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Elizabeth Brunner







Fairy Tales around

2nd October 1996

Elizabeth talks about her father's last paintings



Wednesday 2nd October 1996

When 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 seen them.

            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."


            Dear 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.

            Dagmar 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."   -   And all of a sudden she realized!

            Elizabeth, 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.

            Dagmar 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 older."

            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 old."


                Jiddu 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 life itself.'

                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)



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