Issue #53

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Issue 53—July 12, 1978 to August 16, 1978


The events of this issue take place entirely during Krishnaji’s and Mary’s stay in Switzerland for the Saanen talks. For me, there is more of the leisurely, while simultaneously intense, atmosphere of those periods conveyed here than in previous issues covering the same period. It was the most international of all Krishnaji’s regular events, and thousands of people from around the world interested in Krishnaji’s teachings, and often their families, descended on the small village of Saanen and the surrounding villages. Mary notes the change after the talks were over, and it was, indeed, very discernible. But for Mary and Krishnaji the work continues: the correspondence, the interviews, the meetings about organizational matters, and then with the change in venues, the preparation for the Brockwood talks. Mary expresses concern that Mary L. must finish the second volume of Krishnaji’s biography because Mary L. has just turned seventy years old. But Mary herself is sixty-three at this point, and there is nothing about her being in the presence of Krishnaji that seems restful, or relaxed, or laid-back for someone of that age.

The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #53

Scott: Alright, we begin, but there’s only one microphone on, and that’s Mary’s, so I’ll try to speak loudly so the transcriber can hear. Today is February thirteenth, 2005, Mary’s ninetieth birthday!

Mary: No! Please! That is immaterial. [Chuckles.]

S: [laughs] And we are going to begin on July twelfth, 1978.

M: Yes. Well, we’re in Saanen. ‘The morning was fairly clear. I fetched Dr. Parchure at 6:30 a.m., and then went down to see Dorothy and Montague to deliver letters and asked if they would prefer to stay in the Land Rover instead of moving up to Tannegg when Vanda leaves on Friday.’ They were living in their Land Rover in the camping site. Dorothy felt she was more available there to meet people who were interested in Brockwood; plus they just liked camping.

S: Yes.

M: And usually, when the talks were over, and we had the space downstairs in Chalet Tannegg, they would come up and stay there until they left for Brockwood. ‘Doris had said earlier to me that this year they would sooner stay put, and they confirmed that. I said please do what really suits them. That is all Krishnaji or I want. I met Natasha [1] and brought her up for lunch. Vanda had asked Frode and Julie Desnick [2] up to lunch, and I picked them up when I found them walking up the hill.’ [Chuckles.] ‘In the middle of lunch, Max telephoned. He had been to Malibu after my call on Monday and again yesterday. Amanda and Phil, and also the county building and safety man, inspected it. All agreed on cutting a three-foot terrace to remove the filled area on the ocean side of the lawn, putting railroad ties in to hold it, then gravel on top. He will do it this week. I said not to stint on the cost, but do what is necessary. He said it would likely cost between $6,000 to $7,000. I told him to go ahead. He said he would also make steps down to the beach, which the house buyers are interested in. Krishnaji was very pleased. I took Natasha down the hill, then went to the bank, etcetera. When I came back, I interviewed a young woman, Genevieve Hahn, who has a child who wants to go to Oak Grove School [3]. I walked with Krishnaji in the evening, then telephoned Amanda and heard her views of the slide business. She and Phil approved. All is well in hand. How wonderfully helpful friends can be; and we wonder at the speed of all this and the impulse to help.’

July thirteenth. ‘The morning was clear and sunny. I fetched Dr. Parchure at 6:30 a.m. Krishnaji gave his third Saanen talk. He gave it huge energy, and there was much on self-identity. “Where there is identity, there is no freedom.” He had a massage by Dr. Parchure on his return from the talk. But, first, we went to Kohli.’ Kohli is a man who had a shoe store, and there, we received Krishnaji’s new walking shoes. At lunch, there was Suad al Radhi, Evelyne Blau, Narayan, Dr. Parchure, Vanda, and me. Krishnaji came in for coffee. Evelyne and I talked about Foundation matters until 4 o’clock. Later, Krishnaji wore his new shoes on the walk and is very pleased. He said, “Do you think…” I interrupted and said, “Yes,” and he said, “You caught my thought.”’ [Chuckles.] ‘I did. He thinks he should have a duplicate pair for Ojai.’ [S laughs, then M laughs.] ‘Vanda is not eating at lunch and barely at supper.’ She was emaciated and she hardly ever ate anything, and you couldn’t talk her out of it. ‘Some sort of stomach upset, she said. She leaves tomorrow for Florence and will return on August sixth.’

The next day, ‘again, I fetched Dr. Parchure. Vanda left for Florence at 8 a.m., and will return later. Dr. Parchure helped put chairs in the sitting room for thirty-two people. Scott Forbes came by early to regulate Krishnaji’s watches [4].’ [S laughs; M chuckles.] ‘At 11:30 a.m., there was the annual meeting of committees and Foundation members. It began this year with a discussion of committee questions, and later Krishnaji joined in. There were reports on schools, which were given by Evelyne for Ojai; Dorothy, Brockwood; the Siddoos on Canada; and Narayan on India. It went on till almost 2 o’clock. Krishnaji had lunch alone. Mary Cadogan, Jane Hammond, Evelyne, and Dr. Parchure had lunch here, and then talked about fundraising. I fetched Narayan for a talk and walk with Krishnaji, while I did some marketing for Fosca and also ferried Fosca down to the stores. I felt hot and tired with an aching leg.’

July fifteenth, ‘I fetched Dr. Parchure so he could move up to Tannegg into the downstairs room’—that’s the one Vanda had vacated. ‘At 9:30 a.m., I went to a hairdresser. Dorothy, Montague, and Dr. Parchure were at lunch.’

The sixteenth of July. ‘It was a clear and warm morning. Krishnaji gave his fourth Saanen talk to a packed tent. Michael and Bonnie Mendizza have arrived and are staying at Evelyne’s, and he took stills in the tent. It was a very strong talk. In the car afterward, Krishnaji said, “A lot of energy. How did you all stand it?”’ [Both chuckle.] ‘Jean-Michel Maroger and Diane were in the tent and came up afterward. Krishnaji put his hands on Diane. She can now stand and walk one or two steps on her own, though she is still in a brace. I went to fetch Anneke, who, as usual, is staying with Doris. She and Dr. Parchure were at lunch and afterward, Krishnaji put his hands on her.’ He was always helping Anneke’s health.

S: Yes.

M: ‘Krishnaji gave Brian Jenkins an interview at 4:30 p.m., the first ever for Brian. Meanwhile, I went to Mary Cadogan’s at 4 p.m., and she and Edgar Graf and I discussed the Saanen Gathering Committee, the KFT, and the KFA all sharing Krishnaji’s travel expenses to Switzerland and the Tannegg rental. Vanda will continue to contribute to the Tannegg rental, but only one quarter now. I had a long talk with Dr. Parchure at supper about Krishnaji’s health. He watches carefully for any change to try to offset it and minimize it. He questioned me on any changes I may notice. Krishnaji’s balance is less good. Parchure says that this is controlled by an anterior part of the brain and could be caused by lessening of the blood supply. He asked Krishnaji about this and will he continue throughout his life to have clear mental faculties. Krishnaji, who puts large responsibilities on Parchure for the rest of his body health, said, “Yes,” his mind will be clear. Something else will look after that.’ [Pause.]

‘During this morning’s talk, Krishnaji was on the verge of talking about yoga and then he veered away. I mentioned it after lunch while he was having what passes for coffee, i.e., Pionier, a cereal brown stuff.’ [Seems to ask S:] Do you remember that horrid drink?

S: Yes, I remember that horrible stuff. We had it at Brockwood.

M: No caffeine at all. ‘And Krishnaji said, “I’m going to destroy it.”’ That means yoga.

S: He’s going to destroy yoga?

Krishnaji in Switzerland. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji in Switzerland.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

M: Yes. ‘We talked about this on the walk yesterday. I had spoken of what seems to be a yoga-neurosis,’ [chuckles] ‘endless preoccupation with it, hours doing it, teaching it, talking about it, as in Vanda’s case, Frances McCann’s, and many others. It seems almost a narcissism in yoga, and the yoga now, according to Krishnaji and to Dr. Parchure, is gymnastics, not yoga.’ They are. There is an obsession about yoga.

S: Yes, yes.

M: July seventeenth. ‘A beautiful day, warm day. I worked on letters. No one to lunch but Dr. Parchure. In the afternoon, Krishnaji saw Diane Maroger. I fetched the Siddoos and Scott and went to Evelyne’s chalet for tea and a discussion of Michael Mendizza’s Krishnamurti film. Mary Cadogan, Dorothy, Doris, Anneke, and Narayan were there. Doris was aggressive, demanding Mendizza’s qualifications, and rejecting to tape our discussion until I asked others how they felt. After that, Doris backtracked. She attempted to monopolize the discussion for a while but others contributed. Evelyne presented plans very well. Scott Forbes came back to Tannegg to fetch Krishnaji’s steel watch. He has talked about it to a Patek technician, and wants to take it to him in Geneva tomorrow. For Krishnaji, Scott is becoming a watch expert.’ [S laughs.] ‘We walked up on the hill and met Krishnaji returning under his sun umbrella from his walk. Scott pointed out the Wildhorn’—that’s the mountain—‘where he had gone yesterday with his mountain climbing friend.’ [S chuckles.]

But you were denied mountain climbing soon after.

S: Yes, I was supposed to be denied, but I wasn’t very obedient to that.

M: You were not? [S laughs mischievously.] You mean you sneakily went up mountains when we didn’t know?

S: Well, Krishnaji prevented me [M chuckles] from going up one year, but he didn’t say that climbing from then on was finished, although he did later. I mean, I never lied to him about it, or anything like that.

M: You just didn’t mention it.

S: I just didn’t mention it sometimes. [M laughs.] But the problem was that Krishnaji always knew.

M: Yes, he knew.

S: And he would scold me.

M: You see.

S: In fact, one time I did some climbing on the way to Saanen, and I hadn’t told Krishnaji I was going to go climbing before Saanen. I usually only had time after the talks.

M: Mm, hm, mm, hm.

S: But when I drove up to see him at Tannegg to tell him I had arrived, as I usually did, he was at the door, anxiously waiting for me.

M: Mm, hm.

S: And he said, scolding, “Where have you been, what have you been doing?” And I replied, well…[Both laugh.] I think that was the year he wouldn’t let me climb again.

M: Yes. Well, I know that he said to you, as he said to me, you are no longer responsible to yourself alone.

S: Yes. That’s right.

M: Therefore, you cannot climb mountains, and I had to be careful driving a car, and I couldn’t just fly around anyplace I wanted.

S: That’s right. Yes.

M: So, I asked, well, does that mean that I shouldn’t go and see my mother in New England? He said, no, no, that’s alright for you to do that. So, it seemed to boil down to I shouldn’t, for instance, fly up to lunch with someone in San Francisco. Which wasn’t really necessary. I mustn’t do unnecessary…

S: Right, unnecessary things.

M: Yes.

S: So, yes. My climbing had a severe crimp put in it. [Both chuckle.] And eventually, it was stopped.

M: Yes, yes. It’s like…I think all of us would’ve liked to have gone up gliding in Saanen, including Krishnaji.

S: I did go up gliding there.

M: Did you?

S: But that was before I knew Krishnaji.

M: Well, that was excusable.

S: So, I got away with that one. [Laughs.]

M: He would liked to have gone, and the fact that he wouldn’t let himself go gliding because it was unnecessary and somewhat dangerous, or, at least, he thought it might be, and so we should not go, too. [Chuckles.]

S: Yes, I know. We weren’t allowed to take risks either. [Both chuckle.] “Your life no longer belongs to you.”

M: Yes, yes.

S: That was his expression to me.

M: That was, yes. It was to me, too.

The eighteenth. ‘The weather was hot, with showers in the afternoon. Krishnaji gave his fifth Saanen talk. The Marogers, Jean-Michel, Diane, and her sister Daphne came to Tannegg right after the talk, and Krishnaji put his hands on Diane, while Daphne helped me with some French in a letter. Then, Krishnaji steadying her, holding one arm and her father the other, little Diane walked’—I have it underlined—‘from Krishnaji’s sitting room, across the hall, into the living room, and climbed into the arm chair. It stopped the heart to see. I think, how can I know, but I think that Krishnaji has put a greater healing power into this child than any other since I have been around. Certainly, at Brockwood, he was intent on doing it. And now for the first time in her life, she has walked, carrying her own weight. Narayan was there during her appearance; the Marogers left and Narayan and Dr. Parchure were at lunch. Narayan leaves today for India. I went to the village on assorted errands; then to Jane Hammond to pick up KFT’s share of the Tannegg rent to deposit it in Vanda’s account, Swiss francs 2,400, and to go over a draft of a constitution for the Krishnamurti Learning Center of South Africa, which Patty and Lola Shepherd are starting.’ Those were two sisters in South Africa and they started in…I think it was in Cape Town…

S: No. It was Durban.

M: Durban, was it?

S: Yes. I visited them there.

M: Oh, then you know.

S: Yes.

M: ‘When I came back to Tannegg, Krishnaji was giving an interview to Reinhold Sindler, an Austrian; and waiting in hope of seeing Krishnaji were Juan Colell, just appointed secretary of the Fundación, his brother, and the new Spanish publisher of Krishnaji books, Mr. Agut, and his wife. When Krishnaji came out, he spoke to them briefly and was given copies of the Spanish paperback of Beyond Violence, Beginnings of Learning, Krishnamurti on Education, and the sample color of Krishnamurti’s Notebook, which will come out in September. They left, and Krishnaji and I walked to the end of the wood.’

The next day. ‘I had a migraine in the night. Evelyne and Michael Mendizza were here in the morning to discuss filming. Dorothy brought Anneke before lunch. Krishnaji, Dr. Parchure, and I lunched together. I fetched Magdalina Jasciuska, the Polish sociologist, to see Krishnaji. He also saw Diane. I marketed. Krishnaji and I walked to the end of the wood.’ Now, Magdalina Jasciuska will come into this more. She was a very nice woman, and she and her husband started the Polish Krishnamurti Committee.

July twentieth. ‘I telephoned Filomena in Rome and told her I would come there August seventh. Krishnaji gave talk number six, a very moving one. The MarogerS: Jean-Michel, Daphne, and Diane came to lunch. Krishnaji came to the table and told stories. Then he slept, and I did errands. Evelyne, Michael Mendizza, and Scott came, and Krishnaji did an audiotape on the meaning of “You are the world” for use in the film. Mendizza was shooting it, and Krishnaji wore a little microphone inside his shirt with a battery in his belt that will broadcast his voice to the camera and sound recording. At 4 p.m., Evelyne, Michael, and Scott came and recorded on audio Krishnaji talking on “You are the world,” all of us joining in the discussion, but only some of Krishnaji will be in the edited version for voice-over in the film. He said everything that one could want on the subject. I walked them up the hill to show them Krishnaji’s usual path for walking across the field for filming tomorrow. Then I telephoned Amanda. She reported that huge work had been done last weekend by Max and crew, making a terrace where the earth settled at the edge of the lawn, rounding the slide, making a berm across the property line by the nuns.’ Nuns had bought the house next door. ‘Max hurt his back, but is alright. More work is scheduled for this weekend. Amanda says it looks very well.’

July twenty-first. ‘I drove to Chateau d’Oex for soybeans to make tofu for Krishnaji. Krishnaji, Dr. Parchure, and I lunched at the table. It was a gray day, but after Krishnaji had seen Diane at 4 p.m., he went up the hill and was filmed by Michael and Bonnie Mendizza, Evelyne and Scott helping. He sat on the first bench, and spoke for one to two minutes on nature—if you are not sensitive to it, how can you be related to human beings.’ That’s what he talked about. ‘Then, more along the path to the bench by the edge of the wood, where he did one minute on what brings people to these mountains, to the talks, the common problems which all mankind shares. It was cold and spatters of rain began as we finished. Krishnaji, as always, did it superbly, altering what he said with each take, unable to repeat himself.’ [S chuckles.] ‘It was tiring for him, and he felt the cold. Though I didn’t feel much like it, I took Dr. Parchure at 8:30 p.m. to a photo slide showing on Dorothy’s recommendation at the Landhaus in Saanen by a Swiss photographer named Blum.’

The twenty-second of July. ‘The cold yesterday tired Krishnaji, so he rested. I did desk work in the morning, then fetched Anneke and Mar up to lunch. Anneke brought a book by Rajneesh in which he said some incorrect things about Krishnaji, which she found funny. I do not find malice about Krishnaji funny. Mar and Anneke chatted away about the old days. Mar was more tiresome than informative, but Anneke remains her pleasant self. It has been decided that the three people for the filmed discussion with Krishnaji on Monday will be Jean-Michel Maroger, Anneke, and Scott. Two Europeans, one American, and the Saanen audience. I walked with Krishnaji to the river after Krishnaji had seen Diane.’

July twenty-third. ‘It was a beautiful day. Krishnaji gave the seventh Saanen talk, a long one-and-a-half hours and very moving one. Jean-Michel brought Diane for Krishnaji’s touch right after the talk at Tannegg. I fetched Simonetta di Cesaro’—we’ve talked about her—‘Suad al Radhi’—we’ve talked about her—‘and Dr. Mark Brandes up the hill to lunch later. He is a German archeologist teaching at the University of Freiburg, who was brought by Suad twelve years ago to lunch here, and he came especially today to hear the talk and lunch. Before lunch, Krishnaji joined us and talked intently with Brandes about Sumerians.’

S: The Sumerians?

M: Mm. ‘Brandes described how before 2,000 B.C., they began writing. At first, little clay objects were made, then they imprinted those objects on clay tablets. Krishnaji asked Brandes for archeology’s view of our present civilization. He gave a pessimistic reply.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘Civilizations tend to destroy or be destroyed. Krishnaji said, “If you or some people see what is happening—the enormous technological advances and the lack of religious perception, what do you do? What will you do?”’—and I underline the you; he said it very emphatically.

S: Yes.

Krishnaji & Mary in Switzerland. Copyright Mary Zimbalist

Krishnaji & Mary in Switzerland.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist

M: ‘“What will you do? Talk about it? Make people see?” Krishnaji ate in his room and came in for coffee. Brandes had to catch a train, so I took them down and then picked up Scott. Met Jean-Michel and Anneke, and guided them to Evelyne’s chalet where we discussed with the Mendizzas and Evelyne the content of tomorrow’s filmed dialogue between Krishnaji, Jean-Michel, Anneke, and Scott. I came back as Krishnaji was returning from a walk by himself. He was quite tired from the length of this morning’s talk.’

The twenty-fourth. ‘Krishnaji was tired, so he didn’t do his morning exercises. He had a long talk with Parchure about the Foundation activities in India. Krishnaji’s plan for Parchure is to search for people interested in the teachings; and he questions how to finance it. I did errands in the village, looked for books for Krishnaji, etcetera. Evelyne and Mendizza came at 1:30 p.m. to set up camera lights for the dialogue with Krishnaji in the corner of the sitting room, where the bench is. At 3 p.m., Jean-Michel, Anneke, and Scott came as participants and discussed their opening question of what an individual can do in the face of a disordered world of violence, chicanery, etcetera. At 3:30 p.m., Daphne brought Diane, and Krishnaji gave her a treatment. The Marogers left after the filmed dialogue for their home in France. Krishnaji said to me that when he touched Diane’s elbow, it was as if it were dissolving, becoming soft. The dialogue was filmed. Krishnaji went off for his walk, and close-ups were done of the other three. Max telephoned from Ojai to report on work done in Malibu; they have two more days of it. He is sending photos.’

S: None of these interviews with Krishnaji that Michael Mendizza did are in the archives list.

M: No? Really?

S: Really, and that means the archives doesn’t have them.

M: Well, let’s do something about that.

S: I’ve got a note. There may be a more up-to-date archives list than this one I have.

M: I see.

S: I hope so, anyway.

M: The next day, ‘I did desk work, ran errands, and made tofu. Krishnaji, Dr. Parchure, and I lunched together. It was a quiet day of rest for Krishnaji. We walked as usual.’

July twenty-sixth. ‘Krishnaji gave the first public discussion. There was extraordinary rudeness and aggression from both Lulu Ani and Christian’—that terrible Norwegian—‘and a loud complaint from Edward Ani that he has listened for forty years without any change in himself; Mrs. Ani harangued Krishnaji that it was because he hadn’t explained it properly. Krishnaji, Dr. Parchure, and I lunched quietly. Later, Krishnaji had a haircut. We talked about a headline in The Herald Tribune that said the world had spent $400 billion in 1976 on armaments, and from this, he said that the question this morning is one he must answer. “I shed a tear inwardly when I heard it.” He asked as Edward Ani had asked, ‘“I’ve listened to you for forty years and nothing has changed. What will make it move?”’…‘“A crisis? Sorrow? Pain? A devastating event? These are all outer. We depend on things to shake us. How am I to say, ‘Be intelligent about the event’? They won’t listen. They will ask, ‘How am I to be intelligent when I’m not?’ I would say, ‘Do you really think you’re not intelligent now?’”…‘“You, Maria, are a very good example. Would you have listened years ago before your husband died? You went through a devastating event before you came to this. Take Mima Porter. She had all that money; she took the opposite direction because of money, and money destroyed her. Look at Signora—yoga, it’s her life now. Which means really that there are only a few who can be intelligent before the event, not after a motor accident, to say ‘I must drive carefully.’ How do you help them before, not after? Only be walking with them.”’ That’s a strange comment. Mm.

S: Mm, yes.

M: ‘Dr. Parchure and I had supper at 6 p.m. with Dorothy and Montague in their Land Rover. It was very nice. A delicious supper was cooked by Dorothy on her two-burner camping stove. It rained outside, but we were snug and warm, and it was very pleasant. Dorothy is dismayed to have found that the Anis have reservations for the Brockwood Gathering.’ [S chuckles.]

The twenty-seventh. ‘Krishnaji held the second public discussion at which he began by speaking of the $400 billion spent on armaments, and went on to answer a question on change; to see without seeking what is happening, then intelligence can enter. I brought him back to the chalet, and then fetched Pascaline Mallet, Gisela Elmenhorst, and Magdalina Jasciuska up to lunch. The first two hadn’t met the third. But, before we were halfway up the hill, they had found that they have Polish friends in common. The world of Krishnaji listeners,’ I put. ‘He came and sat with them after lunch, and then I drove them down again. At 4 p.m., Mr. Mirabet of Spain came, as in past years, to smile, shake Krishnaji’s hands, and give 7,000 Swiss francs, which Krishnaji is giving to Brockwood.’ That was that nice old Spaniard, who every year reverently came with quite a large sum of money to further the cause. ‘Then, Krishnaji and I went up the hill with Michael Mendizza and Bonnie, and their son Eric was toddling about, and Scott was waiting. Krishnaji was filmed without voice walking along the path and then sitting down on the bench, for use later with a voice-over. The talking to the camera of last time is felt to be unnatural.’ He was good on it…

S: Krishnaji was brilliant; but it wasn’t a good idea, Krishnaji walking along and then suddenly turning to the camera and speaking to it.

M: Yes, that doesn’t make sense.

July twenty-eighth. ‘Krishnaji held his third public discussion. I went back to the tent for Dr. Parchure and Mr. and Mrs. Waid, with whom Dr. Parchure stays in Bombay. He is very much the businessman and she is nice-looking and smiling, looking younger than the mother of two grown children. And I went down again to fetch Jackie Siddoo. Krishnaji sat both before and after lunch, but ate in his room. He talked at length with Jackie afterwards about Wolf Lake versus the present location for a school. It seems Sarjit has limits to how much she wants to invest and would like to wait five years before building at the lake. Jackie wants to press on. Krishnaji asked questions such as, “Are you willing to give everything you’ve got to this?”’ [S laughs.] ‘I asked him if he was implying that they should bankrupt themselves if necessary. “No, no,” he said. But I was afraid Jackie might think he expected them to go that far. I took everyone back. Mr. and Mrs. Waid were having tea with Evelyne. I told Jackie that instead of his coming to Canada, she and Sarjit should spend as much time as possible where he is.’

The next day. ‘Evelyne telephoned early, asking if I could come to a meeting in the afternoon to discuss Mr. Waid’s suggestion that while Michael Mendizza does KFA filming in India, he also shoot footage to be made into a one-hour film on the Indian schools. She had enthused about this, and asked Dorothy if a film shouldn’t also be done on Brockwood. Michael had sat up last night making cost estimates. Krishnaji gave his fourth public discussion in the tent and afterward had me speak to Mrs. Ani. I asked her why, in view of her hostility and her aggression shown toward Krishnaji and what he was saying on Wednesday, why she wanted to come to the Brockwood talks. I also mentioned her association with U.G. Krishnamurti and her joining in his malice toward Krishnaji. She called her husband and reported my question. I pointed out the limited Brockwood space, and our trying to give rooms to as many interested people as possible, so I question her coming. She said she didn’t accept my description. I said her behavior in the tent came across as anger toward Krishnaji, and though I know little about U.G. Krishnamurti, people inevitably bring tales of his ugliness toward Krishnaji. As Krishnaji had to be rescued from the sun on the road, the conversation was short.’ I had to pick him up as he was walking from the tent.

S: Yes.

M: Now, do we know about U.G. Krishnamurti?

S: Yes, I think we do.

M: Okay. ‘Our conversation was short. Her husband asked if he could walk with me to the car, and said to me that his wife is abrasive. I agreed. Christian’s behavior was brought in, and Ani said, “Oh, we’re all somewhat childish.” I said we are old enough not to be childish, and Christian’s childishness can also be called common rudeness. I caught up with Krishnaji. After taking Krishnaji to Tannegg, I went back for Frances McCann. She and I lunched alone. Krishnaji joined us for coffee. I then went for an hour’s visit with Joan Gordon at Alpina’—that’s a hotel. ‘Then, I took Dr. Parchure to Evelyne’s meeting. Beside her and Mendizza, there were Dorothy and Suzanne and Hugues. Evelyne is enthusiastic about two films on the schools, but made it clear she cannot raise funds for anything but the KFA film. Estimates for a one-hour film for India was put at $24,000, and one for Brockwood at $9,000. Dorothy cautiously thought it might be possible. Parchure, who had spoken somewhat to Waid, was doubtful Waid would raise money for an Indian film, and it would be very difficult for Indians to do so. Evelyne was to meet the Waids in the evening, and Parchure lunches with them tomorrow. Evelyne flies to Los Angeles in the morning. The Mendizzas go on Friday.’

The thirtieth. ‘Krishnaji ended this year’s meetings with a fifth public discussion. Mr. Ani handed me a letter with a check to Brockwood for 150 pounds sterling, “in case we couldn’t fill the room,” and a lot of other nonsense. Dorothy and Montague came for lunch. Krishnaji and they were talking beforehand, and I was thinking that we had been able to get through this year’s Saanen season without any specially crazy ladies, when at the door appeared a young German girl in a pink sari demanding to see Krishnaji.’ There’s always the [S chuckles] nutty female invasions that went on. [M chuckles, then both chuckle.] ‘I made the usual spiel. “But I want to see him,” she burst out, and tried to push her way in. It’s the first time I’ve had to stop anybody physically. I held the door and blocked her way. She was alternately cajoling and angry, and then Krishnaji sent Dorothy to back me up.’ [Chuckling.] ‘We stood firm until the girl was completely outside and we locked the door.’ [Both laugh.] ‘Fosca reported that she hung around for quite a while.’ Fosca could see out the kitchen window.

S: Oh, yes, which looks onto the driveway.

M: Yes. ‘She must be the “crazy one” Dr. Parchure reported meeting in the tent, and Krishnaji said she pursued and grabbed him on the road. Krishnaji is against the school films. He thinks them a waste of monies needed for other things. Dorothy was not disappointed, as conveying the special quality of Brockwood on film would be difficult. Parchure, who lunched with the Waids, later reported that Waid was not prepared to raise any money at all, saying he is too busy. Sofia and Carlos Silva’—do you remember them?

S: Yes, I remember them.

M: …‘came in briefly to see me at 4 p.m. She now does acupuncture in Rome. Krishnaji and I walked later. Frode caught up with us, coming to say goodbye; he leaves for Norway and then goes to Saint John’s College in the U.S., a very special boy,’ it says here. ‘Evelyne left for Los Angeles.’

July thirty-first. ‘It is quiet at last. The people who came for the talks are leaving. Donald Dennis came to say goodbye. He, too, goes to Saint John’s College, as does Javier [5]. I was out when Donald came to the chalet, but ran into him in the village, and drove him to Dorothy’s in the camping site. She had just returned from the Diablerets. Dorothy, Montague, and Doris leave for Brockwood tomorrow. Krishnaji and I walked in the afternoon.’

August first. ‘It was a gray and foggy day. Krishnaji rested in bed. I did letters all day.’

The next day. ‘I worked at the desk all morning. Edgar Graf came to lunch, and Krishnaji came to the table. All seems to have gone well in the summer’s gathering. Edgar got sufficient donations to cover the costs in spite of the Swiss franc’s strength. The dollar dropped today to 1.70 Swiss francs to the dollar in the newspapers, but 1.63 was posted in the bank window. The village has different faces walking around now. Most familiar people are gone, though two came to the house wanting to see Krishnaji: a shy French boy, Gerard de Nouveau, a musician from Orleans. When he was told he couldn’t talk to Krishnaji, he asked if he could speak with me. So we did for a while. Shyness is so seldom seen.’ [Chuckles.] ‘Krishnaji did see Mr. Russu briefly at 4 p.m., and then we went for our walk. I reminded Krishnaji of the safe deposit box here and the money in it belonging to him, etcetera. He said, “As long as I am alive nothing will happen to you, if you are careful.”’ What does that have to do with the safe deposit box? [S laughs.] I don’t know. Anyway, that’s what my diary says.

The next day, ‘Krishnaji dictated letters. Dr. Parchure came for lunch, and Krishnaji was at the table. I went to the bank for an Alzina discussion with Mr. Hans Liechti.’ That’s the man in the bank. That was an account that I had jurisdiction over, but it was money at the Banc Cantonal given for Krishnaji.

S: Why the name Alzina?

M: It was invented by the man that looked after Frances’s investments, and at some point when he had come to turn over some of these things for Krishnaji’s use, he named the account Alzina, and so it was listed as Alzina.’

August fourth. ‘Nadia Kossiakof came in the afternoon. We talked, and later Krishnaji joined us. She described the horrors in Beirut where the Red Cross workers are deliberately fired on, and old women and children are shot. What should be one’s response to this, she asked. Krishnaji said, “What can one do? If you see a child being beaten, you act. But are you committed to something? If you have commitment, you are part of all that. If you see the danger of commitment, then you are free. And that intelligence will dictate.”’

The next day just says, ‘A quiet day. I worked at the desk. And we walked.’

August sixth, ‘To a letter from a man in Texas, who asked among other questions why one slips back from moments of clarity, Krishnaji dictated the following for me to put in my reply to the man, a William Bagley: “If I may point out, time as movement is not involved in having insight into one’s own nature and structure. Time is our conditioning which is essentially thought. To perceive the whole movement of thought, in that very perception thought is aware of itself as being limited. And any action born of this limitation must inevitably bring about conflict, pain, and suffering. If one actually, not philosophically or theologically, perceives the truth of this, the truth of the nature of thought, then there is no falling away from that truth and coming back to it. One must also bear in mind that there is no path to truth and it can never be charted.” He didn’t sleep too well last night; he skipped his exercise this morning, and slept some more. He rested all morning, lunched with Dr. Parchure and me, and then took a nap. I too slept after lunch. The air was moist and heavy, rather enervating, but we went for our walk to the end of the wood. Krishnaji stopped as usual by the chickens, leaned over their pen’—there were some chickens up there by a chalet—‘and said, “Pourquoi vous ne sortez pas?”’ [M and S laugh.] That means, why don’t you leave?

S: Yes!

M: ‘There was a white cat in the newly cut field. Krishnaji approached it, but it flattened itself in a wild way, prepared to take off, then shot away toward Elizabeth Taylor’s chalet when Krishnaji came close.’ [Both laugh.] Elizabeth Taylor had a chalet that was just down the hill from the field that we walked across. ‘Rain began as we reached Tannegg. In the evening, Vanda arrived back from Florence and Crans, where she put her grandson in camp. On the television news it said that the Pope has had a heart attack at Castel Gandolfo and received extreme unction. Krishnaji made no comment. When he said goodnight to me, he said, “Tomorrow I will send two angels with you, but not till tomorrow.”’ [Chuckles.] ‘I go in the evening to Rome to spend two days with Filomena, returning here Thursday.’

Krishnaji in Switzerland. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji in Switzerland.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

August seventh. ‘It was a gray morning. I was up early, washed my hair, and wrote another letter. Krishnaji slept well, and is feeling rested. I felt secure leaving him in Vanda’s and Parchure’s care, but there was that unease, a certain ache when I leave for outside reasons. He waved as I drove off at 10 a.m. in the little Renault. I went via Les Mosses through Aigle. The rain had commenced falling at Chateau d’Oex, and poured all the way to Geneva. Coming down the mountain, there was a sign: “Le pape est mort”’—the pope is dead. ‘I read in the papers at the airport that he had died last evening at Castel Gandolfo after a heart attack. I reached Cointrin’—that’s the name of the airfield in Geneva—‘at 12:15 p.m., returned the Renault to Hertz, checked my small bag, and checked into the Alitalia 1:55 p.m. flight, which was rescheduled to leave at 3:00 p.m., so I ate a sandwich and read. Rain kept pouring. Each passenger was given a plastic umbrella, and we ran across the tarmac to the aircraft, arriving pretty wet. The hard-voiced stewardess made all the announcements in Italian, French, and English, rattling them off so fast it sounded like all one word. We flew through fog and clouds to Rome, arriving after 5 p.m., Rome time. The immigration man, more attentive these days than usual, looked in a book to see if my name might be there. I carried my bag out, and there was Filomena and her son Mario waiting in spite of my having said I would take a taxi. Filomena’s a little older, but totally her dear self. All the family were waiting when we got back to their home. A big greeting. Katrina’—that’s her sister—‘is a bit paralyzed now on the left side. I’m sleeping, while I’m here, in their other house. I have Filomena’s room, and she is in the back. I gave little presents to each. There were smiles, jokes, and the warm chatter of Italian family life. Filomena and I had the perfect supper for me: fruit including fresh figs and then a mozzarella. We talked and talked.’

The next day, ‘Filomena and I spent a quiet day talking.’

August ninth. ‘Filomena and I went shopping for a juice extractor. Mario drove us there and then drove us to San Pietro’—that’s Saint Peter’s. ‘I went to see the Pietà.’ You know, the Michelangelo statue of the dead Christ in the virgin’s arms. ‘It is now restored after the madmen hit it with a hammer, and it is behind glass. Not very well lit but deeply moving as always. Preparations were going on for the lying in state of Pope Paul, whose body was to be brought to Rome from Castel Gandolfo in the late afternoon.’ Castel Gandolfo’s the papal country place…

S: Yes, yes.

M: …where he’d go on summer holidays. ‘Many Japanese tourists were milling about. Filomena touched the foot of a San Pietro statue, worn to no toes from its countless touchings. Rome, more than any other city I have been in, seems to reach further in time into a measureless past. The Michelangelo and Bernini, once again, were a gift to the eye and the spirit. The baroque gestures of the saints and putti’—putti are the little cherubs, they call them putti—‘once again, make me smile inside. Papal deaths seem a part of my comings and going to this city. It was Pius when I left in 1958, and Sam used to stop by the piazza to see if the white or black smoke would float from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel.’

S: Yes.

M: ‘We then went to Ponte Milvio for figs, mozzarella, and parmigiano for me to take back to Gstaad.’ Ponte Milvio is one of the ancient Roman bridges across the Tiber. ‘The open-air market, noisy, cheerful, made me feel really here again. Filomena was intent, suspicious of every fruit; the salesman, young, relaxed, wooing the customers.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘“Anche se non si compra ti ringraziamo,” shouted one’—which means, even if you don’t buy, we thank you. [S laughs.] ‘In the cheese shop, it was nice, warm, and busy. The salesman wooed Filomena; Filomena said to him sternly in Italian, “See that you give me the best.” “Si, signora, pense à me.” Yes, signora, trust me. [Chuckles.] ‘We had to go on to another place for the freshest figs. We came back for lunch, and I read most of afternoon. Filomena packed the figs and cheese in grape leaves in a box, packed so perfectly they could ride in my suitcase. At 5 p.m., Sofia or Sanguinetti, as she calls herself professionally—or are she and Carlos married after all? No matter.’ [Chuckles.]  ‘She came to meet Filomena. The object is perhaps some relief from pain of arthritis in Filomena’s neck and right shoulder. Sophia now does acupuncture and is said to be very good. She was just right with Filomena: cheerful, friendly, confident, asking just the right questions and explaining just enough to Filomena. She examined her and said her energy is excellent. Energy is the ingredient in everything these days. It puts one off a bit, but I reach for any hope of any relief for Filomena. Sofia is on holiday now. Filomena is to call her at the end of the month and make an appointment for treatments. Sofia told me that there would be no charge, which I said we couldn’t let her do, but thanked her very much. I left funds with Filomena to pay for the treatments. It is now up to them, but I hope and hope. Filomena and I had a nice supper of fruit salad and mozzarella and watched on television the papal cortege coming through Rome from Castel Gandolfo to San Pietro. The piazza was filled.’

The tenth, ‘Filomena and I had breakfast. She had packed the figs and cheese expertly. I said goodbye to the family, then Filomena and Mario took me to Fiumicino’—that’s the Rome airport—‘and, without delays, the Alitalia flight left at 12:50 p.m. for Geneva. I was glad to have been with Filomena, and felt some good for her in my coming. She was relaxed and smiling. Mario is, on the whole, older but not Filomena. In Geneva, Hertz provided a strident green Opel Kadett station wagon, and so I drove to Gstaad the Bulle way. Krishnaji had said to me when I left, “It will be fun to go off alone,” and that is usually so for me. But going away from him geographically and for something outside of the ordinary and, therefore, strictly avoidable has little pleasure for me. Now, I was heading toward him, and so back on the right track.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘The drive wound its familiar way. He was awake when I arrived at 4:30 p.m. He had sat with some people Vanda had invited to lunch—Frances and some others. Krishnaji gave me the letters he wrote to me on the two days I was away, the eighth and ninth of August. [6] We went for the walk to the end of the wood. There was much snow here on Tuesday. The Wispile was white…’

S: It’s the mountain that you can see right in front of the balcony of Tannegg.

M: Yes, that’s right…‘was white a third of the way down, but it has melted now, though much remains on the higher mountains. It looks very white and clean. Krishnaji said that he and Dr. Parchure demolished much of the nonsense about yoga to Vanda, and McCann was present and heard it too. He seems pleased. [7] He has started taking morning walks before his massage. A cassette had come from my brother telling me that my cousin’s in the hospital again, an infection’…well, I don’t want to read all that.

S: Yes. I understand.

M: ‘Life seemed to have been very hard on her. If it were not for Krishnaji, I would go to her, but as with Father and Mother, Krishnaji comes first.’

The next day, ‘I did letters in the morning and village errands. Then I telephoned Bud at the Vineyard. Lorna is somewhat better. Krishnaji, Vanda, Dr. Parchure, and I walked. The French air controllers had begun another slow-down strike.’ They were always doing that.

August twelfth. ‘At lunch were Dr. Liechty, Frances McCann, Marjolaine van der Straten, Duncan McCandless, and a Mark Wagner, a young American with an American father and a Mexican mother who came here for lunch Thursday and seemed bright to Krishnaji. After lunch, Krishnaji joined us. He talked to Dr. Liechty, and after she left, there was a chance for the young guests to ask questions. Mark had to be prodded by Frances, and asked something meaningless about the moon and relapsed into slack-looking silence. Duncan went on in his slightly jokey way and the time dragged on. I became impatient and felt a waste of Krishnaji’s time, and an obviously lost nap. I took up the discussion to try to bring it to a culmination, as it couldn’t go far as it was. I had an increasing migraine. Krishnaji, Vanda, and I walked. When we came back, we watched the funeral of Pope Paul in Saint Peter’s Square. Krishnaji watched it, and said, “I can’t feel a thing, can you?” He admired the rug spread under the coffin.’ [Light chuckling.] ‘A helicopter appeared; tiny over Saint Peter’s Dome, and Krishnaji said, “le Saint-Esprit,”’ the holy spirit. [Laughs more.] Oh dear. ‘The migraine finally won at supper, and I went to lie down. Dr. Parchure worked on my head and neck, which relieved it, and I went to bed and sleep early. Perhaps I’m just tired.’ [Light chuckle.]

The thirteenth of August. ‘It was a rainy day. I telephoned Dorothy at Brockwood about our arrival and about Mark Wagner coming to the Brockwood talks, then started packing. There were no guests at lunch. A young American, Curtis Jones, appeared on the doorstep wanting help with some project on a Greek island. He was rather engaging, full of energy and purpose, but slightly eccentric. Krishnaji saw him through the window and talked to him a bit, and then turned him over to Dr. Parchure, as he has some notions of writing a book on the human body. Parchure says he knows nothing about it.’ [Both laugh.] These people who would turn up and…

S: Yes, I know.

M: …flit in and out of the day. [Chuckles.] ‘We brought him plates of food, and he talked a streak and finally accepted in a friendly fashion my saying that the Foundation couldn’t offer money or sponsorship of his project. It would’ve been nice if all that earnest energy could’ve been turned in Krishnaji’s direction, but he couldn’t see beyond his own view, and lost the chance. I rested and read all afternoon and finished the second volume of the Raj Quartet.’ I think I was reading that all summer.

The next day, ‘I did packing and the last errands. Krishnaji had a haircut. A Pakistani man, who said he met Krishnaji fifty years ago, came to greet him. Then Krishnaji, Vanda, and I walked to the end of the wood. I had an on-and-off migraine, and Krishnaji cured it.’

August fifteenth. ‘It was a sunny morning, and the mountains shone. Krishnaji, Dr. Parchure, and I said goodbye to Vanda and Fosca, and drove via Les Mosses and the autoroute to Geneva. I left the Hertz car, and we took Swiss Air to Heathrow, the flight going over Germany and Belgium to avoid French air space and the strike of air control workers. Mary and Joe, Dorothy, and Doris met us. Krishnaji and I drove back to Brockwood with Mary and Joe. They are staying another night before returning to London in order to be with us. Brockwood is green and beautiful after heavy rains all summer. Krishnaji had supper downstairs with the few who are here. There was a message to me from Betsy to telephone her on my arrival.’

August sixteenth. ‘I unpacked, then talked most of the morning with Mary L. in the kitchen. After lunch, I unfurled the Mercedes from the barn and got it going. Mary came with me to the garage, and we exercised it a little. I asked her if she had worked on volume two of the Krishnaji biography. She said she has been making notes and wants to go ahead, but wonders how to handle the Rajagopal story. We talked about it, and I said that I hoped urgently that she will do the book. Mary was seventy at the end of July, all the more reason to want her to get on with it. We came back, and then Krishnaji, up from his nap, came with me and the Linkses in their car to Ovington, where we walked by the river. The beauty of it, the clear, swift waters and the green water weeds, the little ducks diving and swimming along the bottom, the slow sail of the swan, the warm smell of growing summer things gave a rapture. I walked to the water and felt dissolved as though it ran through all my senses. This countryside moves me in a way that the splendors of the Swiss mountains do not. We came back to the news that Mary and Joe’s flat in London had been broken into. They left immediately, but later Mary rang to say that nothing was missing. A crow bar had been used to force the door, but inside the burglar alarm went off and the intruders fled. Immense relief for this flat is filled with personal treasures they have collected over their lives, things of great taste.’

S: We have to end it here, Mary, we’re running out of tape.

M: Alright.

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[1] Natasha is the daughter of Narayan and Shakuntala. Back to text.

[2] Frode and Julie were two students at Brockwood. Frode went on to become a trustee of the Krishnamurti Foundation of America. Back to text.

[3] If this hasn’t been mentioned before, The Oak Grove School was the Krishnamurti school in Ojai so named because it sits on the edge of the Oak Grove where Krishnaji gave his public talks in Ojai for decades. Back to text.

[4] Krishnaji enjoyed his pocket watches being exactly to-the-second accurate, so the telephone time code number would be called, and his watches adjusted accordingly. Back to text.

[5] Another student from Brockwood. Back to text.

[6] Krishnaji wrote to Mary every day they were not together, usually when he was in India and she was in California; but he did the same even when they were just apart for a couple of days, as on this occasion. Back to text.

[7] This conversation about yoga took place on August eighth, according to Krishnaji’s letter to Mary. He writes, “Miss McCann was here for lunch and after Dr. P. was explaining what ‘yoga’ means and Mrs. Walsh joined later. I will tell you about it. Between Dr. P. and myself, we wiped away yoga, almost entirely. Yoga = exercise and not all the nonsense around it.” Back to text.