Issue #88

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Issue 88—October 15, 1985 to December 31, 1985


For many months I have wrestled with how to deal with Krishnaji’s last trip to India. As Mary was not in India, she has very little information other than documenting Krishnaji’s itinerary. And yet his last trip to India was momentous in many ways, not least of which was Krishnaji’s health. Krishnaji comes to Ojai after India a completely different man from the one who went to India, and I can only imagine that anyone really interested in his life would want to know about this intervening period. I went to India that winter, and I made extensive notes. Those notes will fill in what Mary could not record. My notes go on to the end of Krishnaji’s life, but I will cease using my notes when he returns to Ojai and we are able to follow Mary’s record again. This is, after all, Mary’s memoirs, not mine. I am encouraged in doing this by Mary often asking for information from my notes that have appeared in the last three issues. This is, therefore, only an extension of that.

In order not to intrude in Mary’s memoirs, my notes will appear as SF Notes and then a number to keep the sequences in order. Simply clicking on SF Notes will take you to a separate webpage, and at the end of the note there will be a hyperlink called “Return to Issue 88 of Mary Zimbalist’s Memoirs and clicking on that will take you back.

These notes have not been changed since they were originally written twenty-eight years ago.

The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #88

Mary: Today we begin our discussion on October fifteenth, 1985, and Krishnaji and I are at Brockwood. It is just before his trip to India. ‘Krishnaji stayed in bed resting all day but came into the kitchen for tea and talked to Scott and me about trust. Are there a few we trust to carry on the work and to protect the teachings? He spoke of there being virtually nobody in Ojai except the Lilliefelts and me. India is pulling away and is still a concern to him. Who? Who?—everywhere—to protect this precious jewel. Later, Scott, Dorothy, and I walked; and when I returned, I telephoned the Dunnes. There is a fire again in Malibu, but it is receding and their place is safe.

Scott: If I may elaborate on that small discussion, because I have quite a few notes on that.

M: Good.

S: Also I remember it so vividly. I remember where we were sitting in the kitchen, and I remember the conversation. I also had a subsequent conversation with Krishnaji on the topic of trust. One of the things I asked him was, “Krishnaji, who do you trust?” And he only mentioned you. He didn’t mention the Lilliefelts. So,  I asked the Lilliefelts, Pupul, and Mary Cadogan, and his response was no, no, no, none of them. So I asked, “Krishnaji, what do you mean by ‘trust’? Because you’re using it in a very special way. Obviously you’re not worried that Cadogan or the Lilliefelts are going to run off with the money or something.” He said, “No, that’s not it.”

M: It was the teachings…

S: Yes, and he reiterated this; he meant by “trust” keeping the teachings clean and taking care of the land. It was those two things. And I said, “Krishnaji, even Mary…you can’t trust her, for instance, to fly an airplane if you were going to go someplace.” He said, “No, that’s not it.” He didn’t mean that you could do everything, and also he didn’t mean that you can’t make mistakes, but that it was somehow, as I—

M: I used that same example, the airplane thing…about—I forget whether it was trust or what it was—but, you know, he could do all these things. But I said I wouldn’t want to fly in an airplane if he was the pilot.

S: Yes. Yes. [Both chuckle.] Well, for Krishnaji this trust seemed to have something to do with the basis for judgment; whether the judgment was coming from something like self-centeredness or from some alternative motive, or some…or whether it was coming from an understanding of the teachings, and even if the judgment was wrong it wouldn’t matter. It’s where it was coming from—the trust he was speaking of was something about that. And I also asked him, “Krishnaji, do you trust me?” And he smiled and he said, “That’s not a question you should ask.” [M chuckles.] And he said, “You shouldn’t have to ask it. You should just see.” And [chuckles] I felt duly chastised. But this issue of trust was something that he had been carrying on for some time, and, as I remember it, it had even found its way into some of the discussions with the small staff group or perhaps the staff as a whole; but this issue was a very big thing. I remember when I got to India, and we were in Madras and there were the KFI trustee meetings—Krishnaji was telling them that he didn’t trust them, and then—and I didn’t know about this till afterward—he made the great difficulty for me of saying that he trusted me. Which just, of course, rubbed all these people up the wrong way.

M: [chuckles] They must have growled at that.

S: Yes, and I was surprised that he said that, but this was something that he was very preoccupied with for quite a while—he kept speaking about trust in such a deep and profound way. I’ve often thought back on this notion of trust. It’s not that trustworthy people can’t make mistakes. It’s not that he would trust you to fly an airplane; and it’s not that he would worry about Cadogan or the Lilliefelts running off with the money or the property. That’s not the point. It was the basis a person has for decisions or the basis for judgment. It was something like that. But, he reiterated, “to keep the teachings clean and to take care of the land.”

M: [chuckles] It’s interesting that the land is in there because obviously the teachings are everything. But the land…

S: Yes, I was astonished by that, and I remember talking to Gary and Christina about this very quote. Because, of course, taking care of the Brockwood grounds was their bailiwick. But he was absolutely clear.

M: Well, think, just subjectively, if you didn’t even know him, he had more people not to trust around him from the beginning than anybody I can think of.

S: Yes, from the beginning, the very beginning.

M: With the crescendo of Rajagopal’s betrayals.

S: I know. Just thinking of Leadbeater, a self-centered, corrupt basis for judgment if ever there was one, and then of course…

M: He trusted Mrs. Besant.

S: Yes. He did.

M: He never said, “I trust Amma,” but from the way he spoke of her; it was with veneration and affection, and in that there was obviously trust.

S: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

M: Even if she would get gaga—which she did later on.

S: Absolutely.

M: Yes.

S: Annie Besant was someone who stood out.

M: Yes. Really Arundale and all those…they were all wanting to use him for their own purposes.

S: Yes, and that, incidentally, has always been my reluctance to put anything in print about Krishnaji. Because I see so many people writing things just for their own self-promotion.

M: That’s what worries me about all this.

S: I know. But you can’t use that as an excuse, you see, because Krishnaji told you—[laughs].

M: Well, he told me to write. [Chuckles.] But then I have to be trustworthy in what I write or talk about.

S: Yes, you were meant to convey as fully as possible what it was like to be with this extraordinary being, as he kept saying. And I think you are doing that.

M: Well, he also talked about what I should do after he was gone, and it was to guard the teachings.

S: Yes, absolutely.

M: And I’ve said this to various trustees in both Foundations I’ve been in. I’ve said this is what I feel my function is because this is what he told me he wanted.

S: Quite right. Quite right.

M: And then I point out whatever I have to say. But I’ve always made this clear to them, because I don’t do anything for the Foundations. I don’t raise money, I—

S: No. But you do the more important thing, which I think is this.

M: Yes. And I’ve used it recently. Somebody had an idea, which I thought was something he wouldn’t like and said so.

S: Yes. And that’s important.

M: October sixteenth. ‘At 11:30 a.m. Krishnaji talked with the small staff group upstairs. Tea and walk, Krishnaji, Scott, and me. Telephoned Amanda. The fire is still in Malibu but has moved away from them.’

The next day. ‘I telephoned my brother in Bonn and said I would come on November third to see him and Lisa.’ If you’ll remember, she was undergoing cancer treatments there with Dr. Scheef. ‘I made Lufthansa reservations via Rita, then went to Alresford while Krishnaji talked alone with students. He sat with them at lunch at one of the other tables for the first time. I telephoned Erna about my arrival in Ojai on November eleventh. After tea, Krishnaji, Scott, and I walked in the gray and misty late afternoon.’

S: So, for any of those who might not understand this seating arrangement in the Brockwood dining room…

M: Yes. [Both chuckle.]

S: Krishnaji always sat at the first table, the head table. The tables were big, long refectory tables lined up in rows. Krishnaji sat at what one would think of as the head table. The first table. He sat in the middle, facing everybody so he could see the entire dining room. There was a seat that, when he was at Brockwood, no one else sat in.

M: Yes.

S: It wasn’t formally announced or anything like that. It was just the tradition. So for him to sit at one of the other tables was unusual for the students.

M: Well, it was, you see, after talking to the students; whatever happened in that. Of course, we might point out that you and I and all the rest of the adult people in the whole place did not go to those talks.

S: We did not go to the talks, and in fact it was only in the last year, I think, that I even could get the students to allow us to record them. They had never been recorded, but I finally persuaded the students [M chuckles] to let us record them but that no staff would listen to them.

M: Oh, really?

S: Oh yes, it was very important that no staff would listen to them. They would just go right into the archives.

M: Really. [Chuckles.] I didn’t know that promise.

S: Oh yes, I had to promise that because they wanted to feel that they could complain about the staff and they say all kinds of negative things. And I said absolutely they should.

M: That’s right. It was confidential, what they were saying.

S: It was confidential, and I felt they should say what they wanted to say, but history still should know the way Krishnaji talked with them.

M: Yes.

S: I don’t know if anybody, still, has ever listened to them. But I think the promise was that no one would listen to them as long as any of those students were there still at Brockwood.

M: Yes, you have to have some clause in there, otherwise they’d just sit on a shelf forever.

S: Yes. Yes. [Both chuckle.] Anyway, yes, the explanation of the seating arrangement.

M: October eighteenth. ‘At Scott’s suggestion, Krishnaji, he, and I made an audiotape about what Pandit Jagannath Upadhyaya had told him about the ancient text that the Pandit had been told by his teacher to find and which, after decades, he found, foretelling a World Teacher manifestation. After Krishnaji described it, he said, “I could probably investigate this, but I don’t want to. It wouldn’t be right.” Mrs. Alexander, wife of the Indian high commissioner, came alone to lunch. She is a nice woman, interested in the school, and had been a Montessori teacher. Her husband is so busy in the aftermath of Rajiv Gandhi’s brief visit to London and the heavy security due to Sikh plots that he couldn’t come. After tea, Krishnaji, Scott, and I walked. Erna telephone from Ojai. The attorney general has refused to sign the settlement agreement with Rajagopal. An addendum to it is being drawn up to state the settlement is accepted without the attorney general. But it has to be signed over here by Krishnaji, me, and Tilly Von Egmond. How to get it here before Krishnaji’s leaving for India next Thursday?’ I think Erna flew over. I don’t know.

S: Yes. She flew over.

M: Do we have to explain why Tilly also had to sign for Holland?

S: Yes. Holland was one of the early Krishnaji organizations and was party to all these things in the case. They even owned Vasanta Vihar in Madras.

M: Yes. That’s why.

The nineteenth of October. ‘At 11:30 a.m. there was a videotaped discussion with Krishnaji, Scott, and me on what is the ground of a religious place—of something sacred in a center or a school. He turned the question back on us. What did we think it was? It went backward and forward a bit. I said our answer would be in what we did in the future, but he is here and what is wanted now is his envision-ment of what should be. He finally said, “It should be a religious center. A center where people feel there is something not cooked up, not imaginative, not some kind of ‘holy’ atmosphere; a religious center, not in the orthodox sense of that word; a center where a flame is living, not the ashes of it. If a flame is alive, and if you come to that house, you might take light, that flame with you; or you might light your candle and be the most extraordinary human being, not broken up; a person who is really whole, has no shadow of sorrow, pain, and all that kind of thing. So that to me is a religious center.” The Bohms and Mark Edwards were at lunch, and afterward Mark took photos against the light background of my room of Krishnaji and David for the next book’—he wanted a white background, that’s why it was done there—‘The Future of Humanity, which is edited by Mary Cadogan from the last two dialogues that Krishnaji and David did some time ago. Erna telephoned, saying the only way she can get the papers here for signatures is to bring them herself. She arrives Tuesday. After tea, Krishnaji, Scott, and I walked.’

The twentieth. ‘Three computer experts doing research on artificial intelligence came to lunch, and they want to do a video discussion with Krishnaji in June. I telephoned Tilly Von Egmond in Holland, and she agreed to come here at KFA’s expense to sign the papers Erna will bring. I called Erna to tell her this. Krishnaji spoke to the small staff group upstairs. A late walk: Krishnaji, Dorothy, Scott, and me.’

S: Just to say that, according to my notes, Krishnaji was very pleased with these three artificial intelligence experts, and he had a great discussion with them.

M: At the lunch table.

S: Yes, at the table, and wanted to continue it at some other time. It was really about what’s going to happen with the human brain with the development of these computers and all of this. One of them was a real Krishnaji enthusiast. Another had just read some books. And the third didn’t know anything. But they were all three interested in pursuing this conversation with Krishnaji. They enjoyed it too, and felt that really important questions were being asked that needed to be explored, so…

M: Two things occurred to me to add to what we’re talking about, and one is about computers. The moment computers appeared in the world, he immediately saw the implications of it.

S: Yes. Yes.

M: What it would do to the human life and mind and so forth. And the other thing is that I meant to say when we were talking about where he sat at the school dining table, he not only sat there and could see the whole room, but he knew what was going on just by watching the children.

S: Yes. Yes.

M: He knew. He just sat there quietly and talked to people at the table a little bit, not all that much. But he was aware of everything, with a hundred people in that room.

S: Yes. Yes. He picked up what was going on in the school tremendously.

M: Yes. Just from eating lunch, watching everyone.

S: Yes.

M: It was quite extraordinary.

S: Yes. And his watching was not staring or glaring.

M: Oh no.

S: It was almost like surreptitious watching.

M: He was very subtle.

S: He was very subtle and just seemed to occasionally look up but tremendously observant. Yes.

M: Yes.

The twenty-first of October: ‘Krishnaji said he had slept well but was vague and “wooly” at breakfast. He had difficulty with balance, doing his exercises with Scott. And then with buttoning his clothing. I was getting the car and Scott found him struggling with buttons and had to help him.’ He would get rather flustered when he had to hurry. He didn’t like that.

S: No, he didn’t like having to rush. But I have in my notes about helping him pack before a trip.

M: Yes.

S: He would get up hours before he had to leave. But then he would dawdle. [M chuckles.] He would just do things very…it was almost like a child who was reluctant to go do something. He was just almost killing time, but not quite, and then, at the last minute, there was a rush.

M: It was like doing homework.

S: Exactly. Exactly. And at the last minute there was a rush, and it was very difficult. Yes, he would get a little flustered, but also, I noted, that he never forgot anything. He was remarkable in that. When I am rushed and flustered and trying to go somewhere, I always forget something. It’s guaranteed I’ll forget something.

M: Mm. Well, think how much traveling and packing he had done in that long life.

S: Yes. And, of course, I also have notes about the extraordinary technique he had for packing.

M: Yes.

S: It was quite remarkable. Quite remarkable.

M: Yes. [Chuckles.] He never wanted me to do the packing. Because I had to do my packing.

S: Yes.

M: And he was also extremely punctual.

S: Oh yes.

M: I know that when I was driving him to the talks in Saanen, I had to have the car in front of the door—and I thought out part of this, but this is the way it worked smoothly. And I would be in the car for ten minutes before we were due to leave, and it had to be right in front of the front door. That he wanted. And I used to open the car door so it would be open, so he would come out of Tannegg, closing the door behind him, walk so many steps, get into the car. I would have the motor going so that we then went down without hurry, so that he got to the tent enough ahead of time. Driving fairly slowly—not slowly, but not hurrying. And it was like a ballet, it was all…

S: Yes, yes.

M: And that was the way he wanted it.

S: Yes. And then you would leave him in the car and go take your place in the tent.

M: Yes, that’s right.

S: And if the weather was warm, he would sit in the car with the door open. And if it wasn’t, if it was cold or raining, he would sit in the car with the door closed. I would wait by the entry for him, his entry, and then he would come and stand next to the video van, which had a little tarpaulin over it.

M: Mm, hm.

S: He would hear the announcements, and when the announcements were finished, he would say things like, “Is it time to go?” or something like that. [Chuckles.]

M: And then, afterward—we might as well describe all this since we are doing this.

S: Yes, we might as well.

M: After talking, he would, well, he would sometimes say, “May I go?” or something like that to the audience. He would then pick up his watch—his pocket watch, which he had open on the stage so he could see it—and he’d go, heading for the path along the river.

S: Yes.

M: And he’s a fast walker, so he would stride up the road toward Gstaad and, of course, the audiences would trail after him. I would have to weave my way—

S: Through the crowd.

M: —without hitting anybody through these bemused people who didn’t see the car or anything, creeping through the crowd of his followers, literally following him up the road, and try to pick him up before [chuckles] he got to the river. Then he’d get in, and off we’d go. Sometimes he didn’t want to go right back to Tannegg; he wanted to unwind a bit, so we’d drive to Gsteig or go somewhere.

S: Yes. And the variation for that when we were at Brockwood is that we had set up behind the platform a little area that was about two-and-a-half or three feet wide and as long as the platform. And there was a mirror back there because he would walk from the West Wing to the tent to talk—

M: Yes, like a little dressing room.

S: Yes. Just because it was often windy, and his hair would get messed up. So he would come with one of his metal combs. I don’t know where he’d gotten the first metal combs, but when he wanted some additional ones, he couldn’t find them anymore.

M: I got the first ones, I think.

S: Ah, you got the first ones, I’m sure, but then they couldn’t be found anymore, and so I had to get them from Sweden.

M: Sweden, I know. I know. I still have some of his combs.

S: The gold ones or the silver ones?

M: The silver.

S: Oh. Those are the original ones. The second ones were not as good as the first ones.  Anyway, he would then hand me his comb after straightening his hair, so it wasn’t in his pocket. And also, some years ago, there was some nut who had gotten into the West Wing. You and I have covered this. Anyway, as a consequence of that, he would lock the West Wing before leaving it, and in that little space behind the platform he would hand me the keys as well as his comb.

M: Mm, hm. Oh.

S: He would come back to that space after the talks and just stand there for a minute to kind of unwind, or come in for a landing, I used to think of it. And then I would walk back with him, often just behind him, so people could greet him if they wanted to. But I was on what I called “nut guard.” And then, when we got near the house, I would hand him back the keys so he could get back into the West Wing and his comb.

M: [chuckles] It’s funny, all these details, which are so vivid.

S: They are very vivid. Very vivid.

M: Yes. [S chuckles.]

So back to October twenty-first and our trip to London. ‘We were ten minutes late leaving but made the train at Petersfield. We had a second-class ticket but sat side by side in first class because second class was so crowded. Though there were others in the carriage, he quietly felt for my hand, saying in a low voice, “I need to hold a hand,” and after a minute he nodded to me and said, “I’m alright now.” He was somewhat not there; distracted. But whenever I would glance at him he would nod to show that everything was alright. Joe and Mary met us at Waterloo and dropped us at Truefitt, where he had his hair cut. I went up Bond Street on some errands, and when I came back, he had just finished and was there smiling. I showed him some shoes in the Chanel window, and he thought they were nice, and said I should get them.’ [Chuckles.] ‘We walked down to Hatchards, and he looked at books. Then he needed a bathroom, so we went up in the lift, and when we came down again to the basement where the paperbacks are, where he had been so many times, he couldn’t make out where he was. I had to show him the stairs we always used. And then he said, “Yes,” he knew now where he was. We found the books he wanted—thrillers by Charles McCarry, who he says is good. Then we joined Mary for lunch. A pleasant lunch, but, as he does so often these days, he asked what would happen when he is gone. Who will decide about publications? Mary said we would decide together. The thing that is worrying and is on his mind so much at this time is India’s inability to feel part of one thing. They feel rather defiantly separate, and this is on his mind. We went to the dentist quickly and quite terrifyingly as he darted across Piccadilly to catch a taxi. Mr. Thompson didn’t do very much, and a radio cab was called. We thought we had missed the 4:20 p.m. train, but it was there. He sat opposite me in the second-class section.’ He didn’t want to be in first class anymore. He [chuckles] once—I think he didn’t know what it cost—and at one point I think I gave him the money while I parked the car.

S: Yes, we have discussed that. And he bought second-class tickets to save the money.

M: Yes, and that’s when it dawned on him how much first class was, as compared to second-class. [S chuckles.] And from then on we went in second-class. [S chuckles.] ‘He sat opposite me in the second-class section, which was crowded and noisy, and though he was tired, he didn’t look tired. He was alert, bright, watching everybody, and looking extraordinarily young and vulnerable, aware of everything and infinitely extraordinary. I try not to think of things that may happen, can happen. Every inch of each day is so precious that I can’t speak of what I feel about him. He was tired when we reached Brockwood and went right to bed. When I brought his tray, he didn’t touch it at first, but then he did and ate slowly. I worry. The other day, when we were walking, he said suddenly, “I wish I could see a deer looking at us.”’

S: Hm. [Pause.] You mentioning his going to Truefitt just reminded me of one other thing that should go in here. I went in a couple times with Krishnaji to Truefitt, and the routine with Truefitt was something so special. You would always give him a new—I don’t know whether it was a £5 note or a £10 note. Whatever note it was, he would keep it up in his…

M: He never carried money.

S: He never carried money, so he would keep this in his upper jacket pocket.

M: Yes.

S: And, of course, the men who worked in Truefitt were all wonderful to him, and there was a special man to brush off people’s jackets before helping them back on with their jackets after the haircut.

M: That’s right. And he had to be tipped, too.

S: Oh yes. So Krishnaji would hand this note—he would reach in and hand the note, still folded, just as it had been in his pocket, to the head barber and say to please take a tip and also take a tip for the man who brushed off his jacket. And then, whatever change he was given, he didn’t look at it. He would just put it right in his pocket. And then, as soon as we were out of the shop, he would hand me all the money. [Both chuckle.] As though somehow this didn’t—

M: He didn’t ever carry money; he didn’t want to carry money.

S: Yes. Yes. It was just so funny. It was minimum contact with this money.

M: Also, when he went off and I wasn’t flying to India with him, he didn’t want to carry any money. There was that well-documented time when his plane came down in Athens and he had to spend the night there, so I said that he mustn’t go around the world with no money. I got him to carry traveler’s checks and explained how they worked, but he never cashed any.

S: I know.

M: But he did want to take…how much was it? It was in English pounds sterling; I’ve forgotten what it was, but it was to tip the barber who cut his hair at Rishi Valley.

S: Aha.

M: He would take that in cash. I would put it in his passport.

S: In pounds.

M: It was in pounds, yes.

S: To tip the Rishi Valley barber. [Laughs.]

M: I don’t know how the barber coped with the pounds, but I’m sure there was a nice black market somewhere.

S: Yes. [Chuckles.] Yes.

M: October twenty-second. ‘In the early morning, when I went in to see Krishnaji, he asked me to lie down quietly, and I did for a while. When I got up, he said, “I’m glad you lay down. It calms the body.”’ I just lay there, and the presence seemed to do it.

S: Mm, hm. Yes. Mm, hm.

M: ‘When he falls asleep, not at night, but when he does during the day, what he calls “shouting” comes upon him. He cries out, and it wakes him with a start. He had been doing that, and apparently my lying quietly calmed and quieted him. But he was tired.’

S: Yes. Yes.

M: ‘I drove to Heathrow and met Erna bringing the addendum to the settlement agreement for our signatures. We talked about everything on the way back and reached Brockwood by 2:30 p.m. We had a late lunch in our kitchen. Krishnaji was with us and talked with us, and later we all had tea and walked—Krishnaji, Erna, Dorothy, Scott, and me. Tilly Von Egmond arrived from Holland to sign the papers, too. Krishnaji, Erna, and I had supper on trays. Erna had gone to bed when a message came to telephone Stuart Comis.’ He was one of our lawyers, which Cohen was head of. ‘I got Erna up, and we both telephoned Comis. Erna took down carefully in shorthand the text of the changes in the addendum, and it was almost an hour’s conversation. She then retyped the whole thing on my typewriter at 11 p.m. while I fell asleep.’

The twenty-third. ‘I woke up, still in my dressing gown, and went to call Erna at 6 a.m. for another telephoning to Stuart Comis. First to learn if Rajagopal was in agreement with the changes he had demanded yesterday and which Erna typed last night. Because of the eight-hour difference in time, it was last night in California when we rang this morning, and Comis was to have heard if Rajagopal still agreed after he had seen, in writing, what he had demanded. Predictably, he wanted more changes. And so Erna again typed it. Finally, Krishnaji, I, and Tilly all signed this. And Tilly returned to Holland. Friedrich arrived from Buchillon. Mary Cadogan came down. Keith Critchlow came with more detailed plans and samples of building materials we might use. It was a day of meetings. Mary Cadogan, Erna, Ray, Scott, and I discussed indexing plans while Krishnaji looked at the center plans. Then Scott, Erna, Mary Cadogan, and I discussed video jurisdiction matters. We all had tea and went for a walk around the lanes. Krishnaji, Erna, and I had supper on trays.’

S: One of the things that might be interesting to include in this record is Krishnaji’s picking of the materials for the center. I had samples of every single handmade red brick and every handmade gray brick available in England because the center was going to use both. Also every handmade roof tile. So that Krishnaji could pick the ones that he liked. And that’s what that meeting with Critchlow was.

M: Mm, hm. That’s what he was doing.

S: That’s what he was doing. But, of course, [chuckles] there is a story about the red bricks. Do you want to hear that little story?

M: Yes, tell me.

S: Well, when the chosen red bricks finally came six months later, when we were building, they didn’t look like I remembered them because they didn’t have the mauve-ish tinge that was so distinctive. So I told the builder that they didn’t look like the red brick that Krishnaji had picked. He checked the name, and it was right, but he passed on my complaint to the brick maker.

M: I know about red bricks because I went through that with Sam to build our house in Malibu.

S: Right. Bricks can be very different. So the brick maker said, “Oh yes, I know exactly what you mean. Those mauve-ish results only happen on the edge of the firing, and there’s only certain bricks that come out like that. Those are freak bricks, and unfortunately we sent one of those to you as a sample.” So we asked if there was anything he could do about this, because that was what was picked by Krishnaji, who by then had died. So it was either Critchlow or the builder who worked with the brick maker to change the way the bricks were fired so we could get bricks like the one Krishnaji picked.

M: I remember this now as you’re telling me. That’s marvelous. [Chuckles.]

S: Yes. But that was Krishnaji, just [laughs] guaranteed to pick the one that was—

M: Rare.

S: That was the rare, right. [Both chuckle.]

M: Oh, goodness.

October the twenty-fourth. ‘In the early morning Krishnaji checked my breathing exercises. Erna left by taxi for Heathrow and Ojai. Krishnaji stayed in bed while I and Scott packed his luggage. He had lunch on a tray in bed and got up only in time to leave for Heathrow at 4:30 p.m. To me he said, “I’ll be back.” I had asked him, as he didn’t want me to go to India, “Will I ever see you again?” And it was to this he replied, “Yes. I’ll be back.” I drove him in the Mercedes with Dorothy and Scott. Friedrich, who is accompanying him to Delhi, went in his car with Stephen. We were silent in the car, which seemed to move smoothly because it was carrying him, its raison d’être. Life was full because he was there. There is only that intact, in control, and the road to navigate safely. A dull brightness came from the west, slanting between the clouds. Some seagulls so far from the sea were over the chestnut-colored plowed fields, and I felt as if they were flying through me. Rita met us at the Lufthansa counter. There was some fuss, which I hardly saw because I was with Krishnaji, which apparently was brought on by Friedrich’s insistence on carrying on board all of his luggage, two huge backpacks. Rita later told me he had wanted to carry on his luggage because he thought he would be left to find it at the Delhi airport and not be able to go in the car with Krishnaji. I had told him how everything is taken care of there, but he evidently didn’t believe it. Krishnaji didn’t want any book at the airport. He had some with him. I went as far as I could with him, and with a look back, he disappeared into immigration. The whole meaning of life is in that small, elegant figure in his overcoat, shoulder bag, moving on his route, beautiful and extraordinary beyond any describing and more dear than any human being. Rita escorted him and Friedrich onboard, and they flew on Lufthansa number 037 to Frankfurt. At 7 p.m. she had arranged for an electric cart to take them to the continuing fight, Lufthansa 604, leaving Frankfurt at 9:20 p.m. for Delhi, where they are due to land in the morning at 10 a.m. This flight has a single seat, the one Krishnaji likes on the right side forward. It is a nonstop flight. One tries to arrange all these things in this day of terrorists and all perils. Scott went with Stephen, and I drove Dorothy through the dark roads back to Brockwood. I will be here until November third, when I go to Bonn to see my brother and Lisa.’ That’s the end of my large diary.

S: There’s two things I would add to this account from my notes, if I may.

M: Yes, please do; you are part of what we’re talking about.

S: Well, one of the things that Krishnaji had been saying to me, because he felt that the Oak Grove School was still in a mess, he wanted me to come and spend time in Ojai as a kind of consultant. Now, this was my first year of being principal of Brockwood. I was starting the first Krishnamurti Study Center and finding the money for that [chuckles], and he wanted me to go to India, and then I was supposed to add Ojai? [Laughs.] But Erna and I always locked horns because of the video, and she was always insistent that I didn’t look toward any Americans for all the money that was needed for the various projects. On this trip of hers to Brockwood I can remember we were sitting in Krishnaji’s bedroom, and obviously Krishnaji had been giving her a hard time because she also asked me would I please come look at the school and the whole situation and suggest what I thought should be done. This was clearly, to me, her going along with Krishnaji. [Chuckles.] I had said that I couldn’t make any promises, but if the opportunity arises, etcetera, etcetera. When I did, in fact, come to Ojai with Krishnaji after India, even though he was ill, he wanted me to go spend time in the school. This was before he went into the hospital. I spent time at the Oak Grove School and talked with teachers and talked with parents and talked with everybody. And I made the report back to Erna and Theo at the foot of Krishnaji’s bed. You were there, too. I said, “As far as I can see, the greatest problem that the school has is you, Erna. It’s really because everyone sees you as the person who’s in charge, so they don’t treat David Moody and they didn’t treat Mark Lee as the person who was really in charge because they didn’t see those people as being in real charge. They see you as being in charge. You make the financial decisions, and you’re not an educator.”

M: Yes. Yes.

S: And this undermines the authority of whoever is running the school, and it also undermines the educative nature of the school because it’s run like a business. I went into all this in some detail as this was really the sum of what everybody was saying. And there had been so many years of unhappiness with the school administration.

M: Yes.

S: People really didn’t see the school being run by and for educators.

M: Yes. Yes. That makes a tremendous difference.

S: A tremendous difference. The other thing that I would mention is that, on this drive to the airport, you just mentioned when you were driving the Mercedes. Of course, it’s a right-hand-drive car.

M: Yes. Yes.

S: Dorothy was sitting up in the front with you, and Krishnaji and I were sitting in the back.

M: Yes.

S: Krishnaji was sitting behind you on the right-hand side. In my notes I have that as we approached the airport, Krishnaji reached over with his gloved hand and held my hand [M chuckles] as though, I felt, he was trying to put something into me, you know, do something. Somehow it wasn’t working with the glove, so he took off the glove and then held my hand.

M: Yes. [Chuckles.]

S: And it was…well, it was inexplicably dear.

M: Yes.

S: And loving and, um…I wish I could…, yes.

M: He communicated through his hands very much.

S: Yes. Yes.

M: Healing with hands. And he would often emphasize to somebody something he was telling them by putting one of his hands on their arm or shoulder or something. As though the current of communication was also physical.

S: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Absolutely, and I—

M: He may have been explaining something ordinary, but it, um…

S: There’s a communication that’s somatic.

M: Yes.

S: And I can, [chuckles] I can remember vividly on several occasions driving him. You would be in the front seat, and he would be in the back seat, and if I would go too fast, there would just be a finger that would touch my shoulder. [Both chuckle.] That’s all, just a finger, [laughs] which communicated volumes about how I was driving.

M: It’s true. Yes.

S: Also, sometimes also after the talks at Brockwood, when he would come back to that little quiet space behind the stage, he would sometimes stand there with his hand on my shoulder and there was communication—I don’t know what it was. I never talked with him about it, but he communicated somatically with this. Through the body, kinesthetically. I don’t know anything about all this. [Chuckles.]

M: Well, until Krishnaji gets back, my diary entries are very brief. October twenty-fifth: ‘Krishnaji is due to have landed in Delhi at 10 a.m.’

We should really skip over most of the next couple of months and really only talk about things that pertain to Krishnaji or the work.

S: That’s fine.

M: On October twenty-sixth, ‘Erna phoned me to tell me that Rajagopal has reneged on the settlement and wants “philosophic” changes in the agreement. Erna is to see Cohen on Monday.’

On the twenty-ninth, ‘Erna rang again after her meeting with Cohen, who says that Rajagopal wants us to defend him against any questions the attorney general might raise against him,’ [chuckles] ‘which Cohen says is impossible. I gave my first letter to Krishnaji to Jean François, who is flying to Benares tomorrow.’

On November second, ‘Krishnaji should be flying from Delhi to Benares.’

The next day. ‘I flew to Bonn to see my brother and his wife for a week, and to have Dr. Scheef look again at my bad leg. Dr. Scheef also gave medicine for Krishnaji’s hand tremors.’


On November eleventh, ‘At 6:30 a.m. Bud trundled my two bags on a little trolley down to the train station. At 7 a.m., on the Lufthansa Airport Express, I left Bonn. I was served breakfast and reached Frankfurt airport at 8:40 a.m. Took the 10:40 a.m. Lufthansa nonstop to Los Angeles business class. Arrived at 1:30 p.m. Alan Kishbaugh met me and drove me through Malibu to Ojai. One-and-a-half inches of rain had fallen. The Moodys brought me supper.’

November thirteenth. ‘There is now a library of Krishnaji’s books at Arya Vihara, and Vivian Moody showed me how it was set up, and I took charge of it from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.’

On the seventeenth, ‘I telephoned Dr. Lichti about the medicine for Krishnaji suggested by Dr. Scheef.’

Oh, then I seem to be taking computer lessons from the computer teacher at the Oak Grove School.

November twentieth. ‘Rajagopal telephoned Erna about his anxiety that the attorney general might accuse him.’ [Both chuckle.] And it looks like I’m working at the Arya Vihara library every day from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

November twenty-third, ‘The first letter from Krishnaji arrived, written October twenty-eighth to November eleventh in Delhi, Benares, and another letter from Dr. Parchure reassuring me about Krishnaji’s health. Earlier, I spoke to Scott at Brockwood.’

On the twenty-fifth, Krishnaji went back to Delhi. One has to fly to Delhi to get from Benares to Madras.

November twenty-seventh. ‘The Moodys left for Brockwood and India. Krishnaji arrived in Madras.’

Two days later. ‘Erna received $25,000 from K&R Foundation for KFA with a letter from Rajagopal, a copy of which he wants sent to Krishnaji.’ That was an unusual event. [Chuckles.]

December first. ‘Scott rang me from Brockwood about Bill Taylor staying in Ojai.’  Presumably that was to aid with arrangements for Bill.

December third. ‘The first audiotaped letter one from Krishnaji arrived.’ This is where he was…

S: Sending you audiocassette recordings. Yes.

M: ‘He dictated it November three through ten. It was wonderful.’

And the next day, ‘Another tape arrived, number two, from Krishnaji dictated from November eleven to seventeen.’

December eighth. ‘I gave a tea party here for the Oak Grove School staff, the office staff, and the volunteers.’

And the next day. ‘I brought Bill Taylor, who arrived last night from Brockwood and is staying at Oak Grove School, over here to visit Pine Cottage and the office.’

December tenth. ‘There is a conference of all of Krishnaji’s schools in Rishi Valley, and representing Brockwood were Scott, Colin, Gary, Christina, Stephen, and Wendy; and they flew off to Madras today.’

SF Notes 1. (NOTE: You will be taken to a new webpage.)

The thirteenth. ‘Rajagopal rang Erna and said he would like to talk to her and me.’

December seventeenth. ‘There was a letter from Krishnaji written in Rishi Valley.’

The twentieth. ‘I sent Krishnaji an air ticket for Mrs. Parchure to go to Brockwood.’

The next day. ‘Krishnaji was scheduled to go from Rishi Valley to Madras.’

SF Notes 2(NOTE: You will be taken to a new webpage.)

December twenty-third. ‘The Moodys telephoned me from Bangalore. Krishnaji will decide after the first Madras talk on the twenty-eighth whether to cancel the rest of India and return here with them and Parchure on the tenth of January. They will telephone again Sunday morning. I am to keep this information secret meanwhile, except from Erna and Theo. Erna brought me the third and fourth audiocassette letters from Krishnaji in Rajghat and Rishi Valley.’ Well, she picked up the mail, I guess. ‘I listened to them most of the day.’

SF Notes 3(NOTE: You will be taken to a new webpage.)

The twenty-seventh. ‘I got a letter from Dr. Parchure about Krishnaji’s health written on December eleventh.’

The next day. ‘Jean François rang from Brockwood. He brought a letter to me from Scott, which he was told to read on the telephone to me. Krishnaji’s weakness. Scott had spoken to Kathy on Christmas to tell me Bombay is canceled, and he, Scott, will accompany Krishnaji on the flight here via Singapore, but it is not yet decided which date. Krishnaji wants to give two Madras talks (today and tomorrow) and one question-answer and two days of KFI trustee meetings.’ And then it says: ‘Krishnaji gave his first Madras talk on this date.’


Editor’s note: These memoirs have only given links to talks or question-and-answer meetings that Mary remarked on being particularly good. We are making an exception here. In an audio-taped letter to Mary, Krishnaji said of this talk, “All day I was left alone, which was very nice. And there was a talk in the evening at five-thirty. An immense crowd; they said six thousand. The largest crowd they ever had here – that is their comment on it. Immense crowd; the lawn in front of the  house was full and all around. My god, I’ve never seen such a crowd. I don’t think they understood what I was talking about but I don’t know… And there was full of energy and there was nothing, no feebleness, no sense of old age…New ideas and so on or new expressions.” From this comment about the talk, it seemed right to break our tradition and present a link [1] to a talk not admired by Mary.



SF Notes 4. (NOTE: You will be taken to a new webpage.)

The twenty-ninth. ‘David and Scott telephoned from Madras. Krishnaji is arriving here January thirteen on Singapore Airlines with Dr. Parchure, Scott, and probably the Moodys. He is giving three talks in Madras, then attending KFI trustee meetings, then he leaves. Bombay is canceled. I telephoned Kathy in London to tell the others there.’

That takes us to the end of the year.

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[1] For the video of the talk of December 28, 1985. Back to text.