Issue 44—January 1, 1977 to March 3, 1977
There seems to be an increased sweetness in the relationship between Mary and Krishnaji, or perhaps it’s just that Mary is increasingly willing for us to see it. In any event, it is wonderful to be able to be onlookers to this, as we are in this issue.
We also, in this issue, see Krishnaji having a very real impact on the world stage through his influence on Indira Gandhi. I don’t know of any history or political books in which the events described in this issue are mentioned.
We also see the long struggle to get Krishnaji permanent American residency come to a successful conclusion.
Meanwhile, the development of the school and the adult center in Ojai continue.
The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #44
Mary: So we begin on January first, 1977. Krishnaji is in India, and I’m in Malibu. ‘It was a quiet day at home. I spoke to my family, except my mother, who by this time was mentally just not well. I read, worked at the desk, played music, and walked in the garden.’ There isn’t really anything about Krishnaji until January fourth when I saw Lou Blau and Rosenberg about Krishnaji’s visa application. There was a possibility to get Krishnaji an appointment with the U.S. embassy in London sometime after January tenth.
On the fifth, ‘I telephoned at 2 a.m. California time to a Mr. Silver at the U.S. embassy in London. Krishnaji has an appointment for a visa interview on January twenty-sixth. It is an enormous relief. I telephoned Mary Cadogan about it, and then cabled Krishnaji in Bombay. At 4 p.m. I had a meeting in Westwood with Charles Moore on the plans for Pine Cottage in Ojai.’
Then nothing more about Krishnaji until January ninth when, ‘I got a telephone call from
Narasimhan in New York, who had just arrived from Madras. He says that everyone there had colds, including Krishnaji, at the completion of his talks, causing Krishnaji to delay his travel to Bombay from December thirty-first to January fourth.’
On January eleventh. ‘Dorothy telephoned from Brockwood because a form from the U.S. embassy for Krishnaji had arrived there. She’s sending it to me. I went down to see Rosenberg and got a copy of the form and went over answers. He says this is the only one left to fill out. I came home wondering if I shouldn’t go to England to accompany Krishnaji to the embassy. Before I fell asleep, I had decided to go.’
The next day. ‘I booked tickets to London for a week from Friday, then telephoned Dorothy to tell her that I’m coming. I worked on the new form for Krishnaji’s visa, photocopied the attached material, and sent three copies to Dorothy. I will take another three with me. Letter number eight from Krishnaji arrived, written in Madras, from December thirty-first to January fourth when he flew to Bombay. He is going to skip stopping in Rome, as he usually does, and go direct to Brockwood on the nineteenth. Amanda, Phil, and Miranda came to supper.’
On January thirteenth, ‘with Amanda, and Miranda, I went to the GettyMuseum. We had sandwiches on a nearby hill and came home. Waiting for me was a cable from Krishnaji: He is going straight from Bombay to Brockwood on the twentieth.’
The next day ‘I drove in the green Mercedes to Ojai, looked at the new pavilion, and fetched my air ticket. Then I went to Pine Cottage and put books and belongings of Krishnaji in the guest apartment, then lunched at Arya Vihara with Erna, Theo, Ruth, Evelyne, Mark, and Michael. There was a meeting of trustees and Mark and Ted Cartee, who is now working here, about whether to get a local architect for the school rooms. I went to the site about an ugly utility hut that was left there, then went to tea with the Hookers.’
January fifteenth. ‘I was back in Malibu. After coffee with Amanda on her terrace, I worked on the Pine Cottage house plans. Papers for Krishnaji’s visa, sent by Dorothy, arrived. I cabled Krishnaji to bring a vaccination certificate with him, and told him I am coming to Brockwood.’
The next day, I had a long talk with my brother about business things. I was home all day, going over the Ojai house plans.’
On the nineteenth, ‘I met Charles Moore at 10 a.m. for a three-hour meeting going over the house plans. It was very accomplishing. Then I did errands, a little maintenance, took care of some plants, and did some things for Krishnaji.’
January twentieth. ‘I packed. Telephoned Brockwood and spoke to Krishnaji just after he arrived there from Bombay at 9:30 a.m. English time.’
January twenty-first, we finally get an entry in the big book. ‘This is being written in the air en route to London, starting these notes again comes with the end of the time Krishnaji has been in India. Yesterday, he flew from Bombay, not staying in Rome this time. I spoke to him last night; his voice was eager, full of energy, in spite of the long flight and being three hours late. Then, the drive to Brockwood and of course, what must be the accumulated tiredness from the Indian tour. He said, “Darling, you mustn’t take the train. You must take a taxi.’ [M and S chuckle.] The world sang for me.’
‘It was an unhurried day in Malibu, the first part at the television watching the inauguration of Jimmy Carter as he took the oath of office. It was as “Jimmy” he took the oath, pricking my sense of style. Amanda, on the way to the airport this morning, agreed that today a name is whatever one chooses to call oneself or, more likely, whatever anyone else chooses to call you. Otherwise, we were pleased and often touched by the Carters and the quality of American life that they bring. This flight is long and smooth. I have three seats to stretch out in, but sleep doesn’t happen. The sound of the engine is alive. It is my own bloodstream seeming joined in high sailing through the sky in the night toward Krishnaji.’
Scott: [chuckles] How nice.
M: January twenty-second. ‘No sleep, but arrived fairly promptly at 7 a.m. My one bag was quickly found, and there was Dorothy to meet me in spite of my urging her not to, and of her saying she wouldn’t. We talked all the way on the drive to Brockwood. The countryside was grey, wintry, and beautiful. Krishnaji was watching for the car, and met me in the hall, looking thin-faced but bright with energy. A wave of happiness at seeing him. We took breakfast on trays and talked all morning. He told me of his meeting with Mrs. Gandhi, alone for over an hour before the dinner party in Delhi on his arrival. Her nerves and tension and the trouble with her eyes. He’s offered to put his hands to help her, her becoming quiet, weeping, eyes were better. She asked to see him again the next day.’ Do I have to explain that that would’ve been at Pupul’s house, probably?
S: Yes, and you just did.
M: ‘The next day, Mrs. Gandhi came and sat for a long time without speaking. She said she was “riding a tiger,” not afraid of being eaten, but doesn’t know how to get off. Krishnaji did not reproach her for what she has done. He was gentle with her, held her hand and she wept. On joining others, she refused to sit until he was seated. A friend who has known her for years said she has visibly changed since the meetings with Krishnaji. This week she has freed political prisoners, lifted some censorship, and called for elections.’
‘Krishnaji also described enormous crowds at the Bombay talks. Rajneesh sent his father to listen, and if possible, to touch Krishnaji, because “he is a living Buddha.”’ [Both M and S chuckle.] ‘Film people are coming to the talks. He was mobbed afterward. Further news as Balasundaram decided to give up the principal-ship of RishiValley. He will take six months off and then travel around, kindling interest in Krishnaji’s teachings in India. Krishnaji is going to offer the principal-ship of RishiValley to Narayan. Sunanda has too much to do at Vasanta Vihar to come to the March meetings in Ojai. Radha Burnier and Ahalya Chari are coming to the meetings in Ojai for India.’
‘After lunch, I took a nap and woke up to catch up with Krishnaji, Dorothy, and the dogs on the walk up and down the driveway. It was clear, grey, winter air; it cleaned the lungs and took away the effect of sitting all night and yesterday for 6,000 miles.’ [Chuckles.] ‘The winter, austere light, the bare trees, and the smell of leaves touched something deep in my head. To walk on this winter road with Krishnaji seemed the whole of life.’
January twenty-third. ‘I slept for ten hours, and would have gone on, but I heard Krishnaji open my door. So, we made breakfast and talked. At 10:30 a.m. Krishnaji had David Bohm join us, to speak of the adult centers. It seems Fritz Wilhelm didn’t impress the Indian group when he was in India. He was silent in discussions, or “not quick,” with answers off the point of their questions. We discussed the pitfalls for the adult center, the danger of people expecting it will “explain Krishnamurti.” It is a delicate and dangerous area of interpretation. Much of what was said I want to apply to David, too. Krishnaji said one can take the position, “I have some understanding of what Krishnamurti has said, and I’m interested. Let us explore, examine together.”’ That’s the way he wanted it handled.
S: Right, rather than having an interpreter.
M: That’s right. ‘He later talked alone to Narayan and offered him the principal-ship of RishiValley. Narayan is concerned about all the KFI members backing him. He will give Krishnaji his answer in a few days. We walked up and down the driveway. It was cold and grey and beautiful. Krishnaji says once all the schools’ incentives are set up for Narayan, he doesn’t want to discuss it anymore. The rest of us must carry on.’
January twenty-fourth. ‘I borrowed Doris’s Mini to go to Petersfield for the train to London, where I went to the U.S. embassy to ask about the procedure for Krishnaji’s visa interview on Wednesday. Spoke to a Miss de Silva saying Krishnaji is ready for the Wednesday presentation of visa papers, etcetera. I had Krishnaji’s file with me, but she didn’t want to look at it. She explained the procedure. Then I went to Selfridge’s and on to Nelson’s for Krishnaji’s homeopathic remedies. I telephoned Mary and had coffee with her and a pleasant talk. Caught the slow train back. Krishnaji had spoken with the school in the morning.’
The next day, ‘Krishnaji rested. We walked in the afternoon. The dogs were on leashes as Whisper is “on heat,” as the English put it. The grey sky and twigged beauty of the trees moves something deep in the mind’s eye; something known, forgotten, remembered in nerve endings and bone feelings; something part of a long life.’
January twenty-sixth. ‘This long, long thought of day began at 4 a.m., when I got up and Krishnaji did too, a little later. Exercise was out, and a bath was out, as there is no hot water at that hour. But we had a proper breakfast in the kitchen, and with Dorothy in her Cortina, we were off for London by 5:50 a.m. It was still dark. Krishnaji’s first appointment was at 9 a.m., with the embassy doctor, a Dr. M. Falin. We came so quickly at that early hour that we reached his office in Cumberland Place by 7:30 a.m., got the one parking place on the street, and sat in the car till 9 a.m.’ He had to be checked by a doctor to see that he didn’t have tuberculosis or they wouldn’t give out a visa.
M: ‘It was a scruffy place. Others had the same appointment, but they ran it all quickly. Krishnaji had some blood taken for tests, and a chest X-ray, and he was out in half an hour. We went to Grosvenor Square, where again we found the one parking space. Dorothy stayed in the car. Krishnaji and I went into the embassy and gave the whole file to a clerk, then waited half an hour. When Krishnaji was called, I went in with him to the interview. The imagined opponent of these last months, the possibly hard-eye, indifferent bureaucrat, the counsel on whose whim everything swung turned out to be vice-counsel Leslie Gerson, a nice young woman with long, blond hair, and blue, starry eyes who had gone to school in Encino and said, “Oh, Mr. Krishnamurti, I’ve been looking forward so to today. I asked to be able to process your papers.” She had not a single question. Everything was in order, and then she said, “This is about the biggest file we’ve ever had.” It would all be ready in the afternoon and we were finished by 11:15 a.m. It was done!!’ I have two big exclamation points.
S: Now, we should just say, for a moment, this is not a normal visa. This was the visa for the green card wasn’t it?
M: Yes, and he got the actual green card when he reached the LA airport.
‘We all went to Mary Links, who was waiting to give us a sheltered place to have our picnic lunch and for Krishnaji to rest. I urged that after lunch he go home with Dorothy and I stay to pick up the papers. “No,” said Krishnaji, he had a better idea, “We’ll go to a cinema.” He had seen Raid on Entebbe as we passed the Marble Arch Theater—just what he wanted to see. It was showing at 2:15 p.m. So, I drove Krishnaji, Mary, and Dorothy there, left them, then went to Grosvenor Square, where, again, parking luck held. We had found a place not only right outside of Mary’s but with a broken meter, so free; and now I found one near the embassy. I took a walk, but my mind was on the visa, and I couldn’t look at paintings, or drop in at Mallard’s.’ That’s where we used to go for beautiful antique furniture, and I always liked to look around; it was fun.
M: And I bought some things there for the drawing room.
S: Yes, I remember.
M: ‘So, unable to do anything but think of the visa, I went and sat in the embassy. Finally, at 4:10 p.m., I got the precious papers, an enormous sealed envelope to be given to the immigration office in Los Angeles airport, containing, among other things, Krishnaji’s X-rays. I got back to the car before the meter ran out, and just got to the theater to pick up the moviegoers coming out of the movie. Dorothy drove us back to Brockwood and I fell a little asleep on the way, with relief and exhaustion—my job was done. A long day, but all went well. I telephoned the good news to Erna. Had the blessed feeling of bed and sleep.’
S: Just to mention briefly, where Mary Lutyens lived in those days?
M: Oh, dear, what’s the name of the street that runs along Hyde Park? Just off it.
S: I know, just off of it. I was hoping you’d remember. [Chuckles.]
M: Well, I could look it up.
S: Wasn’t it Hyde Park Place, or something like that?
M: I could look it up in my map of London. Shall I go get it?
S: No, no. We’ll get it some other time.
M: My memory’s a little sketchy. Anyway, they lived there until they moved into the lovely little house that she and Joe had bought for her daughter, Amanda. Amanda lived there awhile, but then moved to the country. So, Mary and Joe took over that house and lived there for the rest of their lives.
January twenty-seventh. ‘I woke up knowing it was accomplished. For Krishnaji, the high point of yesterday was the cinema.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘Krishnaji dictated some letters. Narayan’s letter came, accepting the principal-ship of RishiValley. Krishnaji wrote about it to Pupul and Pama Patwardhan. It was a cold day, but beautiful, and we walked in the afternoon. Mary and Joe drove down from London for lunch. We talked most of the afternoon. Krishnaji told in detail of his meetings with Mrs. Gandhi, also, the enormous veneration by crowds toward him this year—more than ever. The feeling of some friends that Mrs. Gandhi’s change in India is due to, or at least since she saw him.’
S: The change in her was due to her seeing him.
M: Yes, her seeing him.
S: That was told to me also in subsequent years by people who were high up in her administration.
M: And who surely knew.
S: Soon after seeing Krishnaji, she let some political prisoners out, and she got rid of some of the draconian laws immediately, too.
M: Yes, I think so.
S: I think she also reined in her son, Sanjay, who was really awful.
M: He was awful.
Well, anyway, we go to the twenty-eighth. ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school. I did letters. I spoke to Filomena about her niece’s husband dying, but her health is better. It was cold, but we went for a walk up the lane across the street. There was a staff meeting. I talked to Frances McCann in the evening.’
Saturday, January twenty-ninth. ‘I telephoned the Frys and Filomena, whose niece’s husband died today. A sad conversation. Narayan and Shakuntala talked to Krishnaji after lunch. Narayan is glad about RishiValley, but Shakuntala wants to stay at Brockwood. Krishnaji was rather tired. We walked, and I went to the Bohm meeting when we got back—a boring one.’
The thirtieth, ‘I spoke to Ginny Travers’—that’s Virginia McKenna—‘also to Nadia Kossiakof in Paris. Did some more letters, laundry, packing, and tidying. I would like to have everything clean and in order before leaving. It has been fun to be suddenly, unexpectedly at Brockwood and I somehow have no feeling of choice about it, but am eager too to be going with Krishnaji tomorrow to Malibu.’
January thirty-first. ‘I slept lightly. Everything is ready, in order, things packed. I turned on the light at 5 a.m. and did exercises. I ran blanket covers through the washer and dryer’ [both chuckle]. ‘Krishnaji smiled when he said “good morning,” seeing I was alert and ready to be off to Malibu. My brother rang at 7:30 a.m. from Paris. He and his wife Lisa flew there on Saturday at the invitation of the French government for the opening tonight of the Beaubourg Exhibition Building. Museum life. Both felt that perennial astonishment at chatting, he in Paris, I in my room at Brockwood, and being able to say “when I am in Malibu this afternoon…”’ [Both chuckle.]
‘At 10:20 a.m., Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I waved goodbye to the assembled school, cameras clicking, and drove off to Heathrow. A lovely morning, cloudless, frost painted in the shadowed parts of the fields. We were there in one hour and twenty minutes, plenty of time to case W.H. Smith’s for paperbacks and fill out the exit cards. We are carrying the enormous and precious visa papers, sealed by the U.S. embassy to deliver on landing in Los Angeles. Also, carrying two large containers of India Oil Aryuvedic food paste’ [both chuckle]. ‘We have the seats that Krishnaji likes: the two singles all the way forward in first class.’ It would be me on one side of the aisle and him on the other side of the aisle and just the bulkhead in front.
M: The 747s were nicely designed for Krishnaji’s purposes. [S chuckles.] From the two singles all the way forward in first class, you can put the feet up against the bulkhead. ‘The TWA flight to Los Angeles left at 1:15 p.m. Lunch was the usual travesty of vegetables, but we have apples from Brockwood and there was ice cream. The movie was the new version of The Spiral Staircase. Krishnaji’s headphones didn’t work, but though I moved to another seat, he wouldn’t use mine. He has just fetched writing paper, and is writing me a letter, as he always does, on this long flight, and last leg to Malibu.’ He wrote all the time, and he always wrote on the plane back to California and gave it to me when he saw me [S chuckles]. ‘I have written one to him. He holds his pen so carefully. To be able to turn and see him is as extraordinary as that vast sky out there, or the Greenland mountains we passed a little while ago; the curving, crust edges of buff earth, scalloping the endless snow.’ I was very literary in this one. ‘The sun turned some of them pink as it tries to set, but we will not let it, we are faster than the sun or turning earth, and it will outrun us only when we turn out of the race and land. Over the Canadian Rockies, there is little snow at this depth of winter—the drought and the mad weather of this winter.’
‘Home at Malibu now. We went into immigration together and handed over the envelope. “The thickest we’ve had,” said the officer, shuffling through it. I saw a copy of Krishnaji’s On Education in the file. The man then stamped something, handed Krishnaji a little card with Krishnaji’s photo on it and said, “You are now a resident of the United States.” Clutching at last that precious green card, which isn’t green at all these days, we went out to find our two bags, go through the customs, and out to where Alan Kishbaugh was waiting. He drove us home to Malibu and left. Krishnaji at last in his room sat on the bed and said, “I may faint.” He sat quietly a little, then got up, turned facing the bed, and fell forward on it, his face buried in the bed and his knees on the floor. I held onto him for about a minute, and then he came to and was alright. He said later that he thought in all the noise and confusion at the airport, that he probably would faint later.’
M: ‘It is now twenty-four hours since waking up this morning and so no more; but oh, the blessed ease in Krishnaji being here safe and sound and free to come and go from this country as he chooses. And now to sleep.’
The first of February. ‘It is so good to wake up at home, knowing Krishnaji is here. Krishnaji spent the day in bed sleeping, reading. He said, “I don’t dream anymore. Somewhere in Madras or RishiValley, I forget which, I dreamt Rajagopal was chasing me and then I woke up. I said this is silly to keep thinking of that man. That is enough. And so I went into it, and I haven’t dreamt since.”’
M: Mm, hm.
February second. ‘I spoke to Wooge and my mother at the Vineyard. My mother doesn’t seem to understand anything I say, but Wooge says a call or letters mean more than appears. The harbor was said to be full of ice.’ That’s Martha’s Vineyard—there was real weather that year. ‘They have enough fuel oil. Krishnaji rested in the morning, and after lunch we drove to town in the grey Mercedes for him to have a haircut. I went to the farmer’s market for fruit and vegetables while his hair was cut. And then we went to Lindberg’s’—that’s the health food store—‘and got home in time to walk around the lawn before supper. We watched Carter’s first talk to the nation since his inauguration. He made a good impression on Krishnaji.’
The next day is February third. ‘I cooked. Evelyne Blau, Erna, and Theo came to lunch. Krishnaji talked about India, some of his meetings with Mrs. Gandhi, various plans in India for schools, etcetera. Evelyne left, and Krishnaji spoke very seriously and challengingly to Erna and Theo and me. Do we flower? If not, why not? Who is to be responsible in the future, and right now, as if he were dead? He said he had realized for the first time in India that there is no one to carry on. He said, the Buddha had only two disciples who understood him and they both died before the Buddha. Why is there no one?’ And that always, always harrowed me.
S: Yes, I know. I know.
M: It just seemed utter tragedy.
S: I know. I know. It was. It is.
M: ‘He said he knew the easy answers: Nothing grows under a great oak tree, etcetera. “But what will you do?” He said he knew what he would do. “Say I have listened to that man, and I have understood a little bit—and I am going to talk about it.” He said we must make Cynthia Wood understand, be serious, talk about it. Then, he said, “I’ll be around to help you for another ten years, maybe fifteen.”’
The next day, ‘Krishnaji asked me if I had felt the change in the room when Evelyne left yesterday and he talked seriously to Erna, Theo, and me. I telephoned Sarjit Siddoo; she has accepted the change of Narayan going to RishiValley as principal, instead of to their school in Canada. She seems relieved, as the immigration problem for Narayan was almost insurmountable. They have almost all their teaching staff, and won’t have a principal. After lunch, Krishnaji wanted to go to a movie, so we drove to Westwood and saw The Enforcer, a suitable suspense movie, after which we shopped for books. Krishnaji walked around the lawn, and I went over to Amanda’s and Phil’s briefly.’
February fifth, ‘We stayed home, except that I walked over to the Dunne’s for an hour in the afternoon. Betsy was there. Krishnaji at lunch said that the Sanskrit root meaning of mantra is interesting. “Man means reflect on non-becoming. Tra means to destroy, to swallow, to finish with self-centered activity.”’
Then there is really nothing for the next several days until the ninth when, ‘after an early lunch we went to Westwood to see a movie just opening, Twilight’s Last Gleaming, made from a Walter Wagner thriller that Krishnaji liked. The movie was different from what we remembered of the book. It was full of every four-letter word and boorishness. Walking through Westwood has become like walking through a zoo, except that zoos have dignified animals, but the human species make one think mankind is the worst on the planet.’ I’m very critical. [Laughs.]
S: And quite right, too.
M: February tenth. ‘A mid-summer day. Krishnaji slept nine hours. He said he woke up feeling as if he had been “dancing.” In the late morning, Charles Moore, Bart Phelps’—he was the vice-architect and really the person who supervised the building of the house in Ojai—‘and John Rubel brought two maquettes’—Krishnaji couldn’t understand blueprints or architectural drawings—‘of the living and dining room, showing the ceiling structure and the dining area. They went over it with Krishnaji, who suggested heavier beams, and a slightly simpler arrangement in the dining room. Krishnaji seemed tired and abstracted. Many trips to the bathroom are bothering him. He thinks it is a herb tea he is drinking in the morning. I tried to call Lailee’—our mutual doctor—‘but she is not in today. The architects lunched with us, and we continued to meet in the afternoon. The architects left, and Krishnaji eventually slept. Amanda reported on the hideous houses of Malibu she saw with Ruth Carter for enormous prices—$450,000 for scruffy beach houses on narrow lots, one million for another. It convinced her and Phil more than ever that they must stay in theirs. As the next meeting with Moore will have cost estimates, the Malibu value will have to balance it.’ It didn’t in the end, but that’s another story.
February eleventh. ‘Another lovely day. We left at 9 a.m. in the green Mercedes, stopped for gas at Trancas, and a man recognized Krishnaji and said, “Hi, Jiddu.”’ [Laughter.] ‘“I was your son in my last life” with an ugly, vulgar laugh. Behavior gets crazier and more offensive each day, it sometimes seems. Krishnaji drove as far as the place where we always switch. Near the big rock, he said, “You must see into this brain, learn how he thinks. Amma and Leadbeater said this brain had been prepared for a thousand years. It is a special brain. It will probably get better the longer I live, and I will live another ten or fifteen years. You are twenty years younger, you must outlive me. I must find someone, maybe it is you, someone to carry on who has understood something. It is useless to say it now, but I wish I had met you forty years ago.”’
M: ‘We went to the Oak Grove school building. Evelyne, Theo, Carey Smoot, Mark, and Ted were all there. The pavilion is almost finished and looks very handsome. Krishnaji was impressed with the quality of the work. Many details are carefully done. Smiles all around. At Evelyne’s request, we went over to Eloise’s horse barn’—that is Evelyne Blau’s daughter, and she had horses, and we had a barn for them across the road from the Oak Grove, and she gave riding lessons to children.
S: Mm, hm.
M: ‘Krishnaji didn’t like the look of it at all and said to me, “If Rajagopal objects to it there, he is right.” It does look scruffy. We went to the cottage, where all of the little children were there to greet Krishnaji. Everyone was on the shy side. Mar de Manziarly came at 1 p.m. She is staying with her sister, Mima Porter, and we all—Krishnaji, Erna, Theo, Evelyne, Ruth, Mar, Mark, Asha, Ted, and Michael—had a nice lunch at Arya Vihara. Later, Krishnaji talked in the cottage to Erna, Theo, and me. He asked if I should really build onto the cottage. Was it worth it? He raised the question of his getting as much rest there as he does in Malibu. The factor is the psychic pressure of people concentrated on him.’ That was always something that would come up.
S: Yes, I know.
M: ‘Few people know he is in Malibu, so he rests well there. But everyone assumes and thinks of Ojai as where he is. He said he could cut off the feeling, but he didn’t like to. We discussed this. He finally said he could avoid it by going away for a day occasionally to Santa Barbara or somewhere. At Brockwood, going to London for a day does it. Erna and Theo said it is vital that I live in Ojai. Krishnaji said again some of what he had said to me in the car about getting inside his brain, etcetera. We are responsible for the teachings, carrying it on. One has understood something, and must speak out of that. I raised what he had said of the Buddha, that the Buddha had only two disciples who really understood him, both of whom died before the Buddha, and yet Buddhism has been alive and a force all these years. Krishnaji’s teachings exist. It is living. But he wants more, someone, or some few, who can speak out of their own understanding. I think Erna and Theo are troubled by this, not feeling they can speak, only back up Krishnaji or someone else who has this capacity. Krishnaji asked if we could see into his mind. I said from long listening that, more often than not, when he is questioned I know what he will answer, but not how he will bring the questioner to see it.’
S: Mm, hm.
M: ‘Apparently, the Lilliefelts want my help and presence. About Krishnaji’s rest and privacy, it was agreed that all the activities, including the adult center, must be, as soon as possible, concentrated at the west end, leaving McAndrew Road private. We came home, Krishnaji driving the second half.’ Yes. He was very concerned about all that.
February twelfth. ‘We were home all day. Krishnaji stayed in bed, resting. I worked at the desk. It was a warm, beautiful, cloudless day. Water rationing seems more likely.’
The next day, ‘Krishnaji greeted me with a “happy birthday,” which is just about as far as I want to go with it. Amanda and Phil extended reciprocal tact. Wooge telephoned, Mother was asleep and is beyond any telephoning. Alain Naudé also telephoned. It was another beautiful, rainless, cloudless, perfect summer day. I refrained from longing for rain—it is lost energy. At lunch, Krishnaji said, “I am feeling tismic,” and looked mischievous. It seems it is what he and Nitya said about people putting on “mystic airs.”’ [Both laugh.] Tismic!! ‘He slept in the afternoon. I went briefly over to the Dunne’s for a visit, came back, and Krishnaji and I had our walk, ten times around the lawn. My leg seems to prefer that to bicycling at present. Too much exercise makes a feeling of stoppage in the leg. Another telephone call, the least possible expected, Cary Grant steadily wishing me a happy birthday. Chitter-chatter. What he really wanted was to know the possibility of buying this house. I said I would let him know when it was for sale.’
S: Now, by bicycle, you mean stationary bicycle?
M: Yes, stationary, yes, yes. I’ve always had one, and I’ve still got one…
S: I know, but this is just for the eventual audience of this.
M: …but I don’t use it much.
S: It’s very stationary. [Both chuckle.]
M: For February fourteenth all I have is: “Another summer day. Worked on income tax. My brother telephoned and I had a nap in the afternoon.’
The next day, ‘I again worked on income tax in the morning. It was a hot, beautiful day. We had an early lunch. Krishnaji said, “You believe what you already know. You see what you have already seen. Therefore, you never see anything.” We were discussing people’s equating everything with past things. This conversation came as a result of a letter asking for Krishnamurti books for a library that lumped Krishnaji with G. Krishnamurti, Vimala Thakar, and Bubba Free John. Krishnaji suggested I say, “Krishnamurti has made it very clear for the last fifty years that he does not wish to be connected with any group, with any sect, with any religious belief, with any guru. He does not wish to be associated with any group or person, for he considers that they are all reactionaries, traditionalists, and acceptors of spiritual authority. They allow themselves to become followers, and so deny totally what he has been saying for years, and that is to be a light to yourself. He doesn’t follow anybody, and doesn’t accept the authority of any guru. All this contradicts the edict to be a light to oneself, which he has been saying for over fifty years.” We then went to Westwood and a movie, The Cassandra Crossing, nonsense but enough suspense to divert and rest.’ I have no memory of these movies we went to. [S chuckles.] ‘We then shopped for better apples at Brentwood Market and came home to supper. Krishnaji said again, “I feel rather tismic.”’ [Both chuckle again.]
February sixteenth, ‘I did errands, and got passport photos, then fetched watches in Beverly Hills, and Betsy’s loan of a Beaulieu movie camera.’ I don’t know what that was for. ‘A hot day, eighty-seven degrees. Home by 3 p.m. Krishnaji spent the day in bed resting.’
The next day. ‘Erna and Theo to lunch. Evelyne and Lou Blau came at 3:30 p.m. We discussed the finances of the Foundation. Lou says it is in good shape. We should charge ahead with the building project. Krishnaji and Evelyne are full of confidence, “We will get the money.” I asked Lou about any difficulties it could make in my buying the McAndrew property, vis-à-vis Malibu in tax-view if McAndrew property is rezoned to “Educational Institution.” Lou said there was no problem.’ Well, the point was that if I sold Malibu, I would not pay the big capital gain tax on it if I bought another place that was my residence. You have to live in it.
S: Yes, yes.
M: Now, we’re on the eighteenth. ‘Philippa and David arrived last night from Connecticut for a ten-day visit. They came to see me early. Then, Krishnaji and I left at 9:30 a.m. in the Green Beauty for Ojai with Krishnaji driving. Along the beach road, he said, “During the last three or four months, something has been happening during sleep. It sounds silly, but it is a sense of ecstasy, as though the brain were trying to assimilate a depth—depth usually means shallowness and depth. It isn’t like that—a depth that is the opposite of shallowness. Dreams are usually superficial and have very little meaning. I have hardly any dreams.”’
‘I asked, “How do you perceive it?”’
‘Krishnaji replied, “When I wake up, there is a strange feeling that I haven’t had before.”’
‘Me: “Is it that the brain is touching something it hadn’t touched before?”’
‘Krishnaji: “Yes. That’s it. It is something the brain hasn’t touched before. It isn’t an experience. In that sleep, there is a greater penetration into something that the brain—no thought can never touch.”’
‘Me: “What happens to most people is that you see something and then you try to understand what it is, but this is different? How is it different? Is it outside the realm of what the brain can investigate? Is that right?”’
‘Krishnaji: “The brain is trying to understand it, trying to find out what it is.”’
‘Me: “When you say ‘the brain,’ do you mean thought, or the brain without thought?”’
‘Krishnaji: “No, not thought.” A little later, he said, “You remember that night we were sitting quietly and there was something in the room? That has been happening more. It happened in India a little.” I asked him about the pain, and he said it is going on slightly all the time. I asked if the “otherness” of The Notebook and this thing he is speaking of today, is of the same, and he said, “Yes, yes”…“But I don’t remember ‘the other.’ It is gone.”’
‘I said, “Though you don’t make a mental comparison, you know what I mean.”’
‘And he said, “yes.”’
S: Yes. So, he knows what you mean by saying that…
M: Yes, that’s right.
‘We stopped to look at a church in Ojai design by a local architect, Zelma Wilson, and found it fairly nice. We met others for the trustee meeting in the guest apartment. We discussed going ahead with some buildings, i.e., the administration residence, adult center, and classrooms. After lunch, Krishnaji, Theo, and I in the car; Mark, Cynthia, Evelyne, and Asha in another, went to see a building by Mrs. Wilson. On the way back, Krishnaji and I saw an adobe construction on Reeves Road. Mrs. Wilson came to meet us. She was rather a tough-looking woman, probably knows her trade and her way around Ojai building matters.’ I hate to put these things about people.
S: It’s alright, Mary. These things won’t come out until people are dead. But also, it’s fair to give your impressions. You don’t claim to be speaking “truth.”
M: But, I’m leaving it for the world to read if the world ever reads this.
S: Well, we can take it out later if you want.
M: She’s probably dead by now.
M: Anyway, I don’t have to be so critical all the time.
S: Well, Mary, no, you’re just being honest with what you were thinking and feeling.
M: Well, I’m saying what I’m thinking, but I don’t have to go around telling people what I think of them all the time. [S simply laughs warmly.] Uh, where are we? ‘A decision is still in the air on the classroom building. Teacher Dennis Duncan came to represent the teachers while we discussed school matters. Krishnaji went into the intent of the school. He said if he were a parent, he would send his son to us so that he would be intelligent enough to live in any society, a total human being. It was 6 p.m. when we left and got home to Malibu by 7:30 p.m. A tiring day.’
February nineteenth. ‘I telephoned my brother on his birthday. They are at the Vineyard for the weekend. Vineyard selectmen are mad at the Massachusetts legislature and want to secede and become the fifty-first state.’ [Both laugh.] ‘Krishnaji spent the day in the bed, except for a walk around the lawn in the afternoon. Philippa and David came to see me in the morning. Krishnaji thinks Philippa “has something.” He would like to involve them in our work. In the evening, I read a review of a book on fairies, and asked Krishnaji when was it that he used to see them. “In England,” he said, when they lived in Ashdown Forest, he saw them all the time. Sometimes he was afraid to walk in the night. He couldn’t describe them to me. He’s forgotten.’ [Chuckles.] ‘I asked if Nitya could see them. He couldn’t remember. Did he see them in India? Probably. Could he see them today if he tried? Maybe, probably I could see them in the grove at Brockwood. Why then, and why not later? “It was after coming from India. Later, probably I got more sophisticated and didn’t see them,” he said.’ [Both chuckle.] I’m sure they must be in the grove at Brockwood. Don’t you think?
S: If they’re anywhere around there, they’re in the grove.
S: Yes. And in the BluebellForest.
M: Yes, oh, yes, yes. [S chuckles.] I remember your taking me there when I arrived at the bluebell height of season, and how beautiful it was.
S: Yes, yes. You normally just missed them.
M: February twentieth. ‘Krishnaji and I walked at sunset, and saw the silver thread of the new moon.’
On February twenty-first, ‘I worked on income tax preparation. We had an early lunch and went to the movie The Silver Streak. It started stickily with amorous scenes [both chuckle] and then a cops-and-robbers plot improved things, and Krishnaji enjoyed it.’ He didn’t like amorous scenes.
S: Yes, I know [laughing; M laughs too].
M: He only liked scenery and action.
S: Yes. When an amorous scene came on, he would say, “Oh, here we go again,” or some disparaging remark like that; or “Oh, this is so boring.”’
M: Yes, yes. [Laughs.] The ones when people started shooting each other…
S: …were much better!
M: Preferably with beautiful scenery behind it [both laugh], then it was lovely. ‘In the car, Krishnaji said, “I was wondering how you came into all this. It must’ve been planned.”’ Well, we’ll never know. Anyway, ‘after the film we went to Lindberg’s, then came home. I spoke to Blanche Mathias. Her eyes are doing poorly. We went early to bed, both tired.’
‘The next day, I finished the income tax preparation. Philippa and David came to lunch with Krishnaji and me. Krishnaji likes them, feels something in Philippa, a warmth and sensitivity. He thinks Philippa and David are wasting their lives in Indian music.’ She plays some Indian instrument.
S: Mm, hm.
M: ‘“She should be with us.” But though we all chatted easily at lunch, Krishnaji didn’t move on them, as he sometimes does. Later, he and I walked down the Dunne’s hill and back.’ They had a road that went down to the beach, and we didn’t have that. ‘My leg hurt later. There is something bad for my leg about the extra pressure of climbing. Krishnaji watched Kojak in the evening.’
February twenty-third. ‘Rain, amazing rain, fell slightly, only one-eighteenth of an inch. I went to town alone. I delivered my income tax papers to the office of my tax preparer, then had my hair cut. At Bel Air Camera, I bought a Sankyo 8mm movie camera with sound. I was home by 5 p.m., where Krishnaji and Sidney Field were washing the green Mercedes. We gave Sidney tea.’ [S chuckles.] I don’t remember ever having a movie camera.
S: I can’t remember your ever taking movies.
M: No, I don’t either. Never. I don’t know. Blank. Amnesia.
Editor’s Note: What follows is a conversation, the likes of which I have never seen in anything else by Krishnaji or about him. The diary entries for the next two days are not edited the way one would normally edit something for reading, but doing so, I felt, takes too many liberties. Instead, I have transcribed the entries for the next two days exactly as Mary wrote them in her diary; with run-on sentences, the whimsical punctuation, etcetera.
The twenty-fourth of February. ‘We left early for Ojai. In the car, our conversation fell to talking of atmosphere—good and bad. I said that for me, in the village of Ojai, there is a strong sense of something disagreeable, of nasty people.’ I did feel that, I remember it.
S: Mm, hm.
M: ‘Krishnaji said, “Do you know why?”’
‘“Well, there is that,” I said.’
‘Krishnaji replied, “You can see it.”’
‘I said, “There is animosity, there is conflict, there is envy.”’
‘Krishnaji asked, “Why is it there?”’
‘I said, “Because people who feel that way go there, contaminate it.”’
‘Krishnaji said, “That’s all.” We talked a little further. Krishnaji asked me, how I met it. And I said I did nothing about it. I just sensed it, but the larger relation for me, in a place, is to the land, the beauty, the hills or ocean, the light.’
‘Krishnaji said there must be no resistance, no antagonism. There is compassion. There is no self, nothing one is defending, and there is also the extraordinary beauty, the hills and light. “There is no self in this, but there is a goodness that can be invoked or to be allowed to form a circle through which the other does not come. But as long as one resists, or has some antagonism to the bad, the good cannot be.”’
‘We met with other trustees, and Charles Moore and Murray Silverstein to look at the design for an assembly hall—adult center. It seemed more or less to please. They are to do a model and make several additions—plans for single rooms where thirty can stay.’ That never happened. We had no money for any such goings-on.
S: Where was that going to be?
M: It was going to be, I can see exactly: There’s the Oak Grove and then there’s the rest of the land where the school is. There used to be, on the rest of the land, next to the
Oak Grove back entrance, or north entrance…
S: Right. Right. I understand. Right.
M: But, it was a fantasy because we didn’t have the money.
S: If that had been built, that would’ve been the first adult center, instead of the first adult center being at Brockwood.
M: Exactly. That was what was intended.
S: Mm, hm. Mm, hm.
M: Thirty people would stay, that’s a big building. And it was to have a library, and it was to have a room where Krishnaji could meet people, or more than that. He could address a group of people. ‘All lunched at Arya Vihara. Moore and Silverstein then left, and the trustees met and agreed to ask Zelma Wilson to design a classroom building.’
This was done. That’s where the other classroom building is.
S: The elementary school?
M: Yes, and it also holds the library and the physics class and several high school classrooms, and then also the little children.
S: Mm, hm.
M: It’s a bad mixture, but anyway. ‘Krishnaji, Erna, Theo, and I walked down Grand Avenue. It was dark when we came back, and a car swerved to avoid a bicycle without lights and came very near Krishnaji and Theo walking about twenty feet behind Erna and me. Krishnaji and I spent the night in the cottage. It was cold.’
February twenty-fifth, ‘Krishnaji slept badly. He said he had a nightmare. “Evil ones were trying to push me, fight me, and I was trying to make a circle around myself, but it didn’t work and I finally woke up.”…“I was trying to make a circle around the house. I knew you were in there, and I was trying to make a circle.”’
‘When I questioned him about why the circle didn’t work, he said. “Well, it did because I woke up.”’ [Chuckles.] ‘And he had cramps in his right foot and had to crawl to relieve it. Then he went back to sleep, and the other foot had a cramp, and again he had to crawl to relieve it. Then we started to talk about making the circle, and he said it was something he didn’t want to talk about.’
S: Mm, hm.
M: ‘I asked, “Was it magic?”’
‘And he said, “Yes, sort of.”’
‘I asked, “Did you learn it? Were you taught it?” He replied no, but he knows things like that. I asked why shouldn’t it be told to other people? “I’m not asking you about the magic itself, but why shouldn’t it be told?” And he said, “I have an instinct about it. I’ve never talked about it.” Then he said, “Do you remember when we first came to this house?”’—he was referring to Pine Cottage—‘“I wanted to run from it, it was bad, it was all wrong. And then we came and stayed, and it became alright, and it got better and better. Do you remember that?” I remembered. And out of this, he told me he does this thing whenever he comes to a house, Brockwood, Malibu, here, or I presume Tannegg too, or a hotel room. He does what he calls “drawing a circle around a place” and he said that that is one reason that when he is not with me, it is difficult for him to do it—when I’m traveling or away, and yet even when I go to town in the car alone, he does it to some degree to protect me. And in this, there is what I gather is the crux. One does not protect, as he put it, Maria’—that was his name for me, you know—‘or oneself. One is with non-resistance, non-opposition, non-setting-oneself—there is no self in this because there is no opposition—the intrinsic part is the non-self and non-opposition. He spoke of angels, not angels as sentimental beings—that blah, as he put it—but the invitation to the good, the beauty.’
‘I spoke of my feeling of the nastiness in the village of Ojai, and he said, what cause that? And I said, well, people who have these qualities of envy, jealousy, antagonism, opposition, it affects a place. He said, what do you do with it? And I said, I don’t do anything about it, but to me reality and beauty of the valley, the hills, the sky…but see the reality is the beauty of the valley, the hills, and the sky, and it isn’t mine, and there isn’t any me in it, and he said, “Yes, you know that, now move from that. That is the beginning of it, no opposition, no self, no center, but the invitation, the openness to the beauty and the good.” And he spoke of there being the forces of good, the forces of evil—the forces of evil are enormously widespread, you sense it in the world today, tremendously. You see it in the brutality, the wars, the killing, the torments, the hurting animals, and destroying the loveliness of nature. But there is the enormous force of good. He wants me to talk to the Lilliefelts about it, not from him, but to talk about this non-centered, non-selfed sense of the other. He said he does many things, but magic must not be taught, there are things he can do, that if I were to learn them on my own—I think he implied, I couldn’t do it.’
S: You couldn’t do it, or shouldn’t do it?
M: ‘I think he implied, I couldn’t do. He spoke of arriving at Vasanta Vihar last fall, and the house was filled with the bad, and they made the mistake of not taking him to his old rooms, but to his new rooms which are upstairs, and somehow, he fainted, and Sunanda, who doesn’t understand these things, left him alone, but finally when he came to, he did this thing and it became good.’
S: Mm, hm.
M: ‘I said there will be a great pressure of the bad on these places here, and he said it is simple to change that. “It is not strong enough—one makes something different and good.”’
‘At 11 a.m., he held a discussion with parents and teachers at Arya Vihara. We left at 4 p.m. and drove slowly home. On the way, he said that I must learn to heal. It is to be without self, with compassion. Not for the person, but compassion. I asked if he could heal himself. He said, “No,” but then said, “Perhaps I could if you put your hands and then I put mine on yours.”’
S: Krishnaji said this before.
M: I know.
February twenty-sixth. ‘The Dunnes have a lunch party for Philippa and David. As Lailee’—that’s our doctor—‘was coming, I asked her to look at Krishnaji on the way. She arrived with Mrs. Piatigorsky, who waited while Lailee came in and looked at Krishnaji’s chest, compared X-rays taken in London with his chest X-rays of two years ago. All is well. His blood pressure is 120 over 80. She says he has chronic bronchitis, and antibiotics would clear it, but it would probably recur. Prescribed a cough mixture to thin the mucus. She suggested that Krishnaji see a urologist. In the afternoon, I went over to the Dunne’s, and met Lailee with her husband, the Wylers , there also the Carters, Joe Cohen, Winky, and a new friend of Miranda’s—Gordon Stewart. Betsy  came late.’
The next day, ‘I spoke to Mother and Wooge, also Blanche Mathias. Her eye has a tumor. Philippa and David came to talk in the morning. Krishnaji slept most of the day.’
February twenty-eighth. ‘I worked at letters. Philippa and David came and, to say goodbye before flying off to Connecticut, they made lunch for Krishnaji and me. The Bohms, Dorothy, and Mary C. arrived from London, and stopped here briefly on the way to Ojai.’ This is for the March meetings that we were about to have.
M: Now, we come to March the first. ‘Krishnaji and I went to Beverly Hills, where Krishnaji was examined by Dr. Marvin Hausman, the urologist recommended by Lailee.’ He was the doctor who later operated on him. ‘He took Krishnaji’s history. A urinalysis was made. He examined the prostate and found enlargement. He recommended an IVP exam.’ That uses a dye and X-rays. ‘Krishnaji found Dr. Hausman to be a quiet, gentle man, as Lailee had said. Then, we went to Krishnaji’s barber. While his hair was cut, I found a car wash, then came back for him. We parked in back of the County Museum of Art and had a picnic in the car. It was windy and cold out. I did some errands in Westwood, while Krishnaji went to a movie, Network, next to Winky’s bookstore, and then I went to a two-hour meeting at the USG office with Charles Moore and Bart Phelps.’ That was just next door to their office.’ I got back by the end of the movie to meet Krishnaji, and home we went. Radha Burnier and Ahalya Chari were to have arrived at 10:30 p.m., and Theo went to meet them, and had engaged rooms for them at the Airport Hotel where they were to spend the night, but they were not on the flight.’ Poor Theo.
March second. ‘I packed in the morning. We had lunch and then drove to Ojai in the grey Mercedes, arriving by 4:30 p.m. We moved into the cottage. Dorothy is in the flat next door. The Bohms in the flat over the office. Mary Cadogan was with the Lilliefelts. Fritz and Margrete have the rooms in Arya Vihara. Ahalya Chari is to be in the back room, Radha is to be in the little room. And Alan Kishbaugh is off the kitchen.’
March third. ‘At 11 a.m., Krishnaji held the first meeting of the assembled trustees at Arya Vihara. Present were: David Bohm, Mary Cadogan, Dorothy Simmons, the Lilliefelts, Evelyne, Alan Kishbaugh, Ruth Tettemer, Jackie and Sarjit Siddoo, Mark Lee, Fritz Wilhelm, and me. Ted Cartee was there to record on the Nagra. Krishnaji began by saying he wished to discuss what would happen when he dies. Books, tapes, etcetera are not enough. Who will be overall guardian to see that the teachings are protected and no division exists between the Foundations, a “brooding body” he called it. There must be a group who have known Krishnaji, been with him, who have the perfume of knowing him, and have understood something of the teachings, who will go about and convey that understanding, talk about it. That group should be formed in Krishnaji’s lifetime, a group of those who have known him, are respected by others, who have no other interest than this. Only such a group will hold things together.’
‘We lunched on the patio. I went to the village for food and bread from the Ranch House. On my return, Krishnaji was standing outside the cottage with Radha Burnier and Ahalya Chari, just arrived. A friendliness and smiling greeting were the first glimpses of Ahalya Chari. Like her letter to me in December, she was warm in a rare way. Very nice. Warmth and dignity, the presence of an intelligent woman of mid years, one who understands people and whose energy is toward the good. We went for a walk. Erna joined when we stopped at her house. When we came back, all the others had suppered at Arya Vihara. Michael Krohnen brought soup and salad to the cottage, and Krishnaji and I ate on trays as usual.’
S: I think we should end here because we’re running out of tape.
 This conversation took place in 2004, and Mary Links and her husband had moved from this location more than twenty years before. Back to text.
 Also known as Centre Georges Pompidou. Back to text.
 Three-dimensional models. Back to text.
 William Wyler was the director of Ben Hur (for which he won the Best Director Academy award), which Mary’s husband, Sam, produced. Back to text.
 Betsy Drake Grant. Back to text.