Issue #73

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Issue 73—September 20, 1982 to December 31, 1982


This issue is short. Krishnaji and Mary are together for only about a month of the time covered by this issue, and since this memoir is meant to be about what it was like for Mary to be with Krishnaji, more than two months of this period have been edited out. Nevertheless, Mary continues to write in her diary every day, so we do know about her life when Krishnaji was in India.

Editing out the months when Mary was not with Krishnaji is not necessarily correct, because even when they were on different continents, it isn’t completely true that “Mary was not with Krishnaji.” She carefully tracks his movements, so we know when he traveled from one part of India to another. We know when he gives his talks and seminars in different venues. We get Krishnaji’s news, which he writes to her in his daily letters to her and she relays in her diaries, or someone coming from India to America or Europe who has seen him, calls her at Krishnaji’s request with his news.

Krishnaji and Mary send telegrams to each other about urgent matters, and Krishnaji even calls her once from Madras to resolve a matter in Australia. And, of course, whether she is in Europe or America, she is constantly working on behalf of the Foundations or on his behalf. She flies to New York to make arrangements for Krishnaji’s talks there the following spring. She attends endless meetings of the schools and Foundations in England and America. She organizes videotaped dialogues to take place between Krishnaji and well-known intellectuals. She arranges to have things brought to Krishnaji that he requests by people visiting India. And every two weeks, Mary sends off to the schools one of the Letters to the Schools that Krishnaji had dictated earlier. Mary is also actively supporting Krishnaji’s wish to create adult study centers with discussions at Brockwood and Ojai, but at Ojai, she is also looking for ways to transform Arya Vihara and to get donations. And, of course, there is the never-ending nonsense of the court case. It seems right to edit out all this, but it also seems right to mention it.

The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #73

Mary: We begin today on September twentieth, 1982, and we’re still in France on our vacation. ‘It is a little cooler. Krishnaji had foot cramp in the night and was awake quite a time. I went to Blois for newspapers. Jean-Michel and Marie-Bertrande came at 5 p.m., and we walked in the woods. The wedding apparently went beautifully, and they seem happy. After they left, Krishnaji and I talked over our leaving before the first of October. Our earlier discussions about making an annual holiday in France with a group of six or eight faded when Krishnaji realized the costs of travel and hotels yesterday as I paid the bill for our first nine days here. It was not excessive by today’s standards, but he now thinks we can do what he wanted at Brockwood instead. Nevertheless, as to here and now, we’ve had a good rest and both feel like leaving soon. The crummy bathroom adds to the impetus. I looked upstairs, but aside from the room that Dorothy had, none has a private bath. It is silly how such a small thing counts.’ [S chuckles.]

September twenty-first. ‘We made the decision to advance our departure from October first to next Monday, the twenty-seventh. So, I went to Blois to change the tickets to the twenty-seventh. I telephoned Brockwood with a message about the change for Dorothy, and then rang the Marogers about the same. It also simplifies things as we can all go to Paris together on Monday. The Marogers will go from Paris to the ferry for England, as they are taking Diane to Brockwood to become a student, and we will go to the airport. I bought books in French for Krishnaji as he has decided he wants to do some reading in French, and some running shoes for him, which he likes, size thirty-nine.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘I also got some Porthault spray’—Porthault is a really wonderful linen shop, but they make a nice spray to spray in closets—‘and some Roger et Gallet oeillet soap.’ Oeillet is the French word for carnations. ‘I bought it to subdue our smelly bath here.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘I made it back for lunch, and we rested all the afternoon and walked in a light rain in the Forêt de Russy.’ That was the one next door. ‘The forest is awakening in the rain. We had a light supper and went to bed early.’

September the twenty-second. ‘I gave Krishnaji a flu vaccine.’ Did I, now? Well. ‘We have had vitamin B shots with us, but he has put off taking them and I am relieved as I don’t like doing it.’ I was trained in a hospital how to do this during the war, so it isn’t quite as awful as it sounds for anyone reading this. It’s very easy to give shots to a stranger, but [chuckles] I never liked stabbing people who are close. I used to do the blood bank and I had to test people’s hemoglobin, which meant sticking a thing into their finger. I did it all day long, but when a friend came by, I got squeamish. [Chuckles.]

Scott: I completely understand.

M: Well, you would, as you have a thing about it.

S: Yes, I have a thing about needles in any case, but [laughs] I’d much rather get a shot than see someone I care for get one.

M: Anyway, you understand.

S: I’m very sympathetic.

M: ‘We had a quiet day and walked a long way down the dirt road in the forest. There was an odd atmosphere there, which both of us felt. The trees seem aloof, unfriendly. It is silent, without birds or the sounds of moving leaves. We are intruders. Krishnaji said, “I would be nervous to walk here alone.” But the forest affected both of us differently from other landscapes. It is beautiful, but the mood can darken and something of a menace is somewhere there.’

The twenty-third. ‘The weather is cooler. We drove to La Mahaudière and lunched with the Marogers, Mr. and Mrs. Salzman, Marie-Bertrande’s stepmother, Madame Embericos, and Diane.’ The Salzmans were an American couple who were friends of the Marogers; they had a house nearby, at least temporarily, but lived mostly in California.

S: Yes, I remember. He had something to do with television or something.

M: He was vaguely with movies, but retired. ‘Mrs. Salzman had cooked what she called a “Jain Indian meal,” which she learned how to do in New York.’ [Chuckles.] ‘We saw the videotape of Ariane’s wedding, done by Mr. Salzman. Krishnaji’s view that weddings are a lot of fuss over nothing was kept low-key.’ [Both laugh.] ‘He told Brahmin stories at lunch. We left at 4 p.m., both tired from lack of a rest after lunch, and as neither of us wanted to go into the dark woods, we walked around the front of the château. Both are glad to be returning to Brockwood.’

Portrait of Krishnaji. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Portrait of Krishnaji.
Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

September twenty-fourth. ‘I went to Blois to cash travel checks. Fetched The Herald Tribune and Time magazine, and some Roger et Gallet toilet soap for Krishnaji, and put petrol in the Marogers’ Opel. It’s a rather cold day. I couldn’t sleep until two last night. Too much coffee at every breakfast here, perhaps. I slept after lunch. I have finished a book by Mary McCarthy called Cannibals and Missionaries, and am skimming through an autobiography of Jimmy Granger that I picked up at Heathrow.’ That’s Stewart Granger, but Jimmy to friends. ‘We walked on the forest road. Krishnaji said, “We mustn’t be afraid of it,” and Krishnaji addressed the trees, saying, “We are friendly people. We mean you no harm. You mustn’t mind our coming.” The trees have an odd air of watching, like the cows and sheep at Brockwood, who stare at us intently.’ [Both laugh.] Oh, goodness.

S: Now, again, with the view that no detail being too small—I remember Krishnaji had the Roger et Gallet soap. He would usually have sandalwood.

M: Yes, that soap was often from India. People gave…

S: But I remember he also had Roger et Gallet sandalwood soap.

M: Yes, well, he liked sandalwood.

S: Yes, and what else did he like? He liked another one.

M: Well, I always bought Carnation Roger et Gallet because I liked it, and it’s not too feminine or too anything. It just smells of carnations, which is not a cloying smell.

S: Yes, yes.

M: It’s a kind of clean smell, yes. Clean.

S: Geranium, did he have geranium?

M: Geranium would be acceptable. I wouldn’t ever buy for anyone, except a woman, rose or something like lilac or lily of the valley. Those are more feminine soaps.

S: Yes, yes. Krishnaji also had powder that he would use that was geranium.

M: Powder? What for?

S: Just a body powder, an English make, in a white tin with green lettering.

M: That would be from me, um, oh, that herbal store on the corner of…

S: Culpeper’s.

M: That’s it.

September twenty-fifth. ‘Krishnaji says he now thinks he knows how he fell a week ago, that the rug slipped. But, when I asked him at the time if it were the rug, he had said no. At lunch, he reported that he had had threatening dreams every night here. “What kind?” I asked. He said that in the dreams, he has to speak and is late; he is walking and there is a body of water suddenly that gets wider. He wonders what it is. Are the two Rajagopals threatening him? “Those two would be the only ones,” he said. He says he can close it off and not allow the dreams, but doesn’t want to close it off. We spoke of the case and that it is probably a ploy by Rajagopal to speak now, via his lawyers, of a settlement in order to drag things out some more. Mrs. Vigeveno’s deposition has been put off because of this, which has enabled him once more to avoid our motions. Krishnaji said, “Rajagopal is playing a dirty game”…“He thinks I’ve done something to him. What have I done to him? I’ve done nothing.” At lunch, I said that Rajagopal responds only to being pushed. Krishnaji said, “We must push him.” I asked what should guide us this winter when he is in India and communication is difficult, and Krishnaji replied, “Whatever you think should be done.” We read most of the day and walked to the road and back.’ And that finishes the big diary for the year.

S: Alright, so it’s all the little diary now.

M: Yes. The twenty-sixth of September. ‘There was rain in the morning, so we stayed in and read. It cleared in the afternoon and Jean-Michel took us to the other side of the Loire, where we had a nice walk. There were rainbows.’

September twenty-seven. ‘We were packed and ready when the Marogers arrived at 11:30 a.m. Krishnaji and I drove with Jean-Michel, Diane, and Daphne to Paris. Marie-Bertrande went later on a train. We had picnic sandwiches in the Bois de Vincennes. Then they took us to Charles de Gaulle Airport, where Krishnaji and I took the Air France 3:30 p.m. flight to London. Dorothy met us in a car she has acquired from her brother and we came back to beautiful Brockwood a little after 6 p.m. It is good to be back.’

The next day, ‘The Marogers arrive with Diane. Marie-Bertrande and Jean-Michel are in the West Wing, and Diane is in the student room she will have. I did much laundry and house things. It was a windy day. Krishnaji, Dorothy, Jean-Michel, and I went for a walk around the fields.’

September twenty-nine. ‘In the morning, I telephoned Krishnaji’s dentist, Mr. Thompson, about Krishnaji’s bridge, and he suggested an appointment today, so we took the 11:45 a.m. train.’ [Chuckles.] And then the standard: ‘Mary and Joe met us at Waterloo. Krishnaji and I lunched with Mary at Fortnum’s. Then Joe took us to Mr. Thompson, and then to Huntsman briefly, and then back to Waterloo.’ [Both chuckle.]

S: I can’t remember whether we’ve mentioned it or not, we probably have. But the same thing was always ordered for lunch at Fortnum’s, and you always had the same table.

M: Yes, it was. Yes, the corner table.

S: I know we described that, but I can’t remember if we mentioned that the same thing was always ordered for lunch, which was the flan.

M: Yes. The flan. A cheese flan.

S: Yes, cheese and onion, wasn’t it?

M: Well, there would be onion in a good cheese flan.

S: Yes. [Both chuckle.]

M: And salad and…

S: Potatoes.

M: Yes.

S: Boiled potatoes, usually.

M: Yes, I guess. I don’t remember the potatoes, but there would be. [Both chuckle.] You have a memory for detail.

S: For food.

M: Oh, that’s right, that too.

September thirtieth. ‘I took the 9:46 a.m. train back to London, then went by underground for a haircut, then had salad and cheese with Mary and Joe at their flat. After lunch, I went to Marks & Spencer’s for a cardigan for Krishnaji, then walked on to the new Louis Vuitton store on Bond Street for an all-purpose shoulder bag.’ It’s in the other room.

S: Aha, that’s the one that you always use.

M: ‘I bought cheese at Paxton and returned to Waterloo by tube, catching the 4:20 p.m. back to Petersfield.’

October first. ‘The school term began. Krishnaji dictated letters. I went to Alresford with Marie-Bertrande on errands. After a nap, Krishnaji, Marie-Bertrande, Dorothy, and I walked with the dogs.’

The second of October: ‘It rained. I typed the first of Krishnaji’s new series of Letters to the Schools, which is to go out twice a month to all of Krishnaji’s schools on the first and fifteenth of every month. I attended the 3 p.m. staff meeting. Krishnaji and I walked in the rain. Jackie Kornfeld telephoned me from New York. Merali arrived.’

October third. ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school the first time this school year. It was a lovely, still afternoon with no wind but some sun. We walked.’

There is nothing of significance the next day, but on the fifth of October, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the students again. David Shainberg arrived. In the afternoon, Krishnaji, David, Dorothy, Marie-Bertrande, Jean-Michel, and I walked, then looked at a Volvo car demonstrated to Dorothy.’ Oh, yes, Krishnaji wanted to help Dorothy get a new car. ‘After supper, at the table, I discussed with Shainberg, Merali, and others the idea for a Krishnamurti study center.’

The sixth of October. ‘Krishnaji and I went to London. Joe and Mary met us. While Krishnaji had a Huntsman fitting, Joe took me to his shop, where I tried on a silk raincoat. He dropped me at Fortnum’s, where Mary, who had met Krishnaji at Huntsman, lunched with Krishnaji and me. Krishnaji and I went to Hatchards for detective novels and I got Fleur Cowles’s new book. We walked to Burberry, where Krishnaji got a windbreaker. I looked at raincoats but decided on the one from Joe’s store.’

S: Which store is that?

M: Well, he had a furrier store, but he sold also a raincoat you could put over a fur.

S: Where was this store?

M: It was over near Harrods in Knightsbridge. ‘Joe and Mary met us there and drove us to Waterloo. Krishnaji suggested a three-to-five-minute deliberate quieting of my body each morning, to perhaps quiet my fidgety hands.’ I don’t remember that.

The seventh of October: ‘I went with Marie-Bertrande and Daphne to Winchester on shopping errands, where I found an antique dressing table mirror as a present for the Marogers to thank them for all they did to make our France vacation so pleasant. They all left for France in the afternoon. Diane now is on her own as a student here. Sarjit Siddoo and her husband were here for a brief visit. Krishnaji, Dorothy, Shainberg, and I walked around the fields.’

October eighth. ‘At noon, Krishnaji spoke to the staff. If one goes all the way in seeing one branch of conditioning, then one can see and be free of all the others.’ You see, this is what he said, and this is what none of these people in these discussions I attend can understand. They think you have to do it and do it and do it and do it, and there’s no wiping something free.

S: Yes, and if there’s no end, then that’s the perfect excuse for doing nothing.

Krishnaji. Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

Copyright Mary Zimbalist.

M: Well, it also means that what Krishnaji said is just understood on the top of your mind, you know. You’re not seeing in the sense that Krishnaji was talking about. I try to say that in the discussions here. ‘At 4 p.m., a Saab car was demonstrated to Dorothy and everybody. Dorothy likes it. David Shainberg is doing the bargaining with the car salesman for Dorothy.’ [S laughs.] He said you don’t know how to talk to salesmen, you have to bargain with them. [Both chuckle.] ‘At 5:15 p.m., I went to a staff meeting.’

The next day, ‘Krishnaji slept well but decided to spend the day in bed. David Shainberg finally succeeded in making a deal for the Saab for Dorothy. In the afternoon, the Bohms and Maurice Wilkins arrived to stay till tomorrow. The Bohms are in the West Wing.’

The tenth of October. ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school at noon, after which the Bohms and Wilkins left. I telephoned Amanda after hearing a BBC report of a fire in the Santa Monica mountains. Phil is in Chicago till Tuesday, but George’—that’s her brother—‘and the gardener are there. The fire is in back of Pepperdine University’—that’s across the street from their place—‘but she thinks it is controlled. Krishnaji talked to a man from Oxford and later to Shainberg. We had a short walk. I discussed video matters with Merali, Shainberg, Scott, and Dorothy.’

October eleventh: ‘Before he and Merali left, Shainberg gave Krishnaji a gamma globulin injection, two vials, to last six months.’ Shainberg was a doctor, after all. You have to be a doctor before you get to be a psychiatrist, but he was so squeamish about giving the shot. [Both chuckle.] He hadn’t done it since medical school or something, I guess. I said, “You’re a doctor, you’ve got to do it.” [Both laugh.] ‘We watched the raising of the Tudor warship Mary Rose from the Solent on television. Scott came up to talk to Krishnaji and me about his work on video and teaching. Dorothy joined the discussion. In the afternoon, Krishnaji talked to Harsh and Clare with Dorothy. At 5 p.m. there was a school meeting.’ You can perhaps enlarge on this? Do you remember?

S: I don’t remember it at all. [Both chuckle.] But one of the things I do remember was that the talks Krishnaji had, that you mentioned, with Harsh and Clare often were about their domestic squabbles, which somehow they kept expecting Krishnaji to resolve.

M: That’s right. And I can’t remember if they’d already had the child or not.

S: Oh yes, oh yes. They’d already had the child and that was partly why there was also occasional discussion of a school for small children.

M: And that was preceded by many discussions over whether staff should continue to be staff members if they had a child. The French couple—what was their name?—he taught yoga? Anyway, they had a child and went off to France, where he taught yoga.

S: Yes. Dorothy was dead set against staff having children, so when Joe and Carol had a child, they left. But Harsh and Clare stayed at Brockwood.

M: Yes, at least for a while.

October twelfth. ‘Krishnaji talked to the students alone again, while I went to a staff meeting. After lunch, I went to Winchester on errands, but got back in time for a walk in the rain with Krishnaji and Dorothy.’ I assume that whoever hears or reads these discussions realizes that if it rains, that didn’t get you out of a walk.

S: [chuckles] Of course not.

M: Krishnaji would say, “Walk.” [Both chuckle.] I would have stayed in, but that wasn’t a choice.

October thirteenth: ‘It was another rainy day. Krishnaji spent it in bed reading and sleeping. He had a good night’s sleep, too. So, he was well rested. I worked at the desk all day and ate with him on trays.’ That was the usual thing. We ate most of our meals on trays. Breakfast was always on trays.

S: Yes, in his room.

M: In his room.

S: He would sit in bed and you would sit in the red chair.

M: Yes, I would sit in the big red chair, yes. And we had the television convenient to both.

S: Yes, yes. Except in the morning, he would listen to the stereo.

M: Yes, well, I didn’t eat breakfast with him in the morning, usually.

S: No, but the last couple of years, I did. Yes, yes. It was always music in the morning and the news in the evening on television.

M: News in the evening, that’s right. Yes, he liked to listen to music in the morning. And always I’d ask him, “What would you like to hear?” “You choose,” he would say. [Both chuckle.] Occasionally, he would specify: singing. He liked Joan Sutherland. He also liked Neapolitan songs sung by Pavarotti. [Chuckles.] They were exuberant.

October fourteenth. ‘Jean-Michel arrived at 8 a.m. for an 11:30 a.m. trustee meeting. Mary and Joe came and brought the raincoat that I bought from Joe’s store. Harsh and Stephen Smith attended as new temporary trustees.’ Ah, so you and Ingrid were replaced as the temporary trustees. We were mistaken in saying before that you weren’t. ‘The meeting continued in the afternoon. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I took a short walk on the driveway and lane. The weather is cold.’

The fifteenth of October, ‘was a cold, beautiful day. We took the 10:46 a.m. to London and got a taxi without waiting. Krishnaji had a fitting on a very handsome Huntsman suit. Rita Zampese met us at Huntsman and brought his Lufthansa ticket. Krishnaji and I lunched at Fortnum’s and went to Hatchards. I dropped him at Mr. Thompson’s at 3 p.m., then I went to the U.S. embassy to try to get an absentee ballot, but failed. I came back to the dentist. Krishnaji is getting a new bridge.’ He had endless dentist appointments. ‘We found a taxi quite easily and got the 4:20 p.m. back to Petersfield. We had also been to Asprey’s for a new wallet for me.’ I’m still using it. ‘There was a plague of flies in Krishnaji’s room in the evening. I had to spray poison, then vacuum and clean.’ I think he had to sleep in the guest room. The ceiling was black with flies.

S: Yes, there was one very odd year with flies.

M: It doesn’t happen anymore. Anyway, that was the fifteenth.

The sixteenth. ‘Another rainy day. I drove Krishnaji and Dorothy to Winchester for Dorothy’s fitting for two outfits. Krishnaji was overseeing the fitting. I parked the car with difficulty in the heavy traffic. I just briefly saw the outfits, then fetched the car, and came back for them. We got back to Brockwood in time for lunch. Mr. and Mrs. Salzman, who came from Pont Levoy with Jean-Michel, sat at Krishnaji’s table. Krishnaji and I walked in the rain on the roads.’

October seventeenth. ‘Krishnaji spoke to the whole school, and it was very good. Jean-Michel and the Salzmans left after lunch. There was a meeting without Krishnaji in the drawing room between the trustees and a group who will start a Krishnamurti Information Center in London. There was a short walk with Krishnaji, Dorothy, and me. It rained on and off all day.’

The eighteenth of October. ‘I did housekeeping and typing of Letters to the Schools. Krishnaji spoke to Harsh. He and Clare are separating. After the walk with Krishnaji, Dorothy, and me, there was a school meeting followed by a viola recital by a guest.’

The next day. ‘I went to Alresford on errands while Krishnaji spoke to students at noon. He also spoke to Harsh and Clare at 4:30 p.m. We had only a short walk before supper.’

October twentieth. ‘Krishnaji and I took Scott with us to London. It was a rainy day, so I could wear my new raincoat. Joe met us and drove us all to Huntsman, which Scott wanted to see with Krishnaji.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘Then Krishnaji and I took a taxi to Mary and Joe’s, where we lunched pleasantly with them. Krishnaji went with Joe to Mr. Thompson, where he got his new upper bridge, and Joe brought him back to the flat, where Mary and I had stayed and talked. Then Joe drove Krishnaji and me to Truefitt, where Krishnaji had his hair cut. I went to Fortnum’s for chocolate presents for Krishnaji to take to India. Scott met Krishnaji at Truefitt, and then Joe met the three of us and drove us to Waterloo, where we caught the 4:50 p.m.’

The twenty-first of October: ‘The Bohms came to spend the night. Krishnaji packed his clothes and I packed his vitamins and food additives. The afternoon was consumed in the Harsh and Clare problems: Krishnaji talked to her alone, then both of them, plus Dorothy and me. Then Krishnaji saw a Dutchman, Fritz someone, and Brian Jenkins, and it was made clear by Dorothy and me that Brockwood will not have any connection with any school he may start.’ This was some Dutchman who wanted to start a school, and he was somehow connected to Brian Jenkins. ‘Then there was a meeting with Krishnaji, Dorothy, Scott, Stephen, Harsh, Ingrid, the Bohms, and Shakuntala about a study center at Brockwood. There was a staff meeting after supper.’

October twenty-second. ‘In the Mercedes, Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I drove through Romsey and the New Forest to a Saab garage, where Dorothy received her new car. Krishnaji drove back with her and I came on ahead, stopping at Alresford for brandy’ [chuckles] ‘for him to take to India.’ That was for the medicinal use of brandy.

S: Oh, yes, Dr. Parchure insisted on it. I can’t remember exactly what it was supposed to do, but Krishnaji was supposed to have a teaspoon of brandy in an incredibly weak tea in the afternoons before his walk. Afterwards, Krishnaji, on his walk, would say things like, “By Jove, this tea is really something.” [Both laugh.]

M: ‘We had a late lunch at Brockwood and we took a short walk with the dogs along the lane and driveway. I went to a staff meeting at 5 p.m. In the evening, we telephoned Vanda in Florence.’

October twenty-third. ‘Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I had a sandwich lunch in the West Wing kitchen at noon. Then we left at 12:30 p.m. in the Mercedes for Heathrow. On Lufthansa at 3 p.m., Krishnaji flew to Frankfurt to connect with a direct flight to Delhi, leaving at 5:30 p.m., and due at Delhi tomorrow morning at 6:10 a.m. Rita Zampese accompanied him to Frankfurt to see him safely onto the connecting flight in her capacity as a Lufthansa official. Dorothy and I drove back to Brockwood. In the evening, I went from Brockwood to a Glyndebourne performance of Don Giovanni in Southampton. There was a message on my return to telephone Erna. Rajagopal wants an immediate trial.’ [Both chuckle.] And now, I don’t see Krishnaji until he returns from India in the new year, but you see him in India, because I see a note about your taking his old passport to him, which he wanted to use instead of the diplomatic one that Pupul got for him.

S: Yes, but I wasn’t wise enough to make notes on that trip, so it is lost to history.

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