Wednesday 2nd October 1996
I came that afternoon to visit, Elizabeth seemed a little
tired but cheerful. Second of October is an official holiday
in India and my office was also closed for the day. The
lovely young Hungarian lady, who helped Elizabeth to
classify and arrange her paintings, was sitting with her.
Elizabeth was determined to tell me the story of her
father's last paintings. So I settled down and listened.
"You have already quite a few stories about my
father?" Elizabeth queried before starting. I confirmed
this. "In the last period in Sümeg ... You know his
younger brother 'Mishi Batshi', who was in the army, was
transferred to Sümeg. So, as my grandfather had passed
away, they thought it was better that they stay
together." Dagmar enquired, "who was this 'we'
dearest Elizabeth?" She replied, "my father and my
aunt, 'Lala Neni' (my mother's sister) because she remained
also alone after grandfather's death. My uncle had a good
accommodation. He asked them to stay with him. There in Sümeg,
my mother and I visited them, when we came for those three
weeks from England. So, that was also the last time we have
My father devoted to his early longing, although he
had not painted much lately ... music ... had come into his
life. There was a neighbour, a lady, a music teacher. She
allowed him to play her piano and other instruments, even
corrected him when he made mistakes. And her desire was that
my father should paint a portrait of all the great composers
whom she loved. So my father obliged. He made a great study
of all the composers. And painted a series of paintings of
great composers of the last century. They where not alive
but he painted them in oil, maybe from photos but also from
his inner vision. So these compositions must have been very
beautiful because they were my father's last works.
And when Géza (Professor Bethlenfalvy from the
Hungarian Information and Cultural Centre in New Delhi) went
to Sümeg, the son of that lady had already taken father's
painting to Budapest. Then Géza went to Budapest and tried
to discuss with the son to part with these paintings. But he
would not. So we all feel that my father's last works are in
the hands of someone who is not a real lover of art."
Mary had been hovering around us for some time, trying to
serve us lunch, as it was almost three o'clock in the
afternoon. We had a lovely lunch and, after that, carried on
with our talk.
wanted to know, "that meeting in Sümeg, was that your
last meeting with your father, Elizabeth?" She
confirmed it. "Would you remember how old you where
then, dearest Elizabeth?" Asked Dagmar, "perhaps
around twentyfive?" Elizabeth said, "no, no, much
more. thirty, forty, something like that." Dagmar
mused, "yes, could be."
Elizabeth suddenly said, "not thirty! Because I
was fifty when my mother died." But Dagmar
spontaneously intervened, "you cannot have been fifty
when your mother died. Because your mother died when she was
sixty. She cannot have had a baby when she was ten! Sorry,
sometimes my brain works," Dagmar smiled. But Elizabeth
repeated, "I was fifty when my mother died."
Dagmar asked, "how can that be?" And Elizabeth
said, "I don't know."
all of a sudden she realized!
Monika and I burst into peals of laughter. For me is was a
special delight to see Elizabeth laughing so heartily. I
recapitulated, Elizabeth was around forty when her mother
died. So she must have been around twenty-eight when she last
met her father.
carried on, "how much older was your father than your
mother? He must have been considerably older."
Elizabeth agreed, "yes. Because mother was only
nineteen years old and father was ten or twelve years
After a long silence, Elizabeth pointed out,
"there is a painting of Krishnamurti." Dagmar
asked surprised, "this is J. Krishnamurti?"
Elizabeth said, "yes. When he was around thirty years
Krishnamurti renounced in 1929 the messiah-hood the Chennai
Theosophical Society had groomed him for since childhood. He
settled in California which he used as a base for his
decades of writing books and travelling around the world
lecturing on self-reliance. He described his work as a
mission to set human beings 'absolutely, unconditionally
free' from all conditioning, including that imposed by
organized religion and spiritual leaders. In doing so, he
was ironically regarded by millions as a spiritual leader.
He described himself as 'sort of a philosopher'. His message
is contained in his abdication speech, 'truth is a pathless
land. You cannot approach it by any religion, any sect. You
must look within yourselves for the incorruptibility of the
self. Be free from all fear, from the fear of religion, from
the fear of salvation, from the fear of spirituality, from
the fear of love, from the fear of death, from the fear of
Krishnamurti was born in Madanapelle, (Chennai),
Tamil Nadu, India, on the 25th of May 1897 and he died in
Pine Cottage, Ojai, USA, on 17th February 1986.
(Courtesy: "SPAN", the American Embassy
Publication, New Delhi)