Issue #71

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Issue 71—March 18 to June 23, 1982


Krishnaji’s health is increasingly precarious, yet his speaking schedule increased. In this issue we see him filling Carnegie Hall in New York, and the Barbican Center in London, as well as his normal schedule of public talks and holding seminars, and the seemingly constant flow of people who come to see him.

We also continue to see regrettable behavior around the archives material that was supposed to have been returned to Krishnaji, but which never was.

The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #71

Mary: Alright. We’re beginning today’s discussion with March eighteenth, 1982. ‘Krishnaji was awake in the night. I made him Horlicks, which wasn’t helpful.’ [Both chuckle.]

Scott: Is Horlicks American?

M: Horlicks? Where are we at this point?

S: You’re in Ojai. It’s English, isn’t it? Not American, is it?

M: No. It isn’t. But apparently, we had some. I don’t remember anything about it. [Both chuckle.] ‘Dr. Lailee says the results of Krishnaji’s tests yesterday show Krishnaji doesn’t have gout, but he has elevated blood sugar. Krishnaji could take a pill, but she suggests I talk to a dietitian about a diabetic diet, and after he tries it, to retest his blood before he goes to New York. I was unable to reach the Ojai hospital dietitian. Krishnaji is not eating enough and needs to put on weight; and diet restrictions will make this even more difficult. At 11 a.m., Krishnaji saw Frances [McCann] and John Hidley about her mental health. She is having anxiety over not being “perfect” and slipping back in her mental state, and is emotional. We lunched at Arya Vihara. Krishnaji slept in the afternoon. It was cold and there was intermittent rain, but we walked to the dip and back.’

Now the nineteenth. ‘Krishnaji slept nine hours. In view of Krishnaji’s need to gain weight, Lailee gave a prescription to lower his blood sugar. I went to the Santa Barbara airport and met Malini at 2:25 p.m. It was a beautiful sight of Ojai returning, with snow on the mountaintops and a blue sky. Krishnaji, Malini, Erna, Theo, and I walked two miles. Malini dined with the Moodys and some others at Arya Vihara. She is staying in the guest house.’

S: This is Malini, the daughter of Prema. A nice person.

M: Yes.

March twentieth. ‘It was a beautiful, clear day. Krishnaji, Malini, and I had breakfast in the kitchen by the fire. Malini and I talked most of the morning. We all lunched at Arya Vihara, then Malini went to see the Oak Grove School. Krishnaji had done exercises in the morning and didn’t feel like a walk. We had supper alone.’

The next day. ‘We breakfasted in the kitchen, and I talked to Malini most of the morning. We all lunched at Arya Vihara. Then Krishnaji and I drove Malini to the Santa Barbara airport, from where she flew back to Stanford. We had a pleasant drive back. The snow is still on the mountains.’

March twenty-second: ‘It was another beautiful day. We lunched at Arya Vihara. Mr. Schwartz installed new flowered curtains in the newly painted white east bedroom. I went in the afternoon to an American diabetic association in Ventura to get diet information, then walked with Krishnaji and the Lilliefelts down McAndrew. Philippa telephoned from Connecticut.’

March twenty-third: ‘We packed, and I did house things, lunched at Arya Vihara, and then I prepared the guest rooms for the Bohms. Krishnaji and I walked to the dip. I finished packing before going to bed. Frances and John Hidley decided against her going to New York.’

The twenty-fourth. ‘Krishnaji awakened me at 4 a.m. His inner clock, as always, had awakened him at 3:30 a.m. He has no stomach for breakfast at odd hours, but did eat something, and we were ready when Mark and the Lilliefelts arrived at 6 a.m. with the school van. Ojai was quiet and beautiful, and so it was down the coast. We passed the Dunnes, but then the traffic to work flowed into the coast road. Nevertheless, we kept moving and reached the torn-up airport on time. Krishnaji is using his two new, dark gray and brown suitcases. I found no baggage stubs on our tickets when we got inside United, but there was nothing to do at that point except board the 9 a.m. United flight to New York. Krishnaji and I had the forward two seats in first class, and Erna and Theo were in another section. We were one hour late taking off due to air controllers in New York. When we landed, Bud with Laurie were there to meet us, and drove Krishnaji and me into the city. We had engaged rooms at the new French-run hotel, Le Parker Meridien. It is half a block from the Carnegie Hall stage door on West 56th Street.’ Oh, that was the reason for going to New York—because he was going to speak at Carnegie Hall.

S: Aha. Right.

M: ‘There was rather a wait to check in, but the rooms on the eleventh floor are good. The larger one, which was Krishnaji’s, has a sitting room arrangement with a bed in an alcove, and set off from it and adjoining is a normal-sized bedroom. The staff is French-speaking. The lobby is rather overly marbled. Krishnaji has started the trip well, and we finished the day well by having supper in rooms. Jackie Kornfeld has sent a fine platter of cheeses and fruits and tofu. I had trouble sleeping due to street noises—something was being drilled somewhere, but Krishnaji slept ten hours, waking up only once. My mind seems to work on the logistics of getting things done smoothly for him. From this to that to the next thing.’

The twenty-fifth. ‘Krishnaji looked well from his ten hours of sleep. There was no sign of fatigue from the trip. My brother sent his car with a driver to take us to the radio station WBAI for a one-hour live interview by a Gary Null starting at noon. He once sent a list of questions to Krishnaji at Brockwood, and I taped Krishnaji’s answers and sent it back for broadcast. Today’s interview was live, in a scruffy studio on Eighth Avenue. The dirt and ugliness of that part of the city is jarring. My brother met us back at the hotel afterwards, and we walked to Orsini, a block east, and lunched together. Bud flies to Paris tonight. Lisa has museum doings there. Bud said he is going to sell his house on William Street on Martha’s Vineyard.’ He inherited a little house across the street from the family house.

S: Elmholm, yes. Who did he inherit it from?

M: Great-aunt Eleanor—a crazy great aunt, who [chuckles], who liked him because he was a male in the family. [S laughs.] And she thought he was perfect. She embarrassed him, and me too, by taking us to the movies and then, if she thought it wasn’t suitable for us, she would get us out of the movie in the middle while we were watching it. [S laughs.] And she further antagonized me by calling me “the Queen of Hearts.” I used to shudder at that. [Both chuckle.] She was quite crazy, but she adored my brother and left him the house. She was the youngest of several sisters who all owned the house, but she was the survivor. Aunt Eleanor [chuckles]. Anyway, ‘he’s going to sell his house on William Street and also sublet the flat in Paris. Walking back to the hotel, I felt he was a little worn. Life has grayed, and I felt that sadness and the flood of affection that wants to protect someone dear. Krishnaji sensed it, too. We said goodbye, and Krishnaji and I walked on in order to time how long it takes to walk to the stage door of Carnegie Hall from the hotel (two minutes), and then we went around the block for a walk. There was a large photo of Krishnaji in the front of Carnegie Hall with “Sold Out” in big letters across it. Krishnaji barely glanced at it. I bought some Pears soaps and found a Burt Lancaster film that was being played at the little Carnegie theater. We came back to the hotel, rested a little, and then Krishnaji said, “Let’s go.” So we went to the four o’clock showing of the film. His expectation of the Lancaster film was a bit bewildered by this one. “What is happening?” he kept asking. He didn’t like it, but stayed. It is the first film we have seen in years, he said.’ That can’t be true.

S: It’s not, no. [Both chuckle.]

M: ‘Then we walked east on 57th Street, and he recognized where he was. We went into Doubleday’s and bought some paperbacks. Erna, Theo, and Evelyne had listened to the WBAI broadcast in the morning, and thought it went very well. Krishnaji said the interviewer was full of himself. Krishnaji is surprised that people recognize and speak to him on the streets, in lifts, and in the bookstore.’ [Chuckles.]

March twenty-sixth. ‘Narasimhan came to see Krishnaji at 9 a.m. Then Erna and Theo, and then David Shainberg, came. The latter stayed quite a while and answered Krishnaji’s questions about Rishi Valley, etcetera, which he had recently visited. Krishnaji asked him to think about “joining us” in some way. Not on the board, “that is nothing,” but in some other way. David said he had been thinking of that. Krishnaji and I lunched at Orsini again, rather late to avoid the noise. The food suits Krishnaji, so at least he is getting enough. Just before lunch, he got the shakes, his hands trembling, and I made a blind guess that the pills to lower his blood sugar have overdone it. I put some sugar on a piece of bread as we were waiting for lunch to be served, and in a few minutes the trembling stopped. He ate well. Tomorrow he will omit the pill. We went for a walk over to the park and back. It was rather windy. At 4 p.m., a New York Times man, Paul Montgomery, came to interview Krishnaji. A nice man. Krishnaji noticed how clean his hands were.’ [Chuckles.]

The twenty-seventh. ‘Krishnaji said he had awakened several times, but said he had had meditation. It was a cold morning. We had breakfast without haste and, for once, there was no hurrying about before a talk. Krishnaji was in the lobby when I came down, and we walked the short way to the Carnegie Hall stage door. Theo stayed with Krishnaji and I ducked into the side door to my end-of-row seat. Evelyne and Eloise were there, as were Jackie Kornfeld, Toodie, Philippa, and David. Krishnaji came out to considerable applause. The house was full to the ceiling, many standing. People had been scalping tickets outside at 9 a.m.’ [S laughs.] That was nice.

S: Yes, that is nice.

M: ‘Krishnaji began to speak at 10 a.m. There was some microphone trouble at first, but the audience was very sympathetic. Then his voice came on vibrant, strong as a trumpet, and the Krishnaji magic was there, filling the hushed hall. He wore a brown suit, handsome in front of a golden curtain. He held them for one hour and thirty-five minutes. It was a good, intense talk. We came back to the hotel. Philippa and David also came and, while Krishnaji rested for a while, they and I talked. Then, the four of us walked to Orsini’s, and again had a good Italian lunch. We walked back to the hotel, and Krishnaji rested again, while Philippa and David came with me in search of tofu and apricots. The streets were cold and windy. The noise of the city is a bit much. Philippa and David returned to Connecticut. Erna and Theo came by after a good meeting of information centers at the Gotham Bookstore.’ Gotham Bookstore is a good bookstore, an old bookstore, and they’ve always specialized in Krishnaji’s books.

The fact that it was the way it was at Carnegie Hall, for me, as a New Yorker, because Carnegie Hall, well…in my childhood, I used to go and hear Toscanini there, and I felt that the good sounds in that hall were in the wood, in the fabric, in the walls somehow; and to have Krishnaji’s voice added to that, in my imagination, gave me great pleasure.

S: Yes, how nice. Well, it is an enormous accomplishment to fill Carnegie Hall like that.

M: It was a right place for him. Although it’s not a good hall for voice—it’s good for music.

S: Yes. That’s often the case: If a stage is good for voice, it’s not good for music, and vice versa. But it speaks well of New York that there would be so much interest in Krishnaji there.

M: Yes. “Sold Out” was a lovely sign to see [both chuckle] across his large photograph.

March twenty-eighth. ‘Tickets for Krishnaji’s second New York talk were being scalped at eight-five dollars outside Carnegie Hall this morning.’

S: Wow. That’s a lot.

M: That is a lot. ‘The New York Times man, Paul Montgomery, had a quite nice article on Krishnaji. He gave a very fine talk. Earlier, he had said to me in a not too serious way, “How long can I keep this up?” After the talk, Krishnaji and I lunched with David Shainberg at his flat. About ten of us were there, and Krishnaji told some of his stories: the ones about heaven and hell, St. Peter’s, and the man in the red Ferrari. Erna and Theo left for Connecticut. After the lunch, we came back to the hotel and rested.’

The twenty-ninth. ‘We were slightly late getting to an 11 a.m. conference put together by David Shainberg and held in the United Nations Plaza building. There were about thirty participants.’ These were supposed to be all psychotherapists, but there were others. ‘Renée Weber, Patricia Hunt-Perry, Jackie Kornfeld, Montague Olman, Evelyne Blau, and Eloise were ones I knew. A Hopi Indian, some musicians, painters, and psychotherapists, too. It didn’t really get off the ground in my view, but seemed valuable to Shainberg. Afterwards, he came with Krishnaji and me to lunch with Narasimhan around the corner from the UN at the Madras Woodlands Restaurant.’ The Woodlands is a restaurant in Madras and the New York one is run by the Madras restaurant, and is very popular with UN people, apparently. We had iddlies, etcetera.’ Do you know what iddlies are?

S: Yes, I know iddlies very well.

M: You can explain what iddlies are then.

S: They’re usually made with fermented black lentils and rice flour.

M: Yes. Like little cakes.

S: Yes. Like cakes, but they are savory, and they are often served for breakfast, which is marvelous.

M: Very good. Very good. [Both chuckle.] ‘Narasimhan and David Shainberg hadn’t met before. Narasimhan told his stories.’ He was the source of all those stories that Krishnaji used to tell about God and St. Peter and all that.

S: Oh, Narasimhan was the…

M: Yes. When I was a child, funny stories usually came from the New York Stock Exchange, which my father and brother would bring home. But in this era, apparently funny stories emanated from the UN. [Both laugh.] And Narasimhan would bring them to Krishnaji.

S: I’ve forgotten what Narasimhan was in the UN.

M: He was chef de cabinet to U Thant. Remember U Thant?

S: Yes, of course. Now I remember.

M: ‘Krishnaji ate what Narasimhan ordered, but when we reached the hotel, he was still hungry. I got him a cheese sandwich. I then went out for Belgian and Ferragamo shoes and shoe cream for Krishnaji. Erna telephoned that Willa reported that Ruth Tettemer had died of Alzheimer’s disease.’ Yes, she did have Alzheimer’s. I remember when she didn’t seem to know who anybody was. That’s a shame. ‘Also, a belligerent telegram had arrived for Krishnaji from Rajagopal. I talked to Mitchell Booth.” That’s the family lawyer. ‘I am worried about my brother. Mitch was close-mouthed and said little, and was not reassuring.’

March thirtieth. ‘We were on time to the second Shainberg conference. I felt again that Krishnaji had to pull everyone uphill. David Shainberg lunched with us at Orsini, and it was late, and therefore quiet. Krishnaji ate well and likes it. There was a movie called Death Trap playing at the Sutton Theater, and we went, thinking it would be a thriller. It was a noisy, idiotic lemon. We walked back across 57th Street. New York is beautiful when you look up. The new IBM building has gone up on the corner of Madison. Only such soaring substances give me the old sense of the city I grew up in, and cared about once. Jackie Kornfeld had located Karsh, the photographer. He is in New York and will photograph Krishnaji tomorrow.’ Jackie underwrote that. ‘She has also seen Felt Forum for next year and gave a good report.’ We couldn’t get Carnegie Hall the next year for some reason.

S: So you had Felt Forum? Where’s Felt Forum?

M: I don’t know. It’s downtown. How can I describe it? It’s a newer place. I’d never been there before. It wasn’t there when I lived in New York.’

The thirty-first. ‘It was the third Shainberg conference. Yousuf Karsh, the photographer, was there, studying Krishnaji’s appearance. Shainberg lunched with us at Orsini. Krishnaji and I then went to Karsh’s studio where, from 3:15 p.m. to 5 p.m., he photographed Krishnaji, mostly in black and white, but a few in color. He made Krishnaji have his hands in each pose, which is not characteristic of Krishnaji. I asked him toward the end for some without the hands. We walked back.’ That one I’ve got in the other room is something Jackie Kornfeld gave me in her will. It was sent to me after she died. It has the hands, which Krishnaji didn’t…

S: Yes. Krishnaji never did that. Yes.

M: No, he never did that. It was Karsh’s fault. After the photo-shoot, we walked back to the hotel, where Krishnaji was interviewed for WBAI again, this time by Lex Hixon. Krishnaji didn’t sleep well. My impatience at not getting a taxi back disturbed him. We packed.’

The first of April. ‘Narasimhan came at 9 a.m. to say goodbye to Krishnaji. Bud’s car, with Les Lewis driving, came for us, and took Krishnaji and me to the airport and a noon flight on United to Los Angeles. We arrived at 3:30 p.m. Mark met us and we drove home along the coast. It is lovely to be back. Krishnaji had fainted briefly sitting on the plane, but was full of energy and enthusiasm on the drive and on arrival. The Bohms, who have been here for a week, greeted us. Michael brought supper. I telephoned to Amanda. The rudraksha and chain had arrived from Van Cleef. Krishnaji wore it overnight.’ He would do that with jewelry things. He would “magnetize” them, I think some people call it.

The second of April. ‘It is a lovely Ojai morning: clear and shining. We lunched at Arya Vihara with the Bohms, etcetera. Two hours after eating, Krishnaji had a blood sugar test at the Ojai hospital lab. It was 170, which is still too high. Lailee increased the pill dosage to one and a half. Krishnaji will be tested again on Monday. We walked to the dip and back. The air was quite cold.’

The next three days are fairly uneventful. On the sixth of April. ‘We took a picnic lunch to the Dunnes’s and ate with them on the terrace. Then Krishnaji and I went to UCLA hospital, where Dr. Tompkins pronounced Krishnaji fit and fine, and then we bought Great Earth vitamins to take to Europe. At 3:30 p.m., Krishnaji’s eyes were examined by Dr. Laura Fox. He has the beginnings of cataracts in both eyes, but the left one is more advanced. There is a possible need for surgery later. Krishnaji said, “The body accepted it.” We got home by 8 p.m., had what Krishnaji called “a good meal,” and went to sleep.’

The next day, ‘My brother telephoned that he and Lisa got from London to New York yesterday in a blizzard. Mar de Manziarly telephoned from Paris to tell us that Nadia’s husband, Nicolas Kossiakof, died. Krishnaji dictated letters. Sidney Field brought his grandson to lunch at Arya Vihara. Krishnaji and I walked with Erna and Theo down Grand Avenue. The results of Krishnaji’s Monday glucose test is 122. The pill Talinase is working. Lailee says he is to continue taking them.’

The eighth. ‘I went to get a passport photo and plants for the house, then I continued on south, and stopped for a sandwich with the Dunnes. Then I went to Gisèle’s for fittings.’ That was with those Indian materials Krishnaji had brought me from his last trip.’ I had the car washed, and drove back, meeting Krishnaji and the Lilliefelts walking on Grand Avenue. Krishnaji had been to the local dentist, Dr. Meinig, with Theo.’

April ninth I only have that ‘at four, Krishnaji talked to teachers here.’ That means here at the house.

The next day, ‘It rained. I was up early, did my exercises, and attempted getting things done early. I worked at my desk all morning. Spoke to my brother and to my cousin, and telephoned Filomena in Rome for Easter.’ It was Easter that day. ‘At 4 p.m., Krishnaji held another discussion here with Oak Grove School teachers. It came to something infinite—seeing the incompleteness of knowledge can free the mind to different perception.’

April eleventh. ‘It rained all day. At 10 a.m., there was a trustees meeting. Krishnaji was tired and rested all morning. After lunch, at Arya Vihara, he joined the meeting. We had Mark and David Moody come, and we proposed a committee to help in running the school. We walked down Grand Avenue and we watched My Fair Lady on television.’

The next day. ‘After lunch at Arya Vihara, I went to the Santa Barbara airport to meet Rupert Sheldrake and bring him back to Arya Vihara, where he will stay for a week. Meanwhile, Krishnaji held discussions at the house with teachers. Patricia Hunt-Perry came to stay a few days at Arya Vihara.’

April thirteenth. ‘At 10:30 a.m., Erna and I went to the K and R office, where Stuart Comis met us’—that’s our lawyer—‘and also Rajagopal’s lawyer, Terry Avsham, and Austin Bee. We were to examine “archives.” There was nothing that was different from the inventory we made in 1980. It was a complete futility. We were there one hour and came back. We lunched at Arya Vihara. Rupert Sheldrake and Patricia Hunt-Perry came. Both came back here for coffee. Later Krishnaji, Erna, Theo, Max, and I walked. Supper was at 6:30. Early to bed.’

The fourteenth. ‘Krishnaji slept poorly. Too much cheese for supper, he thinks. I worked at my desk and paid income tax. At 4 p.m., Krishnaji saw Mrs. Frumkin for an interview.’  She was a woman who lived in Santa Monica and had people come and see videos. Renee Frumkin. ‘Then we walked down to the Lilliefelts’ for tea with the Bohms, Sheldrake, and Patricia Hunt-Perry. We all walked down to the dip and back.’

There isn’t much the next day, and then on April sixteenth, ‘It was a beautiful day, which I began with much laundry.’ [Chuckles.] ‘Mendizza came with a crew to set up video equipment with three-color cameras for the discussion. Narasimhan came to lunch and was shown around the school. Patricia Hunt-Perry left. At 4 p.m., Krishnaji, Bohm, Sheldrake, and John Hidley did a one-hour videotaped discussion on what causes mental disorder. After, there was a short walk with Krishnaji, Bohm, and Sheldrake.’

The seventeenth. ‘At 11 a.m. there was the second videotaped discussion with Krishnaji, Bohm, Sheldrake, and Hidley; and a third discussion was done in the afternoon at 4 p.m.’

The next day. ‘It was a warm, clear day. At 11 a.m., Krishnaji, Bohm, Sheldrake, and Hidley did the fourth videotaped dialogue. In the afternoon, Bohm, Hidley, and Krause did an epilogue to it without Krishnaji. Krause did the introduction. The house is finally empty and quiet by 8:30 in the evening. Krishnaji stopped taking the anti-sugar pills.’

The nineteenth. ‘It has been a hot day. Shainberg arrived last night and is staying at Arya Vihara. We all lunched there. Sheldrake left in the afternoon. Krishnaji, Shainberg, and I walked at 5:30 p.m. down McAndrew.’

April twentieth. ‘Evelyne and Mendizza came to film Krishnaji answering questions for their documentary. Radha Burnier arrived in Ojai for two days and came to lunch. In the afternoon, all filming equipment was removed, and Dennis cleaned the house. In the evening, Krishnaji did some special thing to “clean” the atmosphere in the living room.’ [Chuckles.] ‘The afternoon walk was with Krishnaji, David Shainberg, and the Lilliefelts.’

The next two days are mostly small things, and on April twenty-third, ‘Krishnaji’s blood sugar after five days off the medicine was 115!’ Exclamation point. ‘Lailee said to check again in a month, but meanwhile, all is normal. The Bohms brought Professor Feynman of Caltech to lunch at Arya Vihara. I went to the Oak Grove School horse show. Ulrich Brugger and Magda Sichitiu were also at lunch. She brought her mother and child to Ojai hoping to stay and put the child in the Oak Grove School. Krishnaji met here at Pine cottage with the Lilliefelts, Hooker, Krause, Mark, and David Moody; and a committee to run Oak Grove School was established. Members of the committee are Krause, Mark, Moody, Leslie Hidley, and one teacher.’


Editor’s note: Mary doesn’t mention it in her diaries at this time, but she spoke with me about it a great deal, and it was certainly an important factor in her being in Krishnaji’s presence in California—the Oak Grove School was still not functioning well. This is the third governance structure for the school in as many years.


The twenty-fourth. ‘Krishnaji dictated letters. At 4 p.m., Krishnaji met here with the trustees and Leslie Hidley, Mark, and David Moody about the new school committee. Then Krishnaji spoke to teachers and parents. We took a short walk.’

The next day, Krishnaji again spoke to the teachers and parents.

On the twenty-sixth. ‘We drove to Beverly Hills for Krishnaji’s 11 a.m. appointment with Dr. Fox. He had a field of vision test and got drops for the pressure in the left eye. I picked up something from Gisèle. We stopped in Westwood for Krishnaji to go to the shaver shop,’ [both chuckle] ‘and then we went to Zuma Beach for a picnic lunch, and eventually the Green Thumb Nursery for a ficus tree to replace the one on the patio. “That one was waiting for us,” Krishnaji said. We got home after 4 p.m. and went for a walk with the Lilliefelts.’

S: You used to walk at Zuma Beach with Krishnaji when you lived in Malibu, didn’t you?

M: Yes, I think maybe we did, because Zuma Beach is up the coast highway from Malibu, when you get past the big rock. Zuma Beach is the beach immediately north of that. It’s a big wide beach, a beautiful beach to walk on. It’s a public beach, but when we lived in Malibu, there would be nobody there during the week. It was only on weekends that people came from the city. It was a very lovely, very wide, beach.

There’s nothing for the twenty-seventh except that the Bohms left. And the following day, ‘We went to the Oak Grove School for a tree planting and a lunch prepared by a parent who runs a restaurant in Santa Monica. Krishnaji sat at a table with the children. Then he and I went to the IRS office in Oxnard for his tax clearance so he could leave the country. We came back, and Krishnaji worked a little bit with Alasdair planting azaleas that we bought.’

Then, for the next couple of days, there isn’t much of significance until May first. ‘It is a cool, but somewhat sunny day. At 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji gave his first Ojai talk in the Oak Grove. He and I had lunch at Arya Vihara with only Michael present. I looked at video of that day’s talk—well done by Mendizza using two cameras and the equipment of the seminar recordings. Krishnaji and I walked to the Lilliefelts’ and back.’

The second of May. ‘It is a nice sunny day. At 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji gave his second Ojai talk. Afterward, he said, “Where does the energy come from? It can’t be the porridge.”’ [Both laugh.] Oh, dear.

S: If it were, I’d want some.

M: ‘Lunch at Arya Vihara was with Kishbaugh and Narayan’s brother, who’s also named Krishnamurti. At 4 p.m., Alfonso Colon and Armando Riesco came to talk about the Fundación. Afterward, we walked to the Lilliefelts’, then down McAndrew with them.’

There’s nothing much the next day, then on May fourth, ‘Krishnaji held the first question-and-answer session in the Grove. The lunch afterwards at Arya Vihara was with Kishbaugh and Narayan’s brother again. Later, there was a tea here in Pine Cottage with Mr. Vaid and his son, Magda Sichitiu and her mother and child, Ulrich Bruger, Narayan’s brother, Erna, Theo, Alfonso Colon, and his nephew Jose, after which Krishnaji and I went for a walk.’

The fifth. ‘Dorothy telephoned from Brockwood about buying one of the Woodlands Cottages. Colon and Riesco came to lunch at Arya Vihara. At 4:30 p.m., Krishnaji, the Lilliefelts, and I went to Oak Grove School to look at the sites for new school buildings. Zelma Wilson is the designer.’

May sixth. ‘Krishnaji’s second question-and-answer meeting in the Oak Grove. The Meralis arrived at lunchtime and will stay in the guest flat. Krishnaji put his hand on Colon, who has heart trouble, and also talked to Max. He walked with the Meralis, and I went to do marketing. My face caused criticism.’ He used to claim that I made, I don’t know…

S: Yes, you made faces. [Both laugh.] By which, I always thought he meant that your face expressed what you were feeling.

M: Well, yes, I guess I did.

Again, nothing much the next day, but on May eighth, ‘There was drizzle, but still, at 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji gave his third Ojai talk. Hugues van der Straten is here for one day, and he came with his son Gauthier for lunch at Arya Vihara. At 4 p.m., there was a meeting of Information Center people at the Lilliefelts’. Krishnaji walked down to their house, but didn’t come in to the meeting, then we walked back. He had seen Bill Quinn at 4:30 p.m., and Dr. Shah at 5 p.m.’

May ninth. ‘It was a cold day. Krishnaji gave his fourth Ojai talk. Beforehand, he had said in the car, “What will I talk about?” And it turned out to be a very fine one.[1] Brij Khare and wife and daughter were at lunch at Arya Vihara, as was Lou Blau. At 4 p.m., Peter Hewitt gave a piano recital in Libbey Park to benefit the matching fund drive. Krishnaji and I attended the first half. When we came back, he went to bed, where he had supper. Krishnaji said he “did something” to protect the house as we leave it at night.’ What does that mean?

S: Maybe it was for that concert at Libbey Park.

M: It was in May. Well, anyway, that’s what he said.

The tenth ‘was a cold day. Various people to lunch at Arya Vihara. There was a meeting after lunch of a few trustees, plus Mark and David about the school buildings. Krishnaji spoke to Max. We walked to the Lilliefelts’.’

May eleventh. ‘It is still cold. Krishnaji held the third question-and-answer session in the Oak Grove, after which we went to the cobbler.’ Oh, yes. There was a good cobbler in Meiners Oaks, where I got some shoes.’ We lunched at Arya Vihara, where there was Reeta Sanatani who had been principal of the Canadian school, but the school is now canceled. Krishnaji has resigned from the Educational Center of Canada.’ He did resign, but the Siddoo sisters never said he resigned. ‘Krishnaji and Booth Harris washed and waxed the green car. We walked with the Meralis to the Lilliefelts’ and back.’

May twelfth. ‘Today is Krishnaji’s eighty-seventh birthday. We went to Beverly Hills, with Krishnaji driving the green Mercedes along the coast road. He said, “Every night meditation wakes me.” We reached Dr. Fox’s office at 11 a.m. Krishnaji had a glaucoma test. It’s now fourteen after taking Timoptic for two weeks. My pressure was the same and I had a general eye exam. We fetched the rest of the things from the dressmaker Gisèle’s, then had a picnic lunch on a shady street in Beverly Hills. We went to Bullock’s for eight-hour cream.’ Do you know about eight-hour cream? [chuckles] It’s by Elizabeth Arden.

S: Oh, that. Yes, I do. It’s orange, but it’s in a pink jar.

M: Yes, it’s orange, and it’s in a typical pink Elizabeth Arden jar which was pink. And I still have the jar in the table by my bed. [laughs]

S: Krishnaji’s jar?

M: It’s his jar. Yes.

S: And I have his Brockwood jar of that. [Both laugh.]

M: Well, you know what I mean, in that case.

S: Yes. But it hasn’t lasted eight hours; it’s lasted more than twenty years. [Laughs.]

M: It’s lasted several decades for me, too. This is 1982 and we are now in 2005 and it’s still in my drawer. Occasionally I take a little bit. It doesn’t seem to go funny.

S: Yes, I have Krishnaji’s jar from Brockwood, and I don’t know what I’m carrying it around the world for. [Both laugh.]

M: Because it’s Krishnaji’s jar from Brockwood.

S: Exactly. Exactly. [Both laugh.]

M: Oh, dear. Now wait a minute, where was I? Yes. Yes. ‘We went to Bullock’s for eight-hour cream, and came back to Ojai, Krishnaji again driving along the coast. Patrick Lashley had put new shelves in the garden storage.’ He was a nice carpenter. ‘Krishnaji was tired, but marvelously well on this birthday.’

The thirteenth. ‘At 11:30 a.m., Krishnaji held his fourth question-and-answer meeting in the Oak Grove. We, again, went to the cobbler, and then the chemist on the way back. We lunched at Arya Vihara. Bill Quinn was a guest. At 4 p.m., Krishnaji and I went to a tea at Oak Grove School for the helpers and guests.’

May fourteenth. ‘Erna called me to say Rajagopal is trying to reach me. I telephoned him. He wants to send five boxes’—oh, this is the five-box day—‘of material to Krishnaji to be delivered personally in my presence. At around 10 a.m., Austin Bee came with five file boxes. Krishnaji came to the front door and received them. Krishnaji had Erna and Theo come over and the contents of all five boxes were examined. There were manuscripts of Krishnaji’s; letters from Nitya, Annie Besant, and Emily Lutyens; original accounts of the pepper tree event; and much else. Erna, Theo, and I made an inventory. Later, Krishnaji had me call Rajagopal and thank him deeply, and say that Krishnaji hoped that more material will come, and we can avoid going to court. We lunched at Arya Vihara, after which I went to the bank about travelers’ checks, etcetera and to get tea roses for Krishnaji to plant near the nandis. Krishnaji walked with the Meralis and the Lilliefelts while I did this.’

May fifteenth. ‘Krishnaji had leg cramps in the night. At 11:30 a.m., he gave the fifth Ojai talk, which moved me to tears.[2] We again stopped at the cobblers in Meiners Oaks and came back to Arya Vihara for lunch. It’s a warm day, too hot to walk, and Krishnaji was tired. Appraisers came at 4 p.m., and I showed them all three houses. I bicycled eight miles.’ How could I do that?

S: On your stationary bicycle.

M: Oh, yes. [Chuckles.] ‘Alasdair and Eloise got married.’ Eloise is the daughter of Evelyne.

The sixteenth. ‘It is a warm day. The crowd for the sixth talk was huge. Austin Bee handed Krishnaji a note from Rajagopal as he arrived. Krishnaji read it only after the talk on his return home. Rajagopal wanted Krishnaji to announce at the talk that they were friends. Later Krishnaji had me telephone and read a message Krishnaji wrote to Rajagopal, thanking him, and asking him if it meant he was turning over the rest of the things. Rajagopal said it has nothing to do with turning anything over or with the lawsuit. The Blaus were both at lunch. It was again too hot to walk. Erna had announced at the talk that the goal of the matching fund had been reached.’

May the seventeenth. ‘It was a hot day. The Meralis left after lunch. Krishnaji was tired and worried about who carries on after he, I, and the Lilliefelts are gone. He talked all morning to us about it, and at 5 p.m., he had a meeting of the Lilliefelts, Evelyne, Hooker, Moody, Mark, Krause, and Booth Harris and talked about it. Are they committed to all this? Alasdair planted four tea roses near the West nandi.’

The eighteenth. ‘It was a day of desk work and packing for me. Krishnaji’s new will arrived from Cohen, and he signed it after lunch with Evelyne and Willa as witnesses. At 4 p.m., he talked to Aliana Scurlock, and then to Bill Quinn. Balasundaram came to say goodbye. There was a walk with the Lilliefelts.’

May nineteenth. ‘I went to Beverly Hills, had my hair cut, and fetched protein powder for Krishnaji. On my way home, I stopped at the Dunnes’s at 2 p.m. Amanda had friends of both of us to lunch: Tally Wyler, Joyce Buch, Ruth Carter, Hilda Marton, and Evelyne Keyes. They left, and then Phil came home. After our goodbyes, I returned to Ojai, where at 5:30, Person AX and her mother came.’ Oh, that’s that awful woman. At least, I think she’s awful because of what she did. She’s now a columnist. Her name is now AY. She married a man called Y. But, at this time, she was not married. Anyway, ‘she and her mother with a Mrs. Peter Bevan, the wife of a producer, came to ask Krishnaji to do a TV interview for the BBC in August, which Krishnaji agreed to. Krishnaji had planted a yellow tea rose with Alasdair.’

S: Tell me about AY.

M: Well. The reason I don’t like her is because at that meeting, she asked if he would appear for an interview with her on the air in August. Well, in August, we were apt to be in Saanen. But she was so definite about it that we left Saanen early in order to do this, but we never heard from her again. And I took offense.

S: But she was interested in Krishnaji’s work?

M: She was interested in famous people. The mother was sort of vaguely interested. The mother was nicer. But AY—she was…she’s my idea of what used to be known as “an adventuress.” She came over to the US at this period, and then she married a very rich man called Y, she produced some children to cement the whole thing, and then divorced him with a large settlement, apparently. She is now independently wealthy, but she’s now a columnist. [chuckles] Anyway, I didn’t like her, as you can tell. I didn’t dislike her spontaneously, not until she invited Krishnaji formally, and he said he would be there, and then, nothing. Anyway.

Just more packing and getting things in order the next day. And then May twenty-first:

‘I finished packing by 12:30 p.m. We lunched at Arya Vihara, and at 2:30 p.m. left in the school van with Mark and David Moody for the Los Angeles airport, where Krishnaji and I took the 5:55 p.m. TWA to London. We had our usual two forward seats in the nose of the plane. Krishnaji slept fairly well.’

Krishnaji with Scott Forbes in Brockwood dining room. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji with Scott Forbes in Brockwood dining room.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

The twenty-second: ‘We arrived at Heathrow at noon. One of Krishnaji’s two new bags was missing, but was eventually found. The waiting and crowds and uncertainty shocked his body. Dorothy, Doris, and Ingrid met us. We reached Brockwood before 3 p.m. Everyone was out to meet Krishnaji, including Dr. Parchure and Narayan. We had lunch upstairs in the kitchen, and walked in the grove at 5 p.m. Everything is in lovely full bloom. Brockwood is beautiful. I spoke to Mary Links.’

May twenty-third. ‘Krishnaji slept poorly and spent the day in bed. He had a massage by Dr. Parchure, which relaxed him. All unpacking was accomplished. I slept well in the afternoon.’

The twenty-fourth. ‘The Links, the Digbys, Jane Hammond, David Bohm, and Mary Cadogan all came to a trustee meeting at noon. It was decided to buy the Woodland cottage. The meeting continued after lunch. Krishnaji was concerned to hold the three Foundations together. He and I took Whisper for a walk.’

May twenty-fifth: ‘Krishnaji again slept poorly, so, again, he stayed in bed all day. I felt sleepy most of the day as well. I spoke to Fleur, and put all Krishnaji’s sweaters and shirts in order, read, and took a nap. The school is on half-term holiday, so I made supper upstairs. I spoke to Vanda.’

The next day. ‘It was a quiet day. Krishnaji got up for a fitting by a Winchester tailor, Mr. Thornton.’

S: Oh, Mr. Thornton, yes. That was a tailor I found and initially went to. He made some things for my dad, as well.

M: Oh, good. ‘He told Krishnaji that Mr. Lintott just died.’ Oh, Mr. Lintott was the nice man at Huntsman who always looked after Krishnaji, and he sort of ran things at Huntsman. Anyway, ‘Krishnaji lunched downstairs, and after naps, we walked. Krishnaji, Dorothy, the dogs, and I crossed the fields.’

The next day. ‘We both slept better. After lunch, I went with Scott and some of his students to visit Petworth.’ Remember that? ‘Krishnaji walked with Dorothy.’

May twenty-eighth. ‘Krishnaji spent the morning mostly sleeping. He got up for lunch. I went to a staff meeting at 4:45 p.m. We had planned to go to London that day, but Mary and Joe telephoned to tell us that the bridges across the Thames were closed because of the visit of the Pope.’

The twenty-ninth. ‘It was a warm and lovely day. Marie-Bertrande and Jean-Michel Maroger arrived with Diane for the weekend. Diane wants to be a Brockwood student next September. I talked all morning with them, and they came on the walk with Krishnaji, Dorothy, and me. Kip bit Marie-Bertrande.’ That wasn’t nice of him.

S: Kip wasn’t a nice dog.

M: May thirtieth: ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school. Peter Brook and his wife were there, and stayed to lunch. The Bohms came. I talked at length to Marie-Bertrande, and then Krishnaji spoke to her for over an hour. At 4 p.m., we took a short walk. It was Natasha’s birthday, and I gave her coral earrings.’

The thirty-first of May: ‘It was another warm day. Krishnaji walked with Jean-Michel while I went to a school meeting. At lunch, Krishnaji talked of what a school could do to bring about a religious person, to help one to see the false from the real. The Marogers left for France after supper.’

June first. ‘I went to Alresford on errands while Krishnaji spoke to the students alone. After lunch, I went to fetch two monks from Chithurst Buddhist monastery. One was Sumedho, who’d written asking to see Krishnaji. I brought them here to see Krishnaji at 4:30 p.m., and drove them back afterward.’

The second of June: ‘It is a hot day. I was packing for our stay in London, then I went to pay for our air tickets to Geneva. Krishnaji decided against going to Paris this summer. Erna telephoned that Rajagopal’s lawyer wants the five boxes back that Rajagopal sent to Krishnaji.’ They claimed—it isn’t written here—but, when Austin Bee brought the five boxes, and Krishnaji received them which I was to witness and all that, I think that was on a Friday or Saturday. By Monday, Rajagopal’s lawyer called to say that we had stolen them, and that we must return them immediately, because it was stolen property. Can you imagine? [Chuckles.] Anyway, the end of June second is ‘we walked in the shade of the grove.’

The third. ‘Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I went by train to London. Mary and Joe met us and took Krishnaji and me to the Savoy Hotel, where we left our two bags. Then Joe dropped us at Huntsman. It was sad there because of Mr. Lintott’s death. Krishnaji ordered a dark blue suit with a bit of white in it. We lunched with Mary at Fortnum. At 3:30 p.m., Krishnaji had his hair cut at Truefitt. It was a very hot day. We bought books at Hatchards and went back to the Savoy, where we had two suites for the price of two rooms. We had our supper in the rooms.’

June fourth. ‘Krishnaji slept well. He rested in the morning while I went to the Indian exhibit at the Hayward Gallery; partly organized by Pupul for Britain’s Festival of India. I came back to the Savoy and Joe came for Krishnaji and me. We went to join Mary at their flat, and then we walked to a nearby Italian restaurant for lunch. Joe took Krishnaji back to the Savoy while I got Krishnaji’s Swiss visa. It was a hot, very hot day. We rested and didn’t walk. Scott came by with Krishnaji’s pink pills.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘Hay fever is bothering him a bit. We had supper again in the rooms.’

The fifth. ‘It was another hot day. Joe drove Krishnaji and me to the Barbican Center where, at 10:45 a.m., Krishnaji gave his first London talk. The hall was full and overflowed into an adjacent cinema where a large screen showed the talk Krishnaji was giving. Joe brought us back to the Savoy, where at 1:30 p.m., he, Mary, and Mary’s granddaughter, Anna Pallandt, had a leisurely lunch with us. Mary and Anna had sold books at the Barbican. It was too hot to walk, so we rested and had supper in the rooms.’

The next day. ‘It is still very hot. Joe again drove us to the Barbican for Krishnaji’s second London talk there. A very fine one. Mary, Joe, and Nicky Pallandt, Mary’s grandson, lunched with Krishnaji and me at the Savoy; and then Joe drove us to Waterloo, where we returned by train to Petersfield. Dorothy met us. We had supper in the West Wing kitchen. It was good to be back.’

Krishnaji with Scott Forbes in Brockwood dining room. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Krishnaji with Scott Forbes in Brockwood dining room.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

June seventh. ‘I received from Cohen’s office an affidavit about Krishnaji receiving the files May fourteenth from Rajagopal, and my telephone conversation with Rajagopal. I went to London by train and to the U.S. embassy to have my signature notarized, and posted the now-signed affidavit back to Oxnard. I did some shopping, then took the tube back to Waterloo and the train to Petersfield. On the way home, I picked up the Hoover, which was serviced in Alresford, and was back at Brockwood by 5 p.m. Krishnaji had walked with Dorothy, though it was another hot day. I telephoned Willa to say I had sent the affidavit.’

S: Wait. Before we go on to the eighth, wasn’t this—just to continue this silly story of the material from Rajagopal—didn’t Erna photocopy for twenty-four hours, or something like that, the content of all five boxes? Because there was no way of knowing whether you’d ever see any of those things again.

M: Yes. Rajagopal was really crazy; but not crazy enough to be innocent.

S: Crazy like a fox.

M: Yes, it was in a deliberate way. Anything he thought up, he would do. And his mood was usually hostile, although he sometimes called up to say how much he loved Krishnaji, and loved me, but he was not nutty enough to be excused of anything. He engaged in a lifetime of abuse of Krishnaji.

There was nothing of much significance until June tenth, when Krishnaji spoke to the students alone, and the next day, when he talked with the staff at 5 p.m.

June twelfth. ‘The Bohms came for the night. Krishnaji took a small walk with Dorothy and me. In the evening, the Bohms and Scott came to watch on TV Bernard Levin interviewing Dr. Salk.’ I think that was because we were judging the Levin interview technique.

On the thirteenth. ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school at 11:45 a.m., after which the Bohms left. I spoke to Ginny Travers, who opened in a play called “A Personal Affair” in London last week. She says the reviews were not good.’

There is nothing much the next day.

June fifteenth: ‘The Falkland war ends. We were going to London but canceled because of Krishnaji’s hay fever and his feeling tired. I went in the afternoon to Petersfield, taking Frances, and got Phenargan antihistamine pills for Krishnaji. Also plants for the house. In the evening, I watched TV programs about the Argentine surrender to Britain. I talked to Phyllis Fry. Krishnaji took the Phenargan 25 mg pills for hay fever, and it made him sleep deeply.’

The next day. ‘Krishnaji didn’t awaken until after 8 a.m., and spent the whole day in bed resting. I went to London for an appointment with Mary’s dermatologist, then walked to Selfridges for miscellaneous things, then to Claridge’s and lunch with Fleur, then to a matinee of Ginny Travers’s play, “A Personal Affair,” at the Globe Theatre. I went back to see her afterward. I went by underground to Waterloo, and was back at Brockwood by 7:30 p.m.’

On the seventeenth, ‘Krishnaji spoke with the students, and the next day talked to staff.’

June nineteenth. ‘Pupul arrived to stay until the twenty-fourth. And on the twentieth, ‘Krishnaji had a walk with Dr. Parchure at 7 a.m. instead of his normal exercises. He had breakfast with Pupul and me in the kitchen. Later, he talked to the whole school at noon. In the afternoon, there was a mime play in the old rose garden, to which we all went.’

The next day. ‘I spent most of the day doing desk work. At 5 p.m., Krishnaji and Pupul had a videotaped discussion with the school as the audience. Krishnaji spoke on reading the origin of things, and the path of diligence. And then Krishnaji said diligence remains part of action of the self and time, and going directly upon seeing was possible, possible for everyone.’

June twenty-second. ‘Pupul gave a talk to the school at noon on Indian craft, which Krishnaji attended. At 4:30 p.m., there was a meeting of Krishnaji, Pupul, Scott, Kathy, Harsh, and Ray McCoy about video and audiotapes in India.’

The next day. ‘I took the 9:03 a.m. train to London. The underground was on strike, so I waited in a queue for a taxi, which took me to my haircut. I walked in the rain to Bruton Street and my appointment with Judith.’ Who was Judith? ‘Then to the French tourist office on Piccadilly for pamphlets on French inns. Then I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, where Betsy and I saw an exhibition, “This Indian Heritage.” I was lucky to catch a taxi back to Waterloo, and so back to Brockwood. Krishnaji was just going out in the rain with Dorothy and the dogs for a walk. There was a letter from Erna saying that Booth Harris has resigned from the Oak Grove School. Aditi, Nandini’s granddaughter, arrived.’

S: We’re going to have to call it quits there, as we’re running out of tape.

M: Okay.

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[1] For the video of the Fourth Ojai Talk of 1982. Back to text.

[2] For the video of the Fifth Ojai talk of 1982. Back to text.