Issue #87

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Issue 87—September 24, 1985 to October 14, 1985


In this issue Krishnaji is pre-occupied with his negative views of the Foundation in India and it’s key players. This was very unlike Krishnaji who would usually be totally absorbed in the place where he was, and more accepting of people’s foibles and shortcomings. We also see Krishnaji’s irritability increase (which, in hindsight, Mary and I could see was from his undiagnosed illness).  This combination does not bode well for Krishnaji’s health and his upcoming trip to India, and Mary lightly touches on her regret at not going with India the coming trip.

The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #87

Mary: We begin today’s discussion with September twenty-fourth, 1985, and we’re at Brockwood. ‘Krishnaji gave me another lesson in breathing and neck exercises. A severe teacher.’ [S chuckles.] ‘He also asked me to note, “Independence without freedom is meaningless. If you have freedom you don’t need independence.” This was a day for our going to Wickham for lunch. Krishnaji went with Friedrich and Scott in Friedrich’s new VW, with Scott driving. Dorothy and Kathy came with me, and we had a very nice lunch at the Old House Restaurant. I had ordered a vegetable coulibiac.’ What was the coulibiac?

Scott: It is normally a puff pastry, which is rolled with fish and vegetables and, I think, a white wine sauce. But that restaurant used to do it for us with just vegetables so it was vegetarian. It was very good.

M: Ah, yes. It was. I remember it now. ‘I’d ordered a vegetable coulibiac ahead of time, and Krishnaji liked the cauliflower soup, which had a little white wine in it. He stared out at the garden during lunch—a faraway look—luckily not seeing the steak-eating group at a table behind him.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘The VW car came straight back on the A32, but I drove through the small back roads and we came out rather surprised in Cheriton.’ Cheriton was overshooting Brockwood. ‘A rather defensive letter had come from Erna after my telephone to her conveying Krishnaji’s thoughts about not just resting in Ojai—that unless he had something to do there he might come only for the May talks. Erna laid out all that had been accomplished in the U.S. Krishnaji wants to telephone and tell her that it wasn’t just Ojai, but he felt the same way about all the places. There wasn’t one person to carry on when he is dead, and he had felt like “going away” from all of it. “Organization has become more important than the teachings.” After a rest, we had tea and went for the West Meon road walk. I ate no supper after all that lunch. Krishnaji has decided not to go to Bonn with me. “It is too much before India. I couldn’t do it.” The news of the Mexico earthquake continues dreadfully. People are being found still alive after five days in the rubble.’

September twenty-fifth: ‘Krishnaji again went over my exercises with me, especially my breathing ones. Mary Cadogan spoke to Friedrich on his phone and then asked for me. Friedrich politely closed the door when I was speaking to Mary C. so no one could find me when Bud rang from Bonn, as they didn’t think to look in Friedrich’s room.’ [Both chuckle.]

S: How very correct.

M: Yes. How tactful everybody was. ‘I was upset and Krishnaji took that moment to point out that I hadn’t finished the breakfast dishes.’ [Both laugh.] ‘I felt harried by his constant criticism of me “not paying attention.” And “Will you kindly listen,” followed by a slow reiteration of what you have heard and understood is wearing. He asked a question, but if you answer it too quickly, this happens.’ [Chuckles.] ‘He seems to need to say all his criticisms at length and get them out of his preoccupation. I was finally able to tell him that Mary Cadogan reports that Harper’s Clayton Carson wants an introduction by David Bohm to round out the next book, which is only two dialogues long, and Krishnaji agreed to it. All the students are beginning to arrive today and were at lunch. I fell asleep exhausted after lunch. Then Bud rang back at 4 p.m. Lisa is in the Strahlenklinik in Bonn to have two, probably three, courses of intensive radiation and chemotherapy lasting probably till Christmas. Lisa’s morale is much higher since she talked to them in the clinic. She will have to be checked twice a year and will resign from the museum, but she is thinking of the much better life they will lead. I said I would come to Bonn after Krishnaji goes to India.’

‘Krishnaji kept coming in while I was talking as it was the time we had said we would telephone Erna. Her letter made him want to reassure her, and so I rang, relayed what he was saying while he was standing beside me, including, in confidence to her, that he knows, more or less, when he will die and wants to put all the work in order—not just Ojai, but especially India, and Brockwood too. He spoke directly to her after I had repeated all this and reassured her that he was not denigrating all that had been done in Ojai. He told me separately, when I asked how long he had known the time of his death, “Oh, about two years.” I was able to reach Mary Cadogan and give her instructions of what to say to Pupul, if Mary talks to her before Pupul comes here Saturday, that Krishnaji has told us that he’s going to meet all the Indian Foundation members and he will decide the publications and other matters. And he has asked us, KFT, not to make any decisions on publications but leave it to him. He wants Pupul to know before she arrives that he will decide only later and that he “has become very serious.” We had a quick tea and then a walk around the lane, Krishnaji, Dorothy, Scott, Friedrich, and me. Supper on trays in his room, as is now customary.’

September the twenty-sixth. ‘“Did you sleep well? Did I bully you too much? We’ll have a nice quiet day today,” he said.’

‘I replied, “It doesn’t matter. Will I see you again after you go to India?”’

‘Krishnaji: “Why do you ask?”’

‘Me: “I don’t want to be apart from you. You said yesterday you knew when you would die.”’

‘Krishnaji: “Yes, more or less, but it is not right away. If I’m going to die, I’ll telephone you, and you can come. I won’t die all of a sudden. I’m in good health. My heart, everything is all right. It is all decided by someone else. I can’t talk about it. I’m not allowed to. Do you understand? It is much more serious. There are things you don’t know, enormous, and I can’t tell you. It is very hard to find a brain like this, and it must keep on as long as the body can; until something says, ‘enough.’ If I die, you mustn’t mourn. We’ve been very close, but you are beyond all that and you mustn’t mourn as you would have in the past.”’ You see in this he mentioned “someone” and “something.”

S: Yes.

M: Mary Links, I think, pointed that out in her book.

S: Ah, yes.

M: Who knows what the explanation is. But in one conversation he used those two wordS: “someone” and “something.”

S: Yes. At other times he talks about something like a group of things, a committee.

M: Yes, he talked jokingly about “the committee.” I don’t know, obviously, but my thoughts tend to go toward a group of something because of a strange dream I once had.

S: What dream was that?

M: I was being judged in the dream by a group of beings, and it wasn’t…it was just a sort of brief dream, but it was very vivid. It woke me up, actually. And what I felt at the time, and, I don’t know, the whole thing was a dream, so I don’t know what it was, but what I felt and probably still feel was that I was being judged whether I was suitable to be with Krishnaji and do things for him and be useful to them. Because I always felt if there’s something protecting him that thing has to have an instrument or instruments.

S: Yes. Yes.

M: There has to be some human being who can do things for him. That was my interpretation of the dream. It may all be…

S: Mm, hm. Well, who knows? But it is interesting that Krishnaji talks about—it’s personified and it’s non-personified.

M: Yes.

S: And then it’s a group of personifications.

M: Yes. Yes. And sometimes he speaks, as in this, “it is serious,” and he can’t talk about it. And other times when he uses the word “committee,” it’s sort of joking.

S: Mm, hm. Yes.

M: ‘This conversation took place in the early morning when I brought the nettle tea. I went to my room and wept. Then the day carried on and we went to London on the 10:23 a.m. train. Dorothy was on the same train en route to a dentist. Mary and Joe met us at Waterloo and took us to Huntsman. Mary and I walked to Hilliard’s about my tweed coat and stopped at Hardy Amies, where there was nothing for me. Then we returned to Huntsman where Krishnaji had had his fitting, and we walked to Fortnum’s for our usual lunch with Mary. There I also bought peanut butter, tea, and coffee. We walked back to Hilliard’s to fetch the coat and found a cab back to Waterloo, just able to catch the 3:48 p.m. train. I felt exhausted and slept on the train. Krishnaji, more alert, got us off at Petersfield, and we found Dorothy had been on the same train. Got Krishnaji back to the haven of his clean room and a bath. The students are all here. We saw Scott’s office newly fixed. Krishnaji and I had supper on trays with the 7 p.m. news and now early to bed.’ Which was your new office, downstairs?

S: Well, in my notes—and I’m deliberately not putting in a lot of things from my notes, but because you mention this office, I’ll add this which I think was interesting. I had taken over Dorothy’s office, but I felt it had to have an entirely new atmosphere and feel to it. So I knocked a hole in the wall between…

M: Oh, yes.

S: …what was to be the school’s secretary’s office, which had been Ingrid’s office, and my office, so that there could be connection between the two offices. In Dorothy’s time, people wanting to see her had to wait in the corridor.

M: Yes, that’s right.

S: And I got rid of Dorothy’s old curtains and put up blinds, had that corner desk built in, got new chairs, new carpet, new paint color on the walls, and everything so it would have an entirely new feel. While all this construction was going on, when Krishnaji would come down for lunch, he would often go and look at the changes.

M: Would he?

S: Yes. Dorothy always used to sit in her desk chair, which she would just swivel around to talk to whoever was sitting in a couple of chairs in the back of the room. I had three equal chairs for sitting so that I could talk with parents and staff members and students, and we were all on equal chairs and sitting in a little clump. And as soon as the office was finished, and the furniture was in there, I wanted him to see it and present it to him. So he came in, and he sat down in one of the chairs, and I sat in another one facing him, and he just wanted to sit there. And I say in my notes that I could feel he was doing something to the room. And he came down on several subsequent days, and every time he and I would just sit there, and I could feel the room changing. Of course, you know, one can say it was just my imagination, and who knows? But to me, he was obviously doing something to the room. It’s not that he was only just sitting there, and perhaps doing something—no, he was obviously doing something sitting there—he wasn’t saying anything, but you could feel something happening. [Chuckles.] He did this for several subsequent days. I think he said something too, but I can’t remember. It might be in my notes. I can’t remember, but it did really change the whole feel of that room.

M: Mm. I believe it.

S: So it was rather nice.

M: Yes. That’s very nice.

The twenty-seventh of September. ‘Krishnaji slept fairly well. Feeling tired but better. He thinks that an extra dose of magnesium phosphate, which he’s taking at Amanda Pallandt’s suggestion to help the tremor in his hands, is causing his stomach to be upset. He stayed in bed all day but got up for a walk. I went to the school meeting. I did some business things with my broker, got houseplants, and was back for tea, a new one called Pelham Blend suggested by the Digbys. Then Krishnaji, Scott, Dorothy, Friedrich, Christina, Gary, and I went to the grove about planting there and then across the field and back by the driveway. Another gentle mist of an Indian summer day. Before supper, Krishnaji had me sit quietly, with him touching the back of my head. “I am trying to reach your brain but you keep slipping back. You have a habit of eating too fast. Pay attention.”’ It’s weird. He thought I ate so fast, and now, 20 years later, I can’t keep up with all of you.

S: Well, I can just speak for myself, and I eat much, much too quickly. But I can remember Catherine and Jean de Maurex who were so genteel with old-style European manners; so they would pace their eating to Krishnaji’s. And they commented to me that they’d never eaten so slowly in their lives.

M: [chuckles] I know.

S: They were astonished that anyone could eat so slowly.

M: Yes. I know. [Both laugh.]

S: So Krishnaji saying that you eat quickly is not really very much of an indication of anything. [M chuckles.] But one of the things you have just reminded me of, and which I had completely forgotten was that when I became principal, I took away the overall responsibility for the gardens from John Porter and I gave it to Gary.

M: Mm. Good.

S: Krishnaji had been unhappy with John Porter’s over-planting of the grove.

M: Yes. He put up the wrong trees and too many things.

S: Yes, it had become overcrowded. So this trip through the grove that you mentioned in your diaries, it’s also in my notes. And it was Krishnaji wanting to open up spaces again for alleys and really undoing a lot of the things that John Porter had done.

M: Yes, and he put those trees—I can’t remember names of things these days…sort of pine trees, but not pine trees. It’s a very common tree, and there were too many there already. Anyway.

S: Yes. Yes. So Krishnaji was very happy to be having a positive impact on the grove.

M: Yes, he was. ‘That evening, as Krishnaji did my leg, as he has most evenings since Dr. Parchure left, we heard the news that a very large hurricane has hit the East Coast of the U.S.’

The twenty-eighth of September. ‘Krishnaji supervised my breathing and other exercises again. Pupul arrived by car at 11 a.m. to stay till Monday.’ This was a Saturday. ‘I gave her tea in the kitchen and then left her and Krishnaji to talk almost till lunchtime. I had a rest after lunch and after coffee.Erna telephoned. The attorney general wants two weeks to consider whether to sign the settlement agreement, so Avsham has asked us for a thirty-day extension of the date by which the agreement must be complete (i.e., the end of October). All had tea, including Friedrich, and then Krishnaji, Dorothy, Friedrich, Scott, and I walked around the block. Pupul had supper on trays with Krishnaji and me in his room, and afterward Scott came up and I invited Friedrich to come and sit and talk till 9 o’clock. Krishnaji was relaxed and animated. Perhaps glad to have said “everything” to Pupul earlier. He told me that he had pointed out what it had meant for her to give him an ultimatum about the copyright and publication matters when she came to Switzerland. He said the Foundations are one body to him, but India had made trouble over publications for thirteen years, and he was now going to settle it. He was thinking of England choosing and editing the best of all the talks in each year and publishing them in the West. India might, but this must be discussed with KFT and publishers here, have the right to publish these books in India and its territory. He said he would make the decision after talking to everyone, including all KFI members, at their next meeting in Madras. He said he told Pupul he had known for about one-and-a-half years how long he would live. That he wouldn’t tell anyone what he knew, but wanted to settle the future of everything before he died. He made Pupul listen, and told me that he said “everything” about India to her.’ That’s what he reported to me.

September twenty-ninth. ‘Early, Scott came in and talked to Krishnaji about the school.

S: There’s another thing, too, that I wanted to add that is in my notes. All this time that Pupul was there on that trip, Pupul was insisting to Krishnaji about the importance of structure. And Krishnaji was dead set against that. He kept saying that structure is not what’s going to hold us together—it’s intelligence. And despite the fact that he told you he had said everything to her, she was still maintaining something that was very antagonistic to what Krishnaji was feeling.

M: Yes. Well, that was sure.

S: So there was not a clearing of the air and getting everything out. She remained resistant. I think that in these thirteen years of conflict with the Indian Foundation, Krishnaji, as we said yesterday, had finally lost his patience with a lot of the shenanigans and the limitations of the Patwardhans. But Pupul was largely behind the conflict about the copyright. And I think that she saw, from what Krishnaji had said to her on this trip, that the Patwardhans were…

M: I never understood his sudden, at least sudden surfacing, of his criticism of the Patwardhans. He said they had not made Vasanta Vihar a religious place, but I didn’t know what they had done.

S: Well. They had turned Vasanta Vihar into a little fiefdom.

M: Well, the whole Indian Foundation was a little fiefdom.

S: Yes, the whole Indian Foundation was like that, and really it was Pupul and the Patwardhans in concert who had done this.

M: Yes. The Patwardhans got the blame, though.

S: Yes, but they were the ones who were the administrators. They were the ones who were nominally in charge, although Pupul was the vice president of the Foundation. On this visit, Pupul saw that the Patwardhans were going to come in for a lot of criticism, and I think she shoved all of the blame for the copyright arguments onto the Patwardhans at this time, but she…

M: Now what makes you say that?

S: Because Krishnaji then started blaming the Patwardhans for the thirteen years of copyright conflict, but Pupul was behind it.

M: Of course.

S: But also, it was enormously incompetent, what Pama and Sunanda had been doing. Enormously incompetent. Everything—the sanitation at the place, the treatment of the archives, the property, the way they didn’t look after the video equipment and tapes. All—really a catalog of incompetence. And then, of course, Sunanda claiming that she could edit the books and her English was just not up to it. And their pretentious sense of religiousness, well, there was no sense of religiousness there.

M: No, well, there wasn’t to me in the whole of the Indian setup.

S: Exactly. So, but they had more or less—

M: They were responsible. And they were the ones within KF India that had the power, because a lot of the trustees of that Foundation just came to yearly meetings.

S: Yes, and they just rubberstamped whatever was said. And it had really been made into an extremely nonreligious place, very privileged and like an elite clique. So it did feel dirty in many ways, and they were responsible. Also, they and Pupul were arch-politicians; always manipulating people, always looking for advantage, always doing all of that kind of thing. So, it was sordid. If Krishnaji can be blamed for anything, it’s waiting too long. But Krishnaji had enormous patience.

But this is another matter, which I know you and I have discussed, but not on tape. Why didn’t he blame Pupul more? Why did he put up with such appalling behavior from Rosalind? Why did he put up with really…

M: And Rajagopal.

S: And Rajagopal. But I’m talking about something else here. Also Vanda. He put up with things from her that I wouldn’t have imagined he would have put up with from other people.

M: Like what?

S: Well, just her weirdness…her often bringing people in who were completely inappropriate.

M: Well, they came to lunch, but…

S: For lunches or just to meet Krishnaji. Anyway, here’s my theory, which may be completely wrong. But anyone who looked after Krishnaji during “the process,” as did Pupul and Nandini, Vanda, Rosalind, and you took on a terribly important role, and with people who did that, Krishnaji had more tolerance, more forgiveness, and more acceptance of them and their actions than, in my view, he should have. He gave them extra margin, and you and Nandini are the only ones who, again in my view, never abused that. And I think that’s why he never really called Pupul on the carpet the way he wanted to.

M: Well, if he said these things that I just read you, he was upsetting that applecart. But I don’t know.

S: But hardly at all, I think. Hardly at all. I’m sure he criticized the KFI to Pupul, but I doubt he criticized her directly, the way he did to the Patwardhans. And you will remember, and we’ll see it later on, I’m sure, that when he goes off to India, he comes to me and asks me if he has enough money to stay in a hotel.

M: He asked me that, too.

S: Yes, exactly. I mean, and he…

M: I used to put traveler’s checks amongst his travel documents, which he didn’t want, and he never cashed any of them.

S: I know. So he traveled around forever with these same traveler’s checks.

M: Yes, the same traveler’s checks. I had to go to the bank here when he was dying to cash them in.

S: Yes. I’m sure that we’ll come to this. But, here he was, and the idea of going to stay with Pupul was so distasteful to him that he was nervous of how he would get away and stay in a hotel if he had to. And yet, he still went to stay with her. So, this is what I’m saying: he gave the people who looked after him during “the process” such extra margin. Why put up with all that idiocy from Rosalind? It’s just, it’s unimaginable.

M: What he put up with from Pupul is minor compared to what he put up with from the Rajagopals.

S: I know. I know. But I think that Pupul did not come in for the amount of direct criticism that he would have given her and should have given her, in my view, had it not been for the role she played in the 1940s during one of his experiences of “the process.” And in India, when I was there that winter, you could see all the blame going to Pama and Sunanda, and Pupul was standing calmly on the margins, as though she had nothing to do with it. So she was letting all the fault slide over to them instead of admitting that she was part of the thirteen years of conflict with the KFT and KFA.

M: This is true.

S: So she let it all slide over to them. And I think that it began here during the period at Brockwood that we just covered. She could see that the Indian Foundation was going to come in for some heavy criticism, and she diverted it from her.

M: Yes. But let me continue reading for the twenty-ninth. ‘At 11:30 Krishnaji spoke to the school. “Why do we need to study academics? What should we learn beyond that?” Etcetera. After lunch in the West Wing kitchen, Krishnaji talked to Pupul with me there on the Foundations being, in his mind, one body. Saying that India had caused disagreement for thirteen years over publications, and that before he died he wants everything put in order. Pupul reiterated her position of every third book being submitted by India to Western publishers directly, not via KFT.’

S: You see.

M: Yes. ‘Krishnaji had earlier, to her, brought up KFT editing and publishing talks and now said he was saying to everyone that what is right is what must be done. Only in that spirit will it be right and not through formulas. Pupul reiterated that the present generation gets on, but those that come from the next generation (i.e., Radhika, Asit, etcetera) will not accept England having predominance. Krishnaji was tired and shaking and very serious, and insisting that we must do what is right, and he would not tell us what that is. Later he told me to talk to Pupul. So while he spent over an hour at 4:15 p.m. with Natasha, I made tea and asked Pupul what she thought of Krishnaji’s suggestion that each year a selection of the best of all the year’s talks be made and edited by England. She countered with India selecting the best from India. I said it seems to me that it should be the best of all the talks, not a quota from each region, though any region might suggest what seemed is its best. The decision should be by the Publication Committee. Pupul wants Indian rights to do a cheaper Indian edition. I said we’d have to find out the Gollancz and Harper position on that, but it was surely discussable. Pupul is lunching with Mary Cadogan on Tuesday and will talk about it. But Krishnaji wants a final decision after he has talked to all the Indian Foundation members. Harsh and Scott joined the tea scene. And later, while Scott and Dorothy and I walked, Pupul and Harsh had a long talk. Krishnaji’s talk with Natasha about her education was long. Her plans were vague but generally to complete her bachelor of science and then work “as a journalist” in India. Then study for a PhD, preferably at Oxford. We had supper on trays, Krishnaji, Pupul, and I. Krishnaji was tired and edgy as well he might be after such a day.’

September thirtieth. ‘My brother telephoned from Bonn. I spoke briefly to Lisa. Just then Dr. Scheef came in, so Lisa hung up. Mr. Jose and the embassy car came for Pupul at 10 a.m., and she left for London and goes to Delhi on Wednesday. I rang Mary Cadogan with Krishnaji sitting beside me and reported what had been said with Pupul about publication problems. Krishnaji correcting me, very tense, very irritable. It was a difficult conversation. Then he said to me, when I’d hung up, “I am watching for you. When I’m in India, your brain will go unless you watch. Pay attention. You’re not paying attention. You do too many things. You are careless, you are not listening. Write down what I tell you.” He stayed in bed till walk time. He spoke of Pupul, and of her saying that she had become famous—he is shocked by this. “Is this what it has come to, fame-power?” It kept coming into his conversation all day. It rings me. He is looking around him after ninety years of pouring out his teachings and sees nothing but mediocre minds. It is as though all of us, but him, poison the life we are given, are blind and indifferent. I want to weep and the weeping seems a tawdry self-indulgence. He was more relaxed at tea and on the walk with Dorothy, Scott, and me. I went to the school meeting and so did Dorothy. It was Kathy’s birthday. She and Scott went to Wickham to dinner with ten others who are there to surprise her. Krishnaji “did” my leg and went to bed.’ That’s his healing. ‘I sat up to speak to my brother at the pension where he is staying. Lisa has begun five days of intensive treatment radiation and chemotherapy and hydrotherapy. So far it hasn’t made her sick but may. My brother said Dr. Scheef is fairly confident that Lisa can be completely, permanently cured, as it has been got at fairly soon. She will have to go to Bonn twice a year to be checked and will, of course, give up the museum. Daisy was not with her mother Carol when she died. Daisy had gone home for the night. Eddie Collins was with Carol. Daisy inherits whatever Carol had, including the apartment, which Daisy will sell to have some financial security. She is on her way to Bonn to be with Bud.’

The first of October. ‘Krishnaji came in just after I woke up. He sat quietly with me. Without saying it he seemed to want to be gentle after yesterday. But Pupul’s “I am famous” line continues to shock him. “I’m not going to hold discussions with her in India.” He came into the room a few minutes ago, stood looking out the open window for it is a warm summer day, and said, “I feel it is ugly.” He was going to lunch in bed but came down at the last minute. At Doris Pratt’s request he saw her for an hour at 4 p.m. He said she was aggressive and confused. Friedrich brought a cake from a nearby farm, and he, Scott, and I had it for tea. Krishnaji joined us when he was through with Doris. And then, with Dorothy, we walked around the lane. After supper, Scott said that his father has offered to supervise the building of the study center. He could do it, as that has been his work—has been building huge refineries, power plants, etcetera, all over the world. Krishnaji is for it. Scott is tentative because it is his father.’

S: Yes. [Laughs.] Well, this is how it happened. My father had been project manager for lots of huge projects like chemical refineries and power plants and things like that. And Dad called me up and said, “Look, son, you’ve never project managed anything like this. I’ll come over and help you.” Well, the idea that my father would be working under me was just, it was—my brain couldn’t deal with that—it was impossible. [M chuckles.] I just couldn’t deal with that. I didn’t refuse him. I just said, well, you know, I’ll get back to you on this. And [laughs] I mentioned this to Krishnaji, and Krishnaji had always been very nice to my parents, and he asked me how I felt about the suggestion. I fumbled around with something like, ‘Well, Krishnaji, it’s my father, I can’t, you know,” [chuckles] “this is, I can’t…’ And Krishnaji said, “Now wait a minute. You have a man who is expert in this and he is offering to do this for free, and you need the help. And you are refusing because he’s your father?” [Both chuckle.] Krishnaji said, “You don’t have a right to think about it like that. This project is too important. You have no right to think of it like that.” [Laughs.]

M: So what happened?

S: So I invited Mom and Dad over and rented a flat for them in Winchester.

M: Yes. I remember their being there. They enjoyed it, as far as I could tell.

S: They loved being there. And my father was absolutely brilliant. He really taught me a lot, but one of the things that he taught me early is that you don’t make anything personal. So he acted without any problems with me as the boss. No hesitations, no problems. It was just not an issue for him.

M: [chuckles] He acted as Krishnaji would have acted.

S: Exactly. And he really did know his stuff. And, of course, because he’d been in charge of building such huge things—he was at a level of professionalism that was beyond the architects and beyond the builders we had. So they all respected him. He would sit quietly in the meetings and he would only say something when he was called upon, usually. And his remarks were always tremendously important and to the point and very helpful, and both the architects and the builders looked to him for certain things, and I certainly did. I remember him telling me, “Son, you have to learn how to be a good client.” Because I was the client—

M: Yes, you were the client.

S: I was. I was the client of the builders and of the architects. And learning how to be a good client is not as straightforward as one would think. So, really, a lot of the success of the center was due to him. The builders themselves said afterwards, and the architects felt the same, that the building should have cost twice as much as it did.

M: Good god.

S: We had this strange arrangement that Brockwood would pay for all of the materials as they came in and all the labor costs plus ten percent. And Dad helped tremendously smooth that process out, so that materials would come onto the site when they were needed, not a lot ahead of time. Apparently, project management of huge chemical refineries and power plants really means you have to have a constant flow of materials and there was something he called “the critical path” that he was always talking to me about—something which has to happen so that the next thing can happen. So one has to be aware of and plan all that and build in margins for that entire work flow so materials things aren’t waiting around, being ruined in the weather, which happens a lot in England, and workers don’t come to do work but the materials aren’t there for them, which also happens. Anyway, this is a long aside, but essentially, Krishnaji was absolutely right.

M: Well, that’s lovely.

So now we go to the second of October. ‘Krishnaji did not have a restful night. At 9 a.m. he held a meeting upstairs with the small staff group and asked about leisure, what they do with it. What is their relation to nature or not putting up with things? For Krishnaji, who has put up with appalling things in his lifetime, this question was curious. Perhaps not putting up with Pupul and other people’s shortcomings is preoccupying him. Mary Cadogan telephoned about her lunch with Pupul yesterday. Pupul is sticking to wanting every third year an Indian international publication un-vetted by England. She also alarmed Mary by saying she was publishing in her book a letter she has from Krishnaji written in 1968 telling India that England is to have the copyright and something about the Indian resignation will be an intelligent action. Mary had never heard of such a letter and neither have I. Krishnaji doesn’t remember. It dates from the time when Naudé was secretary, and we have no copies. Pupul is insistent on including it as an example of Krishnaji’s inconsistency or something. Mary urged Pupul not to publish it. It is a very divisive thing and harmful to Krishnaji. But Pupul paid no attention. Mary is coming down Monday and wants to report in detail out of fairness to the whole conversation. But she and Mary Links are wondering what other letters of Krishnaji’s Pupul is using. After lunch in bed, Krishnaji dictated to me a letter to Pupul saying he wished to see any letters of his that she intends to publish. He had me read it to both Marys. Mary Links agrees with the letter but hopes Krishnaji will wait for Mary C.’s report before sending it. He will. And Mary L. felt constrained by her own book in which she used some of his letters, but she had written the biographies at his request. Hers were authorized books. She doesn’t know if Krishnaji gave a similar authorization to Pupul. Krishnaji doesn’t think so, but Pupul may say that he has but has forgotten. I remember being present when Pupul told Krishnaji that she was going to write a sort of memoir of  “K in India.” She didn’t ask for any approval, but just said she was going to do it. Krishnaji is disturbed by all this. She’s becoming antagonistic. He wants to take enough money to India so he can go to a hotel if necessary in Delhi or to Murli Rao’s place if he feels uncomfortable in Pupul’s house. Her feeling of power and being famous is a rising disgust for him. He spent one-and-a-half hours mulling over it. These things trouble him almost obsessively these days. They tire him. He had tea with Grohe, Scott, and me and a walk after around the lanes but was tense, troubled, and edgy in the evening. He said, “I may do none of these things, it’s not my business. I’ll see.” Doing my leg, he would stop as though thinking of something else then go on. He is troubled and I am heartsick. E. B. White died yesterday of Alzheimer’s disease, the paper says. How piteous and sad that such a fine human brain should dissolve with that.’ Then these seem to be things that he said to me and I wrote down on little pieces of paper.

This one says: ‘One: “To think simply and clearly.” Two: “To clear the brain of agreement and disagreement.”’ And then it says, ‘“Simplicity.”’ Then, in the same writing, so I guess it’s at the same time, is: ‘One: “Deliberation, to deliberate.” Two: “Decision.” Three: “Execution.”…“No political activity. Political equals to power seeking. No maneuvering for better power or salary. There is no climbing to higher positions or authority, for Brockwood represents not authority but the teachings. The captain of the team could be, can be, and should be replaced if he is not moving in the right direction.” “Samadhi—thought when necessary operates, otherwise the brain is quiet. K—quiet equals no association, recognition, reaction, planning, no time in sense of remembering. Maybe I may change it. It is a state that is always deep but has no depth.”’ These are the kōan type of Krishnaji comments.

S: Yes. [Chuckles.]

M: Now this is a totally different note: ‘“There are two kinds of energies in those who are committed and those who are not committed and are therefore free. The committed—missionaries, priests, monks—their energy becomes committed and therefore is limited.”’

This seems to be a different; this is about India: ‘Before he dies, he feels it absolutely necessary to have a religious center. The trust. Krishnaji questions whether you trust him. You have often said Krishnaji is influenced…’ This is what he’s going to say to them.

Then this is also a different piece of paper. “Scott must have his own contact, not through K., something that will operate all the time and is not dependent on K. He should be with K. as much as possible. Anyone who wants to come in contact with that must have no bones, no pull. It’s all so ordinary.”’

The third of October. ‘Krishnaji got a little more rest. When I brought in his breakfast, he said he had just had a remarkable meditation. Perhaps that will wipe away some of the sense of problems that have harassed him. The soft Indian summer has fled, and a strong wind is flailing the trees, rushing in from the Channel. Krishnaji has just gone down for the first meeting of the term alone with the students.’

‘Later: Evelyne Blau rang from Los Angeles about the possibility of Krishnaji speaking in Toronto. He doesn’t want to. She talks of getting Norman Cousins, who didn’t accept last year, to do a video discussion with him, or Arthur Clark, who lives in Sri Lanka and didn’t try to speak to Krishnaji when he was expected to the year Krishnaji was in Sri Lanka, or Alvin Toffler, who is unlikely to be interested. She also spoke of doing video instead of film of Krishnaji answering questions. Krishnaji was very noncommittal when I reported all this at teatime. We walked in a light rain, Krishnaji, Dorothy, Friedrich, Scott, and me. After supper Krishnaji again said to me in a most serious voice, “Will you listen? I am watching for you, but you must pay attention on the walk. You are not walking on the sides of the road.”’ Then I put in parentheses, ‘(my shoes had picked up a lot of dirt).’ Then, ‘“You must watch everything you do.” It is at the end of the day when he is most tired that the least thing seems impossible to him. Things seem black and white. The least thing is irritating, seen as part of larger wrong things. I spoke to my brother in the evening. Lisa is beginning to feel nausea. Tomorrow is the last day of this course of treatment. Daisy arrives in Bonn tomorrow.’

The next day, ‘There was rain in the morning, but I went anyway to Alresford on errands. Dr. Rahula and friends came to lunch. At 4 p.m. Krishnaji gave an interview to a Lella Russell Smith for articles in the Friends Journal, a national Quaker magazine in the United States. Then tea and walk.’

October the fifth. ‘At 11:30 a.m. Krishnaji talked alone with the students. I ran three videos we made a year ago of half-hour sessions of Krishnaji answering one basic question each. One was on conditioning, one was on fear, both with me as the questioner, and one was on what is religion with me and Ray McCoy doing the questions. Keith Critchlow and his wife Gail came to lunch. Critchlow gave a talk to the school at 4 p.m., which Krishnaji attended. But after tea upstairs he was tired and went to bed. I walked with Dorothy. It was a bright beautiful afternoon with cool air and a light breeze. Krishnaji had turned on the lights when I brought his supper tray and said he wasn’t tired. After supper he said to me, as long as we live together he will point out things to me. After that, it is up to me. We watched a Paul Daniel’s magic show on TV, which Krishnaji enjoyed.’ You see, he was…

S: He was ill at ease because he was ill.

M: I know, and I was the main person around him, and everything was irritating.

S: Yes, but you were also the person with whom he was freest, too. So he could express his irritability more with you than with other people. But I have to say, he was not irritable with me, and that’s not because I was somehow better or anything else. But I think that he was just not as free to express his irritability with me because I was not as close and I had so much on my plate. So, I don’t think he was trying to do as much with me as he was with you.

M: Well, he was cooking you all those years.

S: Oh, boy. I know that. And I was doing yoga with him during every morning during this period, and you haven’t mentioned this.

M: Yes.

S: I would come over at 6 a.m. Wait for him to wake up. Make his nettle tea and sit with him when he drank it. And then it was an hour to an hour and a quarter of doing exercises with this man who was ninety years old and who I could barely keep up with.

M: And he wasn’t irritable with you about not doing it just the way…

S: No. He was very, very demanding, and he would sometimes chastise me, but very gently, that here he was, ninety years old, and he was far more flexible than I was. And he was very exacting, especially with the breathing exercises, but he was never irritable.

M: Yes. Well, he wasn’t irritable with me when he supervised my exercises. At least my diaries don’t say so. [Both chuckle.]

October sixth. ‘At 12:15 Keith Critchlow showed Krishnaji, Friedrich, Scott, Kathy, and me more detailed plans for the study center and continued with that after lunch. Tea, walk in the rain.’

The seventh of October: ‘I had a long talk by telephone with Daisy in Bonn. She is still in some sense shocked at Carol’s death, which was sudden to her. Mary Cadogan came, and at 11:15 a.m. Krishnaji, she, Friedrich, Scott, and I discussed the Saanen Gathering Committee proposing that Jean de Maurex becomes the secretary-treasurer of the committee instead of Gisèle Balleys. Krishnaji decided not to send the letter he dictated last week to Pupul, but to approach the situation through her daughter, Radhika, when he sees her in Benares. He asked what would happen if he resigned from the KFI. He feels uncomfortable at being Pupul’s guest in Delhi if he has to confront her while he is there. He asked me earlier to see that he had money with him to pay for a hotel if necessary or he would go to Murli Rao’s. He asked if Gollancz would agree to India publishing in India and its area one annual collection of the best of the year’s talks, which will be edited by England. He agreed that a question-and-answer section of meetings belongs with the talks. Krishnaji may ask India to publish this annual book and see to its translations into Indian languages. Mary Cadogan reported carefully on her meeting with Pupul last Tuesday. Pupul insisted administration is separate from the teachings’ [chuckles] ‘and we should settle such matters without Krishnaji.’

S: [chuckles] Yes. Now that she sees how Krishnaji is going to decide, she wants not to have him decide.

M: Yes. ‘She tried to get Mary to say what she would agree to, but Mary said it was out of her hands, as Krishnaji is going to make the decision, which Pupul had originally suggested. Pupul would like to wriggle out of this now, and will not admit the teachings are at the heart of this. She insists it is a matter of structure only. She insists that the next generation in India will not accept restrictions. Mary said Pupul voluntarily admitted that she has a remnant of anti-British feelings from the Raj days. This came after Mary said that some Indians say the British are racist.’ [Chuckles.] Quite a conversation they must’ve had. [Both chuckle.] ‘About Pupul’s book, Mary is concerned by Pupul’s including a Krishnaji letter written in 1968 making England responsible for things. We do not know in what context the letter was written or how Pupul wants to use it. Possibly it reflects feelings at the time when India didn’t want Krishnaji on their board’—which they didn’t—‘but they had Rajagopal on it, and kept Rajagopal on the board for two years after Krishnaji had disassociated himself from Rajagopal. Mary said Pupul is not antagonistic to Krishnaji, is devoted, but Mary feels she is somewhat arrogant in writing to explain Krishnaji. Krishnaji may ask to see all letters of his that Pupul wants to publish and review them after his return to Ojai. It was agreed that the Brockwood talks next year will have caravans to rent but no camping. We discussed Brockwood’s building needS: re-roofing with lead and exterior plaster on top of the basic brick, which needs to be redone. We talked about indexing and a report on the subject by Harsh. We discussed a telephone conversation with Bill Quinn in which he said there is a feeling that Albion’s excerpting is similar to an anthology, which we have rejected. What is needed is a straight index in subjects, computerizing it, possibly. We suggested asking Jane to coordinate this. We discussed changing the dates of the annual audit and the annual general meeting of the KFT board.’

‘Krishnaji rested after lunch but rejoined us at 4:15 p.m. We had tea, and there was no walk. Krishnaji asked us how to bring about trust in the Indian Foundation. He said they do not trust each other or him, and he has been unable to change this. He spoke again about the teachings being put second to structure in Ojai, India, everywhere. I said that was an unfair indictment, and it was a damning thing for anyone who has been close to Krishnaji to put the teaching second to organization. Krishnaji said he was not making an indictment. I say he may not have meant it to be, but to me it would be a shocking fact or act to put the teachings second to anything. I said some people (by implication Ojai) had situational trouble, which they had to cope with, but it didn’t mean they felt the teachings were secondary. It was then 6:15 p.m. and school meeting time. Later, when I came up with Krishnaji’s supper tray, he said I should not have made him defend what he said. What he said was that the teachings were not flowering. I said that we see that but do not know how to bring it about. This is not caused by denigration of the teachings. I felt exhausted by all this, and Krishnaji was tired. He said it was too much to do a video question/answering session with Scott and me tomorrow. He had talked too much today, “I am too old to talk again tomorrow.”’ God, it was a terrible time.

October eighth. ‘Krishnaji oversaw my breathing exercises but then went back to bed for the rest of the day. Friedrich Grohe left for Switzerland. Dr. Reilly came at 12:30 p.m. and gave Krishnaji, me, and Scott flu shots, and said he would come by Friday to remove a small cyst in the center of Krishnaji’s forehead and give him gamma globulin before India. I walked later with Dorothy and Scott.’

The ninth of October: ‘Krishnaji, in the elegance of one of his blue suits, and I, in my tweed coat that is descended from an old favorite brown one, went to London on a bright autumn morning and on the 10:23 a.m. train. Both Mary and Joe met us at Waterloo and took us to Huntsman for Krishnaji’s fitting. Then Mary came with Krishnaji and me to Fortnum’s for a leisurely lunch. We bought some Russian and Polish vodka for Dr. Reilly, who is said to have a little glass before dinner every evening’ [chuckles] ‘and who never sends us a bill when he makes house calls. We stopped at Hatchards for books and took a taxi to Waterloo. A simple day in the warm, gentle mold of so many almost identical ones. I rode down White Hall with Krishnaji holding my hand in a haze of happiness. The clear country air was part of it when we came home, and a circle against the current world where race riots trashed Brixton and Tottenham, and four Palestinians have hijacked an Italian cruise ship in the Mediterranean, shooting an American who was a Jewish man in a wheelchair and dumping him overboard.’

S: Yes, I remember that.

M: ‘Krishnaji was tired by the time he got to bed.’

The next day. ‘Krishnaji reviewed my exercises. A Marine sergeant is he.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘At 11:30 a.m. he spoke alone with students. Jane came to lunch and I asked her if she would coordinate the index project if we can ever all agree on how it should be done.’ [Chuckles.] ‘Walk around the lanes with Krishnaji, Dorothy, Scott, and me.’

The eleventh of October. ‘Somehow I look forward to today. Part of the simple-order preoccupation that seems somewhere in each day. I took Kathy Forbes and Ray McCoy to Petersfield and the 9:23 a.m. train. In London I went by tube to Piccadilly and did a wandering list of errands. One, a cashmere dressing gown for Lisa. Expensive but a present she may like, I hope. At 12:30 p.m. I went to have a sandwich with Mary and Joe chez eux, and stayed there for a meeting of the Publications Committee at 2 p.m. In attendance were the two Marys, the two Hammonds, Kathy, and Ray. Elena Greene was discussed as an addition to be added, perhaps after she has done some editing. On indexing, Ray is to draw up his suggestion of a simple method and present it to everyone. Joe put out a nice tea, and we went on till 5:40 p.m. Mary Cadogan, Ray, Kathy, and I took the tube to Waterloo, and reached Brockwood at 8 p.m. Catherine and Jean de Maurex had arrived for the weekend and are in the West Wing. Krishnaji had the small cyst removed from his forehead by Dr. Reilly and also a gamma globulin shot. He seemed in good spirits and was glad I was with Ray and Kathy coming home after dark.’ [Chuckles.] Dangerous after dark.

October twelfth. ‘I talked to Bud in Bonn. Daisy left for New York. Lisa is feeling all right so far, with few side effects after the first five-day course of radiation and chemotherapy. At 11:30 a.m. Krishnaji spoke to the whole staff. In the afternoon Jean de Maurex reported on the progress in getting permission, etcetera to build on our Saanen land for eventual sale. It will be slow and very Swiss, but probably sound. After tea in the kitchen, Krishnaji, the de Maurexes, Dorothy, Scott, and I walked.’ [Both chuckle.]

The next day. ‘Krishnaji checked my exercises in the morning. Rita Zampese came to lunch and brought Krishnaji’s Lufthansa ticket for India. Tea with the de Maurexes and Scott, and then a walk that included Dorothy.’

The fourteenth. ‘In the morning Krishnaji, Scott, and I did a video-recorded discussion on what brings about change in people. The de Maurexes left after lunch. I am not sure how these video discussions will appear to the uninvolved. Apart from what Krishnaji actually says, they may actually be a little different to the others. Perhaps less formal. We’ll have to examine this with a cold eye.’ [Chuckles.] ‘At 4 p.m. Mrs. Barbara Jackson brought the venerable Ananda Maitreya and two “attendant monks” to see Krishnaji. They brought a nice plant offering, too, appreciated more by me.’ [Chuckles.] ‘It seems the venerable Ananda Maitreya has also arrived at ninety years and seemed to wish to share this eminence. I provided tea. They do not take milk. I don’t know if this is to taste or some Buddhist proscription. Krishnaji was charming and joking, but impaled the venerable with the question, “What did the Buddha really say?”’ [Both laugh.] Oh dear. I hope you appreciate my reporting.

S: Yes, I do. I do. [Both chuckle.]

M: ‘He went on to enlarge on the fact that no one really knows. The venerable giggled a bit’ [chuckles] ‘but gave nothing much in return.’ [Both chuckle.] ‘The attendant, Mrs. Jackson, seemed to enjoy this. “He needs to be talked to this way,” she said. Krishnaji let them stay so long that there could be no walk.’ [Chuckles.] Oh dear, we did lead an odd life.

S: Now before we go on to the fifteenth, there’s something in my notes about all of this that one should say. From the moment the de Maurexes arrived, Krishnaji tried to persuade Jean to come to India.

M: Oh.

S: And my notes say that I was surprised at how strong Krishnaji was.

M: Pushing him.

S: Yes. But Jean just didn’t feel he could go or wanted to go. And when Jean finally refused fully, Krishnaji somewhat pulled back a little bit. He was really wanting Jean to get involved.

M: Yes. Would that he had.

S: And to perhaps help with the Indian mess. And I was so sorry that he didn’t, because I think really Krishnaji wanted his involvement in the whole thing. And Jean and Catherine had second thoughts later, but it was too late.

M: Oh? And since Krishnaji didn’t live much longer that must have added to their regret.

S: Yes. Yes, it did.

M: Of course.

S: Because until I got to India, Krishnaji was just at the Indians’ mercy.

M: Yes, he was beleaguered there.

S: He was beleaguered and it was terrible. It was just terrible. So Jean being there would have made a big difference.

M: Yes. Yes, it would. I wished…I should have gone that year, but he told me he didn’t want me to go.

S: No. He didn’t want you to go.

M: He didn’t want me to go.

S: I think we should probably stop here. We’ve run out of tape again.

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