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Bill Quinn on Radha Sloss' Bio of K

May 12, 2009 00:05 AM
by MKR

There are many reviews about the Radha Slossâ book on Krishnamurti which was
published after the death of Jiddu Krishnamurti.
I just ran into an interesting feedback from some one who lived with K,
Rajagopal, Rosalind and Radha in 1940s and I am sure it would interest many.
Here is the letter.
In the 1940s, Bill Quinn spent a year at Arya Vihara in Ojai, working in the
garden. K was living there at that time and they often tended the garden â
including cow, chickens and bees â together. Bill knew Alan Watts, was one
of the founders of the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California in the 1960s,
and worked on the first Krishnamurti Index of subjects that later became the
KFTâs three-volume Index of all of the audio and videotapes. He died in Ojai
in the mid-1990s.
April 20th 1993
* .
Dear Friedrich,
* .
Through the years Radha sent her manuscript to various publishers, and by

chance the readers of two publishers to whom the book was assigned for

evaluation were friends of mine. I deliberately read it once in one

effort so as to get an overall impression. I have not read the version
published in

England, and itâs likely that changes have been made and editing done. What

follows is based on my recollection of my first and only reading.

I suspect that Radha is merely the spokesman for her parents. It has always

seemed to me most unfortunate she was put in this position. She was not a

witness to the alleged intimacy between K and R, but was told about it when

was a young woman by her mother. It is understandable that Radha, having

brought up in a seemingly magical world, should have been traumatised and

embittered by Rosalindâs claims. Itâs notable that early in the story it was
K that
Radha adored, like a father; yet she later is so condemnatory.

Having lived with the family during the period the affair was supposed to be

taking place, I can attest there was a great intimacy between K and
Rosalind, and

I felt very much a part of a family which included them and Radha, and in

I was in daily close contact. It was an extraordinarily warm and simple life

had, extremely open so far as I could see, and so unconflicted I felt an

absence of self-consciousness. Rosalind appeared to me to be utterly

and loving, and I count her among the dearest friends of my life. I felt
less at ease

with Raja, somewhat intimidated by his force and brilliance, but he too was

warm and outgoing to me. However, he was seldom at Arya Vihara in those

years, spending most of his time in Hollywood as he did. With Radha and

her cousin, children then, I had a simple affectionate rapport. I must point

that I was a very young man at the time.
Since I felt part of this family, its breakup and the alienation of Raja

Rosalind and both from K, and the mystery surrounding it through the years,

disturbed me greatly. I was deeply affected by the book, and among my

responses was a grief for everybody involved â so much pain!

It seems to me, however, that one cannot form an opinion on the basis of the

book about the allegations of an affair between K and Rosalind. The letters

are said to support this claim are unavailable. Itâs hard to see how one can

presume to know what goes on between any two people. When a relationship is

conflicted, a third person can know only the statements of the two parties,

are inevitably biased.
I feel strongly that it is important to establish the truth about Kâs life,
and to

affirm his humanity. I deplore the widespread efforts to mythologize and

him, because doing so makes it impossible for people to recognise their

with him, and puts him in an abstract sphere, as a sort of icon.

When I read the book it seemed to me possible that there had been such a

relationship. Given the un-worldliness of both K and R, their innocence,
such a

thing could have come about through simple proximity and affection, as such

things often do. Honoring the Rosalind I had known in earlier days, I even

glad for K that he might have had such a relationship. And if there were an

the secrecy is understandable, given the social climate of those days. It
would not

have been Kâs concern alone to be either open or discreet: the lives of

were involved: Rosalind, Raja and Radha, Also, they might have felt that it

no one elseâs business.
What is lamentable to me about the book is that its motivation seems to be

vindictiveness. To me, unfortunately, the book makes Rosalind, not K, to

shabby and small. In part this is the effect of objectifying and blaming K
and not

going into Rosalindâs character in depth. I think she was a much larger

and for a long time I wanted to talk to Radha and try and dissuade her from

publication for this reason. But I had not the courage; my old affection for

and her mother made the prospect of such an encounter too painful.

The book seems to me naive in many ways, and to reflect little selfknowledge

on the part of the Rajagopals. If there was such an affair in which

Rosalind suffered so much, she was certainly also responsible. She was an

She was moreover a strong person and rather dominated K, to my mind, when I

lived with them. The tone suggests a jilted lover. And through the years

their breakup, I had many hours-long conversations with Rosalind in which

poured out her hurt and rage. She was simply obsessed.

I also talked to K about the breakup, and offered to be an intermediary. He

said, however, "No! It is finished."
It seems to me that Rosalindâs story, whether the allegations about K are

or not, is a common and doleful human tragedy, and my response is more

compassionate than anything else. Itâs a story of how possessiveness,

suspicion and self-righteousness can destroy affection and lead to life long

bitterness and a desire for revenge. It not only destroys affection, but the

So many people wanted to possess K! I knew well another woman who was

remarkably close to K, and I happened to be with her during a time when she

simply went to pieces and became bedridden for days, raging and torn. She

came to literally hate him for some years, and did some real mischief.

I think that when K went to India in 1947 a new life for him began when he

met some wonderful minds, soon to include Pupul Jayakar and her family.

Rosalind at that time stayed in California and was fully occupied with the

formed Happy Valley School. At this time, I suspect, the Rajagopals began to

lose control of K.
As for the allegations about Nandini, I donât take them seriously. Itâs well

known that she and K had an extraordinary affinity, but to assume that this

sexually based seems unwarranted. K moved many people and was capable of a

great intimacy with those who were open to him. Iâm afraid Rosalind was

overcome by suspicion.
* .
Bill Quinn


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