Issue #67

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Issue 67—March 7, 1981 to June 25, 1981

The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist

Mary: We begin on March seventh, 1981, and Krishnaji and I are in Ojai. ‘A desk day.’ Well, it goes on about Frances McCann not following Krishnaji’s suggestions and so he feels he can’t help her.

I spent the next day, ‘reviewing papers, and then at 6 p.m., Dr. Hidley came to consult about how best to help Frances.’

March ninth, ‘Rajagopal’s lawyer, Mr. Terry Avchen, took my deposition in the morning and afternoon. Our lawyer, Mr. Comus, was present throughout. Mrs. Vigeveno turned up. It was held in the sitting room of the guest house. Erna was also present. It finished at 4 p.m. When I went back to Pine Cottage, Krishnaji had Dr. Hidley with him. We walked to the dip. I am very tired.’

The next day, ‘I continued with yesterday’s deposition with the same people present. It was finished at 12:30 p.m.’

The eleventh. ‘Christensen’—that’s Rajagopal’s lawyer—‘telephoned our lawyer, Mr. Cohen, postponing Krishnaji’s deposition from tomorrow until the twentieth, after Rajagopal’s deposition on the eighteenth. He also suggested a compromise. If we withdraw contempt from the charges, the lawyers could discuss who owns the archives.’

‘Evelyne and Michael Mendizza came to talk to me, Erna, Theo, and Alan Kishbaugh about making another film of Krishnaji. We straightened out the differing points of view. After lunch, Krishnaji and I went to the Green Thumb Nursery and chose trees to replace the pepper trees, one on each side of the house, as well as other plants.’

The twelfth. ‘Krishnaji dictated letters. I telephoned Mary in London about Krishnaji’s asking her to be chairman of the publications committee to replace George Digby.’

Scott: This is Mary Lutyens?

M: Yes. ‘Digby is retiring from publications. I also telephoned Brockwood. Dorothy is not well. She’s gone for a rest to Cambridge. Shakuntala said Natasha is going to her father, Narayan, during spring vacation. I also spoke with Doris and told her how helpful her Herald of the Star discoveries were in my deposition. Alasdair planted the bushes we bought yesterday. Alain Naudé arrived for supper and spent the night. He’s on his way to San Diego.’

March thirteenth. ‘I spent the morning talking to Alain, who left after lunch for San Diego, then I worked at my desk. I walked with Krishnaji, and we were joined by Erna and Theo as we went down McAndrew Road. A mirror arrived that had been in my room in New York as a child, and then in the dining room at Elmholm’—Elmholm was the family summer home, and subsequently my mother’s, home in Vineyard Haven. We will put in the entry here.’ It was in all these houses in my childhood.

S: How nice.

M: ‘I also unpacked four candelabra that Aunt Sue gave to Mother, and which Bud sent to me, after Mother left Elmholm furniture to my brother and me.’ Those are those candelabra on the dining room table.

On the next two days, Krishnaji talked to parents and staff of the Oak Grove school. Krishnaji felt ill on the afternoon of the fifteenth.

On the sixteenth, ‘Krishnaji is better but felt delicate. Alain, who arrived here last night, talked to Krishnaji about his own life, and Krishnaji called me in to hear his suggestion that Alain go about finding serious, concerned people for the teachings. Alain went to visit the Lilliefelts. Krishnaji had supper alone in bed while Alain and I ate in the kitchen.’

March seventeenth. ‘Alain left. Krishnaji and I went to Green Thumb Nursery again and bought more shrubs and flowers. Ruth, Albion Patterson, and Catherine Kiernan came to lunch at Arya Vihara. I read my deposition in the afternoon. Rajagopal’s and Krishnaji’s were scheduled for this week, but are postponed due to the settlement talk. Krishnaji and I walked down the road.’

There’s nothing for the next day other than Krishnaji working in the garden with Alasdair. And the day after is just me getting my annual check-up and some errands.

March twentieth, ‘I worked most of the day at my desk, while Krishnaji and Alasdair finished planting the camellias and the azalea beds by the guest house. David and Saral Bohm arrived in the evening. They’re staying here till April sixteenth.’

March twenty-first. ‘At 10:30 a.m., Professor Brij Khare came and brought five high school students to discuss with Krishnaji as the first of a three-day seminar. It was videotaped in color. In the afternoon, Krishnaji helped Alasdair plant podocarpasin place of camellias on the east side of the house by the hall window.’

The next day, ‘At 9:30, Krishnaji discussed with college students brought by Khare, and at 11 a.m., Krishnaji conducted another discussion, this time with four high school teachers. Both were videotaped in color. In the afternoon, Krishnaji again planted shrubs in the garden with Alasdair. Max did repairs on the house. I did income tax preparation.’

The twenty-third. ‘At 10:30 a.m., Krishnaji held a dialogue with Khare and a group of college professors. It was videotaped and completed the series. Krishnaji helped Alasdair plant a pittosporum tree outside my bedroom window. I worked on tax data. Miranda telephoned, and said she is coming down in two weeks.’

March twenty-fourth. ‘Two people came to lunch who were inspecting the Oak Grove for the school accreditation. Afterwards, Krishnaji went with Theo to the dentist, and I went to Green Thumb for more shrubs and flowers, then to Cohen’s office to sign my deposition. I talked to both Cohen and Comis. Meanwhile, Krishnaji and Alasdair planted a bigger pittosporum next to where the pepper tree was. The Siddoos arrived to stay at the Lilliefelts’.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji received a threatening letter from Mima Porter.’ [Chuckles.] ‘Cohen advises no reply. Krishnaji saw the Siddoos for an hour. They decided to close their Wolf Lake School for at least a year. I worked on income tax matters and marketed. Krishnaji did more planting with Alasdair, and we put climbing roses up my porch.’ They’re in bloom right now, pretty pink ones. [S chuckles.]

The twenty-sixth, ‘I continued on income tax work. Krishnaji rested. At 4 p.m., the Siddoos, who had asked for a meeting, came here with Erna and Theo, Alan Hooker, Mark, David Moody, and the Bohms to talk with Krishnaji about school problems.’ Since they were closing their school, I’m not sure what school problems they were interested in.

The next day, ‘I left at 7:15 a.m. for Beverly Hills for an eye exam. Then, to Henry Bamberger about income tax matters. Then more errands in Beverly Hills and Westwood. I saw Winky, bought records, cassettes, and a Sony Walkman, and got home by 5:45 p.m. Krishnaji was gardening. “I felt you coming,” he said. And then he said, “Gardening agrees with me.  I must do it at Brockwood.” Then later he said, “You must outlive me.”’

Waiting to be interviewed on TV in the West Wing of Brockwood. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Waiting to be interviewed on TV in the West Wing of Brockwood.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

‘Me: “Why?”’

‘Krishnaji: “To look after this person.”’

‘Me: “Others would line up to do that.”’ [Chuckles.]

‘Krishnaji: “I don’t want them.”’ [S chuckles warmly.]

March twenty-eighth. ‘Krishnaji had another discussion with teachers and parents of the Oak Grove School at 11 a.m. Asit arrived from New York. At the Los Angeles airport, he got a Hertz car, and will stay for a few days. He had supper with Krishnaji and me.’

The next day, ‘Asit had breakfast with Krishnaji and me. At 11 a.m., there was a teacher’s meeting with Krishnaji. In the afternoon, Krishnaji did more planting with Alasdair on the east side of the house.’

There’s really nothing the next day, and on the day after, there is only that Krishnaji talked to the teachers at 4 p.m.

April first, ‘A couple named Jacobson came to see Krishnaji briefly at 12:30 p.m. Jackie Kornfeld, who is in Ojai for a week, came to lunch. David and Saral returned from Los Angeles and Laguna, and there was a discussion on computers between Krishnaji, Asit, and David, with teachers and others listening. In the middle of it, Krishnaji began to call David by his first name for the first time.’ [Chuckles.] He’d only known him for twenty years, roughly. [Both laugh again.]

S: Yes, well, one doesn’t want to become familiar too soon. [Chuckles.]

M: No. Exactly. He called me Mrs. Zimbalist for the first seven years that he was my house guest. [Both laugh.] One mustn’t rush into…uh…

S: Exactly, overfamiliarity.

M: The second. ‘I took Asit out to breakfast at the Oxnard Hilton Inn from where he caught his bus to the Los Angeles Airport and onto Singapore. I drove to Malibu and spent the morning and lunched with Amanda and Phil. Amanda and I went up Corral Canyon to see Elfriede and her house, then I returned to Ojai. Krishnaji, in the afternoon, had given an interview to Patricia Hunt-Perry.’ Do you remember her?

S: Yes, I do.

M: April third, ‘At 11 a.m., there was a discussion between Krishnaji and invited guestS: D. Bohm, Dr. Ovenden, Rabbi Singer, Dr. Sarkar, Dr. van Groenou, somebody Rexroth, and Dr. Patricia Hunt-Perry. David Shainberg arrived in the afternoon. All but Shainberg lunched at Arya Vihara. Krishnaji gardened with Alasdair in the afternoon. I went to tea and a discussion without Krishnaji at Arya Vihara at 5 p.m. I also ordered gravel for the east garden.’

The next day, ‘Again, at 11 a.m., the second meeting of the discussion group. All were at lunch at Arya Vihara. In the afternoon, Krishnaji saw privately Rabbi Dr. Singer, one of the group.’

April fifth. ‘There was the third and final discussion with the group at 11 a.m. Krishnaji and I both had a quiet afternoon.’

The next day, ‘I spent most of the day working at my desk. Jackie Kornfeld saw Krishnaji at 12:30 p.m. Gravel was delivered to the east garden. Krishnaji worked with Alasdair, laying a sprinkler system. He also went to the dentist and has a new plate.’

The seventh. ‘I continued my desk work and did laundry. I went with Krishnaji to the dentist, Dr. Meinig, to have the new dental plate adjusted. Then, Krishnaji wanted to be in on the spreading of the gravel in the east garden. It is complete and looks very nice. Krishnaji is pleased.’

S: Let me just ask you about something that I’ve been curious about. All of this dental work that Krishnaji had…

M: He was always going to the dentist.

S: Right. But, before you were in the picture, what dental work had he had?

M: I don’t know.

S: I’m wondering if he had to have all this work because it had previously been neglected.

M: Well, he must have, but in fact, I don’t know. I have no answer. But he always had dental trouble when I knew him. Krishnaji had been to Dr. Meinig, this one mentioned here, before. He knew him, and he was the only dentist in town. He was a good dentist. So, he took care of Krishnaji and he took care of me too when I moved here. And when he retired, the person who took over his practice, I’m still going to him here in Ojai.

S: Alright. I just asked because I wondered if Krishnaji’s teeth weren’t looked after properly before you came into the picture; whether this was just another area in which, you know, things were neglected.

M: I don’t know. I mean, he must’ve gone. Everybody goes to the dentist.

S: Yes, but if he only went when there was trouble, that’s not preventative treatment.

M: I don’t know. I’ve nothing that I can answer.

April eighth. ‘I went to Los Angeles, to a doctor for my peripheral vision tests, then met Mr. Schwartz at the Fabric House’—that was the man who got me into wholesale places for furniture ‘and got something for the sofa in the guest house. I had my hair cut. Left some photos at Lens Art, did other errands, and got back by 6:30 p.m. Krishnaji had seen teachers in a long discussion. Erna says that Rajagopal claims he is in bed with cataracts and a hernia and hasn’t been able to sort out his papers, so next week’s examination by Erna and me of the materials Rajagopal claims are his is impossible.’ We wanted to visit the archives. We had the court agreement which determined that we could go to the archives anytime we wanted, and he always tried to abort it, or postpone it. ‘Narasimhan telephoned to know Krishnaji’s whereabouts.’

The next day was ‘desk work and housekeeping for me, and bad news from my tax man about the large sum I owe on the sale of the Malibu house. Krishnaji went to the dentist Meinig in the morning with Theo. David Shainberg left.’

April tenth, ‘In the morning, I did desk work, then after lunch, Krishnaji and I went to the Oak Grove to help plant fifty trees around the main school building.’

The eleventh. ‘Krishnaji held another discussion with parents and teachers of the Oak Grove School. Max put wooden dividers in the china cupboard to protect them from earthquakes. It was Krishnaji’s idea.’ You know, those little vertical stops so that, when the house shakes from earthquakes, the dishes don’t fall on the floor.

S: Right. [Laughs.]

M: Krishnaji thought of that.

S: Did he, now?

M: ‘Max also finished the front door, and put copper gutters on the roof over the front door. Krishnaji planted Cape jasmine with Alasdair while I walked around the block with Erna and Theo. Krishnaji and I both fell asleep at supper while eating’ [both laugh] ‘with the trays.’ We used to sit in his room, he in his bed with a tray, and I had my tray in that big red Saarinen chair, and we watched the news on television.

S: Right.

M: April twelfth, ‘Miranda and Amanda drove up and spent two hours with me in the morning. They left before one, as Miranda had to get back to San Francisco. Meanwhile, at Arya Vihara, Krishnaji talked to teachers and parents. I marketed and walked around the block with Erna and Theo. Krishnaji was tired, so he watered the garden a bit. After supper, he went early to sleep.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji dictated letters, after which I worked at the desk most of the day. Krishnaji finished planting with Alasdair a Cape honeysuckle on the east side of the house, and was tired in the evening.’

The fourteenth. ‘Krishnaji slept well but is still tired. We watched the space shuttle return to Earth and land perfectly on a dry lakebed at Edward’s Air Force Base. Krishnaji said, “How marvelous,” and then, “They don’t have to go through customs.”’ [Both laugh.] ‘The Bohms and Willa watched it here too.’ Willa was a very good, nice secretary in those days for Erna and the Foundation. ‘Krishnaji went to the dentist Meinig with Theo, while I continued with my desk work. At 4 p.m., Krishnaji and David did a dialogue on sacredness and why most of mankind doesn’t reach it. Booth was absent, so I taped it on the Nagra.’ Booth?

S: Booth Harris. He was from the South, and he was doing recording things.

M: Yes. I’m glad you remembered. He still lives in Ojai.

April fifteenth. ‘I posted my income tax return with the necessary checks, then marketed.  At 4 p.m., Krishnaji held a discussion with teachers and parents, which I taped on the Nagra. Krishnaji watered and did things in the garden until 7 p.m., making for a late supper.’

The only thing of note the next day is that, ‘at 5 p.m. Krishnaji talked for an hour with Dr. Hidley.’

The seventeenth. ‘I worked at the desk most of the day. Krishnaji gardened with Alasdair. We had supper at 6:30 p.m.—a much better time, Krishnaji feels.’ Well, I guess it was earlier than 7 or so, don’t know what was better about it. [S chuckles.] ‘I sent an Easter telegram to Filomena signed Ojai and Malibu,’ meaning the Dunnes and me.

S: Right.

M: April eighteenth, ‘At 11 a.m., Krishnaji had a discussion with teachers and parents. A Dr. Shah and wife from Ahmedabad came to lunch, and so did both Blaus’—that would be Evelyne and Lou. ‘I talked briefly to Lou about moneys I owe KFA. Krishnaji slept most of the afternoon and we again had a 6:30 p.m. supper.’

April nineteenth, ‘I spoke to my family at the Vineyard. Krishnaji had another discussion with the teachers and parents at 11 a.m. The Bohms left for Canada in the afternoon. There was rain all day. We rested in the afternoon, and had an early supper. “6:30 suits me,” said Krishnaji.’

The twentieth of April. ‘I again worked at my desk and did laundry. The rain is over. It was a beautiful day, and Krishnaji worked in the garden with Alasdair. Sidney Field brought Krishnaji the manuscript he has written about Krishnaji, a memoir.’ Oh, then there’s a lot about various children of my family members coming.

S: Right.

M: ‘Krishnaji had said on returning for lunch, “I feel very young.”’

The twenty-first, ‘A letter came from Mary Lutyens saying that her sister Barbie had committed suicide. I spoke to our lawyer Cohen about Krishnaji’s deposition, which is on for Thursday. Christensen wanted it postponed so that Rajagopal could “be available,” but Cohen said that Krishnaji was available only this week. Rajagopal is said to be going to have an operation in May. Krishnaji raked the garden with Alasdair. He wore the Mexican straw hat that Alan Kishbaugh brought him.’ [Chuckles.] It’s in the closet in there. Is it known to you and everybody that Krishnaji once had sunstroke, before my time, in India, and that’s why he always walked in the late afternoon, when the sun wasn’t as strong? And he also would wear a hat because of the sun when he worked in the garden.

S: Right. And he frequently used a parasol when he went out for walks in India.

M: Yes.

S: How old was he when he had the sunstroke?

M: I don’t know. I mean, it wasn’t recent, in my knowing him.

S: No, no, no.

M: I suppose it was, you know, when he went back to India after the war in the forties.

S: Ah ha.

M: I imagine. He never said when he’d had it. But that sounds plausible, as he was there in India for a long time then.

S: Right. Yes.

M: The twenty-second. ‘We drove up Maricopa Highway. Krishnaji’s deposition was canceled by Rajagopal as Rajagopal will not be available tomorrow. We telephoned Mary about her sister’s death. I did desk work. Krishnaji gardened. Krishnaji, about the Maricopa drive, said he wished we could have a cabin away from everything. And later he said, “I felt like disappearing.”’ That, also, I think we’ve discussed.

S: Yes.

M: ‘I went with Frances to buy porch chairs.’

April twenty-third. ‘Krishnaji and I went with Erna and Theo to Santa Barbara for Krishnaji’s tax clearance so he could leave the country. We lunched at Crosby’—I  don’t know, must’ve been a restaurant, I don’t remember it. ‘Then, came back in time for Krishnaji and Booth Harris to wash and put a resin finish on the green Mercedes. Naudé came in time for supper. He’s staying a few days. We all had supper on trays. Krishnaji said to me, “I’m glad you’re here.”’

The twenty-fourth, ‘At 10 a.m., Krishnaji, Alain, Erna, Theo, and I talked about Alain’s plan to publish a magazine and go around giving talks. What resulted was to wish him well, but to say that the Foundation would not be involved.’ That was a sort of failed attempt to have Alain in the work.

S: Yes.

M: The next day. ‘Alain had another talk with Krishnaji, after which he drove back to San Francisco. He goes to London and then to South Africa on May tenth. I, too, had a talk with him before he left, wishing him well with what he wants to do.’ And, well, some money thing.[1] ‘Max came and did adjustments to the house. Krishnaji decided to paint the front door.’ The front door was natural but it got wet with the rain and made water spots. So, we decided to paint it. Krishnaji decided it, but I wanted it done, too. ‘I went for paint, but the store was closed. The house once again is quiet and at peace after people’s departures.’

April twenty-sixth. ‘Daylight Savings Time begins. We had a quiet morning; gray and cold. In the morning, I did my usual desk work, then Krishnaji, Erna, Theo, and I went to the Ranch House to lunch with the Hookers’—that was the local good restaurant. It was owned by the Hookers, and they had invited us. ‘Then I went back to my desk. I made Krishnaji supper, but I fasted after a large lunch.’ [Chuckles.]

The twenty-seventh. ‘At 8:30, I went for paint for the door, a Pompeian red; and posted papers to Mary Lutyens. At 10 a.m., there was a trustee meeting: school matters in the morning. Krishnaji attended. Mark and David Moody were there as well. In the afternoon, Krishnaji put the second resin polish on KMN1’—his car, the green one—‘and Booth helped him. The other trustees went on with the meeting. Evelyne brought an NBC request for an interview with Krishnaji on their “Odyssey” program and for taping it on the eighteenth, and Krishnaji agreed. It is a tight schedule. I talked to Miranda in the evening, she returns from Malibu to San Francisco tomorrow.’

April twenty-eighth, ‘I took the diesel car to be serviced at Dieter’s, and in a rental car, stopped by the customs office at Oxnard to register my camera and the Omega watch.’ That’s so I wouldn’t have to pay duty when I come back with them. ‘I came back to the house in time for a delivery truck with the two granite nandis’ [S laughs] ‘sent from Madras by Jayalakshmi. It took Max, Alasdair, Ted Cartee, and three men to move, unload, and place each of them. One is on the low wall facing the courtyard and the front door, and the other is on the low wall under the new pittosporum tree off the living room. Krishnaji said, “I am already doing things to them.”’ And I put in parentheseS: ‘(to make them sacred).’

S: Yes. [Said very softly.]

M: And he also told me that I must put a garland around them in the beginning to make them feel at home.

S: [chuckles]…which you still do!

M: Well, someone does. Alasdair did it yesterday.

S: Put flowers.

M: He put flowers. Alasdair likes things like that.

S: Yes.

M: So, they usually have flower offerings if we have flowers in bloom.

S: Yes. [Chuckles.]

M: The twenty-ninth. ‘It was a hot day again, ninety-five degrees. We went out to look at the nandis, and gave them flowers, pink ones, this time, as a crown. “This is real worship,” said Krishnaji gaily.’ [Laughs.] ‘I returned the rental car in Oxnard and brought back the diesel, and posted Mother’s ruby ring to my brother. It is needed for Wooge’s’—that’s our stepfather—‘estate appraisal. After lunch, the water was off. I fussed at getting a plumber. Air conditioning is a boon in the bedroom wing.’ This wing had it.

S: Yes.

M: ‘In the evening, we watched a film on Oppenheimer. Krishnaji was appalled by scenes of Hiroshima. “Mankind must be mad,” he said. The obsession with pleasure may be because people know this is there, said Krishnaji.’

The thirtieth. ‘It is very hot. I worked most of the day at my desk. I talked to a man who will videotape the talks. Krishnaji and Booth washed and resin-waxed the diesel.’ Oh, that was nice. ‘The van der Stratens telephoned from the Oxnard Hilton.’ [Both chuckle.]

S: Just to say, about this resining business, I remember it. I’m sure that that resin is resin that I acquired…

M: Really?

S: Yes, but it’s only worth mentioning because this is Krishnaji’s wonderful tendency to always bring whatever he finds in one country to another country, [M. laughs] because it’s somehow more valuable there. So, I had found this resin in England, and I had used it on the gray Mercedes at Brockwood. Anyway, Krishnaji was so thrilled with it, he wanted to bring some here.

M: My god, you mean all the way from England?

S: Of course. So, [chuckles] when I finally cleared out my cabinet storage from Brockwood, when I moved back to the US in the year 2000, I still had some resin left over, [laughing] cans that were brand-new. [M laughs.] Yes, because Krishnaji wanted us to get some, you know, so I’d gotten some for there and some for here.

M: As if resin was unknown in the USA.

S: Exactly, as though there wasn’t lots of resin here that you could easily get. [Both laugh.]

M: Oh, goodness.

S: [laughs again] But, it was more important to bring it yourself from some other place, it was much more valuable because of that than anything you could get here.

Waiting to be interviewed on TV in the West Wing of Brockwood. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Waiting to be interviewed on TV in the West Wing of Brockwood.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

M: Yes. Maybe we’ve got some left, for all I know, out in the garage! [Both laugh again.]

May first. ‘Max painted the front door red. Suzanne and Hugues van der Straten came at 10:30 a.m., and we all lunched at Arya Vihara.’

The second. ‘At 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji gave his first Ojai talk in the Oak Grove. I sat by the video truck to advise.’ I don’t know why I would’ve done that, but anyway, I apparently did. At lunch at Arya Vihara was just Frances McCann, Michael, Krishnaji, and I. I cooked our early supper. Then, in a misty drizzle, we walked to the Lilliefelts’ to tea with them and the van der Stratens. Early to bed.’

S: Mary, sorry for just stopping here for a minute, but you said you didn’t know why you were sitting by the video truck to advise. I think I remember that there had been some unhappiness with how things had looked. So, you were advising on the filming to…

M: Could be. That’s blank in my memory.

S: Yes.

M: The next day ‘At 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji gave his second Ojai talk in the Oak Grove. I sat in the video truck, advising again.’ We came back to a quiet lunch at Arya Vihara with Michael. I cooked our supper early.’

May fourth. ‘A new sofa for the guest flat was delivered. Max finished painting the red door. There was telephoning people, and the sorting of questions for tomorrow’s question-and-answer meeting. Vicky Orfali and her brother came by. I looked at video stills of Krishnamurti schools and his voice made by Mendizza. It was quite good. Mrs. Thomas from Rishi Valley is staying at Arya Vihara for a week and was at lunch. I worked on the questions in the afternoon and made supper.’ Instead of at the end of the talks, as he had it in Saanen, Krishnaji would have the question-and-answer sessions between the talks in Ojai.

S: Yes.

M: The fifth. ‘At 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji’s first question-and-answer meeting was held in the Oak Grove. At 3 p.m., the trustees, plus Mark and David Moody, met here in the cottage. Krishnaji attended initially, and then worked in the garden with Alasdair. He had a stomachache at supper time.’

May sixth. ‘I drove to Malibu and spent an hour and a half with Amanda and Phil. Then went on to Beverly Hills for a haircut and some errands. I drove back to Ojai by 5 p.m. Krishnaji said he awoke with an extraordinary feeling, unlike anything he’d ever had before. It was a feeling of tremendous power, not to do anything, just power.’

The seventh. ‘I telephone Filomena in Rome as it is her birthday. At 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji held the second question-and-answer meeting in the Oak Grove. I sat in the video van. We went to the cobbler for shoes in Meiners Oaks, where Krishnaji ordered a pair of sandals for India. Mrs. Thomas of Rishi Valley, who is staying at Arya Vihara, was at lunch, and came to the cottage afterward.’

There was nothing of note the next day.

On the ninth, my diary says, ‘a warm day. At 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji gave his third Ojai talk. Merali and Ugo Baldi came to lunch. At 2:30 p.m., I went back to the Oak Grove for a meeting of the Krishnaji Information Center people. It lasted till 5 p.m. I got back in time to cook supper. Pupul arrived at 8:15 p.m. Theo had met her at the Los Angeles Airport.’

May tenth. ‘Krishnaji gave his fourth Ojai talk. At the Arya Vihara lunch, there were Pupul, Merali, and Professor Khare. There was talk of Pupul’s book, The Earthen Drum, and what she felt in writing it.’ I remember the title but nothing else. Anyway. ‘Robert and Betsy Mitchell, sent by Blanche Mathias, came to tea and to meet Krishnaji. Krishnaji, Pupul, and I had supper by the television. Mitterand was elected French president over Giscard d’Estaing.’

The next day I just worked on questions for the question-and-answer meeting on the twelfth.

May twelfth. ‘It was Krishnaji’s eighty-sixth birthday, but nobody ever mentions that’ [S chuckles] ‘on pain of his displeasure.’ [M chuckles.] ‘So, at 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji held the third question-and-answer meeting in the Grove. There was a tea at the school in the afternoon, and Krishnaji came to it. Krishnaji, Pupul, and I had supper on trays. Then, she, the Lilliefelts, Hooker, Evelyne, and I, with Michael Mendizza, looked at two-and-a-half hours of Mendizza film of Krishnaji.’

The next day, ‘The pope is shot in St. Peter’s Square. There were television bulletins about it all day. At 4 p.m., I drove Pupul to Rajagopal’s. While she was there, I worked on questions for Krishnaji in the Grove, and then I picked her up, and came back to tea. Pupul dined out. Krishnaji and I had a quiet supper.’

The fourteenth. ‘At 6:45 a.m., after breakfast, Pupul left with Theo to visit Ray Eames. At 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji held the fourth question-and-answer meeting in the Grove. The weather was cold and later there was a drizzle. After the meeting, we went to fit his sandals. After lunch, there was a trustee meeting with Mark and David to discuss fundraising for a secondary school. Merali will provide matching funds to what we can raise. Krishnaji saw Bill Quinn and then Frances.’

May fifteenth. ‘Krishnaji slept long and well last night and again in the morning. I worked at the desk. Frances McCann came to lunch, and to see the nandis and the four chairs she has given for the terrace. I took her back to the village, then did some errands. The car was washed, and I came back in time to make supper. I had a talk on the telephone with Lou Blau about my continuing this year’s payments on the amount of purchase price.’ This is that complicated deal that I think I’ve explained…

S: Yes. You have.

M: …where I had to buy this place and then donate it back. And I did it in different increments.

S: Yes.

M: ‘There’s one more payment for the McAndrew Road property, and then I’ll turn it over to the KFA in another year.’

The sixteenth. ‘It was a beautiful day. At 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji gave his fifth Ojai talk. Bill Quinn and Narayan’s brother, G. Krishnamurti’—that’s as opposed to J. The G stands for Giddu, pronounced the same as Jiddu, but for some reason it spelled it with a G.

S: Hm.

M: Anyway, ‘Narayan’s brother, G. Krishnamurti, came to lunch.’ Then a lot of my step-relatives came for tea.

May seventeenth. ‘It was another perfect day. I spoke to Bud and Lisa in New York about Pupul.’ I don’t want to explain that. Never mind Pupul. ‘At 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji gave his sixth Ojai talk, a deeply moving one.[2] Eloquent. There was a huge crowd. We stopped to fit Krishnaji’s sandals in Meiners Oaks. Sidney Field, and Ben Weininger’—he was a psychiatrist who lived in Santa Barbara—‘and Fundación people were at Arya Vihara for lunch. At 4 p.m., Krishnaji saw Jerry Dunn, who wrote an article on the Oak Grove School and is doing a book on nationalism. Then, Krishnaji and Booth Harris washed the green car, KMN1.’

S: Who was this Weininger?

M: He was a psychiatrist, and he lived in Santa Barbara.

S: And he was interested in the teachings?

M: Yes, and he’d known Krishnaji for a long time before I came around.

S: Ah, ha. I never met him.

M: Well, he was always at the Ojai talks. I mean, he never went anywhere else.

May eighteenth. ‘In the green car, taking Evelyne with us, Krishnaji and I left at 11:30 a.m. for Malibu. Krishnaji drove from the poplar trees to Zuma Beach.’ That’s the part of the route he liked to drive, so at that big rock, we’d change places. ‘We had a picnic lunch with us and ate it with Amanda and Phil on their terrace. It was a brief, precious visit for me. We then drove through Malibu Canyon to the NBC Studios in Burbank, where Alan Kishbaugh met us. Krishnaji was interviewed by Keith Berwick.’ He had a regular Sunday program called “Odyssey.” ‘Afterward, Richard Chamberlain asked to meet Krishnaji.’ He’s that actor. At 4:40 p.m., Krishnaji, Alan, and I drove back to Ojai via Route 5, Fillmore, and Santa Paula.’

The next day is, ‘Desk work and more desk work, packing, and paying bills.’

May twentieth, ‘I finished packing, and doing laundry. Dieter’s son put the cars up on blocks, and disconnected things for the summer. I spoke to Miranda, Winky, and Amanda. My brother telephoned just as I was leaving for lunch at Arya Vihara. I saw Katie Marx. After lunch, for once, without hurry, Krishnaji and I said goodbye to everyone and went with Mark and David Moody to the Oak Grove School, where the children were clustered, then along the sea to Los Angeles Airport. Kishbaugh came to see Krishnaji off. We left on TWA at 5 o’clock for London.’

May twenty-first. ‘I slept little on the flight. Heathrow was taking only eight landings an hour due to a strike, but we were lucky and came in around noon. Dorothy and Ingrid met us. Krishnaji exclaimed at the beauty of the greenness of the trees all the way back to Brockwood. The school was out to greet him. Frances arrived from Ojai yesterday. Dr. Parchure and his wife, Vatsala, and Rajesh are also here. Neither Krishnaji nor I could eat, so we rested a little and then Krishnaji wanted to walk. We went with Dorothy to look at where Krishnaji might start a rose garden. Walking around the grove, we saw the azaleas in bloom. I fixed our supper and fell asleep by 8:30 p.m., but not before talking to Mary Links.’

The twenty-second. ‘I spent much of the day unpacking, but had a walk in the afternoon with Krishnaji, Dorothy, and the dogs across the fields. How beautiful it is. I have new bookshelves in my room, which are very nice. Pupul rang from Oxford. She and Radhika’—that’s her daughter—‘Hans, and Maya’—that’s their daughter—‘will come here tomorrow. Krishnaji again spoke of “you must outlive me.” Hence, I must not go to India this year; it is too hard on me physically.’ That’s what he was saying.

May twenty-third. ‘I went to West Meon to get coffee, and good butter for Krishnaji. Mary L. arrived early. She, Krishnaji, and I sat and talked at length in the kitchen. Joe joined us before lunch. Then, Pupul came with her family. She is in the West Wing spare room. After lunch, Krishnaji, Mary, Joe, Pupul, Radhika, Hans and I had coffee and talked for quite a while in the drawing room. Mary and Joe left; and after a rest, Krishnaji and I walked with Dorothy and the dogs.’

The next day, ‘I typed the dates of 1976 for Mary.’ That’s for the second biography. ‘After lunch, a nap, then again a walk with Dorothy and the dogs. I talked to Betsy.’

May twenty-fifth. ‘A BBC television crew arrived in the morning to set up for the afternoon recording. At 3:30 p.m., Bernard Levin came, and he and Krishnaji did a discussion that was videotaped for Levin’s series on eight conversations with interesting people for BBC2. It was done in the drawing room and went exceedingly well, a good interview.’ I’ve thought since it was a terrible interview. It was too short.

S: It was too short.

M: ‘Levin had done no homework, so he didn’t know what questions to ask and he was a little bit baffled by Krishnaji, I think. I may be wrong. Anyway, ‘it was a first-rate technical recording. Pupul and the school were able to see it on the school monitor as it was happening.’

Nothing of note the next day, but on the twenty-seventh, ‘The Mercedes was put in commission.’ That was the gray car that I kept over there for driving Krishnaji. ‘I went to Alresford on errands. At 11 a.m., Krishnaji held an audiotaped discussion on “What is god? Can one discuss it?” with Pupul, Scott, Harsh, Shakuntala, me, and Frode. “When there is a meditator, there is no meditation.”’ That was what Krishnaji said. ‘In the afternoon, Krishnaji, Dorothy, the dogs, and I walked, and in the evening, Krishnaji, Pupul, and I watched a tension-filled film on TV about a submarine disaster.’

May twenty-eighth, ‘I went to meet Mary Cadogan at the Petersfield train station. Professor Ravi Ravindra and his friend, Professor Ulbricht, turned up for lunch. Pupul left at 3 p.m. for Oxford. Krishnaji talked to Sue Jay about a television interview around the time of the Brockwood Gathering.’ She was a woman who reported for the BBC or ITV, I can’t remember which. ‘Krishnaji agreed to it. Then, he talked to Ravindra and Ulbricht. I saw the tape of the Levin interview; it is good.’ I now don’t really think it is good.

S: It was alright. Just alright.

M: I must’ve thought it was alright because I wouldn’t have written it was good if I didn’t. Anyway, subsequently, I was less impressed.

May twenty-ninth. ‘Krishnaji and I drove to Petersfield and took the train to London. Joe and Mary met us. Krishnaji had a Huntsman fitting, and we then lunched with Mary at Fortnum. We spoke of Alain, his plans and problems. Krishnaji and I went to Hatchards for books, and while he had his hair cut at Truefitt, I ordered spectacles at Meyrowitz. [Chuckles.] ‘We found a taxi and got to Waterloo. Browsed for thrillers and came back by train.’

S: Why do you think Alain’s proposals were not accepted? It just wasn’t a good proposal, or people didn’t like him? Or what?

M: His proposal was too vague.

S: Too vague?

M: Yes. After Alain left, his enthusiasm for the teachings blew hot and cold. Sometimes, he would come and stay, and it would be very congenial, but I don’t know. It just didn’t work out. Things weren’t pursued, I don’t think. He talked about things, but didn’t act.

S: He didn’t act on them?

M: No. I don’t think he knew what he wanted to do.

S: Yes.

M: His leaving, whatever the impetus was that got him to leave, was definite to him, but then his life was sort of spotty after that, at least, from my perspective. But the friendship, friendliness, continued. In fact, he keeps calling me now all the time. The other day, he called and said, “I don’t know how you are; you haven’t called to let me know.” And I replied, “Well, I didn’t want to call up and tell you boring things about my foot.” “No, no,” he said, “You should. I want to know.” When he left, there was partly an antagonism toward me.  I don’t know, how can I say things for him? But he had a history of enthusiasm for something and then pulling away and going somewhere else. I don’t know. His leaving was a strain, unpleasant, really.

S: Yes, I remember your description.

Waiting to be interviewed on TV in the West Wing of Brockwood. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Waiting to be interviewed on TV in the West Wing of Brockwood.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

M: But then after he was gone, whatever made him leave wore off. And so, I made it clear to him that he was always welcome to come and stay in Malibu if we were there and do whatever he wanted. And he did to some extent early on.

S: Yes. I’m trying to always think of the questions that posterity will ask. You know, just to make as complete a picture as we can.

M: Yes, yes. Well, he came with great enthusiasm; and he worked hard, and was very useful in bringing young people to talks and discussions. He liked the young and he…

S: …he was good at it.

M: He was good at it. Anyway, let’s move on.

The thirtieth. ‘Krishnaji spent the day in bed, including meals on trays. He talked to Scott in the morning and Rajesh at 4 p.m.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school at noon. And there was the usual walk in the afternoon.

June first. ‘Krishnaji held a meeting in the morning with Scott, Dorothy, and me. In the afternoon, I took Frances to Alresford to get something she wanted to buy. I returned to attend the school meeting at 5 p.m. Krishnaji decided to visit Deventer in September and give two talks in Amsterdam.’ Were you at the lunch table when that was decided?

S: I can’t remember.

M: Well, Krishnaji always sat in his seat…

S: I remember.

M: …with Dorothy on his right.

S: Yes.

M: And I generally sat across the table so I could talk to both. At this particular lunch, Dorothy and I were talking about Anneke opening the Krishnamurti Library at Deventer; she was putting all her Krishnaji books there, which later on we all went to. Krishnaji wasn’t part of the conversation, but Dorothy and I were talking, and I think I said something like, “You know, Dorothy, you and I ought to go to that. Anneke’s gone to such trouble; we ought to go.” And she said, “Yes, let’s. Let’s go in September.” And Krishnaji, who wasn’t part of the conversation, but he heard it, said, “Oh, I’ll come, too, and I’ll give a couple of talks in Amsterdam.” [S chuckles.] Well, I knew that to book the RAI Hall in Amsterdam, which is what he would need because it was the only hall big enough to hold the people who would show up, you had to book it years before…

S: Yes.

M: Because they’re always booked.

S: Of course.

M: And so, I thought, “Oh my lord, if Krishnaji just decides he’ll give a talk, we may not get the hall.’ So, I went upstairs and called Anneke and said, “Anneke, are you sitting down?” [S laughs.] And she said, “Yes, Mary! Yes, what is it?!” [mimicking Anneke with voice]. And I told her what Krishnaji had said at lunch, and she said, “Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! I must try…” and then, “I’ll call you back.” And, unbelievably, or who knows what lies behind these things, [S chuckling] the RAI was booked for two solid years (as expected); but it had one weekend where it wasn’t booked, and that’s how he came to have the hall. It was just fate, or something.

S: Yes, yes. Extraordinary.

M: We’ll get to that later.

S: Yes, we will.

M: June second, ‘I worked at the desk. Krishnaji was awakened by thunder at 2 a.m. and stayed awake. So, he slept after breakfast, but talked to students only at noon. I telephoned to reserve our rooms for the night of July third at the Hotel des Bergues’—that’s in Geneva. ‘I took Frances to Alresford on errands. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked with the dogs; and we considered putting the roses that Krishnaji wants to plant in the old rose garden after all, but in a new pattern with the soil fixed.’ I don’t know what that was.

S: I believe that the soil in the old rose garden had what was called rose sickness.

M: Oh?

S: Yes. Roses had been growing there for over 200 years, and apparently after roses have been growing for…

M: 200 years!

S: …that amount of time [chuckles], it gets what’s called “rose sick.” I’m not really sure about this.

M: Never heard of that.

S: And you have to take the roses out for x amount of years before you can put them back in again, or you have to replace the soil.

M: Well, I must be careful. The roses here have only been here since 1970-something.

S: Then you have 170 years to go! [Both chuckle.]

M: I wonder if Alasdair knows that? I’ll ask him.

S: I’m sure he does.

M: The next day it is just about Betsy coming to visit. And June fourth, my diary says, ‘A Mr. and Mrs. Jackson brought two Buddhist monks to lunch, the venerable Ananda Maitreya, an eighty-five-year-old Sri Lankan, and the Venerable Ajahn Sumedho, a younger American abbot of the monastery near Midhurst.’

S: Ahh. Yes. I remember him.

M: ‘Krishnaji, in answer to Mr. Jackson’s question on meditation, spoke to them for almost an hour. In spite of wind and rain, Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked. Anneke telephoned that she had engaged the hall at the RAI in Amsterdam for two talks in September. She was triumphant.’

June fifth, ‘I took Frances to Alresford Surgery, where she saw Dr. Reilly about the medicine she was taking. Dr. Reilly also looked at my right foot, which has been sore. When we came back to Brockwood, we saw the Marogers had just arrived. Diane now walks, although she needs two sticks. Krishnaji spoke after lunch to Mrs. Thomas and Rajesh about Rishi Valley. Then, he saw Diane. Then we went for a short walk. At 5 p.m., Krishnaji spoke to the staff on knowledge, and that it has never transformed man. Krishnaji spoke on the telephone to Anneke. He is very pleased at going to Holland. Then, he spoke to David Bohm, who isn’t well enough to come tomorrow.’

The sixth. ‘Pupul arrived from London for the weekend. After a short walk, Krishnaji spoke to the staff from 5 p.m. for two hours. I talked with Marie-Bertrande and Jean-Michel after supper.’

June seventh. ‘We chased sheep off of the lawn.’ They would sometimes escape from the pasture and come onto the lawn. ‘At 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji talked to Genevieve, Gérard, and the Marogers about Gérard starting a school in Neuilly.’ That’s in Paris. ‘At noon, there was a dialogue between Pupul and Krishnaji on death. It was videotaped. The school was listening intently. There was a special atmosphere. Radhika and Hans were there. Later, Krishnaji talked to them, Mrs. Thomas, and Rajesh about Rishi Valley, and the Herzbergers going there. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked in the rain. In the evening, Krishnaji, Pupul, and I watched an old film, Fanny, with Leslie Caron, Chevalier, and Boyer.’

June eighth. ‘Pupul left for London, Paris, and Delhi. Mary Cadogan came down at 9:30 a.m., and all morning she and Jean-Michel Maroger, Gisèle Balleys, Dorothy, and I discussed French publications, and then Saanen matters after lunch. From 4:30 p.m. for an hour and a half, I was in a meeting on Rishi Valley with Krishnaji, Radhika and Hans Herzberger, Mrs. Thomas, and Rajesh.’ A lot of meetings.

The next day Krishnaji spoke alone to the students, and on June tenth, ‘Krishnaji and I took the 10:46 a.m. train to London, and were met by Joe and Mary at Waterloo. Mary went with Krishnaji to Huntsman while I went for a beauty treatment.’ [S laughs.] ‘I joined Krishnaji and Mary at Fortnum, where we had lunch. Then we bought jerseys for Vanda, and a lot of books, then caught the train home from Waterloo. Both of us were tired and glad to be out of the city and in the green countryside. On TV, we watched a documentary on foxes living in English cities.’ I remember that. It was very interesting. [Chuckles.]

The eleventh. ‘Dr. Joshua Bierce, a psychiatrist, and his daughter arrived early to talk to Krishnaji and me, and then see Frances. They stayed to lunch. I did a one-day grape fast.’ People did grape fasts in those days.

S: Yes, I remember.

M: June twelfth. ‘I talked to Saral and David Bohm on the telephone. He has been in the hospital for an angiogram and needs a triple heart bypass operation as soon as possible. Krishnaji spoke for two hours to the staff.’

The next day, ‘I took an early train to London and went unsuccessfully to look for shoes. Betsy and I lunched in her flat, and then we went to a matinee of a play entitled Duet for One. She dropped me at Waterloo, and I came back, changing trains at Haslemere and getting back to Brockwood by a little after 7 p.m. Krishnaji had given an interview to one of the staff members, and had a long talk with Dorothy about going back to accepting younger students.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school. The Bohms were to come in the afternoon, but David didn’t feel up to it. Krishnaji had some hay fever.’

June fifteenth. ‘I worked to try to finish the chronology for Mary Links. Sue Jay and the director of her television show came to lunch and talked afterward about filming they would do during the Brockwood gathering. I talked to Fleur on the phone and went to a school meeting.’

The next day, I spent most of it ‘working at my desk and worked on chronology for Mary. Krishnaji spoke to students alone, while the staff had a meeting, which I attended, reviewing the entry age of students. Krishnaji, after lunch, talked to a Moroccan couple, Mr. and Mrs. Ketani. He is the one who is doing a thesis on Krishnaji.’

June seventeenth was a ‘cold, gray day. After lunch, Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I in the Mercedes drove to Wisley to look at the roses in the Royal Horticultural Garden, but few were in bloom.’ Wisley is nice.

S: Yes.

M: The eighteenth, ‘I went to London. I had my hair cut, shopped for some small things, then to the Queen’s Gallery to see the Canaletto exhibition, and on to the National Gallery. I caught the 3:18 p.m. train back. Krishnaji had been talking to students.’

S: We ought to just say, here, that probably you went to the Canaletto…

M: …because of Joe Links.

S: Yes. Exactly.

M: Joe was the big world expert on Canaletto. He would’ve been advising on that exhibition.

S: Yes. And wasn’t he something with the Queen’s collection?

M: Yes. The Queen has a lot of Canalettos, apparently.

S: Yes, and he was the Queen’s consultant on Canalettos.

M: Yes, he was.

June nineteenth. ‘I am again working at my desk. My brother called from New York, and said that all is ready for Krishnaji and me in the Paris flat. Krishnaji spoke to the staff from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.’

Waiting to be interviewed on TV in the West Wing of Brockwood. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Waiting to be interviewed on TV in the West Wing of Brockwood.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

The next day, and ‘I am still working at my desk. I spoke to Mary and Alain, who is in London for two days on his way from South Africa to San Francisco. Krishnaji spoke to the staff, and described staying with something; for example: confusion and jealousy. How to stay with something. Total attention changes things. After supper, we watched a documentary on the British Raj, then the broadcast of Levin’s interview of Krishnaji. Krishnaji glanced at it, and then went to brush his teeth and do the dishes.’ [Both laugh.] You know, we laugh a great deal at these funny things that Krishnaji did, or things that are so specific to him…

S: Yes, yes.

M: …and unusual to anybody else who would’ve probably been in that spot, but I hope whoever hears this in posterity knows we’re not laughing at Krishnaji.

S: No, no, I’m sure not.

M: We’re laughing because it’s so endearing.

S: Yes. And it was so typical of him.

M: And so typical of him, and it was something, a reason, just one more wonderful, special thing that he was and did.

S: Yes. Quite so, quite so.

M: The next day, ‘I spoke to Filomena in Rome, and finally finished the chronology for Mary L. Krishnaji spoke to the school in the morning, and in the afternoon, it was open house at Brockwood. There was a puppet show to which Krishnaji went.’ I don’t remember that. ‘There was a buffet supper on the lawn. Krishnaji ate upstairs, but came down to join in the chanting for the opening of the concert.’ [Chuckles.]

June twenty-second. ‘Krishnaji and I went to London. Mary and Joe met us at Waterloo. Krishnaji had a fitting at Huntsman, and then we lunched with Mary at Fortnum. Alain had left for San Francisco yesterday after a weekend in London on his way back from Pretoria. We spoke of him. I told Mary that after talking to him on the telephone Saturday, it has dawned on me that in trying to help him in practical things, I am putting him in a position which he resents.’ That was a difficulty. I was worried about him. He didn’t have any money.

S: Yes.

M: And I used to send him some. But I came to think it was a mistake psychologically.

S: It’s extraordinary, isn’t it? But I know that gratitude is one of the most difficult things for some people to bear. I don’t know why, but it is. And it too often turns into contempt, or antagonism.

M: It turns into antagonism because I suppose it increases the sense of…

S: There’s a feeling of debt, or indebtedness…or…

M: Yes, indebtedness, which creates resentment.

S: Yes. I find it extraordinary. I never would’ve imagined it, but I saw it several times. There was a former female student to whom I gave a place to come back to Brockwood  because she had a brain tumor, and I gave her a full scholarship just because it seemed she had to get away from her situation. And after a couple of months, she came to me in a fury and said, “I don’t want to be grateful!” And I said, “Well, no one’s asking you to be. I’m not asking you for that…and certainly not to me. To the place, maybe, but not…’

M: So what happened?

S: She never really stopped being slightly antagonistic. It just was exactly as you’re saying; helping someone can turn out to be bad psychologically. There’s something about gratitude that some people eventually can’t bear.

M: Or, they can’t…I don’t know.

S: Some people can, but most people can’t. It’s quite remarkable.

M: It’s sort of…a sense of…interpreted as inferiority because…

S: Yes, yes.

M: …if I have to accept charity, I mean, that awful…

S: Yes, but it’s…it’s…it’s something about being less…it’s some kind of pressure on the ego for some people.

M: Yes. Well, let’s go on. My diary goes on to say that my sending Alain some money ‘became a minus instead of a plus. I had sent the rent to California for his flat while he was away. And he had felt I didn’t approve of his plans for a magazine, etcetera, which he had discussed with me in Ojai, and so I shouldn’t send him any money.’

S: Yes.

M: But, it had nothing to do with the magazine. ‘Mary had unwisely told him that I felt he was once again turning from one enthusiasm to another,’ which he did. He told me that. I mean, he didn’t tell it to me in that way, but before he’d come to Krishnaji, he’d been involved…first of all, he was a very fine musician, but gave it up, dropped it. Then, he became obsessed by Vedanta, and then dropped it. Then, he heard of Krishnaji, and rushed to Saanen to hear Krishnaji and then ensued all this relationship. And, then, he wanted to get out.

S: Mm, hm. I understand.

M: Yes. [Pause.] Yes, ‘I said that she unwisely had told him I felt he was once again turning from one enthusiasm to another. That is so, but not the whole of it. I feel he’s verging on delusions of what can be done with this magazine. But even so, it is his decision to make. My concern is that of a friend who primarily worries that he will have a roof over his head. I said this to him on the telephone. But, at the end of it, I felt I was doing harm, and that the friendship was not sound anymore, if it ever was. Mary said that by Sunday he had wanted to telephone, but delayed until it was too late, so he asked her to give me warm messages and say that everything is as it was. I feel wearily that it isn’t, that it is not good enough, so I will leave things as they are. After lunch, Krishnaji and I…’

I don’t know whether I should put all that in.

S: Yes. You should, otherwise there are huge gaps in the history that surrounds Krishnaji, and one is left to just wonder. You know, we all have foibles and shortcomings and flaws, we all do. And to acknowledge that is not indiscreet. It’s just…

M: But, you see, I’m acknowledging his shortcomings, not mine.

S: Yes, but when we study history, and we have a first person account, a witness, we have to know what that person’s opinions and prejudices and biases and perspectives were. Otherwise, we don’t know how to judge what it is they’re reporting. For example, if it’s reported by someone who witnessed the meeting between Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella, that Christopher Columbus was brusque and didn’t handle the meeting well, etcetera, we would think one thing. But if we know that that witness didn’t like Christopher Columbus, then we read that account with a slightly different understanding. So, I think for you and me, it’s terribly important that we do make our perspectives, our prejudices, our likes and dislikes, transparent.

M: Mm.

S: And it’s not that we’re saying that what we think is absolutely true. We’re saying “this is what we think,” so that when I then tell you that Christopher Columbus was halting and rude and boorish, you know how to listen to what I’m saying. So, this is why I say I think it is wonderful of you that you want to be discreet about everybody, but you’re human, and you have prejudices and you have likes and dislikes, and you have opinions, and those have to be known in order for history to know how to listen to what you’re saying. So, you mustn’t try and cover up what your opinions and prejudices are. I just think that’s part of making a full record. Of course, we don’t want people to be hurt, so that’s why no one’s hearing these recording in an unedited way for a long time. These will only be released in full after everybody’s dead, if ever; that’s up to you to decide. But to not put these things down is a terrible mistake; because the other thing is who are these people that Krishnaji had to contend with in his life. I look at myself, and I want to weep that there was no one better around him than me to do the things for him that I did, I really do. And so, to show the flaws that I have is to also show the greatness of Krishnaji in having to deal with a jerk like me.

M: No. Don’t…  [chuckles].

S: But it’s true. And to see all the shortcomings—this is why, even the things with, you know, you didn’t want to mention that thing with Pupul and your brother and his wife.

M: Well, that has nothing to do with Krishnaji.

S: Well, I know that incident doesn’t, but it has to do with Pupul.

M: It has to do with Pupul.

S: And the fact is that if we see the kind of people that Krishnaji had to contend with, it shows more about him. And it shows how extraordinary he was…

M: That’s true.

S: …that he could sail through his life and not become demented with the crazy people around him.

M: People around him, exactly.

S: So this is why you mustn’t be too protective in trying to be discrete because you’re actually robbing, I think, Krishnaji of some of the richness that he had. And you’re also not giving historians a chance to judge what you say in the light of your opinions and perspectives.

M: Yes. Yes.

S: Anyway. End of lecture. [Both chuckle.]

M: Okay. Big footnote. We’ll go on. ‘After our lunch at Fortnum’s with Mary, Krishnaji and I went to visit David Bohm at his office at Birkbeck College. Krishnaji then talked privately with Dave, while Saral and I waited outside in the garden. We have not seen them since Ojai. Dave has lost weight and looked pale and vulnerable. Dave goes into hospital tomorrow for open heart surgery and a triple bypass.’ David was obviously frightened to have the operation. ‘Saral is frightened but strong. I sat there and talked very factually about it on the lawn behind the college while Krishnaji was alone with David for almost an hour, trying to reassure him. Krishnaji put his hands on him in healing. He said later that Dave clung to him. We took a taxi to Waterloo.’

S: We ought to just say here a little bit about Dave’s whole difficulty, psychological difficulty after this. This was such a huge psychological knock for him, this heart surgery.

M: Yes, it was.

S: I, at one point, talked with Dave about it because my dad had been through it.

M: Was this before or after?

S: My father had done it many years before.

M: No, but you talked to Dave about it before his operation?

S: No, after his operation, and all these psychological difficulties. I told him that I felt that I had seen in my father, who was always a very strong, very courageous man, a complete change because of the heart surgery. I said that I felt that because the heart is such a vital part of our life, our body, that when something is happening with the heart, it sends signals to the brain, saying “Danger, danger, danger, danger, danger,” and so fear comes into all kinds of things. After my father’s surgery, my father would worry when I was going out for a drive some place or travel. He would say, “Watch out for this and that,” or “don’t lose your luggage…” all these kind of things, and I had for years traveled around the world on my own, and my father would be worried about me taking a little flight to some place. And David said that’s exactly what it was like for him, and he very much appreciated the fact that I’d seen this in my father. And David was also slightly a hypochondriac, in any case.

M: Yes, and he was, at least in my observation, dependent on Saral.

S: On Saral, yes. And he wasn’t quite all…someone once described David as not being fully incarnated. [M chuckles] He was not quite fully there with a lot of things. To see him doing dishes at Brockwood was absolutely a wonder. [Chuckles.]

M: The day the truck from Malibu came up to this driveway here with my belongings, it was unloaded by friends, who rushed to help. Elfriede and the gardener came, but one of the helpers was Dave, and I thought, “My god, if he picks up a lamp…”

S: I know, you want to say: ‘Dave, just sit there and direct people. Don’t pick up anything.” [Laughs.] So, of course what that meant was when he had something physiological that was really dangerous, he was absolutely at sea.

M: Yes.

S: I think it’s just important to put this down because he was such a good, sweet, and obviously brilliant man.

M: Yes. It must’ve helped him a lot, your talk.

S: He said it did, and we talked about it several times subsequently. I think it just needs to be mentioned here that this really was the beginning of a psychological unraveling for David.

M: Yes, it was. I think it was.

S: And that takes nothing away from his goodness, or sweetness, or brilliance.

M: Yes, alright, for June twenty-third: ‘A new timer was put in the Miele dishwasher. Krishnaji spoke to the students alone. There was a staff meeting for the rest of us. After lunch, I went to East Dean, where Christopher and Phyl’—her name is Phyllis but she hated the name Phyllis—‘took me on a lovely round of their garden, and especially the roses, which Krishnaji would like for Brockwood. The scent was like apples, and some of them are like lemons and honey in others. We sat by the fire and had tea. Once again, I felt the warm quiet of life lived in one place in the turning seasons of a garden, in a small village with flowers, books, music, and the glow of stillness. We all look a little older, but being with them is unchanged and a quiet hour of friendship that I treasure. I got back after 6 p.m. in time for the last half hour of Krishnaji’s discussion with the staff.’ They were two wonderful people, and Kit’s still alive. I talked to him last week. When I asked him how he felt, and he said, “Not too well,” but I couldn’t get him to tell me what it was. He said it’s just growing old. His health is fragile. And Phyl was the perfect counterpart to him. They were like one person.

S: Mm, how nice.

M: Yes, and I was devoted to both of them as a unit almost, and when Phyl died, to this day, that friendship is the same between him and me.

June twenty-fourth, ‘Mary and Amanda drove down for the day. We all four talked at length before lunch in the drawing room and afterward over coffee in our kitchen, where we always seemed huddled enjoyably, until they left after 4 p.m. Krishnaji didn’t walk because of hay fever. We watched Wimbledon instead.’

The twenty-fifth. ‘David Bohm was operated on for a triple bypass today. He was in surgery from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They found arteries in worse shape than expected and there was some damage to his heart. The actual surgery went well, but afterward his blood pressure dropped critically. He was eventually able to be moved into intensive care and only late onto his own support system. On Saral’s behalf, Maurice Wilkins telephoned and reported at length to us. The next forty-eight hours are critical. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I talked. It was a strong physical feeling of holding David with our combined strength—curious feeling of immovable strength, felt in the solar plexus, as if we were holding with total firmness something that could otherwise float out with the tide. It persisted all conscious hours. When we were alone, Krishnaji said that Dave is weak, is frightened. He described again how Dave clung to him. I found myself saying, but we are strong people and we will hold him. I went to sleep feeling this and must have slept deeply, for I heard none of the following: Around midnight, Krishnaji woke up and saw a man standing at the foot of his bed. “What are you doing here?” he asked. “I want to see you,” the man said. Krishnaji took him out into the hall and sat with him a few minutes on the stairs. By this time, Dorothy was there. The man, with an Irish name, had written saying he wanted a job, but was put off when his letters became a bit unbalanced. He turned up at Brockwood during the day and was difficult, so he was asked to leave. He made a show of going, but apparently hid in the library, and turned up in the Cloisters around 10:30 p.m. Brian Nicholson spotted him, and rang Dorothy when he became insistent on seeing Krishnaji. Dorothy felt the police were needed, and told Brian to watch him, but the man ran off. Frank was sent to guard the West Wing, but the man must have already got in as he first went into the spare room where Jean-Michel was spending the night.’ That’s the guest room, the one on the left.

S: Mm, hm. Yes.

M: ‘He then went into Krishnaji’s room. Soon, four detectives appeared, perhaps because of the Irish name[3]. Krishnaji went back to bed but couldn’t sleep for two hours. I felt uneasy at having known nothing of all this. There should be some way for me to hear if Krishnaji needs me. Krishnaji says we must lock the West Wing doors at night.’ I’m at the end of hall; I could not hear a thing.

S: Yes, no, of course not. Okay, we’re running out of tape here again.

Waiting to be interviewed on TV in the West Wing of Brockwood. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Waiting to be interviewed on TV in the West Wing of Brockwood.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

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[1] This is explained later. Back to text.

[2] For a link to the video of the talk, click here. Back to text.

[3] This was during the period when there was a lot of Irish terrorism in England, as many in northern Ireland wanted independence from England. Back to text.