Issue 78—November 18, 1983 to April 19, 1984
This issue is titled as beginning on November eighteenth, 1983, but the first entry we get from Mary’s diaries is February fifteenth, 1984; and the discrepancy is, as before, because Mary was not with Krishnaji in India during this period, so this period has been edited out. Of course, Mary was very busy during this time with a great many things for Krishnaji and for the Foundations, and a couple of these are worth noting as they affect what appears later in this issue and in following issues. On January sixteenth, Mary went to a meeting of teachers and the school board about an issue that had many of them and many parents in an uproar. When Mary reads this out to me from her diaries, she and I discuss it as I remembered what I had heard about this issue at the time even though I was at Brockwood. The issue was that the administration of the Oak Grove School decided its authority would be bolstered if the school staff were called not by their first names—which had always been the case, and which was the case at Brockwood—but Mr. or Mrs. or Ms., and then their surname. This created such a furor and ongoing conflict that it only served to further erode the authority of the administration. A meeting after this one on the sixteenth that included parents went on past midnight. Of course, the origins of this contention were, as we have seen, long-standing, and the consequences of it would continue until well past the end of Krishnaji’s life.
Something else that has been edited out of this issue—but that needs mentioning—is all the work Mary was involved with to finish the restoration of the West Wing at Brockwood from the fire damage. In fact, when we rejoin Mary’s diaries in this issue, it is February and she is, most unusually, at Brockwood. Krishnaji’s typical schedule had him go from the Indian part of his annual program to Ojai; but to get to California, he would usually stop by Brockwood for about a week on the way. Only twice, of which I am aware, did he fly from India to California across the Pacific. So Mary went to Brockwood, before his intended arrival to move all of Krishnaji’s things back into his restored room, and do whatever else was necessary to bring the restored West Wing to her standards.
The Memoirs of Mary Zimablist: Issue #78
Mary: February fifteenth: ‘Krishnaji arrived from Bombay at Heathrow at 9:10 a.m. Rita Zampese, who had met him in Bombay, accompanied him. Dorothy and I met him as well as Ingrid and Mary C. He looks wonderfully well. When we got back to Brockwood, Krishnaji looked at all the fire reconstruction in the West Wing, then lunched with the school. After a talk to Dorothy, Mary C., Scott, and me about India, he took a nap. Mary C. and Dorothy met with Mr. Grohe, who is here for several days. Whisper died early this morning.’ She just died of old age. ‘Krishnaji slept well and so did I.’
The sixteenth: ‘At 9:30 a.m., Krishnaji talked to Dorothy, Ingrid, Mary Cadogan, Scott, and me about a possible study center, which he would like to call something different. Then at 11 a.m. Mr. Grohe joined in. Jane and Ian came to lunch. Ian had figures on the cost of building a study center and, after lunch, we went down to look at where it might be built. Krishnaji favors the old apple orchard. He had a nap and then walked around the lanes with Mr. Grohe, Dorothy, and me. In the evening he watched The Living Planet, the Attenborough video.’
February seventeenth. ‘Krishnaji talked to Dorothy and then Anneke in the morning, while I settled the insurance matters. The BBC’s Terry Anderson spoke with Krishnaji at lunch about doing a program on Brockwood, including an interview with Krishnaji for both the BBC television and radio. It’s too short for Krishnaji. The walk with Krishnaji included Mr. Grohe, Dorothy, and me. Krishnaji put his hands (also yesterday) on Peter Jenkins’s little boy, Richard, age 7, who has cancer. It’s the brother of the little girl with leukemia that Krishnaji cured.’
Scott: Oh god.
M: Poor Peter Jenkins. He’d been through leukemia with his little girl and now cancer with his little boy. ‘In the evening we watched another Living Planet video.’
The next day, ‘Krishnaji spoke to the school at 11 a.m. Mary and Joe came to lunch. The estimate for the cost of the proposed study center came from Ian, and it was prohibitively high. Krishnaji felt it was too expensive. We need to build up endowment funds, not spend on buildings. Krishnaji walked with Mr. Grohe, Dorothy, and me. I talked to Nicole Philippeau, who is here for a weekend.’
S: This is when I decided to take on the…
M: The building of the Study Center.
S: Right, because Krishnaji had wanted one for so long, and I thought it had to be possible. But this was just an individual project I took on. I wasn’t asked, at that time, to do it.
M: This was before Grohe gave money for the project.
S: Oh, yes. He hadn’t given a thing for this project at that time. I did some investigation of the cheapest kind of construction possible, which turned out to be an A-frame construction, but we’ll come to what happened with that…
M: Yes, we’ll come to that.
S: But it was from here, really, that I started putting time and energy into creating a study center—Krishnaji going to look at the site he preferred, Ian Hammond coming up with a figure which was too expensive, and all the discussions.
Well, there isn’t much on the eighteenth or nineteenth of February, but on the twentieth, ‘I was up at 5:30 a.m. At 9 a.m., Krishnaji and I left with Dorothy for Heathrow. The Bohms, who were on the same flight, met us there, as did Rita Zampese. Our TWA flight was canceled due to some mechanical problem, so I booked us on the British Air flight for tomorrow, then we went back to Brockwood, and rested all afternoon.’
February twenty-first: ‘Again, Dorothy drove Krishnaji and me to Heathrow, where we took the 10 a.m. British Air flight to Los Angeles. Mark and David met us. The wheelchair got us quickly through the formalities. The Bohms, who were on the same flight, went with Mark, while Krishnaji and I went with David, and we arrived at Ojai at 4 p.m. We are both tired. I have a cold. I spoke to Amanda. They have a new Airedale named Heathcliff.’ [Both chuckle.]
The twenty-second: ‘We both slept a lot. Erna and Theo came in the morning. Krishnaji had lunch in bed, slept all afternoon, and had to be awakened for supper. Then he slept till 2 a.m., but he was awake from then on.’ [Chuckles.]
February twenty-third: ‘Krishnaji got up to lunch at Arya Vihara. Merali arrived, and I talked to him after lunch about selling his property in San Diego for payment of the promised matching fund, now almost two years late. He is not going to make up the interest KFA has lost because of delay.’ I can’t remember what all that was about.
S: I do. There was a matching fund, I think for payment for the construction of the high school, which Baboo had promised…
M: Yes, and he didn’t…
S: …but his money was tied up in a shopping center in San Diego, and the shopping center didn’t sell, didn’t sell, didn’t sell, didn’t sell.
M: Yes, I see. I see. How can you remember all this stuff? I can’t.
S: Well, I remember it because [chuckles] this was one of many sore points that I had with Erna. Erna had always insisted that I could not seek donations for the video from Americans.
M: But Merali was not American.
S: Exactly; he was a European, which was supposed to be the KFT’s domain, and I had the original contact with Baboo Merali in Saanen, and Erna pinched him. [Both chuckle.] Here was a generous donor, and I was dying to have funds for the video, and Erna got the funds for Ojai. And she saw no contradiction with all this. [Both laugh.]
M: Oh, dear.
S: She and I locked horns many times.
M: Yes, I know. I was aware of it. [S chuckles.] ‘I went to the school meeting of the board and staff. Krishnaji walked with Theo.’
The next day, ‘Krishnaji saw David Bohm at 10 a.m., after which we lunched at Arya Vihara and talked at table till almost 4 p.m. The table conversation was on perception, and it was taped. Krishnaji slept till supper time.’
February twenty-fifth. ‘Krishnaji slept well. He saw Dave again at 10 a.m., and we taped another conversation at lunch, this time about honesty.’ [Chuckles.] ‘Krishnaji talked to Merali after lunch. In the late afternoon, Krishnaji and I walked down McAndrew Road.’
The next day, ‘Krishnaji again saw Dave at 10 a.m., and there was another taped discussion over lunch at Arya Vihara, this time on “The Ebb and Flow of Life.” A letter came from Madame Matti saying that Chalet Tannegg had been sold, so we cannot rent it for the following summer. I telephoned Vanda in Florence with the news. Krishnaji was quite tired in the late afternoon and evening.’
The next several days are really the same. This was the period when David Bohm was having great difficulties, so Krishnaji saw him every morning, and then there was a recorded discussion over lunch. Krishnaji would also occasionally see Saral. There isn’t much more about this that can be said.’
The third of March: ‘At 10 a.m., I went with Erna and Theo to a meeting at the school of staff, parents, school board, and trustees. There was another uproar.’ [Both chuckle] ‘After lunch at Arya Vihara, the Lilliefelts, Kishbaugh, Krishnaji, and I talked about it all.’
March fourth: ‘The Bohms left for Claremont. At 11 a.m., Krishnaji held a discussion at the school with the parents and everyone. After lunch at Arya Vihara, Krishnaji, John Hidley, Tom Krause, Erna, Theo, and I talked. They then called in Mark Lee and David Moody. The school committee is to be abolished. Two parents and two staff advisors will be added to the school board, and Mark and David must work as a team, as co-directors. We talked until 5:30 p.m., when Krishnaji and I went for a short walk. Krishnaji is tired but feels something was accomplished.’
Again, there isn’t much except that Krishnaji kept seeing Mark and David about the school troubles, and he also saw some teachers who wanted to talk about the school. On March tenth, there was a trustee meeting that lasted all day, obviously about the school troubles.
On the eleventh of March: ‘At 11 a.m., the school board and trustees met here with Krishnaji. After lunch, trustees met again to consider the school board appointments. John Hidley was invited. There was a long talk by Krishnaji about right action, at the end of which it was finally agreed on what to do. It was exhausting.’
Again, there is nothing significant until March thirteenth when Dorothy rang. She had received a long letter of complaint sent two weeks ago by the Oak Grove parents and staff, and which was addressed to the Krishnamurti Foundation of America.’ I don’t know why Dorothy got it, or maybe it was just a copy that was sent to her.
On March fifteenth, ‘Krishnaji talked alone with teaching staff,’ and the next day, ‘Krishnaji talked to Mark Lee.’
March nineteenth. ‘Krishnaji and I took a picnic lunch and ate it with Amanda and Phil on their terrace. Then Krishnaji, I, and Alan Kishbaugh took British Air 2:05 flight to Albuquerque. We hired an Avis car and drove to the Los Alamos Inn, where Dr. Raju and Mrs. Phyllis Barnes received Krishnaji and showed us to our rooms. Dr. Raju brought hot food, which Krishnaji ate in bed. Alan and I ate in the restaurant.’
The next day, ‘Dr. Raju and Mrs. Phyllis Barnes came for us in a van and drove us to the auditorium of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where Krishnaji spoke to an overflowing crowd of 700 scientists from 8:10 a.m. to 9 a.m. Then, he answered questions for thirty-five minutes. We returned to the Inn, where Krishnaji had breakfast in his room. Dr. Raju had brought food. At noon, we went with Mr. Raju to lunch in a restaurant with ten scientists. After that, we bought an electric razor as Krishnaji’s had malfunctioned. Then Krishnaji slept. At 4:30 p.m., we drove to Bandelier Park, walked up the canyon, and saw the cliff caves. Krishnaji had supper in bed. Alan and I ate in the dining room.’
March twenty-first: ‘Dr. Raju brought idlis for Krishnaji’s breakfast at 7:30 a.m. At 8:45 a.m., we went to the discussion hall, where about sixty scientists presented fifteen typed questions to Krishnaji. He read them and chose the first, “What is meditation, what is creativity?” and answered it for over an hour with supreme eloquence. He then took the last one on what he would direct if he were director of the laboratory.’ [Chuckles.] ‘He had almost tears in his voice at the end and I wept. A young man, Kurt Beacheart, who wrote an interesting letter, was there, and I introduced him to Krishnaji. Dr. and Mrs. Raju gave a lunch for Krishnaji at their house. Then we left Los Alamos. Alan showed us an interesting Pueblo reservation. We walked around Santa Fe, and then from Albuquerque we flew back to Los Angeles. The Moodys met us and drove us back to Ojai, arriving at 9:30 p.m.’
Krishnaji rested on the next couple of days, but there continue to be difficult meetings between parents, teachers, the school board, and Mark and David, which resulted in changes to the school board and to the trustees.
On March twenty-seventh, Krishnaji resumed doing his dictations on his portable Sony recorder.
And on March twenty-ninth, ‘at 4 p.m., Krishnaji held a discussion with the Oak Grove School teachers.’
The next day, ‘Erna and Theo met the plane in Santa Barbara on which Asit arrived from San Francisco to stay here until we go to New York. On the same flight arrived Terry Doyle, who came to meet us all with regard to his being the headmaster of the upper school or high school of the Oak Grove School. We met him at lunch. Asit had supper with Krishnaji and me.’ It didn’t work out with Terry Doyle.
On the thirty-first, ‘At 3:30 p.m., Senator Claiborne Pell and Carole Taylor came to see Krishnaji. The senator’s initial question was, “Does individual consciousness survive death?”’ I don’t seem to have Krishnaji’s answer to this. [Both chuckle] ‘I had tea for them at 5 p.m. and they left later. Asit had supper with us.’ I don’t know what Krishnaji said to them. I don’t think it was very…
S: Un-reassuring, probably. Yes. [Both chuckle.]
M: April first: ‘Asit showed us the dummy of his book of photos of Krishnaji, A Thousand Moons. He showed them later to Erna and Theo. I had a talk with Terry Doyle on his being part of the Oak Grove School. The newly appointed school board came to lunch at Arya Vihara. At 4 p.m., Krishnaji met parents of the Oak Grove School at the Pavilion, which was another waste of his time. We looked at the upper school Max is building and then dined with the Hookers at the Ranch House Restaurant; Evelyne, Asit, Doyle, the Lilliefelts, Krishnaji, and me.’
I am having early walks with Erna on all these days, but I’m not mentioning it. On the second of April: ‘After breakfast, Krishnaji, Asit, and I discussed on tape Asit’s question, “What is a worthwhile life?”’ Is that in the archives list?
S: [sighs] It’s hard to tell.
M: The next day, ‘In the morning, Krishnaji, Asit, and I did another taped discussion.’
Then again, there are just the usual Ojai things until April eighth, when Krishnaji held another discussion with the Oak Grove School teaching staff.
April twelve. ‘Yesterday I was up at 4:30 a.m., and at 7 a.m., Krishnaji, Asit (who has been staying with us for a fortnight), and Erna and Theo left Ojai for the Los Angeles airport with David Moody driving us in the school van. The quiet of the house, wrapped in sunlight, flowers, and breathing orange blossoms, was left for ten days. We went by the sea and, not driving, I could watch the waves washing across the sand, breaking on rocks, and saw the dark backs of three whales and their extraordinary plumes of breath. I felt floating in the extraordinary gift of being able to turn and see Krishnaji sitting there, looking immaculate in elegant ease. He was a little far-off, but nodding with his eyes when I turned, knowing what was in my mind.’ I always felt he could read my mind. Did he read yours?
S: Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. [Chuckles.]
M: ‘Here we go off again to airports and places and talks and he looked younger than when I first went with him almost twenty years ago. We all five went on American Airlines flight number 4 at 10 a.m. This time Krishnaji and I had first-row seats up in the top section of the 747, and we liked it because it was all nonsmoking and we had space in front of the seats. The food wasn’t good, but no matter. We arrived at 6 p.m., and went by taxi to the Hotel Dorset, as Bud’s car is being fixed. There we have the same suite, number 1507, as last year. Asit is downstairs, and the Lilliefelts are at the Wyndham, a hotel nearby. Asit had supper with us in our sitting room, and then he and I put through a telephone call for Krishnaji to Mrs. Gandhi in New Delhi. This was requested by Pupul who sent word via Asit that Mrs. Gandhi’s son, Rajiv, had been threatened by the rebelling Sikhs in the Punjab; he was to be killed this Friday the thirteenth. Pupul’s thought is that if her friend knows the son is in Krishnaji’s consciousness, it will comfort her anxiety. So Krishnaji agreed, and with a private number we finally got through and Krishnaji spoke briefly. He couldn’t hear her very well, but she evidently heard him. He was not too tired from the flight, and we went to bed right after supper.’
‘Today we had a quiet morning. Bud came by. Lisa is in bed with a cold. It was lovely to see him. He, Krishnaji, Asit, and I went to Il Nido at 1 p.m., the Italian restaurant that Krishnaji likes, where I gave lunch to the four of us, plus David Shainberg and Cathryn de Segonzac. Festive it was. Krishnaji liked the porcini and small spinach ravioli with two kinds of spaghettini.’ [Chuckles.] ‘Afterward, he had fresh raspberries, and he liked the San Pellegrino sparkling water while the rest of us had white wine.’ [Chuckles.] ‘There was much laughter, with Krishnaji taking off in the high infectious laugh he has in him when something strikes him as very funny. This time it was my remembering the old Whitney Darrow cartoon in the New Yorker about the fat, middle-aged woman being carried off into the jungle by a gorilla with her friends looking on, and one saying, “I never could see what he sees in her.”’ [Both laugh.] It was a funny cartoon. I can see it in my memory. [Chuckles.] ‘Today was sunny and warm in New York, and we walked back to the hotel. Krishnaji stepped out into the traffic of Third Avenue as though it was a country lane.’ [Chuckles.] He used to terrorize me by doing that. He did it crossing Piccadilly. Traffic was pouring down, and he wanted to cross to Fortnum’s. I had to grab him. It was the first time that happened, and I realized that part of my responsibility—which we’ve described—was seeing that he wasn’t killed in traffic. [Chuckles.] Because he would just walk across. He once went from Huntsman—instead of waiting for me at Huntsman—he went to Fortnum’s, walking across Piccadilly traffic and all that, and then he realized that I was supposed to meet him back at Huntsman, so he did the same thing in reverse and came back to Huntsman. When I found out what he’d done, my blood froze. [S laughs.] Anyway, ‘At 4 p.m., he gave an interview to three people from the magazine Parabola; a dominant, gray-haired woman with a lemoned expression seemed to be the leader. It was not a perceptive group.’ [Chuckles.] ‘At 5 p.m., he and I went out for a walk and errands; orange skin cream was at last found in Elizabeth Arden, yogurt, lecithin, etcetera, on 57th Street, a le Carré thriller at Doubleday, and some shepherd’s lotion at a chemist’s. We had supper in the rooms.’
April thirteenth. ‘Pupul arrived from Washington and came to see Krishnaji after breakfast. She is in this country for the Festival of India, which will take place in 1985 and which will involve various museums, including the Cooper Hewitt.’ That’s the one that Lisa was the head of. ‘She had talked with Mrs. Gandhi, who thanked her copiously for asking Krishnaji to telephone. Later Krishnaji, Pupul, Asit, and I went to lunch with David Shainberg and Cathryn de Segonzac at Il Nido. It was a late lunch. Asit took pictures of Krishnaji with my Minolta. Another documenting of Krishnaji’s life, which Asit is doing. We again ate very well at Il Nido, and Krishnaji tasted a small bit of zabaglione, which he liked, but which his sugarless diet precludes. He wants to do a discussion on Monday with those at lunch on what prevents people who have begun to see what he’s talking about, but do not follow through in arduous self-awareness. Jimmy Granger was in the restaurant, recognized me, and stopped to greet me.’ Jimmy Granger is Stewart Granger, the actor, who was a good friend of Sam’s and mine. I hadn’t seen him in a long time. ‘Krishnaji was pleased at this because he said it showed I hadn’t changed in appearance in the many years since Jimmy had last seen me.’ [Both laugh.] ‘At 4 p.m., all of us, minus Pupul, went to the movie Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, which Krishnaji liked. It was well done, and had in it Ralph Richardson’s last performance. We came back to the hotel and had supper in our rooms. Because of something Krishnaji had said, I asked him, “What do you mean by a first-class mind?” “One that is free of conditioning, that inquires,” he replied.’
The fourteenth, April. ‘Krishnaji had slept well. Asit came up at 10:30 a.m., and, in a hired car, we went to Felt Forum for Krishnaji’s 11 a.m. first New York talk. The hall was about two-thirds full. Krishnaji spoke for an hour and twenty-five minutes, and put very much into it. We lunched quietly and alone at Il Nido. “Very good food,” said Krishnaji. It was raining faintly when we walked back to the hotel. Hugues van der Straten rang that they were leaving and couldn’t come by, which was just as well as Krishnaji slept until 5 p.m. when Pupul arrived and soon Asit, too. Her book on Krishnaji is running 600 pages. The first draft is almost done. She asked Krishnaji what she called “an impossible question”: What should be done in the Punjab where Sikhs are demanding a separate nation, including the territory in adjoining states? This is a dilemma facing Mrs. Gandhi. Pupul wanted Krishnaji “to put it in his consciousness.” He said it was a question that must be answered. Asit showed Pupul the dummy of his book of photos of Krishnaji. She liked it, but wants to help him choose other photos. Watching them, Asit looks almost exactly like Pupul.’ [Chuckles.] ‘We had a discussion of what Krishnaji means by “mutation of mind.” Science says mutation means a change that is carried by inheritance to the next generation. Does he mean that, or does he mean a change in consciousness that affects the total human species not necessarily via genetic change? Krishnaji has said not the latter when this point was raised at Brockwood last fall. Now he seems to go further, and wants to go into it. Pupul and Asit went off to a movie. Krishnaji and I had supper and went to bed.’
The fifteenth. ‘There was lightning and thunder in the night. Krishnaji, at breakfast, saw a flute player on TV. His face lit up and he said, “I wish I had continued playing the flute. I was good at it. But all of those things were wiped out so I could do this.”’ By which he meant to talk. ‘“And that was right.” I asked him, “Did you decide that or did Mrs. Besant point it out?” Krishnaji replied, “They probably said something, but I think I decided it.” He mentioned the length of Pupul’s book and said, “You should write about all this.” Asit came with us in the car to Felt Forum again. The crowd was bigger. Krishnaji plunged right into an intense, marvelous talk, his voice charged with energy. Sparks seemed to fly. He was at his most powerful and vital. We went afterward straight to Shainberg’s apartment, where there was another of those crowded buffet lunches. Pupul and Asit were there. Renée Weber, whom I began to introduce as Patricia Hunt-Perry by mistake.’ [S chuckles.] ‘Blockhead me,’ it says. ‘Patricia came soon after and handed out the UN invitations for those on our list. Krishnaji and I were dropped back at the hotel by Pupul and Asit, who went off to a cinema. At 3:30 p.m., Philippa and David came to see me. They had been at the talk. A John White, author and friend of Patricia Hunt-Perry, who is doing a book on enlightenment, saw Krishnaji from 4:30 p.m. until almost 6 p.m. “He asked a lot of questions,” said Krishnaji.’ I wonder what happened to that. I’ve never heard of the book. ‘We had a quiet supper in our sitting room after everyone left. In spite of this activity, Krishnaji’s energies remain high.’
The sixteenth. ‘It was supposed to be a day of rest, and that is what Krishnaji did all morning. I went out in the rain to get our boarding passes on American Airlines on Friday and some health foods, and I made a table reservation at a Chinese restaurant, Mr. Chow, on East 57th Street. Asit came with us to the restaurant. It turned out to be airy, quiet, and rather elegant. There was not a Chinese face in the place, but the food was Chinese, and delicious. They were nonplussed at vegetarians and brought a succession of nine different dishes, all very good. Krishnaji was pleased. So was I, until we started up 57th Street and my stomach began to ache. But I kept walking to 65th and Madison, where there was a Coach store, and Krishnaji carefully chose two brown belts, which he has wanted. We came back to the hotel where at 4:30 p.m., there was a Krishnaji, Pupul, Asit, David Shainberg, and me discussion on why people come to a block after years of studying the teachings. Pupul left, and we went on into what is the most basic fear, death, or what? We didn’t resolve it. Krishnaji and I had supper in the sitting room.’
The seventeenth of April. ‘Bud’s daughter Daisy came by after breakfast to talk to me and brought me a short story she’s written. She is good. Asit came with Krishnaji, me, and Patricia Hunt-Perry to the UN, where Narasimhan received Krishnaji at the entrance, and escorted him to the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium where, at 1:15 p.m., Krishnaji spoke to delegates and personnel of the UN. The invitation to speak was from Dr. Muller for the Pacem in Terris organization within the UN, and Krishnaji was asked to speak on peace. Dr. Muller had asked Narasimhan, who had come from Houston where he is lecturing, to preside in his absence. And this is what was done, though at the last minute, Muller’s trip was postponed and he was there. It was a small auditorium, perhaps two hundred seats. Bud came, Pupul, Shainberg, etcetera, with special invitations since it was not open to the public. Krishnaji sat behind a table on the stage and after a rather bureaucratic introduction by Narasimhan, he began to talk in a relaxed, utterly clear way about peace coming about only through a change of consciousness in each human being; and the impossibility of peace among people divided by nationalities, politics, religions, or ideology, and it not coming externally through organizations. Many heads were nodding in agreement, but who knows what it meant to them. “They have probably forgotten it already,” said Krishnaji later. He said, when I asked him, that he didn’t know what he was going to say until he began. “It is better that way.” Some questions were asked at the end, and Krishnaji invited an elderly man to come up and sit with him on the stage. It turned out to be a newspaperman who had been reporting on the UN for years. They sat back and talked for a bit in a relaxed way. Pupul’s car had diplomatic plates, and the one from Bud’s garage didn’t so it couldn’t enter, so she dropped us back at the hotel. It was, by then, 3:30 p.m., too late for a restaurant and Krishnaji didn’t want room service. “Let’s go out,” he said. So we walked over to the St. Regis Hotel, but Krishnaji didn’t like it, so we walked on. Finally, in Radio City, we went into something new for Krishnaji, a coffee shop. “I don’t know where I am,” he said.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘I felt like a shepherd. On the way back, I suggested we get the handbag we have long talked about for Erna, and went in, not to Gucci, but to Mark Cross, where we found a nice black one. A present from Krishnaji to her. Then to the refuge of the hotel and later supper in the rooms.’
April eighteenth. ‘Krishnaji, Asit, and I went to an 11 a.m. seminar organized by David Shainberg and held at the B’nai B’rith building near the UN, where security demanded identification to get in. There were about fifty people. Somehow these Shainberg seminars go in too many directions to be good; too many opinions are voiced. Afterward, I had the Lilliefelts, Pupul, and Asit to lunch with Krishnaji at Il Nido. Pupul wasn’t feeling well and left, and Asit had an appointment of his own; so Erna, Theo, Krishnaji, and I wound up pleasantly talking, and Krishnaji had Erna open her present, the bag we bought yesterday. We went back to the hotel for a 4 p.m. interview of Krishnaji by Douglas Aaronson of New Age Book Review. He had been at the seminar in the morning. At the same time, another of Bud’s daughters, Toodie, came in from East Hampton to see me. Later, Krishnaji and I had supper in the rooms. Asit, who rented a dinner jacket, went with Pupul last night to a dinner party and met Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. He talked to her about Krishnaji, and she said she would like to meet him. Krishnaji agreed to invite her tomorrow.’
April nineteenth. ‘Pupul came by with her Indian government car and took Krishnaji, Asit, and me to the second session of the Shainberg seminar. Asit is in a whirl as publisher Abrams wants to publish his book of photos of Krishnaji. Asit is still using my Minolta here in New York, but had just bought a Nikon AF camera, which is so simple that I will get one as a backup. He took pictures during the seminar, which went better today as Krishnaji took charge of the discussion and kept one subject in focus. Senator Claiborne Pell and a Ms. Carole Taylor were there. All these people seem like not very bright high-schoolers alongside Krishnaji. He brought it all to a halt a little before 1 p.m. so that we could get to Bud’s for lunch. Pupul dropped us at Bud’s apartment. Lisa couldn’t be there, but Bud, Daisy, and Laurie were, and Khen’—that’s Bud’s cook—‘gave what Krishnaji said was the best food he’d had in New York. “Simple and clean.” Wild rice, string beans, salad, cheeses, and papaya. Daisy took some photos of Krishnaji. We then went to the Metropolitan Museum, where Krishnaji wanted to see the Egyptian Temple of Dendur.’ It’s a very little temple, and they had the whole thing on exhibit. ‘“You must walk around it from left to right,” said Krishnaji, so we did. “This is what we did with the mother prostrating before the entrance,” said Krishnaji. “Seven times around, and three times a day.” Does he remember this, or was he told this? I forgot to ask. There were too many people at the exhibit for Krishnaji. He would have liked to see it in the empty large hall, but we pressed on with our timing and got back to the hotel by 3:30 p.m., in time for him to have a short rest before the arrival of Asit at 4:15 p.m. with Mrs. Onassis. She wore a long gray coat over a tunic and trousers and boots.’ [S laughs.] Yes, this is a note from me to me.
S: Yes, I could tell. [S laughs.]
M: ‘The large eyes and breathy voice matched all distant remembrances. Krishnaji came in and she…’
S: Had you met her before?
M: I hadn’t met her, no. But you’d seen her on television, you know. [Mimicking a breathless voice:] She had a kind of breathless voice. A little girl voice. I’m not criticizing.
M: She was effective. ‘Krishnaji came in and shook hands in his courtly way and then a Mr. Edward Plunkett arrived. I never found out who he is other than that he was the man on the other side of her at the dinner party where Asit talked to her about Krishnaji and he knew a lot about Krishnaji. She had suggested he be invited in case it was hard to talk to Krishnaji.’ [Chuckles.] ‘Small talk was about nil, and Krishnaji soon asked, “Do you want to talk seriously?” A breathless, “Yes.” So, he did until almost six o’clock, giving her a tidal wave of Krishnaji basics.’ [Both laugh.] ‘He kept asking, “Do you understand?” “I think so,” she kept saying. Then he put her rather on the spot with questions, “What is thought?” Silence, while he waited and she pondered an answer in front of three strangers.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘She said it had something to do with planning. “Yes,” said Krishnaji, and then “And what else?” I found myself wanting to help her, like a child in school, and also would have liked to leave her alone with Krishnaji, as at times he came rather close to personal things, speaking of sorrow, loneliness, etcetera. But, with Asit there, watching her carefully, and Mr. Plunkett, my leaving would have been pointless. Pupul’s arrival ended the conversation after Krishnaji had invited Mrs. Onassis to visit if she ever comes to India. Asit escorted her downstairs, and then left for his flight to Paris, which he has twice postponed so he could be present when Mrs. Onassis met Krishnaji.’
‘P.S.: When Krishnaji asked her questions, she said, “I think of myself as a very articulate person. But I don’t know what to say.”’ [Chuckles.]
S: Alright, well, we should end it there because we don’t have enough tape for the next day.
M: Okay, well, we got through quite a bit. We’ll start next time on the twentieth.