Issue 86—August 6, 1985 to September 23, 1985
The strain on Krishnaji of his unknown illness continues to show, and dramatic changes to his traditional speaking schedule are proposed. There is, despite Krishnaji’s waning energy, an urgency he constantly expressed to make things “right” with his organizations which he currently does not feel are “right.”
It seems extraordinary, with hindsight, that we didn’t see his death galloping forward. Of course, we didn’t want to.
The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #86
Mary: Very well. We are beginning today’s discussion with August sixth, 1985. Krishnaji and I are still in Switzerland, at the very end of our very last trip in that beautiful place we had enjoyed for so many years. ‘I was awake at 2 a.m. I’m not sleeping properly these days. In rain I went at 10 a.m. to the Banque Cantonale for the annual meeting with Mr. Hans Liechti to review the Alzina account investments, the interest from which helps pay for Krishnaji’s needs. While I was out, Michael answered a call from Asit, who is arriving Thursday night or Friday morning and asked if I would get him a room. Friedrich offered one in his place, but probably Asit will be better off at the Hotel Caprice. It was too wet for the usual walk. Cohen telephoned and, with Krishnaji there and at Krishnaji’s instructions, I asked Cohen, as our friend as well as our lawyer, what he felt was the right thing to do. We want to settle this interminable affair, but are we, in the proposed settlement text, leaving Krishnaji, in any way that we could prevent, unprotected against some new nastiness from Rajagopal? Cohen said that if Rajagopal were to slander Krishnaji, for instance, in the future, we could still act legally. I said we objected to the word in the settlement agreement “amicable,” and he said he would try to get it out. Also, he will try to improve the language in the publishing rights clause and also in protecting the original settlement agreement of 1977. I then told him that Krishnaji and I agreed to go along with the settlement if he could work out these things. Krishnaji had me send him his affection and said we look forward to seeing him in the spring for the pleasure of it and not all this legal business.’ [Chuckles.] He was a nice man, Mr. Cohen.
Scott: Yes, yes, you’ve always said that.
M: When Krishnaji and I used to drive on the freeway by the building where Cohen had his office, Krishnaji would salute Mr. Cohen in the building and then say, “Mr. Cohen is an honorable man.” I told Cohen that eventually. [S laughs.] ‘I then telephoned Erna. I reported the Cohen conversation. She still sounded a bit low but says that everything is alright. “So we settled it?” asked Krishnaji. He said he would not show the text of the agreement to the other foundations. “It’s really not their business.” Cohen said Krishnaji could sign for them as no resolution had been demanded and Krishnaji is president of KFT and KFI. Tilly von Egmond can sign for Holland, and she’s coming to the Brockwood talks. After supper, Krishnaji had me wash and give him my rudraksha and gold chain, and he put it on for the night. Then he said, “Now, every day sit quietly. Don’t lie down but sit upright with a quiet mind. Do it for five minutes, but every day.” Then, “I’ve never told anybody this.”’
The seventh of August. ‘It was cold in the morning, and when the clouds and fog lifted, there was snow on the mountains above us. It reminds Krishnaji and me of the Maheshamurti in Elephanta.’ What? How can the snow remind me of that?
S: Was it a shape?
M: You know, I have that photograph of Maheshamurti, the three…
S: Yes, the three-faced god at Elephanta, or maybe it was just the sense of it.
M: I can’t remember. ‘I had laid a fire in the empty fireplace, and it was cheery when Krishnaji came down to lunch. I had met Nadia Kossiakof at the Rougemont station, and she was with us. She had heard this morning that her mother had inherited some money, so a worry and weight was lifted for Nadia. She doesn’t complain, but she has a difficult life. In the afternoon, Krishnaji had me note a memoranda about making Brockwood a religious place. “1: Look at trees, nature. Be aware of everything. 2: Study Krishnaji’s teachings to know (even intellectually) all he has said. 3: Are you really interested in this? If not, do your job well, as well as you can, but ease out.”’ [S chuckles.] ‘He also had me note things he wants to tell KF India trustees. “1: Hurt. If anyone gets hurt by what I’m about to say, they haven’t listened to the teachings.”’ [Both chuckle.]
S: Well, that pretty much solved it all. [Laughs.]
M: That’s right. That takes care of that. [Both laugh.] Oh, dear. ‘“2: Organization has swallowed the teachings. 3: Krishnaji will be ninety-one in a few months and will probably live another five to ten years. Before he dies, he feels it is absolutely necessary to have a religious center. 4: Trust. K. questions whether you trust him. You have often said that K. is influenced, etcetera”’ They were often saying that.
S: Yes. They were always saying that whenever he disagreed with them. that he was being influenced. [Chuckles.]
M: Yes, they would claim he was influenced. Probably by you or me or by the whole long line of people before we turned up. ‘“5: Circumstances; pragmatism is not his way of action. 6: We—they. In publishing India considers it is separate from England.” Later we walked in the Tannegg wood. The sky had cleared. The sun was bright. And the fresh snow on the mountains was a glory.’
Now I’ve added in just a piece of paper, which was paper-clipped to this page. I guess it’s to me: These are quotes: ‘“You are responsible for Ojai more than the other two, Erna and Theo. You have been closest to Krishnaji. You must be sensitive to that. It will go with K. when he dies, I think. I might have to stay in India or Brockwood or Ojai, but you are responsible for Ojai. You can’t ask for it. Just to be sensitive. Pay attention. I’m not going to correct you, the way you put your thumbs on the steering wheel.”’ [M chuckles.] ‘“When you drive me back to Geneva please go thirty-five miles an hour in the towns or it makes me nervous. Do you understand? This is very serious. You must keep the door open to That.”’
August eighth is very short: ‘We all lunched with Friedrich at Chesery in Gstaad and afterward Krishnaji had his hair cut by Monsieur Nicolas. Came back and he slept “heavily” for an hour before the now daily cup of tea before a Tannegg walk.’ That was prescribed by Dr. Parchure.
S: I can remember this tea regimen because Krishnaji kept up this tea after Parchure left. It was very mild tea, I mean really very mild.
M: [chuckles] Pale beige.
S: Yes, pale, insipid stuff. But he was so sensitive that on his walk afterward he would march along and he would say something like, “Boy, this tea is really powerful stuff” or “really great stuff.” He was all—
M: He didn’t say “Boy,” though.
S: No, he almost certainly didn’t. [M chuckles.] Perhaps it was, “By Jove, this is really…” [Laughs.]
M: [laughs] Yes, “by Jove.” Probably “by Jove.” Apparently, according to something I read, “by Jove” is very dating because nobody these days says “by Jove.”
S: Yes. Nobody.
M: This is what was said in the—
S: Yes, Victorian or Edwardian times.
M: Yes. [Both chuckle.] Yes, yes. ‘He slept heavily for an hour before the now-daily cup of tea before a Tannegg walk. Krishnaji likes the Volkswagen Golf. As we came into the wood, he asked, “May we come in?” Then, “Head up,” he keeps saying to me as I walked.
S: Yes. [Chuckles.]
M: All of my peccadillos, my shortcomings, and bad habits—he was bearing down on them.
S: I know. In my notes I have him not only telling you to keep your head up, but you had to be attentive to your posture, and all kinds of other things, and [chuckles] at one point, you said to him, “If I was doing all these things I wouldn’t be able to walk.” [Both laugh.]
M: Asit telephoned from London. He has to fly to Singapore Saturday so he is uncertain whether there is the time for him to come here. I got Krishnaji on the phone briefly and later Asit rang back to say he would come tomorrow. In the evening, Krishnaji told me that Erna and I must see that he has things to do when he comes to Ojai. He isn’t going to just sit there. Then he came back and said I mustn’t arrange for things for him to do just to please him. It must be something “you think is necessary…Are you listening? Do you understand? Otherwise I’ll stay at Brockwood and just come for the Ojai talks.” My replies only seemed to irritate him.’ [S chuckles.]
S: Yes. I also had in my notes that at one point he feels that Erna and whoever in Ojai are arranging things for him to do just to placate him, not because they’re really useful.
M: Yes. It wasn’t very easy to arrange things for him.
M: In fact, we’d run out of people for him to talk to there.
The ninth of August. ‘In the afternoon, Vanda arrived from Florence on one train, and Asit came in on another from Geneva. He is staying at Hotel Caprice for one night. Krishnaji talked to him at length “about everything.” Then the three of us went for a walk in the Tannegg wood. Asit used his new Sony video camera to film Krishnaji there.’ Every time Asit turned up, he had a new camera. ‘It was 7:40 p.m., when we got back and all of us, including Krishnaji, had supper at the table. Toward the end of the meal, Krishnaji asked the question, “Is humanity disintegrating?” and an intense questioning ensued on his part. “Is there some part of the brain that refuses this disintegration? If there is, will that turn it around? Something that will break the circle? Is there some part of the brain that rejects conditioning?…I am into something.” The conversation went on till after 10 p.m.’ He was strange in those days, wound up and…
August tenth. ‘Krishnaji talked with Asit in the morning, and Asit left after lunch for Geneva and Singapore. He has told Krishnaji he will be through with his business by June or July of next year and wants to work for Krishnaji. Krishnaji did not ask him how, and now he wants me to ask Asit what he meant by that if he telephones. But it is unlikely that Asit will call. He will see Krishnaji in Madras. Vanda, who had not met Asit, said she liked him. “He listens well,” she said. There was the usual rest for Krishnaji after lunch, then Krishnaji wanted to walk to get out of this house. “I’ll be glad to leave this place the day after tomorrow. I can’t stand this place. I don’t know why the atmosphere is all wrong. I cried the first day we came here,” he said. In the car going toward Gstaad, he said, “Probably it was wrong for me to ask advice…” from Asit “…and afterward, when I was washing my hands, I knew what to do.” This was about the problems in KFI, and he said he couldn’t say now what he will do, but it will come to him there.’ In other words, in India. ‘He will plunge in and know what to do. In the Tannegg wood he felt well and away from the wrong atmosphere of the house.’ He really hated that house.
S: Yes, I remember.
M: ‘On the way back he said, “The spirit has left Saanen. Probably that is why I feel so uncomfortable. It has moved to Brockwood.” He looks forward, as I do, to getting there.
S: What you have just said reminded me of something: I can remember well, on one of our walks along the airstrip when Krishnaji—and it must have been after the talks were finished, because Krishnaji said—he was looking down the valley, you know, toward Gstaad—that beautiful long valley he liked. He’d often come out of the woods just to stop and look at that—look down the valley. And I remember him saying once something like, “The spirit is going. It’s going from here. And it’s going to Brockwood.” I thought that was extraordinary at the time. But I wasn’t there on this occasion that you just mentioned, so he obviously repeated it.
M: Yes. He did. ‘In the car he also said that Vanda had told him that he should have a long rest. “Maybe I should just rest when I come to Ojai.” I asked if he might feel like writing again. “Maybe,” he replied. Mary has written that she and Joe have enough money from the change of the apartment to come to Ojai in April. Krishnaji wants to rent a car for their use with his Dodge money, which is now $12,000.’ Miss Dodge left him a tiny little sum, but he never spent most of it, so it had mounted up to $12,000. [S laughs.] It was probably in the ’20s or ’30s when it was left to him. It was probably—
S: Yes. A good sum of money in those days. Yes.
M: I think it was $500 a month.
S: I think it was £500 a year.
M: Yes. I know that when I took it over from Rajagopal it was in dollars in securities in the Pacific Bank in Hollywood. It was deposited by the trust fund, Miss Dodge’s trust fund. Anyway. It was nice in the 1920s or 1930s, whenever it was left; but it wouldn’t buy him a pair of trousers at Huntsman now.
S: [laughs] I know.
M: ‘We talked too about Cortina d’Ampezzo, suggested by Vanda for next summer’s holiday instead of the Hotel Caprice here in Rougemont, where we have booked rooms. “Twenty-eight years in this valley may be enough. We can go to the French Alps or Italian mountains.” And then, “While we are in Ojai, let’s study Italian and French one hour a day.” We agreed, and I am to get the cassettes.’ You know, he liked those, um—
S: Yes. Foreign language cassettes.
M: Yes. ‘He was more cheerful by evening. Action, learning, and driving in a new Mercedes are in this extraordinary brain at ninety.’ [Chuckles.] He was never going to rest.
S: No. I know. [Laughs.] Fat chance. I was just thinking that when you were saying it. Yes. [M chuckles.]
M: The eleventh. ‘Packed. A fine, warm late summer day. Vanda is a little bearish on the possibility of Cortina d’Ampezzo. She said it is not as comfortable as here, but Krishnaji is expansive. He would like to go to Venice, to Florence, to Rome. Vanda has made a mark in persuading him to have more time for rest and that today meant going to places other than Switzerland. When we came to the Tannegg walk, he said to the trees, “Goodbye. We’ll see you in two or three years.” And coming back through Gstaad and Saanen, it was, “Ciao, until a couple of years.” He talks too about our using an apartment that may be built on the Saanen Gathering land; something that may not exist for five years. All this is music to me and lets in a blessed sense of ease and summer sunlight. He said he wants to telephone Asit in October and ask him if he would like to take over the running of KFI, the publishing, seeing to translations, etcetera, the business part—not the religious aspect, “though he could try that and see if he can.”’ [Both chuckle.] ‘He said Dr. Parchure, whom Krishnaji thinks dislikes Asit for some “puritanic” reason, suggested the above for Asit during this morning’s massage. At the end of the walk, I simply drove us back without wondering if we would ever see this valley again.’
August twelve. ‘It was a warm, clear morning. Raman took Michael very early to a train for Germany and Dr. Parchure to one for Geneva as he is on an earlier flight to London than Krishnaji and me. We were ready by 10 a.m. when Catherine and Jean de Maurex came in their Mercedes. We said goodbye to Vanda and the Ortolanis, who were there. Krishnaji went with the de Maurexes, and Raman and I followed in the VW with the luggage. Near Morges, Krishnaji and the de Maurexes went off to the Route du Lac, and Raman and I continued on the autoroute to the Geneva airport. While Raman stayed with the luggage, I returned the VW to Hertz. Then checked Krishnaji and me into Swissair number 832 and had boarding cards and a wheelchair ready for Krishnaji when he arrived at 1 o’clock. Raman had gone off into Geneva and was on a later flight. Krishnaji and I flew at 1:45 p.m. to Heathrow. Rita Zampese met us at the door of the plane with another wheelchair, and we rolled past a huge queue at immigration. Dorothy, Ingrid, Ray, and Bill all met us. Dorothy’s eyesight had caused concern, but she had insisted on bringing her car, so Krishnaji and I went with her. She said something to Krishnaji about this being the last time she would be meeting him. Anyhow I asked her to go slowly, and she did. We got to Brockwood at 4 p.m. Dr. Parchure was in the other car too. Brockwood is beautiful and quiet. Only Montague, Doris, and Dominic were out on the driveway to meet Krishnaji. It is very good to be here.’
S: In my notes—and I can’t remember when it was for—but I was going with the two of you to the airport and Dorothy was driving, so it might have been on the way going to Saanen, but Dorothy’s eyesight was so bad and her driving was so erratic that it was really dangerous. You and I had discussed telling her that she just couldn’t drive Krishnaji anymore. But she did a few more times. It was really quite precarious, but it had meant so much to her…
M: I know.
S: …to drive Krishnaji. And Krishnaji didn’t want to take it away from her, but it was really [chuckles] life-threatening.
M: August thirteenth. ‘Scott arrived early in the morning. Krishnaji, he, and I talked most of the morning. Krishnaji came down to lunch. I went to Alresford in the afternoon and was back for tea and a walk around the fields with Krishnaji. In the evening, he was hypersensitive. I had trouble with the washing machine, and water came out on the kitchen floor, and in my efforts to mop it up, Krishnaji said I was not paying attention. “You start something and then you do something else. If you don’t learn to change, you may not be able to be with K.”’ He was…
M: ‘Later he had me sit quietly for a while.’
The fourteenth. ‘I took the 9:23 a.m. train to London, had my hair cut, and went to Harrods for some things. I was back at Brockwood by 5 p.m. Krishnaji rested and walked with Scott. The tent is going up in the field.’
The fifteenth of August. ‘Mary and Joe came at noon, and we all sat in the kitchen and caught up on news of the summer. Krishnaji gave Joe six handsome ties from Jacquet. Krishnaji looked gleaming and well, full of charm and animation. Mary Cadogan was also here to speak to Dorothy about financial matters after her retirement in September. A pension was set up that would give her and Montague plenty of spending money, and Brockwood pays for all her car expenses including insurance, petrol, etcetera, all food supplies, etcetera. Dorothy is said to be pleased by all this. After the Linkses had left, Mary Cadogan talked to Krishnaji and me about this and also some benefits for Scott. He doesn’t want an increase in salary. But we will take care of his car expenses, travel, and Krishnaji wants him and Kathy to have one weekend per month so they can go away somewhere and relax.’ [Both chuckle.]
S: We never managed that, but never mind.
M: No. ‘Krishnaji invited Kathy to come with him and me on the walk.’
August sixteenth. ‘There was rain in the morning. The car went for its annual car inspection and a new battery cable. Krishnaji was tired when he got up and didn’t do exercises, but he did get up for lunch. He slept, and then we walked around the lanes. While having what is now a daily tea, he mentioned that, “Since the end of Saanen,” something is going on in him. He said that if something has decided everything that happens to K., it is something extraordinary.” I asked if he thinks that all the foretelling that Upadhyaya spoke of is true. He replied, “I am skeptical.” I pointed out that he speaks of it as though it had impressed him. “I don’t know,” he said. The other day in a conversation with Scott, he had said in the very firm voice of stating a fact, “I am the world teacher.”’
M: ‘Today I mentioned certain changes in him lately, and wondered if he was aware of them.’
‘Krishnaji: “What changes?”’
‘Me: “The hypersensitivity and manner.”’
‘Krishnaji: “What manner?”’
‘Me: “A roughness that is unlike you.”’
‘Krishnaji: “Am I rough to others?”’
‘Krishnaji “Just to you?”’
‘Me: “Yes.”’ Which he was.
S: Mm, hm. Yes.
M: ‘He said he never did anything he was unaware of. I was too hard to change, and so he had been rough. He was relaxed when he said all this, but it will recur whether through my own faults or other factors. Many things seem to be bothering him, notably the KF India situation. He wants the Patwardhans out, the publications done by the KFT, and Vasanta Vihar to be a religious center, which it isn’t with the Patwardhans in charge. All this is troubling him. I think he feels Brockwood is at last pulled together and out of its rut of trouble, but India is there to be changed. He wants to end discord and set all things right “before I’m gathered to my fathers.” And he seems to burn with this.’
The next day, ‘Krishnaji slept till 7 a.m. and ate buckwheat for breakfast. This must have upset his stomach, for after the massage he began to vomit. He took his bath but was so weak he could scarcely get out of the tub. When he got into bed, I called Dr. Parchure. He vomited three times more. When Parchure was out of the room, he said, “I have to hold onto it. Death is always so close.” I am writing this as he sleeps, so frail, so extraordinarily beautiful. There is really no age in his face, only total beauty.’
Later: ‘He has awakened, and asked me how long since the last vomit. I told him it was one-and-a-half hours. “He mustn’t be seriously ill or it would be the end. No accident or it would be nip and tuck.”’
Written later: ‘In Rougemont the following took place between Krishnaji and me and Dr. Parchure discussing travel plans. It’s written in dialogue.’
‘Krishnaji: “It is not a physical effort of the brain. It is something else. My life has been planned. It will tell me when to die, say it is over. That will settle my life. But I must be careful that ‘that’ is not interfered with by saying, ‘I will give only two talks.’’”
‘Me: “Do you feel how much more time is given you?”’
‘Krishnaji: “I think ten years more.”’
M: See, this is…he had only a few months to live.
S: Yes. Yes.
M: ‘Me: “You mean talking?”’
‘Krishnaji: “When I don’t talk, it will be over. But I don’t want to strain the body. Also, too long a holiday is bad. I need a certain amount of rest but not more. A quiet place where nobody knows me, but unfortunately people get to know me.”’
S: There is something about Krishnaji’s not knowing how long he was to live. In my notes, at one point I say to him, because I was quite overwhelmed—I was running the school and I was building and then starting this new adult study center—the first Krishnamurti Center. So I said to Krishnaji, “I really am going to need your help to start this. Are you going to be there to help me?” And what I was really saying, according to my notes, was, “Krishnaji, you have to slow down and take care of yourself because I need you to help me do this; and if you just expend all of your energy on…” and he assured me that no, he would be around to help me. But then, later on in India, when I asked him if he would be there to help me start the center, he expressed real doubts. So…there was a tremendous deterioration in his health in India. Just enormous.
M: Yes, but he had changed in a deteriorating way really for the last six months of 1985.
M: Yes. Because in Saanen, as you can see from what we’ve been recording here, he was irritable and weak, and criticizing the house and the room, the dungeon, and all these things. He was ill.
S: Yes. Yes.
M: August eighteenth: ‘Krishnaji is feeling all right again, but stayed in bed. “Thank god I’ll have two months rest here,” he said.’
S: Hm. Well, my notes indicate that he doesn’t get much rest.
The nineteenth: ‘A card from Ortolani says that Fosca died August ninth or tenth. At 10 a.m. Krishnaji met the core group of Brockwood staff members upstairs in the West Wing. Apart from attending that meeting, I worked mostly at my desk. Krishnaji lunched downstairs and later he, Scott, and I took a short walk. We picked mushrooms and I cooked them for supper.’ [S chuckles.]
The twentieth: ‘It was a rainy day. Krishnaji stayed in bed. “He’s had enough. If there were an illness or an accident, he would slip out. No one in all these years has changed. I want to give you a new brain. I will till I die,” he said.’
There isn’t much the next day, but on the twenty-second, ‘It was a quiet morning for Krishnaji while I worked at the desk. Krishnaji lunched downstairs. My brother telephoned from the Vineyard. His wife, Lisa, has fever and is unable to eat. Krishnaji, Dorothy, and I walked around the lane. Dr. Parchure got clothes in London with Scott and then got all-new hearing aids at the Winchester Hospital. Krishnaji talked briefly with Carlos Silva.’
S: Let me just add something from my notes. Because Krishnaji was not so well, it was felt that Dr. P. would have to travel more in the West with him, and Dr. Parchure didn’t have such good clothing. You and Krishnaji always looked just wonderful, and so Krishnaji wanted him to get new clothing, but Dr. Parchure resisted this.
M: [chuckles] Yes.
S: [laughs] Eventually he gave in, so Krishnaji wanted me to go off to London with him, and Krishnaji was very specific about where I was to take Dr. Parchure to get things.
S: Well, we had to go to Daks for trousers, and then we had to go either there or to Simpsons for the jacket. Shoes were a bit of a problem—Krishnaji didn’t know what to do about shoes, but I found shoes. Then, of course [chuckles]—and this is just so typical of Krishnaji—Krishnaji felt that if I was going to all this trouble of getting these things for Dr. Parchure that I also had to get new trousers and a jacket [chuckles] for myself. All of which would be paid for by Mary Z. [Both laugh.] Yes, because Krishnaji felt that this was very unfair that I would be doing this shopping and not—
M: Oh, I think so, too. Mary Z. concurs. [S laughs.] Krishnaji and I were of one mind.
S: So when we came back, Krishnaji, of course, had to immediately see the purchases. But the jackets had to be altered so we couldn’t bring them back right away. Krishnaji was very happy with the trousers—gray flannels, but from our descriptions of the jackets, Krishnaji had grave reservations. [M chuckles.]
M: What were the jackets?
S: They were tweeds, I think, I can’t remember them exactly, but they were sports jackets, and Krishnaji had grave doubts. [M chuckles.] But then, when they came, he was very happy with them, and he thought they were absolutely right.
M: Oh, good. [Both laugh.]
S: This was the kind of thing that Krishnaji was very concerned with. It was very important to him.
M: Yes, one has to be properly dressed.
S: Yes. Yes.
M: Otherwise one doesn’t show respect for anything.
S: Yes. But also the fairness aspect, that it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t get something as well. [Chuckles.]
M: August twenty-third. ‘Krishnaji spent the day in bed. People are arriving for the Brockwood talks. I went to Alresford on errands in the morning. Erna telephoned. There is now a need for flood insurance in Ojai because of the fire damage in the hills. Dr. Parchure talked to me about Krishnaji needing to give public talks.’
The twenty-fourth: ‘At 11:30 a.m. Krishnaji gave the first Brockwood talk of the year. Afterward, we had a complete lunch upstairs, and then he went down to the tent for a little while before resting. He was quite full of energy as Scott came with us on the walk. There was a large crowd. There was rain early, but it held off later.’
The next day is the second talk, but I don’t note much else until August twenty-seventh.
‘At 11:30 was Krishnaji’s first question-and-answer meeting, and he did five of them. We had lunch upstairs. We talked to Mary Cadogan and Scott about the next summer’s Brockwood talks: six talks and two question-and-answer meetings from July nineteenth to August second.’
S: Yes. This was a change—again, this is from my notes—as the talks at Brockwood had always been the last weekend in August until the first weekend of September. But with no Saanen, it was felt that we should change it and slide something halfway in between what were the traditional Saanen dates and the traditional Brockwood date. And also have a slightly expanded schedule. There was also thinking of how to cure the kind of typical mess that had developed. These Brockwood talks had gotten larger and larger and larger, and also less and less serious. The house was more and more packed, and Krishnaji didn’t like going down to the dining room with the house so full. Dorothy would put a bed in absolutely every single corner and cupboard that there was, and we had to eat in shifts. We had tables way out into the living room. It was ridiculous. It was also felt that we couldn’t have the camping anymore because we had gone out of our way to make the campers more and more comfortable: providing tented cooking spaces, nice toilets, hot showers—and began to happen is that people would come just for the camping.
M: Yes, and not come to the talks.
S: Exactly, or one person in a family would be interested in the teachings, and they would attend the talks, but they would bring their husband and their children and their parents and their cousins, etcetera, and so you’d have twenty people there camping and using the place, enjoying the swimming pool and the tennis courts, and people were breaking branches off of trees for the campfire and trampling on the flowers. We had, over the years, issued statements that people couldn’t bring their pets, but they always did, and dogs would soil everyplace. Someone even brought their pet goat one year.
M: Yes, I know.
S: So we really had to change the way that the Brockwood talks were going—make it much more serious. But if we don’t have campers, where do we put all these people? So it was a big dilemma and a preoccupation in the planning for the next year. Anyway. Sorry, I’m filling in probably too much for your diaries, but—
M: No. No, it gives a picture of what was happening then.
M: August twenty-eighth. ‘There was a discussion after breakfast with Krishnaji, Dr. Parchure, Scott, and me about Krishnaji’s program for 1986. He feels he should give two talks on the East Coast of the USA. Boston? Krishnaji had lunch in bed but got up for a walk down the West Meon road at 5 p.m. I telephoned Erna about the above. She suggested speaking at universities, but Krishnaji later disapproved.’
The twenty-ninth: ‘Krishnaji held his second question-and-answer meeting. After lunch upstairs, Krishnaji had photos taken by Barry Moore to go with Duncan Fallowell’s Harpers & Queen article. A television crew covered the meeting in the morning. On the walk with Krishnaji was Dorothy, Elena Greene, and me. Erna telephoned. The settlement is ready for signatures.’
August thirtieth. ‘I awoke wondering how to bring about what Krishnaji has said is necessary: a set of talks on the East Coast in March or early April. He has rejected so-called sponsored talks (i.e., at a university), saying he didn’t want to talk just to students. That means finding a suitable hall in Boston or even Toronto, doing all the promotion, coping with the sound system difficulties, finding a place to stay, etcetera. All with the possible uncertainty of his being up to this after a heavy Indian tour. As it unfolded, when I called a meeting of Dr. Parchure, Scott, with Krishnaji on Wednesday to discuss’—this is written on a Friday—‘what he wished, the dilemma is, as he put it, the body exists to talk. If it doesn’t talk, the body will fade and that will be the end. But it needs rest too. What is the balance between these? He said speaking only in Ojai was not enough. He thinks little of discussions as people can’t be found to challenge him sufficiently. He seemed to accept the shape we worked out for Brockwood. June: arrive from Ojai, talk to students, and any other discussions. Rest in July till the Brockwood talks, beginning July nineteenth to August third. Go on holiday afterward. Return in September for an earlier school reopening. It was when I then brought up his Ojai winter that the extra talks came into it. Last evening I talked to Parchure, who is uncertain whether he will want such talks when the time comes. And then either he over-talks himself to fulfill the commitment or we have to cancel with all that that entails. Either would be a shock to Krishnaji.’
‘There was a heavy feeling all morning, and then after the massage, Parchure came to me and told me that Krishnaji had said he didn’t want the extra talks. It might be good just to rest in Ojai. Krishnaji lunched on a tray and called for Scott afterward. He wanted to discuss issues with the staff. After much talk, I asked him about Ojai, and he said no extra talks. So I telephoned this to Erna. She has just sent me two copies of the settlement agreement with Rajagopal for our signatures and that of Tilly von Egmond for the Netherlands. I have asked Tilly to remain here until the papers arrive. Krishnaji was tense last evening, irritable just below the surface. He came to my room, sat me down, holding my hand, and said he was looking at his irritability. “I am not talking to you, I am talking to myself…Either I am getting old or have fallen into a habit of picking at you. It is my fault, and it must stop. We’ve been together a long time, and I love you deeply. The body has become hypersensitive. Most of the time I want to go away, and I mustn’t do that. I’m going to deal with this. It is unforgivable.” Later he said of himself, “He’s had enough. If there were illness or an accident, he would slip out.” And then, “No one in all these years has changed.” And, “I want to give you a new brain. I love you; I will till I die.” Later he called me in: “Maria, I have a feeling it’s all been carefully planned. When the body goes, it may be tomorrow, it may be in ten years, but it is a strange feeling. It has all been completely planned.”’
August thirty-first. ‘I made an appeal for donations before Krishnaji gave this third Brockwood talk. Mary, Joe, and Anna Pallandt lunched with us upstairs. At 3 p.m. I talked to a friend of Mr. Bocognano about the center in Bangalore. I walked with Krishnaji and Dorothy. Supper upstairs. Then Krishnaji, Parchure, Scott, and I had a discussion about a couple of troublesome staff members.’
The first of September. ‘Krishnaji gave his fourth Brockwood talk, which was very fine. We lunched upstairs. I talked with Kathy and various others. The walk was with Krishnaji, Dorothy, me. There was a discussion in the evening with Krishnaji, Scott, Parchure, and me about the troublesome staff and how to arrange next year’s Brockwood Gathering.’
September second: ‘At 8 a.m. there was a meeting upstairs with the core group. Krishnaji had breakfast afterward. I went to Petersfield on errands in the afternoon. The settlement came for our signatures. Tilly von Egmond, who stayed till it came, signed for Holland. Krishnaji will sign for himself, KFT, and KFI. He had been in bed all day but saw Alfonso Colon at 4 p.m. It rained too much for a walk.’
The next day, ‘Krishnaji signed the settlement agreement. Tilly left for Holland, and Dr. Parchure left for India. I mailed the signed settlement papers to Erna and telephoned her that I had. Krishnaji, Scott, and I walked. The house is becoming quiet and is almost empty.’
The fourth. ‘Krishnaji and I took the 10:23 a.m. to London. Joe met us and took us to Huntsman, where Krishnaji had a fitting, bought a cardigan, and ordered a lightweight suit.’ You eventually inherited that, didn’t you?
S: Yes, I did. I went in and had the last couple of fittings of it. I was close enough to Krishnaji’s size that I could wear his old suits, and this one only needed some changes.
M: ‘We went by taxi to lunch at Mary and Joe’s and had the first glimpse of their house at 8 Elizabeth Close, where they now live. They took us to Waterloo and the 5:43 p.m. train back.’
Now, for the next five days I don’t write much, partly because I had a cold, it seems. I don’t go on walks, but you do, and Krishnaji talks with me about an empty mind. I continue to work at my desk. Then on September tenth, ‘At 11 a.m. Krishnaji gave an interview filmed by ITV for the program “The Human Factor” to be broadcast nationwide December first. The interviewer was Sue Jay, and it was shot on film in the drawing room for one-and-a-half hours. In the afternoon Keith Critchlow and Peter Gilbert brought floor plans for the center part of the study. Very good. Krishnaji walked with the Dorothy and me.’
On September eleventh, ‘I went to London for a haircut and errands at Harrods. I was back to Petersfield in time to buy plants. I met Krishnaji and Dorothy on the lane. All the Brockwood staff returned from their holiday. It was very warm weather.’
The next day. ‘At 9 a.m. there was a meeting of Krishnaji and the core group about the couple of troublesome staff. The walk was with Krishnaji, Dorothy, Scott. It was a warm day again.’
M: September thirteenth. ‘Krishnaji and I took the 10:23 a.m. train to London. It was a warm, soft late summer morning. He looked not over forty, standing in immense elegance at the Petersfield station: young, attractive, with a dignity that is both aloof and intensely unassuming. He told me that Scott had asked him if he knew how long he would live. And he said that, yes, he did. But that he would not tell Scott.’
‘Me: “Do you really know?”’
‘Krishnaji: “I think I do. I have intimations.”’
‘Me: “Are you willing to tell me?”’
‘Krishnaji: “No, that would not be right. I cannot tell anyone.”’
‘Me: “Could one at least have some vague idea of time?”’
‘Krishnaji: “Scott asked me if I would still be here when the study is built at Brockwood.” Krishnaji laughed, and said he would.’
‘Me: “Is one to live thinking that at any moment you might leave?”’
‘Krishnaji: “No, it’s not like that. It won’t be for quite a while.”’
‘As it is a hot day and we would be returning late from London because of his 4:30 p.m. dentist appointment, I suggested we get first-class tickets costing £18.60 each.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘They turned out be a huge increase, and when we bought them there were only two seats left and in separate compartments. To make it worse, the one Krishnaji took was a smoker.’ [Chuckles.] ‘Joe met us and drove us up to Huntsman. Krishnaji ordered a lightweight gray worsted suit and a pair of flannel trousers in a subtle color of vaguely greenish gray. Very smart. We went to Ferragamo, where I spent a credit I had on a large calf handbag. Just what was looked for.’ Where did I get the credit for Ferragamo? I have the big handbag.
S: Yes, you probably took something back that you bought.
M: I don’t remember, but I got the handbag with the credit. ‘We met Mary L. at Fortnum’s and she lunched with us. Krishnaji fell to talking of India and the fact that when he tries to make a change there, some of them, Pupul and the Patwardhans, claim that he has been influenced and dismisses what he has just been saying as not his own views. He doesn’t like to quarrel with them or to assert his authority, so he says, “Very well,” and lets it go. But now he says he feels this time in India he must put his “house in order” and insist that what he thinks is right be done. He talked at length about this, not wanting any comment from Mary or me, in fact refusing any comment,’ [chuckles] ‘but as if his own talking helped to explore it in his mind. We went to Hatchards and bought some books. Then at 3:30 p.m. to Truefitt for his haircut while I hurried up Bond Street to Heaton, where I bought the smallest Sony microcassette dictating machine to carry with me for notes and memoranda. I rushed back to meet him and we found a taxi for his appointment with Mr. Thompson. His teeth are in good shape. Joe came there at 5 p.m. and drove us to Waterloo, where we got comfortable seats back to Petersfield.’ [Both chuckle.]
The fourteenth: ‘After breakfast, Krishnaji talked to me about Ojai. He feels the Lilliefelts and I have driven ourselves into a corner. There is no one we wholly trust to carry on, and we are all getting old. So what is going to happen there? What is he going to do there for three-and-a-half months? He is afraid that for that amount of time he will wither there. It is out that he will go elsewhere to talk. He can’t go on perpetually talking to the Oak Grove staff who don’t understand. He is sure he will settle things in India. Should he then return to Brockwood and stay there until the Ojai talks, even though it is winter? Ojai doesn’t attract people. They come for him. He asked, what if, after the rest, he were to hold open discussions every weekend for anyone who wants to come? He cannot, and will not, do nothing. “I am for it.” He wants to be in our own place, not elsewhere. At noon, I telephoned my brother in New York. Lisa returns from the hospital today. The lymph specialist, who was asked by Lisa the prediction if she does nothing, said the worst would be death in one to two years. Today also I had a letter from Daisy saying that her mother has three brain tumors and possible spine involvement. Later I telephoned Erna and told her what Krishnaji is thinking of and of the above discussion. She pointed out all the difficulties, which, when I reported them to Krishnaji, he found to be a sign that the teachings come second to organization. Walk with Krishnaji, Dorothy, Scott.’
The next day, Krishnaji held a discussion with all the staff at 11:30 a.m. And the day after was a rest day for Krishnaji.
The seventeenth. ‘Mary Cadogan came and Krishnaji talked with her, Scott, Dorothy, and me about next year’s Gathering, publications, the international committees, and about the Brockwood Gathering next year: There will be no camping, but we will supply caravans, have only a normal number of house guests, get the meals catered, no swimming pool or tennis court use, no children or animals. There will be less advertising and the changes will be explained in the Bulletin. We also discussed the Holland and Puerto Rico problems. In Holland there was a mixing up of the Stichting and the “Leer Project,” which is a school that Hans Vincent is pushing using the Stichting mailing list. Mary Cadogan is to ask all committees to give their mailing lists to Krishnamurti Foundation Publications. Krishnaji is thinking of telling India that all talks, including Indian ones, go to KFT for editing. And the best-of-all-that-years talks will be published by it. India may do Indian discussions for India. He has not yet but will make a decision. From us he wanted only factual memoranda and not advice, as India has the insulting habit of rejecting what it does not like by saying, “You’ve been influenced, this isn’t your opinion.” After lunch Harsh and Ingrid joined us for a budget meeting. Krishnaji went for a nap and then later a walk with Dorothy and me. I had a message that Mark Lee had telephoned, so I rang him back.’ He didn’t have anything to do with the Oak Grove School by then and was Erna’s helper. ‘He explained a plan for Krishnaji to speak on three weekends two weeks apart with educators in March and April, with twenty-five to thirty educators in each group. Also Mark suggested video interviews videoed by someone other than Mendizza. I reported all this to Krishnaji in the evening, and he was irritated by the two weeks apart. “Are they just trying to fill my time?…What do you think?” in a hostile voice.’
September eighteenth. ‘At 9 a.m. Krishnaji met the core staff group in the West Wing. The topic was leisure and space without discussion or occupation. It was felt we keep out something by being constantly occupied. Krishnaji said, “I have complete leisure.” He urged us for a week to write down “Everything, every thought, etcetera.” He said he used to do this, and Rajagopal tried to find the papers but never did: Krishnaji put them under a stone outside.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘It could take me twenty-three hours of the day to do all this, but this seems as good a place as under a stone to give it a try, so here it goes.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘I look on today as a sort of shelf wherein it was mercifully quiet. I ache for quiet, space apart from the violence of the public news, cancer, presence of death, Krishnaji’s discontent and irritability. I could come into my room and do the simple, ordinary things, the luxury of small matters instead of cataclysmic ones. Hugues, Scott, and Mary Cadogan went off to see a lawyer about a pension fund. The house was empty and quiet at lunch. Krishnaji motioned to me that I was putting out my tongue, another lack of awareness of what I am doing. He now calls for deliberate action by will as general awareness doesn’t seem sufficient. I feel like a robot at times but realize this is a defense.’ [Both chuckle.]
September nineteenth. ‘It was a quiet day. A man came to fix the Miele washer, and finally I was able to put everything back in order, which gave that small but appreciated sense of one’s atom of life being tidy and normal.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘After lunch I wrote to Daisy, who had asked me how I would meet her situation (i.e., with her mother dying of cancer and three brain tumors). My brother may be coming to a parallel of that with his wife Lisa—meeting death. One’s own or someone else’s seems never far away these days. I don’t feel a shrinking from my own, as far as I can tell, but Krishnaji had admonished me over and over, “You must outlive me” to look after him, and each of us urges healthful things on the other. Krishnaji’s tireless movement toward and in life is behind his present irritability: his not suffering fools gladly, his effort to right India, Ojai, the staff group here. Today he said to Scott and me during the tea in the kitchen before the walk that the unifying factor should be intelligence. “To be free in the real sense, that freedom is intelligence. Intelligence is common to all of us and that will bring us together, not organization. If you see the importance that each one of us is free and that freedom implies love, consideration, attention, cooperation, and compassion—that intelligence is the factor to keep us together.” Walked with Krishnaji and Dorothy and Scott.’
The twentieth: ‘I finished the letter to Daisy and took it to post in Alresford. There was the familiar smell of wood in the Mercedes garage and leather in the twelve-year-old car. I filled it with petrol and drove through Woodlands to Alresford. Again, the awareness of the small and familiar, the gentle and orderly, the simple face of life, which is so very precious. I did small errandS: I bought a teaspoon, the vehicle tax had to be paid at the post office and put in the car for coming year. That is in order, come what may in the coming year. I found the first Cox apples of the season for Krishnaji in the market, four nice plums, and some new cheese. I also ordered for Doris a small refrigerator for her new room upstairs next to Dorothy and Montague. It was rather expensive, but I want her tiny world to be as comfortable as possible. All these and so many similar things are like a squirrel (we saw one on the walk) filling his hollow tree with nuts against the winter. Am I afraid of the winter? I think I’m not shrinking from whatever comes, and the possibilities, these days, are wider than we know. But I cherish the sweet and simple face of life. The soft mist today, the silence in the fields as we walked. The smell of the just-cut hedgerows, and, most of all, to be able to see Krishnaji across the table when we had our tea before the walk, and the sight of him in his jeans and anorak buoyantly and quietly walking in the lane.’
S: Mm, hm. Yes. Yes. I can see it as you say it.
M: ‘At 4 p.m. Krishnaji gave two interviews to Duncan Fallowell for the Harper’s & Queen article. We walked on the West Meon road, and Dorothy joined us.’
The next day. ‘At 9 a.m. Krishnaji met the core staff group and asked one of those seemingly impossible questionS: “How do you instantly, without time, make the students see that self-interest is the root of conflict?” He was talking about intelligence. If each one of us is intelligent, in the sense that he means (i.e., sensitive, loving, compassionate), then that intelligence, which is neither yours nor mine, is acting, and, therefore, though we are separate physical bodies, we act as one. And can you make the student see this? Not only see it but instantly be transformed? Then he mentioned that out of all the hundreds of students who have passed through Rishi Valley, not one has been different. This always twists at me, although he has said he doesn’t look at results. It seems painful to me that he should work tirelessly, endlessly, patiently all these very many years without seeing one human being changed. After the meeting in the room, I said that if no student in all these years had changed, one may ask what is the point of them? If no one, with all his effort, has changed, how can the rest of us, who apparently haven’t changed, expect to bring this about in others, the students? If you haven’t done it, is there any likelihood that we can change others? “I don’t know,” he replied, but it was said a little jokingly, not wanting to go on with a serious discussion. In the afternoon Krishnaji spoke for over an hour with a Mr. Arnold and Dominique Conterno, who had been put off when they came on the seventeenth of August because Krishnaji was ill that day. A pretentious man, Arnold, said Krishnaji later. On the walk with Dorothy, Krishnaji told us both to walk with the right foot turning out. Another thing to pay attention to. This writing seems to be more about what happened in the day than the “every thought” recording.’ [Chuckles.]
September twenty-second: ‘Krishnaji spoke to the whole staff in the sitting room at 11:30 a.m. He went slowly into freedom of mind in the approach to students: freedom from problems, not adding to the students’ problems. This was supposed to bear on the question Scott said the staff could not decide on: the pairing of students. Krishnaji pointed out the dangers involved, the isolation from others, sex, etcetera but dwelt so much on not adding to students problems that, to me, it presented confusion. I found it torturous and myself wanting to come to the point. It seemed it would prolong the slow-motion inability to act on the part of the staff. Krishnaji seemed unaware of time. It was after 1 p.m. when he was slowly, slowly approaching the denouement. I got impatient and found it confusing. Finally I said it was 1:15 p.m. The Digbys had come to lunch and were waiting. George is writing some book, I think a sort of memoir, and wanted to mention it to Krishnaji. In the afternoon I telephoned Mark Lee that Krishnaji agreed to hold meetings with the separate educational groups of twenty-five to thirty people on three successive weekends in March but doesn’t want to speak at UC Santa Barbara. Scott brought a new music teacher, Gilbert, to play the guitar for Krishnaji. He played very well for one-and-a-half hours in the West Wing. I asked Dorothy with Kip upstairs for tea. Then we walked in the soft autumn air on the West Meon road. Krishnaji came to me in the early morning while I was doing my exercises and wanted to see what I do and corrected everything. He is a very demanding exercise master.’ [S chuckles.]
September twenty-third. ‘Krishnaji again came in the early morning and taught me exercises and breathing. A hard taskmaster, but very touching. Around 10 a.m. my brother rang from New York. They just spoke to Dr. Scheef who said they must come immediately, so Bud and Lisa fly to Bonn tonight. She said she will have three-and-a-half weeks of intensive therapy, then two weeks rest, and again three-and-a-half weeks of intensive therapy. I said I would go to Bonn to see them when Krishnaji goes to India. I asked about Carol, Bud’s second wife and the mother of Daisy, and Bud said she is in the Presbyterian hospital and not expected to live long. One hopes a compassionate doctor will not prolong it. Krishnaji came in as I was talking to Bud, and he suggested I go to Bonn and then come back here before he leaves and then go straight to Ojai. I explained that I wanted to stop briefly in New York to see Daisy and Philippa. He then thought that he would like to come to Bonn with me on the way to Frankfurt and Delhi. We could both see Dr. Scheef, he said, after I said I thought that if I were there I should be checked by Scheef. Krishnaji seemed to be for that. And when I said it would be good for him, too, he said, “Oh what for? I’m too old and on the way out,” but agreed he might see him briefly. He had me telephone the West German consulate to learn of the visa requirements. A very abrupt woman demanded to know the reason for the Indian citizen’s trip to Bonn and said he should get a statement from his doctor that he was going there for medical reasons. “We’ll talk about it,” said Krishnaji after I also found out that Rita Zampese is away for a week and hence no rearranging of our Lufthansa tickets today. Scott presented ten new members of staff to Krishnaji. Then Krishnaji, Dorothy, I, and Scott went for a walk toward West Meon. Friedrich arrived by teatime and said that it is still hot in Switzerland, more than here. But it is so warm in Hampshire it is as if it were a full summer, a lovely prolongation, an island, a minute island in time on which I stand incredulous and humbled to have been so lucky. The horror of other lives is out there. Mexico has just had three devastating earthquakes. In Mexico City thousands are dead. Unknown numbers are buried, still alive or dead under fallen buildings. The country is in economic ruin too. In Beirut they cannot stop shooting each other. To be walking with Krishnaji down a lane under the beech trees past the big sequoia and the flint farmhouse is a blessing beyond measuring.’ [Crying.] ‘Walk Krishnaji, Dorothy, Scott, and me on the West Meon lane.’
S: Mm. I know, Mary. I know. That’s enough for today also.