Issue 90—February 3, 1986 to February 17, 1986
Writing an introduction to an ending could seem a contradiction, yet there is so much that can and should be said about the ending of this narrative (Krishnaji’s life) and this ending of Mary’s memoirs (which started twenty-and-a-half years ago with the first discussion she and I had to begin In the Presence of Krishnamurti: The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist).
For almost twenty-nine years now, and for untold hours, I have contemplated Krishnaji’s death. While all of us would have wanted Krishnaji to have avoided the pain he experienced, there was an aptness to the manner of his death. Krishnaji’s decline was slow but unalterable, and it allowed him to put all of his work in order as nothing else imaginable could have. He had brought in a new head to the Oak Grove School. He completely changed Brockwood and started something new there—the Krishnamurti Study Center. He ended Saanen gently and permanently with everyone agreeing. He ended the thirteen years of struggle between the Krishnamurti Foundation of India and the other two Foundations, and he completely withdrew from India, but not before putting in a new head of Rishi Valley and Rajghat. When incurable pancreatic cancer was discovered as the base of Krishnaji’s illness, medical interventions to cure him were stopped. He saw the people he could, said his goodbyes, and left, with nothing more to do and nothing left undone.
While there is an inescapable sense of incalculable loss, there is also a sense of joy in this issue. With this issue, Mary has finished meeting her promise to Krishnaji to tell the world what it was like to be with him; and I have met my promise to Mary to help her do just that. There is also the rounding out, the completion of the most extraordinary life of which we have any real record. There is a sense the gods are cheering.
The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue #90
Mary: [chuckles] It’s my first necessity, when I wake up in the morning, to figure out what day it can be. [Both chuckle.] And I guessed wrong this morning.
Scott: Well, today is September twenty-three, 2005, and we are beginning on February three, 1986.
M: Very well. [Chuckles.] ‘Krishnaji was without pain. He held a meeting on publication matters with representatives of all three Foundations. Only England is to correct his works. Pupul was not there, but her certain opposition was expressed. Krishnaji has energy but wants “to go.” He said he had a marvelous meditation in the night. In the afternoon, in a wheelchair, we took him outside, down the path to the pepper tree, where he could see the hills. He asked to be alone there and sat motionless and silent and then asked to return indoors. Kathy arrived from Brockwood.’ Now you must describe this more fully because I remember that you left him alone, but you stayed behind him in case.
S: Yes, but first of all, it wasn’t a proper wheelchair. Mark Lee had not gotten a proper wheelchair like he was supposed to.
M: Oh. What was it?
S: It was a wheeled walker, one of these things that you walk behind.
M: I know all about them.
S: Yes, but this one also a seat, a canvas seat that you can sit on if you get tired of walking. So, it has very small wheels and, of course, it’s inherently unstable, so it’s not really a substitute for a wheelchair. Plus the fact that if you’re sitting on it, then your feet are resting on the ground, so that you can’t really be pushed in it because your feet would be dragging along the ground.
M: That’s peculiar.
S: So, as we had nothing else, having done yoga with him, I suggested to Krishnaji that if I raised the seat as high as possible and if he sat cross-legged on the seat…
S: [chuckles]…then we could make it somewhat work. And there was a rack on the back for holding his bottles and things. So that’s what he did. He sat cross-legged in a semi-lotus position, and we bundled him up in blankets and bathrobes and everything else to keep him warm. At first we just brought him out onto his little porch here, off of his sitting room.
S: And he was looking at the camellias. You and Dr. Parchure and I were there.
M: Yes. And then we lifted him down.
S: And he said he wanted to look at the mountains, so we all carried him down just those two or three steps there, and I wheeled him down. I positioned the chair really almost exactly where the pepper tree now kisses the driveway.
M: No. He was on the path, wasn’t he?
S: No, he went down farther.
M: The driveway?
S: Yes, he went down farther.
M: I don’t remember that. I remember him being on the path about half or three-quarters of the way down.
S: He said he wanted to be alone, but I was incredibly afraid this precarious contraption could tip backwards, so I sat on the wall surrounding the pepper tree, where I watched him like a hawk and could rush to catch him should he start to tip.
M: Yes, I remember that.
S: I was just about a meter or a meter and a half behind him. And I was sitting on the wall, as I remember it. I think all of us did initially go halfway down the path.
M: Yes, the rest of us stayed back.
S: Right. I can remember looking up the path and seeing all of you. You were all up the path a little bit. And I was sitting on the stone wall. And I describe in my notes that to me it was absolutely as clear as daylight that Krishnaji was saying goodbye to the hills, goodbye to the mountains.
M: Yes. Goodbye to the whole valley.
S: Yes, goodbye to the valley. He wasn’t making a motion. He wasn’t saying a thing, but to me it was absolutely clear, because I remember watching him saying goodbye to Rishi Valley in the same way. And saying goodbye to the beach in Madras and the Adyar River. It was just, it was just something that spoke so fully and so eloquently with not a gesture, not a word. But he was saying goodbye. And he was very happy, and then he had been doing that for a while, just sitting there quite happily, and then suddenly Asha Lee and her daughter steamed up the driveway and saw him there, and he was so disappointed that his solitary goodbye was interrupted. And yet, of course, he was enormously courteous. I think they were going into the office down here, but he called them over to greet them. But I remember thinking that the spell was broken, this moment was broken, and then we brought him back up.
M: Yes. I remember his sitting in something, but I don’t remember the vehicle.
S: That was the vehicle. And I think it had either the seat or the metal parts were red.
M: That’s…well, anyway.
February fourth: ‘Krishnaji slept quite well. Dr. Deutsch came to see him and they talked at length.’
S: Oh, let me, can I interrupt here? There’s something else that I remember.
S: Well, Kathy was having to come here because there were things about the drawings for the center that I had to approve in order for construction not to be delayed. So she was coming over with the latest drawings and specifications that I had to look at; and Krishnaji was very interested in what flight she was coming on and when she would arrive, etcetera, and he would say to me, “She’s taking off now,” and “She’s in the air,” and then “She’s coming in for a landing now.” So Kathy was just in his—
M: In his consciousness.
S: In his courteous, thoughtful consciousness.
M: Yes, he—he had a sense of where people were…
M: I remember the first time I saw this was when he and I were walking around the reservoir in New York’s Central Park. We were staying at my brother’s flat, which I’d taken for Krishnaji’s use, and Alain Naudé was with us. Naudé had gone up to either New Haven or Boston about Krishnaji speaking at Harvard or Yale, and we’d gone all the way around the reservoir, and we were just about to cross Fifth Avenue because the apartment was right opposite, and just before we got to the place across, he said that Naudé is arriving. And he was. When we crossed the street, Alain was paying the taxi. [S chuckles.] And you know, he couldn’t have seen him—we were too far away.
S: Yes. Yes.
M: And frequently when I would go to town when we lived in Malibu, to do shopping and this, that, and the other thing, he’d know when I was arriving and come down to the gate to wait for me. He would say, “I knew you were coming.”
S: Yes. Extraordinary.
M: Yes. So, anyway, the fourth of February: ‘Krishnaji slept quite well. Dr. Deutsch came to see him, and they talked at length. Deutsch says he is in an upswing, a possible remission. He said that Krishnaji could be the way he was for some time—possibly be able to write or dictate, but that if he worsened, he would not let Krishnaji be in pain. He got him up into that kind of wheelchair and into the living room. After Gary left, Krishnaji decided to walk on his own back to bed and did.’ I remember that. He was shivering afterward. ‘Parchure massaged his legs and feet.’
S: The shivering that you just mentioned. He would sometimes shake—what I called shaking—from things, like from pain or from cold.
M: And weakness, too.
S: And weakness. And in the airplane, when he shook I would hold him. Then when he had that terrible liver biopsy, he shook for the entire next day. It was just too much for his body, and so the body was just shaking.
M: Yes. It’s a weakness and also with him it’s much more exaggerated…
S: Yes. And also from overextending himself. This walk back was overextending himself, and he just shook from that.
M: I know—I mean, I can’t say I know what he had because of what I have—but I’ve had that happen a lot when my hand shakes so much. Still my handwriting is sometimes normal, and sometimes, most of the time, it’s not. It’s a kind of a weakness of…
S: Of the body, yes.
M: Yes, the body’s weak. And walking, I have to have a stick or I’d fall. Your body doesn’t do what it used to do.
The fifth of February. ‘In the morning Krishnaji spoke to a group: Pupul, Radhika, Asit, Krishna, Maheshji (just arrived), Dr. Parchure, Mary L., Mary C., Jane Hammond, Erna, Theo, Mark Lee, and David Moody. Scott recorded it. “As long as the body lives, I am still the teacher.” He wept. In the afternoon, he spoke alone with Dr. Krishna and Maheshji and recorded his wish that no one be president or secretary of the Foundations who is not doing that primarily—not people who have other jobs. He walked from the bed to the living room. On the sofa off the fireplace, he sat for half an hour and walked back unaided.’ And, if I haven’t recorded it or haven’t read it, you were wonderful in keeping a fire going in that fireplace all the time. And that was wonderful because when we took him in there, he’d watch the…
S: The flames.
M: The flames and the sparks and the action, the beauty, the everything of the fire. But also, it’s a lovely living thing. A fire, to me, a fire in the fireplace is something wonderful.
S: Yes. And Krishnaji enjoyed it so.
M: Yes, he did.
S: And I can remember, when I’d put on a big log, he would say things like, “Oh, lord,” always commenting when it was a big log and…
M: Yes. I don’t know whether we’ve recorded on this, but even if we have, I’ll repeat it. You, in those days, were sleeping in the living room on the long sofa.
S: Yes, that’s right.
M: And I think you and I shared my bathroom.
S: Yes, I think so. But then when Kathy came, after the Linkses had left, because they were staying in the upstairs guest flat, Kathy moved there, and then I moved there; so I left your bathroom.
M: But during this early part, you…
S: I slept on that couch there.
M: …slept on the couch. And I knew from sleeping on the couch myself, when Krishnaji and Alain came at first to Malibu, I didn’t have a guest room. I later built one. So I slept on the long couch.
S: It’s very comfortable.
M: It’s very comfortable, and I know just how to put a sheet on it. You drape it over the back and then over the seat [S chuckles] and a pillow and then blankets.
S: It’s very comfortable. And I think you could get about three people lengthwise on that couch.
M: [chuckles] Yes, it’s twelve feet long. [S chuckles.] I know exactly because I had it made to fit the space in the Malibu house, in front of the long window at the end of the room.
S: Yes. Right.
M: So I know.
S: Let me go back and just comment also on this meeting that Krishnaji wanted and which was recorded. All the things that I recorded were things he asked to be recorded. I never recorded anything that he didn’t ask to be recorded. But this was his putting his final foot down on the publications matters. And on everything else as well. And to me—just as an aside, if you want to look at what Krishnaji wanted with copyright and things, it’s there.
M: Yes. He was telling them.
S: He was telling everybody.
M: And all the people involved were there.
S: Yes. So he was really…and I’m glad that also he said that as long as the body lives, he is still the teacher. And in my notes, it says, “just like on the platform.” Because of the many idiocies of what people later said of…
M: Yes. Well, he must have known that…
S: He must’ve known that people would say that he was no longer the teacher when he said certain things.
M: …some people would say that. People like Asit or something.
S: Yes. And Pupul, too.
M: Pupul, too. Yes.
S: Because, if Krishnaji contradicted her on her wishes for the publications matters, which he did, then obviously he was flawed. [Chuckles.]
M: He wasn’t the teacher anymore.
S: He wasn’t the teacher anymore. It’s…
M: And Asit was the one, I told you yesterday, who said that because he’d had a transfusion that he was no longer the teacher…
S: Yes, and that’s just monstrous.
M: February sixth. ‘Krishnaji slept through the night but had nine awakenings during the evening. He talked to me in the early morning, “Who are your friends? I want you to be looked after when I’m gone. K has protected you, but he can’t when he’s gone. I love you and want you to be protected. You must be careful. You must drive as if I was sitting beside you. Who will go to Huntsman with you?”’ [S chuckles.] ‘“Will you and Mary lunch at Fortnum’s? I have been your companion. We’ve done things together. I want you to be looked after. You must go to Paris, the Dordogne, on holiday to Switzerland. You must use the money in the Teacher’s Trust, it is yours. I give it to you to use as you choose. Have you enough money? You mustn’t go to India anymore. India is bad for you. Go with Scott and his wife to Paris and the Dordogne. I love you, and K loves you. That is why I’m telling you this.”’ Well, what money there was in the Teacher’s Trust, that was money given to him to do with what he wanted. And, of course, he used to only give it to Brockwood or give it to this or give it to somebody else.
S: [chuckles] I know. He never used it on himself.
M: No. So of course I didn’t keep it [both chuckle], but, well, anyway. ‘His voice was high, and he cried when he said some of these things. I couldn’t control a rain in myself. A little later he saw Mary and Joe alone and apparently asked them to look after me. Pupul and Maheshji sat in the living room, she waiting to see Krishnaji. But after his bath, he wanted me to clean his hair with a hot washrag, dry it, massage in it the Biokosma lotion’—that’s his hair tonic. I’ve got some in the closet there; it’s Swiss—‘which he rubbed in himself. He is caring for his hair as he always has, but he said, “I’m becoming a zombie, having to let people do all these things for me.”’ I remember how I washed his hair. He had a hospital bed, and so I could stand behind it, and I figured out that with a big black plastic bag I could have water and not wet anything. I forget just how I did it, but it worked.
M: ‘Pupul had gone when all this was done. I am sitting by his bedside. It is around noon, and he sleeps. Earlier he spoke of walking such a short time ago in Madras. ‘I like to see air,’ he said. I asked or said that perhaps one of these days we might be able to drive to the beach in the car early in the morning. He said, “I have been watching the dawn, a new day beginning. It is good to watch the dawn.” Around 2 p.m. he said to Scott, “Mary and I have been companions, and when I am not here, I charge you—do you understand what that means?—to look after her, you and your wife.”’
S: That he was charging me to look after you, yes. Which, I have to add, I haven’t done at all. It’s always you who looks after me. [M chuckles.] So I have failed totally in my—
M: Interruption. This is totally untrue.
S: [chuckles] Yes, it is true.
M: ‘Later, lying on his side, looking out at the sunlight and wind in the trees, he said, “What a beautiful day.” The large eyes seemed all-seeing as always for a few minutes then folded, with the long dark lashes covering them.”’ He had extraordinary eyelashes, and I go on about it because I once asked him, “Krishnaji, don’t you need dark glasses?” And he said “No.” He said, “I can’t wear them because my eyelashes are too long.” [Chuckles.]
S: Yes. Yes, he had the most extraordinarily beautiful eyelashes.
M: Yes, and he always said they’re wasted on him. They should be on a woman.
S: Yes, yes. They were beautiful.
M: Yes. [Both chuckle.] ‘At 3 p.m. Mary and Joe have just come to say goodbye.’ I was writing while sitting with him. ‘They fly back to London tonight. Krishnaji’s nephew, Narayan’s brother, Krishna’—that’s the name of Narayan’s brother—‘came to see him briefly. Then around 6 p.m., unexpectedly, Gary Deutsch came soon after Krishnaji had wanted to walk to the living room but had been too weak, so we took him on that wheelchair. He sat by the fire in the living room for about forty-five minutes. Gary found him weaker and ordered full Surex for sleep instead of a half-dose. He may try an internal catheter on Saturday.’ I don’t seem to have written it here, but when Mary and Joe said goodbye and went to the car and I went with them to wave them goodbye—when I came back, Krishnaji wanted to know what kind of a car it was.
S: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Always. He had me running out several times to find out what kind of a car [chuckles] people were coming and going in.
M: Yes. Cars were important.
S: Exactly. Also, just small additions to the things that you’ve written there. Krishnaji’s, I guess, nephew…
M: Yes, he was a nephew.
S: Well, Krishnaji’s shoes fit him, which is quite remarkable, because Krishnaji had unusually small and thin feet.
M: Yes, I’m wearing one shoe now.
S: Yes. So Krishnaji gave him several pairs of his bespoke shoes.
M: Yes. That’s true, I’d forgotten that. He was giving away—everything.
S: Yes, he was giving away everything. Also, one should say that when Krishnaji had so come to like Gary Deutsch, that when he knew that Mary Lutyens was coming to visit—this was before Kathy had made plans to visit—he wanted to give Gary Deutsch the Naviquartz that was at Brockwood.
M: Mm, hm. Yes.
S: So he had Kathy bring it to Mary so that Mary could bring it.
M: Oh, so Mary could bring it.
S: Yes, because we didn’t know, at that time, that there was going to be this last-minute crisis about the center—Kathy hadn’t planned to come.
M: Yes. Oh, that’s right. I’d forgotten. I remember it now, yes. And Gary was sort of embarrassed or…not embarrassed…
S: Gary said that as a doctor he can’t accept any gifts. But he said that if it’s from one friend to another, he could—which is exactly how Krishnaji had wanted it.
M: Of course. He really gave away almost everything. And the clothes that he left I’ve given away since. The only thing I kept, of course, was his steel watch and the chain, and I kept that by his bed for a long time, where it always sat when he wasn’t carrying it.
S: Yes, I know.
M: Until we built the reading room in the new archives, and you’ve seen…
S: Yes, it’s very nicely displayed.
M: Yes. I don’t think people notice it.
S: I don’t know how they could not.
M: But every time I go in the room, I—
S: Every time I immediately see it, yes.
M: Wendy asked, “Should we wind it, should we do these things?” and I said, “No.” I’ve wound it always, but I’ve never wanted it handled by other people. And I think it…
S: Yes. Yes. Quite right. Quite right.
M: So there it is.
S: Yes. One other thing that is in my notes is that when Krishnaji [chuckles] and I were watching the fire in the fireplace, I noticed that I would tend to watch the big dancing flames, but Krishnaji would always call my attention to a little tiny flame. Something that was just beginning—maybe it wouldn’t make it, maybe it would grow. But he would watch these little flames—he was always calling my attention to those: “Do you see that one…?” and then he would watch it grow or not.
M: Yes, yes. Whenever he was anywhere, really, he would see encyclopedically. [Chuckles.] There’s probably no such word, but he would notice, be aware of everything.
S: Yes, and the most extraordinarily small things.
M: February seventh. ‘Krishnaji slept with a full Surex pill and only three awakenings in the night. He watched the light on the hills. He said, “A fresh new morning. I looked for the old brain.”’
‘Then I said, “Did you find it?”’
‘He replied, “Only a little.”’
‘Me: “Did meditation come in the night?”’
‘He shook his head. “The sleep was too deep,” he said. Later he said, “You have been very sweet to me. You are the only person very close to me. You must be with me till the very last, till they put the body in the incinerator, with me till the end of my life.” His voice was weak. Asit, Dr. Krishna, Jane, and Dorothy are leaving today. They came to say goodbye. Krishnaji has begun to have pain. Morphine relieved it. He spoke on the cassette to Scott and me about the energy and intelligence that has gone through the body for seventy years.’ That was that day. ‘He was too weak to get up in the afternoon.’
The eighth. ‘Krishnaji at 4:30 a.m. told me I must walk, so I went around the block at 6:30 a.m. with Erna. Dr. Deutsch came to see Krishnaji, who talked to him at some length, “as a friend, not a doctor.” Higher alimentation with a pump machine was started. Krishnaji saw Sarjit Siddoo briefly, Pupul, and Radhika. Pupul is not leaving tomorrow but is moving to Grohe’s. Krishnaji woke up five times in the night. Scott and I both slept on cushions by Krishnaji’s bed at Krishnaji’s request.’ I couldn’t write anything more in the big diary until February twelfth.
S: Just to say, also, Krishnaji wanted everybody to leave. He told everybody to go.
M: Yes, I know, he told them to go.
S: And he was so very disappointed that Pupul wasn’t leaving.
M: I know.
S: One should say all that.
M: Yes, she again wouldn’t do what he wanted.
S: She, yes…
M: February ninth. ‘Krishnaji saw briefly Mary Cadogan, then Pupul, Radhika, and Maheshji. Radhika later left to see her daughter, Sunanda. Gary Deutsch came around lunchtime. He gave Krishnaji a more permanent catheter, and Krishnaji then wanted to go in the living room, so we brought him in that little contraption, his wheelchair. We sat by the fire all afternoon till it was dark. Mary Links telephoned from London earlier and I spoke to my brother in New York.’
The tenth. ‘Krishnaji slept better with the catheter. He sent me on an early morning walk. Pupul, now staying at the Grohe’s, came with Maheshji. Krishnaji was in the living room on the sofa. She stayed briefly. Krishnaji was able to stand and to get in and out of the wheelchair. He spent the whole day in the living room. At 10 p.m. he had pain and morphine.’
The eleventh. ‘Krishnaji slept but restlessly. After a bath, I washed his hair in bed…’ That’s the time I washed his hair.
S: No, you did it several times.
M: I did?
M: ‘…then he wanted to go into the living room, where he stayed all day. Pupul and the Grohes came by briefly. Also Maheshji. Lailee telephoned. I rang Vanda. Dr. Deutsch came in the afternoon and stayed a long time and took blood samples. Krishnaji had only one morphine in the night at 7 p.m.’
S: Just to say also on thiS: When Magda and Grohe came, Magda went over to say something to him, and when he responded, he was a bit weepy.
S: And he turned to me afterwards and said that people have too much emotion and it’s not good for his body. So the impact of other people’s emotions was something he felt deeply, and he didn’t have the strength to withstand it anymore, and so he would break down and cry.
M: Well, I think I told you the other day when we were doing this that he felt the two people who were under the pepper tree—one was Tara Singh and the other was Priscilla Thierry. Not together but separately. Krishnaji asked me to ask them to leave. And when I finally went out, Priscilla was crying, and he felt that presence.
S: Yes. Yes. Yes, he couldn’t have seen them from there.
M: She was a very shy—she still is. She is living somewhere in a home here, and she was very withdrawn. I used to run into her in the post office, and she always would sort of start for fear I’d say something. I mean, I would say good morning to her, but that’s all. But I felt she didn’t want human contact. She was a very nice woman, but…
February twelfth. ‘Last night Krishnaji had pain. At 7 p.m. he took morphine, which quieted it, and he slept the rest of the night. The nurse, Patrick Linville, said he was amazed at Krishnaji’s strength in being able to stand for moments. This morning Krishnaji was clear, maybe because of no Surex sleeping pill. He asked me to file his nails. He did his teeth and face. A new nurse came at 7 a.m. but appeared incompetent and gave Krishnaji a poor bath. He wanted to be in the living room again, so Scott, Parchure, and I moved him in there, but within minutes his stomach bothered him and he had to come back to bed. He vomited some blood, which Parchure thinks indicates a hemorrhage. His fever went to 103, but Tylenol brought it down. By phone, Deutsch ordered a resumption of Rocephin, the antibiotic, but because the nurse got the order relayed by Scott, she didn’t give it until the night nurse arrived later. Krishnaji was too weak to see Pupul when she came from Grohe’s with Maheshji. Later Krishnaji told me to tell her, “Don’t wait around, he has gone for a walk in the hills.” Erna told it to her.
S: [chuckles] I remember this, as I was there when he said this, and I remember thinking that it was quite dismissive of Pupul, which was unusual for him to be so…
M: Well, it could have a double meaning.
S: Yes, this is just it; this is what I want to mention because this message was just relayed, and she took that forever and repeated it, and repeated it until the end of her life, as some great mystical message that he was giving her.
M: That’s right.
S: And he was just telling her, look, I can’t see you, I’m…
M: Yes. [S chuckles.] She, of course, interpreted it her way; but it was a rather poetic way of dismissing her, I thought.
S: Yes, it was poetic, but it was still dismissing her.
M: ‘Gary Deutsch came in the afternoon. He, Scott, Parchure, and I talked of what should be done. Krishnaji had said half an hour earlier to me, “I want to go. I want to die.” And when I could only say, “I know, I know,” he said, “You say you know, but you don’t do anything.”’ I didn’t know what he meant by that.
S: I know, because he said things like that to me, and I asked him if he wanted help to go more quickly, and he thought for a while and said, no, that that wasn’t right.
M: It wasn’t right, yes.
S: It wasn’t right. And then he asked Gary Deutsch, I think perhaps at this meeting, what would happen if all the tubes were removed. And Gary Deutsch said, well, you’ll quickly become dehydrated and then different organs will fail. But even that Krishnaji thought was too violent. He didn’t want anything done to prolong his life while at the same time he didn’t feel it was right to hasten the end.
M: Yes. ‘“You don’t do anything,”’ and then I write, ‘If he gets antibiotics now, it only prolongs his time a little until the next fall in the state of his body. I suggested Deutsch talk to Krishnaji, who was quite lucid, and ask him his wishes. This he did.’ Well, that’s what you just talked of. ‘Deutsch came back to Scott, Parchure, and me and said that Krishnaji had understood. He doesn’t want to go on as he is and said, “Do what you think is right.” So what seems right to all four of us was not to bring all extreme ways of medicine to prolong his life, with death inevitable, but to continue the IV feeding, relieve pain, fever, nausea; then the natural death that Krishnaji had spoken of earlier will come about on its own time. Krishnaji seemed satisfied when told this. I sat holding his hand a long time, and he had me press my hand on his stomach in the evening.’ He felt it relieved the pain somehow.
S: Yes. In my records, I record it as the first time he also asked me to do that, as he had on the airplane.
M: ‘He asked what was going on in the world, “What is the gossip?” and we turned on the evening news with Dan Rather. Sharansky has been freed by the Soviets and was tumultuously welcomed in Israel. “The Soviets are cruel people,” said Krishnaji. Deutsch had said the results of the blood tests yesterday do not show much difference from when he was in the hospital. I told Pupul this on the telephone, as talk of a hemorrhage in the morning had alarmed her. She said she has decided to leave on Sunday. Asit and Radhika, who are returning here, will do the same. I telephoned Mar de Manziarly, and she entirely understood why it would tire Krishnaji if she came to say goodbye. Those who most care about him seem to feel this way. It is the egotists, Blackburn, for example, who push to see him. A good nurse, Bea Epping, was on in the evening. Krishnaji had morphine.’
The thirteenth. ‘There were two-and-a-half inches of rain in the night, and it began again in the afternoon. Krishnaji had a second morphine around 11 p.m. last night, but it failed to help with sleep, and the nurse gave him Surex at 1 a.m. I got up soon after 3:30 a.m., and when he was awake, I did his teeth cleaning. The male nurse, Patrick, Scott, Dr. Parchure, and I carried him in a hammock of sheets to the couch in front of the living room fire. Scott had turned the center sofa so that Krishnaji could lie stretched out facing the firelight. Maheshji, Pupul, and the Grohes came briefly to see him. Krishnaji told Pupul he was sorry he didn’t see her yesterday. “He was off in the hills all day.” He looked all beauty lying there. He had me read to him from the Paul Theroux’s story.’ That book’s in there. I forget what the name of it is.
S: First Council, or something like that.
M: ‘He had me read him Paul Theroux’s story but then switched to the newspapers. He had a fit of shivering, then fever. Tylenol broke the fever, and then there was sweat. We carried him back to bed. Parchure massaged him, and he fell asleep. In the living room he had suddenly said, “Do you remember the place in Holland? The ducks. How each day there were fewer of the baby ducks.”’ That was when we were first in Holland and we used to walk in a kind of a park that was privately owned and had streams running through it. We used to go for the afternoon walks there, and there was a mother duck with little ducklings behind her. That’s what he was remembering. ‘He was thinking of the place where we used to walk near the thatched farmhouse in 1967. A very happy time. Later he said, “I am very fortunate.” Yesterday he asked me obliquely—the nurse was present—“I suppose you haven’t heard from that person.” Meaning Rajagopal. We never heard one word from those people.
S: No, of course not.
M: Really ugly.
S: Yes. I just wanted to add a small thing here; that the reason that we carried Krishnaji to the living room was that it became too tiring for him to get in and out of that ridiculous not-quite-wheelchair thing. It was also tiring for him to sit upright on the couch as he had. So that’s why I’d moved the couch sideways, so that he could lie on it and look over his feet at the fire.
M: That’s right.
S: And then we came up with the idea of making a hammock out of his bottom sheet.
M: We just took the bottom sheet.
S: Yes. And he was delighted with that, and he was also terribly amused at suddenly seeing this path through the house that he had known so well but, of course, never seen it from the ceiling point of view. [Laughs.] I can well remember his delight and his being amused by being carried like that, almost as if it was an amusement ride. And, of course, he weighed almost nothing then.
M: Yes. February fourteenth: ‘Krishnaji slept without pill or morphine till 2 a.m., but at 4 a.m. the pain returned. A new nurse, Peggy Levine, gave morphine. In the ten minutes it took to work, he had me press on his stomach. “Too good to be true. Sorrow, I thought I’d lost you.” The high voice groaned with pain and the low voice came in, “Don’t make such a fuss about it.” At 4:20 a.m., he said the pain was gone and I must go to sleep another two hours.’ At one point, when he had me press on his stomach, I must have said, “Can’t you heal yourself?” you know, the pain. And he said, “Put your hand, and I’ll put my hand on your hand,” so mine gave the pressure, and his hand would do whatever it did. Of course, it didn’t work for the pain. ‘We took him again in a hammock of sheets to the living room, where the fire burned beautifully and outside the heavy rain fell. We were having a big, big storm, and I was afraid we would lose electricity, so I have rented generators and rigged them so that if there was a power failure he would still have light and warmth in his room, and the infusion pump to his vein will carry on. Scott and someone else worked at this. We had carried him back to bed when Gary Deutsch came in to see how he was and to bring him a bunch of Clint Eastwood films he had taped. He ordered light morphine, one milligram, to be given routinely while Krishnaji is in pain because Krishnaji admitted to me this morning that the pain doesn’t come all at once but builds up before he lets us know it is there. If this amount is insufficient and pain occurs, more can be given. He also changed the sleeping prescription from Surex to Restoril. This Krishnaji took at 8 p.m.’ See, he never would complain.
S: I know. I have that in my notes, too—he would wait until it got really bad before saying anything.
S: But just to note here also that Krishnaji thought it was a wonderful discovery when he realized that Dr. Deutsch was a Clint Eastwood fan as well. [Chuckles.] Krishnaji and I would watch the movies; you would only come in, look, and then walk out again.
S: And something else. It was Vivian Moody who had gone out and found the two generators.
M: Did she? I was wondering where I got them.
S: Yes, it was Vivian Moody, and they were hard to find because other people were—
M: Were doing the same thing.
S: —everyone was wanting the same thing because this was a terrible storm. And it was Ivan Berkowitz who helped me hook them up.
M: Oh. Did he?
S: Yes. We took one line down to the basement to run the heating system.
M: The heat, yes. In the old part of the house, one must explain, there’s a basement.
M: And there’s a regular hot-air furnace.
S: Yes. So we hooked the first one up to run that. And then for the second one I brought a line in through the window to run Krishnaji’s equipment and his electric blanket…
S: …because we couldn’t have the pumps and all the monitoring equipment go off, and Krishnaji needed the electric blanket to stay warm.
S: But it was Ivan who helped.
M: It’s good to be clear about these details. ‘I got the nurses in and out of Ojai.’ I called the police, as they were stopping people driving in or out because of mudslides, and I called the police and said that there is someone who is seriously ill, and we need the nurses to get through. Will you let them get through? And they did. ‘Deutsch came and talked alone with Krishnaji about his illness.’
The fifteenth. ‘Krishnaji slept through the stormy night. When the 11 o’clock nursing shift change approached, the highway control had made the roads impossible. I talked to a woman there who was more resourceful, checked with the men in the field, and worked out a route. The nurse got here by 11:30, and Patrick Linville, the male nurse on duty, was able to get out. Today the rain has lessened. The roads are clear, and there have been no bad mudslides. Pupul and Asit came in the morning while Gary Deutsch was here. Deutsch came with slides of Yosemite for Krishnaji to look at. For a while he did but fell asleep, and Deutsch left, not before talking to Pupul, Asit, Erna, and Theo. Pupul leaves tomorrow morning. She saw Krishnaji in the afternoon, and so did Radhika, who had arrived this morning from Philadelphia. She, too, leaves tomorrow for India. Asit asked me if it was all right for him to stay for as long as Krishnaji lives. He will stay at Grohe’s. He said he felt he could no more leave then if his father were dying. I said of course; he should stay if he wished and is welcome to come to the house whenever he likes. Also he can use the gray car. All this goes on, and I keep moving, but there are times when I want to cry until my eyes are washed away and my heart dissolved. Krishnaji asked me to wash his hair; clean it with a hot towel—a hot washrag, brush it, and in the evening massage almond oil into his scalp. This evening I stood doing this, behind the top of the bed, holding in my hand, this warm, beautiful…’ [Pause.] I’m sorry, wait a minute.
S: Yes, Mary. It’s alright.
M: Turn it off.
<Tape cuts out and resumes>
M: ‘In the evening I stood behind the top of his bed, holding in my hands this warm and beautiful head that holds the brain that is the light of this world. It is there, alive, marvelous, beyond any knowing. The source of his teaching is an endless giving. My hands, when he said the massage was enough, held the scent of his aliveness, a perfume. Have I said in these scribblings that for a while, the last time Deutsch was here, that they were talking alone and when we came in, Krishnaji was telling him about knowledge, intelligence, compassion, and what love is. His voice was rather high, and he paused with the effort. But he kept on. It was his last teaching.’ That’s the end of the big book.
M: Yes. And as Dr. Deutsch had said, he felt he was Krishnaji’s last pupil.
M: He was.
S: I remember that. I made notes of it. I was in the room when Krishnaji had this talk with Deutsch. It was the most brilliant encapsulation of Krishnaji’s teachings. It was remarkable—absolutely astonishing. It was a condensed version of the teachings, with nothing left out. I remember being astonished and thinking, if only I had recorded this. But Krishnaji didn’t ask for it to be recorded, so—but it was remarkable. The clarity and the depth at that late moment. One other thing that I would add, before Asit asked you if he could stay, Pupul had begged you to allow him to stay because she had said people in India wouldn’t understand if an Indian wasn’t there.
M: Yes, I remember that.
S: But, of course, Maheshji was going to be here, and Parchure. But somehow Parchure and Mahesh, who was the secretary of the Foundation, didn’t count as much as…
M: Pupul’s nephew.
S: Yes, Pupul’s relatives. [Chuckles.] Oosh.
M: ‘Krishnaji didn’t want to go to the living room. He remained in bed and watched part of an Eastwood movie brought by Gary Deutsch but was tired and stopped it and slept by 8.’
February sixteenth: ‘Krishnaji woke at 3 a.m. with pain in the abdomen. Morphine was changed to a drip. In spite of the morphine, Krishnaji was clear. Pupul came to say goodbye before lunch and left after for a flight to London. Radhika had left earlier in the morning. Deutsch thought there was a hemorrhage in the liver that was causing the pain. Restoril for sleep was taken at 7 p.m. The pain lessened, and Krishnaji slept, but it became a coma. Deutsch came at 11 p.m. and Krishnaji ‘s breathing…he was breathing only three times a minute. That’s the end of the…I didn’t write anymore about that.
S: Yes, Mary, yes.
Editor’s note: While there have been no SF notes during the time that Mary was with Krishnaji, it has to be acknowledged that Mary was by now depleted, exhausted, and unable to write her daily journals fully as she always had. The ending of this extraordinary life also merits whatever attention we can pay to it. Therefore, I am including my notes.
SF Notes 10. (NOTE: You will be taken to a new webpage.)
M: The seventeenth: ‘With Dr. Deutsch, Scott, and I beside him, Krishnaji’s heart stopped beating at ten minutes past midnight. Scott and I and Dr. Parchure bathed his body, wrapped it in a cadi silk and an Italian embroidered linen sheet. He lay on his own bed which was in his sitting room till 8 a.m. when I rode beside him to the crematorium in Ventura.’
S: Yes. Thank you for all this. [Sighs.] I’m sorry today has been so difficult, Mary.