Issue #6

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Issue 6 – October 1966 to May 1967

Introduction to Issue #6

In this issue we see Krishnaji finally break away from the old management structure that had been put in place in 1925 and that had served him so badly. The local organizers in London, Paris, India, and Rome still organized events in their parts of the world, but it feels now like they answer to Krishnaji, Mary and Alain, and not to Rajagopal and KWINC. This, then, is the start of a new era in Krishnaji’s work.

There is also in this issue the first detailed description of what it looked like to see Krishnaji go into a talk, and then come out of one. This, along with the peculiar physical phenomenon of Krishnaji’s speaking when he was ill, are discussed.


Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue 6

Mary: Well, not remembering exactly where we left off, I suppose I’d better go back to autumn ’66, when Krishnaji was to give talks at the Oak Grove in Ojai for the first time in six years.

At this point he and Alain Naudé were staying with me in Malibu.

Scott: Yes, yes. We covered that; I know we covered that, Mary. You described the arrival. I don’t have a clear picture of the talks, but I remember that you found it unbearable the  nagging that Rosalind did at Krishnaji over the meals. In fact you didn’t want to go to meals any more.

M: Yes, yes, yes. I didn’t. And I think I described how increasingly unpleasant it became; the nasty tone of voice; it was nerve wracking. It was just having at him all the time. And so I soon began making excuses why I couldn’t come to meals and I ate by myself. Occasionally, when she wasn’t there, they both came and I cooked in the little flat for all three of us.

So all these things I was witnessing and that Krishnaji told me about were giving me a really shocking view into what Krishnaji had to put up with, with these people. And it was increased by another talk between Rajagopal and Krishnaji, which took place in the office under the flat where I’m living in the house next to Pine Cottage.

Alain and I were sitting in his flat, in the sitting room there, and we heard Krishnaji’s footsteps return to Pine Cottage and go in and close the door. Then after a bit, not right away, but after a bit we heard Rajagopal leaving the office, and when he’d gone Krishnaji came in to tell us what had happened.

I’m going to pause in the horrid descriptions of what was happening in Ojai, because before we went to Ojai the dentist told Krishnaji that he had a small cyst in his lower lip, and that it had to be taken out by a doctor.

So, on October twenty-fourth, I took Krishnaji into Beverly Hills where the doctor was, and he removed the small cyst using Novocain and put some stitches in. Coming home in the car Krishnaji suddenly fainted as he had in the past. And again I kept driving because you can’t stop suddenly. It would shock him and be bad for traffic, but I slowed down, and he came to quite quickly. But he fainted twice more on the way back. When we got back to Malibu, he spent the rest of the day in bed, but insisted on getting up for supper.

S: Did you take Krishnaji to your doctor or was this some other doctor?

M: The dentist was my dentist, and the dentist recommended Dr. Rubin, who was a nose and throat specialist, whom I’ve been to in the past.

On the twenty-seventh of October we went back to Ojai, and I took Alain to the Oak Grove for a microphone rehearsal, and that’s when Rajagopal wanted to talk to Alain, which I described before.

On the twenty-ninth was Krishnaji’s first Ojai talk in the Oak Grove. It was a very hot day, but there were a lot of people. And again the next day he talked, he talked both days of weekends. I skipped the lunch and went and did housekeeping in the flats, and after lunch we went back to Malibu where it was blessedly cool, and we took beach walks, mostly in the dark, which was lovely.

S: Mm, how nice. How would you get down to the beach?

M: My car. Although the house is above the beach, we never could get a satisfactory road down there, and if you did climb down, the climbing up was horrible because it was very steep.

S: I remember the place that you and the Dunnes had attempted to make a road.

M: Well, the Dunnes had a road.

S: Oh, the Dunnes had a road down it?

M: Yes, so I probably used the Dunnes’s road. I think so, or you could drive around, it doesn’t make much difference.

It was a hundred degrees on November first, but in spite of that we went up to Ojai in time for supper with Rosalind. Krishnaji had a dentist he’d been to for some years when he used to live in Ojai, a Dr. Meinig. So he decided to go back to his own dentist, and he had a tooth pulled out on the second of November.

On the third, we went up to the Thacher School, where Krishnaji talked to the students, after which Krishnaji and Alain came back and lunched with me on the terrace. I don’t remember where Rosalind was then.

S: I mentioned earlier that you and Krishnaji and Alain must have talked a lot about the Rajagopal situation because it was so appalling.

M: It was going through our conversation whenever we were alone, more or less.

S: Yes. I would imagine that. Did Krishnaji say anything like, “I’ve got to get out of this, this has to…”

M: Well, it was clear that something had to happen to change the situation. But I think Krishnaji never quite gave up hope that Rajagopal would come to his senses. Krishnaji always…he didn’t like to believe the worst about people.

S: I know.

M: He kept feeling that there must be some goodness that could be touched, and that Rajagopal could be reasonable. This was all utterly crazy, the whole thing. And so he would go to great lengths, and had always gone to great lengths, to try to mend the situation in some way.

S: Yes. In fact, that is one of the hallmarks of Krishnaji, actually.

M: It is; it is.

S: I mean no matter how appallingly people acted around him he would forgive them; he would look for some goodness to come out of them.

M: Yes, that’s right.

S: To a fault, actually.

M: Well, to a fault situationally, because this man, as a result, was able to get away with larceny! All those years, and not only larceny but abuse of Krishnaji. The attitude: abusive, critical, picking on him, complaining, real, real nastiness. And that was still going on.

S: Yes.

M: Then we come to the time when the television crew came, first time ever filming of his talks.

S: These were the NET films[1]?

M: Yes. It was a station in San Francisco called KQED. They came down, and set up  very nicely, I forget, two or more cameras. There was just one light near him, and then there was a reflector. He had a little canopy over him, because the sun would come at him. And they put a reflector up in it, so it reflected light down on his face, which was quite unobtrusive from his point of view, and it was effective.

Somehow or other the public broadcasting system learned that Krishnaji was going to give public talks, and I don’t remember how they got in touch, but Alain was the go-between. There was a man called Dick somebody, I have it written down, who was the director who came with a crew. They did everything quite nicely. It was unobtrusive and didn’t bother anybody. They missed the first one, but they filmed the November fifth talk. I think that was his third talk. I think they missed the first two.

Afterward, we all dined at Arya Vihara with Rosalind and her daughter Radha Sloss and her husband Jim Sloss and their three children. And also a friend of hers called Margo Wilkie who was staying there with Rosalind, who was the woman I think I mentioned who lived on Martha’s Vineyard.

S: You did.

M: On the sixth, Krishnaji gave his fourth talk.

On November seventh, there was a most unexpected heavy rain, so the talk that was scheduled had to be cancelled. Instead Krishnaji went up to the Happy Valley School>[2] and talked to the students, but I wasn’t there so I don’t know what happened.

S: The Happy Valley School was being run by…

M: Rosalind. It was begun by Krishnaji, Aldous Huxley, and Dr. Ferrando. Rosalind was just supposed to work there, do things but not be part of running it. But she quickly took over and got hold of it, and of course Krishnaji wasn’t there, and Huxley didn’t live in Ojai anymore. I don’t know what happened to Dr. Ferrando. Doubtless he had some interesting life I’m not aware of.

S: But then Rosalind gradually came to own the school or something, right?

M: Well, it’s owned by the Happy Valley Foundation, which was founded by Mrs. Besant, but it was supposed to be for Krishnaji’s use. Rosalind got control of it by appointing the board.

S: Mm, hm.

M: And Krishnaji wasn’t on it, only Rosalind’s friends and toadies, if I may be malicious.

S: So, she really did the same thing that Rajagopal did with KWINC.

M: She did. Exactly. One stole one foundation, the other one stole the other foundation. So between them they [S laughs] they were very successful! [M laughs.]

Anyway, after the talk at the school, we drove back to Malibu, arriving in time for supper.

The next day we went to town and again saw doctors. Then after a late lunch we drove back to Ojai.

S: Can I just stop and ask did Krishnaji make any comments about the Happy Valley School?

M: No, I don’t remember any. It was, I suppose, Alain who went with him, I don’t remember. I didn’t go, and it wasn’t a notable event.

S: Okay, go ahead. I interrupted. You went back to Ojai.

M: Yes, and then we had lunch. It was Krishnaji and I, I don’t think Alain was there, with Mima Porter. Do you know Mima Porter?

S: I met her.

M: Mima Porter was born de Manziarly.

S: Ah, she was a de Manziarly.

M: Yes. Her given name, which she would hate to have anybody know [chuckling], was Germaine, but she hated that and became known as Mima, always, from childhood up.

M: She was part of the de Manziarly life, with the Lutyens children[3], of course.

S: Ah ha.

M: She married a man called George Porter from Chicago. Very wealthy man. And shortly after the wedding, he committed suicide.

S: Oh, no.

M: How or why, I have no idea. She bought quite a big place in Ojai, and lived there for the rest of her life. Of course, she inherited a lot of money from the husband. I think she really supported the other two sisters after that, more or less. Anyway, we were invited for lunch by her and went. She was just someone I met. I mean, I didn’t have any particular impression of her. But, in the Ojai situation, she was absolutely on Rajagopal’s side. During the years after this, when Krishnaji was trying to come to some agreement, he kept appealing to Mima to talk sense to Rajagopal. Eventually in the spring of ’68, she was going to Paris anyway, she came when Krishnaji was there with a message from Rajagopal that everything would be alright. I’m jumping ahead now, but since I started on it…What she actually said was, “Rajagopal says that when you come to Ojai next year, we’ll settle everything,” which was his usual ploy, and nothing ever happened. But anyway, we lunched with Mima.

S: Now this is an interesting thing to talk about, though, because like Vigeveno and Mima Porter, they had to have, along with Rajagopal and Rosalind, and Radha Sloss, they had to have an image of Krishnaji that is very different from the view that all of us have held. And perhaps that should be talked about a little bit because someone like Vigeveno or Mima Porter who had been admirers of Krishnaji’s or of the teachings…

M: Yes.

S: …but they saw a difference between the teachings and Krishnaji.

M: Well, you see that was the story. That was encouraged.

S: Yes. Can we go into this a little?

M: As far as I understand it, and my understanding comes from what Krishnaji said. There were these people who were so-called devotees, but Rajagopal foisted on them the notion that there is a split personality—there’s the World Teacher, who was on the platform and is wonderful, says all these marvelous things; and then there is the man Krishnamurti, who’s a rather ordinary, fallible man. This is very convenient because, whatever they didn’t like was from the fallible man, whereas all the wonderful things could be attributed to the World Teacher.

S: I don’t think this is something that originates with Rajagopal. Because, to me, this is part and parcel of the Theosophical concept; that the World Teacher uses someone as a vehicle…

M: Yes.

S: …that the World Teacher, the Maitreya manifests…

M: Yes,

S: …and speaks through, but when he’s not there…

M: It’s the original ordinary human being.

S: Yes, there is just a rather, you know, ordinary, empty-headed human.

M: I think that’s where it came from. Because you remember that back in the ‘ 20’s and ‘ 30’s that Leadbeater and Arundale[4] would say that a black magician was talking through K at one point, and Mrs. Besant was upset about it and Krishnaji said to her, “If you think that’s so, I’ll never speak again.” So, whenever Krishnaji was saying something that didn’t suit them, they would claim it was the non-World Teacher who was talking.

S: Yes. You see I think this has to be understood, because otherwise, there is too much of the situation that just doesn’t make sense.

M: Yes. Yes.

S: Because here are people who, I don’t know, but I presume that they’re not bad people, Mima Porter or Vigeveno. I suppose they’re not bad people, but…and then we see the same thing again from some people at the end of Krishnaji’s life, right? Prominent people in the Indian Foundation that one wouldn’t have expected this from, like Pupul.

M: That’s true. It’s true.

Also, and I’m thinking of Mima now, she may have had some idea that by moving to Ojai she’d become a great and intimate friend of Krishnamurti and play a much bigger role than she ever did. And when nothing like that happened, there may have been disappointment growing into resentment and siding against him.

S: Yes, but they probably did play a role with Rajagopal, right?

M: Oh yes. Mima became the Vice President and, in fact, she was that at this time. They had two vice presidents, I guess. Krishnaji always said that she had edited some of the Verbatim Talks, but I don’t think we’ve ever found any evidence of that. But I’m not sure.

S: What I’m saying is that part of this ambivalence with Krishnaji was that they didn’t have, with Krishnaji, the spiritual prominence they thought was their due.

M: Yes.

S: But they could have that kind of spiritual prominence with Rajagopal.

M: I don’t know whether it was spiritual prominence, but they were…

S: Well, they were prominent in a spiritual organization.

M: Well, yes, yes.

S: Which is what I mean.

M: They were running the store is what it amounted to.

S: Yes. And a lot of people settle for that.

M: Yes. Now it’s interesting that in the de Manziarly family that two of them, Sasha and Mar—Marcelle, remained devoted to Krishnaji their whole life.

S: Mm, hm.

M: And Mima in particular and later Yo, because I think I described, or did I? Is it next year that we used to go to the movies in Paris and Yo would come along?

S: I can’t remember.

M: That was the previous year, and one assumed that she was just like Mar and Sasha, as devoted to Krishnaji. But it turned out not so. Now Mima had the purse strings and supported Yo, but then she also supported Mar, as far as I could tell, and Mar didn’t change. So, there it is. Anyway, it’s funny. It’s very strange.

S: Yes. There has to be some very peculiar thinking to allow…well first of all to allow a person to treat anyone the way Krishnaji was treated by these people. But then secondly, to, on one hand, to have a reverence for him, and on another hand to have a contempt for him. You know, if you look at it, it’s really pretty weird!

M: It’s true! That’s right.

S: I don’t know, maybe it’s just my playing amateur psychiatrist here, but the contempt allowed them to be comfortable with the reverence.

M: Yes. And don’t forget that at least Rajagopal and Rosalind had been anointed, or at least they thought they had, by Mrs. Besant, as the caretakers of Krishnaji. He was to be seen to by them. Which, in a way, made them feel that they could do what they liked [chuckling]. He’d been like a parcel handed to them.

S: Yes.

M: And they behaved just like that. Vigeveno, on the other hand, was a, well, I hate to speak this way of people [chuckling]…he had a sort of toady manner.

S: Mm, hm.

M: And always an awareness of money.

S: Mm, hm.

M: I think he and his wife both encouraged me in the beginning of my being interested, they invited me to that discussion group because I’d gone into their gallery with a women called Barbara Hutton, if that means anything to you.

S: No, it doesn’t.

M: Well, she was a famous heiress of the richest woman in the world or something. I went to school with her, which is how I happened to know her, and she was interested in paintings, and the Vigevenos had an exhibition I thought was good, and so I took her there. So that really started the cash register in Vigeveno’s mind.

S: Yes, I see.

M: Now I’m really accusing him of being entirely venal, and maybe they wanted to be nice to me, too, apart from any business things. But, he had that manner.

S: Mm, hm.

M: And at the same time he was not a very bright man. And completely under the domination of Rajagopal. And so was his wife, even more so, as will be seen later on [sighs] in this story.

S: Okay.

M: Anyway, let’s return to where we left off, after the awful scene between Rajagopal and Krishnaji, and Vigeveno came, and Krishnaji also showed him this letter that he’d written Rajagopal, which Rajagopal wouldn’t show Vigeveno. Although he was his vice president, he wasn’t allowed to see anything like that. [S laughs.] And there was a long talk between Krishnaji and Rajagopal that night, and it was a dreadful day, all along.

S: Mm, hm.

M: Then on the thirteenth, Krishnaji gave his sixth Ojai talk, and it was, as it says here, a wonderful one. And then dentist again for Krishnaji. Throughout all this, he’s always going to the dentist.

There was a public discussion on the fourteenth in the Oak Grove, after which we went straight to Malibu, as quickly as we could. We got there at sunset, and went immediately for a walk on the beach in the dark.

S: How nice.

M: We returned home to supper and talked endlessly. A couple of days later we went back to Ojai, again to the dentist.

S: This is the dentist in Ojai?

M: Yes, this is Krishnaji’s dentist, Meineg.

And that day Krishnaji had said to Rajagopal that he wanted the tapes of the current talks, and so he sent Alain and me to his house. Also, we were to ask for the Notebook manuscript. But Rajagopal wouldn’t see us, wouldn’t let us in.

S: So, what happened? You knocked on the door?

M: Yes, we knocked on the door, and while we were waiting for a reply his wife drove up in her car—Annalisa[5]. She looked rather flustered and said, “Well, what is it you want?”

We told her what we wanted, and she said, “Just a minute, I don’t think he’ll agree, but I’ll go in,” and she went in, came back, and told us that no to both. So we went back to Krishnaji.

S: What day is this?

M: This is the seventeenth of November. Rosalind wanted Krishnaji to come to Santa Barbara where she was really living. There was some sort of a Happy Valley meeting of trustees or I don’t know what. So, Alain and I were on our own, and we drove up to the Santa Ynez Valley, which is quite beautiful, and drove around, and then came back to Santa Barbara and went to a movie. Then we came back to Ojai and had a lovely dinner at the Ranch House.

S: So Rosalind wasn’t living, Rosalind wasn’t living…

M: She was living in Santa Barbara then. She later built a house on the Happy Valley land in Ojai. That’s where she lives today.

S: Mm, hm.

M: She had houses all over the place, but at that point she was living mostly at Santa Barbara. Krishnaji, when his work was getting back possession of Arya Vihara, he thought that we were putting her out of her home, but it turns out she had a house in Santa Barbara, a house in Hollywood, and a house, by that time, built on the Happy Valley land! [Chuckles, S laughs.] So she wasn’t exactly homeless! [S laughs more.] But anyway, I mentioned what we did that day because Rosalind later made an accusation against Alain, that he had met some evil man when Krishnaji was in Santa Barbara, but he was with me the whole day, and we drove around and went to a movie.

So we packed the next day, the eighteenth, and left Ojai. In the car going back to Malibu, Krishnaji…dumbfounded, is the only word I can use, both Alain and me by saying he had decided what to do. He would just walk out, and have nothing to do with Rajagopal, ever again, or KWINC. Rajagopal could keep the whole to-do, the money, everything, he wouldn’t touch it, he was through, which meant that he capitulated totally to Rajagopal.

S: Yes, of course.

M: I remember thinking at the time, although I was staggered by this, that I wasn’t surprised. He said, “I can’t be mixed up in this. I can’t. I can’t fight this thing.” Alain was really…not speechless; on the contrary, he blew up in the car, which was so awful, so unjust.

At that point we arrived in Malibu, and found that the TV people were going to film an interview with Krishnaji on the lawn. So, that occurred. We had to stop talking about all this. So, in the evening, when Krishnaji and I again went for a walk, I talked alone with him at some length. When we returned to the house I got Alain to come in and the three of us talked. At that point, um… how did it go? Krishnaji called Rajagopal, but he wasn’t in. Annalisa answered the phone. Annalisa said Rajagopal was out, and she took the opportunity—it was her only opportunity to speak to Krishnaji alone, and she poured out her own emotion over these terrible fights, and said she knew how difficult Rajagopal was, and that he had wanted to agree to the things in K’s letter, but that K’s conversation had made him blow up. Obviously Rajagopal had told her a doctored story, never went on about this cursing business, and thought it was all Krishnaji’s fault that he’d upset Rajagopal. Krishnaji just talked to her sort of soothingly and didn’t go into anything. So then I went into the other room and had a long talk with Alain, and while we were talking Krishnaji rang Rajagopal’s number again and got hold of him. Krishnaji told him this thing that he’d told us in the car. Rajagopal’s reply was, “This is a blessed day.” So there we were, all this to-do and Rajagopal had won on all scores.

S: Mm, hm.

M: So, again there was a long, long talk. And…

S: When you had your long talk alone with Krishnaji, what were you talking about?

M: I was talking about what he’d said, pointing out all the consequences to him. He listened to me, but he didn’t…I wasn’t trying to persuade him, I was just trying to give him a picture of it, and I was explaining that Alain felt somewhat betrayed by all this. Earlier, Krishnaji had said to Rajagopal that he, Krishnaji, would no longer accept any money from KWINC for his support. So Alain had then said he too would not take a salary. Because one of the things Krishnaji had put in that letter was that Alain should be paid a salary, and that on Krishnaji’s death Alain should be paid a pension. But with the current situation Alain refused any money. Everybody was pulling out of anything to do with Rajagopal, which was, of course, just fine with Rajagopal.

S: Mm, hm.

M: He didn’t have to pay for anything, and could keep all the money for himself.

S: Yes, and the copyright.

M: Copyright, all the land, everything!

S: He had everything that produced any money.

M: Yes! [S laughs.]

S: And he was getting rid of all the expenses! [More laughing.]

M: Exactly! And he had the power, which was what he most liked.

S: Of course. Which is what so much of this stupidity was about.

How did Krishnaji expect to live?

M: That was not discussed. [S laughs.] He was doing what was right, he really felt at that point.

S: Yes.

M: Then the next day, the nineteenth, I helped them pack, and made food for them to take on the plane, and took them to the airport, and said goodbye, and at 11 a.m. they took off for Rome. But before they left, Krishnaji said to Alain, “If ever you are disillusioned with me, sir, you have only to say so.” And Alain made an echoing statement to Krishnaji. Then it was discussed whether Alain didn’t need a holiday. At first he said that he couldn’t take a holiday, that yes he did need a holiday, but that he couldn’t take one when things were in this upset state.

So they went off to Rome, and a few days later I got, I guess, a letter, or maybe I telephoned, I’ve forgotten, that Alain was going to go to Pretoria to take a holiday, and not go to India. And he would rejoin Krishnaji when he came back from India.

So then, that was the end of ’66. They both wrote to me. Krishnaji wrote to me from New Delhi while he was in India through the end of that year. I stayed in Malibu, obviously, and now we come to ’67. Do you want to go on, or…?

S: Oh, yes.

M: We’re now in 1967. I’m in Malibu, Krishnaji’s in India, Alain had gone to South Africa to see his family and have a rest. I had a letter on January fourth from Krishnaji written in Rajghat, and another one toward the end of the month from Madras, telling me he’d received the package of brewer’s yeast he had wanted, and which I’d sent. [Both chuckle.]

In early February, Alain rang me from Paris and said that he would take charge of the hunt for an apartment for us, for Krishnaji’s talks in the spring. I was quite relieved because I knew he’d do it well. In February, Krishnaji went from Rishi Valley to Bombay.

On the fifteenth, I got a cable from Alain saying that we had a house in Paris, and that he had to go to the hospital for some minor operation. And on the same day, I had a letter from Krishnaji in Bombay.

So on March first, I flew to New York and then to London, and on the fifth Krishnaji arrived in Rome from Bombay. Alain met me and we rang Anneke in Holland and we learned that we had a house for Krishnaji near Amsterdam for May.

S: You were in London; Krishnaji was in Rome staying with Vanda Scaravelli?

M: Yes. Alain came to London after settling up the house in Paris. He came over for an  operation that he was supposed to have. He was in the hospital a while.

On the seventeenth, I went over to Paris to see the house, which was in Boulogne-Billancourt, just south of the Bois, near Longchamp, just within perfect walking distance to the Bois for the afternoon walks. It was a nice house. It was on a little tiny street called the Rue de Verdun, onze[6] Rue de Verdun.

S: When exactly is this?

M: On the sixteenth, Alain was released from the hospital, and we both flew to Paris and stayed at the Hotel Pont Royale. The following day we went to see the house in Boulogne-Billancourt that I had rented, and I went over everything with the proprietor, very formal goings-on. [S chuckles.]

On the eighteenth, Alain flew to Rome to join Krishnaji at Vanda’s. I remained in Paris for the next four days, but on the twenty-second, I also flew to Rome. I checked into the Hotel Rafael and went to Vanda’s. I remember Krishnaji was standing by the gate to meet me, and we all four had a lovely lunch together. Later, Krishnaji and I went for a walk, and we discussed all the events in California.

S: Where did Vanda live in Rome at that time?

M: Villa del Casaletto. It is just outside Rome, in the direction of the airport, but not that far out. It had a garden and was very nice.

I took them both [chuckles] around. There’s always shopping in these places. The shirting material place and shirt maker were in the old part of Rome, up cobblestone streets. That was a fun sort of shopping! [Chuckles.] So they chose the material they wanted. Then, of course, it takes a lot of study to make the decisions about the details of the shirt you want made. [Chuckles.]

S: Of course, of course.

M: They both enjoyed it very much, and I was enjoying it because it was fun. I’d been able to provide them with something that they liked. [Chuckles again.]

S: Yes.

M: Unfortunately, I caught a cold and stayed in bed, but when I got better, I was summoned to be treated by Krishnaji for a couple of days.

On the thirtieth, Krishnaji gave his first public talk in Rome at the Istituto di Pedagogia.

The next day I lunched at Vanda’s. Saral and David Bohm were there.

S: Oh! Did they come over just to hear the talks?

M: I’d presume so.

On the first of April, Krishnaji gave his second Rome talk at the same place, and we discussed a meeting of young people that Alain had rounded up the day before.

On the fifth, I flew to Geneva and took the train to Bern, where I spent the night. The next day I went by train to Thun to get my Jaguar that had wintered there.

I remember driving from Thun to Gstaad through a snowstorm, a spring snowstorm. I’d left things in the attic in Les Caprices. You could store things there while you’re away over the winter. So I got out whatever it was I wanted, and then I went to Pernet, which wasn’t Pernet in those days, it was Grossman’s. Mr. Grossman owned what became Pernet’s. I picked up some health food things, and then drove on into France and spent the night in Avalon at the Hotel de la Poste.

The next day I got to Paris by noon, and moved into the house, and went over the inventory with the proprietor. The whole of the next day was spent putting everything in order. Alain called from Rome to say that Krishnaji would be coming soon. The following day I went with Marcelle to see the Salle de la Chimie, which is where Krishnaji was to speak, and which was a much better hall than the Adyar one of the year before. It was bigger and better and more dignified. It’s right on, um…oh, right near that part just off the Seine on the left bank, not Rue de Grenelle, but it’s near there.

That same day, the eleventh, I met Mr. de Vidas, and we went to Orly and met Krishnaji flying in from Rome by himself and I took him back to the house at Rue de Verdun. We  were having supper when Alain arrived in his Volkswagen. He’d driven up. So we were all in our nice little house. There was a part-time maid who came with the house, so I didn’t have to do all the work. The next day I cooked lunch, and then of course [chuckles] in the afternoon we went to Lobb for shoes and Charvet for more shirts.

On the thirteenth, Yo came for lunch, and we went to a cinema. The Professionals, if you remember that.

S: Ah, yes, I do.

M: We walked in the Bois every day we could.

Various people came for lunch almost every day. One day the Suarèses came.

On the sixteenth, Krishnaji gave his first Paris talk in La Salle de la Chimie. He spoke about violence and sorrow.

From then on, we started to go to Bagatelle, which was lovely for me because in my childhood, I’d gone there. You’ve been to Bagatelle, haven’t you? It’s a little park within the Bois, but unto itself.

S: Yes.

M: And there’s a little house, which, as a child, I was fascinated by. Above the door, it said Parva sed apta, small but apt. I thought that was so nice, to have a little house [S laughs] in a beautiful place like that [M laughs].

S: Yes.

M: It’s lovely. So then we took to walking there every afternoon.

S: Did you walk right from the house?

M: No, we drove there. The Bagatelle is a bit further up in the Bois. It was nice having been there as a child and coming back and walking with Krishnaji. That seemed very nice, very nice.

S: Of course.

M: We had two or perhaps three young people discussions. There was a quiet Quaker center in the Rue Vaugirard where those occurred.

Then, Krishnaji did a Paris radio interview, but I can’t tell you who interviewed him. I don’t remember.

S: Did Krishnaji speak in French?

M: I think so.

S: There’s a couple where he spoke in French.

M: Yes. Again, people for lunch, movies, including a French movie, La Grande Vadrouille. I remember that.

Oh, I see that Sacha[7] came for lunch.

S: What did Sacha do for a living?

M: He was in the diplomatic service. He was French counsel in Shanghai or Hong Kong. I think it was Shanghai for years, and other countries, too. He lost one leg in the war, and that sort of pained him. Krishnaji used to try to help him.

S: Mm.

M: Sacha was always fun because he liked to tell funny stories, and he wasn’t at all serious. He used to make jokes about the astral plane, [both laugh] but he was very nice, a very cheery fellow, and he made Krishnaji laugh.

S: Mm. How nice.

M: He and his sister Mar, they shared an apartment on the rue Jacob. We went there, I think, during this time for lunch with the two of them.

S: Was he retired by now?

M: I think so, yes, must’ve been. But he still knew all kinds of people, and all sorts of places. He had funny stories to tell about all them, which was nice. So, this brings us through April, I think.

Krishnaji also, at this time, was giving personal interviews.

S: Who arranged them? Alain?

M: I suppose he did it. I don’t think I did it then. Alain must’ve.

S: What time of day would Krishnaji give his interviews?

M: All morning sometimes.

On the twenty-eighth, for instance, Alain flew to London to see his doctor again and Krishnaji held interviews all morning and another one later in the day. Krishnaji and I walked in the Bois, and Alain got back for supper. We were leaping between countries all the time as though taking a taxi somewhere. [Both chuckle.]

The fifth and last talk was on April thirtieth, and it was quite an extraordinary one.

Then, on the third of May, we flew to London, all three of us, and stayed at Claridge’s. Krishnaji and Alain went to Huntsman. We tried to go to the cinema, but it was the wrong time. K had dinner in his room, I remember [chuckles].

S: Was that the first time you’d stayed at Claridge’s again since…

M: Since I was there with Sam, yes. I think so. Yes.

Alain again saw his doctor, and Krishnaji [chuckles] again went to Huntsman, and we went to a James Bond movie.

The next day, again, to Huntsman, and then we took the afternoon plane back to Paris. [Chuckles.]

And the following day we went to another cinema, A Man for All Seasons, and walked in the Bois.

S: I remember that one. That was a marvelous movie.

M: On the seventh of May, eighteen mostly young people came to see Krishnaji in the morning and then afterward, he and Alain and I lunched at the Suarèses’, and then K and I walked in the Bois. This is probably immensely dull for posterity.

S: Well, I don’t know. I think it’s good to have it down. [M chuckles.] But it’s especially good if we add other little things that maybe aren’t in your notes. Why did you all fly off to London just for a couple days?

M: Because Alain had doctor’s appointments, and both of them were due for Huntsman fittings. [S chuckles.] You must realize the importance of these matters. [M chuckles.]

S: I do realize, I do realize the importance of these matters. [M laughs.]

M: One simply flew to another country for these really vital things. [Both chuckle.] I see here that I had both of them and my father and step-mother to lunch at Chez Conti. I don’t remember much about it!

S: Now, tell me, all this time are you continuing to talk about the Rajagopal situation?

M: No.

S: It just dropped?

M: No, it’s not that we forgot anything about it, but it was sort of in abeyance. It was left that way.

S: It was still just resolved that Krishnaji was going to walk away from the whole thing, and then that was it?

M: Yes.

S: No other, nothing else was being contemplated?

M: No.

S: Alright.

M: I can’t say that it was never thought of, or discussed again, because clearly, it couldn’t be left like that.

S: Now, I presume Alain had stopped sending the audio-tapes of the talks back to Rajagopal?

M: Yes, yes…no! No!

S: He kept sending them back?

M: Mm, hm. I think so.

S: That’s incredible in itself.

M: I’m pretty sure, but only pretty sure. There comes a moment when he breaks off sending the tapes.

S: But this isn’t it.

M: Rajagopal still had the copyrights through ’67, but that ends in ’68. So they were still going back to him then.

S: Incredible.

M: On the tenth of May, we loaded both cars, my car and Alain’s car, and Alain set off at 11am in his Volkswagen, and Krishnaji and I in my car. We left Paris and drove northeast to Arras where we met Alain at a restaurant we’d found in the Michelin!

S: Michelin, of course.

M: A restaurant called Chanzy, and then we drove on into Belgium and spent the night in Ghent at the Hotel St George. We left the next morning at 11 am, and went through Antwerp into Holland, and then I got a bit lost in Utrecht. Of course, we never could keep the cars together. It just doesn’t work.

S: No, of course not.

M: Anyway, somehow I got out of Utrecht and [S laughs] found my way to Huizen, which is where we had a house.

S: Ah, ha! You were staying at Huizen?

M: Yes. This was wonderful, a wonderful house. We somehow met Alain in Huizen before either one of us had found the house. We had instructions from Anneke, so we conferred, and we found it. And it lovely. A real farm-house with a thatch roof, and it

had a nice cow smell. There was a big room with a fire-place as you came in, stone floors, and a kitchen. In the back, on the ground floor, Krishnaji had the main bedroom with his own bathroom. Upstairs were three further bedrooms for Anneke, Alain, and me, and we shared a bathroom. It was very nice. There was a lovely wood next door, beautiful wood, which is somehow like a park, a private park, and this played a great part in our stay in Holland. We got permission to walk there; there was never anybody there, and it was winding walks with streams running through, or maybe they were canals—I don’t remember—little ones, with ducks. We walked there every afternoon. It was lovely! Really lovely. So we settled into our house, and then K and I went for a walk in the woods. Eventually, Anneke and I cooked dinner.

The next day, a neighbor, Mrs. Warren-Brecher, took me into shop in Bussum! Bussum is the little town where you shop, and she showed me the different stores because I had to do all the marketing, obviously. I remember the places where you bought the cheeses, and others the vegetables, and others the fruits, and another, lovely biscuits. Anneke stayed through lunch, and then Alain drove her to her house in Oosterbeek, which is down near the border. Krishnaji and I walked in the woods, and then the three of us had supper by the fire in the big room that night. It was lovely.

The next day, the three of us drove to Oosterbeek and lunched with Anneke. We came back and walked in the woods and had supper again by the fire.

S: Now, how far is this from Amsterdam, because this is for the Amsterdam talks, right?

M: Yes, it’s not too far. I think I allowed 45 minutes, all told. It’s not very far.

One thing that we did in those days was talk about where we wanted to live in Europe. There’d been talk before about where we would have a house, which would be our headquarters in Europe. And there was much discussion of where it should be. Alain had the idea that he could acquire a South African servant who would do all the chores; he would use the car, would take the luggage in and out, he would cook, and valet, and  everything! He would be a sort of elegant slave, as far as I can see. And we wouldn’t have to do any dishes [S laughs] or anything like that anymore. [Both laugh.] Alain was sure he could find just the person. This is very pre-Nelson Mandela. [S laughs.] Mind you, this is 1967.

S: In my view, there weren’t so many people like that in South Africa in that day, either.

M: Apparently, there was a wholly different view of life in South Africa. But that’s what seemed a very good idea to Alain. [Laughs.]

Then, lo and behold, Rukmini Arundale[8] came for tea, on the seventeenth. She was staying in that place near Bussum, where they have the Liberal Catholic Church?

S: It’s near Huizen.

M: Yes. Anyway, she was staying there, and she came for tea! I’d never seen her before, of course. She had a very gimlet eye, appraising, who are these strange new people in Krishnaji’s life? [Chuckles.]

S: But she had nothing to do with Krishnaji in those days, did she?

M: No. Nothing. But because he was in Holland and she was nearby, I think she came really out of curiosity, probably. So it was a rather formal conversation. I remember being amused at her appraising glances. [Chuckles.]

S: I’m surprised that she had that friendly of a contact with Krishnaji, because she didn’t later.

M: Well, it wasn’t all that friendly. It was a rather formal call. He was obviously wondrously polite and so forth, but it wasn’t old friends meeting.

S: No. But she was hostile to him, as I remember, later on.

M: Yes, she was. Well, anyway, she came for tea, but nobody was smiling or made jokes or anything. It was just polite small talk.

Let’s see, what happened then? It was cold and wintry. Anneke came back. I remember we had a discussion on whether the mind can be critical without condemnation? That was the topic of conversation. And we went to see the Z…how do you say it? Zorderzee?

S: Zuiderzee.

M: Zuiderzee. [Laughs.] Ah, yes.

After seeing that, I went off to case the route to the RAI Hall in Amsterdam so I could know how long it took, so know when we had to leave, how to get there, where to park and all that. After that, I spent the rest of the day in the Rijks museum, which I’d never been too, which was lovely.

S: Yes it is.

M: And so, on May twentieth, the next day, I drove Krishnaji to his first Amsterdam talk. The hall was full, and everything was fine. That afternoon, Mary and Joe Links, and two Dutch friends of theirs, a couple, came to tea! We had tea, went for a walk, and talked, and it was very nice. After they left, Krishnaji felt he hadn’t had enough of a walk as they walked slowly. [S laughs.] So the two of us went back and walked fast through all this lovely wood. There were all kinds of ducks on the little waterways there, including those little crested ones. And the little baby ducks were there as well. There would be the mother duck and the little tiny ones afterward. And Krishnaji noticed sometimes there weren’t as many the next day. Foxes or something must’ve got them. And his noticing that is strange because he remembered that later in Ojai, in his last days. He said, “Do you remember the little ducks and how there were less of them?”

S: Yes, I remember.

M: That was on May twentieth.

The next day he gave his second talk. A young American painter called Jay Polin came for lunch. I think Alain had met him and invited him for lunch. Also that day, Krishnaji did a taped interview for Dutch radio.

S: Can I stop here and just go back to Paris for a minute?

M: Yes.

S: How did Krishnaji get to the talks in Paris? Did you drive him there?

M: I drove him, and had trouble parking.

S: Exactly, I was just thinking that.

M: Well, they were supposed to save me a place on the street. There’s no parking lot. So I remember had to park sort of half on the sidewalk.

S: So, after the talk, would you and Krishnaji get in the car together, or would he walk off and you pick him up someplace?

M: No, he would get out as fast as possible. He just walked right into the car.

The same thing in Holland, but there were much bigger audiences in Holland because the RAI holds a lot of people. But they did have a parking place at the RAI so I could more easily maneuver all that. Sometimes he would be sort of almost dazed after a talk, and he would stand in the next room to where he spoke, and I had to try to keep people away from him.

S: Yes, I remember doing that at Saanen and Brockwood, and eventually India.

M: And yet he didn’t want me to keep people away. I had to play it by ear. It just shocked him to have people come up and start talking to him. And it happened often. In New York it used to happen.

S: Why don’t you talk about that a little more now that we’ve started because that’s interesting, and perhaps significant too. I used to think in my own, I don’t know…jargon, almost, think of Krishnaji needing to come in for a landing.

M: He had to be grounded here.

S: Yes, because otherwise he was so sensitive after speaking that people…he seemed almost physically hit by someone’s presence.

M: Yes, he was.

S: And certainly people who came up to him with an insistence, or an obsessive need to speak to him, it was like a physical assault on him. What do you think that was? How do you see it?

M: I felt it that as certain talks were so intense and so deep, that it was as though he was elsewhere, some part of him was deeply in the perception of that he was describing, and to come out of that, he couldn’t suddenly be right back in a normal state.

S: He needed a re-entry period of some kind.

M: Yes, yes.

S: Can you say more about this?

M: Well, I can tell you, I remember once in Malibu, we were sitting in the living room having dinner on trays, and I think the television was on. We hadn’t been talking, but something, I don’t know what, made me speak about something on the television, and he came to with a start. I mean he’d been off. And my speaking to him shocked him, physically shocked him. It’s like one mustn’t wake him up. When one had to wake him up, one did it very gently, gently, gently, but never touch him, that would’ve been worse. But when I’ve had to wake him up, here, for instance, in Brockwood, I would speak very low, and very few words, and keep it up until it sort of eased into his consciousness. Then he could come out of sleep without a shock. It was sort of like that.

S: Yes, yes. I saw also he would also have a period of quiet to go into something, too. So it wasn’t just at the end coming out, it was also before that he needed…

M: Yes. Quiet, and I never spoke to him in the car, going. For instance, in Saanen, I would be ahead of time—he wanted this—I would be in the car with his door open. The moment he opened the chalet door and walked the few feet to the car, I started the engine, he got in, closed the door, and we moved. And I never spoke to him, unless he spoke to me.

S: Yes, yes, exactly. And sometimes he would speak.

M: Sometimes. Those are the times he would say, “What am I going to talk about?”

S: Yes.

M: But I never initiated conversation. And then you took over when we got there while I parked the car.

S: And somehow, I understood that this was necessary. It seemed physically necessary.

M: Yes.

S: I didn’t even have to be instructed in this. It was just obviously physically necessary because you could see the consequences on him physically.

M: That’s right. And you wouldn’t have let anyone come near him before. Luckily, no one tried that much. Once or twice I may have had to ward someone off. But in a way, I felt, not that it’s the same thing, but the fainting, which, he said, was leaving the body.

S: Mm, hm.

M: And not to touch him, or do anything. Just wait. Because that would be a terrible shock to him to be brought back too quickly. I feel that it’s somehow of that nature, but not that extreme.

S: Mm, hm. Mm, hm. One of the things, of course, that was sooo, I think, insulting or at least difficult for some of the people in India, was when Krishnaji wanted me to be with him after the talks in India, and we would go out walking. It was very much the same thing. And then there were a lot of people around. But it was like Krishnaji wanted a neutral companion or just someone who would be just neutral.

M: Yes, yes.

S: Respond when he said something, but otherwise…

M: Quiet.

S: I wasn’t even looking at him really, just kind of aware of him. A neutral companion.

M: He used to, later, not in the early years in Saanen, you know, he would walk up the path so fast, as you’ve seen him.

S: Yes, yes.

M: And he would want me to follow him but not too quickly. He wanted to walk away from everything. And, as you saw, it took me a while to push through the crowd with the car without hitting anybody, to get him, and he was almost to the bridge sometimes.

S: Mm, hm.

M: And then he’d get in the car and then quiet from then on till we…unless he wanted to do something. Sometimes he wanted to do something, and he’d be perfectly normal.

S: We should say everything about this that we can think of, because this is something significant, because this is…I guess it’s a physical expression of something quite other, quiet different.

M: I think it is.

S: And so it’s a very unusual thing. It’s something that people reading Krishnaji’s books will never have a sense of.

M: That’s true.

S: So, there is this thing that Krishnaji would have to go through, and this is the kind of thing, of course, that Theosophists would say, “Oh yes…Ah, here it is…”

M: They would say, “Yes, that’s the Maitreya.”

S: Exactly. But it wasn’t that.

M: It wasn’t that.

S: It wasn’t that at all.

M: I’m adamant about that, and people could say, “Well, what do you know?” but he could talk the same way that he talked on the platform if he were sitting on that chair.

S: Absolutely.

M: So, there’s no possibility.

S: But also I would argue that from what one can sense, that there wasn’t a sense of something else being present that wasn’t there all the rest of the time.

M: It’s just that he went into a certain region, I don’t know what else to call it, a certain state, a certain depth of perception, which is beyond everyday consciousness.

S: Yes.

M: And yet, as you’ve seen yourself many times, when people from the audience would speak up or some nut would try to climb up on the platform, he was right there and coping with it.

S: Oh, absolutely. But he did need to…there was this before and after…

M: Yes. Before it was starting to…it’s as though, I don’t know what was happening…

S: Like gathering energy…

M: …but it’s as though it was starting to move inside of him.

S: Yes, yes.

M: And then afterward, sort of like decompression. He had to be quiet and also it must’ve been, although he never said this, physically very taxing.

S: It must’ve been.

M: Because the tremendous power and energy that went into him. So that when the body begins to calm down, it must somehow manifest the, not exhaustion, but…

S: Depletion.

M: Yes.

S: Yes. And, as long as we’re talking about some of these things, there was also that extraordinary phenomenon that we’ve seen where Krishnaji has gone onto the platform actually ill and weak, and then suddenly, at some point, he is just in full health, full of energy and vitality and strength, an extraordinary strength for a man of any age.

M: Yes, yes.

S: And that somehow was also part of this whole process, whatever this process was.

M: Yes.

S: And afterwards I can remember, or at least in my memory, but I don’t know how accurate it is, he wouldn’t go back to being quite as ill as he was before, when this took place.

M: Yes.

S: He would come down, but he didn’t go back to being quite so ill.

M: Yes.

S: Is that how it was in your memory?

M: Yes, yes, yes. When he’d be ill beforehand, one would think, “Well, should we cancel the talk?” and then ultimately he gave the talk, and that thing you just described would occur. And he, he wouldn’t go back to being weak and hardly able to stand up. [Pause.]

S: This is all part of something that’s just very odd.

M: Yes.

It’s become such a boring cliché these days to talk about energy. Everybody’s talking about energy.

S: Mm.

M: But, in the context of Krishnaji’s life, it was an amazing phenomenon, that energy.

S: Yes, yes. And of course he spoke about the energy that went through his body for several years. He talked about that. But what’s just so interesting is that it was so visible; it was so physically manifest.

M: Yes. [Pause.]

S: I don’t even know if…[long pause]…I don’t know if a person could live with that extreme refinement, I would say, that Krishnaji had during those talks, because that’s also what it seemed to me to be like after the talks. That he was in a state of such refinement, of such sensitivity, of such I don’t know what, that normal life was almost too vulgar, or too coarse, or too something. [Pause.] I don’t, for instance know if Krishnaji could have just physically survived or lived in that state the whole time. You know that kind of state that he had when he was giving a talk.

M: I don’t know.

S: There was a sense that he had to come out of this, not…

M: Well, this again, is total speculation. I haven’t even a notion about this till this moment, but in order to do what he considered his job was, which was to talk, he had to live on a normal plane to a certain degree. Now, if that hadn’t been his job, as he put it; if he’d been able to do something quite different, which is to become a…

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[1] National Education Television, part of what is today the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Back to text

[2] Founded in 1946 on land bought by Annie Besant for Krishnaji’s work in 1927. Back to text

[3] Emily Lutyens was very much the adopted mother of Krishnaji and his brother Nitya, so her children and their friends the de Manziarlys knew Krishnaji from their earliest days. Back to text

[4] Charles Webster Leadbeater and George Sidney Arundale were important in the Theosophical Society, but felt they should have had more prominence and importance in Krishnaji’s work, and when they didn’t get that, they initiated a split with him. Back to text

[5] Rajagopal’s second wife. Back to text

[6] French for eleven. Back to text

[7] Sacha de Manziarly Back to text

[8] Married George Arundale at the age of 16, and later started a well-known Bharatanatyam dance school. Back to text

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