Issue 89—January 1, 1986 to February 2, 1986
In this issue, as in the last, there are my notes indicated by SF Notes to supplement Mary’s diaries as she was not in India. Although my notes continue to the end of Krishnaji’s life, my notes will end in these memoirs when Krishnaji rejoins Mary and her narrative of Krishnaji’s life can continue.
The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #89
Mary: We begin today’s discussion on the first of January, 1986. I am in Ojai, and Krishnaji is still in India. ‘I went for an early walk then spoke to my brother in New York. I went with Erna and Theo to the movie Out of Africa in Oxnard, after which we had an early supper at a Mexican restaurant. Krishnaji was to have given his second talk in Madras today.’
Editor’s note: These memoirs again have links to a talk that Mary had not commented on as being special because she wasn’t there, but Krishnaji comments on it. He says to Mary in an audio-taped letter,“It was a very strong talk, even though I say it. K was all there. An hour and ten minutes or a quarter. Enormous sense of energy and power in his voice.”
M: January second. I continue to go for early walks, but I’m not going to keep mentioning it.
Scott: That’s fine.
M: ‘I worked at my desk all morning, then after lunch, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. I manned the Krishnaji library in Arya Vihara. The house painter began work on the decks and trim outside the cottage. At 6 p.m. I went with Erna and Theo for dinner at the Ranch House Restaurant with the Hookers.’
Editor’s note: The date of the first Indian trustees’ meeting of the year is established in Krishnaji’s audiotaped letter to Mary. Not all the trustees were there, and it took place in Krishnaji’s bedroom in Vasanta Vihar with Krishnaji resting in bed.
SF Notes 6. (NOTE: You will be taken to a new webpage.)
M: There’s nothing much on the third, but then on January fourth, ‘There is rain. The Moodys are to arrive tomorrow. Krishnaji should have given his third Madras talk in Madras, completing the talks in India for this year. He will hold KFI trustee meetings on Wednesday’—this was written on a Saturday. ‘I marketed for the Moodys and made soup for all in Arya Vihara tomorrow. Ivan stood in for me in the library.’ That means Ivan Berkowitz.
The fifth of January: ‘Scott telephoned from Madras. Krishnaji, he, and Dr. Parchure are arriving Saturday instead of the following Monday. I went to Arya Vihara at noon. Cleaned the kitchen and had my last day at the library. David and Vivian arrived at 7 p.m. from Madras, coming via Europe. I brought them supper. Vivian may have chickenpox, the reason for their earlier-than-expected departure from India.’
January six: ‘Alasdair planted new flowerbeds off the north terrace. The Moodys’ doctor says Vivian does not have chickenpox. She brought to me four audiocassettes from Krishnaji and some audiocassettes of the educational conference held at Rishi Valley. Krishnaji has resigned as president of KFI. Michael Krohnen arrived from India and Germany.’
There is nothing much on the seventh except that I listened to the tapes I received yesterday.
On January eighth, ‘I drove to Malibu listening to the audiocassette of January second, when Krishnaji met KFI members about not using his name. I sat with Amanda, whose eye is still in a patch. Philippa and Phil were there. Then Philippa and I went to town and lunched in Beverly Hills. We both went to get cheese, croissants, etcetera. I dropped her at Amanda’s and drove home.’
SF Notes 7. (NOTE: You will be taken to a new webpage.)
The ninth: ‘It is Erna’s seventy-fifth birthday and a warm day. A new doorbell is installed, the house painting continues, the copper gutters on the roof are fixed, and the windows were washed. In anticipation of Krishnaji’s arrival, I went to Ventura for houseplants and other errands. Mary Cadogan telephoned from London. Kathy rang from Brockwood. I listened again to Krishnaji and the KFI members’ discussion on January two.’
SF Notes 8. (NOTE: You will be taken to a new webpage.)
January tenth: ‘I made final preparations of the house for Krishnaji’s arrival with Dr. Parchure and Scott tomorrow. The house painting is completed, the house cleaned, the garden planting is all done, and everything is put in order. It is a warm day: eighty-seven degrees.’
SF Notes 9. (NOTE: You will be taken to a new webpage.)
January eleventh. ‘I left at 7 a.m. for Los Angeles airport and met Mark Lee there. Krishnaji’s flight from Singapore and Tokyo arrived at 9:30 a.m. He came right out in a wheelchair looking very frail and very, very thin. Leaving Scott and Parchure to cope with luggage and customs, Krishnaji and I drove in the green car, which he had asked for, to Ojai. Krishnaji was home and in bed by 1 o’clock. It was a warm sunny day for him. He looks very fragile and tired, but stood the trip well, particularly with Scott’s help. Krishnaji wanted to be out of India and Scott got the tickets and got him out over the efforts of Pupul, Sunanda, and Pama to keep him there. As soon as we were alone in the car—Scott and Parchure came with Mark Lee—he told me that for two to three days I must not leave him, even for a moment, “Or he may slip away.” He told me that in India he had said to himself, “I mustn’t be ill because then I wouldn’t see you again,” and “‘It’ doesn’t want to inhabit a sick body, one that couldn’t function. We must not have an accident because if I were hurt that would be the end.” Later he said to me, “While I am here I want to share my meditation with you. I’ve never said that to anyone”…“I came back to see you and to die. If I die, it’s alright. If I live, it’s alright. But one must not invite death, and I don’t. I came back to be taken care of by you.” I stayed with him constantly, sleeping on cushions on the floor by his bed. In the evening, his fever was 100.9. He slept fairly well that first night. But his fever went to 101.6, so Dr. Parchure gave him aspirin and it dropped to 98 by evening. He remained in bed. Scott helped unpack his things.’
The next day. ‘Krishnaji slept fairly well and remained in bed all day. I couldn’t reach Dr. Deutsch but arranged for him to see Krishnaji the next day, Monday the thirteenth. Scott continued to help unpack Krishnaji’s things.’
Thirteenth January: ‘Krishnaji, Dr. Parchure, Scott, and I drove to Santa Paula where Dr. Deutsch examined Krishnaji at 11 a.m. He found Krishnaji’s prostate to be soft and thinks that’s a possible site of the infection behind Krishnaji’s fever. Krishnaji’s blood sugar count is 243. He doubled the dose of Rastinon to bring it down, and prescribed Bactrim…’ I’m startled by that because Bactrim was the antibiotic that made me so sick.
M: ‘…for the infection. And Restoril instead of Halcion for sleep. We went to Santa Paula hospital for blood chemistry, etcetera, and were home by 1:30 p.m. for lunch. Krishnaji had some energy for the trip and then slept all afternoon.’
January fourteen: ‘Krishnaji was weak and drowsy, with a fever of 101.4. He’s taking Bactrim. I stayed by his bed constantly, as I have right along, and it was a difficult night, with him needing to get up many times.’
Wednesday the fifteenth. ‘Krishnaji seemed as if over-sedated. Either the new sleeping tablet, Restoril, is affecting him too much, or his body is not excreting it in the time it should. Dr. Deutsch gave partial findings of the blood chemistry and said that Krishnaji is anemic. The white count is up. There is some liver impairment, which is the cause of the sleeping medication not being thrown off. He wants a sonogram of Krishnaji’s liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Krishnaji saw the Lilliefelts for the first time. They have had a cousin of Theo’s staying with them, and Krishnaji talked of problems in India, his distrust of Pupul, Sunanda, and Pama. He says he has confidence in Radhika, Maheshji, who is now secretary of KF India, Upasani, and the new Dr. P. Krishna, first cousin of Radha Burnier, a physicist teaching at Benares Hindu University and who is now both a member of KFI and principal or rector of the Rajghat school. Krishnaji wants a group of two or three trustees of each of the three Foundations to be responsible for holding the Foundations together when he is no longer here to do it.’
January sixteenth. ‘Krishnaji had a very interrupted night, needing frequently to get up, though he slept in between. His temperature at 5:45 a.m. was 99.4, at 7:30 it was 100.4, at noon it went to 101.7, and at 1:45 it went to 102. Parchure is measuring fluids in and out. Krishnaji drinks Perrier in between meals.’
The seventeenth: ‘At 6 a.m. Krishnaji’s temperature was 100. Dr. Deutsch wants a sonogram done in the Ojai hospital Monday. I stayed close to him. “I need protection,” he said.’
The next day. ‘Dr. Deutsch recommended lots of fluids, and Krishnaji took in forty-nine ounces during the day. His fever was 99.6 by 6 p.m. Dr. Parchure did a blood sugar test on Saturday morning and it was 183. His night again was disturbed by needing to get up frequently. During the night, at 1:30 a.m., he had some stomach pain, which a Phazyme tablet relieved.’
The nineteenth of January: ‘Krishnaji had forty-two ounces of fluid. At 6 a.m. his temperature was 99.3, and at 5 p.m. it was 100. He took Halcion and slept from 8 to 1:30 a.m. In the day, Krishnaji dressed, and walked slowly down the drive to the gate and back to the pepper tree where he sat and rested.’
The twentieth of January: ‘Krishnaji had stomach pain again at 1:30 a.m. His temperature was 99 at 7 a.m. Krishnaji had a sonogram in the Ojai hospital. Dr. P. Miller there reported to Dr. Deutsch a mass in Krishnaji’s liver. He couldn’t see the pancreas well enough, and there is sludge in the gallbladder, possibly gallstones. Dr. Deutsch says he cannot tell if the mass is malignant or benign and wants a CT scan on Wednesday, which should tell.’
The twenty-first of January: ‘Krishnaji finds the food uneatable and blames it on Michael’s cooking, but it isn’t that.’ Michael was cooking so delicately, I remember. Do you remember?
S: Yes. I remember it well. Krishnaji felt the food was too heavy…
M: Yes, and too rich.
S: …and too rich, and that was even when Michael just boiled some vegetables in water.
M: Yes, or if he had just a little broth of vegetable water.
S: Yes. So it was clearly not the food.
M: No, it wasn’t.
S: But Krishnaji’s system just couldn’t take it.
M: No. Well, as we’ll see, Krishnaji was getting that blockage.
S: Yes, I remember.
M: ‘The new medical scale I purchased’—that’s the one in there, which I had gotten for him—‘says Krishnaji’s weight is ninety-four pounds. Krishnaji got up and looked at the new rose garden. Then he walked with Dr. Parchure and Scott to the end of the drive, and Krishnaji wanted to go on. So they went up McAndrew and into Arya Vihara, resting on the way. Then across the new stones in the drain are of the orchard and to the pepper tree. Krishnaji rested, and then he entered the house. Scott rented Pale Rider, an Eastwood film, and Krishnaji watched it in the evening.
S: [chuckles] There are some more things to elaborate slightly. There’s—
M: You must interrupt because you were—
S: I lots and lots of notes on all this, but I don’t want to elaborate too much , otherwise I’ll just be interrupting all the time.
M: Well, we must add to this account.
S: Alright, a little bit, like, for instance, the sonogram event. Krishnaji was so interested in the technology. He was much more interested in the technology than what it was actually finding. [Both chuckle.] And he was interested in the kind of gel they put on his stomach to do it. What was that? he wanted to know. He was just full of curiosity about the technology [chuckles], and then also the rose garden he went to look at that you mentioned was the rose garden that you had planned for him as a surprise. And Krishnaji was delighted by it.
M: Yes. He always wanted more roses. And that little patch in the back was the first one. But then I put some more in.
S: Yes. And Krishnaji was delighted by that. And then also the first walk that we took; he, you, and I took it down to the end of the drive. Dr. Parchure actually met us at the bottom of the drive, as he was being driven back from somewhere. And he met us there and carried the newspapers back. This was a Sunday, so those were the Sunday newspapers, and Krishnaji was critical of the newspapers, so heavy and so…
M: Yes, they’re terribly heavy.
S: And there was also the last walk. This…
M: Yes, around.
S: It was Krishnaji’s last walk.
M: I know. I know.
S: He never went out for another walk again. And it was lovely to go out with him, and it was surprising that he decided to turn up and go toward Arya Vihara!
M: Yes. It’s a long walk.
S: I was astonished, and Parchure was astonished.
M: He walked around the building.
S: Yes, he wanted to walk around Arya Vihara, and I can remember he was hoping he wouldn’t disturb anybody if he walked around. So we went around to the back, and of course…it’s poignant. That’s where Nitya died, and the last place Krishnaji saw Nitya. And then coming back, and sitting underneath the pepper tree again. That was Krishnaji’s last walk.
M: Yes. [Said in a whisper.]
January twenty-two. ‘Krishnaji began to have pain across his upper abdomen, which woke him at 2 a.m., but though I asked, he denied it till 4 a.m., when he accepted a Tylenol. His temperature at 5:30 a.m. was 98. At 7:45 a.m. another Tylenol, but he still had no relief. At 8:45 a.m. he vomited stringy mucus and something brown, possible blood. I rang Dr. Deutsch, who said he needs Krishnaji to be in the hospital. With Dr. Parchure, Scott, and Erna, and I explained this to Krishnaji, who agreed to go.’
Well, I think I’ve said it somewhere else in all this long discussion we’ve had, but Krishnaji used to say to me when I first was with him to never let him go into a hospital. He always said, “I’d rather die at home,” was the way he put it. And I used to say, “Well, Krishnaji, what if you break your leg? I mean, to fix it might involve going to hospital.” And, now, this was not the first time a hospital was needed, because he’d been twice to the hospital for those operations. And I always said to him, you’re deciding this; I can’t decide it. Naturally. So we all explained why he had to go to Santa Paula. You probably remember that.
S: I remember it well.
M: Dr. Deutsch had said that he needs the equipment in the hospital. He said he can’t handle it at home.
S: Yes. And so Krishnaji did accept going to the hospital but on the proviso that he come back.
M: Yes. Yes.
S: And this was a very big thing. So the five of us went, with Erna in the front seat with you, and Parchure in the backseat with Krishnaji, and he had a bowl with him because Krishnaji kept bringing up small amounts of liquid. I came in the green Mercedes behind because it was thought we would need two cars, which, in fact, we did.
M: Yes. At the Santa Paula Community Hospital, Krishnaji was put into intensive care. He was given Demerol and an IV. X-ray and blood chemistry were begun. Dr. Deutsch came to meet him. The X-rays showed a bowel obstruction. Krishnaji agreed to a tube through his nose into the abdomen to pump out the fluid and relieve the pressure. Rocephin and high alimentation were given intravenously. Krishnaji is severely undernourished. I spent the night on a reclining chair by his bed.’
S: Let me just say something about this.
S: They normally don’t allow people to stay with anyone in the intensive care unit, but they were very nice with us.
M: Yes, they were.
S: They brought in a very uncomfortable chair, kind of a reclining…well, somewhat reclining chair…
M: Something like that.
S: …that was covered in a vinyl imitation leather material. And the reason that this was memorable is because it squeaked terribly when you moved.
M: [chuckles] I don’t remember that.
S: So, [chuckles] we would both lie there when Krishnaji was sleeping, trying not to move for fear of making a squeak, [laughs] which would wake him up.
M: Oh, yes. I do remember that now. All this will be revealed, but we take turns staying overnight with him.
S: Yes. Yes.
M: The twenty-third of January: ‘Dr. Cooley, a surgeon, examined Krishnaji, who was very weak, and said that he’—the surgeon—‘advised against any surgery. There is a complicated picture of the mass in the liver, the gallbladder sludge, and an unknown pancreatic situation. Dr. Slater, a colleague of Dr. Deutsch, examined Krishnaji, and ordered batteries of blood and other tests. Mark Renneker’—who you know specialized in cancer—‘telephoned me in the afternoon, having talked to Deutsch, and was optimistic. He says liver cancer is rare at Krishnaji’s age and that Krishnaji has resources in his body to dominate illness.’ Mark was always trying to, I think, bolster my state of mind by saying that Krishnaji has extraordinary reserves—that he’s not an ordinary patient. And I remember his saying that Krishnaji was in control of his body.
S: I have records of this time when Krishnaji was going into the hospital, and Krishnaji was trying to explain to Dr. Deutsch something of who he was and that his was not a normal body. He was putting it very gently, but he was trying to explain, not as a point of pride or anything like that, but just trying to say something of what Dr. Deutsch was dealing with, that he was dealing with something a bit bizarre.
S: And Krishnaji was very pleased when Dr. Deutsch told him that he, Dr. Deutsch, had gone to some of the Ojai talks, because Krishnaji felt, oh, well then he has some greater possibility of understanding this…
M: Yes. ‘I telephoned Vanda in Florence to let her know Krishnaji was sick and in hospital.’ I thought she should know and she might want to come. I thought she would come, but she didn’t do that. ‘Scott was in touch with England. He and Parchure are concerned about the exhaustion in me, so Scott stayed the night with Krishnaji, and I slept at home.’
‘Late in the afternoon, Parchure had told Krishnaji that he might die. I had wanted to wait till the CT scan on Monday, but Parchure said he had long ago promised to tell Krishnaji if medically he, Parchure, saw a danger of death. When I came in after Parchure told him that, Krishnaji said to me, “It seems I’m going to die,” as though he had not expected it so soon but accepted the fact.’
S: But this thing also…it’s in my notes, too…any piece of moderately hopeful news, you and I would grasp and emphasize, and anything that looked bleak we would… So there was an awful lot of up and down.
M: Yes. Yes.
S: Again, just a couple of comments on this: You had spent the first night there.
M: Mm, hm.
S: And Krishnaji didn’t want you to spend more nights there. He felt it wasn’t good for you, it was…you still did, but he wanted you to go home and to have a good night’s sleep, so he wasn’t happy with your staying the night. He was looking after you, and you were looking after him, [chuckles] but he was really looking after you. Also, when Dr. Parchure told him that he was probably going to die, you and I were—
S: —horrified that he was saying that.
M: Yes. But he had promised.
S: Yes, he had promised Krishnaji—well, Krishnaji made him promise that if Parchure ever thought Krishnaji was dying he would tell him.
S: And I also recorded that when Parchure was telling him this, Krishnaji kept saying “What? What? What?” in a louder-than-usual voice, as though he was astonished to be hearing this. At the same time, he said later on, “I thought the going had begun.” But he was surprised about the cancer, I think. But he seemed to be most surprised because “the other” hadn’t gone. He kept saying that if his life had come to an end, if he had cancer or something like that, and he was going to die, “the other” would leave; and I think that what surprised him, what confused him—was that it didn’t leave him.
M: It never left him. Yes.
S: And so he thought, well, this couldn’t be death because “the other” is still there; but he was being told it was death, and that seemed to be what really surprised him. And yet, he still said to me, and in a couple of different ways, that he felt it, in India, he felt it start in India. “The going had begun,” were his words.
M: Yes, and that hastened his wanting to get back here.
S: Yes. Oh, yes. In fact, he kept on changing the date of departure, and he didn’t trust the Indians to get the tickets for him.
M: No, no, he didn’t. I think I get to that in here somewhere.
S: Yes, and then also he kept on asking me to change my dates of leaving Ojai, because I had originally planned to only be here for a couple of days. And then he said, no, can I still little bit longer? And then again, it was can I stay until the sonogram? And then when it was cancer, he asked if I would stay until…the body was gone, he said.
M: Yes. January twenty-fourth. ‘In the morning, around 6 a.m., I telephoned Mario about his letter saying Filomena was in the hospital, and he told me on the phone that she had died last Monday, the twentieth, in the hospital. Only later did his telegram reach here.’
‘On the way into the hospital in the morning with Dr. Parchure, he told me in the car that he had noticed jaundice beginning in Krishnaji and feared a hepatitic coma. But when we got there, Krishnaji’s vital signs were better and the bowel obstruction situation was improved. He was given one pint of blood in a transfusion. The surgeon, Dr. Cooley, tried to put a larger needle, a sort of catheter, into a larger vein in Krishnaji’s neck as the small ones in his hands are deteriorating; but it hurt him, the vein in his neck proved too deep to reach, so he had to close that incision and make one under the clavicle, which worked. Krishnaji bore all this with Novocain and patience. His jaundice is lessened.’
S: Putting that tube under Krishnaji’s clavicle, to me, was like a hammer blow. It seemed somehow more permanent than just something in the wrist. It seemed more…that Krishnaji would never be free of these tubes. I remember feeling awful about it. When Krishnaji had to have the tube put in his nose, he said, “I just have to accept this. I’ve had to accept so much in my life.”
M: [sorrowfully] I know.
‘I telephoned Vanda and Mary Lutyens and said it was uncertain how long Krishnaji could live. The latter is coming when she can get a visa. I told Vanda the uncertainty of how long Krishnaji might live, but Krishnaji seemed better by evening. Scott stayed with him again, and I slept, exhausted, at home.’
S: Yes. Let me just add some things to this.
M: Yes, do.
S: When Krishnaji was told that he should have some blood transfusion, Krishnaji asked the surgeon whose blood it would be. Of course, the surgeon didn’t know. And then he asked, would it be someone who ate meat and drank alcohol? And [chuckles] the surgeon said well, probably it will be. You know, almost certainly it will be.
M: Yes. Yes. I know.
S: All of us volunteered to give blood, but we couldn’t because—
M: No, it was wrong type.
S: No, it was that Krishnaji didn’t need whole blood. I couldn’t donate because I had had hepatitis, but there were a lot of people around Ojai who would have happily donated, but Krishnaji needed a processed blood product and it would’ve taken over a week, even if they’d rushed it, to get out of the blood what it was that Krishnaji needed. I don’t know what that was.
M: Yes. Yes. Yes.
S: So there just wasn’t time.
S: And Krishnaji asked the surgeon what he would recommend, and the surgeon recommended that he should have it. So Krishnaji did.
M: Yes. And Asit, later on—do you remember?
S: No, but…
M: We’ll get…I don’t know if it’s in my diaries as at some point I had to stop writing. Asit, later on—it was at Brockwood, I think—said that Krishnaji was no longer the World Teacher because he’d accepted a transfusion of blood.
S: Oh, that is just, you know—
M: I could have—
S: I know. And Asit did all kinds of things at the end of Krishnaji’s life that Krishnaji didn’t want done, but anyway, that’s just…
There’s just one other small thing that we can mention, and apparently you experienced the same thing. When we were staying in the hospital, we would be asleep on that awful chair.
M: The squeaky chair.
S: On the squeaky chair. And as soon as Krishnaji needed something, even just help turning over—I will just speak for myself—I would go from fully asleep to fully awake without him having made a sound. Krishnaji would say things like, “How did you know I was…” or “How the devil did you do that?” Because he would wake up and want something, and he would try not to make a sound. And we’d just be instantly awake. Which is a very strange experience…
M: Yes. Yes.
S: …to go from completely asleep to completely awake. And he was always surprised and kind of joking; he would say something like, “I was trying to be quiet.” And I’m sure he was, but there was something else that was…
S: And then, when I would come back to Ojai from the hospital just to shower and shave and have something to eat before going back, he was always incredibly interested in what I had to eat. [Chuckles.] Oh yes, he wanted to know. And one time I stopped at the corner to have pizza just because that was the closest thing. Krishnaji was amazed, and he wanted to know, what did it taste like and what was on it? Finally he said, “The next time you go, maybe you could bring me a piece.” And I knew I couldn’t, and he saw it in my eyes and…
January twenty-fifth. ‘I took Dr. Parchure back to the Santa Paula hospital. Krishnaji had slept better, in spite of heart fibrillation, probably due to the blood transfusion, said Dr. Deutsch. As there is no longer the bowel obstruction, the tube from his nose was removed. Krishnaji said, “I feel like a new man.”’
S: Yes. Yes. I have that in my notes, too. Yes.
M: ‘Deutsch and Parchure reviewed all possible reasons for what has happened. The CT scan on Monday will answer much. I prepared for Krishnaji’s return home on Wednesday. Mary Cadogan arrives tomorrow. Pupul and Asit Thursday, probably. I spent the night with Krishnaji.’
S: Well, there’s an important part that’s been missed out here. Before going into the hospital, things were obviously not well, and Krishnaji wanted to set up an international committee, although he didn’t like the word “international.” It was to have seven people on it, with two from each Foundation and then one other, and maybe the other would be a rotating one, but Krishnaji didn’t like that idea. He wasn’t sure what to do, but there were three youngish people from India that he wanted really to be running things there.
M: Yes, he wanted the young ones.
S: And those three were Radhika, Dr. Krishna, and Mahesh.
S: And he wanted those people to be appointed. He didn’t want people to be elected by the Foundation because then they would just elect Asit…
S: Yes, Asit and Pupul and…
S: …and Sunanda or something, who were exactly the people he didn’t want on it. So he asked me to call to India and have those three come because he wanted to establish this. He also wanted Upasani to come—not that he wanted Upasani on this committee, because Upasani was too old—but somehow he trusted Upasani. Upasani was somebody who was honest and was a good—and so I called India and passed on that message. Of course, Pupul assumed…
M: Who did you pass it onto?
S: I can’t remember. Maybe I called Krishna. I think I called Krishna. But Pupul, of course, and Asit, of course, assumed that I was just playing politics and that this choice of those three was mine and not Krishnaji’s. And so, of course, Pupul and Asit had to come, even though that was not what Krishnaji had wanted.
S: So, this already caused a little ripple, and that’s why Asit and Pupul were showing up. But, in fact, it was only those three plus Upasani that Krishnaji had really wanted to come.
M: Mm, hm. Yes, that he wanted. Upasani in the end couldn’t come because he couldn’t get a visa.
S: Yes. Yes.
M: The twenty-sixth of January. ‘I spent the night with Krishnaji in the hospital. He had many awakenings but spoke of meditation having been present. I barely dozed, waiting to help him, watching the pattern, like Sanskrit, of his heartbeat on the monitor. Life becomes that beat. The rise—sorry, this is…[unable to continue]
S: Yes, let’s just stop for a minute.
[Tape stops, then restarts.]
M: [voice trembling throughout this reading] ‘Life becomes that beat. The rise and fall of his breathing. He is alive and so all the ugliness, the violence, the wretchedness of the world seems held at bay by that small body and its vastness of spirit. He is, as always, infinitely beautiful. He turned his head this morning and looked out the window where he could just see the hills, and his face seemed suddenly thirty years old. Dr. Deutsch found him well this morning. The jaundice is gone and he has gained two-and-a-half pounds on the IV hyperalimentation. Scott brought Parchure in the morning. I drove Parchure back to Ojai at lunchtime while Scott stayed with Krishnaji, and then I drove him back to the hospital and he stayed with Krishnaji for the night. Krishnaji had a 100.8 fever. Parchure stayed for the night while Scott and I returned to Ojai and had supper at Arya Vihara, where Mary Cadogan had arrived. She is staying with Erna and Theo. Yesterday, Krishnaji said almost to himself, “What have I done wrong?…I’ve tried to take care of the body,” which tore me apart as if it was his fault. How can life be so cruel to this man? Later he said that he’d had a long meditation in the night.’
Click below to hear Mary speak.
S: Just another small aside. I also record that in the mornings, when he has these meditations…I don’t want whoever hears this to think that it is just your interpretation that his face looked thirty years old. It really did.
M: Yes, it really did.
S: He was radiant. I record as both timeless and extraordinarily young with his face, and his eyes were bright and clear, and…
M: He turned his head that way, and he looked out, saw the hills and those…
S: Yes. Yes. His face really did…It’s not some romantic fantasy. It really did look extraordinary.
M: Well, he had a face that, that did things like that.
S: Yes. Yes. Yes.
M: January twenty-seventh. ‘To the hospital early. Krishnaji said to me, “I want to tell you something. It is hard to find words. You must have an insight into it. I will die, and I want to leave you something. In India they are too quick to think they understand these things. I am skeptical. One must be. But Americans are immature. You must just listen without trying to understand. I feel it is something more vast than one can ever put into words.”’
‘Krishnaji had a CT scan that showed a three-inch mass in his liver but cannot show if it is malignant. Dr. Deutsch wants to do a liver biopsy tomorrow. Krishnaji is still running a fever and is on antibiotics and hyperalimentation. Mark Renneker telephoned and we had a long talk. He is in touch with Dr. Deutsch. He says Krishnaji is still in control of his illness. Parchure stayed in the hospital with Krishnaji. I slept at home.’
The twenty-eighth of January. ‘I telephoned Vanda and Mary Links before going to the hospital. The latter is coming with Joe on Friday. Krishnaji is feeling stronger, and he talked to me most of the morning about how I should live when he is gone. He says he will probably live until the end of February. “You must not grieve as you did before. You must be strong. You have a lot of work to do. You reflect me.” All the tests so far indicate cancer, but not exactly where. Around lunchtime a liver biopsy was attempted but failed. It was thought it would not be painful, but it was. Krishnaji winced, and the needle missed the tumor and was discontinued. It was a mistake and should not have been done, as he was disturbed and restless afterwards. He had been so much stronger in the morning. I stayed with him till late, but he insisted I sleep at home. “It is alright. The pain pushed ‘it (‘the other’) away but ‘it’ wants to come back. It is beginning to come back.” I said to him, “You told me this morning do not let him slip away.” Krishnaji replied, “Nothing will happen tonight. I know what I’m talking about. You must rest. When I’m home, you will have a lot to do. I don’t know why ‘it’ wants to come back.”’
‘In the morning he had also said, “It is strange: ‘the other’ doesn’t want to let go of the body. The last two nights ‘the other’ has taken control.” And then he said to me, “I want you to live as when I was your companion. Go to Brockwood. The West Wing is yours. I have said this before.” And in the afternoon, he said, “I wonder why ‘the other’ is not finished with the body.” And then, with humor, he said, “Who was it that said, ‘I cannot imagine a world without me?’” It was Scott’s turn to spend the night in the hospital.’
S: Yes, we should just add what you and I had discovered, which was that because Dr. Parchure was hard of hearing, he didn’t respond to Krishnaji’s wanting things, so he just slept right through the evening, so it was very unsuccessful, so that was…
M: Yes. Yes. I remember that.
S: There was also…some—I don’t know.
M: Hm? Also what?
S: Never mind. [Pause.] Well. [Pause.] On the flight from India back to California, Parchure was there, but Krishnaji insisted that I look after him. And there were two other doctors on the first-class flight who came up and asked if they could help because…but Krishnaji didn’t want Parchure to look after him. He said he was to Maharastrian, which I didn’t and still don’t understand what that means, but I didn’t care either. If this was what Krishnaji wanted, fine. But it was…as wonderful as Dr. Parchure is with some things…at some point he didn’t…well, I don’t know. Anyway. There we are. Who knows?
S: One other thing that I have in my notes is that Krishnaji said—and maybe you weren’t there at the time—but he speculated a couple of times that perhaps “the other” wasn’t going because other people didn’t want it to go. And I, at one point, felt it was cruel that almost we were…
M: No [chuckles], I want to believe that “the other” would never have said that.
S: No, that’s what Krishnaji speculating.
M: I know.
S: Yes, I also don’t think it ever would have left him.
M: There was also that awful speculation that he was somehow to blame or…
January twenty-ninth. ‘Krishnaji had a restless night. Dr. Deutsch gave him a steroid for strength and talked to him about what he, Krishnaji, wanted. It was a bad day. Pain came again. Krishnaji asked, “Can I last till they come?” meaning the three he has sent for from India, Dr. Krishna, Radhika, and Maheshji. In the evening, Dr. Deutsch persuaded him to try a catheter and then he slept undisturbed all night. Both Scott and I stayed in his room. The pain had stopped. Deutsch said that…some test C19?…’ And I have a question mark next to that. I didn’t quite know what that test was.
S: I think maybe that was for antibodies. I think he was looking for antibodies.
M: Well, ‘the results just received show that the pancreas is the likely primary cancer.’
S: Mm, hm. Yes, they talked about “cancer flags” in antibodies or something like that. I can’t remember.
M: The normal reading of this test is 0 to 40. Krishnaji’s is 105,000. That is the final piece of knowledge. Krishnaji will go home tomorrow. He said to me, “There is so much love and so much pain in the air.”’ That was the deciding day. That was the end of the hospital. Nothing could be done. He could go home.
S: Yes. Yes.
M: January thirtieth. ‘Krishnaji slept without pain. I left the hospital at 4:30 a.m. to be home when the day nurse arrived. Mark Lee has lent his hospital bed and assembled all necessary equipment in Krishnaji’s room. It now has a hospital setup. Krishnaji came home in an ambulance through heavy rain. Scott was with him, and the two ambulance men carried in the stretcher with a large, white plastic covering Krishnaji. “I feel better here,” he said when he was in his room again. And soon he began to read in his Golden Treasury. And then Paul Theroux, The Consul File.’ They’re both where he left them.
S: Yes, yes.
M: ‘He wanted something to eat, and I brought him some clear soup and a little homemade ice cream. Later he had tea and asked for a sandwich, “with a little green,” meaning watercress and “something tasty,” tomatoes. But it was a mistake and later there were gas pains. He asked too for music, “something gay.” Pavarotti singing Neapolitan songs was chosen, and for a bewildering time the house rang with Napoli. In the afternoon, he talked a little with Erna, Theo, Scott, Parchure, Mary Cadogan, Evelyne Blau, and me about a responsible group to hold the three Foundations together and see to the teachings. Later, there was pain again in his stomach. It was a hard night until 2:30 a.m., when he slept. He had said to me, “Don’t be unhappy” and “Maria, will it be this all night? I want to go.”’
January thirty-first. ‘Krishnaji was in almost a stupor when Dr. Deutsch telephoned. He thought it was the effect of the morphine and came at 2:30 p.m. to see Krishnaji and counteract the morphine. Krishnaji was better. Dorothy, Jane Hammond, Mary, and Joe arrived from London. Mary and Joe are in the guest flat. Jane is at Evelyne’s, and Dorothy is at the Hookers’. Dr. Krishna is at Arya Vihara. Indira and Chandra Mauli’—oh, they came—‘are at Mark Lee’s.’ Do we know who they are?
S: Ah, no. You had better say.
M: Well, Indira was a niece of Krishnaji’s, related to Narayan.
M: And Chandra Mauli was her husband.
S: Oh, yes.
M: And they ran a school somewhere in the east. ‘In the evening Pupul, Radhika, and Asit arrived at Arya Vihara.’ Now the big diary stops until the sixth of February.
The first of February. ‘Krishnaji was weak, sleeping most of the morning. He barely spoke when Pupul, Radhika, Asit, and Dr. Krishna came in briefly in the morning. But he was free of pain and very lucid at 2 p.m. when Deutsch came, and Krishnaji then saw Radhika and Dr. Krishna, two of the four he had summoned. Deutsch answered Asit’s questions. All are in agreement for giving whatever Krishnaji wants to help the pain and sleep. In the evening Krishnaji slept without morphine or sleep medicine. Earlier I telephoned Vanda in Florence.’ There was one male nurse who was very good, Patrick.
S: Patrick. Yes. I remember him.
M: Yes. Yes.
The second of February. ‘Krishnaji slept without morphine or sleep tablets and was alert and without pain all day. He talked to me about being strong when he is gone; that I reflect him; and that I must live the way that I have lived with him. Deutsch came to see him in the morning, and Pupul came to meet Dr. Deutsch. Krishnaji saw, in the course of the day, Pupul, Mary Links, Radhika, Dr. Krishnaji, Asit, Mary Cadogan, Erna, Dorothy, and Jane Hammond.’
S: Mary, I’m inclined to do the rest of it tomorrow…
S: …rather than continue. Because we’ll finish it all tomorrow…
M: Yes. [Barely audible.]
S: …and I don’t want to have a little bit hanging over. And there’s also a lot that can be added to your diary entries about what Krishnaji was talking to people about and things like that.
M: Mm, hm. Yes. Okay.
S: We’ll continue tomorrow, starting with February third.