Issue #48

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Issue 48—July 24, 1977 to October 18, 1977

Introduction

In this issue Mary’s mother dies, and Mary is unable to get back to the US for her funeral due to airline problems. It seems typically stoic of Mary not to tell anyone, except Krishnaji, and just to get on with her responsibilities; but Mary has some brief but very touching memories of her childhood which are triggered by her mother’s death.

There has been very frequent mention of Krishnaji’s “putting his hands” on various people to heal them in these memoirs. It is worth noting that this was very quietly acknowledged, but not openly talked about when he was alive. We have also not seen so far, in these memoirs, dramatic effects of this healing. We do in this issue.


 

The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue 48

Mary: We begin on July twenty-fourth, 1977, so we’re still in Switzerland for the Saanen talks. ‘It was a shining, cloudless morning. I went at 6 a.m. for a walk to the river and back. All the earth was alive, and there was the smell of grass and pine in the forest. The little stream and the bigger one down in the valley were louder, as if it were their time. All nature was awake; it was a delight. I came back to do my exercises. Krishnaji feels better today; he has slept well. He went to his seventh talk, the final one of this series in Saanen. It was on meditation, really, but he began on decisions, went on to what it is to be without ambition, goals, will, and spoke of space, and the space of the conditioned mind which is limited, but where there is no self, no center, space is limitless. As he spoke, I saw him living in that infinite space, the rest of us tied in our pens; but in such a talk, I felt he lifted one high above the mountains into the sky. At the end, he put his hands together, and said to the audience, “May I go now?” and left. I picked him up on the road, surrounded by people. We went for a short drive up the road to Gsteig, and then came back as Dr. Liechty and her head nurse, Sister Lori, were to come to see Krishnaji for half an hour.’

Scott: Was she a religious sister?

M: No. Some places use “sister” as a title for a nurse. When Krishnaji went to the Bircher-Benner clinic, Sister Lori looked after him. She was a nice woman. When I went there later, I had the same room, by pure coincidence, and Sister Lori.

‘They left as Narasimhan and Simonetta came to lunch. Krishnaji slept till 4 p.m., when he gave the only interview so far to a Swedish man named Arridsen, who had an operation for a brain tumor, which is now recurring. Narayan came by and came on the walk. Graf stayed to supper with Dorothy, Montague, and me.’

S: Why do you say it’s the only interview so far, because Krishnaji had had interviews almost every day?

M: I suppose to that man.

S: Oh, to that man.

M: July twenty-fifth. ‘I walked from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. up the hill. It was wild and beautiful. Two deer bounded out of the woods, over a meadow, and were gone. I felt marvelously after all that, plus yoga. Krishnaji rested. Anneke, Doris, Dorothy, and Montague were at lunch. Krishnaji came in afterward and reminisced with Anneke and Doris about the early days. He asked them why they didn’t try to stop Rajagopal, see what he was doing. This upset Doris, who became almost impossible, interrupting Krishnaji, finishing sentences for him. She seemed out of hand. It tired Krishnaji. At 4 p.m., he had a haircut, a very good one from the Italian barber, Nicholas.’

S: Can we just say that Anneke is Anneke Korndorffer…

M: Yes.

S: …who was really the principle mover in the Dutch committee.

M: And she goes back to the Ommen [1] days.

S: Yes.

M: And she ran the Stichting[2], as they call it in Holland, at least at this point. And was a good friend, and she was all the times when I was there, and Krishnaji went to Holland, it was Anneke who found and rented the places and lived there with us, and did everything.

S: Yes. Yes.

M: She was a very, very nice woman. She used to come to Brockwood, too.

S: Oh, yes.

M: July twenty-sixth, ‘Rain all day. Fetched Mar to see Krishnaji and have hands put. Anneke came for the same, and I lunched alone. At 2 p.m., I met Dorothy, Montague, Ortolani…’ Do you remember Ortolani?

S: Oh, yes. Very well.

M: Do we have to identify him?

S: Yes.

M: Well, he was an Italian, very nice man, had known Krishnaji forever, used to come every year to Saanen. What else do you remember about Ortolani?

S: Well, he was involved in the Italian committee.

M: Well, such as it was. [S laughs heartily.]

S: Yes, quite right.

M: [chuckles] It was never clear what that meant…‘and Dr. Baldi of Argentina and a Mr. Turchi.’

S: Hugo Baldi?

M: Yes. It says here “Dr.” but that was Hugo Baldi, and Mr. Turchi, from Italy, ‘to discuss schools. Baldi wants to start one in Argentina. I walked with Krishnaji in the rain, and had supper alone.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji held the first Saanen public discussion. The Reg Bennetts and Simmonses came to lunch. Krishnaji talked at length with them afterward. At 5 p.m., I went to Rougemont to a Brockwood party.’ Doubtless, you were there.

S: That year, it probably would’ve been at the place Kathy and I had that year.

M: Probably.

The twenty-eighth. ‘Krishnaji held the second Saanen discussion. Krishnaji made me buy heavy shoes.’ I don’t know why, but anyway, he did. ‘Narayan and Beverly Nichols came on the walk. The Simmonses and I dined with the Siddoo sisters.’

Krishnaji walking in Tannegg

Krishnaji walking in Tannegg

July twenty-ninth. ‘Saanen discussion number three. I got a long letter from Erna. At 12:30 p.m., I fetched Mar to Tannegg for hands, and to stay for lunch with the Simmonses and me. At 3 p.m., Scott Forbes came to see me about videos, and an endowment for all the schools.’ Remember that?

S: Not at all. [Both laugh.]

M: It was somebody else! ‘Graf brought an Italian, Luigi something, to see Krishnaji. Bart Phelps telephoned from Los Angeles to say that Max Faulk the contractor, who offered to do the residence at cost but couldn’t afford it when he saw the size of the job, has made the lowest bid of $359,000, which is about $80 per square foot. I said to discuss it with Blau, but I am for going ahead with it as quickly as possible, even before signing the contract to buy the property.’

July thirtieth. ‘Krishnaji held the fourth public discussion, but disorderly people made it difficult for Krishnaji. I fetched Suad al Radhi, her sister Amel al Kadhi and her friend Naira Munir Abbass to lunch.’

S: Where are they from?

M: Iran. ‘Krishnaji talked to them afterward until the Siddoo sisters came at 4 p.m. Also, Mrs. Billimoria and Mrs. Puri came to say goodbye. I drove them all back to their respective places. Narayan and Graf came on the walk. Graf saw a flat in a nearby chalet as a substitute for Tannegg.’ We were afraid we’d lose Tannegg, that the owner was going to sell it or something.

July thirty-first. ‘Saanen discussion number five in pouring rain. Again there were unruly people. Krishnaji overcame it all. Anneke came back to the chalet for hands. Dorothy and Montague and I to lunch, and Krishnaji rested. I had a nap in afternoon. At 4 p.m. Dr. Frederick Leboyer…’ Do you remember all the fuss about him?

S: No.

M: He’s that child specialist who had all kinds of notions about…

S: Childbirth?

M: Yes.

S: Oh, right!

M: ‘…author of Birth without Violence, was sent by Vanda to see Krishnaji. Krishnaji and I walked to the river, which was thundering with rainwater and silt, boulders hitting one another. I had supper alone.’

The first of August. ‘Krishnaji rested in the morning, then gave Doris Pratt a two-hour interview in the afternoon. Then, we walked to the river.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji and I on a beautiful day took the 8:44 a.m. train to Geneva. In Gstaad, we got into the forward carriage, the first one, and just beyond that is the engineer, who’s steering it all in a closed-off section and where only one passenger was allowed’—that was the rule—‘so Krishnaji rode all the way down the mountains to Montreux in that forward section, and emerged smiling.’ Oh, that gave him great pleasure. [S laughs.]

S: Yes. He would have loved that, yes. [M chuckles.]

M: ‘He said, “I felt like a boy.”’ [M chuckles.] ‘We went to Jacquet and chose patterns for four neckties for Joe Links and four for Krishnaji himself, also a pair of moccasins. Then we went to Grand Passage about the quartz clock, and then crossed to the Hotel des Bergues and lunched pleasantly at Amphitryon’—that’s the restaurant in the hotel.

 

Krishnaji walking in Gstaad.

Krishnaji walking in Gstaad.

S: Yes.

M: We always lunched there; that was pleasant, very nice.

S: Yes, it was a nice place.

M: ‘It was cool and quiet, the snowy linens, flowers on the table, attentive waiters who served nice food with care—a little pool of vanishing amenities. It gave me a sigh of satisfaction to pilot Krishnaji to such—a proper meal, quietly served in a proper place for him.’

S: Incidentally, I remember what happened to the Braun quartz clock that came from Grand Passage or wherever it eventually came from.

M: What did happen? I forget.

S: He kept that as his clock in India.

M: Oh, did he?

S: And he traveled around with that.

M: I thought it was bought for Patwardhan.

S: Well, I think that he must’ve bought two then, because he had one that he traveled around with there in India.

M: And it stayed in India?

S: It stayed in India.

M: That’s why I never saw it.

S: Well, you would have but only on the few occasions when you went. If you think about it, it’s small, black; I can still see it next to his bed in different places in India.

M: I don’t remember that one. I remember the one that was next to his bed in Brockwood.

S: Ah, that was a big one.

M: A big one.

S: That’s the Patek Philippe.

M: He gave that…

S: He gave that to Dr. Deutsch.

M: Dr. Deutsch, that’s right.

August third. ‘I went with Edgar Graf to look at possible quarters for next summer if Tannegg is not possible. I saw nothing satisfactory. Krishnaji and I lunched alone. He saw Mr. Russu very briefly at 4:30 p.m.’

There’s really nothing for the next day except ‘Krishnaji saw Mr. Joseph Elkabir at 4 p.m.’  

August fifth. ‘There was a letter from Bart Phelps, saying that Max Faulk the construction contractor is to start work on the Ojai cottage next Wednesday, the tenth, without waiting for a signed contract, which is in the hands of Lou Blau; so we are launched. It is interesting how all this seems to flow of itself. Decisions make themselves and one goes with it. Frances McCann, Padma Madholkar, and the Simmonses were at lunch. Frances described the Guido Franco film with bits of Krishnaji, illicitly shot, used in it. It is, apparently, as bad as I felt it would be.’ I was always having trouble with Guido Franco.

August sixth. ‘I had an early morning walk before exercises. The Simmonses brought the Land Rover up. They and I dined with Suzanne, Hugues van der Straten, Marjolaine, and Ariane.’

The next day, ‘Dorothy and Montague left in the Land Rover to drive with Doris to Brockwood. Nadia and Nicolas Kossiakof came to lunch. I slept all afternoon, and felt really rested for the first time in ages.’

August eighth. ‘I went for an early morning walk. To give Fosca some respite, Krishnaji and I lunched pleasantly at the Park Hotel, and later in the afternoon, went for a walk.’

Krishnaji walking with Mary in Gstaad

Krishnaji walking with Mary in Gstaad

The next day, ‘Mr. Elkabir came to lunch. Krishnaji and I walked in the afternoon. A cassette came from Betsy saying Cary is interested in buying the Malibu house.’ Nothing came of that.

 

Editor’s Note: There were two small loose pieces of paper in Mary’s diary that covers the dates in this issue: one of them is dated August ninth, 1977, and the other piece is undated. The dated piece readS: ‘Woke [presumably, Krishnaji] up this morning with “The means is the skill”—“there is no end, the means is the end, so the means is the skill.”’…“‘In consciousness there has always been the good and the bad, the bad always predominating as it does in the world.”’

On the undated piece of paper—‘Krishnaji: “I don’t know if you’ve noticed—it is strange, That is never tired. My body was tired but not That. Now I know what it is to be inexhaustible. I’ve found something—That is really inexhaustible.’”…‘“Silence—uncontaminated by the mind, the original silence.”’

 

The tenth. ‘Today construction is supposed to have begun on the cottage in Ojai. Krishnaji and I lunched alone. We saw Nadia at 4 p.m. I photographed the painted sunburst shutters on old buildings in Rougemont, and finally met Vanda on a train from Montreux.’ I liked the painted shutters I saw in that part of Switzerland, and eventually copied shutters on the outside of a building in Montreux, a lovely old chalet, with what is called a sunburst pattern. When I built the addition onto Pine Cottage, I used the idea but for sliding shutters inside, in the place of curtains.

S: Out of interest here, just while we’re interrupted: Why did you used to eat at the Park Hotel rather than the Palace Hotel?

M: I think we just liked it better. It was always simpler in atmosphere.

The next day, ‘I had an early morning walk, and had a quiet day. Krishnaji gave Frances McCann an interview in the afternoon. I deposited $1,148 dollars into the Vanda Scaravelli account from the Krishnamurti travel fund for this year’s share of the Tannegg rent.’ We used to split the cost of renting Chalet Tannegg. ‘I had supper with Suzanne and Marjolaine, and went with them to the Saanen Menuhin concert; that was the Menuhin school students that were playing.’

August twelfth. ‘I had an early walk and then worked at the desk. In the afternoon, I talked to Nadia about the French translations and other publication matters, then walked with Krishnaji to the river. Vanda helped my leg by manipulation and stretching.’

Krishnaji walking in Gstaad.

Krishnaji walking in Gstaad.

Then there’s really nothing until the eighteenth but our happily and quietly being in Gstaad, doing little, seeing a few people, going for walks, etcetera. But on the eighteenth,

‘I packed all day, exchanged the Renault for a larger Taunus from Hertz, and packed the car.’

August nineteenth, ‘Vanda and Fosca are staying on at Tannegg for a few days and it is settled that we take Tannegg next summer. At 9:30 a.m., in the Taunus I took yesterday in exchange for the Renault, we left and drove through rain down via le Col de Pillon and Aigle to the autoroute. After Lausanne, at Krishnaji’s urging, I switched to the Route du Lac. Our 1:30 p.m. Swiss Air flight sat on the ground for over an hour due to a slow-down strike at air traffic control at Heathrow. Dorothy, Doris, and Ingrid were there to meet us, and we were at Brockwood by 6 p.m. The house was quiet, almost empty and very welcoming. I had had enough, suddenly, of Gstaad, and it was good to be at Brockwood again. Waiting for me were legal papers from Blau, including the contract with Max Faulk which I am to sign right away, and there was an agreement with KFA about my buying the McAndrew Road property.’

‘I talked to Mary L. She, her husband Joe, and her daughter, Amanda Pallant, and grandchildren spent a happy summer at Brockwood. There was a cable from Evelyne Blau that she cannot come to the Brockwood  talks.’

‘The tent for the Brockwood public talks is already up in the meadow.’

August twentieth. ‘Unpacking, etcetera. Krishnaji spent the day in bed resting and reading a good detective novel, The Enemy, by Desmond Bagley. There was a letter from Amanda. Winky was operated on for cancer’—oh dear. ‘There was a letter from Bart Phelps; the needed demolition on the cottage is already done, and the foundation is staked.’ [Chuckles.]

S: That’s the demolition of the thing Rajagopal had built next to the Pine Cottage, not the cottage itself.

M: That’s right. It was a hideous addition that Rajagopal had put on without telling Krishnaji.  

August twenty-first: ‘Unpacking, rearranging, tidying, laundry, etcetera. Krishnaji got up for lunch. I sorted his things. He, Dorothy, and I walked and inspected the vegetable garden, which was kept immaculately by Alasdair Coyne and Jean-Michel. Krishnaji was very pleased. He also was pleased with the new garage rooms that are fixed up as temporarily bedrooms for guests during the public gatherings. They’re very nice.’

The next day, ‘I went through Krishnaji’s clothes and shelves, cleaning and sorting. Then to Alresford, to post off the signed building contract to Max Faulk. After much confusion, the Mercedes battery was located at the West Meon garage, now under new and raffish ownership. I had to fetch the old mechanic who used to work there, Alan, now at Wall’s garage, to find the battery. In the afternoon, I walked with Krishnaji, Dorothy, and the dogs across the fields. It is so beautiful, so good to be here.’

August twenty-third, ‘I did miscellaneous sorting of things for Krishnaji. I was busy all day. Fixed the rooms in the West Wing for guests. There was a shorter walk with Krishnaji and Dorothy.’

August twenty-fourth. ‘Rain. A carpenter rehung the tapestries in the drawing room. The Mercedes was put in running order, and I drove it to Petersfield for plants for the West Wing, etcetera.’  

The next day, ‘Krishnaji and I took the 9:20 a.m. train to London. It rained. We went to Huntsman, Hatchards, Asprey’s, and at 12:15 p.m. Mary and Joe lunched with us at Fortnum’s, and Krishnaji gave Joe the Jacquet ties. Everyone was very pleased.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘After lunch, Joe drove Krishnaji to the dentist, Mr. Thompson. I went to the bank, where Joe met me and drove me back to Portland Place, where the dentist was. I fetched Krishnaji, and then Joe drove us both to Waterloo.’

The twenty-sixth. ‘Mavis and Reg Bennett arrived to stay in the West Wing guestroom for the public talks. In the afternoon, I met Asit Chandmal and his wife, Meenakshi, at Petersfield train station, and gave them the dining room in the West Wing, which has been made up as a temporary guest bedroom.’

August twenty-seventh. ‘Krishnaji gave the first Brockwood talk in the marquis. There was rain and confusion. After the talk, Krishnaji and I had fruit and salad upstairs in our kitchen and then returned to the tent for hot food. I sat with a photo exhibit of the Oak Grove School to answer inquiries. We walked in the late afternoon. After supper, Dorothy and I rearranged the chairs in the marquis, and roped off a section for the bus people.’ Otherwise, the bus people didn’t have any place to sit when they got there after the other people.

S: Right. Right. We should just mention that there’s really very little public transportation to Brockwood.

Trains came into Petersfield and Winchester, so we hired buses during the gatherings to pick people up at specified times at those stations to bring them to Brockwood for the talks. The problem was that by the time they got there, all the good seats were taken by all the avid campers who used to start lining up at 6 in the morning to get seats.

M: Yes. [Laughing.] Well, we fixed that.

S: Right.

Krishnaji going over a fence in Brockwood

Krishnaji going over a fence in Brockwood

Krishnaji going over a fence in Brockwood.

Krishnaji going over a fence in Brockwood.

M: The next day, ‘Krishnaji gave the second Brockwood talk. Dorothy and I managed the traffic in the tent, and it went smoothly. Mary, Joe, Amanda, and Nicky (Nicky is Mary’s granddaughter, one of them) came. Early on, coming downstairs, I fell and bruised my left knee. After the talk, Krishnaji had fruit and salad in our kitchen, then hot food in the tent. Later, the Linkses, the Chandmals, Krishnaji, and I had tea in the kitchen; and later still, Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I went for a walk.’

August twenty-ninth, ‘I worked at the desk. In the afternoon, Krishnaji held a taped discussion with David Bohm, Asit Chandmal, and P. Krishna, professor of physics at Benares Hindu University.’

S: Ah, the one who later became the head of the Rajghat school?

M: That’s right. That’s what happened.

S: Okay.

M: So, now we go to the thirtieth. ‘Krishnaji had wondered how to hold a public discussion in the tent with so many people. Should he appoint a few, and let the others listen? Or appoint a few and let those who wish to join, join? He spoke of this in the tent, and then suddenly he said, he thought he would have a dialogue with himself, and so he did, most marvelously.’ Do you remember that?

S: I remember it well.

M: ‘People were very moved by it. At last, he had someone worthy to discuss with, said so many’ [humor in her voice]. ‘The Chandmals left in the morning before the discussion.’ Oh. That’s interesting. ‘I drove them to Petersfield. My leg is hurting.’

August thirty-first. ‘In the afternoon, Krishnaji talked to Reg and Mavis Bennett on the future of the work in Australia. Also, he saw and talked a little to Hari van Till, a paralyzed Dutch woman with multiple sclerosis, who has been attending the talks. I’m coming down with a cold. Took two grams of vitamin C, which may help but doesn’t seem to prevent.’

Now, September first. ‘This day began with Krishnaji holding his second public discussion in the tent, this time taking questions from the audience, and weaving them together in his answer. In the afternoon, he saw the Shepard sisters, Lola and Pat, about the work in South Africa.’ Do you remember them?

S: Yes, I do.

M: ‘Then, he talked to a Richard Hemwood and wife. At midnight time here, Bud telephoned from the Vineyard to tell me that Mother has pneumonia and may not live. She has been sleeping most of the time lately, and does not recognize anyone. Wooge decided not to put her in the hospital today, but pneumonia is diagnosed by a Dr. somebody. Bud said to wait and see what the doctor says tomorrow morning when he comes at 10 a.m. before deciding if I should fly back. He said Mother would not recognize me. I lay in the dark and felt as if Mother had gone a long time ago.’

September second. ‘At 6:30 a.m. my time, Bud telephoned and said he had looked in on Mother about 11 p.m. last night, before he went home. She was sleeping peacefully; her fever had dropped. Wooge had gone to bed. Only minutes after Bud was across the street, where he was staying, Lynn’—that’s the nurse looking after Mother—‘went in to see Mother and found she had died. It must’ve been about 11:15 p.m. there. Francis [3] was at Elmholm[4], and he and Bud woke Wooge to tell him. He had gone to bed thinking Mother was better. Bud thinks the funeral should be tomorrow, as Monday is Labor Day and to postpone it till Tuesday would prolong things for Wooge. I cannot get there by tomorrow; there is an air strike and seventy percent of flights are canceled here, with delays up to twenty-four hours on some that are going, but I said I would try. I telephoned the airlines going to Boston; none can get me there. I telephoned Bud and spoke to Lisa. Wooge is bearing up, putting himself to planning the funeral, which is now planned for Monday anyway. I then telephoned Wooge, who said he is not expecting me for the funeral, but when I return to the U.S.A., would I come and see him then? I tried again to telephone Bud, but couldn’t get through. That was in the evening his time.’

‘I told Krishnaji what had happened but no one else. I went to a lengthy publication committee meeting, which lasted into the afternoon. Bud’s voice this morning told me what I already knew somehow, that Mother was gone. She had vanished as we knew her long ago, leaving a tragedy, a parody of herself. Now, all this vanishes. What comes is the sense of long ago, things in childhood which now seem gifts from her. Oddly, they are moments when I was alone, but they must’ve been things I cherished—summer days, sunlight in a room, or filling the senses on a beach, a certain order, things clean, pretty—a grace. She taught me taste of the eye, and I remember these things, as I remember the sounds of the Vineyard, deep in some child’s memory, where there are many treasures—the smell of books and pleasures of beginning one, the feel of linen sheets, letting me be a shy child. I realized all these memories are about me, not Mother. A child sees its mother through its own experience—objectivity comes later—but between her and me, the best time must’ve been very early, and it is the good that is left in the face of death. The rest does not really matter.’

September three, ‘Krishnaji gave the third Brockwood talk. He saw the Polish lady Magdalena Jasinka at 4 p.m.’ Do you remember her?

S: Yes, I certainly do. She was a nice woman.

M: ‘I telephoned Bud and spoke to both him and Lisa. The memorial service for Mother will be in Grace Church in Vineyard Haven at 10 a.m. on Monday. All Wooge’s children are with him, and Ann’—that’s his eldest daughter—‘will stay on with him for a few weeks, and then Francis and Cynthia will come’—that’s his son and daughter-in-law. Brockwood had trouble with a pathetic mentally disabled young man. Scott found him in the West Wing and put him on a train to London.’ Do you remember that?

S: There were several, so I’m not sure which one this was.

M: Yes, there were several mad people who we both had to deal with at various times.

September fourth. ‘Krishnaji’s fourth Brockwood talk. I made an appeal for funds. The tent was overflowing with people, even though we have added a smaller one extending the center of the big one in which Krishnaji speaks.’

September fifth. ‘Today there was the memorial service for Mother in Grace Church at Vineyard Haven, with the burial in the family plot. Guests leave Brockwood.’

September sixth. ‘Most of the guests are gone. I wrote to Louis Blau and Mitchell Booth about the agreement with KFA to purchase the McAndrew Road property. I then went to Alresford on errands. Krishnaji saw Mr. Jenkins’ little girl who has leukemia.’ There are many other notations about this little girl with leukemia, who Krishnaji tried to help, and I was told lately, by Kathy[5], that she’s a grown woman now and came back to Brockwood, just lately, in the last few weeks, and she remembers Krishnaji and her coming there.

S: She was cured?

M: Krishnaji cured her.

S: He cured her of leukemia?

M: Yes.

S: How nice. I remember her.

M: Yes. If she was, say, five or six then, how old would she be now?

S: Well, that was almost thirty years ago, so she’d be about thirty-five. But I picture her as being about ten.

M: Well, she was a little girl. Now, she may have been older than five. Let’s say she was ten; she’s in her thirties, anyway.

September seventh, ‘Krishnaji and I took the 10:20 a.m. train to London. We went first to Huntsman, where he ordered a worsted tweed brown suit and a pair of brown trousers. I choose a similar tweed, worsted, gray, and a beige twill for making into trousers by Hillier’s.’ Huntsman couldn’t fit me.

S: Yes, I remember.

M: And so I went down the road to Hillier’s. ‘We went there and left the model and the material. At Krishnaji’s urging, I bought a small silver pencil at the pen shop in the Burlington Arcade for my purse. Then, we lunched with Mary L. at Fortnum’s. Krishnaji told her about my mother. Krishnaji went to the dentist while I went to Heal’s for an eiderdown duvet and some big Japanese paper lanterns for the West Wing halls. I walked to the dentist at Portland Place and met Krishnaji, and we came back to Brockwood. In London, while walking, Krishnaji felt  “faint” for a few seconds, then it passed.’

 

Editor’s Note: Subbulakshmi did not so much “perform” for Krishnaji as exercise an act of devotion. I saw her sing for Krishnaji several times, and her songs were traditional devotional songs to Krishna, and she sang them with a palpable and most moving devotion.

Many people consider Subbulakshmi to be one of the greatest singers in South Indian history, on a par with Pavarotti or Domingo in the West.

 

There’s really nothing for the next day, but for the ninth, ‘I first did desk work, then prepared the spare room and dining room West Wing as bedrooms for the afternoon arrival of M.S. Subbulakshmi’ [both chuckle for a bit] ‘and her husband’ [more laughter]—I’m laughing in anticipation—‘T. Sadasivam, daughter Radha Viswanathan, her daughter Lakshmi, a six-year-old, and a “considered son,” K.R. Athmanathan. Who also came was the violinist, Alagiriswamy, and guru Vayir Doren, the mrdangam player. Shankar, our student, is a son of a niece (I think), but they call him grandson. He met them at the airport and spent the night with them in London at their first hosts there, a gloomy-looking banker named, unforgettably, Mr. Rajagopal.’ [Both laugh.] ‘He came too. Brockwood rather extended itself for the visit. Shakuntala, with helpers, cooked a South Indian supper. They arrived about 4:30 p.m. Subbulakshmi, at first glimpse, was a tiny, shy, smiling little old lady.’ I’d heard her sing in London. ‘But, there she was, on the doorstep’ [S chuckles], ‘modest-looking, gray-haired, with two diamond rings in her nose, [both chuckle], right and left nostrils. I had freshly ground brewed coffee made as they drove in, which was well received. Krishnaji darted out to welcome them. And both Subbulakshmi and Radha prostrated themselves at his feet, forehead to floor’—that’s the way to do it.

 

S: Yes, yes.

M: ‘The husband’—Shankar had warned us correctly—‘had the Shiva ashes on his forehead and came in full dhoti, kurta and shawl, beads, and manner. She was to sing at 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., but it was 6 p.m. before they came into the assembly room, keeping Krishnaji waiting quite a bit. Incense and garlands were on hand—roses had been snipped from the garden and stitched together all afternoon. Then, she began to sing, and it was of extraordinary beauty, deeply moving. The sound seemed to float through consciousness, stirring a sense of forgotten memory beyond what I have known. She seem to sing her heart out for Krishnaji, and he followed it, telling me later that it was more than she had ever sung at Vasanta Vihar. Krishnaji came to the supper in the dining room. Shakuntala had cooked a fine Indian supper. Shankar, the Brockwood student, helped a great deal.’ Do you remember him?

S: Yes, of course. Shankar was her nephew.

M: Was he? Without Shankar, I don’t know what I’d have done.

‘Then followed a comedy of getting them to bed.’ [Chuckles.] ‘Shankar flew about, relaying their needs—a bucket, a pitcher, another pitcher, then they want early coffee. I said I would get it, but Shankar said, no, he would.’ [S chuckles.] ‘Subbulakshmi and the husband were in the guestroom.’

S: Right.

M: ‘But that has a shower. Well, the shower wouldn’t do. He had to have a bucket to fill and pour over himself.’

S: Yes, yes. [Both chuckle.]

M: I couldn’t make that one out. Why, I wondered, did he want a bucket? ‘“Do you really want a bucket?” I asked. “Yes, I want a bucket.”’ [Laughs.] Anyway. [Laughs again.] So, that’s what happened.

September tenth: ‘Last night, Shankar had said that they wanted breakfast and coffee at 6 a.m., so I got up, set up trays, and prepared it for Shankar to serve. He had asked if I minded if he slept on the floor of the room with Radha and her child. I said, of course not, to sleep where he liked. “I don’t want to,” he said. “Then, sleep where you feel you must, I replied. As I went off toward my room last night, with humor he asked, “Would you like a pitcher of water in the morning?’ [Both laugh.] They left early, at 8:30 a.m., after presumably having both had breakfast served by Shankar. Krishnaji gave Subbulakshmi his best gray cashmere cardigan, and she and the daughter again prostrated themselves to Krishnaji, and even the husband, in fresh starched dhoti and freshly maquillé ashes, touched his hand to the floor at Krishnaji’s feet.’

‘So they left in a high commission car with chauffeur, with Shankar going to ease the remainder of their London stay. She sings there tomorrow, but may go on tour in the U.S., arranged by Narasimhan. How will he look after them?’ [Laughter.] ‘Brockwood went back to normal.’ [S laughs.] ‘Krishnaji and I had a quiet breakfast, but afterward, Krishnaji felt a little dizzy for a few seconds. He had difficulty sleeping last night, he said. He stayed in bed all day. In the evening, he had a pain in right thigh, but a hot pad relieved it.’ [Laughs.] That was one for the Brockwood annals. [S laughs.]

The eleventh of September. ‘The pain in Krishnaji’s thigh is gone. I did mostly desk work. In the afternoon, he saw briefly Mrs. Chando Moaraji and son, then talked to Shakuntala. He, Dorothy, and I walked across the fields. It is so beautiful, a sense of blessing.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji stayed in bed until it was time for the walk across the fields. The cement was poured for the new wing of the cottage in Ojai.’

September thirteenth. ‘“Let’s go out for lunch,” said Krishnaji. So, he, Dorothy, and I drove south to look at the English Channel and then inland a little to Wickham, where in an old Georgian house, there is the Old House Restaurant. We had a nice meal there, vegetables from their garden, mushroom omelet, and cinnamon ice cream. We came back, took naps, then went for a walk.’ I think that was the first time…

S: …that you went to the Old House at Wickham?

M: Yes. And it became a favorite, as you well know.

September fourteenth. ‘I went to London, had a haircut, did errands, went to Harrods, and then walked to the Victoria and Albert Museum to see a Fabergé exhibition; but there was a queue of at least 100 people, and I was too tired to wait, so I caught a cab to Waterloo and came home. Krishnaji surprised me by approving the haircut.’

S: Hm. [M chuckles.] Where did you have your hair cut in those days?

M: Well, it says here, but I skipped it because I couldn’t quite make it out: somewhere on Bruton street…John or John-Paul somebody and something. It was on Bruton Street.

I didn’t go forever to them, but I did then.

The next day, all that my diary says is that Krishnaji talked to the staff, and the day after that has even less. 

On the seventeenth, ‘Krishnaji talked to staff for over two hours on what it is to live with intelligence, though what attitudes to take about the students having sex was the precipitating question.’ You may remember that, but I don’t.

S: I don’t, either.

M: ‘Krishnaji also saw the little Jenkins girl again and put his hands. The child, who has leukemia, is said to be better.’

September eighteenth. ‘I drove to the Travers’s for lunch. Ginny, Bill, William, Louise, and David’—those last three are the children—‘were there. Very pleasant. I came back in time to get Krishnaji’s supper tray. Driving through the lovely country, I passed dahlias, tall in gardens and the phrase “a sanity of dahlias” kept going through my head, as if in this increasingly disturbed, demented world, sanity has gone to live in simple beauty.’

On the nineteenth, ‘Krishnaji talked to the staff on the highest intelligence coming with the absence of self. He gave Saral Bohm an interview after lunch. I went at 3:30 p.m. to a staff meeting, and then Krishnaji and I walked.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji talked again to the staff, this time on how to teach that intelligence is the absence of self. I took the Mercedes for a vehicle test for the annual license. We had our usual walk.’

September twenty-first. ‘It was a cold day. A letter from Amanda says that Cary Grant asked to see the house in Malibu, and Phil’—that’s Amanda’s husband, Phil Dunne—‘showed him through. Also, the Bob Earls want to see it.’ Those are people who live down on the beach. Krishnaji and I got the 10:20 a.m. train to London. He fitted at Huntsman. I got some sweaters at Peale’s. Mary L. lunched with us at Fortnum’s. Krishnaji had his haircut at Truefitt, and we came home. New students have arrived for the start of the new school year.’[6]

The twenty-second, ‘Krishnaji talked to the staff on how to tell students that pleasure is an isolating thing.’ [M and S both chuckle.] A sort of vaccination talk. ‘There was a tea for the new students. Krishnaji saw the Jenkins child again, and we walked.’

September twenty-third. ‘All the students have now arrived. Krishnaji talked to the staff from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Whisper was spayed, and dead puppies were found in her.’ Oh dear; that’s awful. That’s horrible.

S: Yes, it is.

M: The twenty-fourth. ‘There was a school meeting at 9 a.m., and then Krishnaji talked to the school at noon on the isolation of pleasure. Whisper was fetched from the vet by Krishnaji, Dorothy, and me in afternoon. We had the usual walk.’

September twenty-fifth, ‘Krishnaji had a meeting alone with the students. After lunch, David Bohm talked to Krishnaji on behalf of David Shainberg, who was having difficulties with his wife; she’s interested in Kabbalah.’

The next day was mostly packing.

September twenty-seventh, ‘We were up at 5 a.m., breakfasted in the kitchen, and left with Dorothy at 7:45 a.m. for Heathrow. Krishnaji and I took a Lufthansa flight to Cologne/Bonn, but were late leaving because of the continuing air traffic control strike. Once we landed, there were hard-faced men watching disembarking passengers.’ I remember—they were two tough-looking men; they were looking for someone.

S: In Cologne/Bonn?

M: Yes. ‘I thought instantly of the man now in the hands of terrorists, kidnappers, the nightmare it must be for him, the government, police, the whole country—how close ordinary life is to violence and horror. We came by taxi to Bonn and the Hotel Bristol, recommended by Bud. I telephoned Dr. Scheef to confirm our appointment for tomorrow morning. We lunched in a largely empty dining room, where the head waiter turned out to be from Delhi—Namaste, etcetera.’ [S chuckles.] ‘We took naps. Then, we went for a walk, first to locate the clinic, which was nearby, and then to look for quartz clocks. We found a small one for Krishnaji to give to Pama Patwardhan, but for himself, he wanted the Braun. We walked on, saw a razor shop and they had the Braun clock.  Krishnaji’s face lit up with pleasure. We came back feeling successful.’

S: Ah!

M: Ah-ha! You were right. ‘We had our suppers in our rooms. Then, very suddenly, in the middle of the soup, Krishnaji’s face changed. He looked about with that listening expression, “Do you feel it?” I hadn’t till then. But the room suddenly seemed vibrant and charged. He closed his eyes, and I wondered if he would faint, but he didn’t. He came out of it. Said his head was beginning to hurt, but finished his supper. He didn’t want to talk about it, as always.’

September twenty-eighth. ‘Krishnaji slept well. “I had to. I was tired,” he said. We each quite liked the duvets; eiderdowns in a duvet-case instead of sheets with blankets. The first time we’ve slept under those. It was a scurry, but we reached the Strahlern Klinik Janker’—that’s the name of it—‘by 9 a.m., and waited a bit. “We needn’t have hurried,” he said. We observed the people, and I heard German spoken musically instead of the singsong rendering of Swiss-German. Then, suddenly, Dr. Scheef was there, come to greet us and show the winding way to his office. I had written a memorandum for each of us, the list of past and present ailments. He went over Krishnaji’s first, and then Krishnaji was taken off to have tests. Dr. Scheef had telephoned Dr. Randsberg, a friend of Dr. Wolf in Munich, to see if he’d been able to get from Mrs. Wolf’—Dr. Wolf had died in the meantime—‘our records, but the story from Wolf’s lawyer in Miami is that a hurricane destroyed them. I spoke to Randsberg about the anti-migraine tablets, “anit-uric acid” as Wolf described them to me, and it seems they are made in New York, and he will get them for me, from a Dr. Chapman. Dr. Scheef then went over my history, looked at my leg, and took me to Dr. Hoffa who, I think, is the head of the clinic. Scheef said sympathectomy is not very satisfactory.’ I’ve had one. They do nothing. Anyway. ‘I then had a pressure test to measure the blood flow in both legs. I gathered from their conversation in German that Scheef and Hoffa admired the technique of the skin graft by Dr. Timothy Miller, and they knew of Dr. Wylie Barker—those were the two UCLA hospital doctors when I had the skin graft. “We have a book of his,” Scheef said. Scheef told me that Krishnaji has clear sinuses, but a bit of emphysema, which is normal for his age. And tomorrow, after the results of all the tests are in, we will meet at noon to learn of the results.’

‘Krishnaji and I walked back to the hotel at 11 a.m., rested, and lunched. During lunch, he said, “It isn’t superstition, but I think I know what it was last night. Nobody knows this person here, except a few nuts, and it’s like the jewels[7] (in the foundation of house), it is to bring about an atmosphere.” I asked if he meant that this something and his presence would have the effect, and he nodded.’

S: Of bringing about an atmosphere?

M: Yes.

September twenty-ninth. ‘We decided Krishnaji should allow one-and-a-half hours to dress, as again he was hurried and was late, though up early, and our appointment with Scheef was only at noon.  Krishnaji’s X-rays showed clear head, sinuses, and only slight emphysema in the lung, “fantastically little for a man his age,” said Scheef. He gave him experimental pills, not on the market, to reduce mucus.[8] He could only spare one box. He upped Krishnaji’s dosage of enzymes to two tablets weekly, but for one week a month, two tablets a day. Gave him a strong emulsion of vitamin E to take until it’s used up, and then resume 675 units daily. For me, he doubled the dose of vitamin E to one gram a day and said, continue two tablets of enzymes every two weeks, but for one week each month, also take three enzymes daily. He would like to see us again next summer to compare our conditions after this medication. I paid the bill, which was $152 for Krishnaji, and $40 for me, way-oh-way below U.S. bills. We lunched, and Krishnaji said he realizes here how much he can rest in a place where no one knows him. He spoke of going to France, somewhere in the country, for a week or two. He can’t rest at Brockwood—too many people. We rested then, and walked to look at the Rhine and came back to supper in our rooms.’

September thirtieth. ‘We left the Hotel Bristol in Bonn in a taxi, and reached the Cologne/Bonn airport by 10:30 a.m. The Lufthansa flight was held up by the Heathrow air traffic slow-down, and we got off over four hours late. We had a lunch of cheese at the airport before leaving, and arrived at Heathrow, where Dorothy and Doris were patiently waiting to meet us. Heathrow was stacked with waiting people. We got back to Brockwood by 7 p.m. Carol and Joe have had a baby boy.’ He was born in Winchester?

S: Yes, in Winchester.

M: Now there’s nothing of note until October second, when Krishnaji talked to the school and guests. And then again nothing much until October fourth. ‘A cassette from Bud arrived bringing news up-to-date. Krishnaji spoke alone to students, and we walked in the afternoon. In the evening, Bud and Francis and Mitchell Booth’—that’s the family lawyer—‘telephoned from New York about papers Mitch needs for Mother’s will and which I am to sign, but which have not yet arrived here. He will send duplicates, etcetera. Bud and Lisa are going this week to Paris, then to Tehran at the invitation of the Empress of Iran. They will be back in New York before I arrive, and Bud will come with me to the Vineyard on the thirty-first so I can see both Wooge and him at the same time.’

October fifth, ‘Krishnaji was feeling “far away,” had a faraway look, and a meditative feeling, but a dentist appointment compelled our going to London. We took the 10:20 a.m. train. He came with me to Hillier’s where I fitted trousers, then he had the same at Huntsman. We lunched with Mary at Fortnum’s. Joe came by and drove us to Portland Place and the dentist, Mr. Thompson. Krishnaji had his dental work. More is planned in the spring on his return. We eventually caught a taxi to Waterloo, browsed through paperbacks and magazines, and came back to Brockwood by 6 p.m. Krishnaji is still feeling far away. We had told Mary about the Bonn trip, and both of us feel good effects from the medication. Krishnaji’s bronchial problems are much less. My leg feels more alive, and I feel more energy.’

The next day, Krishnaji talked to the school. And again not much until October eighth, ‘Maurice Wilkins stays in the West Wing overnight. Krishnaji remained in bed resting. I went to a 4:30 p.m. staff meeting. Bud telephoned from Paris. He and Lisa go to Iran on Tuesday.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji talked to the school, and he saw Alan Rowlands for an interview after lunch. We walked in the afternoon. Helen Brew’—do you remember her?

S: I do indeed. [Laughs.]

M: ‘She talked to me all through supper about Krishnaji and R. D. Laing meeting and filming a dialogue between them.’

October tenth. ‘Krishnaji stayed in bed. I got a letter from Amanda; Miranda has a TV news job in Eugene, Oregon. I worked at the desk most of the day. At 4:30 p.m., I attended a school meeting. Photos from Erna arrived of the walls going up for the Ojai house.’

October eleventh. ‘Krishnaji talked to the students in the morning. I took a 9:20 a.m. train to London. I had legal papers sent by Mitchell Booth about Mother’s will notarized at the U.S. consulate. I shopped for Krishnaji’s presents to people in India. Then I met Paul Anstee at his shop in Prince’s Arcade and lunched with him at the Cavendish Hotel. I asked him for suggestions for the Ojai living room. Then I bought cheese and miscellaneous things for Krishnaji, and came back.’

The next day, ‘I met Mary L. at the Petersfield Station at noon. She lunched with us and spent the afternoon at Brockwood.’

October thirteenth. ‘Krishnaji talked to the school. Ginny Travers came in time for lunch after car trouble. I took a nap after she left. Then Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked, but not too far as Krishnaji gets tired after a talk.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji and I to London. He had Huntsman fitting, and then we lunched at Fortnum’s and bought a quartz watch for Dr. Parchure and a sweater for Pupul, also books and cheese. At supper, Krishnaji had a stomach ache, which passed after Perrier and Nux Vomica. The Marogers are here to stay the weekend in the West Wing spare room.’

October fifteenth, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the staff and both Marogers, who also came on the walk.’

October sixteenth, ‘I met Mrs. Billimoria at Petersfield. She came for Krishnaji’s talk to the school and for lunch. The Hammonds were also at lunch. Krishnaji spoke with the Marogers after lunch and then with Mrs. Pinky Martini’—whoever that is. ‘Krishnaji and I took a short walk in the grove.’

There’s really nothing the next day.

October eighteenth. ‘Krishnaji spoke alone with the students in the morning. News came early that a German commando team captured the Lufthansa plane hijacked last Thursday, which was in Somalia. All the passengers were saved. Three hijackers were killed, and a woman wounded. In the evening news there was a report that the Baader-Meinhof gang and two others in jail committed suicide. The fate of the kidnapped Hanns Martin Schleyer is still unknown. In talking these last days about this horror, Krishnaji has said the Germans should do what the Israelis did at Entebbe. And they have.’

S: I think we’re running out of tape here.

M: Yes? Then we stop.

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FOOTNOTES:-

[1] The 1920s. Back to text.

[2] Stichting Krishnamurti Nederland is the name of the Krishnamurti committee in Holland. Back to text.

[3] Francis McAdoo was the son of Wooge, so the step-brother of Mary and Bud. Back to text.

[4] Elmholm was the name of Mary’s mother’s house on Martha’s Vineyard. Back to text.

[5] Kathy Forbes, a Brockwood staff member who was close to Mary from 1977 until the end of Mary’s life. This interview with Mary took place on July 22, 2004; so Kathy would have told her this around the end of June of that year. Back to text.

[6] By this time, Brockwood had established the practice of having the new students come to the school a couple of days before the returning students, ensuring all the new students became well known to the staff and to each other before the rush of returning students. Back to text.

[7] This will be discussed more toward the end of Krishnaji’s life as, at that time, he had me assemble the nine gems needed, and which he “charged” so they could be put into the foundation of the new Krishnamurti Centre we were about to start building. He did the same thing for the rebuilding of Pine Cottage. Back to text.

[8] I believe these are what Krishnaji called “the magic pink pills” and which gave him greater relief from hay-fever than anything else. He continued to get this from Dr. Scheef for the rest of his life. Back to text.