my daily life, the way I live, feel, love.” Dave said that then motor-learning is a limited perception and insight is when it is whole. Krishnaji said he had yesterday picked up his biography and read about dissolving the Order of the Star [4]. “And I said, How did he do it? He had tremendous insight—he did it.” Krishnaji went on to say that insight doesn’t come out of learning. Dave pointed out that Krishnaji emphasizes observation and learning. Isn’t it necessary?

Krishnaji said it helps free the mind. Narayan said that Krishnaji had once spoken of the art of listening, the art of looking, and the art of learning—the three arts. Do they precede insight? Krishnaji replied, “They open the door, but it doesn’t mean that there will be insight. He didn’t do these—he simply said, “This is absurd.”… “The point is how we move out of the pattern. Looking, listening, learning is in the pattern.”… “Can you have insight without compassion? But he (as a child) didn’t know the meaning of the word.”…“There is outward-going and inward-going. Most of us are outward-going, linear. That means he was entirely inward-going at that time. He was not an extrovert. There was insight. That is what I want to get at. I wish I could study him.”’ Meaning, himself.

S: Krishnaji wishes he could now study himself as a boy.

M: That’s right. ‘“Can consciousness become aware of itself? Is there a mirror in which consciousness sees itself—the three arts.” David asked, “What does it learn?” Krishnaji replied, “Its content. I think it can. I say, yes it can.”…“Can consciousness listen to itself without an outsider listening in?”…“Have you ever see a body from the outside?”’

‘“Can consciousness listen to itself? What happens? Nothing happens. There is empty space, absolutely nothing. No observer, only that.”’

‘“What is insight? If memory, it will not lead to insight, if it is totally different, what will bring it? Thought won’t. There must be a certain foundation. The foundation is non-self. Insight is in the absence of self. When consciousness is aware of itself, and there is nothing, then there is insight. That nothingness is insight. Insight is emptiness and non-self.”’

‘“Consciousness becomes aware of itself, and there is nothing, no content.”…“How am I to communicate this? If education isn’t the flowering of human beings, it has no meaning.”’

‘“Without love, compassion, there is no fine mind. No fine mind without insight, observation.”’

‘At the end, he said, “This morning while I played Southerland singing Bellini there flashed a great delight I missed in my youth. I said, ‘What the hell are you looking at there? It is here.’ That was insight.”’ He chided himself.

S: He chided himself? For missing it in his youth, because the delight is here, now?

M: Yes.

S: Right. And that that is insight. Yes.

For the eighteenth, there is only, ‘I have a slight cold, but worked at the desk. I also went to the school meeting.’

The next day, ‘Packing and desk. Walked with Krishnaji, Dorothy, and Fritz.’

Walking up the front drive at Brockwood.

Walking up the front drive at Brockwood.

October twentieth, ‘I packed and sorted files all day until Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I with the dogs took a long wandering walk across the fields. It was wet with autumn and the smell of leaves. Clean, wet air of autumn and its ancient nostalgia; this seems to stir in my head like mist. I love this country sense and season.’

The twenty-first: ‘Packing, etcetera. In the evening, Krishnaji and I watched Kojak and the news.’

October twenty-second. ‘For once I was packed and ready by breakfast, everything put away, laundry done. Krishnaji was a little behind. “Jee-zus!” he said’ [S laughs, M chuckles] ‘when he saw the time. Dorothy’s Cortina has serious engine troubles, so it was in Doris’s mini that she drove Krishnaji and me, with Ted bringing our bags in his Land Rover. All the school was out to say goodbye, as always, when we left at 9:45 a.m. Krishnaji and I told Dorothy she must use school funds to get a new engine as the car’s work is almost totally for Brockwood.’

‘At Heathrow, the woman at Alitalia check-in asked me if Krishnaji was the writer of the Commentaries on Living; I said yes firmly. She was dazzled, and for whatever reason, our seven bags went through without charge.’ [S chuckles.] ‘Then, at passport control, a white-haired immigration man recognized Krishnaji, and said, “My wife will be thrilled to hear I’ve met you,” with such enthusiasm, he forgot to stamp Krishnaji’s passport.’ [M and S laugh.]

‘Once in the departure lounge, we heard our flight was delayed to Rome one-and-a-half hours. Alitalia gave vouchers, and I bought Krishnaji a passable tray of cheese sandwich on brown bread, fruit, tomato juice, and ice cream. Vanda, Topazia, and Francis’s friend Camillo’—he was a man who did business things for Francis and was also a friend—‘plus two others were at the RomeAirport to meet us. Krishnaji, in the crowd, looked like a falcon, aloof, a little tense, and very beautiful. Rome was stifling in the traffic and its fumes. After the Brockwood air, breathing was unclean. Benzina now costs, they say, $2.20 a gallon here, but there is no lessening of traffic. Fosca was at Vanda’s at Via Barnaba Oriana 91’—that’s where Vanda had her apartment and where the terrorists had attacked the Syrian embassy—‘and only two bored policemen were outside. The terrorist raid twelve days ago seems practically forgotten. I telephoned Filomena, set up going over her finances, over which Bud and I are trustees.’

October twenty-third. ‘Filomena came in the morning, looking her dear self, well and at least fifteen years younger than her seventy-nine years. I gave her the Dunne’s letters and photos and she laughed and kissed them.’ She loved the Dunnes, and they loved her.

S: Mm, how nice.

M: She was a lovely woman.

S: Yes.

M: ‘We went over all her finances and explained details of the trusteeship set up with Mitchell Booth’s help last year. I talked to her till lunchtime, when she and I joined Krishnaji, Vanda, Topazia, and the Emilio Villas at table. Villas is the man who pleased Krishnaji by saying that there is no evidence that Jesus as a man ever existed.’ [S chuckles.] Krishnaji often talked about that.

S: Yes, yes he did.

M: ‘Krishnaji talked to him in English, with Vanda translating. Terry Saunders, shaven-headed, came after lunch.’ I can’t remember who that was. ‘Krishnaji talked about Sanskrit and chanting and sat on the floor and did a few chants, his long fingers bending at right angles on the floor, or hanging straight with their constant grace. His fingers never curl, never grasp. Later, Terry asked to speak to me and said how badly he had behaved at Brockwood, making an apology. He told about the four months he spent in Japan in a Zen monastery and his total disillusion with that, and it seems to have shaken some of the arrogance out of him. Everyone left, and I took a bit of a nap until Krishnaji came in, ready to walk. We drove with Vanda to the edge of the BorgheseGardens where we left the car, and walked across the gardens to Piazza di Spagna, where we caught a taxi back. Krishnaji was ready to walk the whole way back. He enthused at being here, but it would have tired him.’ That was nice.

S: Mm, hm. Yes.

M: He liked being in Italy.

S: Yes.

M: October twenty-fourth, ‘Filomena and her son Mario came, and I returned with them to their house, where I saw the whole family. Mario drove us back to Vanda’s for lunch and the four of us had a cheery lunch. Krishnaji teased Vanda, who at last, after many invitations since 1969, has said she will come to Brockwood next year because Paola and Jon (Vanda’s daughter and son-in-law) will be in Cambridge, where Jon will teach for a year.’ She wouldn’t come to Brockwood, but she’d now come because her daughter was going to be in England. [Chuckling.]

S: I remember her visit.

M: I had a rest after lunch. Then, Krishnaji and I went for a walk twice around Villa Glori.’ That was a lovely park that was really just across the street from where Vanda lived. ‘On the walk I spoke to him about it seeming as if there is insight, revolution, breaking away from concepts, and freedom; then this stiffens into a new pattern, which becomes dogma and so power.’ What I was thinking of was: say a teacher, Krishnaji or Buddha, or whoever, comes and something new is seen.

S: Yes.

M: And then, by the followers, what happens afterward, it becomes dogma.

S: Yes, yes.

M: And stiffens and loses its meaning and becomes power.

S: Yes.

M: ‘This happens in society, religion, etcetera. Mao advocated perpetual revolution every five years or so, and this became violence, power, and struggle, with his people attacking other people. In religion, it is obvious as it is a peril to what Krishnaji has said. He picked it up immediately. “Freedom is movement,” he said. “When I am gone, it must go further, deepen.”’

‘I said, “Between the Buddha and him there have been 2,400 years. Who is to now go deeper than he?” “Write it down, write it down,” he said. “We must talk about this in March when there is the meeting.”’ That is the intended international trustee meeting.

‘We came back to the flat, and there were about fifty people to meet Krishnaji. He spoke on questions asked, like what is the now, memory, thought, etcetera. It was not recorded.’

I don’t know if I was saying that the discussion wasn’t recorded or what.

S: There is no record of this talk in the archives, so, presumably, you were saying that the discussion wasn’t recorded.

M: Well, there you are. ‘The now is the past meeting the present and ending there, not carrying over to color the future. After one-and-a-half hours of careful explaining, a young man named Paolo said he didn’t understand. There was no change in him. Why did Krishnaji have organizations, foundations, copyright? Krishnaji answered but others said this took the conversation off track. Grazia translated well. Cragnolini was there. He looked thin with some sort of leg trouble. Barabino was also there. I asked him to please hand over the mailing list. He was aggrieved at Cragnolini for abruptly telling him last year that he, Barabino, was no longer the secretary, and that I had said so. I said I delivered the message that Krishnaji had said the Italian committee should decide if Barabino, who was too occupied with Biella’—that was the school that Barabino was plugging…

S: That’s right. That was another so-called Krishnamurti school.

M: Yes. ‘…whether Barabino, who was too occupied with Biella, should be replaced. As usual, whatever it was he was running doesn’t function or communicate. I urged him to talk to Vanda. He is still on the committee. Finally, they all left, the lights failed, and we had supper by candlelight.’

The Italian committee was a committee in fantasy only. [S laughs, M chuckles.] And none of them listened. Barabino never did turn over the mailing list.

S: Yes, yes, he felt that it was his private property.

M: Yes. The Italian committee didn’t function in any possible way resembling a committee.

S: [laughing] Very Italian.

M: They all did what they wanted to do, and didn’t seem to like each other very much. [S laughs heartily.] Somebody eventually got some books published. But it wasn’t a committee venture. It was absolute chaos. [M laughs.] And you couldn’t make them see that.

October twenty-fifth. ‘I’m writing this on TWA over the North Atlantic. I was ready by 8 a.m. Vanda, very warmly, saying a friendly goodbye. I sat with Krishnaji while he ate his breakfast. He said our talk yesterday in Villa Glori was very much in his mind. He had me repeat it, and then write him a memo on it to take with him. He said, “First there is freedom, then insight, revolutionary action. If they stiffen into a pattern, then follows dogma and power. Freedom is movement. When or if insight becomes knowledge, then dogma follows. Freedom from self brings insight. When there is insight, there is radical transformation, which is freedom. When fundamental change does not take place, then there is pattern, dogma, and power. It is the function of the Foundations to see this doesn’t happen.” I added the word “psychological” before “revolutionary action” in his memo, which it naturally is, but in this crazy world, he shouldn’t be carrying to such a country as India notes on “revolutionary action.” Words meant in a religious sense are seeable in the current violent eye of the time, differently. He blessed me as always, silently and deeply. I am to be careful about unnecessary travel. Travel in his service is watched over. I feel somehow empty of, or removed from, anything but his service, his teaching, and its purpose. Filomena and Mario drove me to the airport. A large overweight charge in spite of going first class. Krishnaji encouraged me to pay first class for this hop of the trip, and I can’t help but be glad I have a single forward seat, the same as he is in too at this moment, flying on Japan Airlines to Delhi. His flight left from the same gate, one-and-a-half hours after mine. There is ocean below, sun, and only a little cloud.’

‘I am now writing at 1115’—that’s my brother’s apartment in New York—‘the corralling of the five bags was a wrestling match in a mob of people, dragging them onto the cart, then out to the customs. I got the wrong beige bag, and had to find a man who had the same color bag’—anyway, I got my bag back, we switched bags. ‘Finally I got away one-and-a-half hours later to Bud’s car, which he had sent with a driver to meet me. I got to 1115 after 7 p.m., had supper with Bud and his wife Lisa, and talked till what was 3 a.m. Rome time. Krishnaji, by then, should have landed in Delhi, and gone to Pupul’s. Fritz Wilhelm and Carl Marcus should have been on his flight after boarding it in London. I took a long shower, washed my hair, and slept after telephoning Amanda.’

October twenty-sixth. ‘I spoke to all my family. One of my cousins called me. I am to stay with her when I go to the Vineyard, probably Saturday, instead of at Elm Home.’ Elm Home is the family house where my mother lived on Martha’s Vineyard. ‘I talked to Erna. The school building is slow. The planning commissioner is objecting to enlarging Pine Cottage. Everything is, as usual, a struggle. Lawyer Rosenberg’s partner says immigration takes six months to action a request for preferential status. Again, a struggle. Then, talked to Jackie Kornfeld about the edited video tapes. She’s delighted, but Joan Sullivan’—that’s the woman at WGBH—‘is illusive. Jackie doesn’t know if she has even seen all the originals. Suggested we copy the edited versions and take a look at them, and take them to Reeve’s Tele-taping. She will telephone Sullivan on return to Boston tomorrow. Bud and I did errands, lunched at Côte Basque. I got a present for my mother. Bud, Lisa, and I dined around the corner at a new small place called Summerhouse. I hope Krishnaji is resting. I voted in absentee ballot.’

Now the next several days is all going to be about me and family, so I’ll skip most of this unless there’s anything about Krishnaji.

For the thirtieth of October, there’s a notation in the little book that says: ‘Today, Krishnaji should’ve flown from Delhi to Benares. Mrs. Gandhi canceled the elections, due to take place in 1977.’

S: Right.

M: November eleventh. ‘I received a cable from Krishnaji in Benares.’

November seventeenth, and I’m now in Malibu. ‘The first letter came from Krishnaji beginning October twenty-seventh and written daily through November sixth. It took eleven days to come from Benares. He is well. He wants Graham Graves to go to India.’ Who is that?

S: That was the person who used to be a British consulate person. He was mentioned before, married to an Indian woman, and brought by Tapas.

M: Oh, yes. That’s right. ‘Krishnaji wants him to go to India at Christmas holiday for KFI members to meet him about RishiValley.’

The twenty-ninth of November, ‘I got a message from Jackie Kornfeld that the WGBH woman, Joan Sullivan, now has until December tenth to answer about the videos or we will withdraw our offer.’

The next day, ‘I had a nice letter,’ it says, ‘from Ahalya Chari about Krishnaji’s stay in Rajghat.’

S: The letter is presumably in your files?

M: I guess so.

The third of December. ‘Erna had a letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Office. They don’t think KFA is a religious institution.’ [Chuckles.]

On the fifth of December, it says: ‘Krishnaji goes from Rishi Valley to Madras.’

December seventh. ‘Letter number three from Krishnaji arrives, written in Rajghat, Delhi, and RishiValley.’

The tenth of December. ‘I worked at the desk all day. I wrote a letter to lawyer Rosenberg about Krishnaji’s visa. Jackie Kornfeld telephoned about the WGBH woman, Ms. Sullivan, wanting to use the videos but she is uncertain how many. Shainberg telephoned. He has talked to Sullivan, and will work on her on his return from India, where he goes on the twenty-second for one month.’

The next day, ‘Letter number four arrived from Krishnaji, written in Rishi Valley and Madras.’

The twelfth of December. ‘I telephoned Brockwood about the videotapes. I spoke to Scott and Dorothy, then to Jackie Kornfeld in New York. Albion Patterson resigned as a KFA trustee. I washed and waxed the Green Beauty.’

The next day, ‘I was up early and left for Ojai in the green Mercedes at 8 a.m. Looked at the school building being built. The grove has been pruned. At 11 a.m. there was a trustee meeting. The Lilliefelts, Evelyne, Cynthia Wood all signed a letter to the Immigration Department on being a religious organization. We lunched at Arya Vihara, then more meetings and later met teachers. I got home at 7 p.m.’

December fourteenth, ‘I took the trustee letter to our lawyer, Rosenberg, so he could forward it to the Immigration Department. He said that Krishnaji could be given a temporary visa by the U.S. consulate in London to come back here. I asked Evelyne to get letters from religious experts, rabbis, and priests.’

December twentieth, ‘I got the fifth letter from Krishnaji, written in Madras.’

On the twenty-second, ‘Evelyne and Alan Kishbaugh came at 8:30 a.m., and Alan drove us to Cynthia Wood’s house in Santa Barbara, while Erna and Theo and Ruth came from Ojai. We spent the day going over the new administration building with Ron Gammel’—that was an architect—‘and Sandy Hirshon to get the costs down. Cynthia gave us lunch and we wound up after 4 p.m., and I came home to long telephone calls about the immigration problem. We got rabbis, we got all kinds of people, to back up the fact that we were religious.’

December thirtieth, ‘I met Evelyne to get a letter from a Jesuit priest regarding our being a religious organization. I took it to lawyer Rosenberg, a rude, unpleasant man. I came back appalled at all this. Talked to Erna and Evelyne. Letter number six came from Krishnaji written in Madras.’ And that’s the end of 1976.

S: Okay. Well, we should probably just end it there then.

M: I think so.

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[1] For the start of the school year. Back to text.

[2] There had been the worst draught in memory that year, and the normally green lawns were brown. Back to text.

[3] The trial took place in 1877, and full thirty-eight years before Krishnaji first met Annie Besant, and still longer before he met Bernard Shaw. They would have, indeed, looked very different to the way Krishnaji remembered them. Back to text.

[4] In 1929, Krishnaji dissolved The Order of The Star, an organization that had been created for him by Annie Besant. He returned all the money and property that the order had accumulated. Back to text.