Issue 51—April 18, 1978 to May 25, 1978
The strange series of experiences Krishnaji underwent that came to be called “the process” and which began in 1922 occurred again in 1961 and 1962 when Krishnaji was staying with Vanda. She had made notes of those events, but had kept them to herself. In this issue, Vanda reads out her notes to Mary and Mary Lutyens, the person Vanda knew Krishnaji had asked to be his biographer. The next day, Vanda dictated large segments of her notes to Mary to send on to Mary Lutyens for the second volume of her biography of Krishnaji, Krishnamurti: The years of fulfillment. However, Mary’s account of Vanda’s notes in Mary’s diary, feel more intimate. If, as Mary and I suspected, Vanda’s notes were subsequently lost, then Mary’s notes on Vanda’s account, are the best record we have of these important events.
The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: #51
Mary: Alright, we’re beginning this on April eighteenth, 1978.
Scott: That’s correct.
M: Yes, well, Krishnaji and I were in Ojai, and my diary says, ‘Krishnaji and I packed some luggage, and left in the morning in the gray Mercedes with Theo to Malibu. We had a light lunch in the dining room there, and Elfriede had’—[chuckles]. You don’t want details about…
S: Yes, we do.
S: Yes, yes.
M: ‘Elfriede fixed the teak game table with a tablecloth.’ You see, all the furniture had gone up to Ojai.
S: Oh, that’s right.
S: You see, now, these are important details.
M: No, they’re not! [S chuckles, then M chuckles.] I’ll never agree with you on this. Well, anyway, she fixed it. ‘And we had a couple of folding chairs and the kitchen stool, so we had our lunch. We continued on to the IRS office in West Los Angeles for Krishnaji’s tax clearance, required before he can leave the country. We went on to Westwood Village for a reading renewal for Krishnaji, at Winky’s.’ Winky was my friend who worked in the bookstore. She’s been identified earlier.
M: And I got an Indian art book for Margrete Wilhelm.’ That was Fritz Wilhelm’s wife, and she had been very nice and done the painted shutters in the house.
S: I remember she did those.
M: Anyway, I apparently got her an Indian art book, and ‘also the all-important detectives for Krishnaji.’ [S chuckles.] ‘We drove back to Malibu, where Krishnaji and I remained and Theo drove the gray car back to Ojai. I went over to see Amanda and Phil Dunne. The Dunne’s garden, mine, and our canyon never looked so beautiful. The rains had made everything bloom, the wildflowers, every leaf was a deep green. It was especially beautiful. The house was very beautiful by itself with almost no furniture. It is serene and blessed. It feels like my very skin.’
S: Oh, how nice.
M: Krishnaji had been worried that it was painful for me to leave the house. It wasn’t, but I think we recorded it earlier, he had said that the house feels abandoned, which broke me up.
S: I know.
M: But, it was alright, you see. ‘There is still a bed in each of the two bedrooms, a few dishes, towels, etcetera, so Krishnaji and I could have supper as always, and spend the night there. Krishnaji said that this morning, in Ojai, meditation came when he woke up early at 3:00 a.m.’
April nineteenth. ‘Woke up to the soft ocean sounds, and the quail came bustling across the lawn. The lawn has sagged curiously in places. So much rain seems to have caused it to settle. Krishnaji said, “I’m glad they chose you to look after me.”’ [S chuckles.] And then he went on, ‘“It might’ve been someone else.”’ [Both chuckle.]
M: Of course, there would’ve been a queue for that.
M: ‘He said, “This room must’ve had many happy and unhappy times for you.” I saw the Roman nails in the beams and remembered how Sam had found them in Ostia Antica and told me to take them back and put them in the Malibu house so it will last a thousand years.’ That’s true. They were all Roman nails.
S: Oh, wonderful. Did you leave them there in the house?
M: Of course, but I don’t know whether that house still exists.
M: I don’t know. I don’t go down there anymore because the Dunnes don’t live next door. ‘I told this to Krishnaji, and he said, “Why don’t you take one out, and put it in the house in Ojai?”’
S: That’s exactly what I was thinking. [Both laugh.]
M: Well, they, they were big, you know…
M: …big, fat…I don’t know how I would have gotten them out. I would have had to hire a carpenter to pull them out.
S: Yes, they probably would have had to be sawn out. [M chuckles.] I know what those old Roman nails are like.
M: ‘We had breakfast. I took the green car down for gas, etcetera, and came back to go with Krishnaji and Alan Kishbaugh, who drove us to the airport. Krishnaji and I flew at noon to Seattle. We arrived at 2 p.m., and had a two-hour wait before taking Pacific Air West to Victoria. The vegetarian lunch was so poor that we had a salad in the airport, some ice cream, and a Danish. Krishnaji had never heard of that’—a Danish [S chuckles] —‘but it was what came when he wanted a sweet biscuit. He spoke again about a Roman nail from Malibu for Ojai, and said, “When we came there yesterday, I felt Mr. Zimbalist.”’
S: Mmmm. How nice.
M: Yes. ‘We reached Victoria at 5 p.m., and both Siddoo sisters met us. We drove to their school by the sea. Krishnaji met only a few of the teachers and students and went right to bed. I brought his supper on a tray, and now I must sleep.’
The next day. ‘Jackie and Sarjit gave me a tour of the place. It has well-kept gardens, lovely places above the shore, and the lapping sound of water is dear to my island blood. They have two cows, and a newborn heifer; and the school has more milk and its own butter than it can use. The milk tastes like milk.’
‘At 11 a.m., Krishnaji spoke to students and staff on what a school is all about: learning, freedom, and what they mean. The ten students are nice-seeming children, seem at home, and pleasantly say good morning to you. There is a please-ing and thank-you-ing, and they listened to Krishnaji. The meeting was videotaped by the school and by local TV, and Michael Mendizza is here to begin his filming of Krishnaji, which is to continue at Saanen, Brockwood, India, and Ojai next spring. Krishnaji had lunch with the children at one table, and took a nap till 3 p.m. After that we went in one car with Jackie and Sarjit, a second car following with Michael Mendizza, Terry (the handyman at the school), and Mary Whitehouse (who tends to various things at Wolf Lake itself, which is a possible place for the school).’ They owned two places; actually, they owned vast forests. But, they are distressing forests because every tree is the same size. In other words…
S: Yes. It’s all reforested and replanted.
S: I know. That never feels natural.
M: It doesn’t look like a forest.
S: No. I know.
M: It looks like…I don’t know what.
S: Yes, a tree farm.
M: A tree farm, although it was beautiful, and the trees were quite big.
M: I think that their father was in the lumber business. So, they owned that, and then they also owned the place where the school is, which was separate, on the ocean, which is beautiful. Anyway, ‘Wolf Lake is several miles into a thick forest, logged thirty years ago, and now thickly wooded with Douglas firs and alder. We had to walk in to see the lake, which is about a mile long, and we walked to the end, a two-mile walk each way for Krishnaji, which he stood very well; and he chided me for suggesting to the Siddoos that it was a bit much for him. I feel, rather, enclosed in the woods without space: the trees crowding in. It would not be my choice, but Krishnaji tends to like large pieces of land. This one is 5,000 acres. He speaks of not only a school, but a college, an enormous outlay when it would probably cost half a million just to bring in the electricity before the cost of the road, clearing, building, etcetera. “One mustn’t think of the money, but whether it is right.”’ [Chuckles.]
S: That’s so like him. [Laughs.]
M: Yes, and it always left the rest of us thinking, what will we do? [S chuckles.] ‘The two sisters Siddoo listened willingly. Jackie seemed prepared to go to any length. Sarjit looks more to the practical side. It would be a tremendous undertaking. I wonder if they’re up to it and have the energy to do it. They are not young, but Krishnaji’s visions are undaunted.’
April twenty-first. ‘It’s a gray day. Krishnaji spoke to the staff in the morning. After lunch, Saral and David arrived. He has been lecturing in Vancouver. The plan was to go to the Butchart Gardens, but it rained. So, Krishnaji talked all afternoon with Jackie and Sarjit about the school, the rules for it, etcetera. A Mr. and Mrs. Eric Smith—he is on the board of the Krishnaji educational center of Canada and is the Siddoo’s financial adviser,’ um, ‘he came with the Bohms.’ I must stop saying “um.”
Editor’s Note: Obviously, Mary’s “ums” have been edited out, as well as most of the little asides Mary and I had. However, Mary and I had such fun in these discussions, and there was so much joking between us, that it seems only right that readers have some sense of the affectionate humor that pervaded these discussions, so a couple are included in this issue.
S: [laughs] It doesn’t matter.
M: It does. It sounds horrible.
S: And they all get transcribed, so they’re down there for posterity. [Laughs.]
M: That’s the trouble; that’s what bothers me.
April twenty-second. ‘Krishnaji spoke to the children alone. I did letters. In the afternoon, there was a little sun, so, with the Siddoos, we walked around the grounds while Michael Mendizza filmed Krishnaji in 16mm with a Beaulieu movie camera for his film project. Down along the gray pebble beach, there were beautiful driftwood logs and again that gentle lapping sound at the edge of the sea. Krishnaji said to me, “One should only come here in summer.” He feels the cold here, which must be because he is tired. In the evening, a tooth hurt him. He put oil of cloves on it and tried pressure on it with the first joint of his index finger, suggested to relieve tooth aches by Terry, the handyman here, a believer in such.’ [Both chuckle.]
The next day, it just says, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the whole school plus guests.’
That brings us to the twenty-fourth, and in the little diary it says, ‘We left Wolf Lake School at 9 a.m. Jackie and Sarjit drove us to Victoria Airport, where Krishnaji and I took the 10:15 a.m. Pacific Air West flight to Seattle, changed to Western Airline, and flew to Los Angeles, where Alan K. met us and drove us to Malibu. We put our bags in the green Mercedes and Krishnaji and I drove to Ojai, arriving about 5 p.m.’
And in the big book it says the same thing.
S: Well, it won’t be word-for-word; there must be some word you changed. [Both chuckle.]
M: You would like the punctuation too? [Laughter.]
S: No, I’ll just throw that in willy-nilly. [Chuckles.]
M: ‘We left Wolf Lake School, and at 9 a.m., Sarjit and Jackie took us to the airport. We flew Pacific West flight to Seattle’ (comma) [S laughs], ‘changed to Western Airline’ (comma) [S laughs], ‘and flew to Los Angeles’ (full stop). [Both laugh.] ‘Krishnaji liked the new plane.’
S: You see! That’s a new detail.
M: …‘and they served an acceptable vegetable lunch.’
S: You see, there’s another new detail.
M: Oh, posterity will thank you for all this. [S laughs.] ‘Alan K. met us and drove us to Malibu. Krishnaji and I changed to the green Mercedes and drove to Ojai, arriving about 5 p.m. Krishnaji feels the Siddoos don’t really know what it is all about.’
S: You see, that’s a very important detail [both laugh] because Krishnaji turns out to have been very right.
M: He was right in all such things. ‘He doesn’t intend going back there. He did a thorough job there, but neither of the sisters, as he calls them, really understand what is needed, nor has a clue.’
April twenty-fifth. ‘John Rubel came with Salvador Juarez’—he was the stone mason. ‘We wrestled over placement of the Malibu ocean rocks.’ Oh, I brought up those rocks.
S: I know which ones.
M: To me, they’re beautiful sculpture, sculpted by sand and waves.
M: ‘So we placed them in a pool in the patio. The shower doors were put in the bathrooms. I worked all day in the house and at the desk without lunch.’
April twenty-sixth, ‘The Jøtul Norwegian stove’—the one in the dining room, like the one at Brockwood—‘was installed and looks very nice. Krishnaji says it gives a country look.’ Which it does, I think. ‘I worked all day at the desk, trying to figure out the final costs on this house. In the evening, we watched TV, and something came up that made me ask Krishnaji if mankind’s impulse toward religion is a plea to make things better, or something deeply inherent. He replied, “I think it is inherent.”’
S: The impulse is inherent?
The twenty-seventh says, ‘There was an all-day-long trustee meeting. Before it, I telephoned my brother to sell some stock to be able to pay the remaining bills on the house. Krishnaji came to the meeting and made a statement on the future use of Pine Cottage when he and I are dead. It’s not to be lived in, but used as a study place, library, for quiet study of the teachings. Last night, Rosalind R. telephoned Mark that she is selling the old Weideman property adjoining her house, and offered the KFA first refusal: two acres with two houses in bad repair. Cost $110,000.’
S: What’s the Weideman House?
M: I think it’s what we now call the Maris Lindley House, but it once belonged to someone in the distant past called Willie Weideman. I never knew him; he was before my time.
S: Ah. But how did Lindley get it if KFA bought it?
M: I don’t know. I don’t remember. Did we buy it? Well, it says we’re buying it; I don’t know if we did. We’ll see. ‘We debated it at the meeting, and decided KFA should buy it. Her agent tried to raise the price, but in the end, she said, “You should have it.” So we are buying it. We must raise the money, as we have only enough for the two buildings Max is building at the school. The old Logan house is also for sale. We should buy that too for $165,000, but haven’t any money. Much discussion too about publications, with much criticism of the choices of material for books…all this went on till after 5 p.m. It was wearisome. Alasdair came about planting plants.’ There were two houses, and I’ve never been clear. The Old Logan House is somewhere up there, but I’ve never been up there.
S: Up there where the office is now?
M: No. Up Horn Canyon.
S: Oh, up Horn Canyon?
S: But, that’s not the Logan that was Krishnaji’s friend, is it?
M: Yes, yes, that’s the Logan. But I don’t know…one was the Weideman house and one was the Logan house. I don’t know how Lindley got it. She must’ve bought it. She wanted to be close to Arya Vihara…
M: …and she bought it.
April twenty-eighth. ‘Up early to work at the desk. I paid the insurance bills. At 10 a.m., Erna came with Mr. Brown, an insurance man, and we went over policies of all the properties here on McAndrew Road, KFA’s share and mine. Elfriede came to clean and Mr. Schwartz brought new lampshades. Michael Mendizza filmed on 16mm a discussion in the living room between Krishnaji, Fritz, Mark, Evelyne, Alan, David Moody, and Laura Martin and Carol someone. In the afternoon, he filmed Krishnaji walking in the Oak Grove and also speaking briefly to the camera. I went to the bank with Erna and Ruth to sign before a notary the agreement between KFA and me and the transfer of the title of the McAndrew Road property to me.’ This was a complicated maneuver that Louis Blau thought of, which was supposed to save me capital gain on selling my Malibu house.
M: …which never worked in the end because you need to sell the one before buying the other within eighteen months, and it took me longer than that to sell Malibu.
S: Yes, yes.
M: Anyway, Louis Blau thought up all this and in order to bring this about, I had to own all this property on McAndrew Road. I had to buy it, which I did. Well, eventually, I gave it all back. But that was what we went to the bank about. Yes, it says: ‘All this is carefully worked out by Lou Blau. I pay $10,000 now and owe an additional $165,000, and I pay seven-and-three-fourths percent till I pay that off. I lease Arya Vihara and the orange groves to KFA and then give back the whole thing, retaining a life tenancy. I gave Elfriede instructions about Malibu as I won’t be able to go there Tuesday as planned. Too much to do here. Another nonstop busy day,’ it says.
April twenty-ninth. ‘I slept well, and was busy all day in the house and at the desk. Max’s brother Alan Tansill came to lunch at the Old House. I gave Erna a check to buy this place. Krishnaji, Mark, and I walked in the afternoon. Alasdair Coyne planted vines under the trellis and we moved the Malibu tubs of camellias up to the north patio, where they look lovely. Krishnaji is very pleased and kept going to look at them.’ [Chuckles.]
The next day, ‘I was busy all day in house. Rosalind Rajagopal reneged on the sale of the Weideman house by trying to raise the price to $115,000 and higher interest and retaining mineral right. She told Mark, “I have so many trustees,” a lie because it doesn’t belong to Happy Valley; it is her personal property. We won’t pay what she now asks and with those conditions. Krishnaji dictated a statement to go in the minutes of last Thursday’s trustee meeting about the use of Pine Cottage when he and I are dead. No one is to live here. It is to be a library, “a place of study and meditation, as carefully explained in my teachings.” I spoke on the telephone to the Dunnes.’
May first. ‘I worked at the desk. Krishnaji washed the green car with Ted’s help.’
May second. ‘Amanda and Phil came to see the house for the first time and for lunch with us in the cottage. It was a joy to have them here. They clearly like the house, and Krishnaji was pleased by this reaction. He noted Amanda explaining it, and the extraordinary atmosphere in the living room. It was a beautiful day. It was a clear day, and the air was laced with orange blossoms. It was perfect for their first visit, and first meal with us here. Later, Krishnaji washed the gray Mercedes. I had to keep working at the desk. I was up till 4 a.m. this morning on this. I finally figured out the cost of this house.’
The next day, ‘I telephoned my stepfather, then started packing. Alasdair came in the afternoon and planted the herb garden by the back patio, also rock roses on the east bank. Dieter came and put the two cars up on jacks; drained the tanks and removed the batteries.’ Dieter is the Mercedes garage person. ‘Then, Krishnaji and I fastened old sheets over them.’
S: So, they stayed in the garage here?
M: Yes, and they were always prepared for our long time away.
May fourth. ‘We were up at 5 a.m. Mark rang to say that Rajagopal had telephoned him last night, saying he had to speak to Krishnaji. Mark said Krishnaji is leaving this morning. Rajagopal said he would telephone through the office at 9 a.m. Krishnaji had me ring him. I said Krishnaji was calling. He thanked me rather unctuously. Krishnaji came on, and the conversation was short. All that was said was that Rajagopal sent his love and that he had not had the privilege of seeing him this year. Krishnaji said he accepted that. Mark had the school van to drive Krishnaji, Max, and me to the Los Angeles Airport. Everyone, the Lilliefelts, Fritz, Margrete (his wife), Michael Krohnen, Ted Cartee, Carl Marcus, and some others saw us off. Krishnaji wanted to go along the sea, and as we neared Malibu, Mark asked if I wanted to stop at the house. Krishnaji said, “Let’s!” and we slowed. Elfriede was working with Lori along the driveway, thinking to see us pass. We drove in, and went into the house, Max seeing it for the first time, and I saw the partial cleanup of the broken pipe, etcetera, on the slide, done mostly by Lori and Elfriede and some by Carlson’—Carlson was a local contractor who tried to help fix these things—‘who promised last night on the telephone that he would finish the work this afternoon. The house looked serene, beautiful, it is as part of me as my skin; its looks, its feels, its sounds, are extensions of my nerves, not because of memories, as Max suggested, but because it is, to me, something alive, as each tree and plant are in my care, a sort of trust, as an animal might feel. I cared for it from the beginning, and when it was hurt by the fire, I healed it. Now, I must turn away from it, and the pain is the absurd one, I suppose, of not losing it, but of turning away from it, not caring and tending it anymore. Krishnaji, Max, and I took the 12:30 TWA flight nonstop to London.’
S: Is that the year Max came to Brockwood?
M: Did he come?
S: He came to Brockwood.
M: Well, then that’s it. I don’t remember. He was the builder.
S: Yes, I remember.
M: May fifth. ‘No sleep at all on the airplane, not even a doze. Krishnaji slept a little across the aisle, and when he woke up, he watched the sun rise and chanted to himself’…
S: This is on the airplane.
M: Yes…‘in Sanskrit, quietly. We landed at 7 a.m. Dorothy and Doris in the Cortina and Scott with a van met us.’ [M says S’s name softly and both chuckle.] ‘Scott Forbes brought back Max and the luggage. We drove through a light rain to Brockwood. Spring is young. Leaves are just beginning on the beeches and oaks, and the daffodils are still out. Everyone came out on the driveway to greet Krishnaji. We walked around a little, and then Krishnaji went to bed and slept most of the day. I showed Max around. He is in the West Wing guestroom. Dorothy brought trays to Krishnaji and me for lunch. I unpacked and bathed, ate lunch, and slept in the afternoon. I spoke to Mary Links on the telephone, who said that Vanda is visiting Paola and Jon in Cambridge.’ Paola was Vanda’s daughter, and she was married to Jon Cohen, who’s a professor in Canada, and he was on a sabbatical in Cambridge.
S: Yes, yes.
M: And that brought Vanda over to England. I never could get her to come to Brockwood, but she did come when Paola and Jon were here. ‘I telephoned Vanda. She will come to stay here next Friday.’ I don’t think she did, but we’ll see.
S: I think she did.
M: Did she?
S: I think so. I remember seeing her at Brockwood. I’m sure I did.
M: I even had a guestroom created when we first moved into Brockwood that was to be Vanda’s room.
S: If I may interrupt for a minute before we go on: What happened to Il Leccio, Vanda’s house outside of Florence?
M: Oh, she lived there till she died.
S: I know. But what happened after she died?
M: I don’t know. I’ve no contact. There’s nobody to have contact with. Well, there is Paola; but Vanda’s son, you know, was killed.
S: I know, before Vanda died. I know, a tractor accident.
M: Tractor, he was riding a tractor all by himself in a field or something.
S: Yes, and he fell off, and it fell over on him, or something.
M: It tipped over; he was crushed.
S: Yes, yes.
S: I know.
M: I went down to Florence to see Vanda after Krishnaji died.
M: But stayed in Florence.
S: Not at Il Leccio?
M: I didn’t stay in the house. She didn’t have a guestroom or something; I stayed in Florence. Il Leccio is just outside.
S: Right, yes.
M: I didn’t see her again after that, although we were in touch.
‘I unpacked, bathed, and slept most of the afternoon, getting up to fetch Krishnaji’s supper tray and to eat my own downstairs. So, once again, I am in this lovely room and very glad to be here. How extremely fortunate I’ve been in places I’ve lived in. How blessedly generous life has been in this.’
The sixth of May. ‘Krishnaji and I rested. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked up and down the driveway. There was a discussion among a few in the afternoon, not with Krishnaji. I telephoned Filomena in Rome; it is her eighty-first birthday tomorrow. She sounded well and her usual dear self. Krishnaji was up for lunch, but rested otherwise. He says he feels “washed out.” So do I. We took a gentle walk with Dorothy and the dogs up and down the driveway.’
May seventh. ‘Krishnaji didn’t speak to the school. He rested in the morning. Mary and Joe came to lunch, and they, Krishnaji, and I sat in the kitchen talking afterward. Then, we strolled in the garden. They will summer here again this year.’ They did that several summers when the school was on summer vacation, and we were in Gstaad.
M: Which was very nice, but it’d be nice if they came when we were all there. It’d be nicer. ‘For supper, Krishnaji and I dined as guests of Dorothy in the theater workshop, where Carl Tolbert’—I’d forgotten him—‘had’…
M: …‘a cooking class, studying restaurant management.’ We had a restaurant…what?
S: Oh, yes, I remember that. It only happened one term.
M: Well, anyway, ‘the theater workshop was done up as a restaurant, tables for four, candlelight, excellent menu, service good, live music, i.e., harpsichord and a recorder playing, two students; the food was very good. We dressed for the occasion, i.e., skirts for women and jackets for men.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘Krishnaji said afterward, “I watched their faces. It is a hard world for the young. Exams, A-levels, O-levels, then what to do in life. Thank god I’m not young.”’ [Chuckles.] Yes.
The next day, ‘Krishnaji didn’t sleep well. He rested during the day, but was tired. Eating mousse last night with cream in it is not good for him. I went to Petersfield in Doris’s mini on errands.’
May ninth. ‘The Mercedes is activated. In the morning, Krishnaji spoke to the school. In the afternoon, I took the Mercedes to be serviced in Chichester. Scott brought me back.’
The tenth. ‘Krishnaji is tired. He saw Peter Jenkins’ child.’ She was the one with leukemia. ‘I went to the school meeting, and then with Donald Dennis to fetch the Mercedes in Chichester.’
May eleventh. ‘Krishnaji, Max, and I, in the newly serviced Mercedes, went to Petersfield and caught the 10:23 a.m. train to London. Max got off at Woking to go by bus to Heathrow and fly back to California, where he is to start work on the two school buildings. Max made friends with everyone at Brockwood. Last evening at supper, Brian Jenkins made an announcement about the swimming pool heater, which Max helped the students build out of two old radiators.’ Remember that?
S: I do [laughs]. It was a solar-powered swimming pool heater.
M: ‘And Brian Jenkins added that, due to a kind and smiling friend, a cover had been donated for the pool. All the students turned smiling and clapping to Max, who colored and made a shy bow.’ [S laughs.] ‘He takes everyone’s warm feelings with him. Krishnaji and I continued on to London. Looked in at Huntsman briefly, and then Krishnaji had his hair cut by Mr. Brown at Truefitt.’ Mr. Brown emerges to fame.
S: I remember him. Krishnaji always had his haircut by Mr. Brown.
M: It was a sort of a male preserve in there.
S: Yes, very much so.
M: I would sometimes go in and there’d be a chair for a visiting creature such as I. I could sit in, but I knew I was intruding. [Both laugh.]
S: I went in with Krishnaji.
M: Yes, but you would’ve been accepted eagerly.
S: Yes, yes, I was.
M: But, women? No. [S laughs, and M.] ‘I bought two pair of flat Ferragamo shoes on the corner.’ That’s around the corner from Truefitt. ‘We then walked to Fortnum’s and lunched with Mary Links. There was a pleasantness in the picking up of the familiarity of all this, the train compartment, Waterloo, and London cabs, Huntsman with its bolts of woolens, the walk down Burlington Arcade, and of course, Fortnum’s and its smell of very expensive groceries.’ [Laughs.] ‘And so to our window table for three, the invariable lunch of fruit salad, cheese flan, grilled mushrooms, fresh spinach for Krishnaji, and then his gâterie ice cream. We talked about the uncertainties of people; who will be responsible when he is not there to hold all the work together as he now does. And Mary raised again the need for him to clarify his will, so that his letters will not be under the jurisdiction of the publications committee. This should be gone into when we can during these coming weeks. Krishnaji took a cab alone to Portland Place.’
S: If I may stop here a minute, just to clarify, that when you had lunch at Fortnum’s, it wasn’t in the downstairs…
M: Oh, no. It was upstairs.
S: It was in the upstairs more formal dining room, which, it’s on the fifth floor?
M: Fourth floor, I think. I think, I’m not positive.
S: And there was always that Scottish lady who was the maître d’.
M: Yes. And she always escorted us to that same table.
S: Right, the same table, which is in the corner just as you enter on the right-hand side.
M: Well, it’s over by the window.
S: Yes, by the window, but it’s on the farthest…
M: There’s a banquette that goes along under the window, where there’s room for two, and then there’s the end of the table, which backs up to a short bit of wall.
S: Yes, yes. I’m just trying to locate this for posterity, you see. [Chuckles.]
M: People will go stare at it!
S: [with laughter in voice] Yes, they probably will. If I didn’t already know it, I’d probably do the same.
M: Well, see that you don’t forget [with mock stern voice].
S: [laughs] So, Krishnaji took a cab alone to Portland Place, you said.
M: Well, yes. ‘Krishnaji took a cab alone to Portland Place.’ That’s the dentist place.
M: …‘whilst I bought him some goat cheese, coffee for me, and a new detective at Hatchards,’ a good bookstore on Piccadilly, right near Fortnum. ‘Then I followed him to Mr. Thompson’s. He had X-rays, etcetera, and they both came out to tell me’—that’s Thompson and Krishnaji—‘that next Thursday, after
Thompson has pondered, we will discuss what should be done. Considerable repair is needed and Krishnaji is worrying about the expense. Thompson said he was sick at what it will be, which will be around 1,000 pounds sterling. I obviously said Krishnaji was not to think about the cost, only what was best. Thompson said Krishnaji was clearly going to live to be a hundred. And the new tooth would last that long. So we left, caught a cab on the corner, and got back to Brockwood a few minutes before Vanda arrived by car with Paola and Jon from Cambridge, where Jon is teaching economics for a year. This is Vanda’s first visit. She’s in the West Wing guestroom, and Paola and Jon are in the West Wing dining room.’ That means, it was considered a dining, at least it was intended to be, a dining room, if Krishnaji wanted a dining room in the West Wing, but it was later known as the Bird Room because of the wall paper. It now should be known as the Butterfly Room because the wall paper with birds was ruined by a leak in the roof, and I couldn’t get any more of that bird paper, it didn’t exist, so…
S: It was butterflies.
M: It was butterflies, which is really in my view, as the one responsible, an improvement because it’s a north-facing room, and it…
S: Yes, it’s much cheerier.
M: …it’s bright yellow.
S: Yes, yes.
M: The birds were nice but they didn’t make it lighter.
M: So, if anybody cares, that’s what happened.
S: Although I have to correct you.
S: It wasn’t the roof that leaked through to the paper.
M: No. It was the…
S: …the pipe.
M: It was the pipe? Oh.
S: It was an old pipe that was left over from the…
M: …the eighteenth century.
S: …the eighteenth century, and it was a lead pipe…
M: Oh, awful.
S: …which had eroded through and water ran down the length of the wall, and that’s what did it.
M: I stand corrected. But leaks were not unusual events in Brockwood, and it’s still going on, as far as I know. ‘It was their first visit, and Krishnaji took Vanda on an immediate tour before we went to bed. Frances McCann and various Brockwood people (like Shakuntala and Natasha) who had visited Vanda in Florence, greeted her. We talked a little about the Aldo Moro horror . Vanda has not rented her flat again in Rome. It is no place for Krishnaji these days, she said.’ Hmm, that was interesting.
May twelfth. ‘It was Krishnaji’s eighty-third birthday. As usual, he brushed aside any mention of it. I made breakfast for Paola and Jon before they left for Devon, to where one of their boys is in school. Vanda remained. There was a discussion between Krishnaji, Dorothy, and me about his talking to some of the members of Brockwood who seem dependable, responsible, and who will be committed to it. Krishnaji wanted to talk to them right away, so at 4 p.m., in the West Wing dining room for privacy, Krishnaji met Dorothy, Scott, Harsh, Stephen Smith, Shakuntala, Ingrid and me. The problem’ [laughs] ‘was met of not incorporating partners, whom Scott, Stephen and Ingrid have. The point is responsibility for Brockwood now and after he is gone. Joe and Carol are leaving. Dorothy talked to them just before this meeting, and they do want to try it in the U.S. At 5 p.m., there was a staff meeting. Narayan has arrived. I spoke to Betsy Drake in London where she has a flat for three months and seems pleased.
May thirteenth. ‘Krishnaji remained in bed. Pascaline Mallet is here for the weekend, and I explained to her why Krishnaji decided not to go Brittany in June as originally planned. She had made inquiries about places there. The Marogers are here with their youngest daughter, Diane, a dear little girl, very bright, eager, friendly, and who has a congenital bone illness. Her parents hope that Krishnaji will cure her. Krishnaji talked to Narayan. In the evening, Vanda and I talked. She has brought with her her record of the times in 1961 in Gstaad, and 1962, when Krishnaji fainted, and another entity seemed to speak to her through him. Mary L. comes here tomorrow, and Vanda is wondering whether to tell her about it. They have met only once at a Tannegg lunch a few years ago. They should know each other, and perhaps tomorrow will bring this about. I said to Vanda that I had hoped she would wish to tell Mary. She came across her notebook when moving out of her Rome flat at Via Barnaba Oriani.’ That’s the name of the street.
S: So, Vanda came across the 1961/1962 record that she had made?
M: Yes. But what she did with it, god knows.
S: So, we don’t have that?
M: Not that I know of. When I visited her, she had all of Krishnaji’s letters to her in a plastic shopping bag in her hall closet downstairs. I tactfully suggested other ways of preserving them and all kinds of things, but she, I don’t know, just didn’t react. And after she died…she had a friend, Mary somebody, in London, also a yoga person, and I was able to get in touch with Paola through this Mary, her friend, and I sent word. I didn’t want to be pushy about it, that if Vanda had left any provision for archive material, that we had archives and would very much like to have any material. But nothing ever happened. I didn’t feel I could push it any more.
S: No, of course not.
M: So, as I was reading, ‘I told her I hoped she would wish to tell Mary Links. She came across her notebook when moving out of her Rome flat on Via Barnaba Oriani. She feels as though it is private, and she has kept it to herself, but that she has not the right to do this indefinitely. “It is not mine.” But, as she doesn’t know Mary, she said, “With you, I feel like a sister. I can tell you.”’
May fourteenth. ‘Mary L. and Amanda Pallant came in the morning. Krishnaji talked to everyone. After lunch, Vanda, Mary, and I talked, and after a bit of general conversation, what I had hoped for came about. Vanda began to tell Mary about the events that began in July ’61 at Tannegg, the period at the start of Krishnamurti’s Notebook, when Krishnaji was staying with her. Krishnaji, in his room, suddenly fainted, and then as Vanda described it, his eyes became enormous and another being spoke to her through Krishnaji’s body. An extraordinary change came over the face. It happened on July 18, 1961. The voice said, “Don’t leave me until he comes back.” And then, “He must love you if he lets you touch me, as he is very particular in this.” And “Don’t let anyone come near me until he comes back.” On the following day, it happened again. Krishnaji fainted. After trembling, the eyes became larger and deeper, and the voice said, “I feel very strange. Where am I? Don’t leave me. Will you kindly stay with me until he returns? Are you comfortable? Take a chair. Do you know him well? Will you look after him?” It was this last question that Vanda said “Is why I am here.” She feels she gave her word on this; she said that for a whole month Krishnaji’s face continued to change. There was not a return of the other being but a “different look” would come over his face. He fainted once in the woods on a walk across the Turbach stream.’ The Turbach is a river that runs behind Tannegg. ‘She describes these looks, and the feeling around Krishnaji at that time, in language that seems to copy Krishnaji’s own in Krishnamurti’s Notebook, which she was reading as he wrote it. Coming from her, not him, it sounds a little overdrawn, but she read most of it to Mary and me, from her own handwritten account. Part of it described a time, a year later, the twenty-first of May, 1962, in Rome when Krishnaji was ill with fever, and became delirious. “It has been told to you to look after him. He should not have gone out. You should’ve told him.” And, “Do you know him? You cannot know him. How can you know the running water?”…“We repeat and never question. Tell him, take a pencil, tell him ‘Death is always there very close to you, to protect you.’…‘When you take shelter, you will die.’ Mary and I guessed there were four entities in all this. The one who goes away (presumably Krishnaji); the one who tells what should be done; the one with the great eyes; and probably the childlike one who also spoke to me in Gstaad when Krishnaji was delirious. Mary and Amanda had to return to London, but it was a good meeting, and a bond was formed. Paola and Jon returned from Dorset and visiting their son at Dartington, just before Mary and Amanda left, and so Amanda met them too, for the first time. Paola and Jon spent the night.’
Click below to hear Mary speak.[audio http://inthepresenceofk.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Issue51Sound1.mp3]
S: Alright. Let me just ask you, because what’s clear is that Vanda had brought her…
S: …her notebook. And she didn’t just tell Mary and you about it; she actually read it out.
S: And so all these quotes are your writing down what she had said.
M: That’s right. That was what she told Mary and me.
S: This is probably the only record we have left of it.
M: I know, I know. I have no idea what Paola’s done with these things, or if indeed Vanda even had them when she died.
S: Yes. Yes, because she would throw things away.
M: She would throw things away.
S: So, you and Mary are proffering that there are four beings. There is the one who went away (presumably Krishnaji); the second is the one…
M: …who was left.
S: …the one who was left. The third is the one with the big eyes.
M: The one with the big eyes…
S: Can you read them again? Because I want to make sure I get this.
M: Oh, yes, yes. Mary and I probably talked about it afterwards.
M: ‘The one who goes away (presumably Krishnaji); the one who tells what should be done’—the one who was talking to her who said, “You should look after him. You didn’t look after him.”
S: But, that’s not the same as the little child.
M: No. The little child is very distinctive, because I had an experience with the little child, and it’s the little, little voice that talks like a child.
S: Okay. So, there’s the little child; there’s the one who tells what should’ve been done.
S: …who’s in a way instructing the person looking after the body.
M: …yes, chiding the person, really. “Why did you not…you should’ve told him,” that person said.
S: And then the fourth one is the one with the big eyes?
M: I don’t know why we got the fourth one with the big eyes. The one with the “great eyes” it says. I didn’t see great eyes when I had the same experience. Well, I don’t know what she interprets, because when—I’m now judging from my own experience with him, which is that he was looking around the room and didn’t recognize or even know who I was. I’ve written about that elsewhere. And he spoke to me as though…and he said, “Did you ask him any questions?” he said to me. He was looking around the room, as though he didn’t know where he was; he certainly didn’t know who I was. And he spoke to me as though I were a stranger, “Did you ask him any questions?” and I said, “No.” And he said, “He doesn’t like to be asked questions.”
S: Isn’t that more the instructor?
M: Yes. But his eyes could’ve been described more as…they were unseeing. They were eyes of…
S: But Vanda said that his eyes never went back. So, in a way, there was the Krishnaji who existed after this event, who is different to the one who existed before this event, and different to the other the other three. [Long pause.]
S: He was never quite the same again.
M: Well, without repeating it all, the one who is left says, ‘“Don’t leave me until he comes back.” And then, “He must love you if he lets you touch me as he is very particular in this.”…“Don’t let anyone come near me until he comes back.”’ And then on the following day, it happened again. Krishnaji fainted after trembling. ‘The eyes became larger and deeper and the voice said, “I feel very strange. Where am I? Don’t leave me. Will you kindly stay with me until he returns.”’ That’s still the one who’s left, but, you see, that has the big eyes. I’ve only questioned, or tried to figure out if there’s a fourth one with big eyes.
S: That’s why I’m asking.
M: I think it’s the same one who’s looking around bewildered.
M: ‘“Will you stay with me until he returns? Are you comfortable? Take a chair. Do you know him well?”’ You see, this is like, to me, he didn’t know who I was, and he didn’t know who she was. ‘“Will you look after him?”’ It was this last question that Vanda said ‘“Is why I am here.”’ She took it as her job, just as I took it as my job when he said these things. ‘She feels she gave her word on this. She said that for a whole month Krishnaji’s face continued to change. There was not a return of the other being, but a “different look” would come over his face. He fainted once in the wood on the walk across the Turbach Stream. She describes these looks and the feelings around Krishnaji that time in language that seems to copy Krishnaji’s own in The Notebook, which she was reading as he was writing it then.’
S: So, what I’m asking is, is the fourth person the person who was left after these events, in the more the day-to-day things?
M: Well, there’s always a person who goes away, and there’s always the person who’s there, who is, as he said to me, something like…this is not verbatim, but the gist of it is (but I have it written down somewhere), “Even after all this time, all these years, I don’t feel at ease with him.” That’s said by the person who is left, when Krishnaji has gone away.
M: The one who doesn’t know who you are, or where he is, really, and he looks around with vacant eyes, which could be described as big eyes.
S: But you and Mary are postulating a fourth person, which could be, after all this is over, somehow, Krishnaji is different than he was before.
M: I don’t know if it’s a fourth person.
S: Of course.
M: Yes. She said, ‘“there was not a return of the other being, but a ‘different look’ would come over his face.”’
S: Right, right. I’m just trying to probe. We don’t have to push this further.
M: I know. I’m trying to sense what it seemed…or trying to provoke what I was seeing, because…well, there were times when he was off, if you know what I mean.
M: And one didn’t intrude on that. Only once did I—I’ve you about this before. I only made one mistake in not sensing it. It was in Malibu and we were having supper on trays and looking at the evening news. And I was sitting on that long sofa that’s in the other room; and I was sitting on that long sofa, and he was at the other end; it’s twelve feet long, so it was quite a ways away, and the television was over there, and we were both watching it. And we’d been talking. And he was eating; I was eating. And I suddenly made some remark, and he reacted with a convulsive shock as though…a physical shock. And I didn’t realize that he’d suddenly gone off. I mean, it wasn’t unlikely. He would go off, he’d go off in many unusual moments, but I hadn’t picked it up. And it gave him this physical shock. And the next day he told me that he’d been shaking all night from it. So you had to…
S: …be sensitive.
M: …be very sensitive. And that’s the only time I didn’t pick up the signal.
M: I don’t know, these things are hard to sort out.
S: Anyway. Continue on. Did you finish off that day?
M: Not quite. ‘Krishnaji again put his hands on the Maroger child, Diane, a dear little girl, age eleven.’
May fifteenth. ‘Paola and Jon spent the night here, and before they left after lunch, Jon had a long talk with Krishnaji. “I lit a bomb under him,” said Krishnaji with satisfaction. The bomb presumably is to lead Jon to see that he’s wasting his life teaching economics.’ [M and S chuckle.] ‘I met Mary C. at Petersfield, and we talked shop for most of the day. Vanda is staying on here till Thursday. Half the school went on a two-day camping trip. In the afternoon, Krishnaji put his hands on the Maroger child. “She’s an extraordinary child. She sat absolutely still with her eyes closed,” said Krishnaji afterward. He both did and didn’t want to talk about it. “One mustn’t talk about it,” he said.’ He didn’t like talking about healing at all.
M: May sixteenth. ‘The house is quiet and relaxed, with only a few of us are here. Krishnaji treated the Maroger child. Vanda gave a yoga lesson to Dr. Parchure and others in the evening. She dictated parts of her notes on the ’61, ’62 events, and I typed them.’
S: I don’t think I have ever seen this account of Vanda’s that you typed up. Do you have any recollection of it at all?
S: Perhaps what we’ll do this afternoon, with your permission, is just look through Vanda’s file quickly.
M: Yes. Where would Vanda’s file be?
S: In your file cabinet.
M: Oh, that one. I’m not sure I have anything in it.
S: Well, we’ll take a look. Alright. Let’s continue.
M: May seventeenth: ‘Another quiet day. In the afternoon, for half an hour, Krishnaji put his hands on the head, arms, legs, and various bones of Diane Maroger, something he’s never done at such length.’
May eighteenth. ‘Krishnaji, Vanda, and I went to London by train. They went to Huntsman while I took Vanda’s suitcase to Fortnum’s. Then, I went to fetch photos. Mary L. and Amanda joined Krishnaji, Vanda, and me at Fortnum’s for lunch at 12:30 p.m.’
S: Where would you have taken the photos? There’s a photo place on Bond Street, is that the one you went to?
M: I’ve no idea.
M: ‘After lunch, Vanda dropped Krishnaji and me at the dentist, and she went on to the train to Cambridge to join Paola. Mr. Thompson has studied Krishnaji’s X-rays and decided five teeth must come out. Two will be crowned, and two bridges will be necessary. He pulled two upper left today; there was scarcely any bleeding, but he said it was a good thing as there was pus underneath. Krishnaji said he was alright. Vanda had tried to persuade him not to have Novocain. When I remonstrated in the taxi, Krishnaji pressed my arm, and I realized he was telling me he would pay no attention to her advice.’ [S chuckles.] ‘He had the Novocain and said afterward he couldn’t have stood it without it. We got a taxi quickly, and the train was waiting, so we were back in Brockwood by 5:20 p.m.’
May nineteenth, ‘Krishnaji has tooth pain, but the swelling is gone. He got up for lunch, treated Diane, “an extraordinary child,” he says each time. And again, it was a long treatment. He walked with Narayan, and I went to a staff meeting. A letter came from a man who wrote in December to Krishnaji about Padre Pio.’
S: Ah, yes.
M: That was interesting. I recently came across my account of all that.
S: Yes, Padre Pio was interesting.
M: Yes. ‘In January, I answered this man that Krishnaji was in India, etcetera, but that he knew of Padre Pio. The man added a p.s. in today’s letter that Padre Pio also knew of Krishnaji. Today’s letter appeals to me to explain the relation of mystical states of Krishnaji and Padre Pio. I read the letter to Krishnaji. And asked him how he considers the record of mystical experiences as described in so many religious writings. He is skeptical of most, he said. “I question that it is a total vision. It is a partial vision, like a little harbor. The waters are of the sea, but it is without the width.”’ That’s nice.
S: Just tell a little. What did Krishnaji think of Padre Pio?
M: Well, he didn’t say what he thought just of Padre Pio, but he talked in answer to my questions.
S: And Padre Pio was aware of Krishnaji?
M: Yes. Vanda knew about Padre Pio, and apparently, once when Krishnaji was ill in India, before my time, and she was worried that something awful would happened to him, she somehow asked Padre Pio. I don’t know what the contact was, and he said, “Do not worry, he will be alright.” So, anyway, Padre Pio had the stigmata.
S: Yes. I remember.
M: There are many things I could’ve, I should’ve asked Krishnaji, but…
S: Oh, I know…it’s…I’m… [Laughs.]
M: I didn’t want to push. I mean, if he wanted to tell me, I wanted to hear.
M: But I didn’t want to corner him with questions. It didn’t seem cricket.
May twentieth. ‘Krishnaji decided to spend the day in bed. He had Dr. Parchure work on my back to help the leg circulation. Krishnaji gave another long treatment to Diane, who wept afterward because she felt so happy with Krishnaji. We have moved the Marogers into the West Wing guestroom. The house is filled with weekend guests.’
The twenty-first. ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school. We walked in the afternoon. He treated Diane Maroger. Dr. Parchure treated my lower back and foot.’
May twenty-second. ‘Guests, desk, etcetera. School meeting. Krishnaji treated Diane Maroger. Dr. Parchure massaged my lower back and foot.’
The next day, ‘Dr. Parchure and Krishnaji decided Krishnaji will live to be 100.’ [S chuckles.] ‘And therefore, says Krishnaji, I must live to be eighty-two or so.’ This is in 1978. Well, anyway, I won’t do the math on that.
S: It means you’re supposed to live at least two years longer than he does.
M: Yes. ‘Dr. Parchure is doing my back and foot each day, activating nerves. It seems to be helping. My leg was warm at night, which is unusual. Krishnaji spoke to students alone. He was tired afterward. It was rather cold at lunch, and we only strolled in the grove with Dorothy in the afternoon. His teeth are hurting, so eating is difficult. He is without complaint with all this, takes it as a fact. His face is thin and tired, which rings my heart. With all this, he has made me send off a letter to Pama Patwardhan giving his agreement to a schedule in India that includes Rajghat and Bangalore, two more places than last year. This far ahead he will agree to any plan, and then it is too much when he comes to it. Pupul writes she will arrive here on the ninth of June and stay till the eighteenth. Krishnaji treated little Diane Maroger, as he has each day.’
The twenty-fourth. ‘I met Mary C. and Mary L. at the Petersfield train station, and the publications committee met at 11:30 a.m. Krishnaji joined it after lunch. There were touchy matters, as always, between Foundations. The Indian book Insights is next to be published. It is a book of discussions with Krishnaji in India edited by Pupul and Sunanda. Their English is unacceptable. What to do? Krishnaji says they claim their English “shows how the Indian mind works”—whatever that means,’ [chuckles] ‘and hence, it mustn’t be changed. It is just illiterate to those here.’ [Chuckles.] ‘An everlasting argument to placate the Indians, which I really don’t follow. There was also more of the pros and cons of publishing more of the K-Bohm dialogues. Mary L. was strongly against, as before.’ Eventually they were published. ‘Erna and Theo have joined the fray in favor of them. I seem to be the only one who hasn’t read the transcripts. I took the two Marys back to the train. The Linkses go to Venice on Saturday until the tenth. Krishnaji was present in the afternoon sessions and throughout the discussion of the Indian book. We walked gently in the grove later.’
May twenty-fifth, ‘Krishnaji and I went to London. We took Marie-Bertrande Maroger to the station, too. She went to the Chelsea Flower Show. Krishnaji and I went to Huntsman, the bank, etcetera. We lunched at Fortnum’s. Browsed in Hatchards. With difficulty, we got a taxi to the dentist. Mr. Thompson pulled a third tooth, a lower front; the Novocain was painful and the extraction painful. “I yelled,” Krishnaji said later. I ached sitting apart in the waiting room. We had trouble getting a taxi afterward. Krishnaji resists fiercely all efforts to get him to wait in the dentist’s waiting room until I get the taxi. My concern irks him. His stubbornness makes me rather desperate. Where he is tired, he tries to carry every package we have, etcetera. Tuesday he has three hours with Thompson. Krishnaji agreed to let me ask Amanda Pallant to drive us to Waterloo afterward. He does not want to be driven all the way to Brockwood, firmly. His tooth today had pus under it too. It has been hurting him since we were in Victoria.’ You see, he never complained.
S: Yes, I know. And we’ll have leave it here because we’ve run out of tape.
M: Oh, alright.
 Aldo Moro had been a prime minister of Italy who had been kidnapped and murdered by the Red Brigades urban guerilla group. Back to text.