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Elizabeth Brunner







Fairy Tales around

3rd August 1996...

her talk about J. Krishnamurti



Saturday, 3rd August 1996... 

Alright! Not laugh but, dearest Elizabeth, would you tell us about the saintly people you painted when you were in Delhi. Did it mean that you went out of your way to meet them in temples and mosques?" 

Elizabeth with her Chinmayananda painting

            Elizabeth replied, "yes. And, for instance, I met and painted Swami Chinmayananda. I also met Krishnamurti because I knew Pupul Jayakar and I used to go regularly to her meetings ... " Dagmar asked Elizabeth, "was J. Krishnamurti in Delhi before he went to America?" Elizabeth replied, "yes." Mr. Lutoria confirmed this, "he stayed with that lady in Green Park." Dagmar said, "I didn't know." And Laurence supplied the following:

                Pupul Jayakar was a very important person in the field of culture. Reviving the Indian traditional art forms, handicrafts, philosophy, etc.. She wrote many excellent books. She was a very towering figure, extremely scholarly, learned. As one of her last books, she wrote the biography of J. Krishnamurti. Pupul Jayakar was born on 11.09.1915 in Etawa (Uttar Pradesh) and she died on 28.03.1997 at Bombay.

            "So, you went to attend one of the sessions with J. Krishnamurti, dearest Elizabeth," asked Laurence, "and there you painted him?" Elizabeth answered, "no. He came to Bangalore when we were there. We were living in a rented house found through the Theosophical Society. There my mother painted her life-work. She closed herself up and practically fasted, eating only once a day. And there she painted those things which will remain a secret. Her whole realizations are in those paintings. 

            When she was completely alone ... I mean I lived there also ... But she was in her room and only painted days and nights, as I mentioned before. She painted her visions and realizations.

            The fourth house from ours over there was occupied by Krishnamurti. So he came over to see us, came to see my mother's work. And mother painted him, his spiritual side. There might be a spiritual explanation to it. I painted him also, but as he really was. And one of these paintings was given to the Theosophical Society in Madras.

            Dagmar asked, "is J. Krishnamurti linked to the Theosophical Society? Excuse my ignorance, but I have no idea." Elizabeth answered, "yes. Krishnamurti was taken into the Society when he was very young, as they saw in the boy the capacity of becoming a world teacher."

The Krishnamurti painting

            Laurence carried on and said, "yes, there is so much to learn here in India. But you see, we Westerners have been trained to be approved of by what we do, not what we are. And most often we don't like ouselves, we don't want to be, hiding behind what we do. It is very difficult because we have been trained this way, to do this, or do that. How to feel in harmony?"

            Elizabeth explained, "for instance, in Santiniketan.. You can imagine ... My mother had the same education as you two ... I am different because so many changes happened in my life. So, for instance, a lady could get angry because the table-cloth is not placed properly on the table and it will irritate her to the core. Why was it not put in the proper way? ... But the whole of Santiniketan moved on in its own way ... So, you had to accept it ... To be able to stay harmoniously together. And it is a big big job! Harmony."

            Then Laurence stated, "the Brunner's, to my mind, came to India as learners, right from the beginning. That is what is so extraordinary. That is why I admire them so much. They have come in full humility. They have never taken pride in the great people who posed for their paintings and who have been among their closest. They thrived and searched for the highest, the most elevating here in India."

            Elizabeth had more wise words for us about life, "let go of things ... let it go away ... and then there might be a beautiful flower opening. Don't grab, let it go ... then there might be a song ... or something like admiring a blooming tree." Laurence said, "yes, when we open up, we might experience something beautiful." Elizabeth, "or even strength." Dagmar asked, "action?" Elizabeth, "but action in its proper time. Otherwise action also creates confusion. Action uses its strength to hit you back. And you suffer. You want to save, and you suffer.

            All I can say is, everything has its time. Let go of things. This world is now like this, earlier it was organized in some other way. People suffered then and now. These innocent people, they are not knowing the foundation of things, so ... Innocence has the gift to take things as they come, good or bad ... But being intelligent, everything is made difficult. That is what is the most difficult situation." And Dagmar remembered, "some years ago, when we lived in Udaipur (Rajasthan), and life was very difficult for us, I wished sometimes I was as stupid as a cow, to think limited and to know nothing."  

Wasif Dagar singing with Laurance and Qamar on the tanpuras performing during Laurance new flat inaugural function

            A long time had passed. I had gone out of India for my annual vacation. I had seen Elizabeth several times before and after. Laurence had had her inaugural function for her new flat which was blessed by the presence of Elizabeth as well as Wasif, the son of the Dagar Brothers. Lovely people had come, particularly Dr. and Mrs. Péter Hajtó from the Hungarian Cultural Centre who made it possible for Elizabeth to be moved in the official van. That morning was a special delight.


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Copyright © Dagmar Barua 1997 Sass Brunner East West Trust, 75, Rabindra Nagar, New Delhi - 110 003