Issue #54

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Issue 54—August 17, 1978 to October 25, 1978


The activities we follow in this issue are typical of this time for Krishnaji and Mary, except for a small break they take to the Loire area of France. There are the public Brockwood talks and discussions, the beginning of a new school term at Brockwood, and Krishnaji’s preparation to go to India for his winter program there. One of the unusual elements of this year, is that Mary is preparing to go to India with Krishnaji, something she hadn’t done since 1965.

Many readers of these memoirs have expressed appreciation for the hyperlinks allowing them to read the text of any talk or discussion that Mary has said she found to be especially good. Thanks to the Krishnamurti Foundation Trust and it’s archivist, this issue has the first hyperlinks to video tapes of such talks and discussions. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #53

Mary: We’re beginning on August seventeenth, 1978. ‘Krishnaji and I took the 11:23 a.m. train to London and were met at Waterloo by Mary and Joe. After Krishnaji gave Joe the Jacquet ties, so carefully chosen and ordered for him by Krishnaji in Geneva, Joe had said that he wanted Krishnaji never to have to take a taxi in London again!’ [Both chuckle.] ‘He drove us to Fortnum’s, leaving Mary, Krishnaji, and me to lunch. During it, Mary questioned Krishnaji on the schools. She had heard from Erna in a letter yesterday that the KFA needs $950,000 by next April for a school building and a yearly $100,000 above the tuitions just to keep the school going. Krishnaji has not yet seen the letter, but listened to Mary on the effort that all this fundraising entails.’ Obviously, Mary was [both chuckle] very much against it. ‘Joe picked us up and took us to Portland Place, where Krishnaji had a 3 o’clock appointment with dentist Thompson. I came back with Mary and Joe to their flat and saw the damaged door.’ You know, they had been broken into.

Scott: Yes, I remember our last discussion ended with that.

M: ‘The door is now fitted with new locks, and I was glad to see their charming things all there and intact.’ They had a lovely collection of many things.

S: Yes, yes.

M: ‘Later, Joe drove Krishnaji and me to Waterloo. We bought two detective stories in Waterloo, and took the train, and I began volume three of the Raj Quartet.’

August eighteenth says: ‘I worked at the desk, then went to Alresford on errands. It was a warm day, so Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked the dogs in the grove. Krishnaji asked, “Where are we going?” He spoke of Erna, who came to all this because of the teachings, and now has to spend all her time worrying about money. Krishnaji questioned school money being spent, and the energy expended for that and not on the teachings.’

S: Quite right.

M: I agreed with him, but [chuckles] it didn’t turn out that way. ‘Dorothy was, as usual, immediately defensive, which hinders Krishnaji’s inquiry. Brockwood has reached a fairly firm footing, but he now wonders if we should go ahead with the Oak Grove School in Ojai, so late in the day. “I could be wrong,” he said. Everyone is so busy making all these outward things happen that there is no time or energy for the inner. He long ago was impatient with me for these same questions he is now asking. He seemed troubled; yet, this morning, when I played records during his breakfast, he was smiling, listening with enjoyment to Joan Sutherland singing Bellini. He said, “It is sentimental, but it brings tears to the eyes,” and smiling, rolled his eyes to the sound. A romantic.’

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

August nineteenth. ‘Krishnaji said upstairs after lunch, “I woke up this morning saying, ‘What am I doing here?’…‘These are children. I need someone to talk to, someone who will mine it out of me. I feel there is much more to be got out. Someone who can discuss these things—but they can’t.’”’

S: He’s saying that there’s much more to get out of him.

M: Yes.

S: But that there’s no one to talk with him to get it out.

M: Yes.

S: He always felt that, it seems.

M: He always felt that; someone to facilitate his expression of these things.

‘And then I said, “Has there ever been anyone?”’

‘Krishnaji replied, “No. Aldous was Christian in his upbringing. Then he went off into Buddhism, Vedanta, and all that. He couldn’t.”’

‘I asked, “Anyone else?”’

‘Krishnaji: “Rajagopal hadn’t got the brains for this.” He shrugged as he said that.’

‘I asked about India, and Krishnaji said, “They discuss, but sometimes it forges something out of me. Achyut has gone into this, but he is too old now. He says that he has failed me.”’

‘And then, “Perhaps I will go away. Leave all this. I must be careful or I will do that.”…  “I will do whatever is decided. Don’t you worry about this, or I can’t talk to you.” I do not worry. I am very still inside, but I too fail him in this. And to fail Krishnaji is a knife through one.’

S: Quite so.

M: ‘We worked, weeding in the garden.’

The next day, ‘It is warm, and he was not feeling like the morning walk, but slept. He is thinking of these matters. He said, “I will write to Achyut to get some pandits and we will have a discussion.”…“We will have a discussion and make a book out of it.” My spirits rose a little. I worked in the tent. When Krishnaji came down, he, Dorothy, and I went for a walk in the grove and pruned bushes.’ We did a lot of pruning in those days, and I liked that. Krishnaji did, too.

S: Alright, let me just clarify for a minute here. You said that you went and worked in the tent.

M: Chairs and things.

S: Right. There was a large marquee put out for the public talks.

M: Yes, two large marquees.

S: Right, one was for eating and one for the talks.

M: Yes.

S: Just to clarify; otherwise…

M: Those tents are the tents I was talking about.

S: Right, otherwise, people in the future might think we made you sleep in a tent at Brockwood. [Both chuckle.]

M: A Georgian tent. [S laughs.]

August twenty-first. ‘In the morning I went to Petersfield on errands: got plants for the West Wing, etcetera. It was a warm and lovely day. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I pruned bushes in the grove. Krishnaji is fired to clear all the deadwood, brambles, nettles, fox gloves, etcetera.’ [S chuckles.]

The next day, ‘I took Dr. Parchure to Petersfield Station for his day in London, and did more errands there. Edna Cleeve…’ do you remember Edna?

S: I do indeed.

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

M: Edna Cleeve was the nice woman who came to clean in the West Wing. ‘Edna and I prepared the West Wing dining room as a guest room for the gatherings. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I cleared weeds in the grove. Bonnie and Michael Mendizza and baby Eric arrived and are staying in Woodland Cottage [1].’

Wednesday, August twenty-third. ‘Another warm day. Krishnaji dictated letters, which I typed. I made flight reservations for us on October thirtieth via Japan Air to Delhi and continuing on to Benares. A work party of everyone in the house, including Krishnaji, worked on weed clearance in the grove. I heard on the BBC that Charles Eames had died. Sad, sad news of a talented and nice man.’ The Eames were great friends of the Dunnes, and people that I knew well.

S: Yes.

M: And they were very, very talented.

S: The Eames chairs.

M: Eames chairs. Yes.

S: Yes. Designers of all kinds of things.

M: I had wished that, if someone was ever to do a documentary on Krishnaji, it would be they. I would’ve tried to have the Eames do it, had they lived, because…

S: Did they make films?

M: Oh, yes.

S: Ah. I didn’t know that.

M: They made a famous film when the Russians had a World Fair in Moscow, and they were given the job of explaining to the Russian public what the United States was like, in fifteen minutes. What they did was, they did a film montage of all kinds of things, forest and people. They started with the morning and people going to work; showing all kinds of people going to work, someone on a trolley, someone walking, someone on a bicycle, someone in a beautiful car, all going in the morning; children going to school, and then it went through the day, the sort of things that people did. In the process, it showed the country, mountains, and freeways, and streets, and all these things. They even showed Filomena’s little dog, Monkey. [S laughs.] And this was shown on seven enormous screens in Moscow. People stood up to watch it. The public came in for fifteen minutes, and on seven huge screens as big as that wall, this was shown. So, everybody could see. And this was to give a picture of the United States to the Russian public.

S: How interesting. Was that the same year as the famous Kitchen Debate with Khrushchev and Nixon?

M: I don’t remember. Perhaps.

August twenty-fourth. ‘Evelyne Blau flew in from Los Angeles, arriving just before Krishnaji and I left for London. She is in the West Wing spare room. Krishnaji and I took the train from Petersfield, and Joe Links kindly met us and drove us to Huntsman. I walked to Hillier’s on Cork Street to have my slacks altered, and to have a greenish heavy tweed pair made from tweed from Huntsman. Krishnaji and I lunched at Fortnum’s, then Joe drove us to Portland Place for a 2 p.m. appointment with Mr. Thompson. He then took me to Morgan Bank and on to Sloan Street, where he left me at The General Trading Company’ That’s a furniture place. ‘I bought two dozen teaspoons we need.’ I’m sure everyone in posterity will be fascinated by knowing that [S laughs]. ‘Then I walked up the street to have my hair cut. Not too good, but it was much needed as it was too long. I got to Portland Place by 4 p.m., but Krishnaji didn’t finish until 6 p.m. Four hours in the chair! Mr. Thompson prepared five more teeth for crowns. Joe, blessedly, took us right to Waterloo, and we arrived at Brockwood by 8:30 p.m. It was a grueling day for Krishnaji, but he said that he had “thought of nothing” the whole four hours.’ That’s the astounding statement.

The next day, ‘Krishnaji rested all day. Edgar Graf arrived and is in the West Wing dining room, a mark of esteem from Krishnaji,’ it says.

S: Yes, it is. That’s what I was thinking, actually.

M: ‘People are filling the house.’

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

August twenty-sixth says, ‘A clear fine day. The larger tent with 2,000 chairs was full. Everything was very orderly. People entered in groups of fifty; our attempt to prevent people racing for seats seems to be working. Krishnaji’s platform is on the north side this year, and there’s a little enclosed curtain space just by his entrance where he can tidy his hair.’


Editor’s Note: Krishnaji had to walk from the house across the extensive south lawn to the tent, and it was often windy and even raining. This little enclosure, which had a little mirror, which gave him the chance to tidy himself before going on stage and in front of the video cameras. He would carry down his comb, comb his hair, hardly looking at himself, and immediately walk on stage (assuming the announcements were over).


‘He was in fine form. We ate fruit and salad upstairs afterward and then returned to the tent for the hot food course. Krishnaji kept moving about so he doesn’t get hemmed in.’

S: Yes, Krishnaji used to go back to the West Wing after the talk to kind of…

M: …unwind.

We ate fruit and salad upstairs afterward and then returned to the tent for the hot course. Krishnaji kept moving about so he doesn’t get hemmed in.’

S: Maybe we should just say something about this because I can’t remember if we’ve mentioned in previous discussion the eating routing after the Brockwood talks and discussion. There’s no place to eat anyplace around Brockwood. So, Brockwood used to prepare meals, lunch, for these 2,000 or more people who came to the talks. People which people could buy the entire meal or just parts of it, which was an enormous achievement of military precision by Esme and Verna…

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

M: Yes, getting the food for 2,000 plus people, and getting it down to the tent.

S: Yes. But Krishnaji, after a talk, would go back up to the West Wing and kind of…

M: …unwind.

S: …what I used to call “come in for a landing,” [both chuckle] and have the start of his normal lunch.

M: Yes, fruit and salad, and he would be quiet.

S: But, then, he would go back down to the food tent and mix with people and eat a little of the hot food everyone else was eating.

M: Yes, that’s exactly what happened.

S: Yes. But, he didn’t sit down.

M: No. He stood up and moved, otherwise people would corner him.

S: Yes, yes. Poor Krishnaji.

M: Yes.

S: Okay. I’m just putting that down for the record. I think we’ve talked briefly about it before, but I can’t remember.

M: I don’t think we have, I don’t know.

August twenty-seventh, ‘Krishnaji gave the second Brockwood talk of the year. The weather was fine, and the tent was full. As yesterday, we ate upstairs after the talk, and then he ate in the tent. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, the dentist and his wife, came. After a rest, we pruned in the grove.’

Now, I find that the big book doesn’t give anything again until October.

S: Really?

M: I regret, yes, so the following month will be rather quick.

S: I guess so.

M: For August twenty-eighth it just says, ‘we pruned in the grove.’

S: [chuckles] This is going to be quick! [M laughs.]

M: The next day, Krishnaji gave the first public discussion, a very good one,’ I say. ‘In the afternoon, with huge energy, he led Dorothy and me in pruning in the grove. Edgar Graf left.’

August thirtieth, ‘Mary and Joe drove down for lunch, and Mary had a long meeting with Evelyne on the chronology for the biography part of the film. Beginning at lunch, Krishnaji also talked to Mary and me about the necessity to raise funds, and its taking energy from everyone and at the expense of the teachings. Mary had suggested that the Ojai school building be stopped. Krishnaji said he had thought about it, but it must continue.’

The thirty-first. ‘Krishnaji held the second public discussion in the tent. Evelyne’s question aimed at a subject she wanted discussed for the film, on learning and relationship, was the dominant theme, and Krishnaji covered it fully. He ate no lunch as his stomach wasn’t right. At 4 p.m., Michael Mendizza took over 100 slides of Krishnaji in the drawing room, while Dorothy and I talked to him. It began to rain, so we didn’t go pruning. Evelyne interviewed Doris and then Dorothy on audiotape in the evening. I telephoned my stepfather at Martha’s Vineyard. My cousin is still in the hospital. Tomorrow is the anniversary of my mother’s death. I had to tell my stepfather Wooge that I’m going to India, so can’t visit him at the Vineyard this autumn. He said he hadn’t expected me at the Vineyard.’

Then there’s really nothing until September second. ‘The weather is still fine. Krishnaji gave his third talk, a very fine one. Krishnaji ate first, as usual, in the West Wing and then returned to the tent for the main dish. We walked quietly in the afternoon. Simonetta and a friend of hers, Lolita Pignotelli, came and spent the night. Simonetta was in the West Wing dining room.’

September third, ‘The weather is perfect. Krishnaji gave the fourth talk on meditation, and it was extremely good. The tent overflowed with people. I made an appeal for donations. Krishnaji, as usual, ate upstairs and then returned to the tent. Jean-Michel Maroger is here for the day. Krishnaji set dates for our visit to their place in France for October second to eleventh. Krishnaji, Dorothy, Jean-Michel, and I walked. Simonetta left. Krishnaji and I had supper watching the new Pope celebrating mass in Saint Peter’s Square. Then, we watched The Goodies!’ I’ve forgotten about The Goodies.

S: [laughing] Oh yes.

M: What was The Goodies?

S: Oh, The Goodies was one of those ridiculous British farce comedy programs.

M: Yes, I remember now.

S: They were like Monty Python, but even more farcical and more frantic.

M: [laughing] I haven’t thought of The Goodies in all these many decades!

S: Somehow right after watching the Pope being coronated, seems…[Both laugh.]

M: The next day it just says, ‘People are leaving as the talks are over. It is a quiet day. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked across the fields that have just been reaped: golden and beautiful.’

September fifth, ‘It rained. I worked at the desk. Krishnaji dictated the first of a new series of Letters to the Schools, which are to go to the Indian schools, Brockwood, the Oak Grove, and Wolf Lake.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji held a discussion with as many students and staff as are here. It was photographed by Michael Mendizza. Later, he also photographed Krishnaji walking with Whisper in the grove.’

September seventh, ‘Evelyne and Michael, Bonnie, and Eric left for Holland to photograph Castle Eerde before returning to the U.S. I went for tea with Phil and Christopher Fry; their garden is beautiful. It was a happy visit. I was back in time to give Krishnaji his tray.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I went to Wickham to lunch at the Old House Hotel.’ Do you remember that?

S: I remember it well.

M: ‘It was very pleasant. We came back on the small roads. At 5 p.m., I went to the Alresford Surgery for a tetanus shot and the first cholera and typhoid and paratyphoid shots.’ I was preparing to go to India.

The ninth, ‘Krishnaji dictated the Letters to the Schools number two. I slept all afternoon, feverish from the shots. Krishnaji and Dorothy weeded in the grove.’

The tenth, ‘My fever has gone, and I felt better. Krishnaji dictated Letters to the Schools number three. We both rested after lunch. Krishnaji tried’—what? ‘Krishnaji tried sliding down the banister a little’ [both laugh] ‘as we went out to do more weeding and pruning in the grove.’

S: Why not? He was only eighty-three! [Both laugh.]

M: Anyway, on the eleventh, it says: ‘Krishnaji and I went to London. Mary and Joe met us at Waterloo, and took us to Huntsman.’ [Laughs.] Another duplicate trip. ‘I had a fitting at Hillier’s on the greenish tweed trousers. Krishnaji and I bought pens in the Burlington Arcade.’ He liked doing that. There was a pen shop…

S: Yes. It’s wonderful.

M: It’s not there anymore.

S: What? Oh, I thought it was still there.

M: Maybe it’s somewhere else, but it’s not in the Arcade because I went deliberately there a few years ago to buy a pen I like that I can’t get in this country, and it was gone.

Anyway, ‘we then lunched with Mary at Fortnum’s. Joe took Krishnaji to Mr. Thompson at 2:30 p.m., and I did errands on foot—the bank, Culpepers…’ What was Culpepers?

S: It’s an herbal shop.

M: That’s right.

S: It used to be on…oh, right near Wiggins, the coffee man. But then it moved.

M: Yes. I remember vaguely now…‘and then I got a taxi at Claridge’s…’ It was near Claridge’s.

S: Yes.

M: ‘…to Portland Place. Krishnaji was two hours in the chair. He had the loose upper front tooth out, and a replacement went in but he must go back Friday. Joe drove us to Waterloo. Home by 6:15 p.m. People are arriving for a seminar. Maurice Wilkins came.’ He died recently.

S: Yes, I saw that in one of the weekly journals that I read. He was a very nice man.

M: Yes, a nice man.

September twelfth, ‘Krishnaji held the first of daily seminars at 11:30 a.m. About seventy people came, and it started on the subject of “What does it mean to be a light to oneself?” but it veered off. We pruned in the afternoon, but for too long, and it was tiring. Krishnaji was full of energy. He had an hour’s talk with Shakuntala, and also treated Harsh.’

The next day, ‘in the early morning, Krishnaji had a talk with Dr. Parchure and me. Then, he conducted the second day of the seminar, and it went well. He got into the subject of fear. After lunch, Krishnaji called Dorothy for a talk on organization drowning the teachings, how to prevent it, etcetera. This seminar is too much for the staff after the gatherings. Jean-Michel Maroger joined it after an hour, and Krishnaji also said his time is underused during the European part of his year. He wants to talk less to students and more to the public and people capable of going with him.’

The next day was the seminar again, and more pruning in the grove.

September fifteenth, ‘Krishnaji and I went to London. Joe met us and drove us to Huntsman.’ [Chuckles.] ‘Krishnaji and I lunched at Fortnum’s and shopped at Hatchards, and Krishnaji went with Joe to Mr. Thompson while I did errands. Joe drove Krishnaji and me to Waterloo.’ Another identical day. ‘In the evening, Maurice Wilkins, David Bohm, and David Shainberg discussed science and Krishnaji’s teachings.’

On the sixteenth, ‘Krishnaji held a fourth seminar meeting. Very good. We pruned and pruned.’

And it was the same for the next three days, ‘Krishnaji held fifth seminar meeting. Good. Pruning.’ You see, I’m trying to master the art of brevity. [Chuckles.]

S: [chuckles] And, unfortunately, succeeding brilliantly.

M: ‘On the last day of the seminar, the nineteenth, there was a panel discussion with Shainberg, David Bohm, Dr. Parchure, Harsh, and me. Then everyone left.’

September twentieth, ‘Krishnaji rested in bed all day, and I worked at the desk. All staff are starting a four-day holiday tomorrow. The ten students who are here are taking charge, including doing the meals.’ Where were you?

S: I was there. [Both chuckle.]

M: September twenty-first, ‘Krishnaji again spent the day in bed. I took the 9:23 a.m. train to London, and went for my Indian visa to the high commission, where Mr. Vethakan’—he was a nice man—‘was helpful.’ He worked for the embassy, and he came to the talks that year. ‘Then to the French consulate for Krishnaji’s visa. I had my hair cut, and caught the 2:50 p.m. from Waterloo. In the evening, I took Frances McCann and Brian Jenkins to Chichester Cathedral, where there was a performance of The Sleep of Prisoners. Christopher was there and had reserved front row seats for us.’ That’s one of his plays, and often they did his plays in the cathedral, which is a wonderful background for his sort of play.

The next day, ‘Krishnaji and I went to London. Joe met us at Waterloo. I gave lunch at Cecconi to Krishnaji, Mary, Joe, Amanda, and Alain Naudé, who’s here for a week before going to see his mother in South Africa.’

S: Where is that restaurant?

M: Vigo Street, I think. It has Bond Street on one side and Regent Street on the other side. It’s an Italian place, and I didn’t like it much. But anyway, that’s what we did. ‘Krishnaji had his haircut at Truefitt, and then we went back to the country.’

September twenty-third. ‘Krishnaji dictated Letters to the Schools number four in the morning. I took Dr. Parchure to Winchester in the afternoon for Adidas things for Krishnaji.’ That would be shoes.

S: Yes, Adidas shoes, for walking in India.

M: That’s right.

S: He used his Kohli shoes to walk in at Brockwood.

M: I think so. Yes. ‘I did other errands in Winchester, and had a flu vaccine in the evening.’ Why did I have it in the evening? Well, anyway, that’s not important.

September twenty-fourth. ‘I feel a bit fluey, feverish. Krishnaji dictated the fifth Letters to the Schools in the morning. I rested in afternoon, but went with Krishnaji for a walk across the fields.’

Not very much happened for the next two days except that Krishnaji dictated two more Letters to the Schools.

September twenty-seventh, ‘Dr. Parchure left for India, and students who arrived from Ojai for the beginning of the school term here said there had been a fire in Ojai, in Matilija Canyon. Krishnaji dictated Letters to the Schools number eight. Mary Cadogan came down at 11:30 a.m., and discussed publication matters that need to be discussed in India at trustee meetings. She may not be able to go. She and her husband Alec are going on holiday to California next week. I took her to Petersfield, then I worked in the grove, pruning with Krishnaji and Dorothy.’

The next day, ‘There was rain in the morning. Krishnaji dictated Letters to the Schools number nine. The Digbys came for lunch and reported on publication matters to Krishnaji. Then Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I pruned. We changed our flight to India from Japan Air to Air India.’

September twenty-ninth. ‘Pope John Paul died after thirty-three days as Pope.’ That’s why the present one is called Pope John Paul II.

S: There is a large body of evidence that that pope was poisoned.

M: Yes, I’ve heard about that. Does anybody know who poisoned him?

S: [laughing] Well, this involves the scandal with the Bank Ambrosiano, which was an arm of the Vatican Bank, and it seems there was right wing and criminal money…

M: Yes, and some organization called something peculiar.

S: Yes. Apparently, the poisoned Pope was a very good, honest man, who really was a wonderful priest, and he rose up because of his integrity and wouldn’t accept the corruption he found. There were all kinds of corrupt things that the Vatican Bank was involved in.

M: Yes.

S: And he was making complaints about it, and suddenly…

M: …he died…

S: Yes.

M: …after thirty-three days. That’s really medieval.

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

S: Do you remember there was a lawyer and his wife from the Bahamas, who were interested in the teaching and who came to the Brockwood talks several times. Patrick Tooth, was his name, and he was the lead lawyer for the family of that Italian who was in charge of the Bank Ambrosiano and who was found hanged under Blackfriar’s Bridge in London.

M: That’s what I’m trying to remember. I remember the hanging under the bridge…

S: Yes, well, this man supposedly committed suicide by hanging himself under the bridge, but his hands were tied together. [Chuckles.] You know, there were lots of suspicious things like that.

M: I’m fishing in my memory for it, what was that illegal group, something with a number.

S: Yes, it was like P2 or something…

M: P2, yes, I think that’s it.

S: Yes, they seem to have been involved in all the banking corruption. It was a secret and illegal order in Italy that was part of the Masons, and they were excommunicated by the Pope. So, this group existed in secret.

M: Yes.

S: But, secret though it was to the public, it turned out that all the chief politicians and police people were in it, and members of the Mafia, and all kinds of strange things went on with them and the Vatican Bank. I don’t want to waste time on all this, but, for example, the Vatican, of course, has a very longstanding and strong stance against the use of contraceptives; and yet the Vatican Bank was the largest shareholder in Italy’s biggest condom business.

M: Yes, [chuckling] I read that.

S: That was, at least, not illegal, but there were all kinds of just plain scams where billions of dollars disappeared, billions! And no one knows where this money went.

M: Yes. It sounds like the background for a good book.

S: Well, there was a very good book about all of this called In God’s Name.

M: Yes, yes. I know about that. Diane has that.

S: This is interesting, but a diversion…

M: …from what we’re doing. Well, anyway, the Pope died. ‘Krishnaji and I went to London. Mary and Joe met us. Krishnaji and I lunched with Mary at Fortnum’s. Krishnaji went to Huntsman afterward. I dropped by Paul Anstee’s shop and then I joined Krishnaji and we came home.’

September thirtieth. ‘A cold day. Krishnaji dictated letters all morning and I typed all day except during a meeting that Krishnaji called with Dorothy, Shakuntala, Ingrid, Harsh, Scott, and Stephen Smith. All students arrive for the start of term tomorrow.’ Have you anything to comment on that?

S: No. I can’t remember it at all.

M: October first. ‘The school term began at Brockwood. Krishnaji talked to the school very movingly at 11:30 a.m. I did letters and packed. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked in the afternoon.’

For October second, the big diary recommences. ‘At 11 a.m., Dorothy drove Krishnaji and me to Heathrow. We stopped for a picnic lunch at our usual side road. A car was parked there, so we went further up the lane and turned into a quiet field where a magpie hopped and hunted. Krishnaji found it too early for lunch, but Dorothy and I took it as it came. Dorothy is feeling pleased with the shape of the school on the second day of the term. Relations seem straightened out and good. At Heathrow we waited for our flight. I read in the Herald Tribune’—oh, that somebody died that I used to know.

S: Who?

M: You didn’t know him.

S: [laughs] Is there no significance…?

M: He was the first man I ever fell in love with.

S: Oh. [Laughter.]

M: And no comment from there on. Anyway, he died, and etcetera, which I’m not going into. [S chuckles.] ‘I read it without surprise or reaction. Early times and people in my life without any threads today. The past has long been gone. At 2:30 p.m., Krishnaji and I took off for Paris and Roissy airport. Jean-Michel met us and we drove around Paris and south to the Maroger’s place in Montrichard near Blois. Krishnaji sang one of his Sanskrit chants as we sped across the flat plains of France. The wind sound gave him semi-privacy and so he sang, feeling at ease. A sparrow hawk fluttered over a field and there were contrails of a very high-flying aircraft, pleasing as always to Krishnaji. “Maria,” he touched my shoulder and pointed.’

S: Pointing to the contrails?

M: Yes. ‘It was dark as we arrived at the house. For centuries it was part of an abbey and the walls are thick. There is an ancient silence in them. Marie-Bertrande and Diane and Jean-Michel’s mother were waiting. Krishnaji has a large room, an apartment on the ground floor, and I am next to it. We ate at the table, fruit and vegetables from their garden, brown bread, and cheese. Krishnaji stuck to the tofu that I brought from Brockwood, wrapped in wet paper foil. It leaked in my handbag but seemed alright. To bed quite soon, both of us tired, but not too.’

Krishnaji with the Marogers. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji with the Marogers.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

October third. ‘Krishnaji slept very well, unusual in a new place. It is utterly quiet, and his room is apart from the rest of the house. The Marogers have thought of everything for his ease and comfort. Krishnaji brought his tracksuit with him so he can be warm while he exercises. And bouillottes…’ Do you remember bouillottes? Bouillotte is the French word for hot water bottle. ‘Bouillottes were provided to warm each bed. Autumn is here. There is early snow in the Pyrenees, and any night there will be frost here. Krishnaji dictated Letters to the Schools number ten for January fifteenth distribution. It went well. He was filled with it, and wants to keep doing it. He walked around with Jean-Michel a little before lunch, rested only a short time afterward, and put his hands on Diane. She seems better, stronger, sits at the table, following all that is said, and smiles beamingly and shyly at Krishnaji. Krishnaji walked later with Jean-Michel, Marie-Bertrande, Madame Maroger, and me through the woods; Ikra, the nice German shepherd, coming enthusiastically with us. There were allées in the woods.’ You know, the French have these rather formal woods…

S: Yes.

M: …with what they call allées.

S: They’re like fire breaks in American forests.

M: Yes. But they’re rather formal, making a French formality in a forest. ‘There were allées in the French style. The open land is very flat and wide. Farms are being abandoned. Old farm buildings, beautiful in stone with rough plaster, are more expensive to repair than replace. So they’re replaced with prefabricated bungalows. Corruption of the French countryside slowly is happening. The Marogers, who started farming here with much enthusiasm, cannot get more than one paid helper and are overwhelmed by the amount that needs to be done, and it is never caught up with. Krishnaji ate at the table, promising to go back to his normal regime of supper by himself tomorrow. We watched the news on TV at 8 p.m., and he turned out his light at 9:15 p.m. I read nonsense, The Holcroft Covenant, a thriller, until 10:15 p.m.’ [Laughs]. ‘Then, sleep. There is something about being here, in the middle of France, remote and quiet.’

October fourth. ‘Krishnaji slept nine hours, feels well and entirely relaxed, away from the pressures at Brockwood, India, and Ojai. “How can we come back here?” he asked. There should be no difficulties. The Marogers are warmly welcoming, appreciating fully his presence, and wanting it to be a relaxed, quiet time for him. After breakfast, he dictated Letters to the Schools number eleven, which I won’t send until February first. It was on corruption of the mind, and making an image away from the fact. “We work well together,” he said at the completion of the letter. His head began toward the end.’ You know, his headache began.

S: Yes.

M: ‘In the afternoon, he put hands on Diane. Then, Jean-Michel and Marie-Bertrande drove Krishnaji and me to Amboise, where Jean-Michel lived as a boy during the war years. We visited the pagoda built by the duc de Choiseul, and walked in the woods along the Loire for a bit, and came back via Montrichard and Pontlevoy. Krishnaji had supper on a tray in front of the TV in his little sitting room. We watched the 8 o’clock news, including the funeral in Saint Peter’s Square of John Paul, rather a reprise of the previous Pope’s funeral in August. And so to bed. For me, reading.’

The next day. ‘It was a gray, cold morning. Krishnaji dictated the twelfth Letters to the Schools, mostly on energy, limitless energy, and our using energy in the psychological realm in service of the me. Jean-Michel and his brother Alain and his wife Claude, who live with their daughters, Anne and Natalie, were at lunch. They live in the other half of the house.’ It’s a funny house, which was part of an old abbey; and they split it in half, each family having a half. ‘Later, Krishnaji, Jean-Michel, Marie-Bertrande, Alain, and mother and I walked in the Forêt de Chaumont; and we brought the German shepherd dog, Ikra, along. Krishnaji treated Diane.’

October sixth. ‘It was a lovely, clear, and warmer morning. In the morning, Krishnaji dictated Letter to the Schools number thirteen on habit and tradition. “One can do the same thing at the same hour every day without it becoming a habit when there is an awareness of what is being done.” He spoke of the vain repetition of ritual as utterly meaningless. I asked about his Sanskrit chanting. He said, “I chant for the noise of it.” Krishnaji talked to Marie-Bertrande alone before lunch and later treated Diane. Lunch was out on the terrace under a parasol in a warm, indolent sun, precious and rare for October sixth. We had delicious, fresh flageolet beans and courgettes from the garden. At 3 p.m., we went to Chambord.’ Krishnaji didn’t like going into chateaus, you know, sightseeing. He wouldn’t go into Amboise when we went there. ‘Marie-Bertrand, I, and Ikra were in one car, and Jean-Michel and Madame Maroger in the other with Krishnaji. I went in to see the famous staircase and was surprised to see Krishnaji coming in with Jean-Michel. He was curious to see the staircase, too. He examined the chateau carefully, and thought the top too ornate. Marie-Bertrande and Madame Maroger went to Blois to fetch Diane from school. Jean-Michel, Krishnaji, and I walked with Ikra in the woods and then drove back along the Loire River. The light was beautiful. It flows across the landscape and through memories of French paintings, as Tuscany evokes Florentine paintings of the Renaissance. Krishnaji treated Diane when we got back.’

The seventh. ‘Another gentle, sunny day. Ariane Maroger, the oldest daughter, arrived last night. She is studying at the Louvre. Krishnaji dictated the fourteenth Letters to the Schools, mostly on thought, a very fine one. Lunch was again on the terrace, and later we walked around the place and in the woods. Krishnaji, of course, treated Diane; she is walking a little by herself.’

The eighth. ‘Another warm, lovely day. I did my exercise and washing, shoe cleaning, etcetera, a little earlier, and was quicker with breakfast. Tina, the Portuguese maid, is off on Sundays; today. Krishnaji dictated the fifteenth Letters to the Schools, mostly on wholeness of the mind, thought, desire, etcetera. Lunch was again on the terrace. I got punctuation up-to-date on all Letters to the Schools done here’—I was correcting my writing—‘so perhaps I can dictate them on my return to Brockwood [2]. After lunch, we sat talking till almost 4 p.m., with questions to Krishnaji on what he meant by insight. It came across as a perception uninfluenced by thought, conditioning, or memory—an instantaneous seeing of the whole of something.’ That’s not in quotes—I’m just reporting. ‘Everyone afterward walked about three kilometers along the road.’

October ninth. ‘The weather is still warm, but it is beginning to change. Jean-Michel went to Nantes. Krishnaji took the day off from the letters and rested in all morning while I did regular letters. Krishnaji got up for lunch, which again is outside. I went with Marie-Bertrande to the open-air marché in Montrichard, then to Blois to fetch Diane and post letters.’

The next day. ‘In the morning, Krishnaji dictated Letters to the Schools number sixteen. The afternoon walk was through vineyards south of Pontlevoy. The sky and light were beautiful. A Greek or Romanian man, who has to do with Jean-Michel’s shipping business, came for dinner.’

Krishnaji with the Marogers. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji with the Marogers.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

October eleventh. ‘Krishnaji dictated the seventeenth Letters to the Schools. All the Marogers were at lunch, including Alain and Claude and their daughters Anne and Natalie. Krishnaji sat on the lawn till 4 o’clock talking, urged on by Jean-Michel’s questions of the early days, Theosophy, theosophical notions, a little about the “process,” etcetera. It seemed to amuse him. He reminded me of the photos taken many years ago when he sat in a field. He looked so young, talking with ease, entertaining his audience, fascinating them, telling it all lightly with humor, never indicating whether he believed it or not. He then “treated” Diane. And at 5 p.m., he, Jean-Michel, Marie-Bertrande, Alain Maroger, the mother, and I drove to a wood where we saw boars being raised, and walked a long road through the forest, with heather and the smell of autumn leaves. It was so beautiful, it was the breath of this season filling the senses. When we came back, Jean-Michel showed Krishnaji films he made at Brockwood, Saanen, and…Greece’…?

S: He was half-Greek.

M: I know but…oh, that’s his own films and nothing to do with Krishnaji. I see, that’s why. Jean-Michel and Marie-Bertrande were both, oddly enough, half-Greek.

S: Ah, ha. I didn’t know that.

M: October twelfth. ‘Krishnaji and I left La Mahaudière [3] at 10:20 a.m. with Jean-Michel and his mother. We drove to Le Roissy, had picnic sandwiches in the car, and Krishnaji and I went off into the reaches of that pretentious airport. While waiting for our BE flight, a young Englishman and girl recognized Krishnaji, and came enthusiastically to greet him. They had been to the Brockwood talks; he was named Dick Temple and was a dealer in religious art, her name was Melissa Morant. There was an interminable queue at passport control at Heathrow, but it was quick with the luggage. Dorothy met us and gave us all the Brockwood news on the way back. One teacher, Daniel, has already left. The Hammick boy’—oh, yes, Mr. Hammick’s nephew. Mr. Hammick was one of the upper people in Huntsman.

S: Yes, I remember him. Yes.

M: And he had a nephew…

S: Yes, who came briefly to Brockwood.

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

M: …who came to this school. It says. ‘Hammick, nephew of the Huntsman tailor, felt Brockwood wasn’t the right school for him, and he left.’

S: Yes, it didn’t work out. I remember.

M: ‘We reached Brockwood by 6 p.m. Lou Blau telephoned with a new offer from a buyer for Malibu. I agreed to what Lou outlined.’

The next day was ‘unpacking, laundry, mail, etc. We walked across the fields with Dorothy. There was a staff meeting at 5 p.m. There was a letter from my stepfather that my cousin is now home from the hospital and that he, Wooge, had gone to stay with his son and daughter-in-law.’

On the fourteenth, ‘Krishnaji dictated the eighteenth Letters to the Schools.’ And all it says for the next day is that he spoke to the school.

October sixteenth. ‘Krishnaji dictated Letters to the Schools number nineteen. I read and punctuated earlier ones to Sheila, who will type them.’ Who’s Sheila?

S: She was someone who was your secretary. She would come in and do some letters for you.

M: For me?

S: Yes. You would dictate some things, and she would type them up. She was from the village. I don’t think she did it for very long.

M: Yes, I remember her. ‘Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked in the rain in the afternoon. Then there was a school meeting. On the evening news, there was the announcement that on the eighth ballot the cardinals chose a new Pope, Cardinal Wojtyla of Poland, who has taken the name of John Paul II. We saw him greet the enormous crowd outside Saint Peter’s in excellent Italian. “I’m bored with the Pope,” said Krishnaji.’ [Both chuckle.]

The next day, ‘Krishnaji talked to students. I went to Alresford and Winchester on errands. There was a walk in the afternoon, and I talked to Ginny Travers.’

October eighteenth. ‘It was a cold, clear morning. We took the 10:23 a.m. train from Petersfield to London. Joe and Mary met us at Waterloo, dropped Krishnaji at Huntsman, and me at the Morgan Guarantee bank. I checked our seats on Air India, and got some writing paper at Smythson.’

S: Where were they located?

M: Bond Street, in the middle of Bond Street. It’s all that blue kind of paper I use, you know. It’s where these little daily diaries came from.

S: Where is it on…?

M: It’s on the east side of Bond Street further up toward, I don’t know…further up.

S: Past the camera place?

M: It’s near the camera place, across the street. ‘I bought some writing paper at Smythson and joined Krishnaji at Huntsman. In the Burlington Arcade he bought a case for his pens and then we went on to Fortnum’s, where Mary lunched with us. I gave her the first six Letters to the Schools. At 2:15 p.m., Joe drove Krishnaji and me to Mr. Thompson. There was much laughter on the way at excerpts I read out from The Joys of Yiddish.’ That was a very funny book that Joe gave us. ‘It was written by a man called Leo Rosten. Krishnaji learned the meaning of “schmuck” and “nebbish.” Krishnaji’s teeth were checked and were found in working order. Thompson says he must use a Waterpik. He X-rayed the lower right molars for me where I had a slight ache, but nothing was amiss. Joe again took us to Waterloo where we had the time to buy three detective paperbacks and catch the 3:50 p.m. train to Petersfield.’

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

October nineteenth. ‘Krishnaji dictated Letters to the Schools number twenty. “We work well,” he said. He spent the remainder of the day in bed resting. At 5 p.m. I drove Frances McCann, Eleanor Hawksley, Karen Bowman, and Scott Forbes to Alresford Surgery for shots for India. I had my second cholera, typhoid, and typhoid-paratyphoid shots. Bud telephoned from New York. He and Lisa are flying to London for the weekend. I will lunch with them Sunday.’

The next day,‘Krishnaji dictated the twenty-first Letters to the Schools. He wants to finish a year of them, which would be twenty-four [4], while we are here. Then, he wants to go on with a different set, dialogues, he says. “I can dig this way.”’ Dig into things, you know.

S: Yes, I understand.

M: Yes. ‘“I can dig this way.” It appears he has found a way to challenge himself that he had thought he could get in the challenge of discussion with others. But there is no one with whom he has a challenging discussion. So he will challenge himself. I did correspondence with Sheila in the afternoon. At 4 p.m., Krishnaji held a meeting with the staff. Doris went on about everyone having opinions and how do we find intelligence. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked up and down the driveway twice for exercise. Then, there was a regular staff meeting after dinner.’

The twenty-first. ‘Krishnaji dictated the twenty-second Letters to the Schools. He is eager to finish the twenty-fourth and start a new batch. His mind seems ablaze, and in the afternoon, when we went for our walk, he did a preliminary run, not walk, to the gate and back while Dorothy and I waited. Only then did we walk through the grove and across both fields. The autumn landscape is so beautiful; the crop of blackberries has a perfume. The heavy summer rains followed by long ripening days of sun have made them delicious. I spoke to my brother. He and Lisa came on Laker Airlines. They’re staying at Claridge’s.’ [S laughs.] Why are you laughing?

S: Well, it’s just funny, Freddy Laker’s Airline, which I have traveled on several times, was the most cut-rate, bargain-basement, no-frills airline…

M: Yes. My brother always picks those kind of airlines…

S: And then he goes to stay at Claridge’s. [Hearty laughter.]

M: That’s standard with him; he’s still doing it. I don’t know if he’s going to Claridge’s because, well, he doesn’t go to London much anymore.

S: Yes. Does he still fly the bargain-basement…?

M: Yes, and he has some new thing that’s even cheaper than all that. [S laughs.] They go via Greenland or something, and I don’t know where.

October twenty-second. ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school and a mass of guests, but I took the 10:20 a.m. train to London, and joined Bud and Lisa at Claridge’s. Their room was just beyond the one that Sam and I had the first year that we stayed there. Sam’—my husband—‘made a movie at the studio MGM had just outside London.’

S: Was that Beau Brummell?

M: Beau Brummell? I can’t remember now.

S: Quo Vadis?

M: No, not Quo Vadis. Anyway, he made it there; and so, they put us up at Claridge’s. It was very splendid—we had a sitting room and a bedroom. ‘London on a Sunday and Claridge’s was quiet, relaxed, leisurely, and in its original dignity. It is order, not luxury, and that is attractive. Bud and Lisa lunched with me in the small Causerie dining room there.’ It’s a little side dining room, not the big one. ‘We talked at length. Then, we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, where Lisa had to see an exhibition that will be at the Cooper-Hewitt in January: drawings of the exteriors and interiors of castles, furniture, etcetera, for King Ludwig of Bavaria.’ You know, those Bavarian, weird castles. ‘We were able to capture a taxi, and I dropped them at the Royal Academy and went on to Waterloo and the 3:50 p.m. train back to Petersfield. They go to Paris in the afternoon for a week.’

October twenty-third. ‘Krishnaji did the twenty-third Letters to the Schools, and changed the format to a dialogue between himself and a questioner, he doing the questions too at first, and then having me do the questions.’

S: So, he started off doing the question, then he wanted you to ask him the questions.

M: Yes. ‘He seemed pleased by the way it went. He wants to do more this way. I dictated correspondence to Sheila in the afternoon, and got through the awful backlog, some of which I brought with me from California. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked on this marvelous afternoon. It was not cold, but had golden sunlight. There was a school meeting at 5 p.m. In the evening, Krishnaji and I watched sheep dog trials on TV and then a Panorama program on weapons in space. “Man has gone mad,” said Krishnaji.’

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji talking on lawn. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

The twenty-fourth. ‘Krishnaji said he had had a “marvelous night, an extraordinary meditation,” he said, and said he had it less when he is talking, i.e., during the public meetings and seminars, etcetera. Now, it is beginning again. After breakfast, in the kitchen, he said, “It must have been extraordinary. I feel like going away and disappearing. I shouldn’t talk about it. It isn’t put in words.” Then, “Someday I shall.” Krishnaji talked to the students alone. Lou Blau rang in the evening, and said there was a fire in Malibu but the house is safe. It broke out in Kanan Canyon. Also, there was one in Mandeville Canyon but not near Sunset. Lou is sending papers for me to sign on the sale of the house, as they must be notarized before I go to India.’

October twenty-fifth. ‘I took the 9:20 a.m. train to London, and did errands at Harrods, photocopying, etcetera. Then, Fleur lunched with me at Claridge’s. She seems puffier, but otherwise, alright.’ She’s not well. ‘She enjoys their place in Spain; it’s quiet, and they never have to leave their own place. I had my hair cut by Mary Links’s man, and caught the 4:20 p.m. train back. Just as I arrived at Brockwood, my cousin Lorna telephoned from the Vineyard. She had my letter and is home, much better; sounded alright. I telephoned Amanda; the fire came within three miles of their place. Barbara Poe’s house in Mandeville is alright and Betsy’s house is, too. Amanda said that Phil was working with Lori’—that was our shared gardener—‘on leaves in the garden. I felt almost there. I spoke to Elfriede.’

S: Alright. Well, then, I think we need to end it there because we’re not going to have enough tape for another full day.

M: Oh.

S: So, we’ll begin next time with October twenty-sixth.

M: October twenty-sixth, I will mark that right now.

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[1] That was one of the outlying cottages Brockwood had then. Back to text.

[2] Mary seems to have taken down Krishnaji’s dictation in her own version of shorthand, and then re-dictated them to her secretary at Brockwood to be typed. Back to text.

[3] The name of the house. Back to text.

[4] The letters were to be sent to the schools every other week. Back to text.