Issue #66

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Issue 66—December 18, 1980 to March 6, 1981


This issue seems to fly along mostly, I believe, because Mary only has her little daily diary on which she can draw. Being in India was so physiologically and psychologically draining for her that at one point, both Krishnaji and Dr. Parchure wonder if she shouldn’t leave. She doesn’t, but the result for us is an account of daily activities that can’t afford the emotional expression we have become used to from her. We see her emotions open up and flourish as soon as she is back at Brockwood for a few days, and then back in Ojai.

But all the time she is away, she is compiling notes for the second volume of Mary Lutyens’ biography of Krishnaji. And she spends the last part of her time in Madras collecting evidence for the second court case against Rajagopal.

When I think of Mary at this time: sixty-six years old, and frail, I am astounded by the sheer energy she expends on travel and doing all that she did for Krishnaji.

The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #66

Mary: We’re beginning on December eighteenth, 1980 when Krishnaji and I are in Rishi Valley. ‘Krishnaji called Achyut, Sunanda, Pama, Asit, Dr. Parchure, and me to his room after breakfast. We sat on the floor and discussed Narayan’s position and role here. Krishnaji wants Narayan to devote himself to the teachings and nothing else. The committee must be responsible for everything else. The talk went on till 12:15 p.m. This was to be a day of rest for Krishnaji, but again, he has brushed that aside. Dr. Parchure is asking whether Krishnaji is awake to his dissipation of energy, his irritability at times, and an inattention. Krishnaji says it is not irritability; it is urgency. In the afternoon, he spoke to Narayan alone and said it went well. He said he asked Narayan, if an angel appeared and asked him what he most wanted, what would be his reply?’ [M chuckles.] ‘“Enlightenment,” said Narayan. Krishnaji was pleased. Then Krishnaji asked, “More than that lady?”’ I’ll bet he was talking about…

Scott: Usha?

M: Yes.

S: Whether Narayan wanted enlightenment more than he wanted Usha?

M: I think so. [Chuckles.] ‘At 3:30 p.m., the trustees, other than Krishnaji, met at Narayan’s to discuss videos and tapes; who makes and sells them, who has jurisdiction, in other words. The school grounds were noisy with helicopters casing the football field where landing sites have been made, but they seemed overly cautious and afraid to land. I left at 5 p.m., and went for a walk with Krishnaji, Asit, and Hooker over the chosen path for Krishnaji to possibly walk with Mrs. Gandhi on Saturday. It has been smoothed and covered in red earth. Krishnaji was pleased by it. Much activity has been going on all day, with knots of men standing about, supervising others’ labors.’

S: [laughs] Very Indian!

Krishnaji speaking with staff at Rishi Valley, in front of the old guest house. Narayan is sitting to the left of Krishnaji. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji speaking with staff at Rishi Valley, in front of the old guest house. Narayan is sitting to the left of Krishnaji.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

M: December nineteenth. ‘There are immense preparations going on for the prime minister’s visit, and the school grounds are filled up with soldiers and officials; plans are changed and amended with each new word from Delhi on who, how, and when the prime minister’s group will come. Krishnaji called a meeting of Pupul, Achyut, Sunanda, Pama, Asit, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, Rajesh, Ventkataraman, Krishnakurtti, and me to discuss the new setup for the school, and suggested that Krishnakutty travel around India for the KFI; finding good teachers, students. There was an absurdly long debate on students’ blue jeans:’ [both M and S chuckle] ‘faded ones are banned, but this has been amended to mean’ [both chuckle more] ‘they must be clean, not skin-tight, and not patched.’ [More chuckles.] ‘Asit was impassioned for jeans—because he had two daughters in the school who wore them.’

S: Yes.

M: ‘Achyut held out for a religious atmosphere…’ [More laughter from both M and S.] Oh, dear!

S: That grown people could give time with Krishnaji to this!

M: Yes. ‘…but it wasn’t clear how jeans deny a religious atmosphere.’ [More chuckles.] ‘What a waste of Krishnaji’s attention and energy. This is supposed to be his day of rest. In the afternoon, I had a tea for the trustees of KFT’—that’s the trust in England—‘KFA, and Canada. I walked with Krishnaji, Dorothy, Mary C., and Scott over the route which Krishnaji will walk with Mrs. Gandhi.’

The twentieth. ‘News of Mrs. Gandhi’s arrival kept changing. We were given badges with our names, and copies of the minute-to-minute program. She finally arrived at 1:40 p.m. by car with her son Rajiv, his wife Sonia, and their two children (a boy and a girl), plus a secretary, a doctor, ministers, and unknown others. Students and villagers met her at the gate. I used the Nikon there and at the planting of a ficus benjamina, then, in the assembly hall, where first Krishnaji spoke and then Mrs. Gandhi. She spoke spontaneously and conventionally. Some of the brighter students with whom I talked later at Shanti Menon’s Hostel’—that’s one of the hostels where the children sleep—‘said she obviously didn’t know what Krishnaji teaches. I spent about two hours at the hostel having tea and talking to keep out of the old guest house, where Krishnaji and Pupul gave tea to Mrs. Gandhi and family. Then, she and Krishnaji talked privately for about an hour, after which Krishnaji took her for the walk along the new path, photographed by Asit and guarded by 450 security people!’ [S laughs, then M laughs.] There weren’t enough trees for them to hide behind.

S: I think the population of the county doubled!

M: ‘Separately, she toured the school grounds by car, inspecting some of the hostels and the rural center. At 7 p.m., under the banyan tree, there was mridangam playing and a ballet. Supper was under moonlight, opposite the dining hall, a long table was set in the middle. Krishnaji had Mrs. Gandhi on his right and son Rajiv on his left. Her family were there, but otherwise, there was only the foreign guests, Dorothy, Mary Cadogan, Theo, Hooker, the Siddoos, Mark, Merali, Scott, and me. We at the head table got waited on, whereas everyone else ate buffet-style. I sat opposite Mrs. Gandhi and granddaughter, a quite Western-looking little girl in pigtails with a lilting, precise voice. Asit’s youngest daughter Sonali, who had been one of the students delegated to be with the grandchildren, told her father that she and her brother talk to each other in children’s pidgin English.’ [Chuckles.] I’d forgotten this. [S laughs.] You know, you have to insert something in everything you say.

S: Yes, yes, yes.

M: Anyway, ‘Sonali understood this, and said Rajiv’s children were superciliously critical of everything. It was 9 p.m. when Krishnaji, very tired, finally got to bed.’

December twenty-first. ‘Yesterday, Mrs. Gandhi made an unplanned visit to Thettu[1] and the villagers came to dance for her at 6:30 a.m. this morning in front of the new guest house where she spent the night. I went to see, and then disappeared into my room. Mrs. Gandhi, her family, and Pupul came for breakfast with Krishnaji before leaving, with the cars lined up outside. She is precise in ignoring no one. There was a farewell gesture to the little…’ I remember this vividly, she was …well, she was a politician.

S: She was indeed, yes.

M: Yes. ‘She is precise in ignoring no one. There was the farewell gesture to the little bent old sweeper woman, who daily whisks the earthen driveway, and she waved to me.’ I was standing up in the building. I didn’t go down to see her off as I felt it would be an intrusion. Anyway, ‘she caught sight of me in the doorway and waved to me, taking a step forward to do so. The cavalcade swept away, and the place seemed to exhale. The electricity promptly failed. Krishnaji and I went upstairs for our own breakfast. Achyut had spoken with a minister, and ten lakhs are to be spent…’ Now, I can’t remember how many a lakh is.

S: I think a lakh is 100,000. If so, then ten lakhs of rupees is one million rupees. They had funny number denotations—but useful, in a way. Do you remember the crore?

M: Yes. What was that?

S: A crore was, I think, 100 lakhs, so it would be ten million, but I’m not sure anymore.

M: That’s a lot. Anyway, ‘…ten lakhs are to be spent on enlarging a rain catchment on Rishi Konda, which will ensure the whole valley against drought. This and extra telephone lines, and repair of the roads are the promised tangible consequences of the visit. It is said that Rajiv would like to send his children to the school, but his wife doesn’t want to be separated from them. In my eye, Mrs. Gandhi is more of what she seemed two years ago: concentrated, controlled, imprisoned in her life and its power, and lack of affection; at once in the center of possibilities, and cut off from freedom, enjoyment, trust. The death of her son, Sanjay, may have increased all this. The determination remains, but it is without focus, and it is hardening, stalling. Krishnaji, from sitting out last night, and the upsetting of his schedule, has begun to have a cold. Dr. Parchure came to tell me that Krishnaji was planning to go in an open jeep over the dusty, rough roads to look at a dam site on Rishi Konda. I went to talk to him, and he was adamant about it. But, after I left, he called me back, and backed down a little. In the end, he didn’t go. I did his packing and mine.’

The next day. ‘We left Rishi Valley at 6 a.m. instead of the usual 4 a.m. Krishnaji, Asit, Dr. Parchure, and me in the Santhanam car. All the school was out to see Krishnaji off. We stopped for fruit, eating by the roadside. All the villagers that passed stopped to stare in amazement at Krishnaji, saying something we could not understand in Telugu.’ Telugu is the language of that region. ‘In the car, Krishnaji, for Asit, gave a chart of the Theosophic hierarchy: initiates, disciples, arhats, bodhisattvas. Krishnaji, according to Theosophy, is an arhat, i.e., beyond the opposites, beyond ego, a master. He said that an arhat, or bodhisattva, supposedly can live on in his body or give it up. He said that if he did not travel about so much and consequently wear out his body, he probably might live much longer, but, he said with a laugh, an astrologer had just told him he would live another twenty years.’[2]

S: Hm.

M: ‘I said, what about settling down in one place right now and keeping the body as it is. “No, it’s too late,” he said. All this was said in an amused way, not seriously. We reached Vasanta Vihar at 10:45 a.m., unpacked, and had lunch in the upstairs dining room; just Krishnaji, Sunanda, Pama, Asit, Parchure, and I. I took a nap and a bath and went with Krishnaji, Radha, and Asit to Radha’s house. We walked on the beach. The air from the sea was cool and clean. The sound of the surf was good to my ears. I had had a headache during the drive, and at around 11 a.m., I was nauseated, and again at 2 p.m.’

December twenty-third: ‘I stayed in bed with a slight fever and slept most of the day. Dr. Parchure gave me pills and put me on a liquid diet. I felt only weak, the nausea is gone, but sleeping away healed greatly. Dorothy, Mary Cadogan, Theo, and Hooker arrived, and are staying here. Scott, Ray McCoy’—I don’t remember Ray being there, but he must’ve been—‘Harsh, Claire, and Anand’—that’s their child—‘are staying in a house rented for guests. The Siddoos are in a hotel.’

S: Oh, that’s right. I’d forgotten that. Jayalakshmi rented the house.

M: Did she?

S: Yes.

M: That’s what she also did for me when I first came, as I reported earlier.

S: Yes.

M: And, not just for me, but for me, Frances McCann, and Naudé. She rented a house and rented all the furniture; it had been empty.

S: Yes, for us also she rented all the furniture, and supplied the servants…

M: Well, she lent her Brahmin cook to us for one meal a day, which was generous.

S: Yes, we had a cook, and we had a guard.

M: A guard, yes.

S: And someone to clean, I think. [Chuckles.]

M: The twenty-fourth: ‘I had no fever in the morning, but it came again in the afternoon. I stayed in bed all day. I got a long letter from Amanda. I read, slept, and worked on biographic notes for Mary Links. Krishnaji talked to the Siddoos, Theo, Hooker, and Asit, about their problems. I was able to attend a press conference that Krishnaji gave in the morning.’

Christmas Day. ‘I stayed in bed all day reading and doing notes for Mary Links, except for lunch with everyone, where I just sat with everyone, not eating anything. Then, back to rest. My fever was down to ninety-nine. Krishnaji is worried, and so Dr. Parchure is being over-cautious, putting me on a fat-free diet so I can have special plain things cooked and served on a tray.’ The constant non-plain food was part of my troubles in India. Somehow, it was alright for a while and then…

S: Yes, most bodies that aren’t used to it just get exhausted.

M: My digestion finally said enough!

S: Yes, yes.

M: And I was always eating the least spicy food, the same thing that Krishnaji was getting as Parameshwaram always went very light on chilies.

S: Yes, but even then.

M: December twenty-sixth: ‘I stayed in my room resting all day, but Dr. Parchure okayed a walk in the afternoon. I went with Krishnaji and others by car to Radha Burnier’s house and walked on the beach. The sea air was the best cure for me. The annual Theosophical Society Convention is on, so there were many people wandering around. I had no fever today.’

The twenty-seventh. ‘I was quiet all day, still getting all my meals on a tray. I have no fever. I got up for Krishnaji’s first Madras talk at 5:30 p.m. in the garden. There was a very large crowd. Krishnaji had me sit apart to not be in the crowd with germs. He spoke on corruption in this country, and in mankind. The root is attachment. He felt after the talk, that there had been no communication with the audience; but Asit and others said the contrary. The crowds closed in on him at the end, touching his feet, his hands. It makes him squeamish.’

December twenty-eighth. ‘I felt weak, so I stayed quietly in my room till 5:30 p.m., when Krishnaji gave his second talk in the garden. He was engulfed afterward by devotional crowds.’

The twenty-ninth. ‘I finally felt well again, and resumed normal life: meals at the table, etcetera. Krishnaji, Pama, Theo, Scott, and I walked on the beach after driving to Radha’s house. At 6 p.m., she joined us, and said the TS convention members wanted to greet Krishnaji if he would walk through the grounds. So, even though he had been tired earlier, he set off at a military pace with Radha, Scott, and I behind. As the march progressed, it became quite a parade. It was getting dark by then, and hands in namaste greetings and faces flickered along the road. A few times, Radha paused to introduce someone to Krishnaji; smiles, the greeting, and off we went again. My strength had come back, and my running shoes carried me along like roller skates. The car took us from the gate.’

S: So this is the “ceremonial” walk I remember, rather than the first one.

M: It must’ve been. Yes, because it was late. It was dark by the end, I remember. That makes sense.

S: But again, there was Dick Clarke on his bicycle and the whole thing.

M: I know. [Both chuckle.]

S: Okay.

M: ‘The day was not over for me. It is Sunanda’s birthday, and Merali had twenty-five of us to dine at the Taj Hotel. Parameshwaram gave me a tray first, and so I ate nothing else at the Taj, and didn’t feel too tired.’

December thirtieth: ‘At 9:30 a.m. in the big hall, Krishnaji held what was to be a computer-versus-human-brain discussion with Asit and Harsh mainly, but with Achyut, Sunanda, and I participating, too. There was a sizable crowd of listeners present. It was a continuation of Krishnaji’s exploration of whether the human brain has capabilities beyond the computer. He brought it to the point where thought sees it is mechanical and limited, and is silent. Joy Mills was at lunch. Later we walked on the beach, and the sea wind was the breath of health.’

‘The Siddoos have been eating worms a bit at being in a hotel.’ [Both laugh.] ‘They were asked to come early, and all the trustees, minus Krishnaji, plus Mark, Scott, and Ray McCoy, who is now going to Wolf Lake School, held a meeting to talk over anything and everything. It lasted all morning and cleared the air. In the afternoon, a few—Dorothy, Mary, Theo, Alan Hooker, and Scott—went to hear Radha address the TS convention. I walked on the beach with Krishnaji and Pama. We were joined by Rita Zampese, who is here for two weeks. Krishnaji had his usual supper in bed. The rest of us had it in the dining room, and there was not a trace of it being New Year’s Eve.’ [Chuckles.] ‘Sunanda’s arthritis had kept her in bed all day. Mary, Dorothy, Dr. Parchure, and I went up to see her after supper. She was merry and chatty as always, and showed us a necklace she had had put together of rudraksha beads.’

S: What are they? I know it’s a nut from a tree, but perhaps you can explain for others.

M: Yes, it’s the thing I’ve always got around my neck.

S: I know, I know.

M: It’s a nut from a tree that grows in India and elsewhere in Asia, too, and it’s considered something sacred about it, for some reason, because all sannyasis always wear them.

S: Right.

M: But non-sannyasi women wear them rather the way women wear pearls in the West, a necklace of little ones.

S: Yes. But, a big, double one…

M: …is mine.

S: …like you have, is a rare one.

M: Yes, and it’s alone and just on a chain.

S: Yes. [Both chuckle.]

M: Anyway, ‘she showed us a necklace she had had put together of rudraksha beads and coral. The beads are seeds of a tree that is supposed to have mysterious qualities. Sunanda demonstrated and held her necklace over a Krishnaji book; in a few moments, it started swinging in a clockwise positive direction. She moved her hand a little, to place it over a different part of the same book, and the necklace reversed and swung the other way. Why? Consternation. I jumped up to look, and the necklace was now over “edited by D. Rajagopal”’ [laughter] ‘in huge letters! When she moved it back to Krishnaji’s name, and it went clockwise. She then held it over our hands, and all were clockwise.’

And that completes 1980!

S: Terrific. Isn’t that wonderful? [Laughs.] Well, we whipped through 1980, I have to say, mostly because there wasn’t much of the big diary.

M: Yes.

S: Good. So, now we’re in 1981.

M: January first. ‘I woke up early and began the year in the best of ways: by going upstairs to greet Krishnaji before I saw anyone else. He came down and brought me a white fragrant blossom he finds in the garden. So, the year began with his blessing. At 9:30 a.m., in the big hall, he held what was to be a continuation of Tuesday’s discussion of the human brain versus computers. Is there something the brain can do that is beyond the computer? Unfortunately, too many people were there. Narayan’s brother, Krishna, who is a computer expert, was brought into it by Krishnaji, but a review of the previous discussion had to be made for him and also for a biology fan who spoke up, so there was too much backtracking. Such discussions should be limited to those who have participated from the beginning. In fact, because Krishnaji instinctively tries to bring the audience along, the discussion is held down. In this one, Krishnaji spoke of something beyond the brain, which he called “mind.” Krishnaji kept the “mind” apart, and it was only at the end, with time running out, that he spoke of “mind” as something outside and beyond human thought, something timeless, boundless.’ I must remember that when we get into these discussions here about brain and mind, and everybody misuses the words.

S: Mm, hm. Mm, hm.

M: ‘At 6 p.m., a flutist came with a violinist and mridangam player, and they played for Krishnaji most magically. It was again, for me, a time when Indian music is like water flowing, carrying one, and one is in it and of it.’

Now, I’m afraid this is going to be skimpy until February, as I only have entries in my little daily diary.

S: Oh! Okay.

Krishnaji in Madras. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji in Madras.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

M: So for January third, there is only something about my getting our tickets back to London from Bombay on February fifteenth, and ‘Krishnaji gave his third Madras talk.’

On the fourth, ‘Mary Cadogan, Theo, and I worked on her affidavit about KWINC. We telephoned Erna. The connection was so bad that it was very hard to hear, but we managed. There was a meeting of Mary Cadogan, Dorothy, Pama, Merali, Scott, and me about video funds. Krishnaji gave his fourth Madras talk at 5:30 p.m.’

The next day, ‘I went into the city to get my visa renewed, but they said it was too soon. I must do it in Bombay. At 4 p.m., I met Radha Burnier in her TS office at Adyar, and with her went through files for material about the transfer of Krishnaji’s archives to him in the 1950s, to support our case that the archives were not sent to Rajagopal. From there, we went on to Radha’s house, where Krishnaji came, bringing Scott and Malini for a walk on the beach.’

On the sixth, there is only, ‘I went shopping with Prema, and at 4 p.m., Lakshmi Shankar sang for Krishnaji, after which we went for a walk on the beach.’

The seventh. ‘I went to the American consul with Mary Cadogan and Theo about Mary’s sworn affidavit on archives sent to Krishnaji and not to KWINC. I walked on the beach with Krishnaji, Pama, Radha, and her niece Shubha. When we came back, there was chanting by Brahmin priests.’ That was wonderful.

S: I remember it. It was quite extraordinary.

M: The next day. ‘At 9:30 a.m., there was a meeting with Krishnaji of the Indian, English, U.S., and Canadian trustees, after which there was a large lunch and party at Jayalakshmi’s for everyone. At 4:30 p.m., the students of the Krishnamurti school in Madras put on a play at the school in Damodar Gardens. Krishnaji went. We walked on the beach afterward.’

January ninth, ‘There was again a 9:30 a.m. meeting of Krishnaji and all trustees, and this time the available teachers were included. At 4 p.m., Krishnaji talked with Narayan, Rajesh, Sunanda, Pupul, Nandini, Mrs. Thomas, Achyut, and me on how Narayan can bring about a “genius” mind like Krishnaji’s in students. The walk with Krishnaji on the beach was with Radha, Nandini, Theo, and Scott.’

The next day, ‘All the trustees and teachers met usefully. At 3:30 p.m., I went to Radha’s office in the TS and composed the text of her statement on the archives being sent by Jinarajadasa to Krishnaji, not to Rajagopal.’ It was important for the case to have this statement that the archives were sent to Krishnaji, and not to Rajagopal, because he claimed that everything was his.

S: Yes.

M: ‘I came back with Radha to Vasanta Vihar in time for Krishnaji’s fifth talk.’

On the eleventh, ‘At 9:30 a.m., Krishnaji held a teachers’ meeting. I slept in the afternoon. Krishnaji, at 5:30 p.m., gave his sixth and last Madras talk for the year. Harsh, Claire, their child, and Mark Lee left. Pupul gave me a most beautiful sari.’

January twelfth. ‘I went into Madras center to change travelers’ checks and to the U.S. consulate and other errands. Dr. Sivakamu and Radha came to lunch’—she was another of Radha’s aunts.

S: She apparently used to play on the beach with Krishnaji and Nitya before they were “discovered.” At least, that’s what she told me.

M: Yes, yes. ‘At 4, Krishnaji chanted with Venkatachalam and Narayan. Except for Krishnaji, all of us dined at Prema Srinivasan’s.’

The next day, ‘I went with Pupul, Radha, Theo, and Jamni Thadhanam to the U.S. consulate, where Pupul, Radha, and Jamni had notarized statements.’ Jamni had been secretary for Jinarajadasa, who was the president of the TS when the archives were sent, and it was she who did the actual posting of the archives to Krishnaji in Ojai at the request of Jinarajadasa. It proved that the archives weren’t sent to Rajagopal, but were sent to Krishnaji.’ I remember I brought back photocopies of all this. Anyway, we got statements about all this notarized. ‘Pupul soon left, but the rest of us were there all morning, getting papers copied, etcetera. Radha lunched with us at Vasanta Vihar, and after, we made files of these papers and originals of the Krishnaji—Jinarajadasa correspondence for Theo to take to Erna. We walked on the beach with Krishnaji, Radha, Scott, and Rinpoche Sandher.’

The next day, ‘Dorothy was ill in the night but left anyway with Mary Cadogan and Scott for Bombay to continue on to London.’ That’s when what you mentioned yesterday happened.

S: Yes. Yes. She was incredibly ill on this voyage and needed such looking after. She had to lie down in the aisle of the airplane because she couldn’t sit upright, she was so ill.

M: ‘At 9:30, Krishnaji held the first seminar discussion with invited scholars. A Rinpoche from Benares, and Professor Khare’—he was an Indian who taught in this country. ‘I was a participant. It was videotaped. I had a nap in the afternoon and a walk with Krishnaji, Rajesh, Radha, and Rinpoche. Alan Hooker and Theo, with all the papers, left for Bombay and on to Ojai. Krishnaji, with Dr. Parchure, thinks I should leave India for my health.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji withdraws on my leaving. At 9:30 a.m., a second seminar meeting was held with Krishnaji, Rinpoche Sandher, Pandit Jagannath Upadhyaya, Professor Brij Khare, a Ceylon lawyer, Pupul, Sunanda, Achyut, and some others. There was too much rain to walk in the afternoon. Pupul and I dined with Radha Burnier, her aunt, Dr. Sivakamu, Achyut, Rinpoche Sandher, and Pandit Jagannath Upadhyaya.’

January sixteenth. ‘Today was the third and last of the seminar discussions here. Krishnaji was ablaze and I talked afterward with a Daniel Rogan, an American who wrote to him and will come to the Ojai talks and see if there’s work for him. Narayan came to talk to me after lunch. Then, Subbulakshmi sang at 4 p.m.; not too well and too long. At 6 p.m., Rinpoche, Radha, Pama, and I walked on the beach. There was a cable from Mary C.; she, Dorothy, and Scott arrived safely, and Dorothy is recovering.’ You get those weird sicknesses in India; suddenly you get sick.

S: Yes, yes.

M: At least, we who haven’t the right resistance do.

S: The Indians do, too, and they die like flies. Look at the mortality rates. There’s the myth that only Westerners get sick there, but lots of times, Indians get laid up as well.

M: The next day. ‘At 7:30 a.m., Krishnaji held a question-and-answer meeting. Afterward, I did desk work. Pupul left in the afternoon. The beach walk with Krishnaji, included Radha, and Murli Rao.’ He was a nice man who lived in Delhi.

January eighteenth. ‘I worked all day on dates for Mary. Krishnaji continues to see people, like Malini. A sannyasi talked to Dr. Parchure about herbs. The walk was with Krishnaji, Radha, and Pama.’

The next day. ‘I packed. Krishnaji talked most of the morning with Pandit Jagannath Upadhyaya. In the afternoon, Krishnaji saw Malini again, and she has finally decided to go to a U.S. university for a degree in education. Krishnaji, Pama, Radha, and I walked on the beach.’

The twentieth. ‘After doing some errands in town, Krishnaji, Achyut, Sunanda, Pama, and I went to lunch with Radha and her aunt Dr. Sivakamu. Krishnaji reminisced and teased Sivakamu about her brother-in-law, Arundale, and all the sins of those days!’[3] [Both chuckle.] ‘Jamni Thadhanam was also at the lunch table. On Radha’s and my suggestion, Krishnaji visited some of the rooms in the TS headquarterS: Dr. Besant’s, his own, and Leadbeater’s. He remembered almost nothing of them.’ I think that’s when he said that he didn’t remember the big room that he and Nitya had, but he remembered Mrs. Besant’s small office room next to it, and he remembered her sitting on the…what was it called? A chowki?

S: Something like that.

M: It’s a sort of big, shapeless settee sort of thing. He remembered her sitting there, writing letters, and he would sit somewhere else in the room and doze. That’s what he told me at the time, but I hadn’t written it in this book. ‘When we came back to Vasanta Vihar, a tree expert, Raja Shikran, planted more trees. At 6 p.m., Krishnaji went back for his walk on the beach with Radha and saw the full moon rise out of the sea.’

The next day, ‘The newspapers say the U.S. Tehran hostages have been released. Reagan was inaugurated president yesterday. Up at 4:30 a.m. Krishnaji, Achyut, and I took a 7 a.m. flight to Bombay. We were met by Nandini, Asit, etcetera. Krishnaji and I are again staying in Asit’s flat on Peddar Road.’ Asit and his wife used to move out, and they turned their flat, which was a nice flat in what was known as Sterling Apartments, at times over for Krishnaji’s use.

S: Yes.

M: It was nice of them, and they left two servants, a couple who did the cooking and the cleaning, and all the rest of it.

January twenty-second. ‘We stayed in quietly except for a walk around the race track at 6 p.m.’ That was the Bombay Race Track, and it was a good place to walk. ‘Asit brought two computer experts to lunch, one Indian, Ashok someone, and the other was an American, Pat…’ Mc-something. ‘Vikram brought three issues of Herald Tribune, that the hostages were released just after Reagan’s inauguration Tuesday, and flown to Athens briefly and on to Wiesbaden, for debriefing. Reagan had Carter go there to receive them yesterday.’

The next day, ‘I copied biography notes for Mary Links all morning, then lunched with Krishnaji, Asit, and Radha Burnier. We talked at length about the brain and the mind. I read and rested in the afternoon, then walked after 6 p.m. on the racecourse, Krishnaji, Asit, Devi, Nandini, and me. Krishnaji and I had supper alone.’

January twenty-fourth. ‘I went shopping alone to the cottage industries in Malabar, but was back for lunch. Later, I went with Krishnaji and Asit to the J.J. School of Arts, where at 6:15 p.m., Krishnaji gave his first Bombay talk of the year. People were prevented from mobbing him as he got into the car to leave, but were outside waiting to touch his hands through the car window. Nandini returned with us.’ That was really sort of horrible.

S: I know.

M: They stuck their hands in and tried to grab him.

The next day ‘was a quiet day. The Patwardhans came in the morning for a while. Krishnaji rested. I worked on the biography notes for Mary. Krishnaji had a long private talk with Asit. Krishnaji, he, and I lunched. There was a nap and rest. Again, Asit and I drove with Krishnaji to the second Bombay talk held at 6:15 p.m. Supper afterward was with Krishnaji, Nandini, Asit, and me. Today the American hostages fly from Wiesbaden to the U.S.’

The twenty-sixth. ‘People came and went in the morning. I worked on the notes for Mary Links,’ and there’s really nothing of note.

January twenty-seventh. ‘At 9:30 a.m., Krishnaji held a discussion with about twenty-eight people on the effects of computers. All thought is mechanical, therefore, it’s the same as the computer, and if that is all there is, there is a deterioration of mind. Afterward, I went with Devi to shop, worked on notes, and then walked on the racecourse with Krishnaji, Asit, and Devi.’

There was nothing of significance on the twenty-eighth, but on the twenty-ninth there was the second discussion here at the apartment.

Again, there is nothing significant until January thirty-first, when Krishnaji gave his third talk, which was in the evening. He said on the way home that ‘he almost stopped talking and left as he just couldn’t feel communication with the audience.’ All these days I continue to work on the notes for Mary L.’s biography.

February first. ‘Krishnaji rested all morning, and we had lunch alone. At 5:50 p.m., Krishnaji, Nandini, and I went to Krishnaji’s fourth Bombay talk, which was at 6:15 p.m., on beauty, listening, fear. Fear is time and thought. The audience was no different, but it sat utterly still, as the fullness of Krishnaji’s talk rose out of him,’ and they felt something happen. ‘Frenzied hands again reaching to touch him through the car window.’

February second. ‘People came and went, seeing Krishnaji. There was a meeting with him of the Rajghat group. After lunch, Krishnaji gave an interview to Leela Naidu Moraes. The walk with Krishnaji included Nandini, Asit, Devi, Gamsham, and Shubha’—that is the niece of Radha—‘and me. Narayan says he is unwell and can’t come to Bombay, but Krishnaji felt that, for his own sake, he must come.’

The third. ‘There was an interview of Krishnaji by Pupul, filmed for Indian television.’ Then just the usual lunch with people and walk.

February fourth. ‘Narayan arrived from Rishi Valley, and at 5 p.m., Krishnaji had a long talk with him about Usha.’ In the evening there was a dinner given by Amru. She is a sister of Pupul, I think, and Nandini. ‘She gave dinner for Krishnaji and the whole group.’

For February fifth, we have the big diary again, so we won’t be quite as skimpy. ‘At 10 a.m., there was a KF India trustee meeting to which I was invited. Merali was made a member.’ Then for some reason I have these four points:

‘1. Radhika Herzberger and her husband are coming to Rishi Valley in July 1982.’ That is Pupul’s daughter, and her husband Hans. ‘Radhika will be on the executive committee for Rishi Valley.’

‘2. The three Patwardhans’ home is Vasanta Vihar, permanently.’ That would be Sunanda, Pama, and Achyut. ‘KFI members will have the right to live at schools in their old age, if KFI agrees.’

‘3. Teachers will be expected to transfer to other KFI schools for periods of one year from time to time.’

Krishnaji walking in Madras. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji walking in Madras.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

‘4. Narayan is to create, at Rishi Valley, a place where the catalyst that changed Krishnaji as a boy can again take place. “The door is waiting to be opened.” At Madras, too, someone must be there to provide the atmosphere, and it must be for students who are there for Krishnaji’s teachings, and nothing else. There will be no education to become engineers, etcetera, but only a total involvement with Krishnaji’s teachings. “If you do this, the door will open, something will take place. I say this with scientific clarity. This has not happened because I have not stayed in one place.”…“If I stayed in one place, I would do it, but it is not my dharma. My job is different.” There is no goal in this. “Either you are inviting something tremendous, or you invite the devil, like any little ashram.”…“That is the devil, the real dangers—the Rajneesh, the Mahesh Yogi, etcetera.” …“If you ask heaven to bless you, it will bless this. The Foundation is nothing without this, and the Foundation has not done it. The door is there to be opened. It is not me. The thing is waiting, hoping. It needs brains, a global brain. Don’t say, ‘I haven’t got it.’ All that is gone. It is a child waiting to be born.” He said to Narayan, to Sunanda, to Upasani, and to Krishnakutti, “You have said you would do it, and there is no going back. You must have a vital brain, global and dynamic. If you are a woman, you are not a woman anymore, even if you wear a woman’s body. You may have been egotistic in the school, but not here. And if you are not here, you will not do all that there.”’ I think that means that if you are not here, like that, you will not do all that there, you will not do what you’re supposed to be doing.

The next day there was really nothing of note, but on the seventh Krishnaji gave his fifth Bombay talk.

February eighth. ‘Krishnaji had a long talk with Narayan in the morning, while I worked on notes for Mary L. Krishnaji and I lunched alone. At 6:15 p.m., Krishnaji gave his sixth Bombay talk, a very fine one. The audience sat hardly breathing. “Religion is skeptical inquiry.”…“Meditation is the understanding and ending of knowledge.” There was a frenzy of hands trying to touch him through the car window afterward.’

The ninth. ‘Krishnaji had a long talk with Narayan. People came and went. Sunanda and I talked, after which I continued to work on notes for Mary L. Krishnaji asked me if yesterday’s talk was special, and he said, “It has done something to me.”’

February tenth. ‘At 9:30 a.m., there was a discussion with about sixty people on values, seeing outwardly, and sensitivity. It lasted two hours. Pupul asked Ms. Vimala Deshpande to get my visa extended to the fifteenth.’ I forget who that was. ‘Dr. Parchure’s son, Vikram, is getting married, which was arranged by his brother, Vishwas. [chuckles] It’s a family where all the weddings are arranged by nearest and dearest.

S: Of course, of course. A proper…yes.

M: The eleventh of February. ‘At 6 a.m., Krishnaji, Pupul, Nandini, Devi, and I in one car; and Sunanda, Achyut, Parchure, and others in two other cars drove one-and-a-half hours to look at land near a bird sanctuary as a possible site for another school. Krishnaji disliked it, and clearly, it was too near Bombay’s pollution.’ I remember it. They had animals in cages, and it was awful. ‘We came back by 9:30 a.m., and Krishnaji was very “off.” When we were there, he said, “Where am I?” He was horrified by the caged hawks and owls. He and I lunched alone. He said, “I feel like never coming back here.” He keeps asking for the reason for the degeneration of India. He is repelled, but said, “I feel I must save this bloody country.” In the afternoon, he had interviews and walked on the race course.’

Twelfth of February. ‘At 9:30 a.m., Krishnaji held another discussion with about sixty people. Devi and I went shopping. Leela Naidu was to cook a French dinner, but she came late with it and was drunk. Krishnaji, Pupul, Nandini, Devi, and I were there.’

February thirteenth, my birthday. ‘I was given a present of a necklace from Nandini and Pupul. Krishnaji rested and slept in the morning. He and I lunched alone. He saw Leela Naidu at 5 p.m. At supper, Pupul described going to see the Nizams’ Jewels for the Indian government.’ The Nizams were, I don’t know what, like maharajahs or something, and the Indian government forced them to sell their collection of jewels to the government at a much reduced price.

S: Yes.

M: ‘I had flowers and a chocolate birthday cake from Asit.’ [Chuckles.]

The fourteenth. ‘I finished packing. People came and went. Krishnaji walked, but I had packed my walking shoes in a bag to leave at Vasanta Vihar, so I didn’t go. After supper, Krishnaji and I both tried unsuccessfully to sleep. Pama took the luggage and passports, etcetera, to check in Krishnaji and me.’ We were taking one of those middle-of-the-night flights.

February fifteenth. ‘Krishnaji and I were up at 2:30 a.m. Pupul, Nandini came at 3, and we drove to the new Bombay Airport. Almost everyone was there to see Krishnaji off. We flew on Qantas at 4:50 a.m., nonstop to London. First class was almost empty, and it was a smooth ten-hour flight. We arrived at Heathrow at 9:35 a.m., and were quickly through formalities. Dorothy and Scott were there to meet us. It was lovely to see frost on the fields, the beauty of winter and bare trees. It is bliss to be here. Krishnaji came downstairs to lunch but slept all afternoon. I spoke by phone to Mary L. Dorothy and I took the dogs for a short walk.’ [Chuckles.] I remember in the airport at Bombay, they gave us a special sitting room, and all the enthusiasts crammed in and sat, staring at Krishnaji.

S: Who was there?

M: People I didn’t know.

S: Right. So all kinds of unknown admirers.

M: Unknown people who came to see him off and sat and stared at him; and he said to me something about he felt like a monkey being stared at.

S: Yes.

M: But what shocked them, and visibly shocked them, was that when I came in, separately, Krishnaji got up.

S: Of course.

M: Krishnaji was an old-fashioned gentleman, and when a lady comes in, you get up. They were shocked he was getting up for a woman, you know.

S: Oh, yes, yes.

M: [chuckles] But it was so funny to see it and their reactions.

S: Of course, yes.

M: Anyway, so we’re back at Brockwood. [S chuckles.]

February sixteenth. ‘Frost is all beauty to me. I feel the delight of cold weather. In the morning, Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I discussed what should be done about Frances, who is quiet here now, but unsound. Krishnaji talked to her, with Dorothy and me present, and offered to help her. He will put his hands on her, starting today, and will see her every day in Ojai for the same. But she must stop all yoga, meditation, and whatever else she was doing. She agreed to his conditions, and so Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I went for a walk. I went to the school meeting. In the evening, I talked at length to Shakuntala about Narayan’s situation, which Dorothy has already told her about, at Narayan’s request.’ That was when they were still married. Anyway.

S: Yes, but they’d been separated for many years.

M: Yes.

The seventeenth. ‘Mary and Joe came at 11 a.m. and talked with Krishnaji and me. We lunched and talked more till 3:30 p.m. Krishnaji treated Frances. I telephoned Filomena. She has a broken arm. I also telephoned Vanda, Phyl Fry, and Betsy. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked.’

The eighteenth. ‘In Doris’s little car, I went to Alresford, to the bank, the cleaners, and to cable Bud in New York on his birthday. Terence Stamp brought Bernard Levin at noon to meet Krishnaji. Levin wanted to meet Krishnaji about  his TV program. He is doing a series of twelve half-hour weekly interviews, and would like Krishnaji to be the last. It could be taped at Brockwood, immediately on his return from Ojai, around the twenty-fifth of May, for broadcast on the thirty-first of May. Krishnaji talked at length with him after lunch, and then with Radhika and Hans Herzberger, who arrived. Mary Cadogan was also at lunch, and we went over Foundation affairs. Krishnaji again treated Frances. When Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I started out at 3 p.m. for the walk, it began to snow! It’s so beautiful.’ [Chuckles.]

The next day. ‘The Digbys and the Moorheads came to lunch. George told Krishnaji that he must give up editing. Krishnaji treated Frances, and she is to go to Ojai for further treatment. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I planted beech trees in the new grove, to the south of the apple orchard.’

February twentieth. ‘We left Brockwood with Dorothy at 8:45 a.m. for Heathrow. Krishnaji and I flew on TWA at 11:20 a.m., and arrived at Los Angeles about 3 p.m. It was slow in customs, but we were out by 4 p.m. Mark and David Moody drove us to Ojai. The Lilliefelts, the Hookers, etcetera were waiting to greet Krishnaji. Elfriede’—that’s my housekeeper—‘had cleaned the house to perfection. We had a light supper and went right to sleep. Krishnaji said later that he’d had a good meditation on the plane. “Not people drinking and smoking around.” I telephoned Amanda.’

S: In other words, there weren’t people smoking and drinking around…

M: Correct.

S: …which is why he had a good meditation.

M: Well, apparently.

S: Or, they’re somehow associated.

M: Yes.

The twenty-first. ‘I woke up at 3 a.m., and tried unsuccessfully to get the radiant heater going, so I went back to sleep. When I woke up, I telephoned my brother in New York, and then talked to Amanda and later to Miranda. We lunched at Arya Vihara, after which I took KMN2—that’s my gray car—to fill it with diesel, and marketed. Early to sleep.’

February twenty-second, and we finally have the big diary again. We’re in Ojai. ‘There are such gaps in this record, I am discouraged at its incompleteness. Krishnaji and I left Brockwood Friday, the twentieth, and flew to Los Angeles. In the long emptiness over Greenland and Northern Canada, while I slept, Krishnaji told me later that a “good meditation” came to him. We had the two seats he likeS: the two forward ones in the nose of the 747, where one feels least in contact with the other passengers. Krishnaji said there weren’t people drinking and smoking, which made a difference. Mark Lee and David Moody met us. We reached Ojai in the dark after 6 p.m. Erna, Theo, Hooker, etcetera were there to greet Krishnaji. The house was immaculate from Elfriede’s cleaning the day before, and was bright with flowers. So, we are here at last. It is somewhat less familiar to me than Brockwood was for the few days there. Perhaps because something responded in my very bones to the wintry countryside after India, the beauty of bare trees, the delight of frost, etcetera, the lawns and fields, the clean coldness. But this Ojai house will become alive as we live here. The pepper tree in the back is gone’—that’s not the pepper tree, but another pepper tree—‘from some sort of root rot. To prevent it from falling on the house in a wind, it was cut down. Erna and Theo have reported to Krishnaji and me on the state of the case against Rajagopal. Lawyer Cohen is coming here on Tuesday’—that would be in two days—‘to discuss Krishnaji’s and my depositions. This morning, while Krishnaji was talking to the Lilliefelts, Hooker, Mark, and Moody about the school, Michael telephoned that Rajagopal was calling the Arya Vihara number with a message that it was urgent that Krishnaji call him. Krishnaji didn’t. But his ever-present hope that Rajagopal will somehow emerge with some decency was evident. He would’ve liked to telephone him, but realized that he mustn’t without consulting Cohen. Rajagopal telephoned Arya Vihara again at 1 p.m. Michael answered and said that Krishnaji wasn’t there, which was so, but that Krishnaji had received Rajagopal’s message. Then, in the middle of lunch, a wire came from Rajagopal to Krishnaji saying that “court orders would reveal all your letters to Rosalind and to me if the case is pursued.”’ That’s the blackmail.

S: Yes.

M: I’m afraid there’s a big gap again before we get back to the big book.

S: When’s the big book start again?

M: June at Brockwood.

Krishnaji walking. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji walking.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

S: June!

M: The twenty-third. ‘We were in all day, except for lunch at Arya Vihara. The radiant heat system was fixed and serviced. Krishnaji slept most of the afternoon. Cohen telephoned Erna, reporting his telephone call with Christensen’—that’s Rajagopal’s lawyer—‘in which there was a not-very-polite threat of letter disclosures. Krishnaji was not upset by this. He says he is stronger now than in the other case. My own wish to protect him remains in spite of the disgust at the outrageous behavior by Rajagopal.’

The next day, ‘Stanley Cohen came to discuss the case with Erna and me. Then, Krishnaji joined us for two hours. Then, briefly we reported where we are to other trustees, Theo, Hooker, and Kishbaugh. After Cohen left, we lunched at Arya Vihara, and then held a trustee meeting in the afternoon.’

February twenty-fifth. ‘I left at 8 a.m., and drove to Los Angeles. I left specimens for Dr. Lailee, dropped six rolls of film at Lens Art, bought croissants, had my hair cut, and went to Gizelle for alterations. Then to Bullock’s for a belt for Krishnaji, and at 4 p.m., I arrived at the Dunnes’ to spend a happy hour with them. Phil gave me an inscribed copy of his book Take Two’—that’s the title of his memoirs book. ‘I telephoned Krishnaji as he asked to let him know when I was there. I left at 5 p.m. and drove through rain back to Ojai, arriving, as promised, at 6:30 p.m. Krishnaji has a hoarse voice and spent the day in bed.’

For the next three days, I worked on the accumulated mail, and Krishnaji stayed in bed, feeling weak, and with a hoarse throat.

March first. ‘I marketed. It rained. Krishnaji is better and we ate lunch in the dining room. It cleared in the afternoon. Then, my stepbrothers and stepsisters Ann, Bobby, Sally, and Peter, en route to Santa Barbara and Napa Valley, came by for tea and to meet  Krishnaji, then he and I went for a walk to the Lilliefelt’s after he treated Frances.’

The next day. ‘There was rain on and off. Dennis came to do the weekly cleaning.’ That’s Dennis Gottschalk, who’s now working for the KFA. ‘The Marogers telephoned from Oxnard. They had arrived early from Japan. I went to fetch them. Meanwhile, Krishnaji went with Theo to the dentist, Dr. Meinig, who pulled an infected upper left molar.’ He had more tooth trouble. ‘He had supper in bed. The Marogers and I ate in the dining room. They are in the guest house.’

March third. ‘It was a beautiful day. Krishnaji, the Marogers, and I walked through the Oak Grove and visited the school, then drove to Lake Casitas and came back in time for lunch at Arya Vihara. We spent a quiet afternoon. Krishnaji’s tooth is not hurting him much. Marogers and I had supper in the dining room and Krishnaji had it in bed.’

The fourth. ‘The rain has returned. I took Jean-Michel to the bank. Erna sold Essie Bates’ bequest of an oriental rug for $8,000.’ Essie Bates, I think I mentioned before, was a real estate woman, and she left money and some things to the Foundation. ‘I did various errands, and everyone lunched at Arya Vihara. After a rest, I prepared dinner. Krishnaji and I walked down to the Lilliefelts’ to have tea with them and the Marogers. The Marogers’ friend, Hertha  Melas, who lives and works at a school in Idyllwild, joined us for dinner. Krishnaji ate at the table, too.’

The next day. ‘The Marogers left with their friend for Idyllwild and then the LA Airport to return to France. Krishnaji rested most of the day.’

March sixth. ‘It is Amanda’s birthday and we talked. Professor Brij Khare came with video technicians to look at the living room for a recording of meetings on the weekend of the twenty-first. He stayed to lunch. I marketed. At 4:30 p.m., Krishnaji talked to Mark and David Moody, Erna, and I about teacher and parent meetings. Krishnaji and I watched the last evening news broadcast by Walter Cronkite, who is retiring from it, though he will do other projects. Dan Rather will take his place Monday.’

S: Alright. We have to call it quits there. We’ve run out of tape again.

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[1] The small village right next to the school. Back to text.

[2] He lived only just over five more years. Back to text.

[3] It was considered a scandal when Rukmini married George Arundale just after she turned sixteen and he was forty-two. Back to text.