[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Bill Quinn on Radha Sloss' Bio of K (better formatted)

May 12, 2009 00:38 AM
by MKR

There are many reviews about the Radha Rajagopal's 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 -
including cow, chickens and bees - 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
KFT's 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
continuous effort so as to get an overall impression. I have not read the
version published in England, and it's 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 direct witness to the alleged intimacy between K and R, but
was told about it when she was a young woman by her mother. It is
understandable that Radha, having been brought up in a seemingly magical
world, should have been traumatised and embittered by Rosalind's claims.
It's 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 which I was in daily close contact. It was an extraordinarily
warm and simple life we had, extremely open so far as I could see, and so
unconflicted I felt an absolute absence of self-consciousness. Rosalind
appeared to me to be utterly generous 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 David, her cousin, children
then, I had a simple affectionate rapport. I must point out that I was a
very young man at the time.
Since I felt part of this family, its breakup and the alienation of Raja
from Rosalind and both from K, and the mystery surrounding it through the
years, had disturbed me greatly. I was deeply affected by the book, and
among my responses was a grief for everybody involved - 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
that are said to support this claim are unavailable. It's 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, which are inevitably biased.
I feel strongly that it is important to establish the truth about K's life,
and to affirm his humanity. I deplore the widespread efforts to mythologize
and deify him, because doing so makes it impossible for people to recognise
their kinship 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 felt glad for K that he might have had such a relationship. And if
there were an affair, the secrecy is understandable, given the social
climate of those days. It would not have been K's concern alone to be either
open or discreet: the lives of others were involved: Rosalind, Raja and
Radha, Also, they might have felt that it was no one else's 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
appear shabby and small. In part this is the effect of objectifying and
blaming K and not going into Rosalind's character in depth. I think she was
a much larger person, 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 her 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 adult. 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 after their breakup, I had many hours-long
conversations with Rosalind in which she 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 Rosalind's story, whether the allegations about K are
true or not, is a common and doleful human tragedy, and my response is more
compassionate than anything else. It's a story of how possessiveness,
jealousy, 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 person. 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 later 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 newly formed Happy Valley School. At this time, I
suspect, the Rajagopals began to lose control of K.
As for the allegations about Nandini, I don't take them seriously. It's well
known that she and K had an extraordinary affinity, but to assume that this
was sexually based seems unwarranted. K moved many people and was capable of
a great intimacy with those who were open to him. I'm afraid Rosalind was
overcome by suspicion.

Bill Quinn


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application