An Excerpt from Krishnamurti: The Open Door' by Mary Lutyens
Lady Emily sent the typescript of her book to Rajagopal, saying that she wanted it back as soon as possible. It arrived at Vasanta Vihar on December 24 at a time when K, according to Rajagopal, replying on the same day, was 'quite worn out' after 'eight weeks of steadily talking' and a few days before they left for Rajghat at Benares, but after glancing through it he, Rajagopal, felt it to be a most important record, intensely interesting, but that when it was published there would be many stirring reactions and to some people the story would be deeply disillusioning, even shattering; he would have many suggestions to make, impossible to write down then and there or at Rajghat where they were going for daily discussions with teachers and endless interviews; nor was it advisable to show it to K at Vasanta Vihar, or at Rajghat where he would be even more fatigued. K had said to him casually when he saw him reading it that one or two things should be omitted although he had not even looked at it. Rajagopal had replied to K that unless he himself read it through carefully it would not be fair to say what should be cut out; whereupon K had said that he would neither approve nor disapprove; he only wanted certain things eliminated-but, Rajagopal asked, how could he know what unless he had read it? Could it not wait until they came to London in April when Rajagopal would give her every help he could?
This answer was most unsatisfactory to Lady Emily, for it was obvious that Rajagopal did not want the book published without a good deal of alteration. K did read the typescript at Rajghat, though she was not to know this for three months. In the mean-time she worked on the manuscript with my help. Her editor at Hart-Davis, Milton Waidman, felt that there was not enough of her in the book.
From Rajghat K went to Bombay in February 9~4 for public meetings twice a week for a month, talking to children on some other mornings and giving innumerable interviews. This year a free school for poor children was started in Bombay by the Foundation for New Education as the Rishi Valley Trust had become the year before. Nandini Mehta was, and still is, the Director of this school, Bal Anand at Malabar Hill, for 130 children from the ages of four to fourteen who are admitted irrespective of caste or creed.
On March K and Rajagopal flew to Athens for a fortnight. I had evidently written to K enclosing a letter from my brother-in-law, Herbert Agar, praising my mother's book, for he wrote from Athens on March 23:
"Thank you very much for your letter enclosing Mr Agar's letter. It was nice of you to have taken the trouble to write at length about Mum's new book. I read it very carefully in Benares [this was the first time we had heard that he had read it] and my general impression of it was that it was good and read well. You see Mary I really wanted to talk it over with Mum and you, before it should appear in print. I am not, if I may say so, saying whether it should be published or not for that is Mum's and your responsibility; only I wanted to talk it over with you both to see if it was a wise thing to publish. I do not say it is not but by talking it over leisurely, we might come to some under-standing which might be valid. Please do not think that I am suggesting that you should not publish it but if it had been possible, I really would have liked to have talked it over with you both. If you won't misunderstand me it's up to you both to decide."
I also received a letter from Rajagopal saying that he had refrained from discussing the book with K so that we could have a decision from him which was his own but that as I would see from his letter to me he had made no such decision. Rajagopal had come to the conclusion that K would like us to come to the same decision as he had without telling us what that decision was. There was now nothing that my mother or I could do until K came to London.
After Athens and five days of discussion in Rome, K went to Il Leccio again for three weeks to stay with Vanda Scaravelli while Rajagopal went to Munich, Zurich and Paris to see about translations of K's books. K and Rajagopal both came to London for a fortnight at the beginning of May before flying back to America. K stayed with Mrs Bindley again but, as usual, saw Lady Emily every day. 1 also saw him several times. Of course we talked about the book but he seemed to have no wish to discuss it; he made no more objections to it at all and my mother and I both became so convinced that he was happy, even eager, for us to publish it that 1 delivered the final typescript to Hart-Davis while he was still in London. Rajagopal said afterward-that his opinion had not been asked. K knew that the book contained not only quotations from his letters to my mother but the full accounts written by him and Nitya of his 1922 experience. These accounts had never before been made public. Only a few typed copies of them were in existence which had been sent to Mrs Besant, Leadbeater, Lady Emily, Miss Dodge and one or two others. It was Rajagopal who had originally typed the manuscripts. K also approved the title we had chosen for the book-Candles in The Sun. The meaning behind this title was that the light of all those who had proclaimed the coming of the World Teacher had been dimmed when the sun himself appeared.
In May I954 K's second book was published by Gollancz (it had appeared earlier that year in America)-The First and Last Freedom. It was a much more substantial book than Education and the Significance of Life, with a ten-page foreword by Aldous Huxley. It was an immediate success and by the end of the year was in its sixth impression. The first part of the book consists of twenty-one chapters on such themes as What are We Seeking? Individual and Society, Self-Knowledge, Fear, Desire, Can Thinking Solve our Problems?, Self-Deception. The second half is made up of Questions and Answers taken from various talks. In his foreword Huxley wrote: 'In this volume of selections from the writings and recorded talks of Krishnamurti, the reader will find a clear contemporary statement of the fundamental human problem, together with an invitation to solve it in the only way in which it can be solved-for and by himself.' Huxley then quoted some passages integral to Krishnamurti's way of thought: 'There is life in men, not in society, not in organized religious systems, but in you and me.' 'Belief invariably separates. If vou have a belief, or when you seek security in your particular belief, you become separated from those who seek security in some other form of belief. All organized beliefs are based on separation, though they may preach brotherhood.' It was to 'protect himself from beliefs' that Krishnamurti had not read'any sacred literature'.
The Observer reviewer wrote about the book, '… for those who wish to listen, it will have a value beyond words', and the critic of The Times Literary Supplement: 'He is an artist both in vision and analysis', while Anne Morrow Lindbergh had written of the American edition, '… the sheer simplicity of what he has to say is breathtaking. The reader is given in one paragraph, even one sentence, enough to keep him exploring, questioning, thinking for days.'
A week of talks and discussions in New York at the Washington Irving High School, beginning on May 22, followed K's return to the States. They attracted large crowds, many new people having become interested since the publication of The First and Last Freedom. K stayed in New York with Frederick Pinter again. In writing to Lady Emily from there he made no mention of her book, only expressed his happiness that they had seen so much of each other in London. Nor did he mention his own book. He never refers to his own books and seems to take little interest in them; he has virtually never read them after publication, and now, for many years, has not read any book derived from his own talks or writings before publication. He carefully considers the titles, however, while leaving the editing in the hands of a team he trusts.
K remained quietly at Ojai for the summer. There were no talks there that year. Lady Emily's book was in page proof by the end of August, scheduled for publication in the autumn. Having sent an early proof copy to Rajagopal at Ojai, she was stunned with dismay when on September 3 she received a brief letter from K telling her that the book must on no account be published. She immediately sent a cable to him: 'Your sudden and unexpected opposition to publication most distressing after your often expressed willingness to leave decision to me. Physical difficulties and vast expense of withdrawal now probably insuperable at this stage.' K's answer to this was a longer letter written on the same day:
My dearest Mother,
A few days ago I wrote saying that your new book should in no circumstances be published. It will really do a great deal of damage to the work I am doing; it will bring unnecessary and unimportant things into prominence; it will upset a great many people, causing bitterness etc. This is not what you want to do and certainly will not aid in what 1 am doing and I am certain of that. It will create a great deal of superficial and temporary interest and sensation, which is the last thing one wants.
I have been thinking a great deal about it and 1 am deeply convinced it should not come out at all. You may also accept my conviction and if you do you must persuade Mary too. Please, I am very serious about this, Mum, and the book will do perhaps irreparable harm. 1 say perhaps not that 1 am uncertain about it but you and Mary may feel different. But as the book is unfortunately concerned about me, what I say must be fully taken into account. So please, mum, out of love and respect for everything, do stop it. Don't hesitate about it. It is not too late.
Do please listen to what I have written.
We shall have to consider the financial side of it but please I beg of you, do not let that consideration stop the book from [not] being published and sold. This is much too serious to let our personal feelings spoil something very real. So, Mum, I beg you and Mary to stop it, without hesitation.
With love as usual
The whole tone of this letter was so unlike K in its definiteness that we at once thought that some influence had been brought to bear on him and, without the slightest justification, suspected Aldous Huxley; yet no one but Rajagopal could have had time to read the proof copy; it is doubtful whether K himself could have had time to do more than glance at it. K, when tackled on this point by letter, denied that anyone had influenced him-it was 'quite untrue and unfair to suggest such a thing'. Rajagopal when appealed to disclaimed all responsibility, financial or otherwise, for K's decision; he could not possibly spend money, he wrote, subscribed for K's work for such a purpose. One might have thought the money well spent if the publication of the book was going to damage K's work. Some miserable days followed for my mother as we tried to get the book stopped. One of the things that hurt her most was that the partners in Hart-Davis, who had formerly felt that K had come out so magnificently in the book, were now angry and disillusioned with him.
Fortunately Rupert Hart-Davis, my mother's devoted friend, released her from her contract when he saw how unhappy she was, but, of course, the firm had to be reimbursed, not only for the cost of production but for overheads. My mother could not afford to do this. K offered to pay the whole sum himself in instalments out of his income from Miss Dodge. This we would not allow, and, anyway, it would have been no security, for the income would stop at his death. In the end my husband and I found the necessary money. From the draft of a letter, I find that I was able to assure K on September 21 that the matter was settled:
"Mother looks about ten years older and is very shaky since the bombshell of your letter came. She has hardly been able to sleep and can think of nothing else. She is of course at the moment very unhappy and feeling deeply humiliated over all the trouble she has caused to the firm of Hart-Davis, but that is nothing, I know, to what she would have felt if she had not been able to comply with your wishes. That she would never have got over; this I hope will pass in time." K wrote back on September 28 to say how profoundly sorry he was to have caused such unhappiness. "I am really thankful that the publishers have behaved so generously. Thank goodness the book was stopped in time. If it could not be, and knowing I wanted it stopped, it would have been an impossible position for Mum."
K was not far behind this letter. On October 16 he came to London without Rajagopal. He stayed with Mrs Bindley and saw my mother and me together the next morning. She asked him at once, 'What would you have done if I had not been able to stop the book? Would you ever have spoken to me again?' to which he replied with his usual sweetness, 'Really, Mum, as if it would have made any difference.' He sat holding her hand for a long time. It was difficult to reconcile this with the uncompromising firmness of his recent letters. My rather unfriendly feelings towards him were entirely dissipated and my mother looked happy for the first time for weeks. She and I both gained the strange impression that he would not really have minded very much if the book had been published, and we could not help suspecting again that there had indeed been some pressure put on him to get it stopped and that now he was alone in London that pressure had been lifted.
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