The following interview fragment is from 'Krishnamurti: 100 Years by Evelyn Blau'.
Brian Quinn was a young pacifist who later was a founder of the Esalen Institute.
During those wartime years, what was daily life at Arya Vihar like? It must have been quite simple.
There were only the four of us, Krishnaji, Rosalind, her daughter Radha and myself, who were in daily contact. Mr. Rajagopal was seldom around. Because of wartime rationing, we lived almost completely off the land. We had orchards, vegetable gardens, eighty chickens, a cow, and bees. Krishnaji took care of the chickens, and I milked the cow. We both worked in the garden and tended the bees. Rosalind, always cheerfully industrious, made cottage cheese and butter, and baked a wonderful whole wheat bread. She cooked our meals. Krishnaji and I would wash the dishes, and I often felt an astonishing bliss in this humble activity.
Ojai was a village then, and seemed remote from the world. We had 61 visitors because of gas rationing, and public transport was co-opted by the military. It was incredibly difficult to get to Ojai even from Los Angeles.
Do you think that K felt trapped in Ojai during the war years and during his illness, and did this create a tension in him?
I don't know about that, but I've thought those years may have been deeply valuable to him. Before the war he had been exceedingly active, talking all over the world and involved with great numbers of people. So, in the forties, for several years, there was an enforced quiet and solitude, and he lived in a very lovely place which had the most creative associations. It was there, under the pepper tree, that he began to find himself in the early twenties. That event also had been possible because for the first time since boyhood he was alone and outside the turbulence of public life. I think this time in the forties was one of almost continuous meditation and "recollection," a word he liked, and that out of this emerged the wonderful clarity of his public utterance in subsequent years.
Do you think Krishnamurti's going to India was a step in his liberation, in a sense?
Not really, because I think the fundamental event occurred in the late twenties, following his brother's death. But what he called 'the process' apparently continued throughout his life. And it was no doubt intensified in response to the extraordinary challenge of India. I conceive the process to be that stream of meditative awareness; he told me about, in which there were deep pools. And I think that this stream was his life, or rather the life that flowed through his organism, contracting and expanding with its in extraordinary rhythms. He didn't think of it as "his" life, but as life.
The world had changed during the years of his retirement. Europe was in ruins, and the network centered in Ommen irreparably rent. When he went to India, he got away from the sterility and spiritual paralysis of the United States, which persisted for many years more into the McCarthv era and beyond. The United States didn't begin to awaken until the young people of the Korean War generation began to dissociate themselves from the establishment in the fifties, as seen in the so-called Beatniks, precursors of the sixties' youth movement.
Do you think that Krishnamurti was fundamentally different from other human beings, from birth as it were?
I don't, and there, to me, lies his chief beauty and significance. He apparently was an exceptionally selfless child, but he came to his maturity through exceedingly hard work. It was precisely his sense of kinship with the rest of us which impelled him to speak.
One could say that in his maturity there was a fundamental change, in the sense that self-centeredness was smashed, and that he then functioned from a different dimension of life. But his whole message was that this transformation is for all of us.
As for how the spiritual energies should unfold in us, I like the New Testament image: The spirit bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof; but canst not tell whence it cometh. and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the spirit- John 3:8
How did Krishnamurti feel about young people and their use of drugs in the sixties?
I think he was initially fascinated by the youth movement, and the young people of that milieu whom he met. He was intrigued by their openness and affection, their anti-war stance and general rejection of authority and the corporate culture. But he came to he horrified by their widespread use of drugs. We talked about this many times. It came to the point that I couldn't mention young people without his thinking about drugs, and being carried away into tirades. I had been a close observer of the development of the drug culture myself, and we had similar perceptions. We felt that Aldous Huxley and Alan Watts in particular bore a primary responsibility for that plague. Like Pied Pipers they had used their prestige to convert the young to their belief in this magical short cut to religious reality. K felt that a religious mind has to flower in a humble, unconscious, organic way, and that drugs were an illusory short cut, smashing through complex and delicate psycho-physical structures. He said the use of drugs by would-he holy men had been observed for centuries in India, and was known there to be a complete dead end.
Brian Quinn became a founder of the Esalen Institute in California and a leading light in the so-called "Personal Growth" movement. In the 1970's he became a mail-order sannaysin, an initiated follower of Bhagwan Rajneesh and eventually journeyed to the Poona commune. Here he was disgusted by the out of control, violent, cathartic encounter sessions being promoted by Rajneesh as part of his "spiritual path" for Westerners and in an unusual display of discrimination and integrity amongst Rajneeshees publicly condemned these worthless sessions and disassociated himself from Rajneesh.
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