I just finished reading Issue #1, what a joy – a half and then full smile on my face the whole time. What a witty sense of humor, she has. I was there, sitting with you both, quietly, listening. Thank you for this opportunity. She seems to be one of the few people that can talk about K and what he was saying with… a grasp that only someone who … oh, words fail me – but I’m sure you understand what I mean… without distortion. I really, really love her sense of humor and feel something unique and special is happening in those interviews, K seems there, in a sense.
I am so appreciative of the work being done of making Mary’s diary available. It is the highlight of my week to read each issue. I feel as though I am right there listening to you and Mary talk about her extraordinary time with Krishnaji. The diary is providing much to ponder, and causes me to reflect, sometimes, painfully, about what I am doing with my life. It is such a blessing to have encountered Krishnaji, and I cannot imagine what was like for her to be so close. I feel such a responsibility to live what he pointed to, as it was such a great fortune to meet him, and study what he talked about. It is not often that a human being gets to meet another human being like he was, and I can feel each day I do not pay attention, or live fully, I am failing to live at all. Thank you for the prodding that comes from this project.
New Hampshire, USA
In the Presence of Krishnamurti transports me to a time when Krishnamurti was alive, speaking and energizing the schools in India, England and the United States. It was a unique time when a great teacher travelled the world speaking intimately to thousands of people with no other objective than to show them the true meaning of freedom and what it means to live responsibly in this world.
In this truly remarkable work, we see the great care and concern for Krishnamurti by those around him. Mary Zimbalist’s observations are loving, gentle and respectful. Yet, these are not the remembrances of an unquestioning “disciple” but rather chronicles by someone who was there at the center of things with questions of her own.
She, like others, knew that this was rarefied air and she took particular care to record it accurately without distortion so others might one day have access to it.
As one who was close to Krishnamurti for many years, and to Mary and Scott and others around him, I am thrilled that this document exists. It gives the reader a sense of who Krishnamurti was. It serves as both an introduction and adjunct to the body of his work.
Thank you. Am very appreciative of your hard work, for your assistance in getting subscribed. Super grateful. I read some the other day, beautiful and elegant.
New York, USA
The reason I wanted to get in touch with you was to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading excerpts of In the presence of K. It has really brought the person alive in a way that no other book on him has. ‘The man from Seattle’ cannot complain any longer. I thought the presentation itself is brilliant . The conversations between you and Mary Zimbalist enriching the diary entries and bringing them to life. Much thanks.
When I first heard about the project to publish on the Internet the “Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist”, I was against it. For me those precious Memoirs needed a book, or several ones, easy to consult. Nevertheless I took a subscription. After the 7th or 8th issue, I realised that, for the first time in history, we could follow – practically day by day – the life of an exceptional person. As I kept on reading, I discovered in Mary Zimbalist a superiorly intelligent, woman, constantly working with only one priority : Krishnaji. And at the same time as she assumed so many different task, she had a bad leg wounded since infancy.. !
I consider that she contributed an essential part to Krishnaji’s teachings and that her devotion and love was essential. Furthermore, the Memoirs’ reader is able to consult the transcript of several Saanen talks and at several places benefit of the possibility to hear Mary reading her diaries.
Mary’s picture in the issue # 42, conveys for me a blend of inside quietness with enormous strength. It is exactly what I felt the few times I have been in contact with her. It is with a deep love and respect that I conjure up her image.
In conclusion, thanks to her, we benefit from an exceptional document of the life and teachingsof Krishnamurti.
We are lucky and blessed for the opportunity to read the memoirs of Mary Zimabalist.
Sorry for my poor English….
The work of making public the day to day of Mary beside K brings me life, Probably will have more when all who had a direct relationship with K have gone.
I think it is a good idea for the links with public talks … that help to better situate the story of sometimes very ordinary life … also the inclusion of unpublished private images..
I remember my first encounter with Mary in the summer of 1985. I was working with Len Peters erecting the platform for the talks in the big tent at Brockwood. Mary came to take a look at the works with Dorothy, and I could not avoid thinking that K had a very attractive partner.
( Len told me ….G. you have a dirty mind…!!)
My second encounter was 16 years later at the Centre, during a breakfast. She came to my table and I immediately recognized her. We had a friendly conversation and for first time I was aware of the tone of her voice… the same that now I listen in every issue.
My appreciation of the records … is of a huge support of Mary to K. ..and a beautiful love story…
The 100th anniversary of Mary’s birth is in a few days and as I sit here writing about it, I feel the veil not lift exactly, but become thinner, into that atmosphere that is “other” (not “The Other”, just “other”).
I have learned something more about relationship. Mary’s memoir doesn’t simply speak of relationships, or relate stories – the relationships actually come into being as I read: Mary and Krishnaji, Mary and you, you and Krishnaji. There is an extraordinary care in these relationships. Love, affection, friendship, of course – and a level of care that makes me want to care for my relationships in a more precious way, in a way more like that. I think this has to do with “state of being” that you and Mary talk about. Remarkably, some aspect about “state of being” as I understand/experience it comes through in the memoirs—with you, with Mary, with Krishnaji.
There is a heightened realness that comes through. Mary is so present with herself, with the past, with you. She is so willing to talk about her own limitations frankly, honestly; she is fierce at times, and opinionated, and frustrated, and funny. You have used the word “devotion” at times in the issue introductions (as in “Mary’s devotion to Krishnaji”) and I have struggled with this because what comes through to me is something more mutual than devotion, less separate. What is that? What is devotion and love and deep affection and mutual regard all rolled into one? I think that there has not been a relationship like this in my experience (even though I have been blessed with many wonderful relationships) so I have no words to describe it.
Reading issue by issue, chronologically, the reader watches Mary’s internal development. She changes, before our eyes. The questions she thinks to ask Krishnaji later on take on a depth and probing absent in the earlier issues. She becomes less tentative and steps fully into her role and life with him. She becomes.
And I often laugh out loud. This happened just last night when I read, “M: The next day was the seventeenth. ‘Krishnaji saw Palevi and Mrs. Sarabhai at 9:30 a.m. A professional tree pruner began work on the big eucalyptus trees along the driveway. After lunch, Krishnaji and I went to town in the new diesel Mercedes to order mats for it. It drove very nicely, and we were both pleased.’
On the eighteenth, ‘Krishnaji again saw Palevi briefly. I was at my desk all morning. Tree pruning continues. We walked on the beach.’ See, there’s nothing on these days.
S: Well, it’s still nice to have it.
M: You don’t think that boredom has long since paralyzed [S laughing] the listeners to this saga?!’
S: It’s an endurance test.”
The ongoing joke with you insisting on every detail and Mary rolling her eyes and teasing you for being so meticulous (to put it nicely) allows us eavesdroppers to feel the affection between you. I know of no other way to say this. Listening to Mary play off you is delightful.
It is so different to read of the esoteric aspects of the teachings through this dialog. When you and Mary engage in a sidebar (so to speak), working through an aspect of what K said, as a reader and as one who has tried to understand and practice the teachings myself, this is enormously helpful to my own ability to contemplate the teachings.
In the Presence of K is not simply an outsider’s peek into what it was like for Mary to be in Krishnaji’s presence. Through the memoir, I too, am in his presence and in Mary’s. In a world that seems to be coming apart more and more, this is my gravitational pull, the place I return to. You told me once that when you asked Krishnaji why he was here now, meaning on this earth at that particular time in history, he responded, “The tears of humanity called.” They are still calling, and through the memoirs, Krishnaji is still here. I am not talking of solace, but of the possibility of freedom.
One passage is a brilliantly portrayed description of the most mundane aspect of daily life, the next is a less interesting description of daily life, and then without warning I am reading something truly profound that I have never heard in quite that way anywhere else. Like any conversation, or any diary, it has its own pacing with thoughts and tasks that come and go, but the real treasure is that it is just life. And in being “just life”, we see how profound and astounding “just life” really is. Even as extraordinary a life as the ones that they led, it is still “just life”.
There is information we would never otherwise know – we know of the “Process” from other books, but let me tell you I have had a fraction of what K went through with his teeth and it is almost unbearable. All those trips to the dentist, the teeth out, the bridges, the crowns – if one has never gone through that, it is hard to convey just how difficult bad teeth and ongoing dental work can be. And more than any writing of K’s, or transcriptions, or recordings of talks, one gets a sense of what sensitivity is, in a coarse and dangerous world. We want to develop that sensitivity and yet know that there is a price to pay, even for someone like K. He suffered, and still he gave and gave and gave. That comes through in a way that hadn’t in other sources, due to Mary’s concern and documentation. Having this knowledge makes him more remarkable, not less, for all he did and how he lived.
Being allowed to share in this personal conversation between you and Mary and silently sitting in on Mary Zimbalist reading her diaries continues to move me and makes me feel very fortunate. My wish to get to know as much as I can about K and how he lived his life…to soak up everything K did, said and wrote is strong and ever present, and at the same time gently answered as we go along with the memoirs.
These memoirs are also allowing me to learn about Mary’s role … in the caring and facilitating K to do the work and much more….. something which Mary sounds so modest about, just like the personal physical discomfort of her leg.
Reading about the caring for each other, the intensity of their travels, the meetings, the organising, and correspondence dealt with, the sporadic moments of privacy and Mary’s sensitivity to all K’s physical needs make me realise time and time again how very special it must have been to be in K’s presence for Mary and all of you belonging to the inner circle.
My thanks to K, to Mary Zimbalist, and to all those who have been, are and will be involved in this special and historical project are immense.
Thanks for dialogue with Mary on “In the presence of K” and making it available to us! Since K died I have been waiting for Marys biography to come, but the way you have done it is much better than a book!
Apart from the teaching to explore Ks daily “normal” life and to see the facts of it and how he related to practical problems is a great inspiration to be even more rational with the verbal and practical activity.
The Issues also gives important hints to published or unpublished documentation in the archives that would have been very interesting to look into.
This is a great record. For those who have really studied the Teachings, each episode has meaning far beyond the mere words with which the recollections are recorded.
Just writing to thank you again for these memoirs, Scott. They are truly fascinating, and to be honest a bit addictive. Mary writes so well – often poetically, evocatively, touchingly. We look forward to their resuming in the new year.
I want to add my voice to all those who deeply appreciate the publication of the Memoirs, and for the knowledge of the extraordinary part Mary had in Krishnaji’s life. I think her contribution was immeasurable both in helping Krishnaji bloom, and in helping us to understand Krishnaji in expanded measure. Thank you for taking on this project.
Thank you for this opportunity and for helping bring this wonderful work to fruition. Humanity is forever indebted to Mary for her invaluable contribution; her immense love for K and the teachings and by extension for humanity. There are no words that can adequately express our gratitude other than to earnestly live the teachings with the same unconditional dedication and love as she cared for K and the teachings.
For me Marys’ selfless devotion washes away the bad taste of the Rajagopals.
The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist provide a rare historical glimpse into the mundane, the profound and mysterious life of Krishnamurti beginning in the late 1950’s. Personally I find great value in how Krishnamurti is perceived and reflected in the mirror of the relationships that surrounded him, the composition or character of each mirror affecting uniquely the image being reflected. The essence of the so-called teachings, what Krishnamurti’s insights and descriptions point to, is unknowable. The wind can’t be caught in a paper bag. What can be know is what the unknowable is not. Scott and Mary’s efforts help us discover the difference.
The MZ memoirs will forever remain a mirror through which people can see themselves. In the end, readers will view the work, and the events described, through the prism of their own conditioning.
For those who are capable of unflinchingly facing the “what is” of human existence, I strongly commend this enterprise as a valuable tool of enquiry and self-discovery. The work contains unpublished photographs of Krishnamurti as well as links to the Teaching itself and, many will find this aspect rewarding as well as enriching. I read the MZ memoir every week first thing on Tuesday mornings.
We’re grateful for making these memoirs available. Not only do they fill in blanks regarding some aspects of Krishnaji’s life, but they’re poignant. Mary’s phenomenal dedication to looking after Krishnaji, with such steady energy and obvious deep affection, made her a godsend to him, it’s clear. For us the memoirs succeed in fulfilling Krishnaji’s wish that Mary convey what it was like to be with him. Thank you so much.
I think this is an extraordinary project. These are intensely personal memoirs, told in an easy humorous conversational style. They give enormous insight into the teachings of Krishnamurti because they include so many details about daily life. I think learning about what made him laugh, things he liked, people he was close with, illuminates what he taught and wrote. The love and respect that is involved in this project, gives us a unique perspective on Krishnamurti and his teachings, and on two very special people he trusted to tell his story. Thank you for completing this project after so many years of work.
Upstate New York, USA
Knowing JK made me believe in extreme spiritual beauty.
Knowing MZ gave me a lesson in austerity, delicacy, punctuality and her devotion for JK was like a fresh breeze of the unknown.
The thing that is remarkable about Mary’s memoirs is really her integrity. I get the sense she seeks to be this white background that protects and just lets K be himself. You know, no ego, no self-interest. And she is an avid listener, very intelligent, and her humor is quite sweet (and wicked) too. And you know, where she did not know the details she says so. Your camaraderie is very sweet, and the interviews style has the perfect balance of letting her speak and probes.
I always thought there was an element of “gossipyness” with some of the biographies, and a little bit of smugness about having access to K. I am amazed, again, with Mary Z just being present. I do hope there are more of her conversations with K about the teachings as those sections are really fascinating. I think he sought to teach her in a particular special way and we get to share that.
Anyway, these are my first heartfelt responses!
 Krishnaji frequently used ‘the man from Seattle’ as what seemed to be a rhetorical device in discussions with teachers in his schools indicating that people from remote places might ask what it was like to have known Krishnaji. Interesting discussions often ensued. Back up to text.