21 September, 2020

A Reassuring Presence

Vernon's Krishnamurti somehow does not sound like the person I met in Pupul Jayakar's house in Delhi.

A Reassuring Presence
When I first interviewed Krishnamurti in New York, I was a boy. Every time I asked him a question he asked me the same question back. I was utterly nonplussed by such an evolved technique of evading the point, and the interview got nowhere very slowly. He had been destroying interviewers since before I was born. But I genuinely liked him, for he was as aware of his charisma as I was.

Also present at this interview was Mary Zimbalist, one of the monstrous regiment of protective and possessive women who always surrounded Krishnamurti. Before the interview started, I asked him if I could smoke. (In those days nearly everybody smoked). Mrs Zimbalist said, "He’s allergic to cigarettes." He said, "I will speak for myself, Mary. Most certainly you may smoke."

I lit my cigarette. He started to cough and splutter, almost in a convulsion. I hastily put it out. Mrs Zimbalist glared at me. Krishnamurti had been described as a great teacher. Perhaps this was his way of teaching me.

Later, in India, I got to know him slightly. I was grateful to be able to talk to him...



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