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Part 1 of 5

The Story of Happy Valley [Ojai Valley School, Upper Campus] [The Ojai Foundation] [Besant Hill School of Happy Valley]
Compiled and Narrated by Radha Rajagopal Sloss
The Happy Valley Foundation, Ojai, California
2nd Edition Copyright © 2006 Radha Rajagopal Sloss
Original Edition Copyright © 1998 Radha Rajagopal Sloss
Chapters XI and XII Copyright © 2016
The Happy Valley Foundation, P.O. Box 804, Ojai, California 93024-0804



Osel [Rangdrol Mukpo/Sakyong Mipham] was in boarding school in Ojai, California. We thought that an intense residential situation might help overcome his difficulties learning to read and write in English...

The day of his enthronement [1976], Gesar and I were driven by members of the Dorje Kasung to the dharmadhatu in Berkeley... Osel was also there to witness the enthronement. He was in boarding school at the Ojai Valley School near Santa Barbara at this time, a school founded on, the teachings of Krishnamurti and Rudolf Steiner. He was maturing into a much more confident and outgoing young man [14 yrs. old].

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian


Annie Besant, 1927

In loving memory of my mother Rosalind Rajagopal

Robert Logan, c. 1927

The Happy Valley

There lies a valley in the West,
Between the ocean and the stars,
Surrounded by a magic crest
Of mountains seamed with scars.

There stolidly the cactus clings,
His thorns with fairy flowers crowned,
While the more daring yucca springs
Impatient from the ground.

The boisterous torrents which assail
The echoing boulders of the steep
Grow drowsy as they reach the vale
And on its meadows sleep.

Citrus and almonds and the tang
Of eucalyptus scent the breeze
And fruit and flower together hang
On dark leaved orange trees.

And there the gopher guards his home
And there the lark protects her nest
While hillside flanks of purple loam
Are by the plow caressed.
And there the sower as he throws
His golden handfuls to the air
Beholds in visions as he shows

A mightier Sower there
Whose seeds of wisdom, love and power
Shall in that valley find increase
Until the human race shall flower
in brotherhood and peace.

-- Robert R. Logan, 1928


Sources of information for this book include: seventy-five years of The Happy Valley Foundation minutes and relevant correspondence, as well as the first twenty years of The Happy Valley School Board minutes. Of great value was the fortuitous discovery of Frank Gerard’s diary.

The author is indebted to The Happy Valley Foundation trustees for valuable insights, corrections, and anecdotes.

Photographs are from the archives of the The Happy Valley Foundation, The Happy Valley School, and the private collections of Rosalind and D. Rajagopal, Erma Williams Zalk, Beatrice Wood, Mabel Zimmers, Austin Bee, Jorge Uribe, and Radha Sloss.


• frontispiece
• “The Happy Valley”
• Contents
• Illustrations
• Preface
• I Annie Besant
• II High Ideals and the Realities of Real Estate
• III Holding on in the Great Depression
• IV Onward Through the War Years
• V The Greening of Happy Valley
• VI Nuts, Bolts, and Principles
• VII The Time Has Come
• VIII Losses and Changes
• IX Through the Looking Glass
• X The Vision Revisited
• XI Down the Rabbit Hole
• XII Wonderland
• Endnotes
• Appendix A: “The Guest Lecturer”
• Appendix B: “Aun Aprendo”
• Appendix C: “Qualifications of Trustees”
• Appendix D: Frank Gerard’s Map
• Appendix E: Happy Valley Foundation Study Map
• Appendix F: List of Happy Valley Trustees
• Appendix G: Happy Valley Cultural Center Events 2001 – 2005
• Appendix H: M:OME Renditions
• Index


• Annie Besant 1927
• Robert Logan c. 1927
• Gathering at Arya Vihara c. 1927
• Annie Besant and Krishnamurti, Ojai, 1927
• Krishnamurti c. 1927
• Annie Besant c. 1895
• D. Rajagopal c. 1927
• Happy Valley 1927
• Grace and George Hall
• Star camp cafeteria c. 1927
• Sara and Robert Logan, Ojai, c. 1930
• Louis Zalk as a young man
• Robert Logan 1927
• Robert Logan and Rosalind Rajagopal c. 1940
• Rosalind Rajagopal c. 1943
• Gathering at the old barn, Happy Valley, 1946
• The old barn 1997
• Tucker’s farm house 1997
• Louis Zalk, Ojai, c. 1950
• Gathering at Adobe House 1948
• Adobe House 1997
• Rajagopal, Louis Zalk, Robert Logan c. 1945
• Rajagopal, Krishnamurti, Maria and Aldous Huxley c. 1947
• Happy Valley School early 1950s
• Krishnamurti, Arya Vihara, 1946
• Aldous Huxley c. 1950
• Happy Valley School performance, Twelfth Night, 1947
• Happy Valley School folk dance exhibition 1950s
• Lili Kraus 1954
• Dr. Ferrando with students early 1950s
• Rosalind with students mid-1950s
• Jorge A.Uribe c. 1978
• Meeting on Happy Valley 1968
• Franklin Lacey c. 1958
• Austin Bee c. 1955
• Happy Valley School 1997
• Saro Vihara c. 1930
• Beatrice Wood (Beato) and James Sloss, Ojai, 1967
• Logan and Wood Houses 1997
• Beato and Rosalind c. 1982
• Sean Wellesly-Miller at Bio-shelter foundation c. 1979
• Joan Halifax, Virginia Coyle, and Radha Sloss, Happy Valley, 1988
• Happy Valley Foundation meeting 1988
• Trustees at lunch, Logan House, 1988
• Rosalind with Molly, Happy Valley, c. 1988
• Dennis Rice 1997
• Director’s House 1997
• Arrow House 1997
• Jorge Uribe, Happy Valley School commencement talk, 1988
• Austin Bee, after his Happy Valley School commencement talk, 1982
• Yurt 1997
• Happy Valley School dormitory fire 1990
• James Sloss with Sindhu at the Happy Valley School gazebo 1988
• Helen Bee and John Gorsuch
• Logan House c. 1988
• Walnut trees gone 1995
• James Sloss, as Chairman
• Assembly/Theater foundation, December 1997
• Happy Valley School dormitories 1997
• Beato 1985
• David Anderson, Interim Director 2004-2006
• Matt Storey and Family
• Kevin Wallace, Curator of the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts
• Paul Amadio, Head of Happy Valley School 2006
• Besant Hill School and Center for the Arts Sign
• Happy Valley as Annie saw it
• Randy Bertin, 2015 Besant Hill School Graduation
• Aerial Photo, school campus
• Snow on Topa Topa
• Gladys & Franklin Lacey
• Beato Atelier
• Lili Kraus’ Steinway
• Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts Permanent Collection
• Children’s Art Workshop
• Heidi Lehwalder with the Harp Designed by Carlos Salzedo
• Heidi Lehwalder, Artistic Director of Chamber On The Mountain
• Sunset on Topa Topa


One of the beauty spots of the world is the Ojai Valley in California. Mountains ring it round; it has remained secluded till recent times, and is still but sparsely inhabited. In winter snow lies on the high mountain-tops, but does not touch the Valley. The climate is superb; orange-trees laden with golden fruit grow in parts of it, apricots and other fruit-trees in other parts. The sun shines out from behind a sky of deepest blues and, as it sets behind the mountain peaks, it paints the mountainsides in various purples and violets, and, when clouds float in the clear air and stream across the blue, it paints them in deepest crimson and glowing orange, and through the gaps we see lakes and rivulets of greenish blue, a panorama of gorgeous splendor, that I have only seen rivaled in Egypt or, in the rainy season, in India.

The Valley itself has stretches of flat land broken by curving mounds and hillocks of considerable height, with the great mountains, barren and rugged, holding within their protecting arms the smiling Vale from end to end. Such is the setting for the cradle of the New Civilization in America.

-- Annie Besant, Ojai, 19271

This is the story of how that vision became a reality. It all began with a visit to Ojai valley. The vision was based on the conviction of Annie Besant and those who believed with her that certain spiritual ideals can bring about practical and effective social changes, alleviating misery and human violence. Though her vision may not be completely fulfilled, it is an ongoing process presently being realized through the Happy Valley School and the community slowly forming on the land.

Considering the seventy years that have passed since her description, remarkably little desecration has marred the Ojai valley and virtually none in Happy Valley itself. Growth is inevitable, some ugly, some tolerable. Sometimes sheer economic restriction does more to protect scenic beauty than the best of organized efforts. In the case of Happy Valley there has been time for careful and deliberate development. As we are about to complete the high school campus, it seems appropriate to look back at our origins, to reiterate and contemplate the visions and efforts of the original guardians of this land.

I. Annie Besant

Unquestionably Happy Valley began with Annie Besant and her vision. Annie Besant had been involved in various progressive movements of the nineteenth century before she joined the Theosophical Society in 1889. As an atheist she had worked through a wide range of social reforms including birth control, women’s suffrage and trade unions. She had been a Fabian Socialist. She had achieved fame in reform circles for organizing one of the first union strikes for the London “match girls.”

Along the way she came to realize that the worldwide improvements of the human condition, for which she and her fellow workers strove so arduously, needed a much deeper revolution, a basic change in human nature; otherwise there could be no lasting social transformation. Her early experiences with orthodox Christianity precluded her turning back in that direction. She discovered instead the Secret Doctrine, an evolutionary system of human spiritual development through which human salvation could be achieved. Written by H.P. Blavatsky, the co-founder of The Theosophical Society, the Secret Doctrine combined Hindu/Buddhist doctrines of reincarnation and karma into an elaborately laid out divine plan. The plan was thought to be guided by a brotherhood of adepts, (masters or superhuman agents) dedicated to helping humanity and preparing for the world teacher who would lead humanity to a new civilization. Throughout the ages it had been the work of this brotherhood to bring to the human world, at regular intervals, the guidance of a spiritual teacher such as the Buddha and Jesus Christ had given in their times.

The somewhat confusing concept of “root races” was woven throughout the doctrine whereby humanity, over long periods of time evolved through a series of mother or root races (each including seven subraces), the word race, referring to different human qualities or potentials. According to Blavatsky, in this present age, humanity is largely made up of the fifth root race with an emphasis on the mental and technological aspects of the human mind. The sixth subrace, already being born, would have a greatly developed intuitive and spiritual potential, enabling it to recognize a common oneness of all life.

This sixth subrace would comprise the “seed” people who would herald and provide for the coming sixth root race. California was looked upon as a probable location for this new development. Seismic activity in the Pacific rim conjured up associations with Atlantis, the lost continent, as the ultimate home of the sixth root race. A new continent would arise over eons in the Pacific ocean. Rumors of exceptional children being born in Southern California bolstered these imaginative speculations. Energy would soon gather like clouds of welcome rain over the pristine Ojai Valley.

Indigo children, according to a pseudoscientific New Age concept, are children who are believed to possess special, unusual, and sometimes supernatural traits or abilities. The idea is based on concepts developed in the 1970s by Nancy Ann Tappe and further developed by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober. The concept of indigo children gained popular interest with the publication of a series of books in the late 1990s and the release of several films in the following decade. A variety of books, conferences and related materials have been created surrounding belief in the idea of indigo children and their nature and abilities. The interpretations of these beliefs range from their being the next stage in human evolution, in some cases possessing paranormal abilities such as telepathy, to the belief that they are more empathetic and creative than their peers.

No scientific studies give credibility to the existence of indigo children or their traits. Some parents choose to label their children who have been diagnosed with learning disabilities as an indigo child to alternatively diagnose them. Critics view this as a way for parents to avoid considering pediatric treatment or a psychiatric diagnosis. Some lists of traits used to describe indigo children have also been criticized for being vague enough to be applied to most people, a form of the Forer effect.

-- Indigo children, by Wikipedia


Annie Besant was an activist and not one to set her sights on another millennium. The purchase of what she would name the Happy Valley and the establishment of the Happy Valley Foundation would be her final achievement in a long life of extraordinary achievements.

Early on as a Fabian Socialist she had recognized that education was the essential element of progressive reform. And now her goal was to establish a nucleus of those committed to the universal brotherhood of man, “without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color” (a remarkably radical statement for the late nineteenth century). Among her selection for foundation members were those particularly committed to this principle. Coming, as Theosophists, from widely different geographic and cultural traditions, among others, the brahmanical teacher, rabbinical Judaism and the Quakers’ faith in “gentle persuasion,” they joined in a common goal at Happy Valley.

The year of 1926 would prove to be a landmark in the complex relationships around Annie Besant. She was traveling westward with an entourage including her protégé, the probable World Teacher J. Krishnamurti, D. Rajagopal, his future wife Rosalind Williams, and Fritz Kunz a dedicated and highly placed member of the Theosophical Society. Her arrival in Ojai was awaited with unsuppressed joy by numerous members of the local Theosophical headquarters at Krotona, already well-established in Ojai.

Krishnamurti, familiar with the valley for the past four years, hoped to establish a center here where he could hold talks and discussions. Fritz Kunz had been asked to scout for land for this purpose.

Annie had a parallel purpose. An experiment in living in which the concepts of brotherhood, nonviolence, and what Albert Schweitzer would much later call a “reverence for life,” had been foremost in Annie Besant’s mind for some years. She recognized the efficacy of starting with well directed small groups, drawn together in work and study, by a greater purpose. She realized that the results could not be forced. There must develop within each individual those ideals that would create a better society at large. She had not yet focused on a specific site for such a pilot community. But awaiting her in Ojai was a vast acreage of virgin land, said to be sacred to the Chumash.


The seeds of Happy Valley’s future had been planted two years before Annie Besant arrived in Ojai for the first time on October 1, 1926. The idea of a school was forming in the mind of a young Theosophist, Frank Gerard. Frank had been involved in trade in India in 1923, where he had known Annie Besant and other eminent members of the Society and he had been a devotee of Krishnamurti since 1915.

Frank first came to Ojai in February of 1924, with his wife Mary and infant daughter, for a weekend visit at the home of the well-to-do Theosophist Mary Gray. He hoped also to call on Krishnamurti (or Krishna, as he was familiarly called) and his ailing brother Nitya, who were in residence next door at Arya Vihara, the redwood ranch house recently purchased for them by some well-to-do Theosophists. Frank was attempting to establish himself as a businessman in Los Angeles but to his great distress, he was finding that

L.A. was just about as rotten a place to conduct business as it would be possible to find anywhere in the world….

All the way from Ventura to the Ojai I was conscious of a growing sense of future importance and as soon as I came in to the Valley I knew that my future would be in some way connected with the place.2

Frank investigated various real estate possibilities in the area. He also became convinced of the advantages to the society in procuring the local newspaper to better prepare the way for the coming of the World Teacher in that community. He was concerned that because the present owners of the newspaper were Catholics in the process of building a large boys school near the Theosophical headquarters of Krotona, there might develop some opposition to these Theosophical goals. Meanwhile, economic necessity compelled him to take a teaching job at Thacher School, a well-established boarding school for boys.

This job further convinced Frank that there should be a Theosophical school in Ojai. While he enjoyed teaching, he found there was “not much scope for individuality on the part of members of the staff,” at Thacher School nor any accommodation for vegetarians. Just as well that he was told he would not be needed there the following year. He had his hands full preparing Arya Vihara for the return of the “brothers.” Nitya was reportedly in dire ill health.

Fritz Kunz was already staying at Arya Vihara when in that summer of 1925, the party arrived from Australia consisting of Krishna, Nitya and Rosalind Williams, who had been caring for Nitya during his last recurrence of tuberculosis.

Only a few days elapsed before Frank and Fritz talked to Krishna about buying the local newspaper the Ojai. They gained his approval and raised the $11,000 necessary from private sources. By August 1, Frank was running the paper and the attached printing business, encountering only minor suspicion from the local residents who were aware that he was a Theosophist.

At Nitya’s request, his friend D. Rajagopal, having just completed his L.L.D. degree from Cambridge University, returned to Ojai during the summer to help Rosalind with Nitya’s care and, as it turned out, to be prepared by Nitya to shoulder responsibility in the burgeoning activity around the World Teacher. (Rajagopal, like Krishnamurti, had been a young protégé of Annie Besant and would remain involved, officially and unofficially with Happy Valley.)

There was also the problem of sufficient water at Arya Vihara for domestic needs, which was only temporarily solved by drawing on Mary Gray’s well next door. Frank took Krishna and Rajagopal down to the bottom of McAndrew Road to consider buying fifteen acres west of the Marengo farm, where he believed a well could provide water for Arya Vihara.3 Subsequently Fritz was able to raise funds from the Star Trust, which had been established for the World Teacher, for a down payment on the Marengo acreage and the development of the well.

Although Nitya was far from recovered, Krishna, Rosalind, and Rajagopal were summoned by Annie Besant to attend the Theosophical Golden Jubilee in Adyar, India. Krishna was convinced that nothing could happen to his brother as the masters had assured him (via the authorized occult communicator Bishop Leadbeater) that Nitya was essential to the work. When news came of Nitya’s death, as their ship passed through the Suez Canal, Krishna was shocked to the core. He would never again rely on the masters for guidance and would eventually doubt their very existence. This new perspective would have a profound future effect on his relationship to Happy Valley.

Meanwhile Frank, being a practical-minded man was, with Fritz’s help, busily developing the new well for Arya Vihara. Water had to be pumped one mile up hill. Eventually pipes and pump were installed and a good flow of water established. In the course of this project, Fritz and Frank had explored the seventy-acre Sarzotti Mesa, accessible by a rough dirt track from the foot of McAndrew Road.

Both men felt it would be the perfect site for a future school. The views of the valley and upper Ojai were spectacular. Gently rolling terrain, studded with oaks and eucalyptus, overlooked Tucker’s walnut orchards to the south.

There was one major drawback, aside from that of no decent right of way from the north. “The oil rights are in the hands of other parties but we hope to get these in time,” Frank wrote optimistically in his diary. He could not have guessed at the ups and downs, disputes and worries that would intermittently surround this oil rights issue and remain, to present times, not entirely resolved. Undeterred by any discouraging premonitions, Fritz and Frank struggled with options, bargaining with Sarzotti to obtain land sufficient for the possible future school and community that they both felt to be a necessary component in the grand scheme. Fritz was so convinced about the future purpose that he optioned, on his own account, another eighty acres to the east of Sarzotti Mesa. Frank attempted to track down the owners of the oil rights on the Sarzotti parcel but found only confused records of one of the owners and that the other had died, whereupon he abandoned the matter for the time being.

They were also concerned about a clear right of way and recognized the importance of obtaining a private road but again were reluctant to lose the Sarzotti deal and so proceeded with the down payments. Later Fritz would find it difficult to explain why they proceeded without first clearing up these two issues, and the resulting sense of criticism he felt in later days might have had something to do with his discouragement and ultimate withdrawal from the whole enterprise.

Finally in the summer of 1926, word came that Annie Besant and her entourage could be expected in Ojai in October, after attending the Theosophical Society Convention in Chicago. Upon Nitya’s death, Rajagopal had been appointed the General Secretary/Treasurer of the Order of the Star, an organization founded with enthusiasm, in the face of some criticism from other Theosophists, by Annie Besant and Leadbeater to prepare the way for the World Teacher. The charismatic Krishnamurti as the candidate for this role had galvanized public interest far beyond the reaches of Theosophists. Frank urged Fritz to attend the Chicago convention in case discussion came up regarding a California center. It is unlikely however, that this was an opportune moment to get serious attention from any of the “top bananas” as they had jokingly been dubbed by Rajagopal. Annie Besant had to deal with a burdensome amount of publicity, some fair, some humorous, and some unpleasant. Headlines ranged from “the Messiah in Tennis shoes” to “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” (referring to Rosalind as a member of the party). Rosalind was sent home to her family in Ojai and Annie embarked on a strenuous lecture tour. (In Everett, Washington, she met a boy of twelve, Austin Bee, who would one day play a vital part in the development of Happy Valley, and who would be for many years a trustee as well as Chairman of the Happy Valley Foundation.) The “top bananas” were all re-united at Arya Vihara on October 1.

II. High Ideals and the Realities of Real Estate

Annie Besant was accustomed to coping with the whirlwinds which she herself generated wherever she went. While Ojai must have appeared to her as a haven of tranquility, for Frank, Fritz, and the other Theosophists involved in arranging for her arrival, life in Ojai was anything but tranquil. There were lectures attended by such celebrities as the dancer, Isadora Duncan. Local Theosophists had already discovered that they were an attraction for the nearby world of Hollywood and soon the arrival of the World Teacher would intensify this magnetism.

In this euphoric atmosphere most people were carried away by the presence of Annie and Krishna. She speaking of the objectives of the Society and he of his love for the valley. After nine days the whole party departed to continue their tour of America and then to return to India. Evidently Frank had not found an opportunity to discuss with any of them his ideas for a school or to show them again the land that he and Fritz were now so convinced was the perfect location for that enterprise.

Frank and his family moved in as caretakers of Arya Vihara, only to receive notice a few days later that Annie and Krishna had decided not to go to India that winter but would return instead to Ojai. The Gerards considered it an honor to have stayed in a place “which will some day be of historical fame” and cheerfully packed up and moved out.

Fritz, overworked by organizational problems, had become ill with pneumonia and had taken off for Mexicali without a chance to speak to Annie on her return. This left Frank alone to press on with ideas for the land acquisitions, the school, and a center for the World Teacher. After several conferences with Krishna and Rajagopal he felt he was not getting the hoped for response.

Gathering at Arya Vihara, c. 1927. Fritz and Dora Kunz, Max Wardall, Judge Holland, Beatrice Wood, Reginald Pole, Mary Gerard and child, A. P. Warrington

There are a great many different sets of opinions and the whole matter is very much complicated by ‘snap judgments’ on the part of those who have not been closely in touch with the situation. 4

But this slight setback was allayed by the presence of Annie who

is most wonderfully charming and genial. Words cannot describe the perfection of her life. She radiates love and happiness and wisdom. Her talks are full of life and hope and encouragement. 5

Frank still did not know that Krishna, both spiritually and psychologically, was moving away from the Theosophical view of the masters and was seeking another base from which to launch “the teachings.” In private, Krishna was tentatively describing his consciousness as merging with the Buddha, a concept that was puzzling to Annie, but with her characteristic loyalty she left him free to find his own path. That this path would eventually lead him across the valley – away from Happy Valley and onto his own turf was as yet unforeseen.

She never fully resigned herself to his “blending of consciousness” theory. But at the same time, she gave him her unflinching public support and did her utmost to reconcile the two views. 6

Annie Besant and Krishnamurti, Ojai, 1927

At eighty years of age, Annie Besant still retained the pilgrim spirit that had guided her whole life and she would not deny this freedom to another, no matter what the consequences to her own dream. George Bernard Shaw wrote that:

Annie Besant is a woman of swift decisions. She sampled many movements and societies before she finally found herself; and her transitions were not gradual; she always came into a movement with a bound, and was preaching the new faith before the old one was shaken….One day I was speaking to…the editor of the Star I glanced at the proofs…one of them headed “Why I became a Theosophist.” I immediately looked…for the signature, and saw that it was Annie Besant. Staggered by this unprepared blow, which meant to me the loss of a powerful colleague and of a friendship that had become part of my daily life, I rushed to her office in Fleet Street and there delivered myself of an unbounded denunciation of Theosophy in general, of female inconstancy, and in particular of H.P.Blavatsky, one of whose books – I forget whether it was The Secret Doctrine or Isis Unveiled – had done all the mischief. The worst of it was that I had given her this book myself as one that she might like to review… She listened to me with complete kindness and genuine amusement, and then said that she had become a vegetarian (as I was) and that perhaps it had enfeebled her mind. In short, she was for the first time able to play with me; she was no longer in the grip of her pride; she had after many explorations found her path and come to see the universe and herself in their real perspective.

Meanwhile Fritz had been discussing plans with Krishna and Rajagopal for the development of a center for the World Teacher’s work. Frank persuaded Krishna to appoint a committee for this purpose.

Where the center was to be was as yet undetermined. George Hall, an active realtor as well as a Theosophist, was pushing for a tract of land adjacent to Krotona at the west end of the valley. At that point Krishna was unimpressed with the property. He persuaded Annie and the whole entourage from Arya Vihara, including Sara and Robert Logan, two prominent Philadelphia Theosophists, to go and see the land over which Frank and Fritz had “sweated so much blood.”

One can imagine, given the issues and personalities involved, that this whole process of selecting a site for such momentous happenings was not entirely smooth.

Krishnamurti, c. 1927

On the one hand George Hall and most of the leading Theosophists were bent on having the new center adjacent to Krotona. But Fritz and Frank had become convinced over the past months, and for reasons more esoteric and aesthetic than practical, that the site should be at the other end of the valley. Rajagopal with his characteristic caution was preeminently deterred by the lack of oil and access rights. Fritz was somewhat at odds with Rajagopal over their relative managerial posts and may have felt that the younger man had been placed over him as General Secretary/Treasurer of the Order of the Star, while he, Fritz, had labored hard to carry out what he believed to have been Krishna’s wishes. Ever since the previous fall Fritz had been discouraged by the lack of headway made on the plans he had thought so promising, before the “top bananas” came to town. It appears also that there was even some confusion as to what the “center” should be. Fritz found he could accomplish more when the “top-bananas” weren’t around, so when he heard they were returning after only a few weeks’ absence and feeling discouraged by the prospect of more conflicting opinions, he had retired to the desert. Frank had wired him in December to return, believing Fritz to be the prime mover in their plans and that nothing at all was likely to be accomplished in his absence. In spite of his continuing bad health, Fritz had complied.

Annie Besant, c. 1895, wearing H.P. Blavatsky’s ring, as G.B. Shaw remembered her

On that morning of January 3, 1927, exceptionally fair after some days of rain, the party started off in two cars, down McAndrew Road to the Marengo well site and up the dirt track toward Sarzotti Mesa. This happy expedition was soon stalled in the mud. Fritz’s car was rescued by mules, gathered from the neighboring farm. But Frank’s was so deeply mired that he had to abandon it to a crane from the Ojai garage. Fritz backed down his car with Annie, Krishna, Rajagopal, Rosalind and Sara Logan inside (the Logans would eventually be eminently instrumental in future Happy Valley development). They went around by the Dennison grade through Tucker’s farm while Frank and fellow Theosophist Max Wardall walked up the mesa to meet them.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the mountain, Annie had insisted on walking to the top where she could look out over the entire valley. Sitting for a few quiet moments alone with Rosalind, she had a strong vision which she related only later, that this land would be a center for the new race of humans just beginning to emerge. At that point she cast the World Teacher as the prophet for this new civilization. It was a vision far beyond the wildest imaginings of Frank or Fritz, but it took an immediate and powerful hold upon her mind and her resolve. She listened carefully to the account of the land deals already initiated – the seventy-acre Sarzotti Mesa and the additional eighty acres privately optioned by Fritz.

D. Rajagopal, c. 1927

As the party left the hill and crossed through the Tucker farm to the south, they ran into Tucker himself, and Annie stopped and asked him for an option. He quoted her a figure of $120,000 for his whole 300 acres which was considerably less than he had offered George Hall a few weeks before. This California farmer, who knew nothing of her philosophy, may well have been awed by the elderly but vital woman with piercing blue eyes. He may also have felt astonished by the whole entourage – the two handsome young Indians, a lovely blonde girl and the indomitable Sara Logan with her no-nonsense mien of the aristocratic Philadelphia Quaker.

Happy Valley, 1927, as Annie first saw it and possibly the tree under which she sat

The next day, January 4, while Annie was forming a committee for the new land, Fritz, Frank, and George Hall returned to Tucker’s farm to complete the purchase preliminaries. With George Hall doing most of the talking, the deal with Tucker was verbally closed on the terms stated the day before. The Sarzotti Mesa and the adjacent eighty acres, on which down payments had been made, were already approved by Krishna. At this point Fritz decided to resign as national representative of the Star. The land struggle over the past months had taken a toll on his health. There were hints over the years of other issues between him and Krishna that had led to this decision but neither of them ever disclosed what these might be.

Frank fully expected January 8, 1927, to be a momentous day as the first meeting of the land committee was to take place. On being presented by Annie with the situation to date, three members of the committee, none of whom had been present on the initial trip to the land, took an adamant stand against proceeding without the oil rights. Annie and Krishna saw the force of this argument. Meanwhile Tucker and his attorney were standing outside expecting momentarily to be invited in to sign the final documents. When they were presented instead with an option, while negotiations for the oil rights continued, Tucker was not at all pleased. After some wrangling it developed that the western 160 acres of Tucker’s farm, owned by his son, had clear oil rights and a separate deal could be made for those while the remaining 140 acres would be investigated. The whole group decided to adjourn to the upper Ojai for another inspection of the land and to allow the three opposing members a chance to see it and, it was hoped, to glean some of the enthusiasm that had fueled Fritz and Frank for the past months.

Unfortunately that expedition had just the opposite effect. The doctor, the lawyer, and the businessman (Ingelman, Holland, and Hotchener) came away absolutely opposed to the Sarzotti land, in spite of Krishna’s initial approval of the $3,700 already used for a down payment. While Hotchener insisted it would be throwing good money after bad to proceed with the purchase, Holland was increasingly concerned with how Annie was going to raise the large sum for this entire venture. However, she assured him in her quietly confident way that he need not worry about that end of it.

Much to Frank’s dismay, the conclusion of the meeting was that the Sarzotti land should be thrown up and Hall should make every effort to recover what had been paid down and apply that to the 160 acres of Tucker land that could be proven to have clear oil rights instead of to any portion of Sarzotti land. Frank’s words, written that same evening, poignantly convey his disappointment.

It has been a bad day for us who have for two years yearned and struggled over the 70 acre deal. It is quite impossible for us who live here, and who have walked on the hills in the quiet of the evenings, to translate what we know inside into terms of business considerations pure and simple. I personally feel that these oil right difficulties are insignificant when compared to the tremendous occult value which I feel sure this land has. After all, oil has only a comparatively short time to go as the chief fuel of the world. The time cannot be far off when electric energy in some form will supplant the clumsy and ill-smelling oil as the motor power on which we all have to depend. I feel that a hundred years hence people will wonder what in the world made us worry so about the possibility of oil being discovered on the land where we want a community and school. It seems to me that if the site is the right one we have to take a certain amount of chance, having faith that we shall be supported from Inside. The land will be there for centuries to come, while oil is not likely to be an issue for many years more. I believe that intuition is worth more than business foresight and acumen in some cases.7

Frank had yet to learn how quickly the winds can change in a spiritual climate. Back at Krotona, while Frank was helping Fritz to wash his car, Hotchener drove up and announced that at an informal meeting that morning at Arya Vihara, it had been agreed to go ahead with the 70 Sarzotti acres as well as the 160 acres of the Tucker ranch. They had all awakened feeling that the oil rights issue must not be allowed to stand in the way of Annie Besant’s vision!

Annie wasted no time in moving forward. On Sunday, January 9, she called a special meeting of the new committee to read the announcement and the accompanying appeal for funds for the new venture. Two hundred thousand dollars was needed immediately for the land; she intended to reach beyond the Theosophical community for contributors. Prudently, all efforts would be confined to raising money to acquire the land. No attempt would be made as yet to encourage settlers. Annie decided to raise the funds in her own name and have checks payable to her. She set up an account in the Security Trust Bank in Hollywood to hold all funds on which she, Annie Besant, Holland and Ingelman would sign. On January 11, she announced the members of her new organizing committee in The Ojai.8

The committee was to be separate from the Star committee which would continue to be responsible for Star activities such as the camp, the headquarters and The Ojai press and paper. Annie stated that Krishna would not be on this new committee to hold the land as “she thinks it better to relieve him of any responsibility of that kind.”9 This would prove to be a fortunate decision.

Finally came the question of a name.

The President agreed that ‘Community’ was a poor name as it had a bad association just now, besides as she pointed out, if you called it a Community, you could hardly talk about a communist, whereas if you called it a Colony, you could use the old word colonist. Here Krishnaji spoke up and objected. He disliked colonist very much.10

Quite naturally! So Annie suggested they sleep on it and a name would come. Within a few days, to everyone’s satisfaction, she choose “Happy Valley,” for this had special meaning to her in view of Krishna’s present theme, the Kingdom of Happiness. In her mind there was still a relationship between the work to be done on Happy Valley and the wider work of the World Teacher. She envisioned the eventual settlers on Happy Valley working out the teachings of the World Teacher as a model for the new civilization.

The land negotiations had been complex enough without allowance for Krishna’s continuing withdrawal in spirit and in fact from Annie’s vision for Happy Valley. In this venture she felt herself to be guided directly by her own master, when she had often relied on an intermediary for this form of communication in the person of Charles Leadbeater. But Annie had always defended individual freedom of belief and had never claimed spiritual authority for herself through communion with the masters. Krishnamurti was saying that the teachings – not the teacher – should be the focus, that this was an individual process and that instant enlightenment could occur without reference to past lives or occult practices. Eventually he found a way to carry on his teaching without enveloping himself in the cloak of world teacher.

If Krishna’s growing independence from his Theosophical origins was disturbing to Annie, she did not allow it to cloud her present mission. She left no ambiguous loose ends to confuse future generations. In this spirit she wrote a check to Krishna to cover all funds raised by the Order of the Star for the amounts paid down on Happy Valley land. She thereby freed him to go his own way, at the same time delineating her goals for Happy Valley by insisting on collecting funds in her own name, and making a clear separation for it from any other organization, group or personality.

Through the next decades and perhaps into the future as well, the Happy Valley Foundation would need to reiterate and re-enforce the independence with which it had been founded.

But there were still hitches in the land deal. George Hall did not want to close on the 160 acres until there was a direct access to the 70-acre Sarzotti Mesa. So he proposed to buy the 70 acres (B on the map, Appendix D) and the 80 acres (C on the map, Appendix D) in spite of no oil rights clear on either. The 160 acres of the Tucker ranch appeared to be clear of oil claims but as this had no common boundary with the first two parcels it was necessary to buy 30 acres of the 154 acres without oil rights along the north fence in order to gain access to the mesa (E on the map, Appendix D). They all piled into cars to have another look at the land, driving as far as possible through the Tucker land, from where they had a glorious view over the valley.

On returning to Arya Vihara, Annie presented Hall with a check for the down payment and – unknown then to Frank – instructions to buy the whole 154 acres (E on the map, Appendix D). This meant buying all of the available land under consideration. However, that same afternoon of January 14, Hall discovered that the oil rights on the 160 acres which they had thought were clear, were, like all the rest, still under a cloud.

Frank, as editor/printer of The Ojai, was constantly having to revise the announcements that Annie wanted released to the world. Late on January 18, he got a final message from her that the deal on all the land was closed and under purchase. By this time exhaustion seems to have outrun his enthusiasm.

No oil rights go with the land so here we are with 465 acres of land under purchase and not one acre clear of oil rights, after all the fuss and fury and excitement of the last two weeks!

Notwithstanding all the hectic comings and goings, conferences, debates and legal investigations, the final result is exactly the same as was proposed a month ago by Fritz and me, to buy the 70 and the 80 acre pieces and get an option on the Tucker farm.

It does not seem to have occurred to any of the “top bananas” that after living in the Valley and thinking and planning and debating over things for a couple of years, Fritz and I might have acquired a little inside dope not picked up in a moment by visitors.11

Presiding over a Happy Valley committee meeting the following month, Annie Besant reported that money was coming in steadily and that she felt “no apprehension about being able to meet the payments as they came due.” She still did not favor spending any money for anything whatsoever until the land payment was assured.

To Frank’s dismay, before Annie left for Europe in April, she appointed George Hall her representative in all matters in Ojai. This included The Ojai newspaper, as well as Happy Valley. Frank had thought of the paper as his special enterprise. Its acquisition had been his idea and he had been the successful editor through all the months of heady announcements regarding the Happy Valley purchase. He had also hoped to develop a modest realty business, selling parcels to the anticipated pre-settlers for Happy Valley and those at liberty to pull up roots and bask in the radiant message of the apparently manifested World Teacher.

There are a great many enquiries coming in regarding the Happy Valley and apparently there are plenty of T.S. people who would like to come here to settle. I think that, by being in the real estate business I can help many of them to find suitable places besides making a living myself. However very few of the enquirers seem to have any money so there is not much danger of growing fat!12

Grace and George Hall

Unfortunately for Frank, George Hall was also aware of the profit potential in Theosophical settlers. Hall, having been put in charge of all the key activities by Annie Besant, was in a much better position to make the most of his real estate ventures. He planned a subdivision at the east end of the village called Siete Robles, in which he expected to interest most of the would-be settlers. Frank candidly expressed his displeasure.

It may be well to record that I am not especially happy over Hall’s being in charge of everything, especially the paper. He is a queer bird and while I recognize many admirable qualities in him I must confess that I do not like him. He is a strange combination of spirituality (in spots) and a hard business attitude that almost approaches foxiness. He is given to standing around listening in on conversations that he thinks may be useful to him… Through his T.S. connections he is getting agents through-out the section so it looks as if there will be a great competition for the incoming Theosophists!… I dislike intensely the idea of competition between us for the few T.S. people who may be in the market for land in the Ojai.13

Preparations for Krishnamurti’s first Ojai Star camp were progressing under George Hall’s direct supervision, with the overall guidance of Louis Zalk, the official manager of the camp. Three bath houses and a cafeteria were under construction and land was prepared to set up tents.

Frank was not a part of all this although he did express his opinion:

I still do not like the location as I think the land on the north side is too low. It is my belief that in the course of time the main activities after K has gone will center in the Happy Valley… After the camp and chiefly because Dr Besant had not come back to continue her Happy Valley plans everyone began to change their mind… It was simply a case of an emotional interest in the Ojai on the part of our members over the Happy Valley idea and the camp. When it came to practical things most people realized the impossibility of living in the Ojai unless one had money. I feel quite definitely that my work here is finished. Furthermore I have myself undergone a considerable change of attitude towards the “work” and the “movements”. I have been fully persuaded by Krishnaji’s words that I have been on the wrong tack heretofore. I believe that the conception that there is such a thing as the “Master’s Work” to be done is a mistake. This idea tends to make one look outside oneself for inspiration and guidance… we allow ourselves to lean on the Masters and to substitute Their ideas for our own… Therefore I have set aside all my previous notions as to my relationship to the Masters and Their (so-called) “work”… The question of Krishnaji’s teachings is raising quite a furor in the T.S. The old regulars are loudly proclaiming that there is nothing in what he says that contraverts in any way the T.S. teachings. As far as most of them are concerned he might be just another theosophical lecturer. I believe quite differently. I believe that he is doing far more than merely presenting us with a new set of ideas… As a result of my new viewpoint, I find it quite simple to drop all my ideas regarding the Masters and Their work… My first intention is to get away from Ojai and to find my place in the commercial world again.14

Star camp cafeteria, c. 1927, later the Happy Valley School

Frank left Ojai in the winter of 1928 and, as he had hoped, eventually found his place in the commercial world. He represented General Motors in India and his branch survived the crash of ’29. He saw Annie Besant for the last time on her final return to India. Her memory had failed and she scarcely knew him. At the end of this diary (1931) Frank acknowledged the importance for Krishna of the years of Theosophical backing and he also recognized the difficult position of many Theosophists due to Krishna’s defection.

They must either repudiate him or else face the task of tearing down much that they have built up on the basis of Teachers and doctrines based on authority. It is doubtful if their position will be clear during this generation. My own feeling is that we have definitely reached the end of an era… I have found great relief in having broken away from the idea of helping the world through spiritual organizations.15

Fortunately for the Happy Valley, most of the founding board members appointed by Annie Besant were able to reconcile the new message of Krishnamurti with their commitment to her vision. Two members in particular were to shoulder the financial responsibility for safeguarding the land. A heavy enough task without the withdrawal of many Theosophists whose interpretation of Krishna’s words somehow absolved them from honoring their pledges.
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Part 2 of 5

III. Holding on in the Great Depression

Annie Besant in the final years of her life had, in her own words, risked her fortune and her reputation on this California land venture. Had her vision been less compelling to her and to those around her at that moment, her projections for the future of Happy Valley might well have crumbled, along with countless other ventures of those decades.

Leaving very few restrictive guidelines, Annie suggested a range of possibilities from agricultural enterprises, to schools and communities, to film-making, all to be in the interest of strengthening the forces of peace and the spiritual as well as physical, artistic, and intellectual progress of mankind. There was no pressure of time imposed on her trustees for she told them they had “centuries in which to work.” However this latitude did not address the problem of meeting the annual mortgage payments on the $90,000 mortgage still outstanding.

Annie Besant left Ojai that spring of 1927 never to return. But she had left her vision in good hands. Robert Logan and Louis Zalk, as those best able to afford it, shouldered the burden of carrying the mortgage in the face of unfulfilled pledges and the crash of 1929. Although they personally lost in the crash, they did not lose everything and managed to keep the land afloat. They followed Annie’s lead in discouraging settlers until the debt could be paid off, but this in itself was a constant challenge.

Robert Logan’s direct ancestor, James Logan was largely responsible for establishing what would become the state of Pennsylvania, left in charge by William Penn, who remained for the most part in England, often in prison. James Logan, a devout but also practical-minded Quaker, had made his fortune in the fur trade. In three major American wars (starting with the Revolution) the Logan family maintained its pacifistic precept. With Robert’s father, Sydney Algernon Logan, another precept was added, that of anti-vivisection and the establishment of the still extant Anti- Vivisection Society. Sydney indulged in the shooting of birds, but never mammals. The latter, he believed, was tantamount to murder. In his turn, Robert furthered the cause of non-violence toward all creatures by his strict vegetarianism and refusal to wear, as well as eat, animal products. Neither did he draw a line in this to exclude birds, fish or even insects.

Sara and Robert Logan, Ojai, c. 1930

In Theosophy, Robert found an international community sympathetic, in varying degrees, to his views. In his wife Sara, he found a soul-mate who shared them precisely. Sara Wetherill Logan was descended from an equally distinguished family, which was at least as conscious as the Logans of its social status. Both Sara and Robert eagerly left behind the vanities of high society, first for the vagaries of a variety of bohemian friends whom they sheltered for years, and then for the ethically compatible companionship of Theosophists. Their large estate near Philadelphia was available to the ever traveling members of the Theosophical Society and later for the summer gatherings of Krishnamurti.

The occult aspects of Theosophy had never appealed to Robert. He was a poet and a scholar with a law degree from Harvard, but his erudition had not led to arrogance and he was fond of the saying, “You can always tell a Harvard man but you cannot tell him much.” He was essentially a man of reason. Therefore it was natural for him to sympathize with those ideas of Krishnamurti that caused many others so much confusion. The essentially Buddhist aspects of Theosophy that he embraced – including the brotherhood of man, a wholesome and sane way of living in which one endeavored to do as little harm as possible and extend the limits of human knowledge – did not conflict with Krishna’s recent utterances. At the same time, Robert and Sara shared an unwavering devotion to Annie Besant and to her vision for Happy Valley. Robert appreciated that her published and private statements had left future generations free, within certain very broad outlines, to create a community or communities of people who would help to move mankind beyond the present age of violence and materialism.


Louis Zalk as a young man

Louis Zalk, a businessman from Duluth, Minnesota, came from vastly different origins than the Logans and yet their paths converged into a partnership and friendship based on the ideals and activities that bound them together for the rest of their lives. A key link was their joint esteem for education as the best alleviation for society’s ills, especially in the eyes of those committed to nonviolence. Annie Besant had followed this path through the Fabian Socialists of the late nineteenth century. Louis was descended from a rabbinical family that, much like the Brahmin families of Krishnamurti and Rajagopal, sought spiritual as well as sociological strength through learning. There was then a natural convergence on Happy Valley of like-minded interests. In addition Louis had, some years back, lost his first born child and had found in Theosophy as well as Krishnamurti’s teachings a solace for which he would remain perpetually grateful. He was already, by 1927, a man of wealth with heavy business responsibilities and yet he found no irony in being asked to manage the first Krishnamurti camp which included the duty of night watchman. Indeed the leveling factor of Theosophy and the early Krishnamurti gatherings was in some ways as successful as that of the US Marine Corps.

Robert and Sara had habitually driven back and forth across country every fall and spring. They purchased a guest house behind Arya Vihara that had been built by the ubiquitous George Hall and was soon considered a white elephant by Krishna and Rajagopal. It is probable that the Logans were being charitably helpful in this purchase but it would have a consequence upon Happy Valley forty years later.

In May 1930, The Happy Valley Foundation was formed as a corporation under the seal of the State of California. Through representatives Annie Besant transferred to the corporation her deed and entire interest in Happy Valley real property. A corporate form of musical chairs ensued: Talbot resigned as trustee, Besant was nominated to fill that vacancy. Grace Hall resigned as trustee, Logan was nominated to fill that vacancy. Carey resigned as trustee, C.F Holland was nominated to fill that vacancy. Louis Zalk resigned as president, Annie Besant was nominated president. S.W. Williams resigned as vice-president, Louis Zalk was nominated as vice president. Sara Logan and Max Wardall were nominated as members of the original committee. This was enough to confound even a lawyer like Robert Logan.

October 1930

Dear Louis,

Of course I will help you out as you request but really I do not quite understand what the situation will be, to whom payments will be made and by whom records kept and receipts sent.

Enlighten me a little in words of one syllable….I remember we had a meeting at which everybody was elected trustee and then immediately resigned and was replaced by everybody else.

…believe me, with all good wishes,

Faithfully, Robert

For the next twenty-five years Robert and Louis would continue a running correspondence about their joint responsibility which had begun in Robert’s usual wry tone. But the tone of informality should not belie the competence and dedication of these two men in their efforts to effect the fruition of Annie Besant’s vision. Had they not believed so firmly in that, they would have found the task too trying.

The only source of income on the land was a walnut grove which sometimes helped to pay the taxes and mortgage and which was still managed by the original owner, Tucker. It would be more than twenty years before the status of a nonprofit foundation was granted. Their initial years of stewardship of Happy Valley had convinced Louis and Robert that a school would be the most suitable “industry” upon which to base a community. There was a steady stream of people, mostly Theosophists, who hoped to be a part of the new root race or at least be there ready to welcome it. Fielding these inquiries was a duty that fell to Robert.

June 22nd, 1935

Dear Louis,

I quite agree with your letter about continuing Tucker for the present and about not considering any colonizing plans until we can hold a real meeting of the trustees.

As I have had to answer a good many criticisms and inquiries lately I enclose copies of some of my answers for your comments.

[Dear Kahuna,]

… As for starting colonization, there is certainly no “no Theosophist need apply” attitude on the part of the trustees; there is only a lease to Tucker and a desire to be very sure of not making some wrong venture when the land is still under a substantial mortgage. A failure now would make it almost impossible ever to get the mortgage paid off or reduced to safe proportions. Meanwhile it could do no harm to submit to Louis Zalk some practical plans and suggestions toward first steps in colonization.

[Dear Mrs. S.]

You are quite at liberty to change your pledge or cancel it altogether. As for the colonization of Happy Valley, the trustees have no other thought in mind and would certainly not have made all the efforts they have had to make for seven years to reduce the heavy mortgage from $90,000 to $43,000 if they had not been dedicated to the ultimate accomplishment of Dr. Besant’s intentions.

T.S. members are sometimes too ready to criticize each other’s efforts without a clear understanding of the facts and I hope when you hear further criticism of the Happy Valley Foundation you will ask the critics to send in some helpful suggestions instead.


Annie Besant died on September 20, 1933 in Adyar India. She had not been able to return to her Happy Valley but had maintained her position on the board. Even without a World Teacher, her millennial vision would leave its mark on a new era, reaching far beyond Happy Valley to the New Age movements.16 But first the world and all humanity would be shaken to its roots by another war.

Max Wardall had died the same year leaving another vacancy on the board. These were now filled by two Theosophists, both in the military, Captain George Ragan and Captain Devereaux Myers of the Air Force. Before long both would be majors.

Against all recommendations, Annie Besant had opposed selling The Ojai as she remained convinced that it would be of use to Happy Valley. However, the newspaper had been a losing enterprise since Frank Gerard had left, although the reason may have been better attributed to the great Depression. Her will left her independent California property to the Theosophical Society but her executors resigned all claims to the newspaper and recommended that it be sold in order to salvage any benefits for the Happy Valley Foundation. The sale to Frank Kilbourne was accomplished over the next four years.

That decade brought still more losses and replacements. C.F. Holland died in 1938 and his vacancy on the board was filled by William Mayes, a local Theosophist. Sara Logan died in 1939 and was replaced by Erma Williams, long time assistant of Louis Zalk and Rosalind Rajagopal’s sister.

Major Myers was killed in 1940 when the plane he was solo piloting crashed near Hamilton Air Force base. He had been fond of circling the valley three times before he landed his small plane on the local airstrip: he and the sound of his plane were missed. It would be three years before his vacancy on the Happy Valley Board was filled.17

IV. Onward Through the War Years

By 1941, the Happy Valley situation was basically unchanged; the land was still intact, but the mortgage had been reduced. There was no shortage of suggestions as to what the land should be used for and who should do the using, both from within the foundation and on the outskirts. On April 3, 1941, Robert answered Louis’s request for yet more money:

Dear Louis,

Yes I will put up $300 to clear the Happy Valley situation for the present.

In regard to getting rid of Tucker, however, I do not know how to answer, for it seems to me the whole thing hinges upon whom we put in his place. A dishonest, incompetent or lazy representative of the trustees, or any farmer merely hired by us, would not only not pay us but might seriously injure the farm and run us into debt besides. Have you anyone in mind who could possibly fill the bill – a T.S. member, poor enough to be free to undertake such a job yet not one of those “promising” members who is poor because he is, will be, and always has been a failure? Or do you know of someone not a member of the T.S. but in general accord with our ideas who could be put on the farm? Remember, when we farm it ourselves, no chickens, calves, hogs, or other animals for the market!

I cannot help feeling that our first development will not be the farm but a school and teachers and others living there who would not have their livelihood dependent on the land.

Yet there was no one in sight to found a school. So the land and the vision sat fallow, except for the continuing walnut operation managed by Tucker. There was to be an unending concern over mineral rights. The questionable custom, in some states, of selling off mineral rights from under the land which was owned by another party would be a continuing threat to the development of Happy Valley. Annie Besant had overridden all these potential difficulties with her own determined faith in her vision; even the realistic business acumen of Louis Zalk deferred to this faith.

June 19, 1942

Dear Robert,

. . .I have had a rather interesting talk today with a Mr. Comer with whom I was more impressed than I expected to be.

Mr. Comer is so sure that we have the mineral rights that he is ready to entertain a proposition for the outright purchase of any or a portion of the land. This is surely a case where we must consult together, and I am writing seriously, only because Mr. Comer has impressed me to be a sincere and honest man.

If we have the mineral rights, then Dr. Besant was justified in following her intuition against the advice of Judge Holland and others. If so, what a curious way for this thing to develop…

November 14, 1942

Dear Robert,

Had several interviews with the man who wanted the mineral rights but I have not heard from him since. I have the solemn satisfaction that the minerals are there, they will not be moved away by elementals [in theosophical terminology, simple nonmaterial forms], even red headed ones. However, I would advise against mentioning the mineral rights in the Appeal. Considering the breaking up of the whole “old order” of things – which Dr. Besant seemed to have seen so clearly, perhaps this land will still be a haven for some group who can start things going.

As ever, Louis

A claim (later proved to be unfounded) was brought by a Theosophical member, against Happy Valley that she be allowed to start a school in return for an alleged past loan, on which Robert comments:

September 12, 1943

Dear Louis,

If Miss S. should depart for Shamballa before the time comes either to found a school or repay the money, there would probably be no controversy at all. It all seems to rest on Dr. Besant’s two letters and the minutes of the Happy Valley.

To my mind it is not so much a question whether or not we are trustees of the $12,400 for the purposes of a school as whether we can avoid having Miss S. at Happy Valley in any capacity. I am not very clear as to what a Sixth Sub-race person should be but I feel very sure he must be of quite a different type from Miss S. or any other rigid educationalist.

This it seems to me, will become a very serious issue if and when we get our mortgage paid off and try to start a school under our own auspices.

I have no suggestion to make but I wanted you to see which way the wind was blowing.

Faithfully, Robert,

PS. We might turn it all over to Miss S. and merely amend our charter to read THE UNHAPPY VALLEY FOUNDATION.

Robert Logan, 1927

Robert politely but firmly maintained the trustees’ intentions to steer clear of the occult and rigid aspects of Theosophy, which Annie Besant herself had not stressed in her concept of Happy Valley’s future. He suggested that meanwhile it might be wise to establish new projects off the Happy Valley land to give a testing period before getting too well rooted on Happy Valley. Since Krishna was no longer interested in holding the large Star gatherings, there was no longer a use for the cafeteria building and two bath houses in Meiner’s Oaks. The Krishnamurti Writings Inc. that had been formed to replace the Order of the Star could now benefit by the sale of the old Star land, and Robert and Louis believed that Happy Valley might one day benefit by acquiring it. The Happy Valley Foundation was certainly not in a financial position to make this purchase, so Robert and Louis joined in ownership with the intention of eventually using it for the foundation.


In Annie Besant’s 1927 appeals for support of the Happy Valley venture, she had, then in her 80s, sometimes reverted to the radical and prophetic statements of her Fabian Socialist era.

The United States are leading the way in the industrial world to a peaceful solution of the long struggle between capital and labor by such devices as: the buying up a business by Trade Unions and the financing of them by Trade Union Banks; by the periodic payment by employers to employees of dividend-bearing shares instead of cash….Such instances show tendencies towards a fairer industrial system.

But much more is needed to gain universal success and that is the feeling of true Brotherhood in social living; this can best be done by evoking and training this feeling by association in selected areas – “colonies” in which families, or groups of families, should associate together…fostering thus the communal, the family spirit while not forcing it unduly. The sense of moral obligation developed from the family to the village, from the village to the tribe, from the tribe to the Nation – has stopped with the Nation.

Another danger is that Science, which should be the handmaid of Happiness, has bent its energies to the discovery of hidden powers in Nature which can be liberated and used for the swifter and more wholesale destruction of human life than those already in human hands. The torture of animals by vivisectors has long been practised, and now vivisectors have discovered that the reaction on animals and humans of food and drugs is different. These developments of science foment the growth of the social conscience and are the marks of a civilisation doomed to destruction…unless it turns to a more righteous path.

She concluded by describing the type of education most appropriate to make “good citizens in a Co-operative Commonwealth.”

Education will be fourfold, embracing the health, growth and evolution of the physical body, the emotions and the mind, and the unfolding of the Spirit as Will, Wisdom and Creative Activity. The Foundation will include a school – later, I hope a College – which will…include Literature, Science, Art and Manual Occupations. The Trades admitted must not include any which are connected directly and later we hope indirectly, with the killing of animals….Beauty is the result to be aimed at in all human, as it is the characteristic of all non-human Nature’s works….There will be spaces set aside for play-grounds for adults as well as children.

Agriculture, orchards of fruit trees – orange, lemon, peach, apricot, grapes, walnuts, almonds – bee keeping will be the principle avocations open to settlers. Carpenters, plumbers, masons, etc. will also be needed.

Such is a rough sketch of the beginning of the life in the Happy Valley; as it opens up and grows, it will be richer and fuller, for we shall need writers, musicians, painters, sculptors, actors, all who make life beautiful, to create with us a cherished Home.18

The specificity of Annie’s educational and agricultural projections, in combination with the one firm prohibition regarding the killing or exploitation of animals is in interesting contrast to the more general and non-restrictive philosophic precepts. If one sets aside the occult terminology, we are left with guidelines that have attracted a broad range of idealistic as well as practical-minded thinkers, and this occurred throughout a war that Annie might well have intuitively sensed in the offing but did not live to witness.

Much of the Ojai community experienced that war through the attitudes of an unusual coalition of idealists which included Krishnamurti, the Rajagopals, Robert Logan, Aldous Huxley, many of the Checkov acting group like Iris Tree – all strongly pacifist, as were some Jewish families like the Vigevenos, recent refugees from Holland who were to lose dozens of relatives to the Nazis. (James Vigeveno would be a Happy Valley Board member in a later decade.)

Perhaps the least eloquent but most impassioned pacifist was Rosalind Rajagopal, descended from a grandfather who had endured pelting on the streets of Buffalo while he denounced the Civil War. Though pacifism was not a unanimous tenet among Theosophists, nor even on the Happy Valley Board, differing positions on this issue somehow left unscathed the broader vision of tolerance and nonviolence that the trustees had been working toward for the past decade.

Robert Logan and Rosalind Rajagopal, c. 1940

Wartime propaganda can tarnish the terminology of any language. Thomas Mann once said that he could no longer write in his native tongue after the Nazis had given their usage to so many German words. Even though the intended meaning was completely different, some Theosophical terms and symbols suffered the same fate. Hitler took the Buddhist wheel and reversed it into his swastika. (According to one elderly Theosophist, that reversal was the ultimate reason for his downfall.)

In the Tibetan ritual system both forms of swastika [left-turned and right-turned] are common.

-- The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: Sexuality, Magic and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism, by Victor and Victoria Trimondi

Nevertheless, the term “super race” came too close for comfort to the root races of Blavatsky.

According to H. L. Mencken, Madame Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, "swore like a second mate, and smoked incessantly." [5] A gifted psychic, she claimed to be in touch with two Indian mahatmas, Master Morya and Master Koot Hoomi. These adepts communicated spiritual knowledge to her, much of it from the Bhagawad Gita. Madame Blavatsky and Col. Henry Olcott founded the Theosophical Society in New York City on September 13, 1875. For its logo they adopted the swastika or "sun wheel," an ancient Sanskrit rune denoting vitality, creativity, fertility, and regeneration. Acting as a channel for her "Superiors," Blavatsky wrote Isis Unveiled in 1877 and The Secret Doctrine in 1888, which gave a fantastic account of the Seven Root Races. The Self-Born, a race of spirits perished when their realm sank into the ocean. The Hyperboreans who inhabited the North Pole suffered a similar fate. The Lemurians, who lived on a prehistoric continent in the Pacific Ocean had denser bodies with sex organs. They eventually fell afoul the Superiors by breeding with lower races. As Christopher Hale recounts:

"Lemuria, too, sank beneath the waves. 850,000 years ago, the Fourth Race appeared on an island continent in the Atlantic Ocean ... the fabled lost continent of Atlantis ... Over time (Atlantean giants) became immoral and misused their great size and skills. The Atlantic began to rise, submerging their kingdom. And so Atlantis joined the other lost continents on the now rather crowded ocean floor. .. ." [6]

One legendary account held that Thevetat, a low caste sorcerer, hastened Atlantis's demise through black magic. A few refugees from Atlantis made their way to the Gobi desert, where their descendants eventually generated a new elite.

So how did the "lesser races" come into being? According to Blavatsky, God delegated the task of creation to demiurges -- semi-divine beings of varying degrees of intelligence and morality. The more highly-evolved demiurges molded supermen such as the Hyperboreans and Atlanteans, while demonic spirits created "nefilim" and "untouchables." A Divine Plan called for the evolution of all races, however certain beings lacked capacity for improvement. In The Secret Doctrine Helena Blavatsky wrote:

"The Semites ... are ... degenerate in spirituality and perfected in materiality. To these belong the Jews and Arabs. The former are a tribe descended from the Chandals of India, the outcasts, many of them ex-Brahmins, who sought refuge in Chaldea, Scinde, and Iran, and were truly born from their father Abraham (no Brahmin.) [7]

This sheds light on an otherwise incomprehensible recurring theme within Nazi literature, as, for example, "The Earth-Centered Jew Lacks a Soul," by one of the chief architects of Nazi dogma, Alfred Rosenberg, who held that whereas other people believe in a Hereafter and in immortality, the Jew affirms the world and will not allow it to perish. The Gnostic secret is that the spirit is trapped in matter, and to free it, the world must be rejected. Thus, in his total lack of world-denial, the Jew is snuffing out the inner light, and preventing the millennium:

"Where the idea of the immortal dwells, the longing for the journey or the withdrawal from temporality must always emerge again; hence, a denial of the world will always reappear. And this is the meaning of the non-Jewish peoples: they are the custodians of world-negation, of the idea of the Hereafter, even if they maintain it in the poorest way. Hence, one or another of them can quietly go under, but what really matters lives on in their descendants. If, however, the Jewish people were to perish, no nation would be left which would hold world-affirmation in high esteem -- the end of all time would be here.

... the Jew, the only consistent and consequently the only viable yea-sayer to the world, must be found wherever other men bear in themselves ... a compulsion to overcome the world.... On the other hand, if the Jew were continually to stifle us, we would never be able to fulfill our mission, which is the salvation of the world, but would, to be frank, succumb to insanity, for pure world-affirmation, the unrestrained will for a vain existence, leads to no other goal. It would literally lead to a void, to the destruction not only of the illusory earthly world but also of the truly existent, the spiritual. Considered in himself the Jew represents nothing else but this blind will for destruction, the insanity of mankind. It is known that Jewish people are especially prone to mental disease. "Dominated by delusions," said Schopenhauer about the Jew.

... To strip the world of its soul, that and nothing else is what Judaism wants. This, however, would be tantamount to the world's destruction."

This remarkable statement, seemingly the rantings of a lunatic, expresses the Gnostic theme that the spirit of man, essentially divine, is imprisoned in an evil world. The way out of this world is through rejection of it. But the Jew alone stands in the way. Behind all the talk about "the earth-centered Jew" who "lacks a soul"; about the demonic Jew who will despoil the Aryan maiden; about the cabalistic work of the devil in Jewish finance; about the sinister revolutionary Jewish plot to take over the world and cause the decline of civilization, there is the shadow of ancient Gnosticism.

-- Gods & Beasts: The Nazis and the Occult, by Dusty Sklar

Her disciple William Quan Judge thought all variations among humans were due to "essential character," not environmental factors such as education, wealth, or social conditioning.

"Many savages have good actual brain capacity, but are still savage. This is because the Ego in that body is still ... undeveloped." [8]

Judge concluded that a soul could not realize its destiny in one incarnation. Souls reincarnated several times -- not necessarily always to earth -- as a part of their maturation process. Holy Hierarchies wrote primitive races off as hopeless, and would not deign to assist them spiritually.

"Savagery remains because there are still egos whose experience is so limited that they are still savage; they will come up into higher races when ready .... so we find the red Indian, the Hottentot, the Easter Islanders, and others as examples of races deserted by high egos ... " [9]

19th Century Theosophical writings were not politically correct by today's standards. since they advocated "paternalism," or the rendering of guardian care to "child-like races." However, Blavatsky, Olcott, and Judge all embraced Buddha's commandment, "you shall not harm any sentient being." One might adopt a condescending attitude toward New Guinea cannibals, but it was not permissible to murder them.

Blavatsky never identified Germans as Aryans.

The difference between the Aryan Hindu and the Aryan European faiths is very small ...
But one and all, with the exception of the latest Aryans, now become Europeans and Christians ...
The Western Aryans had, every nation and tribe, like their Eastern brethren of the Fifth Race ...
Thus two peoples, the Hindus and the Europeans, placed at the two extremities of the world ...
The several branches of the Aryan Race, the Asiatic and the European, the Hindu and the Greek, did their best to conceal their true nature, if not their importance...
The Lord appears to Abraham, and while saying, "I am the Almighty God," yet adds, "I will establish my covenant to be a God unto thee" (Abraham), and unto his seed after him (Gen. xvii. 7) -- not unto Aryan Europeans....
No skeleton ever yet found is older than between 50, or 60,000 years, and man's size was reduced from 15 to 10 or 12 feet, ever since the third sub-race of the Aryan stock, which sub-race -- born and developed in Europe and Asia Minor under new climates and conditions -- had become European...

-- The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy, by Helena P. Blavatsky

She taught Universal Brotherhood, not Teutonic chauvinism. Although Theosophy held that the higher root races were evolving toward divinity, it did not assert that one advanced race should enslave primordial peoples. Lower races were to be loved and helped -- not abused, or exterminated.

Human crossing may have been a general rule from the time of the separation of sexes, and yet that other law may assert itself, viz., sterility between two human races, just as between two animal species of various kinds, in those rare cases when a European, condescending to see in a female of a savage tribe a mate, happens to choose a member of such mixed tribes. Darwin notes such a case in a Tasmanian tribe, whose women were suddenly struck with sterility, en masse, some time after the arrival among them of the European colonists. The great naturalist tried to explain this fact by change of diet, food, conditions, etc., but finally gave up the solution of the mystery. For the occultist it is a very evident one. "Crossing", as it is called, of Europeans with Tasmanian women -- i.e, the representatives of a race, whose progenitors were a "soulless" and mindless monster and a real human, though still as mindless a man -- brought on sterility. This, not alone as a consequence of a physiological law, but also as a decree of Karmic evolution in the question of further survival of the abnormal race...

It is a most suggestive fact -- to those concrete thinkers who demand a physical proof of Karma -- that the lowest races of men are now rapidly dying out; a phenomenon largely due to an extraordinary sterility setting in among the women, from the time that they were first approached by the Europeans. A process of decimation is taking place all over the globe, among those races, whose "time is up" -- among just those stocks, be it remarked, which esoteric philosophy regards as the senile representatives of lost archaic nations. It is inaccurate to maintain that the extinction of a lower race is invariably due to cruelties or abuses perpetrated by colonists. Change of diet, drunkenness, etc., etc., have done much; but those who rely on such data as offering an all-sufficient explanation of the crux, cannot meet the phalanx of facts now so closely arrayed. "Nothing", says even the materialist Lefevre, "can save those that have run their course .. It would be necessary to extend their destined cycle ... The peoples that have been spared ... Hawaiians or Maories, have been no less decimated than the tribes massacred or tainted by European intrusion." (“Philosophy,” p. 508.)

True; but is not the phenomenon here confirmed of the operation of CYCLIC LAW difficult to account for on materialist lines? Whence the “destined cycle” and the order here testified to? Why does this (Karmic) sterility attack and root out certain races at their “appointed hour”? The answer that it is due to a “mental disproportion” between the colonizing and aboriginal races is obviously evasive, since it does not explain the sudden “checks to fertility” which so frequently supervene. The dying out of the Hawaiians, for instance, is one of the most mysterious problems of the day. Ethnology will sooner or later have to recognize with Occultists that the true solution has to be sought for in a comprehension of the workings of Karma. As Lefevre remarks, “the time is drawing near when there will remain nothing but three great human types” (before the Sixth Root-Race dawns), the white (Aryan, Fifth Root-Race), the yellow, and the African negro — with their crossings (Atlanto-European divisions). Redskins, Eskimos, Papuans, Australians, Polynesians, etc., etc. — all are dying out. Those who realize that every Root-Race runs through a gamut of seven sub-races with seven branchlets, etc., will understand the “why.” The tide-wave of incarnating EGOS has rolled past them to harvest experience in more developed and less senile stocks; and their extinction is hence a Karmic necessity.

-- The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy, by Helena P. Blavatsky

Helena Blavatsky and Henry Olcott opposed India's caste system.

The position was as follows: Up to the time of Buddha, the Brahmins of India had jealously reserved occult knowledge as the appanage of their own caste. Exceptions were occasionally made in favor of Tshatryas, but the rule was exclusive in a very high degree. This rule Buddha broke down, admitting all castes equally to the path of adeptship. The change may have been perfectly right in principle, but it paved the way for a great deal of trouble, and as the Brahmins conceived for the degradation of occult knowledge itself, that is to say, its transfer to unworthy hands, — not unworthy merely because of caste inferiority, but because of the moral inferiority which they conceived to be introduced into the occult fraternity, together with brothers of low birth. The Brahmin contention would not by any means be that because a man should be a Brahmin it followed that he was necessarily virtuous and trustworthy; but the argument would be: It is supremely necessary to keep out all but the virtuous and trustworthy from the secrete and powers of initiation. To that end it is necessary not only to set up all the ordeals, probations, and tests we can think of, but also to take no candidates except from the class which, on the whole, by reason of its hereditary advantages, is likely to be the best nursery of fit candidates.

Later experience is held on all hands now to have gone far towards vindicating the Brahmin apprehension...

-- Esoteric Buddhism, by A.P. Sinnett, President of the Simla Eclectic Theosophical Society

The Theosophical Society three chief objectives were:

"(1) To form the nucleus of a universal brotherhood without distinction of race, creed, sex, (or) caste.

(2) To study ancient and modern religions, philosophy, and science,

(3) To investigate unexplained laws of nature and latent psychic powers." [10]

The Theosophical Society pledged to

"aid in the institution of a brotherhood of humanity, wherein all good and pure men of every race shall receive each other as the equal effects of the Uncreated, Universal, Infinite, and Everlasting Cause." [11]

Ariosophists such as Guido von List and Adolf Josef Lanz [Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels] perverted Theosophical tenets by claiming that Germans belonged to the superior Aryan race and had a divine right to rule sub-men such as Slavs, Negroes, Semites, etc. Lanz's Ostara magazine preached that Germany's master race must never intermarry with "fallen anthropoids." To do so would be to arrest Spiritual Evolution, and repeat the error of prehistoric Lemurians, whose civilization died out as a result of miscegenation.

[T]he astral prototypes of the lower beings of the animal kingdom of the Fourth Round, which preceded (the chhayas of) Men, were the consolidated, though still very ethereal sheaths of the still more ethereal forms or models produced at the close of the Third Round on Globe D. [215] “Produced from the residue of the substance matter; from dead bodies of men and (other extinct) animals of the wheel before,” or the previous Third Round — as Stanza 24 tells us. Hence, while the nondescript “animals” that preceded the astral man at the beginning of this life-cycle on our Earth were still, so to speak, the progeny of the man of the Third Round, the mammalians of this Round owe their existence, in a great measure, to man again. Moreover, the “ancestor” of the present anthropoid animal, the ape, is the direct production of the yet mindless Man, who desecrated his human dignity by putting himself physically on the level of an animal….

Ay, but that “primeval man” was man only in external form. He was mindless and soulless at the time he begot, with a female animal monster, the forefather of a series of apes….

Perchance in these specimens, Haeckelians might recognize, not the Homo primigenius, but some of the lower tribes, such as some tribes of the Australian savages. Nevertheless, even these are not descended from the anthropoid apes, but from human fathers and semi-human mothers, or, to speak more correctly, from human monsters — those “failures” mentioned in the first Commentary. The real anthropoids, Haeckel’s Catarrhini and Platyrrhini, came far later, in the closing times of Atlantis. The orang-outang, the gorilla, the chimpanzee and cynocephalus are the latest and purely physical evolutions from lower anthropoid mammalians. They have a spark of the purely human essence in them; man on the other hand, has not one drop of pithecoid blood in his veins.….

These “Men” of the Third Race — the ancestors of the Atlanteans — were just such ape-like, intellectually senseless giants as were those beings, who, during the Third Round, represented Humanity. Morally irresponsible, it was these third Race “men” who, through promiscuous connection with animal species lower than themselves, created that missing link which became ages later (in the tertiary period only) the remote ancestor of the real ape as we find it now in the pithecoid family. [150]...

A naturalist suggests another difficulty. The human is the only species which, however unequal in its races, can breed together. “There is no question of selection between human races,” say the anti-Darwinists, and no evolutionist can deny the argument — one which very triumphantly proves specific unity. How then can Occultism insist that a portion of the Fourth Race humanity begot young ones from females of another, only semi-human, if not quite an animal, race, the hybrids resulting from which union not only bred freely but produced the ancestors of the modern anthropoid apes? Esoteric science replies to this that it was in the very beginnings of physical man. Since then, Nature has changed her ways, and sterility is the only result of the crime of man’s bestiality….

But this was when Africa had already been raised as a continent. We have meanwhile to follow, as closely as limited space will permit, the gradual evolution of the now truly human species. It is in the suddenly arrested evolution of certain sub-races, and their forced and violent diversion into the purely animal line by artificial cross-breeding, truly analogous to the hybridization, which we have now learned to utilize in the vegetable and animal kingdoms, that we have to look for the origin of the anthropoids. In these red-haired and hair-covered monsters, the fruit of the unnatural connection between men and animals, the “Lords of Wisdom” did not incarnate, as we see. Thus by a long series of transformations due to unnatural cross-breeding (unnatural “sexual selection”), originated in due course of time the lowest specimens of humanity; while further bestiality and the fruit of their first animal efforts of reproduction begat a species which developed into mammalian apes ages later....

For surely, it was not in or through the wickedness of the “mighty men” . . . . men of renown, among whom is placed Nimrod the “mighty hunter before the Lord,” that “god saw that the wickedness of man was great,” nor in the builders of Babel, for this was after the Deluge; but in the progeny of the giants who produced monstra quaedam de genere giganteo, monsters from whence sprang the lower races of men, now represented on earth by a few miserable dying-out tribes and the huge anthropoid apes….

The monsters bred in sin and shame by the Atlantean giants, “blurred copies” of their bestial sires, and hence of modern man (Huxley), now mislead and overwhelm with error the speculative Anthropologist of European Science…

[T]he bestiality of the primeval mindless races resulted in the production of huge man-like monsters — the offspring of human and animal parents. As time rolled on, and the still semi-astral forms consolidated into the physical, the descendants of these creatures were modified by external conditions, until the breed, dwindling in size, culminated in the lower apes of the Miocene period. With these the later Atlanteans renewed the sin of the “Mindless” — this time with full responsibility. The resultants of their crime were the species of apes now known as Anthropoid

On the data furnished by modern science, physiology, and natural selection, and without resorting to any miraculous creation, two negro human specimens of the lowest intelligence — say idiots born dumb — might by breeding produce a dumb Pastrana species, which would start a new modified race, and thus produce in the course of geological time the regular anthropoid ape….

-- The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy, by Helena P. Blavatsky

-- Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Milieu, by Joseph Howard Tyson

And possibly in our era “the brotherhood of man” will raise the hackles on many a feminist. Yet it is difficult to transmit visions into the future without some descriptive formulation. This has always been a problem for an institution like the Happy Valley Foundation (and later the School): not to be fettered by ideals, for too much formulation leads to rigidity and too little to a possible loss of the original sustaining vision and purpose.

Long before her death in 1938, it had been Sara Logan’s conviction, which she had shared with Robert, that Rosalind should be given the independence and opportunity to fulfill her own potential. In the Happy Valley Board meeting of May 1943, Robert proposed that Rosalind Rajagopal be elected trustee to fill Major Myers’ place. Rosalind was just forty at the time, much younger than any of the other trustees, and not a practicing Theosophist (although she had been given a life membership some twenty years before by her sister Erma). While most of the board went along with Robert’s wishes he met with strong opposition from George Hall on the grounds that Rosalind was not a Theosophist, nor could he perceive any other qualifications to recommend her. She was however, elected. She was already a member of the Ojai Valley School Board where she had come to know and admire the educationalist Edward Yeomans. This association would prove to be more fruitful to Happy Valley than any of the trustees could have yet imagined.

Ojai Valley School is a co-educational independent boarding school in the Ojai Valley near the city of Ojai, California, United States. The school was founded in 1911 and offers pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education.

The motto of the school is Integer Vitae. In English it means, "wholeness of life" or "symmetry of life".

Ojai Valley School was one of the first boarding schools in the Western United States to establish English as a Second Language (ESL) programs for all ability levels.

The school is located on two campuses in the Ojai Valley. The Lower Campus, located near downtown Ojai, enrolls day and resident students in grades pre-kindergarten to eight. The facilities include a performing arts center, cottage-style classrooms, dormitories, library, art studio, woodshop, technology center, athletic fields, a swimming pool, and stables for the equestrian program.

The Upper Campus, located seven miles (11 km) from downtown Ojai, is nestled amid orange groves and rolling hills in the east of the valley in Upper Ojai. The 195 acres (0.79 km2) campus enrolls day and resident students in grades nine to twelve. The campus is situated on a former cattle ranch and features dormitories, classrooms, athletic fields, climbing wall and ropes course, a swimming pool, as well as art and ceramics studios. [The Happy Valley School] The academic program on both campuses is challenging and well-rounded, encouraging students to explore their interests, know themselves, and develop a respect for others. Students participate in outdoor education, equestrian, fine and performing arts programs, as well as athletics and community service.

In the early part of the 20th century, an Eastern couple settled in the Ojai Valley and opened a small private school. Edward Yeomans, a Chicagoan educated at Phillips Academy and Princeton University, had written a series of articles in the Atlantic Monthly on the need for educational reform. The articles caught the eye of a wealthy businessman, Frank Frost, who persuaded Yeomans to move to Ojai and create a school that would embody his modern ideas.

At the core of Yeomans’ beliefs was the concept that children learn best through experience. Yeomans considered his own education to have been dull and stifling, and wanted to establish a school that would emphasize experiential learning and a love for the outdoors. He envisioned a place where music, art, and woodshop would be taught alongside math, history, and languages. Yeomans declared that “Integer Vitae” – meaning the wholeness of life, symmetry of life, and soundness of life would become the school’s motto and philosophy. The school has grown from a one-room classroom serving 12 pupils to a two-campus boarding and day school for more than 300 students in pre-kindergarten to 12th grades.

-- Ojai Valley School, by Wikipedia

Rosalind Rajagopal, c. 1943

Rosalind had always had a strong will, as her family well knew, but during a period of close association with Annie Besant, she was given a rare opportunity to learn to have faith in her own vision and judgment. In 1925 as they traveled together through India, and shared a cabin on the return voyage to England, Rosalind observed firsthand the enormous courage of Annie Besant and how this characteristic enabled her to follow her instincts and convictions without being derailed by tedious reasoning. Annie Besant was renowned in her time for her ability to transcend the distinctions between intuition and reason and to deliver written or spoken arguments that could sway the English Parliament.

Rosalind, on the other hand, was never comfortable with words, though she was surrounded by some of the most eloquent people on earth. But she did not allow this drawback to hamper her. What others called logic she might call “specious reasoning” which she perceived as a string of excuses to drag feet and delay action. For the next forty years the Happy Valley Board would cope with this combination of vision, will and courage: qualities – combined in a very different personality – that had made possible the original acquisition of the land. Both Robert and Louis recognized a good mover and shaker, and they backed Rosalind with patience and tolerance for the rest of their lives. Later, they would often comment that once Rosalind came on the board things began to happen.
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Part 3 of 5

V. The Greening of Happy Valley

The first of these happenings was at the end of World War II when there came to Ojai an Englishman called Felix Greene, a member of the Vedantist circle in Los Angeles that included Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood and Gerald Heard. He came with his wife, the lovely Elena with her green eyes and long braids – who had been born in Mexico and would be the Spanish teacher at the future Happy Valley School. Felix contracted with the Happy Valley Foundation to build an Adobe House, the first dwelling on Happy Valley besides the old Tucker farm buildings. It was said that no one had ever lived on this land, that it had been sacred to the Chumash.

The precise reasons why Felix came to Happy Valley and why eventually he left are lost in the memories of the dead. Written records offer incomplete clues, although there may have been private, unrecorded conversations. Nonetheless, much is learned by reading the chronological sequence of events in the form of correspondence vis à vis the Greene affair.19 The ultimate demise of this project demonstrates the pitfalls of allowing high ideals and sympathies, no matter how eloquently expressed, to eclipse the importance of clearly stated and well understood contractual arrangements that will insure consensus in decision making on the board. The combining of these elements into a coherently formulated course of action takes a very fine hand indeed.

Since this project was, as usual, funded personally by Louis and Robert, the initial agreement with the Greenes was negotiated by them. There was tremendous enthusiasm on both sides, unhampered by cautionary intimations of future misunderstandings that would occur. Felix, possibly assuming an emphasis on the spiritual atmosphere of Happy Valley rather than the mundane practicalities of establishing a sound base for future negotiations, confined his initial correspondence to this vein. He was not, at that point, challenged by the board to clarify his specific intentions or projections of his vision for the project.

Gathering at the old barn, Happy Valley, 1946, Byron Casselberry (with dog), Erma Williams, Rajagopal and Rosalind, Felix Greene, George Hall, Elena Greene, Robert Logan, Louis Zalk

In the summer of 1945, Felix and Elena set up camp on Happy Valley land and, with volunteer help from friends of Happy Valley, proceeded to make adobe bricks from the soil on site, as well as to design the structure. The Greenes were newlyweds and there was a strong aura of romance over this project, for they were a handsome and charismatic couple. Great hope surged in the hearts of some Happy Valley trustees and friends that at last a true community was on the horizon. There was a flurry of life and activity on this land that had lain undisturbed since time out of mind except for the occasional tractor work of Tucker and the annual harvesting of walnuts. And yet – always the setbacks and hurdles. The first hurdle was learning how to make the bricks.

The old barn, 1997, which Sean Wellesly-Miller shared with a barn owl while he worked on the Bio-shelter, later a faculty apartment, until the county condemned it

Evidently Louis, who had a well developed practical side to his character, had asked Felix for some sort of progress report on the building. Felix promptly responded with a detailed account of the first step: that of making adobe bricks from the soil at hand. He described the meticulous following of written instructions by so-called experts, resulting in thousands of pieces of cracked bricks; binding the clay with barley straw – which didn’t work, then with wheat straw – which did; when to mix in the sand and when the emulsion (each brick contained 1 quart of oil in the emulsion, still a costly and scarce product in 1945); protection from the wind, enough sun but not too much, regulating the drying time. For the brick-making phase, in addition to the volunteers, Felix had hired a couple of men at $1 per hour or $20 per day for the two, which put a strain on the agreed upon budget of $4,000, for the completion of the house. By the end of summer, however, the brick-making was complete and construction ready to begin.

Tucker’s farm house, 1997, now Happy Valley School faculty house

The Greenes had truly roughed it through the summer, with far from delicious water pumped up from the ranch well, the heat, the heavy labor and then another even more troublesome situation. From the start Felix had many visitors, some of whose interest was helpful and supportive but some with an aloof and silent watchfulness that Felix found perplexing if not unnerving. One of these was the tenant farmer Tucker who would drop by and then leave without comment, at one point dumping a pile of earth between his and the Greene’s “reservations.” Others were George Hall, and several Happy Valley trustees, as well as an assortment of individuals, officially and unofficially connected to Happy Valley.

After having refused, over the past two decades, so many zealous Theosophists the opportunity to start a community there was a question in the minds of some as to why an “outsider” like Felix Greene should be awarded this privilege. Louis did his best to smooth over this ripple before it became a tidal wave.

Oct. 4, 1945

My dear Felix and Elena,

You have by this time sensed the situation as to Happy Valley, insofar as it relates to the personalities making up the trustees. There is a tendency to lose sight of the fact that the trustees must not smother the Ideal. This piece of land was dedicated to an Ideal. I am afraid that two of our trustees are weighed down with a type of worldly caution which, at the best is out of place now. However, you have probably grasped by this time that kindly and firmly we must not let them obstruct the beginning we are making. I think we are all proceeding in a sane and safe manner…the reality is that we are in the process of turning a tenant farm, which is utterly meaningless to the people who gave so much, into a real beginning along the lines on which this whole thing was intended.

Sincerely, Louis Zalk

Felix had an evident talent for charming and reassuring his critics and by October of 1945, he was able to report that George Hall had dropped his reserve and had even brought up some surveying tools to help line up the house. Felix’s description of him as an aggrieved and suspicious character (not unlike the view expressed by Frank Gerard twenty years earlier) was now modified to portray a lonely but friendly man ready to put his shoulder to the stone.

Louis observed:

I am very glad that you had this talk with George Hall. I think the trouble in many cases springs from the fact that people have really had no business experience in any important enterprise which takes initiative and resourcefulness. The head of any successful business would tell you that its most cherished associates were those who do not stop to ask permission at every stage but opportunities are seized and things done which any reasonable Board of Directors who desired the good of the business would ratify and reward the doers…

Tucker’s odd behavior also melted away. Perhaps he had wondered at first if he, the tenant farmer, and also the former owner of this land, was being supplanted, which of course was the ultimate aim – for the Happy Valley Foundation to resume full operation of the land – but that was still off in the future and Tucker soon became a helpful and congenial neighbor to the Greenes, even a good buddy, discussing his family history and exchanging anecdotes with them at the end of a long, hot, laborious summer’s day. Felix attributed this change of heart to the atmosphere of Happy Valley but more likely it was due to the same charm and conviviality of the Greenes that had won over George Hall.

But then, a few weeks later, still more ripples. Felix complained of the increasing stream of people and suggestions coming his way. One can imagine that working all day in the heat of a late Ojai summer and then enduring the ideological tentacles of those who may or may not have official ties to Happy Valley, would challenge the patience of Job.

Again Louis tried to alleviate the tension in a late October letter to Felix.

I had heard from Erma of certain disturbances in the mental atmosphere surrounding our project.

I think we all know that criticism and gossip would be inevitable in such a project as ours – one that has such a background – one on which so many people have set their mind, especially people who justifiably think they are entitled to something, for one reason or another. Personally I feel not in the least bit sensitive to criticism at this stage. We are going forward sanely and slowly. We had all originally agreed to make no plan – no blue print – but to let the thing develop from the basis of the truly spiritual motive which was its original inspiration. Criticisms are inevitable. We will meet them tolerantly and kindly.

As ever, Louis Zalk

Simultaneously, perhaps defensively, Felix was forming his own views of those who should belong to this new undertaking and those who should not; and what should be the ideological basis for this experiment. Some of his statements bear a close parallel to Annie Besant’s in her description of the socio/industrial world. He recognized in the present era, the longing of many sensitive people for respite from conflict and competition. But he expressed doubts about the understanding and seriousness of the hopefuls now swarming about his adobe. He implied that he should be involved if not decisive in choosing the participants in the projected community. The very talk of a community was premature to the cautious steps advocated at this point by Louis and Robert and as such presented to their board. With hindsight one can sense the beginning of the rift that would develop. Louis was too bedeviled by the dissenting Happy Valley Board members to see it coming. On the same day he wrote to Erma

I think he (Felix) is being much disturbed… but I feel that with the support of Robert and you and Rosalind we will simply go forward regardless of these petty critical attitudes. We have done nothing whatsoever to cause any excitement. We have not taken over the management of the farm – we have made no employment contract with Felix – we have simply first permitted someone to camp on the grounds and later two of the trustees are putting up the money to build a little house… (which) provides the necessary basis for the smooth flow of taking over the property in a very orderly way by permitting Felix, or anyone else who might be in that house, to study the operation of the place before we take over… Two trustees were absent. I admit that there was a discourtesy in not advising them… One had to be there to understand that we had to act promptly especially when Robert and I agreed to underwrite Felix’s living expenses… And we put up our own money… the building of that house does not obligate Happy Valley or its trustees to do anything. If the trustees refuse to sanction the taking over of the farm…we will not take it over at all unless Felix proves to us all that he is ready and capable of managing it… We are not starting any community project when we take over the place. I do not feel like being swayed in all this by uninformed people regardless of whether they have contributed or not.

Louis continued to give Felix his support both morally and financially, always with the approval and involvement of Robert.

November 10th, 1945

Dear Louis,

I have your interesting letter of the 15th and it seems to me very important that the Greenes should be enabled to get their shelter before winter sets in. Perhaps we could contribute this $400 not as a loan to Happy Valley but as support for Felix and Elena.

I do feel encouraged about the present nutty outlook for Happy Valley (where the nuts will come from and go to) but I cannot help feeling that your super-optimism in this day of the Atomic bomb, must indicate a stage of liberation to which I shall never attain!

Faithfully, Robert

January 13th, 1946

Dear Louis,

…I enclose my check for $500 toward the building of the house for the Greenes. It seems to me that if the Happy Valley can pay for the house and the road it would be better policy to let it do so, but that if it should prove too great a burden, we should then make it a gift.

Affectionately, Robert

February 1, 1946

Dear Robert,

In my last conversation with Felix Greene, there came up the problem of personal expenses for him and Elena and he suggested that we give him a monthly allowance of $200. He told me that he and Elena had some minor obligations to take care of as part of their worldly burdens. I will arrange to give them $100 a month and hope you will also until the happy day we can have our own harvest take care of this.

With kindest regards, as ever, Louis

In May 1946, the clarification process began. The Happy Valley Board met with Felix and formally asked him if he would take charge of the walnut orchard. Felix declined, while admitting that he had only been entertaining such a plan for the past months as a step toward establishing a community. He made it clear that he had no expertise and very little interest in agriculture per se. He recognized the wisdom of having gone slow and sparingly on exact blueprints for the future of a Happy Valley community but now felt compelled to ask what kind of community it was to be. He enumerated many possibilities: seeking an alternative to an intolerable materialistic/competitive system, developing a right relationship to the soil, being free of personal possessiveness in a collective life style, a harmless life style, creating an artistic center, and an educational center – or, a combination of all of these. But above all he stressed that an inner and “primary purpose” must take precedence over everything. He doubted that the board shared his and Elena’s “primary” purpose and therefore offered to finish the house and put it at the board’s disposal, perhaps renting it for a short time before departing from Happy Valley.

No written documentation of Felix and Elena’s “primary purpose” has come to light. Since no references were made, by any correspondent, to possible verbal discussions of this subject, it appears that there was no further clarification.

The correspondence from then on for the next two and a half years, before Felix and Elena finally left for good, became increasingly formal.

May 18, 1946

Dear Felix:

This is an official letter authorized by the Trustees of the Happy Valley Foundation. Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of May 11th, giving a detailed report of the construction of an Adobe House on Happy Valley by you and under your direction.

We are fully aware of the construction difficulties prevailing at this time and therefore all the more appreciate the splendid work you and Elena have done. The total cost of $4947.10 is very modest under these circumstances and the difference of $947.10 above the $4000 already advanced by Mr. Logan and me will be refunded to you.

As evidence of the appreciation of your efforts by the Board of Trustees, I am authorized to offer you the use of this house as your dwelling for a period of a year free of all rental. You are to enjoy full freedom in this as your private home, including having guests.

However, since this is an official letter, which will become part of the records of the Happy Valley Foundation, it is understood that no other person excepting you and Elena have the status of residency on Happy Valley for the period of this occupancy without the consent of the Trustees.

Very truly yours,

Happy Valley Foundation, by Louis Zalk

September 5, 1946

Dear Felix,

…It might be well that you and Elena and I have a talk together about personal matters. I know that this carries along with it the risks of even further misunderstandings since words are almost always inadequate in places where we want them to be most revealing, but I believe it is worth-while trying…

Sincerely yours, Louis Zalk

By May of 1947, the Greenes still expressed no inclination to leave Happy Valley. Elena had been teaching Spanish in the new Happy Valley School. Louis was authorized by the board to offer another year’s lease subject to cancellation on ninety days notice and for $40 dollars a month as a nominal rent. Felix refused the offer as well as the rental, but still left the departure date indeterminate, or at least dependent upon finding another place to live. There was no further explanation of their reasons for severing their association with Happy Valley, although there was the implication that at some future date the reasons would be shared with friends in common.

Two months later, Felix decided to accept the rental terms offered, also emphasizing that, because of their commitment to the project, they had put in fruit trees and landscaping at their own expense and without caution or regard to their own security. The suggestion of paying rent appeared to have shocked them at first, but now they were prepared to pay whatever the board deemed fair. At the same time Felix made it clear that the questions of rent, departure dates, etc. were trivial and had nothing to do with the real problem which was the failure to have had a “candid and wholesome relationship.” There is pathos in this letter and in Felix’s equating the lack of harmony between him and the Happy Valley Board with worldly contentions and strifes, a poignant commentary in light of the latest conflagration from which the world was just beginning to recover. In other words did he mean, what hope is there for the world if a few peace loving idealists on a place called Happy Valley cannot settle their grievances and discords without such bitterness as he now felt? It would seem that this was more or less the meaning the board took.

August 11, 1947

Dear Felix,

Your letter of July 13th was read and discussed by the Trustees of the Happy Valley Foundation.

First of all we wish to tell you that we all deeply regret the attitude expressed in your letter of May 1, 1946, and which seems to continue to this moment. It revealed your lack of sympathy with our ideals and purpose. We, as Trustees, can be guided only by the ideals with which our project began. On various occasions you have expressed yourself as being out of harmony with the Trustees and their objectives, so it would seem that there is nothing to be done, but to part company as far as this project is concerned. However we hope that this will not detract from our friendship or mutual respect.

As to the matter connected with your work on the house, plus the material you have purchased after June 1, 1946 you state that you have no claims and that you did things because you felt a part of the enterprise. The Trustees are deeply sensitive to this generous spirit on your part. Under the circumstances, especially since you have now decided to look for another home, The Board wishes to give some further recognition of your contribution in addition to your rent free occupancy of Happy Valley and the financial help given to you personally from the beginning by Mr. Logan and me because of our interest in Happy Valley. As evidence of their appreciation, they have voted you the sum of $1000 and it is given you with their hearty good wishes.

By Louis Zalk, President, The Happy Valley Foundation

October 18, 1947

Dear Felix,

…In view of your present need due to the coming visit of your mother, we have decided to postpone the plans we made for the use of the house which you are now occupying and we are willing to grant you another six months occupancy from November 1, 1947 to May 1, 1948. Because of your generous attitude in the past the trustees have decided to charge you no rent from June 1 of this year until November 1 but thereafter the nominal rent of $25 per month.

Sincerely, Louis Zalk,

April 7, 1948

Dear Felix,

By unanimous agreement of the Trustees I am authorized to purchase the items listed in your letter at the prices you suggest to a total of $205.

However in reference to your request that you be permitted to move some of the trees and plants we sincerely regret that we have to disappoint you in this, but we will be glad to compensate you for the original cost of any of the trees which in your letter you propose to move. In coming to this decision, we are sure you will understand that we are not concerned with the commercial value of these trees, but that we are reluctant to disturb trees which have already taken root.

With kind regards to you and Elena

Sincerely, Louis Zalk,
President, The Happy Valley Foundation

The final communication from Felix was in August 1948 when he commented on the denial of his request to transplant the fruit trees. He went on to claim that since their departure from Happy Valley, the trees were dying and showed no signs of care. But the most disturbing part of this letter was his criticism of the divisive behavior of several members of the Happy Valley Board. A useful commentary follows. He suggested that: “in accepting a position on the Board of Trustees each member assumes responsibility for all that the Board does or fails to do and he remains responsible, both collectively and individually as long as he remains a member.” This excellent piece of advice was followed by a less pleasant admonition. Felix reminded the trustees of their duty to former contributors to the foundation and warned that should he feel it right to do so, he would share the body of correspondence between himself and the individual trustees, with such rightfully interested persons, that they may judge how well Dr. Besant’s purposes were being fulfilled.

George Ragan responded to Felix’s charges by visiting the site in person and reporting back to Louis.

August 19, 1948

Dear Louis,

This morning I took another trip up to the house and there sat Felix with a hose watering a tree and right behind came Sparks on the same mission.

[Sparks was the Happy Valley foreman, who had been hired to undertake Tucker’s former duties. Predictably this name gave rise to a stream of puns, between Louis and Robert such as: “let’s hope Sparks won’t fly.”]

Being of a nature direct, I had them both accompany me in checking the trees which had died – Sparks having told me the day before that the dead trees in question had died before Felix left the house, and Felix claiming they had not. Voila! It’s precisely like the Red Spy trials in Washington, one of them is off the beam, who can tell who is right.

I counted all the dead trees… none in the orchard had died and none will. Then Felix and I had an hour discussion while Sparks went on watering. He and Felix differ radically on how often the trees should be watered, in fact they differ hugely on everything. Sparks happens to have had a deal of experience with fruit trees – their habits – their need for water… Felix claims he knows even more so they are irreconcilable.

About every two minutes came the wonder to me what in the world was Felix doing up there anyhow, why this immense concern over the trees?… But I am convinced about one thing. The Board will have “a case” on its hands… by “a case” I do not mean a legal one I mean a “problem child” case.

As ever faithfully, George [Ragan]

And this outspoken reaction from good old George Hall – still the curmudgeon and with ill-concealed criticism of how the situation had been handled by Louis and Rosalind – yet ultimately displaying full support.

Aug. 19, 1948

Dear Louis,

…The threat Felix made in his letter and which he voiced to me privately when he called me to the house just before he vacated, convinces me that I do not understand him. When I first met him and his wife I fell in love with them both but this threatening the Trustees does not harmonize at all with my previous opinion of him.

The personal relationships that may or may not have existed between the Greenes and you and Rosalind were apparently wrong somewhere since they have resulted so disastrously, but the more the Board can avoid being involved in these misunderstandings, the better, as I see it. I have not told Felix what I think someone should have told him; namely that the lack of a definite understanding in writing of the arrangement under which he and Elena were to enter on H.V. property was just as much his own fault as it could have been the fault of the officers of H.V. That relationship was definitely & necessarily a business relationship and a definite and specific business agreement should have been made at the start. I hold myself equally responsible with all Trustees for this neglect. Perhaps I am the most to blame for relinquishing an unofficial position of management which I had held from the beginning until this Greene matter so unobtrusively and subtly slipped into the picture… I do not consider that it is any business of F.G. what goes on at H.V. He isn’t even a Theosophist and there has been plenty of complaining in the past about Tucker running the ranch because he was not a Theosophist. But in all our years with Tucker we never had the slightest misunderstanding or bad feeling and today he is our friend. And even if F.G. could devise a method of publishing the correspondence as threatened, it would reflect more discredit on him than on the Trustees. We have made honest mistakes but we have not violated all the principles of friendship and good fellowship so prominently advocated by the teachings of Theosophy.

Lastly we owe no apology to F.G. We can let all the trees die and leave the house empty without having to account for such action to him… I hope it may be the last of these painful contacts.

Yours as ever with my love, George [Hall]

August 24, 1948

Dear Felix,

This is in reply to your communication of August 16th addressed to the Trustees of the Happy Valley Foundation.

We welcome any criticisms and suggestions if they be friendly and constructive, but we are sorry to note that there is a decidedly unfriendly tone to your letter.

Speaking for the Trustees and with their approval, I must affirm that our business relationship with you connected with the Happy Valley Foundation was terminated some time ago by mutual consent, and therefore we cannot understand your continued preoccupation with affairs which are properly the business of the Trustees.


Louis Zalk, President Happy Valley Foundation

Louis Zalk, Ojai, c. 1950

Louis had one final and memorable statement on this whole business – an admonition to his trustees and those of the future.


In Felix Greene’s communication of August 16 there appeared the following paragraph:

“Invariably in the past after the President has written us a letter or the Board has come to a decision affecting our future on Happy Valley, individual members of the Board would come to us and say: ‘Really, I had nothing to do with this’… or ‘so and so deals with these matters, so I couldn’t say anything’… or ‘I am only a junior trustee and so leave it to the others’ ”

Unfortunately I have reason to think that to some extent at least this criticism is justified.

There is the important thing called “Trustee Loyalty”, which means that among ourselves we may have differences of opinions and discussions before we come to a conclusion. But surely it is most unwise to give outsiders any picture of a disunity of the Board – when in fact this has not been the case.

I ask those who may have been inadvertently responsible for the above criticism given by Felix Greene to go into a quiet session with themselves and see the rather undignified role they have played in such an attitude as well as the sorry picture they have presented of the Board.

Furthermore, I unhesitatingly say that if any Trustee feels that he has to apologise for the majority action of the Board, that in self-respect he should promote the election of new members and officers of the Board; or himself resign.

Louis Zalk,
President of the Happy Valley Foundation

Gathering at Adobe House, 1948 (front) Rosalind Rajagopal, Robert Logan, Margot Morrow (Wilkie) Eleanor and George Ragan (back) Radha Rajagopal, David Weidemann, James Sloss

In the end, in spite of all the disappointment and the transparent bitterness in Felix’s heart, the Greenes left behind a unique and beautiful house that stands today, much as they had created it. It has housed a Happy Valley School director, foundation secretary/treasurers and been the repository of foundation files for nearly fifty years. In a sense, Adobe House was the embryo of a community that was not ready to be born. But there has been continual growth, as the need arises, ever since.

Adobe House, 1997

VI. Nuts, Bolts, and Principles

Practical Dealings with the Spiritually Minded

By 1943 Tucker was still running the walnut ranch on a basis of an annual rent of twenty percent of the gross and a minimum $1000. Running the ranch involved more than picking walnuts. The well and pump had to be kept functioning and a drying and storage shed erected, as well as periodic new plantings. Two hundred and fifty new walnut trees were planted in 1944.

The primary goal of the trustees was to assume control of the ranch management which had been, though not clearly stated, the underlying reason for the whole Greene venture. The minutes of a special meeting on May 10, 1946 reflect a full discussion on this subject: “The Trustees unanimously decided that they could not delegate this responsibility, and that all developments be carried out under the supervision and control of the Board itself ”20. Felix’s May 1, 1946 letter had convinced the trustees that the Greene’s activities on Happy Valley should be limited to the completion of the house and a further year’s rent-free occupancy.

Willie Weidemann, brother-in-law of Rosalind and Rajagopal, was running the Arya Vihara orange ranch as well as Logan’s adjacent orchard and the Logan/Zalk joint venture, a 20-acre orange grove at the west end of Ojai Valley. So it was natural that Willie should be asked to take on management of the Happy Valley walnut orchard on behalf of the Board of Trustees. The termination of Tucker’s lease was negotiated amicably on both sides and the long standing relationship with Tucker was now ended. Under Willie’s competent management, revenues increased (a good year brought in as much as $30,000) averaging out well enough to pay running expenses and taxes.

Rajagopal, Louis Zalk, Robert Logan, c. 1945 “practical dealings”

The camp buildings that Louis and Robert had bought from Krishnamurti Writings Inc. were still vacant and waiting for a good use. Rosalind suggested that one of the bath houses be converted to apartments as a source of income for the owners (Logan and Zalk) until a specific purpose for the former camp land might emerge.

December 17, 1945

Dear Louis,

I have your letter of December 11th and note instructions to Willie about bath houses 3 and 2… If anyone swims out of these bath houses with a clear mathematical picture of my two-thirds and one-half and your one-half and one-third, it will be Albert Einstein. No one else would have a chance!

Faithfully, Robert

Indeed the “specific purpose” was already emerging. For some years Rosalind had been a board member of the Ojai Valley School, which her daughter, Radha, had attended for the past five years. This school had originally been based on Edward Yeomans’ precepts of non-competitiveness in classroom and sports, tolerance and a free and open mind. These ideas, combined with many of Krishnamurti’s, would find resonance in the educational policies of Happy Valley.

In 1945, the war just over, there was a ninth grade class at the Ojai Valley School, wondering where they would go the following year. Wallace Burr, the headmaster of Ojai Valley School took Rosalind aside and suggested that in view of all the murmurings about a “someday” Happy Valley School, this would be a good time to get started. The murmurings soon developed into very solid discussions and by spring of 1946 definite plans had been formulated to open a new co-educational boarding high school, with grades ten through twelve, in the fall.

In 1943 Robert had expressed his feeling that a community would grow around a school rather than a farm, and in the midst of a second world war he felt more strongly than ever the role that education should play:

The Happy Valley must be a nursery for that true peace which can only come through understanding and government, through sympathy and not through domination… the opposite of the conception of mechanization and regimentation, which has been dominating the world of business and politics, and creating not only the war, but the war of daily life.

The bath house was converted as planned; but instead of Logan and Zalk being the beneficiaries of rental income they became once more financial underpinnings, this time for the school which would occupy their real estate. It would serve for the experiment that Robert Logan had so wisely suggested should take place off the Happy Valley land for a testing period. No one probably remembered that advice at this point. It was simply the only feasible way to get started as there were no funds and not enough time to make an all new beginning up at Happy Valley. Building materials were still in extremely short supply, as were many food products. This made the idea of setting up a new kitchen for a boarding school daunting to say the least. However the momentum for getting the school started by the fall of 1946, so as not to lose the ninth graders graduating from Ojai Valley School, greatly outstripped all these obstacles. There was no way a dormitory could be finished over the summer, yet enthusiasm for the project was unanimous on the Happy Valley Foundation Board.

Special Meeting, July 29, 1946

Such a school is in keeping with the original intent of Dr. Besant. It has always been the accepted idea of the Trustees that there is a moral obligation on their part to create such a school as soon as such a project became feasible.

It was generally agreed that a school, embodying Dr. Besant’s ideas in education, and the people who would inevitably gather around it, would help forward the community and cultural ideals for which the Foundation was originally created.

Resolved that:

The school is to be known as “The Happy Valley School”.

The Board of Trustees of The Happy Valley Foundation is to retain the legal ownership of this school and be completely responsible for it financially, but that the organization and management of the school shall be in charge of a School Board, one member of which shall always be one of the Trustees of the Happy Valley Foundation.

Mrs. Rosalind Rajagopal be elected a member of the School Board. Dr. Guido Ferrando be elected as Head of the School in charge of its educational and cultural activities.21

Guido Ferrando, a retired philosophy professor from Vassar College, had moved to Ojai Valley during the war. The Rajagopals had attended several series of his lectures on the American Transcendentalists and on the Divine Comedy. Dr. Ferrando had also entered into many discussions on education with Aldous Huxley, Krishnamurti, Rajagopal, and Rosalind, as well as several members of the Happy Valley Board. They had all come to agree on a Socratic method of teaching which advocated term papers rather than formal examinations, small classes arranged in a circle with questions and discussion rather than formal lecturing, a strong focus on the arts with full student participation, and a stress on learning to think. Huxley particularly emphasized that there be no barriers between different disciplines but an integration of subjects as well as cultures into a world view. An international student body was a basic goal from the onset.

Rajagopal, Krishnamurti, Maria and Aldous Huxley, c. 1947 Puppies and principles

Not only must the educational structure of the school be established but the physical plant also had to be built. Various people among those who had been talking for years about a Happy Valley School were considered for both these tasks, among them Walter Hassall, who had been in the Theosophical center with Leadbeater in Australia in his youth. After serious talks however, Walter decided that he needed more substantial material benefits than Happy Valley could offer and he joined the public school system. Others of the same circle, like Byron Casselberry and Nell Ragan, were able to contribute administrative help but not the basic daily academic assistance that Dr. Ferrando needed. Finally Rosalind persuaded (Pete) Ogden Kellogg-Smith (who had been a popular teacher at Ojai Valley School but who had decided to return to the east coast), to come back to Ojai for at least six months. Pete, a graduate of St. John’s College known for its Great Books program, fitted in well with Happy Valley’s developing [b][size=130]educational philosophy.[/size][/b]

The aim is to prepare pupils for life and stress is to be placed on the harmonious development of the pupil. The purpose is to integrate knowledge in all fields and not give too much importance to dates and facts. Especially is it the purpose of the school to train students to use their minds and to think for themselves.22

Happy Valley School, early 1950s former Star camp cafeteria

It looked as if there was hope that the old cafeteria building would be adequately converted to hold classes by October 1, the designated starting day, but what about a dormitory for the half dozen boarders who had been gleaned from every imaginable source? On September 22, just a week before the school would open, at a special meeting of the Happy Valley Foundation:

Mrs. Rosalind Rajagopal then announced that Mr. J. Krishnamurti and Mr. D. Rajagopal have generously offered the use of the main house at Arya Vihara, rent free, to be used as a dormitory for the first school year. It was then moved and seconded that the Trustees accept this kind offer, and that the Secretary be instructed to write a letter of thanks to Mr. J. Krishnamurti and Mr. D. Rajagopal for their cooperation with the school.23

Krishnamurti had planned to go abroad that year, otherwise, it is unlikely that this offer would have been made. But once made it was not feasible to withdraw it, even though he became gravely ill the day the first boarders arrived and was bedridden for the next six months. Rosalind, who had undertaken to run the kitchen and be a dorm mother, broke her ankle the next day (after Radha’s pet rooster, Hercules failed to recognize her and put his spur through her foot). Leg in a cast and on crutches, Rosalind had to nurse Krishnamurti, who would tolerate no other, as well as attend to the practicalities of running the boarding aspects of the school.

Krishnamurti, Arya Vihara, 1946

Fortunately, in addition to Hercules, there were still hens, bees, a vegetable garden, and a cow at Arya Vihara left from the war years, so from the beginning, the quality of food was unusually high. The founders had decided that meat eaters should be accommodated, although the emphasis was naturally on a vegetarian diet. Rosalind, having studied nutrition, felt that an important part of young people’s education lay in developing a good dietary consciousness for health as well as an ethical outlook. A strictly vegetarian regime would discourage the attendance of non-vegetarians and thus deny many the opportunity for this exposure. So even in the strictly vegetarian home of Krishnamurti, meat was discreetly prepared in a separate kitchen.

The sense of community among the boarding students was enhanced by their participation in egg gathering, vegetable picking and carrying buckets of milk to be filtered and bottled. Breakfast and dinner were served at the dining table at Arya Vihara. This combination of participating in the production of and cleaning up after meals, and the formal sitting down to table and – after a moment of silence – sharing food and conversation was, to Rosalind’s surprise, a new experience to some of the students. It was soon recognized as an important element in the educational process.

Meanwhile a lease had been signed by Robert and Louis agreeing to rent their entire Meiners’ Oaks property to the Happy Valley Foundation “for $50.00 a month not to be paid so long as the school is not financially self-sustaining. [Also] the alterations agreed upon between Mr. Logan and Mrs. Rajagopal are to be completed at owner’s expense.” By 1948 this three-year lease was extended to ten years to “give stability to the school” and in October of 1949 Robert and Louis deeded over to the Happy Valley Foundation the buildings and grounds then comprising the Happy Valley School. (It may be noted how persuasively Rosalind’s nurturing of this embryonic school had taken place.) But aside from that, Logan and Zalk, those two great benefactors of Happy Valley, had, with considerable effort and the help and approval of the other Board members, won tax free status for the Happy Valley Foundation, retroactive to 1946. They were vigilant but non-interfering for the first growth years of the school in their support of the educational performance of those they had elected to run it. Having kept the land intact and solvent for over twenty years, the first vision of Annie Besant had materialized. Looking to the future Louis and Robert were constantly reminding each other of the crucial role they must play if the school were to survive.

Dear Robert,

. . . I note your fear as to my getting to heaven through the Happy Valley back door. The last time I went up through that back door, I collected enough brambles and foxtails to pay off the national debt. So far, my idea of heavenly developments on Happy Valley would be if we raised forty tons of walnuts this year and got about thirty cents per pound. But so far we are very short of rain indeed. There was an Indian chief who came to town the other day, and he caused a very minor sprinkle. I hope that he is still actively dancing around a spot in the ground and that Old Man Coyote will hear his invocations.

Now for spiritually minded people, it is a shame that the subject of money intrudes itself at every point. You know that together we owe $4000 on a mortgage on the second building. I am intending to clear up my share sometime this year since I do not like the smell of mortgages. I venture to say that you feel the same.

And a year later Louis wrote:

… May I suggest in the spirit of the deep friendship between us, that both of us, in our Wills, protect the future of the School, – just in case Karma uses the actor’s wooden hook and yanks us away from the stage before we meet?

Aldous Huxley, c. 1950

After considerable discussion and soul-searching by members of the Happy Valley Foundation Board they felt confident that this was not to be “just another school along the lines of good progressive schools” but that Annie Besant’s description of the right type of education for Happy Valley had been honored.

Happy Valley School performance, “Twelfth Night” 1947 Pamela Evans, Radha Rajagopal, Melvin Burckes

The school had opened on October 1, 1946 with ten students, three teachers and three dogs. George Ragan reported to Louis October 27:

The students are the happiest group I’ve ever seen – as likewise the dogs – from whose actions Robert renamed the school “The School of the Happy Dogs” when he visited.

The school board started with five members: Dr. Guido Ferrando, Wallace Burr, Aldous Huxley, Muriel Payne (from the Litchfield school in England) and Rosalind Rajagopal.

Happy Valley School folk dance exhibition, 1950s

In the spring of that first year, both the teaching staff and the student body were increased. Elena Greene to teach Spanish, Alice Caldwell – a former concert pianist – music. Ronald Bennett, who was a member of the Checkov theater group that had settled in Ojai during the war and also a drama teacher at Ojai Valley School, joined part time and by June would produce scenes from Shakespeare that created a stir throughout the Ojai community, as Nell Ragan reported to Louis:

Had a large crowd down last night when the students put on their Shakespeare plays. They made a totally unexpected, startling and profound impression. Even I who see them every day was completely taken by surprise. The spontaneous applause nearly took the roof off… I know now that no sacrifice is too great for such a school which in one short year has produced right before our unsuspecting eyes such finished creative personalities as these… I noted that Rajagopal, Huxley and Krishnaji seemed just as taken unaware as the rest.

David Young joined as mathematics teacher but most important, he brought a level of folk dancing that would put the school in the forefront of this activity. Students made their own costumes for the various ethnic dances and participated in statewide exhibitions which brought acclaim to this new unknown school. Friday night folk dances also set a social pattern that linked the school to the community at large and precluded the desire for high school dating by drawing in young and old, teachers, parents, friends and students into a co-mingling of fun. The central room of the old cafeteria proved to be ideal for dancing, dramatics and music. A few years later, the renowned pianist Lili Kraus would declare the acoustics to be impeccable. Starting in 1952 as Guest Pianist at the Ojai Music Festival, Lili returned for many years to Ojai to give master classes and performances in that room. The level of inspiration that she brought through her music and her personality was inestimable. The overlapping circles that formed around the school provided a stream of visiting lecturers and performers, extracurricular activities which soon became a hallmark and a beacon (See: Appendices A and B).

Lili Kraus, 1954

On the academic side, Dr. Ferrando provided an intellectual challenge, rarely offered high school students. Not everyone was able to follow the sometimes highflown discussions based on Plato or Ralph Waldo Emerson but no one escaped the challenge which was amply tempered by the gentle and tolerant manner of the professor. He was also a good sport, even when he was the victim of a boobytrapped darkroom, rigged with a bucket of water to keep out untimely intruders.

Dr. Ferrando with students, early 1950s, David Christensen, Carol Bee, Jock van Dyke, Ann Kempe (Brand), Arthur Clemens, Kate Hughs

Work on the dormitory continued through the first school year and frantically through the following summer, bringing encouragement from Robert Logan.

August 1947

Dearest Rozzie [Rosalind],

Don’t work too hard nor worry too much… last year we had 12 pupils and no dormitory and this year we shall have 12 dormitories and no pupils which makes a perfect average…

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Part 4 of 5

The second year opened with an increase in enrollment from the original ten to eighteen and the number of teachers to ten. Full time teachers received $2,500 per school year and part time teachers $3 per hour – three times what Felix had to pay his brick makers. In addition volunteer help would always be a strong tradition at Happy Valley. As school directors, Dr. Ferrando, followed by Rosalind, never accepted a salary and many other key persons such as Nell Ragan, the business manager, followed suit. The school would not have survived without this support from so many friends.

In June of 1948, due to ill health and an extended stay in Europe, Dr. Ferrando resigned from administrative responsibilities. The foundation appointed Nell Ragan, Rosalind, and David Young to an administrative committee. By November of 1949 a permanent director had not been found and Rosalind suggested that she search for someone to fill this position on her upcoming trip abroad. In her absence the school board appointed Howard Pattee, general secretary of the independent secondary school system of California, as general counselor to the school board. Mr. Pattee had already given invaluable practical advice over the past few years and would continue to do so.

By the spring of 1950 the much sought after school director had still not appeared.

It was unanimously agreed to appoint Mrs. Rosalind Rajagopal as “Acting Director” of the School for the school year 1950-51 with the understanding that there will be a Headmaster the following year.24

No director appeared the following year either. Eventually Rosalind would be appointed director and the “acting” would be dropped from her title. Rosalind was stepping into a role for which she had no specific training. But she had strong supporters in, among others, Louis and Robert who had no doubts about her capacities. The next decade would prove that they were right. The school flourished and before long was nationally and internationally recognized in educational circles. The emphasis which the Happy Valley School continued to place on creative activities had demonstrably enhanced rather than diminished its scholastic standards. There was a high percentage of National Merit Scholars alongside the drama productions and folk-dance exhibits. The school was turning out graduates who were all the founders had hoped for.

Rosalind with students, mid-1950s, Mary Myers, Jodi Parry, Raymond Neutra, Fritz von Fleckenstein, Kim de Steiguer, Rodman Casselberry, Dennis Poplin, Nancy Ridenour

In spite of the evident success of the school, the Happy Valley Foundation still had to contend with a range of queries, criticisms and challenges on the basic curriculum of the school and proprietorship and proper uses of the Happy Valley land.

Some of these queries had come from Theosophical headquarters to which Louis Zalk gave candid replies based largely on Dr. Besant’s own words:

June 30, 1959

My Dear Friend,

I take this opportunity to sketch briefly the story of the Happy Valley Foundation since its organization approximately 30 years ago…

The original announcement by Dr. Besant under the date of January 11,1927 is very familiar to us, and the Happy Valley Foundation is devoted to carrying out her ideals and purposes in the most effective way possible, striving to avoid serious mistakes by determining a practical TIMING for each advance. In 1946… the Happy Valley School was started. This school seemed to us to come first. I quote from Dr. Besant’s pamphlet:

“For all this our Centre must have a school for the training of future members of the Centre, sowing into them gradually the ideals of the New Order with thoughtful care.” She very definitely recites the educational qualities necessary for our school. We have faithfully tried to follow these ideals in education with every modern educational technique which has since been developed. The ideals of the New Order do not need a denominational name. Being of intrinsic value in their own quality, they will attract the right people of all denominations. Dr. Besant stated in her announcement:

“Settlers need not belong to any special organization, but they must accept the following ideals which will be the bond of union between all the residents, to whatever Faith they may respectively belong. Such an ethical and profoundly religious bond is imperatively necessary for success.” I think the full significance of this paragraph should not be overlooked. We are far from being ready for settlers. This requires large outlays of capital and careful planning. We therefore started with our School. This School has been so far a very great success due to the ever-continuing devotion of many people who have given their time and utmost effort for its success (no member of the Board of Trustees has ever received any compensation whatever… The Trustees of this Foundation, remembering Dr. Besants’ incalculable services to the Theosophical Society, to the world and to them as individuals, are dedicated to justify the great risk she so gladly took and her good faith to those who contributed. But in an equal measure, the splendid ideals she set forth for a future and nobler civilization in themselves are a most worthy goal… without distinction of race, creed, caste, sex or color. Do not these objectives harmonize perfectly with the three essential purposes of the Theosophical Society itself?

Very sincerely yours,
Louis Zalk, President, The Happy Valley Foundation

Trustee George Hall added his validation to the above letter:

I was Dr. Besant’s agent in the purchase of the Tucker ranch and later in the organization of the California Corporation to which she transferred her title to the property and which assumed her debts in connection with said purchases, amounting originally to $90,000. Based upon personal knowledge of the entire history of this enterprise, it is my firm conviction that neither the Theosophical Society not any other organization or individual has any legal or moral right to the properties owned by the Happy Valley Foundation, which is a self-perpetuating California non-profit Corporation, governed by a Board of Trustees originally appointed by Dr. Besant herself.

Robert Logan died in 1956, leaving a third of his estate to Happy Valley. The loss of his presence, with his unobtrusive but esteemed wisdom was deeply felt.

By the early 1960s the board began to look toward the Happy Valley School graduates to perpetuate itself. Rosalind’s son-in-law James Sloss, who had attended the school in its first two years, joined the foundation in 1960. Jorge Uribe, a 1960 graduate of Happy Valley School and now a lawyer in Los Angeles, joined the foundation in 1968 and has remained to the present, sometimes as counsel, sometimes as trustee, and at this writing, as president. Jorge with his legal skills has dealt with the increasing number of complex issues and proposals set before the foundation as well as clarifying foundation policy on both practical and ideological levels.

Austin Bee, who had met Annie Besant as a twelve year old in 1926 and had been managing the Happy Valley ranch as well as serving as business manager for the school, was elected to the Happy Valley Board in 1974 and succeeded Rosalind as chairman in 1989.

Austin with his practical experience in the business of construction helped to materialize within realistic and achievable goals the dreams and hopes of the previous fifty years to establish the school on Happy Valley land. The pressure to move the school from Meiner’s Oaks intensified when the county condemned the lower school campus in order to build a freeway (which was never built). However, this proved to be a helpful nudge in the right direction. Bit by bit, the school would shift eastward onto Annie Besant’s promised land. It would arrive without seas parting, trumpets blaring, walls crumbling or a commandment fixed in stone (the latter case would lead to a paradoxical problem in itself).

Jorge A.Uribe, c. 1978

In 1962 plans for a complete campus were being developed by the prestigious architectural firm of Welton Beckett, funded by some of the endowment left by Robert Logan. (The scope of these plans turned out to be far beyond the reach of Happy Valley resources, and eventually they had to be abandoned in their entirety). But before that happened, a discussion began at a Happy Valley Board meeting that was to escalate into a major policy issue. In order to raise funds from outsiders to construct the Welton Beckett plans, the board was seeking a unanimous agreement on a philosophical policy that could be presented coherently to a funder. Yet there was still mindfulness of avoiding the crystallization that this formulation could incur. Money had seldom been sought outside the Happy Valley community. Logan and Zalk had met crucial deficits for the past sixteen years. To compound the difficulty of this task, one of the trustees interjected a criticism that the name of Krishnamurti was not used with more regularity and more emphasis in the school. The nonsectarian nature of the school, without emphasis on any individual or ideology, had long been accepted as an inviolate principle. Krishnamurti’s ideas had been transmitted by osmosis rather than regurgitation, by the character and behavior of individuals to whom his ideas had significance. He had been actively present in the founding years of the Happy Valley School and had lent his approval to the teaching methods as well as to the subject matter and the staff, while claiming he wished no formal association with it. Following Aldous Huxley (See: Appendix B), the existentialist Douwe Stuurman, from the University of California, Alan Watts and numerous other guest lecturers and teachers whose backgrounds were not necessarily Theosophical or tied to Krishnamurti had been attracted to Happy Valley because of its nonsectarian nature.

Over the next decade, acting on increased interest of the Krishnamurti circle and others in establishing themselves on Happy Valley land, the board was prompted to draw up a general agreement that would apply to any group wishing to develop a project on Happy Valley land. The main points were that there be no disagreement with Dr. Besant’s statements regarding the purposes of the foundation. Several amendments were added to clarify and extend the Articles of Incorporation, including a restated policy on the husbandry of animals:

To do all and everything necessary, suitable or proper… or anything which the Board of Trustees may from time to time deem proper, except the growing or commercial exploitation of animals for purposes leading to their cruel use for experiments, or for their purposeful slaughter, is to be totally avoided.

A further development of policy was adopted by resolution which describes the foundation

as non-sectarian, and cautious against fixation to any one person or ideology. The object is to cause the Foundation to be flexible, to keep the Foundation relevant to “new generations”, able to look to the future in order to make contributions, consistent with its guiding spirit in a changing society….The work of the Foundation should be developed with great integrity and should be concerned with those aspects of human endeavor that help to alleviate suffering and bring hope for the future of mankind.25

The Krishnamurti group did not pursue their interest in Happy Valley. There were other groups, however that did approach from time to time, drawn by the exceptional beauty of the land and an assumed compatibility with the principles of the foundation.

Among these was the World Institute of Avasthology. This group appeared to be in harmony with Dr. Besant’s ideals and with Theosophical principles. But they had problems and delays in presenting a clear plan of exactly what they wanted to accomplish. After a few years of discussion and rather vague proposals a plan for a pyramidal structure was presented to the Happy Valley Board. The pyramid was to be 90 feet high and seat 2,000 people. It is difficult to imagine how the necessary one million cubic feet could accommodate this number without its base being close to an acre, unless this crowd was so enlightened that they could stack themselves in levitating tiers. Jorge Uribe expressed the foundation’s concerns in a letter to the W.I.A.:

…The Board of Trustees also has very serious reservations regarding the pyramid… The Board has not been persuaded that such a structure can be properly located on a suitable building area within the Foundation’s property in a manner which is consistent with the various considerations that the Foundation has adopted for the proper utilization of all of its land by all of the people that use it. But what is to the Board at this time far more troublesome is its knowledge, based upon many years of experience in dealing with local regulatory agencies, that the likelihood of gaining approval for the construction of such an edifice is at the very best remote.

Sometimes regulatory agencies serve a good purpose! No more was heard of pyramids or the World Institute of Avasthology.


Louis Zalk died in 1964, leaving Rosalind chair/president of the Happy Valley Foundation. Under Rosalind’s aegis there would never arise the type of divisiveness on the Happy Valley Board that had caused such confusion in the Felix Greene era. Devoting her full time to the foundation, Rosalind was able to establish a consensus before the board meetings through her discussion of issues with individual board members prior to each meeting. This had the advantage of reducing the meetings to a maximum of two or three hours in which the meeting itself served mainly to “implement Rosalind’s will.”26 If this administration was viewed by some as a “benevolent matriarchy,” it nevertheless steered the foundation and the school through some very bumpy times. In her doggedness combined with unwavering faith in her own good luck, Rosalind displayed certain similarities to George Washington crossing the Delaware. Neither ice nor high water would stop them.

Meeting on Happy Valley, 1968, Franklin Lacey, Harriet Von Breton, Douwe Stuurman, Austin Bee, Joseph Margon, John Rupp, Rosalind Rajagopal, Joseph Lodge

Rosalind had never entirely given up hope of getting herself replaced as the school director, and coping with the duties of president of the foundation made that issue all the more pressing. New directors were found – and then lost – to be replaced, one by one. Some left valuable contributions and others a weakened structure that was miraculously shored up again. (Aldous Huxley once quipped that Rosalind rode a new director into battle like a cavalry general his horse until the poor creature dropped from exhaustion or was shot out from under her.)

On her tour of America in 1926, Annie Besant had met another boy of twelve in Wheaton, Illinois, Franklin Lacey in whom she had recognized a very special spark. Franklin joined the Happy Valley Board in 1959, two years after the opening of The Music Man, which he had coauthored with Meridith Wilson. In that decade, with the school in its darkest period, Franklin was persuaded to be the director and he forthwith attempted to keep afloat what was a very leaky craft indeed. Perhaps his own line from The Music Man served him well at this time. When Professor Hill had flim-flammed the whole town into buying costumes and instruments for the school band and the moment arrived to play, one voice cried out, “but we don’t know how.” The professor said, “FAKE IT” and it worked! Floating between two makeshift campuses, in serious deficit, down to seven students, the school continued, with very little substance, to project the impression of itself as a school.27

Franklin Lacey, c. 1958

The 1960s and 1970s were challenging decades for all educational institutions in the re-evaluation and oftentimes rejection of old principles and theories. The Happy Valley School suffered from many of the difficulties of this era but the essence of its philosophy was to remain uncrystalized and open to the new; vigilant as well as prudent in looking for and welcoming change – and of course change there was.


Acquiring funds for the new campus now became a major concern. Before he left Felix Greene had built another adobe house – High Winds – in the upper valley on land east of Happy Valley, for Mary Clark. By 1953 Mrs. Clark had not found a use for the house and put it up for sale. Louis and Rajagopal, who was then the treasurer of the Happy Valley Foundation, urged the board to add this property, which included about seventy-five acres, to Happy Valley. A few years later Austin Bee, then a part-time realtor in Willie Weidemann’s office, noticed that an eightyacre parcel between High Winds and Happy Valley was for sale. Austin offered to drive Louis and Rajagopal up to see it. They approached by an old dirt track, much like the track on which Frank Gerard had first taken Krishna and Raja from the east side of the valley thirty years before. The board agreed that this parcel should be acquired as a valuable link between High Winds and Annie Besant’s original land. High Winds could be looked upon as a long term investment “for the future.”

Austin Bee, c. 1955

Not too surprisingly “for the future” became “now” very suddenly when Rosalind perceived High Winds as a means to raise funds for the new campus. The terms of the sale, however, precluded acquiring funds for that purpose. A large down payment was forfeited in lieu of a high interest mortgage. This income helped to finance the operational expenses of the foundation for many years.

Oil rights had never ceased to be a concern and with the pending move onto the Happy Valley land and the building of a campus, it again became a hot issue in the mid-1960s.

After frustrating attempts by various board members to negotiate with Atlantic Richfield, owner of these rights, Rosalind one day impulsively phoned Mr. Bradshaw, the current president of Atlantic Richfield, and was able to announce at the next Board meeting:

The gift to the Foundation of the mineral and oil rights on the 270 acres of Happy Valley land by the Atlantic Richfield Company and that the deeds were in the process of being executed.28

Happy Valley School, 1997

All these negotiations had failed to provide the funds needed to build the new campus. A relationship, however, still existed with Atlantic Richfield. Rosalind reported at a 1968 board meeting that in view of a freeway, rumored for construction in that area, the oil company was considering the sale of 2.6 acres of its upper valley land. This parcel included an office building, appropriate for classrooms until the campus on Happy Valley land could be funded. The property was being offered at $125,000, considerably below the appraised value (but a high price to the Foundation). Unfortunately the zoning was not suitable for school purposes. These obstacles were soon swept aside. Jorge Uribe pointed out the potential tax advantages to Atlantic Richfield of donating assets to the foundation as a means of reducing the purchase price. The board was assured that the zoning could be changed, and fortunately the freeway never materialized. In that same meeting a planning committee was formed to guide – if not propel – the board forward in plans to construct the new campus on Happy Valley land.

Within a few days of this meeting Jorge received in his law office a phone call from Rosalind announcing that they had an appointment with the regional head of Atlantic Richfield in Los Angeles the following day. She added that she would pick Jorge up and drive him to the meeting. They were unfortunately running late as they approached the underground parking ramp which also unfortunately said FULL. Undeterred by this trivial obstacle, Rosalind advised Jorge to hang on and proceeded full speed wrong way down the exit ramp to be greeted at the bottom by an outraged parking attendant. Quickly assuming her “innocent old lady” cloak, she said, “Oh dear,” and handing over the keys, she hustled Jorge up the elevator, while reminding him that it was his job to explain to Atlantic Richfield why they wanted to make a substantial gift to the Happy Valley Foundation.

At the next board meeting the successful negotiations were reported, culminating in a purchase price of $98,000 with $60,000 down.

During the twelve years that followed this acquisition, (it was sold in 1980 for more than four times the purchase price) real estate deals would take up a considerable portion of the board’s time and almost all of Rosalind’s. The Meiner’s Oaks campus was eventually sold, repossessed and sold again until little by little, through sales and donations and a rare inheritance, sufficient funds were gathered together to make the new campus possible.29

Unfortunately, the 270 acres that comprised the High Winds property, the adjacent tract spotted by Austin, and an eastern portion of the land originally bought by Annie, on which the oil rights had been granted, were not a part of the designated site for the new campus, which was still under an oil rights cloud. In true Happy Valley style, this did nothing to derail the plans. A discussion with a representative of ARCO was deemed sufficiently reassuring to allow the building project to proceed. Over the years, oil rights continued to be contributed by other holders such as the Lagomarsino family. Occasional oil prospectors came scouting about but so far, for better or worse, depending on whose rights are involved, nothing has come of it. Perhaps, ultimately, Frank Gerard’s words will hold true “the land will be there for centuries to come, while oil is not likely to be an issue for many years more” (See: Appendix E).

In 1972 Rosalind gave to the Happy Valley Foundation a piece of property left her by Robert Logan. (The house called Saro Vihara, built by George Hall as a guest house for Arya Vihara, which Robert and Sara had bought for their California residence.)

The sale of this property enabled the foundation to build a house at Happy Valley, designed by Paul Hoag, that would be for Rosalind’s lifetime use. It would also serve as the foundation headquarters for the three board meetings each year and other appropriate purposes. A large living room was designed with all this in mind.

Saro Vihara, c. 1930, Ojai home of the Logans

Rosalind’s close friend Beatrice Wood, the noted ceramist, had lived across the street from Arya Vihara for over twenty years. Beatrice, a longtime admirer of Annie Besant and Krishnamurti, had followed the development of the school with great interest, and also taught ceramics there.

Beatrice Wood (Beato) and James Sloss Ojai, 1967

Rosalind now suggested that Beatrice sell her McAndrew Road house and with those funds build a house to be for her lifetime use adjacent to the one for Rosalind. Beatrice later remarked that her trust in Rosalind was great enough to follow her to the North Pole had Rosalind recommended it. So Beatrice sold the house she had built and loved and without hesitation moved herself and her work to Happy Valley.

This would be another step toward developing a Happy Valley community, alongside the school, which was inching its way onto the land. It also fulfilled Annie Besant’s vision that there be artists in the Happy Valley community who would exemplify for young people an aesthetic regard for beauty. No one could have predicted that twenty-five years later, Beatrice’s inspiring presence would still be a force on the land in her 104th year.

Logan and Wood Houses, 1997

Annie Besant had adamantly refused to be concerned about such issues as lack of water or other resources. When they are needed they will come, she asserted. The Casitas Water Project did just that, and while Happy Valley lost a few acres condemned by the water company around the old Logan well on McAndrew Road, it gained pipelines and accessibility from municipal water in exchange for easements. The same deal was struck with the gas company.

Rajagopal had once observed that the right people are the most valuable resource, and nothing could succeed without this human factor. With the generous support of its friends, old and new, the school campus was well established by the early 1980s. A faculty house was designed by Paul Hoag to be built behind the old adobe. Within a few years a school director’s house was built. The growth of a viable community was now afoot.

Beato and Rosalind, c. 1982


Sean Wellesly-Miller at Bio-shelter foundation, c. 1979

In 1974, a friend of the foundation and former art teacher, Liam O’Gallagher had been invited to chair the board’s planning committee as he was knowledgeable about so-called “new age” ideas and it was hoped he might find a compatible project for Happy Valley. Liam drafted a policy statement intended to present Dr. Besant’s basic goals in language that might appeal to those with scientific leanings as well as sharing the same humanitarian ideals.

Because Dr. Besant foresaw this period of crises in which man would reach both his greatest potential for creative change and its opposite, total destruction, she set aside this land known as Happy Valley to inspire and provide new models of community which would encourage and provide human beings at this evolutionary crossroads opportunities to identify with the evolution beyond the present human stage, a community based on the same priority of values, not based on Good and Evil, but on good and better.

To pursue such a policy entails the caring for life in all its forms in a responsible way, the development of an ecological architecture that would utilize, in our climate, the solar systems that produce power, water and food, provision of an education that starts with an awareness of the crises in consciousness; and the seeking of solutions that speak to us through the new physics, biology and psychology that do most to release the human potential, the Brotherhood of Man, to which Dr. Besant dedicated her life.

Liam O’ Gallagher
Chairman, Planning Committee
Happy Valley Foundation

Liam eventually found a group that came to be known as Human Dimensions West, a “non-profit organization exploring the interface between science and spirituality.” In 1975 the Happy Valley Foundation granted a lease for about forty acres for a token sum on which to develop their programs. An architect/inventor from M.I.T., Sean Wellesly-Miller, obtained a grant to build a structure that would be self-sufficient in its use of energy that presumably might be the model for a whole community. Unfortunately for various reasons including the usual personality malfunctions and financial shortfalls, this enterprise was abandoned and in 1979 Human Dimensions West invited Dr. Joan Halifax, an anthropologist, “to lead the organization (renamed the Ojai Foundation) in a new direction.” The Ojai Foundation established several successful programs and developed the land in a gentle and ecological manner, using yurts and solar energy. When Joan was succeeded by Jack Zimmerman, an educator and psychologist, the practice of “council” was emphasized and taught to a broad spectrum of adults and children. Even under changes in leadership, the two foundations have managed over the years to establish a relationship under which new leases and agreements, joint projects and planning, can be undertaken with sufficient clarity and trustee cohesiveness to avoid the misunderstandings that had beset the Greene project.

Joan Halifax and Virginia Coyle of the Ojai Foundation, Happy Valley, 1988 Radha Sloss, center

The presence of the Ojai Foundation at Happy Valley has offered an interesting, sometimes challenging and for the most part successful experiment in the coordination and cooperation process of like-principled but separate communities.


Happy Valley Foundation meeting, 1988, (front) Rosalind, Raymond Neutra, Helen Bee, Diana Dunningham, Emily Sellon, (back) John Gorsuch, John Rupp, Joy Mills, John Kern, Austin Bee, Jorge Uribe

The relationship between the Happy Valley Foundation and the school would, by 1980, undergo some drastic transformations and re-evaluations. The school had become a serious financial enterprise that in certain years, far from being a burden to the foundation, had actually added financial stability to the parent organization. Not always the case – and when the reverse happened usually Louis or Robert and after them Rosalind (who along with Happy Valley was Robert Logan’s beneficiary) would rescue the school from its budgetary shortfalls.

The composition of the Happy Valley Board was also changing gradually, perhaps at the time, imperceptibly. Rosalind no longer had the will or the energy to assume the amount of responsibility that her style of leadership had demanded of her. In the previous decade the school board had been abolished, and the school was run entirely from a foundation level. This had seemed the only feasible way to handle the extreme pressures of enforced relocation, insufficient funds to achieve this and a decreased enrollment, to say nothing of an alarming turn-over rate of directors.

Trustees at lunch, Logan House, 1988 John Kern, Raymond Neutra, Radha Sloss, Jorge Uribe, John Rupp, Ken Tennen

Rosalind, since her sister Erma’s death in 1970, had reduced her living expenses to a bare minimum in order to use her inherited income to cover the school deficits. It took Jorge’s best persuasive powers, as well as her intrinsic trust in him to convince Rosalind that she must desist from this thirty- to forty-thousand dollar annual-bail of the past decade or she would ultimately destroy the school. Together with Helen Bee, (Austin Bee’s daughter), a Happy Valley School graduate who had joined the foundation in 1979, Jorge Uribe reconstituted the school board, established new bylaws and a governance committee which would give the foundation sufficient control over philosophical principles while allowing the school board to assume the function of running the school. In explaining this to Rosalind, Jorge equated the new set-up with the papal see, in which the pope was infallible when speaking “ex cathedra.”

Rosalind with Molly, Happy Valley, c. 1988
It was the natural time to stop and redefine the original spirit of the school. It had come of age, and now it must have a new form of independence and also allow the foundation the independence to undertake other projects. From that point, the school began to grow again, to revitalize and extend the early concepts of its founders in seeking to be in the forefront of excellence in education.


Rosalind was in the habit of walking her dog around the campus every morning. Sometimes she would be joined by a young teacher, Dennis Rice-Leary, who was to become the next Happy Valley School Director.

Dennis chose a staff and school board who would support him in implementing the new policy. Equally important, thanks to Helen and Jorge, the school was finally forced onto a sound financial footing, upon which the tenure of the director’s employment would depend. Contributions to the school budget would be allowed only as clear annual contributions, to be used within that year so as not to cause instability. At the same time Helen should be credited with helping Dennis to re-establish a sound academic structure, adapted to a very different age from that in which the school had begun.

Dennis Rice, 1997

In the late 1970s the school board had been charged by the foundation to:

1) get the school back on the philosophic track,

2) deal as effectively as possible with the financial management of the school so that it could be on a sound footing,

3) get the rest of the campus built.

Director’s House, 1997

By 1989 these charges were considered accomplished and discussion proceeded to setting the goals for the next five to ten years:

(1) To maintain and enhance the fundamental philosophy of the school in all aspects of the school’s life, 2) to find all ways to recruit the very best faculty that we can possibly have, 3) to continue to enhance our financial stability by all possible means, 4) to pursue improved balance in our curriculum and 5) to move toward a greater sense of an actual community, not only an improvement in relations of all the constituents of the school (alumni, parents, board, faculty, etc.) but also to move to a community on this land that would include teachers, staff, trustees of the foundation… to create a school and foundation community which will enhance our interaction with one another in a shared way… this was exciting because it was so much in keeping with Mrs. Besant’s vision and goals.30

Arrow House, 1997

Jorge Uribe, Happy Valley School commencement talk, 1988

In 1987 the qualifications for prospective Happy Valley Foundation trustees was clarified. These include a willingness to accept as guideposts, those principles outlined in Appendix C.


Austin Bee after his Happy Valley School commencement talk 1982

When in 1988 Rosalind resigned as chair/president, she was succeeded by Austin Bee as chairman and by Jorge Uribe as president, the office being split for the first time into two categories. Austin, as chairman, had the highly sensitive task of maintaining a board of consensus, while keeping in check the potential for divisiveness. This took enormous patience and the willingness and insistence to table issues that could not be agreed upon without lengthier consideration. Efficiency of time was sacrificed and board meetings started to last as much as nine hours, sometimes requiring two days in a row. But with the help of committees many projects could be carried out between meetings.

Rosalind had spent nearly fifty of her eightysix years working for Happy Valley. She had felt for some time that it was appropriate for her to resign entirely from the foundation. She now had confidence that a strong board was in place. At the end of a 1989 meeting, Rosalind left the board with a few parting remarks:

While I am still alive, I think I owe to the members of the Happy Valley Foundation some of the ideas I heard Dr. Besant express. Clearly she did not know what the future generation would think or want….The type of school she envisioned was one in which members would be held together by an ethical and profoundly spiritual bond, regardless of individual backgrounds and beliefs, free from rigid or authoritarian control, in which the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of each one would be fostered in all aspects of daily life. I think it very important we never become rigid or dogmatic, so hard for well meaning people to escape. Dr. Besant has even said that for some people it was important they make mistakes as that was the only way they learn. She also said it was good for people to pursue what attracts, otherwise, not using energy for experimentation, they become lifeless and dull. My own thinking is that so far we have tried, to the best of our ability, to follow these concepts and I think each one of you will carry on to the best of your ability. My thoughts and love and best wishes will always be with you.


In the late 1980s serious discussions on faculty housing were brought by the school to the Happy Valley Board in answer to the expressed hopes of many of the faculty to be able to live on the land. The concept of co-housing was investigated and under the initiative of Raymond Neutra, (another Happy Valley School graduate on the board) a class of architectural students at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo was invited to apply Happy Valley co-housing to a student competition. Many valuable ideas and concepts evolved from this endeavor but as always money was the determining factor and nowhere in sight were the millions that it would take to embark on such an ambitious project.

Although Paul Hoag’s original plan had included an assembly/theater, funds had not been sufficient for that structure. A yurt (a round Mongolian style tent) was set up for morning assembly – always a core activity of the school which, for want of a proper place to hold it, had been abandoned for the past few years in the move from the lower campus. While the yurt was perceived as a temporary stop-gap, the need for a proper assembly/theater was strongly felt.

Yurt, 1997

Happy Valley School dormitory fire, 1990

In 1990 a fire destroyed the dormitory. Rather than slowing the growth process, this disaster ignited and fueled the determination to complete the campus and provide all that was missing as soon as possible. It also united the foundation and the school in the necessity of rebuilding the dorm in record time. A school staff member, Mike Adams saved thousands of dollars by pitching in to reconstruct the septic system, and a graduate of the school and now a foundation board member, Ken Tennen, contributed valuable time and effort in dealing with the complex insurance and contractual issues involved.

When Rosalind retired from the foundation in 1989, James Sloss, now a professor of mathematics at UC Santa Barbara returned to the board after an absence of twenty-three years; and when Austin retired as chairman in 1993, James was elected to that office. Meanwhile, between 1992 and 1996 Jorge, as legal counsel to the Happy Valley Foundation, had been compelled for insurance reasons to resign as trustee. Therefore the office of chairman and president was again consolidated until Jorge was able to return as president in 1996. All these transitions did not cause serious ripples in the operations of the board. This was thanks in large part to the steadfast and long term presence of John Gorsuch who had been the secretary-treasurer of the board for nearly twenty years. He had lived for much of this time in Adobe House and had offered daily support and assistance to Rosalind throughout this tenure. The foundation suffered a loss when in 1994 John had to retire for family reasons, and moved to Colorado. This necessitated a search for his replacement in a job both complex and imprecisely defined. Stability was temporarily shaken but not destroyed. New residents were found for Adobe House, a couple with a small child, who provided a link between the foundation and the school – Wendy, a teacher, and John Morgando, a land manager for Happy Valley, finally full-filling the original purpose for which Adobe House was built. The new secretary/treasurer, Kate Mack, has had a long affiliation on the land, first with the Ojai Foundation and then with Rosalind.

James Sloss with Sindhu, 1988, Happy Valley School gazebo

In the midst of these changes a major and emotionally wrought issue confronted the new chair/ president almost immediately. Since 1927 the walnut orchard had been an ongoing source of income and the sole foundation operation outside of the school. It gave beauty as well as nuts. Under Austin Bee’s ranch management a new grove had been planted and this was still thriving, but the old grove was unquestionably dying, slowly but surely, and the crops had fallen off.31

Helen Bee and John Gorsuch Logan House, c. 1988

Walnut trees gone, 1995

Because the growing of walnuts in the region had been all but abandoned, there no longer existed communal processing facilities for even a limited crop. The proliferation of ground squirrels had become a major problem. They were thriving on the walnuts, unharvested due to their poor quality. Killing animals, even pests, created a moral dilemma for the board but allowing the squirrels to multiply and enjoy a fulfilling life on Happy Valley land created strained relations with the farming neighbors and possible health hazards to the school.

Like a final gift to Happy Valley, burls had been discovered on many of the trees. Their value was great enough (far outweighing any other value the trees might have) to pay for the removal of the orchard – if undertaken in time. In order to optimize the value obtainable for the burls, James Sloss contacted Rolls Royce in England, Mercedes Benz and BMW in Germany, and Lexus in Japan, as well as burl users in the U.S. The whole process of the removal of the trees and the land preparation for new crops took the better part of a year under his intensive supervision.

James Sloss, as Chairman

The demise of the old walnut orchard was mourned by the students, the faculty, residents of the land, and the community at large. Meanwhile the beautiful acreage lay fallow, waiting for a new approach to farming that would be consistent with the Happy Valley vision.

VII. The Time Has Come,

the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings

From time to time we should reassess our reasons for existence. To what extent are we still in harmonious pursuit of the aims and visions of our founders? We have been left remarkably free from generation to generation to follow our own interpretations and understanding of these visions. But surely we might pause and ask what Annie Besant and the early trustees would feel about our efforts so far.

The school has existed and (most often) flourished for over fifty years. The generosity of trustees and friends have enabled the school to grant scholarships every year and, through the generosity of the Kern Foundation, to establish a course in ethics and the Theosophical world view.

The campus completion project was formulated as a unit in which a classroom, a thirty-two-bed dormitory, and an assembly/theater were to be built. In the past, the financing for school buildings had been undertaken solely by the Happy Valley Foundation. This completion project, however, required resources beyond the scope of the foundation. Happy Valley School has never focused on a wealthy base of benefactors and is still too young to have inherited endowments from numerous alumni. A few have given large donations for the theater and many have given as generously as they were able. It soon became clear that if the completion project were to depend exclusively on donations, it would not be realized for many years, if at all. A delay of many years would not address the pressing need for all three of these buildings. An additional source of funds had to found.

Assembly/Theater foundation, December, 1997

In a study made by Ken Tennen and Jorge Uribe it was determined that a disproportionate increase in students of high school age could continue for some years, creating a demographic bubble that was beginning to bulge. For years there had been a concern that the dorms in the ranch area were no longer suitable for students but could be remodeled for faculty. If a dormitory was built to house the dorm students plus an additional increase in student population, the increase could help finance the new dormitory. James Sloss devised a scheme for borrowing money from the Santa Barbara Bank and Trust whereby trustees and friends of the Happy Valley Foundation individually bought certificates of deposit to guarantee the loan.32

Happy Valley School dormitories, 1997 

The classroom was completed in 1996 just in time to accommodate an exceptionally large student body. And the new dormitory was ready just in time to house the arriving students in the fall of 1997. The theater construction officially began October 13, 1997, although $221,000 from donations in plans and ground work had already been spent.

Thanks to the project manager, Rolf Eriksen, a long-time friend of Happy Valley, there is the strong likelihood that the project will remain on budget, a vital factor in the ultimate materialization of this cherished dream.

Dedication and selfless service have been hallmarks of our endeavors from Annie Besant’s moment of vision to the present. Much of the development could not have transpired without the force of this commitment on the part of so many.

The ancient walnut trees that contributed beauty as well as income for so many years will soon be replaced with new growth in the form of innovative and ecologically oriented farming practices, and interest is rapidly gathering momentum both for economic and educational projects in agriculture.

There is the germ of an artist’s center beautifully established by Beatrice Wood with a folk art collection and an art library as well as her private collection of ceramics.

As a self-perpetuating board the Happy Valley Foundation now has eight of its eleven members who are graduates of the Happy Valley School. This in itself is a significant sign that the school has fulfilled its primary purpose, that of inspiring in its students a commitment to substantiate and share the ideals for which it was founded.

Beato, 1985

VIII. Losses and Changes

"The time to talk”, as the Walrus said, moved dreams and hopes along the path to reality. Sometimes one might wonder what forces propel events on Happy Valley.

Although the full funding for the theater had not been raised, an unexpected windfall had supported the groundbreaking. In November of 1995, we received a call from a Philadelphia bank, searching for the Happy Valley Foundation and Rosalind Rajagopal, regarding the estate of Deborah Logan, Robert Logan’s only child, who died in 1939. The story of Deborah’s marriage and untimely death is not relevant here except to note that she had left her trust income to her step-daughter and then the trust was to follow the path of Robert’s will, providing this stepdaughter, whose existence had long since faded from the memory even of Rosalind, died, as she had, without issue.

That meant that Rosalind and the foundation would each receive $144,000. On the advance of these funds, theater and new dormitory construction could begin and it was hoped that if costs remained within budget, the dormitory could still provide the payback.

Rosalind died January 24, 1996, leaving her house, as she always intended, to the foundation. She was 93 and had served Happy Valley in various capacities for over 50 years. The morning after she died her family looked down toward the school and watched students and teachers gather in a circle on the field where the walnut orchard had once stood. We were witnessing a blessing of the land by an old Native American friend. Even the most skeptical among us could not ignore the significance in the sequence of events over the past two months.

The Logan inheritance was instrumental in obtaining generous donations from several alumni, particularly from Louis Zalk’s family and as Louis had been the first President of the Happy Valley Foundation and had devoted to it nearly forty years of his life, it was appropriate that this most significant building be named Zalk Theater.

Yet, in spite of widespread and deep generosity from Happy Valley alumni and friends, by 1998, the theater construction budget was exceeded and funds had run dry. There was considerable gloom over the land. The suggested recourse was to lock up the theater and wait a year or two, while raising the necessary money to fulfill the county requirements for occupancy. There was no serious development strategy to implement such a plan. The foundation’s resources were strained to the limit and the school budget could not further support the building program.

On March 3 of that year, Beato celebrated her 105th birthday. It was whispered that she had been a role model for both the young Rose and particularly the older Rose, in James Cameron’s film, Titanic. A few days after her birthday, she entertained Cameron and his leading actress, in her home for lunch. It was to be Beato’s final performance, which she carried off with her usual grace, even gifting Cameron a ceramic boat that she had made some years before. Then, she went to bed, saying she loved her bed and would not be getting up again. She died March 12, 1998.

For the last twenty years of their lives, Rosalind and Beato had planned together that their adjacent houses would implement the intentions of the founders – to further the pursuit of creative activities and continual learning on Happy Valley.

In this spirit, Beato had left the preponderance of her estate to the foundation, including her ceramics, her folk art collection and a 1500 volume library of art books. She had not been involved in the exigencies of the theater in her last years, although she was excited by the potential it would create for the school and Happy Valley community. But the foundation was confident that nothing would have pleased her more than that the final resource to complete Zalk Theater without interruption, would come from her legacy.

The theater made possible new activities for the school as well as re-instating a program that had been basic in the school’s curriculum from the beginning. For many early students the distinguished guest speakers and performers were a strong source of inspiration throughout their lives. In support of this concept, the foundation established, in 2000, the Happy Valley Cultural Center that would strive to bring to the school these programs. The vision was thus stated:

The Happy Valley Cultural Center provides a venue for all the arts as well as for dialogues on social and scientific issues that will be of interest to the community at large and that will introduce the students of the Happy Valley School to diversity in both traditional and non-traditional spheres of human endeavor.

A council of forty friends lent their names and interest to the cultural center. And to give it a solid footing, two long-time friends of the foundation, Liam O’Gallagher and Robert Rheem donated a tea-set that Beato had made for them thirty years before.

In the first four years over twenty events, in the fields of drama, dance, music, and lectures were offered (See: Appendix G).

IX. Through the Looking Glass

“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else—if you ran very fast for a long time as we’ve been doing.”

The past thirty years have seen the school relocate, in several stages, from Meiner’s Oaks to the Upper Valley. Dormitories, classrooms, library, labs, dining hall and theater were completed. The governance of the school was organized and revitalized under policies established in 1988 by the Happy Valley Board. There was a well-spring of energy and cooperation that had made all of this possible.

The loss of Rosalind and Beato in the late ‘90s, even though for several years they had not been active in foundation or school affairs, nevertheless contributed to subtle changes in the Happy Valley ethos. In this same period the board lost Austin Bee, who died in July 2001 and Jorge Uribe who, after 32 years of devoted and valued service to the foundation, resigned in January 2000. Both Austin and Jorge were great contributors to keeping the school on course during its transition years to the Upper Valley.

Shortly afterwards, a temporary misconception formed in the school community. There were references to “two institutions” and “two boards” in a context that was contrary to the foundation by-laws. Despite the foundation board’s effort to clarify the proper interpretation of governance documents, the misconception led to further miscommunications and finally action on the part of a few members of the school community to attempt to incorporate the school as an entity independent of the foundation. The foundation board finally resolved the issue by establishing a closer governance structure between the foundation board and the school. This included replacing the existing school “board” with the School Governance Committee, as a committee of the foundation.

At the same time that the school governance restructuring was being considered, the trustees recognized that a process of board evaluation would be helpful and decided that an independent consultant, offering an objective evaluation would aid in the process. Therefore, in consultation with the Santa Barbara Non-Profit Center, a selection process was followed and a consultant chosen. The consultant conducted individual interviews with trustees and meetings with the board as a whole, which then led to extending the process to include staff and faculty of the school. The results of the consultant’s many findings were shared, on a no-name basis, with Foundation Board members and the school’s non-student constituency.

At or about the time that the consultant’s findings were shared with the Happy Valley community and the school governance restructuring was being considered, Dennis Rice, Happy Valley School Director for over twenty years, tendered his resignation. For some time, the board had recognized the need to identify a potential Interim Director in the event of a sudden departure of the Director of the School. Accordingly, David Anderson, a Happy Valley School teacher for the past seventeen years with previous head of school experience, was selected and agreed to act as Interim Director.

David Anderson, Interim Director 2004-2006

Among the important tasks facing the Interim Director were the need to provide reassurance for the future and continuity of the school in line with its founding principles, and the need to achieve a balanced budget. David also exemplified the value of frugality as a way of life beyond budgetary considerations, that had made the existence of the Happy Valley School viable and that resonated with a commitment to care for the environment and the community.
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Part 5 of 5

X. The Vision Revisited

The Queen said. “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday—but never jam today.”
“It must come sometimes to ‘jam to-day,’ ” Alice objected.
“No it can't,” said the Queen. “It’s jam every other day: to-day isn’t any other day . . . but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s memory works both ways.”

We are now in a round-about with three great avenues leading off to the future

1. Faculty housing, campus enlargement and enhancement

2. Development plans for endowments, buildings and landscaping

3. Building a true partnership between the recently established Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts and the Happy Valley School.

For over twelve years one housing plan after another has been considered and then elbowed aside by more urgent projects. The foundation has considered nearly half a dozen different architects or schemes and as many building sites. Until two years ago, no consensus had been reached. As Interim Director, David Anderson was a crucial factor in resolving the location dilemma. A commitment to “green” building was fast developing. The realization that all projects on the land should reflect a vision of protecting and nurturing the environment had finally taken hold. In this climate the search for the appropriate architects gained momentum.

Two professors at CalPoly, San Luis Obispo had formed a partnership called M:OME. Examples of their work, followed by their on-site presentation, achieved the long sought consensus for design. Likewise, site location was agreed upon by David Anderson and the trustees, all of whom were persuaded that faculty housing close to the campus reflected the educational philosophy and sense of community intrinsic to the Happy Valley vision. M:OME was retained to prepare a master plan, incorporating faculty housing, with several necessary classroom additions, music practice rooms, an art room atelier, a swimming pool and a new dining hall (See: Appendix H).

Matt Storey and Family

In order to implement these plans, along with the need for substantial endowment and increased faculty benefits, the foundation and school launched a serious effort to establish a Development Office with a Director of Development. The Santa Barbara Non- Profit Center was again consulted, as well as investigating the development departments of several private schools. Of three possible candidates, Matt Storey was chosen. He had a daughter in the school, a wife teaching in Oxnard and considerable experience fundraising for the YMCA. As space at the school was limited, the foundation elected to transform the garage at Logan House into a Development Office. Under Matt Storey’s initiative, an active alumni committee was organized, lost alumni were found, and two alumni reunions took place within two years. The capital campaign goal was topped and willingness to give from all corners of the Happy Valley Community was ignited. There is a long and unending road ahead in this department but Matt Storey has made a significant beginning.

By summer of 2005, the five-year process of liquidating Beato’s legacy was winding down. It had been an expensive process and the hope for a large reserve of bankable funds had not been realized. But a good basis for establishing a center for the arts had been created.

Kevin Wallace, Curator of the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts

As if on cue, a talented young curator, Kevin Wallace, introduced himself to the foundation in autumn 2005. He offered to install, around the walls of her studio, a pictorial history of Beato and her connection to Happy Valley. This display was part of a current, about to close, exhibition of Beato’s works that Kevin Wallace had arranged for the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles. The value of Kevin’s input in the process of transmuting from a largely sales operation to an educational and art facility was soon apparent. Under his guidance, a series of guest artists’ exhibitions, workshops, and artist-in-residence programs was organized and running within a few months. A resident manager, Janat Dundas was engaged to oversee and implement the programs. And a vision statement was installed on the new center website.

“The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts fulfills much of Annie Besant’s original vision, as a place where arts and education are paramount. It is closely affiliated to the Happy Valley School that will benefit from and contribute to its activities. Aside from a regular exhibition schedule, there are artist workshops and performances. The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts presents a continuum joining the artists, writers and others who shaped Happy Valley and the Happy Valley School and those who are working today, as well as a bridge between the International Art World and the local community.”

True to this vision, the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts has already been effective in bringing the world to Happy Valley and Happy Valley to the world. The noted Austrian Composer, Hans Joachim Roedelius, created a commissioned work for Happy Valley, and Roedelius traveled from Austria to give a rare live public performance on the terrace of the Center in May 2006.

The issue of greatest urgency in the past two years has been the search for a long-term new Head of School. After several meetings of the specially established Director Search Committee, the board concluded that once again professional guidance to this end was needed. The firm, Educational Directions, came highly recommended by another local school and the consultant assigned to Happy Valley, found a resonance in the Happy Valley vision and history that enabled him to produce a remarkable list of promising candidates. Eventually, through a complex arrangement of phone interviews and meetings involving all members of the committee, the list of candidates was reduced to three, all of whom visited the school for a day and a half. At this point the entire community of students, staff, faculty and parents became engaged in the process. The result was that the final choice for the new Head of School had 100% support from the Happy Valley community.

Paul Amadio brings to this job a background in areas much needed at Happy Valley: origins in the performing arts including extensive acting and directing in theater, experience in strategic planning, school financial consulting and admissions. He is young, vital, talented and brings with him a supportive and lovely family.

Paul Amadio, Head of Happy Valley School 2006

The Queen was right. In our effort to move forward on new fronts we must reflect the past onto the future, without becoming crystallized or impeded by it. In many ways, Happy Valley is closer to its origins than ever before. As Annie Besant envisioned, Happy Valley should seek perfection in the forefront of human endeavor. Our daily life can contribute to the process of awakening and re-awakening us to those aspects of existence that will lead toward a more humane culture – a culture that can appreciate the strange and different as well as the familiar.

XI. Down the Rabbit Hole

The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts,
All on a summer day:
The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts
And took them quite away!

Five Years Later

All organizations have their ups and downs, and Happy Valley is no exception. There are paths we might better not have walked and people we might better not have met. But despite these often unsettling vicissitudes, our path has been guided by friends and trustees of the Happy Valley Foundation so as to leave the core of Annie Besant’s vision intact and respected. This guidance has carried us through a warren of changes and choices, some fruitful – others problematic.

Besant Hill School: Center for the Arts

Among the more controversial changes, suggested in 2006 by the newly appointed Head of School, was to change the name of the School. To some, the idea of this change brought a loss of affinity with what had been for them, a life shaping institution. To others, the original name had been a source of embarrassment. These, the majority, prevailed and the onerous and costly process of name change began (even though the new Head of School who suggested it would soon be replaced.) Finally, after much ado, Besant Hill School of Happy Valley was chosen.

The Board took this as an opportunity to honor that person most responsible for the existence of Happy Valley, Annie Besant. As the Chairman of the Happy Valley Foundation explained: “Our primary concern was to find a name that best honored our past and our principles as formulated by the founders. Annie Besant had a vision in 1927, sitting on a hill overlooking the vernal pond, that the Happy Valley acreage was a place where the ideals she espoused could be fulfilled in the future; a place to establish an educational center that would nurture spiritual, artistic and intellectual growth as well as physical and mental well-being. She also knew that sustainable worldwide improvement in the human condition begins with the individual. She appointed trustees to further her vision of a non-sectarian foundation, ‘without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color,’ that she named The Happy Valley Foundation.”

Happy Valley as Annie saw it. Photo: David R. White

XII. Wonderland

“Curiouser and Curiouser” said Alice

The Happy Valley Foundation Board of Trustees has, since its inception, referred to itself collectively as a “self-perpetuating” board; meaning, in the broad sense, that the board as a whole should be vigilant in sustaining Annie Besant’s vision, and it should also renew itself by pursuing goals that would move it forward into a developing world. It has been the consensus that:

1. The board should remain small (usually about twelve trustees)

2. The various activities of the foundation should be fairly represented

3. The trustees should be chosen for their skills and ideals, not for their wealth.

These guidelines required a firm but gentle anchorage in that formative element of Happy Valley ideals, the interconnectedness that Annie Besant had described as the progression from family to tribe to nation to world as a foundation for true community and which Rosalind Rajagopal had found reflected in these lines of Edwin Markham

He drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win
We drew a circle that took him in.

A consistent thread through all the statements, visions, and hopes of the Happy Valley Foundation has been the importance of embracing our differences. As Aldous Huxley often said, “we should like each other not IN SPITE of our differences but BECAUSE of them.”

Differences generate curiosity and as Alice found out – curiosity is the gateway to discovery.


In the next few years the Board would be faced with yet another change in the school’s directorship. However, this time it had not far to look. Randy Bertin, with his wife and four little boys had come to Happy Valley in 2006 as assistant to the new Head. With his innate capability Randy had already shouldered much of the responsibility for administering the School. He was now well prepared to provide a sound transition in restoring financial stability and administrative integrity.

Randy Bertin, 2015 Besant Hill School graduation

In 2011, as the new Head of Besant Hill School, Randy moved forward on the Happy Valley Foundation’s master plan with faculty housing, a swimming pool, and an impressive improvement in the campus’ appearance. He travelled the earth in a successful effort to draw students from abroad. At present more than eighteen countries are represented in a student body of one hundred. Randy understands that all activities on Happy Valley should exist and act in a partnership, supporting, benefitting and enhancing each other. In his own words:

“Here, every member of the community contributes to each other so that his or her full potential and success can be reached . . . an educational environment that’s centered on maximizing individual potential, intellectual curiosity, integrity and renewedopportunity.”

Aerial photo, school campus (far left: four new faculty houses – far right: new swimming pool). Photo: Jesse Kaplan

Each senior class reflects in its parting words, an intense appreciation of the love and community support that the School has offered: the beauty of the landscape, but above all the sanctuary that is extended to them as well as to the wildlife.

Snow on Topa Topa. Photo: Janat Dundas


In 2006 Happy Valley lost one of its dearest friends, Gladys Lacey, the widow of Franklin Lacey. Gladys had bequeathed to the Foundation a share of the Music Man, that immortal play that Franklin had co-written with Meredith Willson. From their long association with Happy Valley, the Laceys understood the difficulties in balancing financial prudence with the demands of developing new projects. While making her preferences known, Gladys left no restrictions regarding the use of Music Man income. This freedom allowed the Foundation to complete struggling projects and to start new ones that had always been hoped for but were seemingly out of reach.

Gladys & Franklin Lacey




Rosalind and Beato had built their adjacent houses on Happy Valley with a future Cultural Center in mind. Beato’s house included display rooms and a ceramics workshop and it was her hope that her library and collection of international folk art would be utilized for education. Rosalind’s house included a “great room” that could accommodate exhibitions, lectures, and chamber music.

Lili Kraus’ Steinway, donated to the Happy Valley Foundation by her daughter, Ruth Pope

Under the guidance and creative energy of founding director Kevin Wallace, the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts was established as a branch of the Happy Valley Cultural Center; a manifestation of the vision of the founders, who saw the activities of the Happy Valley Foundation as a testing ground for its principles. The BWCA presents exhibitions, workshops, a children’s art program and an intern program for graduate students.

As Director of the Center, Kevin is also mindful of partnership with the School. The Center offers Besant Hill students the opportunity to attend workshops and to plan exhibitions of their work in order to better relate to the role of the artist in today’s environment.

Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts Permanent Collection

Children’s Art Workshop


“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,” The Queen remarked.

Carl Jung reputedly found these words of Lewis Carroll supportive of his synchronicity theory: simply put – that some coincidences are independent of cause but meaningfully related. An occurrence one spring day in 2013 can well be identified as a meaningful coincidence.

A basic objective of the Foundation had been to provide a fertile environment committed to classical music. In the 1950s, Lili Kraus had spent time at the Happy Valley School giving intimate musical events as well as master classes. By the early ‘60s, she was no longer able to make this invaluable contribution. Over the next half century, except for a few independent events, a dedicated music program at Happy Valley remained hoped for but dormant.

Heidi Lehwalder was born in 1949 into a family of musicians and theosophists. Her uncle Austin Bee was for many years, Chairman of the Happy Valley Foundation. She had grown up hearing tales of Happy Valley from Uncle Austin who had also shared stories of Heidi’s prowess with his fellow trustees.

At the age of nine Heidi made her debut as a performing harpist with the Seattle Symphony and soon after began studying with the great harpist, Carlos Salzedo. Over the next thirty years she performed as guest artist with sixty-five orchestras throughout the world. In 1988 she founded the Fredericksburg Festival of Arts and served as artistic director for twenty years. And then – she had a calling. Something was beckoning her to California.

Heidi Lehwalder with the harp designed by her teacher Carlos Salzedo

Heidi as Artistic Director of Chamber On The Mountain with the same Salzedo harp, and the Arianna String Quartet. Photo: Christine Gregory

It was immediately clear in the first meeting between Heidi, Jimmy, and Radha that there was a convergence of purpose – namely to offer the students of Besant Hill School the ineffable experience of classical music performances by outstanding young talents of multifarious origin, and to draw the community of Ojai closer to Happy Valley. With her experience and connections in this sphere, Heidi organized a concert series that would present at least five events a year.

The name – Chamber On The Mountain, came to Heidi as she climbed the mountains around Ojai with the sunset reflected off Topa Topa. She thought, “the same high level and beauty of music should match that magnificence.”

Sunset on Topa Topa


Annie Besant often observed “we have centuries in which to work.” What would she have thought today, sitting on that hill above the vernal pond? She would see a thriving School, a blossoming Cultural Center and the beauty of protected acreage. There is awareness in all the Foundation’s activities that it is as important how we build as what we build. And we hope she would find happiness in the still fragile but evident community that is emerging.



1 From an announcement in The Ojai, by Annie Besant January 21, 1927 and later reprinted in The Theosophist, April, 1927.

2 From the diary of Frank Gerard, January 1923 to December 1931

3 Robert Logan later bought these fifteen acres and eventually gave them to HVF. The Casitas Water District condemned over three acres decades later and placed a large water tank there obliterating the well.

4 From the diary of Frank Gerard

5 Ibid

6 Arthur H. Nethercott, The Last Four Lives of Annie Besant, (University of Chicago Press, 1963) p.393

7 From the diary of Frank Gerard

8 The organizing Committee as announced in The Ojai: Dr. Annie Besant, president of the Theosophical Society; The Lady Emily Lutyens of London; Dr. John Ingelman (chiropractor & businessman) of Hollywood; Mr.Henry Hotchener of Hollywood; C.F. Holland (Attorney) of Los Angeles; Captain Max Wardall of Pasadena; D. Rajagopal of Eerde Castle, Holland; Mrs. George Porter of Chicago; Mr. Robert Logan of Philadelphia; Mr. Fritz Kunz of Ojai; Mr. Frank Gerard of Ojai; Mr. George Hall (Realtor) of Ojai; Mr. George B. Hastings of Buffalo; Mr. Louis Zalk (Businessman) of Duluth; Miss Mary Dodge of London; and, Muriel, Countess De La Warr of London

9 From the diary of Frank Gerard

10 Ibid

11 Ibid

12 Ibid

13 Ibid

14 Ibid

15 Ibid

16 Annie Besant’s Millennial Movement: Its History, Impact, and Implications Concerning Authority, Catherine Wessinger, Loyola University, New Orleans

17 Major Myers’ dedication to Happy Valley would be reflected in his daughter Mary who was a 1957 graduate of Happy Valley School. She recently wrote these words. “[the school] enriched my life so much being exposed to those special people and their expansive ideas and lives… It changed my life as well, paving the way for my getting into a good college and… the work in art which has been so rewarding for me.”

18 Annie Besant, “The Happy Valley Foundation,” The Theosophist, August 1928

19 The correspondence referred to in this chapter resides in the minutes of the Happy Valley Foundation where it was entered by resolution.

20 Minute Book of the Happy Valley Foundation

21 Minute Book of the Happy Valley Foundation

22 Minute Book of the Board of Directors, Happy Valley School, November 1946. Below: notes of this meeting in Aldous Huxley’s hand.


School founded autumn 1946
10 pupils.
Dormitories being built. In autumn 1947, 20 pupils. School will remain at this figure for at least a year, then may go to a maximum of 40 pupils.

The aim is to keep it small because the purposes of the school can only be achieved in such a small unit school.

(1) classes must be small, so that they may be an intimate relation between pupil and teacher. Also this permits more efficient intellectual teaching.

(2) Small total numbers permit better relation between pupils and teachers outside school hours. The aim is to develop well-balanced personality in which the full potentialities of the individual are developed to the full.

(3) Small total numbers permit of better health supervision. The physical side is held to be as important as the mental.

23 Minute Book of the Happy Valley Foundation

24 Minute Book of the Board of Directors, Happy Valley School, November 1950

25 Quoted and paraphrased by Trustee Jorge Uribe from the January 11, 1973 HVF minutes

26 This narrative is indebted for this and many of the following anecdotes and insights to Jorge Uribe who has to this date of writing served on the Happy Valley Foundation Board for the past thirty years.

27 Recently, Franklin’s widow Gladys Lacey set up a trust in which she left their rights to the Music Man to Happy Valley. There is seldom a day when somewhere in the world, a theater is not lit up for a performance of this all-time popular musical.

28 Minute Book of the Happy Valley Foundation, May 20, 1966

29 The foundation received a bequest of $86,000 in 1971 from Robert Logan’s secretary, Mabel Zimmers.

30 As stated by Helen Bee in a meeting of the Happy Valley Foundation, February 19, 1989

31 Average Walnut production per year

59 - 64 ( 5 years) $18,607
64 - 73 (10 years) $22,251
74 - 83 (10 years) $18,124
84 - 93 (10 years) $ 4,591
91 - 94 ( 5 years) $ 383

32 Financing details of the Campus Completion Project. The Happy Valley Foundation borrowed $147,000 for the new classroom and $600,000 for the completion of the $1,100,000 new dormitory (the balance was from donations). The classroom loan was to be paid back in four years and the dormitory loan in seven years. Since these loans were guaranteed by C.D.s for the corresponding amount, and therefore the bank was at no risk, Jimmy was able to negotiate the favorable interest rate on the loans of one and a half per cent above the prevailing C.D. rate, to be adjusted once a year. The principal and interest payments were well within projected income due to the increased student population available from the demographic bubble.

Appendix A: “The Guest Lecturer”

Presented at a school conference by Rosalind Rajagopal, Director, The Happy Valley School

The problem of the gifted student who falls into poor work habits in the average class environment can in part be resolved by the use of lectures and programs which stimulate him to extracurricular studies and projects. Without such stimulus it is sometimes difficult for the classroom teacher to encourage proper incentive, for with his exceptional intelligence he is already doing better work than the average without much effort. It may remain for a writer, an artist, an actor, a musician, a scientist, or a statesman to come from outside, and, by speaking or performing for the entire student body, to give the gifted child the exhilarating experience of true challenge and lofty example.

Of course, many exceptionally bright students are inspired to a self-reliant attitude by their own teachers, and the periodic guests merely provide direction and fresh impetus. In whatever manner the limiting concept of study as comparative and competitive is shattered, once it happens, the teacher is drawn along in the wake of inspiration as a resource person, providing the material and suggestions needed for extra research. The teacher may find that the speaker repeats things he has been saying all along, but somehow the guest says them in a fresh manner outside the class setting and they get across at last.

The outside speaker or performer, and there can well be one each week, should be himself, and not play down to a hypothetical student level. It is surprising how much of his performance will be understood by the entire student body (the best programs are suited in differing ways to all), but if even the gifted child cannot follow everything, he will often be stimulated to find that there is something which he does not understand readily.

The assembly is an exciting diversion for all students. It is one hour when they have no class worries, no responsibilities other than to be quiet. This creates a relaxed atmosphere in which the guest can operate for the best possible effect. If the program is announced the morning of each assembly day, the students will prepare themselves to enjoy it, to laugh at the feeblest jokes, and to strain to understand difficult material, even through a foreign accent. It is found that the youngest students enjoy a difficult program vicariously through the appreciation of the older ones; they appreciate the privilege of attending, and gain much from observing the personality and behavior of the guest.

The personality of the guest is an important factor for the older listeners as well. A colorful style, a seriousness of purpose, a willingness to have fun, and a well-known name all contribute to the effect which the program has on the students. For gifted child, the performance has the additional impact of pointing another possible way for him to develop, for he senses his exceptional capacities, and needs the highest possible concrete examples of what he can become.

Private schools can often get successful artists, writers, or musicians to teach once or twice a week, and to inject in this way a continuity of inspiration for the exceptional student, and indeed for all the students. Non-professional teachers, incidentally, often provide the stimulus needed in the school to shatter educational precedent for the ever unique case of the gifted child.

A student sometimes finds early in life that he has a facility in mathematics, or poetry, or music. Generally such a child has the capacity to develop in other directions also but his competitive situation requires that he shine only to a certain degree brighter than the others, and only in one or two fields. He may rely on his natural ability to carry him along and be quite lazy about exploring areas where he does not have complete confidence. It is therefore important that speakers and performers present a wide variety of material, and that the school be prepared to follow up that material according to needs expressed and sensed. At our school we have found that a latent appreciation for music is quite widespread among all young people. Although it is not easy to find musicians or musical groups who will appear without their usual fee, there are always professionals and talented amateurs who are sufficiently interested in the eager response of a young audience to give their services. The school can enrich its musical program by adding a good daily record concert in the morning assembly, and by recordings played during the lunch hour or in a class set aside for music appreciation. The students themselves can be drawn into the planning for these programs. The gifted child in particular will build a mature understanding of music, and incidentally, an interesting record collection, simply as the result of daily exposure to a wide variety of fine music from many cultures.

Experience shows that it is fairly easy to obtain speakers who will appear without charge, or with very small charge. Sometimes an administrator can even persuade a speaker to make a two or three hour trip, at the cost only of a stamp or a long-distance phone call. By keeping in touch with those speakers proven most stimulating and popular who may come from a distance or be on tour, and by holding an hour free each week, he is usually able to fit them into the school schedule at short notice.

Speaking before an alert student group, whose questions are sometimes keener than those from a comfortably adult audience, can be a rewarding experience for a speaker who recognizes the importance of inspiring future leadership in a changing world. The school bears an enormous responsibility to discover ways to inspire this potential leadership; and by planning frequent serious programs deliberately designed for this purpose, and by following up those programs as student needs require, it can meet some of the demands of our rapidly unfolding society.

Reprinted from “The Challenge of the Gifted,” the Introduction to the 38th edition of the annual Handbook of Private Schools, Boston: Porter Sargent.

Appendix B: “Aun Aprendo” (I am still learning)

Commencement Address by Aldous Huxley
June 14, 1951
The Happy Valley School, Ojai, California

It seems at first sight rather paradoxical that the end of a scholastic year, the termination of a course of studies, should be called a ‘commencement’. There are, of course, good historical reasons for this -– reasons going far back into the medieval past, to the time when candidates for the Master’s degree engaged in the public disputation which qualified them to embark on the career of teaching. For years they had been at the receiving end of a scholastic education. Now, at long last, they were in a position to ‘dish it out’. This was the principium, or beginning, of a new and, as the budding Masters fondly believed, a happier life. Hence our use of the word, ‘commencement’.

It is good that the past should thus live on in the present, reminding the members of each succeeding generation that they are not the first to face the problems of human existence -– that, after all, this sort of thing has been going on for quite some time. Education is an immemorial institution, and it is very fitting that, in this brand new California, we should be commemorating, albeit unconsciously, the scholastic achievements of a distant past. By ending its year on a commencement, Ojai is paying tribute to Paris and thirteenth-century Oxford, to Bologna and Cologne.

We see, then, that the word ‘commencement’ is a legacy from the Middle Ages. But, by a happy accident, it is also more than a reminder of man’s earlier efforts to better himself. It is also a reminder that, in the educational process, there is, or at least there should be, no end -– only a continuous transition, only a series of new beginnings.

What looks like an end -– graduation from high school, graduation from college, graduation from post graduate school -– is always a commencement, is always the start of yet another phase in the never-ending educational process. In the Prado at Madrid there is a very striking drawing by Goya. It represents an old, old man, bent double by age and infirmities, tottering along with the help of a staff. Under it is scrawled the caption: AUN APRENDO – “I am still learning”. Goya himself was one of those who went on learning to the very end. He was over eighty when he set himself to learn the newly invented technique of lithography. He mastered it so successfully that his prints of bull-fighting are among the most brilliant and powerful examples of the lithographer’s art.

Goya was by no means the only great artist who went on learning to the very close of a long life. Titian really got into his stride when he was about seventy and, at ninety-nine, a few weeks before his death, remarked rather wistfully that he was just beginning to understand something about painting. In the course of a very long life Verdi assimilated all the developments of nineteenth-century music, selected those which were best suited to his purposes, and wrote his greatest works after the age of sixty. As a poet, W B. Yeats set out as a rather arty exponent of the Celtic twilight and ended as the master of a style, almost unique in modern English literature for its austere and yet splendid and pregnant conciseness.

Great poets, great painters and composers are uncommon. But fortunately there are many fields besides that of artistic achievement, in which men and women can go on learning. There are the fields of science and technology, the fields of history and sociology, the fields of artistic appreciation, of erudition, of education, and finally the supremely important fields of human relations, of self-knowledge with a small ‘s’ and of Self-knowledge with a large one. AUN APRENDO. The process goes on from the cradle to the grave and, doubtless, beyond.

This is what can happen, what ought to happen. But, alas, in practice how very often it doesn’t happen! In all too many cases life is not treated as a continuing process of education. In all too many cases men and women do not wish to go on learning. Instead they treat their last official commencement as the end of education, so far as they are concerned, and settle down to an existence as nearly static as they can make it -– the existence of creatures confined to ruts and grooves, and rejoicing in that confinement, bitterly resenting any break with established habit, and attempt to make them leave their rails and take to the open road. They are like the young man of that ancient limerick, the young man who... (pardon the expression)

.... said “Damn,
It is borne in on me that I am
A creature that moves
In determinate grooves;
I’m not even a bus, I’m a tram!”

And these people do not even say Damn. On the contrary, they delight in being streetcars rather than buses; they are proud of their incapacity for further education. In reality, of course, they are not incapable of education. For when destiny goes to work on them (as it goes to work on most of us, sooner or later) they are compelled to learn -– to learn with a vengeance, to learn in the most painful way possible. The learning process might have been a good deal less uncomfortable if they had prepared themselves for it by a voluntary course in human relationships, in self-understanding and in understanding of the world in which, whether we like it or not, we have to live.

Not long ago I visited a book-store on the fringes of the campus of a large university. The proprietor was a man who liked books, not merely as merchandise, but as things to read, to enjoy, to learn from. Taking me to his second-hand department, he showed me rows and rows of the English poets and novelists, the essayists and dramatists. All these, he told me, had been turned in by graduating students. There was a glut of these texts and my friend could pay very little for them. “Wouldn’t you prefer to keep them?” he always asked. And the answer was always the same. “Thank heaven, we shall never have to read that sort of stuff again!” And so a four-dollar anthology of the world’s noblest verse would be turned in for the price of a hamburger. The book-seller did good business; but his heart was sad. And so was mine. For here were boys and girls in their early twenties who had already decided to cut themselves off from one of the main sources of continuing education. The chances were that they were already closed and barricaded in many other directions.

Hardening of the arteries is a disease of later life. But there is a mental sclerosis, a spiritual setting and hardening and clogging that strikes when its victims are in the prime of youthful vigor. What is the cause of this and how is it to be prevented? Frankly, I do not know. And, so far as I am aware, nobody else knows. Does the fault lie with our methods of education? To some extent, no doubt, it does. But, in fairness to educators, it must be remembered that some boys and girls emerge from college with minds completely open and receptive, and that they retain their mental elasticity, their desire and capacity for learning, unimpaired into extreme old age. These individuals receive exactly training as is given to those who sell their books and decide to learn no more. This would seem to exonerate, at least in part, the current methods of education. The mystery of premature hardening of the mental arteries would seem to be a special case of that more general mystery -– the mystery of temperament, of inherited constitution, of original sin, as the theologians like to call it. But meanwhile something can be done to postpone the onset of the disease. A steady will to go on learning, an effort to remain open and elastic -– these will certainly be helpful. And so will a method of education aimed at encouraging such efforts and evoking such a will. At the Happy Valley School we hope that we may have such a method. Our purpose is to teach our students to wish to go on educating themselves. And for our graduates our valedictory wishes can be summed up in a single phrase:

May you go on learning!

Appendix C: Qualifications of Trustees

As adopted by board resolution, May 16, 1987

(1) Any prospective Trustee should be familiar with – or willing to become familiar with – the history of the Happy Valley Foundation, including the work and ideals of Dr. Annie Besant in securing the land and establishing the Foundation. In addition, the prospective Trustee should be genuinely interested in and sympathetic to Dr. Besant’s vision for Happy Valley, as expressed in the article she wrote, published in THE THEOSOPHIST, April, 1927.

(2) As a result of familiarity with Dr. Besant’s ideals and vision, the prospective Trustee should be motivated toward the creative and dynamic activation of that vision, in terms of the development of the land.

(3) The prospective Trustee should be familiar with, and interested in, the development of the Happy Valley School, since this is, at present, the chief activity sponsored by the Foundation.

(4) Inasmuch as the theosophical world view constituted the primary influence in Dr. Besant’s life, at the time she raised funds for the purchase of the land, and inasmuch as it was members of the Theosophical Society- of which she was then president- to whom she turned in appealing for funds toward that purchase, the prospective Trustee should be familiar with and sympathetic to the theosophical worldview [sic] and with the aims and objectives of the Theosophical Society, which may be demonstrated by membership in some Theosophical Group, but need not be.

(5) The prospective Trustee should have some background, experience, or training in an area of significant value to the work of the Foundation.

(6) The prospective Trustee needs to be open to new ideas, willing to examine them fairly and impartially, also should be familiar with what may be called the “new age” scene, yet have a sense of discrimination regarding what aspects of the “new” may be appropriate for development at Happy Valley in terms of its philosophical background.

(7) The prospective Trustee should be able to attend meetings (at least annually), and contribute actively to the discussions and deliberations.

It is assumed that any prospective Trustee would be compatible with the other Trustees of the Foundation, would be a person of integrity and high ideals, an individual whose presence on the Foundation Board would be an asset to the Foundation.


The Theosophical World View

THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, while reserving for each member full freedom to interpret those teachings known as theosophy, is dedicated to preserving and realizing the ageless wisdom, which embodies both a world view and a vision of human self-transformation.

This tradition is founded upon certain fundamental propositions:

The universe and all that exists within it are one interrelated and interdependent whole.

Every existent being – from atom to galaxy – is rooted in the same universal, lifecreating Reality. This Reality is all-pervasive, but it can never be summed up in its parts, since it transcends all its expressions. It reveals itself in the purposeful, ordered, and meaningful processes of nature as well as in the deepest recesses of the mind and spirit.

Recognition of the unique value of every living being expresses itself in reverence for life, compassion for all, sympathy with the need of all individuals to find truth for themselves, and respect for all religious traditions. The ways in which these ideals become realities in individual life are both the privileged choice and the responsible act of every human being.

Central to the concerns of theosophy is the desire to promote understanding and brotherhood among people of all races, nationalities, philosophies, and religions. Therefore, all people, whatever their race, creed, sex, caste, or color, are invited to participate equally in the life and work of the Society. The Theosophical Society imposes no dogmas, but points toward the source of unity beyond all differences. Devotion to truth, love for all living beings, and commitment to a life of active altruism are the marks of the true theosophist.

Appendix D: Frank Gerard’s Map


Rough Sketch of part of Ojai Valley showing land under purchase (Jan 15, 1927)

A. The 15 acres we bought from Marengo on which we put the well for Arya Vihara.
B. The 70 acres on the ridge, bought from Savzotti
C. The 80 acre piece Fritz Kunz bought for himself
D. The 160 part of the Tucker farm, owned by young Tucker (in trust for an estate)
E. The 148 part of the Tucker farm, owned by Old Man Tucker

Appendix E. Happy Valley Foundation Study Map 1981


Appendix F. List of Happy Valley Trustees

Annie Besant, President 1930-1933
Louis Zalk 1930-1964 (President 1933-1964)
Robert Logan 1930-1956 (Vice President 1930-1956)
Sara Logan 1933-1938
George Hall 1930-1959
C.F Holland 1930-1938
Max Wardall 1930-1934
Devereaux Myers 1934-1940
George Ragan 1934-1959
William Mayes 1940-1947
Erma Williams (Zalk) 1940-1959
Rosalind Rajagopal 1943-1989 (Chair/Pres. 1965-1988)
James Moore 1949-1954
D. Rajagopal 1953-1958
Mima Porter 1953-1964
James Vigeveno 1956-1964
Byron Casselberry 1957-1963
Franklin Lacey 1959-1986 (HVS Director 1968-1970)
William Ross 1960-1968
Margot Wilkie 1960-1973
James Sloss 1960-1966 & 1989 → (Chair 1996 →)
Harriet Von Breton 1962-1968
Erna Lilliefelt 1965-1967
John Rupp 1965-1990
Joseph Lodge 1966-1971
Joseph Margon 1966-1971
Webster Cotton 1968-1972
Jorge A. Uribe 1968-2000 (Pres 1989-2000)
Nandini Iyer 1969-1986
Joseph Pollock 1970-1975
Peggy Kiskadden 1972-1974
Joy Mills 1973-2003
David Drapeau 1974-1975
Austin Bee 1974-2001 (Chair 1989-’93)
Emily Sellon 1974-1994
Michael Hathaway 1975-1977
Helen Bee 1979-1995
Diana Dunningham-Chapotin 1985-1992
John Kern 1985-2002
Raymond Neutra 1986→
Radha Sloss 1986→
Ken Tennen 1990-2003
Ann Brand 1992-2002
Paola Cohen 1993-2004
Anne Friend Thacher 1997→
Rolf Eriksen 1999-2002
Robert Sloss 2000→
Sandhya Jade Khurana 2001-2003
Rashmi Goel 2003-2005
Gerald Larson 2003→
Nicholas Schneider 2003→
David Anderson, tenure as Head of School 2004-2006
Josie Sutton 2005→
Paul Amadio tenure as Head of School 2006→

Appendix G. Happy Valley Cultural Center Events 2001–2005

March 2001: Lucifer’s Child, by William Luce, based on Isak Dinesen’s Africa Stories Performed by Daphne Field
November 2001: The Social Life of Jackals & the Wild African Ass, by Dr. Patricia Moehlman
December 2001: Criminal Law & Felons, by Judge Joseph Lodge
February 2002: What I’ve Learned About Life from Gardening, by horticulturist Raymond Sodomka
March 2002: A Violin/Dance Performance, by Malcom Watson
April 2002: Zen and Psychotherapy, by Dr. Joseph Bobrow
May 2002: Louise Nevelson and Georgia O’Keeffe, Helena Hale/One woman Theatre
September 2002: South Indian Classical Music, by Dr. L. Subramaniam, world acclaimed violinist
October 2002: Cutting Through to Freedom: a demonstration of Meditation & Martial Arts, by Michele B. Miki
November 2002: Faces of Change,Grass Root Reformers in the former Soviet Union, by Amanda Pope
February 2003: Local Marine Mammals, by Channel Island Naturalists and a Day of Whale Watching
March 2003: Artemesia Gentileschi: Of Lies and Truth, Helena Hale/One woman Theatre
April 2003: Vanessa Isaac and Hip Brazil Dance Company
October 2003: The Relational Self, by Dr. Susan Andersen, Professor of Psychology & Public Policy, NYU
October 2003: Lili Kraus Commemorative Concert, performed by Eugenio Urratia acclaimed Chilean pianist
December 2003: An Old Tale from India: The Dilemma of Violence & Non-Violence, by Professor Gerald Larson
January 2004: Love, Power and Transcendence, a dance/drama performed by Lark Batteau-Bailey
January 2004: Non-Violent Principles of Aikido and Sword Forms of Iaido, by Michele B. Miki
February 2004: Brave New World, HVS reading of Franklin Lacey’s musical based on Huxley’s novel
April 2004: Vanessa Isaac and Hip Brazil Dance Company, return
May 2004: Mary Cassatt Speaks, Helena Hale/One woman Theatre, followed by “high tea” on school lawn
November 2004: Waging Peace, Changing Self, Changing the World, by Dr. Joseph Bobrow, Zen teacher & Psychoanalyst
December 2004: A Joyous Concert of European Madrigals and Songs, Performed by the SBCC Chamber Singers
January 2005: Sharing the World With Wildlife, a lecture/discussion with M. Engebretson of Animal Protection Inst.
March 2005: The Sandman’s Garden, Documentary Film by Arthur Crenshaw on the life and art of Lonnie Holley

Appendix H. M:OME Renditions

Beato Atelier

Dining Commons

Student / Faculty Housing

Family Faculty Housing


A Adams, Mike 105
Adobe House 51, 59, 67, 106
Adyar (India)
Annie Besant died at 42
Theosophical Golden Jubilee, 1925 19
Amadio, Paul 122, 153
American Transcendentalists
lectures by Guido Ferrando 72
Anderson, David 118-120, 153
Arya Vihara 18
as Happy Valley School dormitory 75
Frank Gerard caretaker of 18, 21
orange ranch managed by Willie
Weidemann 69
residence of Krishnamurti and Nitya 17
top bananas visit 20
water supply 19
assembly/ theater
campus completion project,
donations for 109
part of Paul Hoag’s plan 104
Atlantic Richfield 91–93
Avasthology, World Institute of 88
Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts 121, 130
Beato Atelier 129
Bee, Austin 153
as ranch manager of the Happy Valley
Foundation 85
chairman of the Happy Valley
Foundation 102
death of, in 2001 117
instrumental in land purchase 91
meets Annie Besant 20
on Happy Valley Foundation Board 85
Bee, Helen 153
on Happy Valley Foundation Board 99
school board 101
Bennett, Ronald 79
Randy Bertin 126
Besant, Annie 13, 15, 17–20, 23, 26, 29, 31–33,
35, 37–42, 44–46, 49–50, 62, 72, 78, 83–88, 90–
91, 94–96, 102–103, 109, 111–112, 123-124, 125,
134, 135-136
background 15
death in India, 1933 42
description of by G.B. Shaw 23–24
description of Happy Valley, and vision 13
entourage and arrival in Ojai 1926 16–17
faith in future 95
further fulfillment of vision in Beatrice
Wood studio 95
guidelines for Happy Valley 46–47
ideas on education as Fabian Socialist 16
influence on Rosalind Rajagopal 49
last seen by Frank Gerard 34
parallels in Felix Greene’s concept for
Happy Valley 56
relationship with
Krishnamurti 21, 23, 29–30
seeing and purchasing Happy Valley 29–
vision materialized 76, 78, 112
Besant Hill School 123-124
Blavatsky, H.P. 15–16, 24
terminology 49
Brand, Ann 141
Burr, Wallace 71, 79
Caldwell, Alice 79
Cameron, James 114
Casselberry, Byron 74
Chamber On The Mountain 134
Chumash, The
Happy Valley land sacred to 17, 51
Clark, Mary 90
Cohen, Paola 153
Cotton, Webster 152
The Divine Comedy
lectures by Guido Ferrando 72
Drapeau, David 153
Dundas, Janat 121
Dunningham-Chapotin, Diana 152
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
class about, taught by Guido Ferrando 81
Eriksen, Rolf 111, 153
F Ferrando, Guido, director of Happy Valley
School 72–82
Gerard, Frank 17, 42, 55, 91, 93, 123
and Happy Valley 19–22, 24–33
and Krishnamurti 22, 34
arrives in Ojai 17
at Arya Vihara 21
at Thacher School 18
comments on Annie Besant and “top
bananas” 20
comments on George Hall 32
editor of The Ojai 18, 31
Goel, Rashmi 153
Gorsuch, John 106
Greene, Elena 51–60, 64
teaching at Happy Valley School 79
Greene, Felix 51–67, 90
Halifax, Joan 97
Hall, George 24, 27, 30–33, 55, 123, 140
and Saro Vihara 40, 94
and the Greenes 54–56
defense of Happy Valley 63, 85
involvement in Happy Valley
purchase 24, 26–28, 31
letter to Zalk 64
opposition to Rosalind 49
Hall, Grace 40
Happy Valley, map of 136
Happy Valley Cultural Center 115, 130
Happy Valley Foundation 130
Hassall, Walter 73
Hathaway, Michael 153
Heard, Gerald 51
High Winds 90–91, 93
Hoag, Paul 94–95
Holland, C.F 152
Holland, C.F. 28–29, 40, 42, 44, 123
Hotchener, Henry 28–29, 123
Human Dimensions West 97
Huxley, Aldous 126
and founding of Happy Valley School and
as board member 72–73, 79
associated with Vedantist circle 51
comment on Rosalind 89
guest lecturer 87, 130–133
pacifist 47
Ingelman, John 28–29, 123
Isherwood, Christopher 51
Iyer, Nandini 153
Kellogg-Smith, Ogden 74
Kern, John 153
Kern Foundation 109
Kiskadden, Peggy 153
Khurana, Sandhya Jade 153
Kraus, Lili 80, 132, 134
Krishnamurti Writings, Inc. 46, 70
Krishnamurti, J. 16–17, 20, 33, 34, 38–39, 75,
86–87, 94
and founding of
Happy Valley School 71–73
as World Teacher 16, 18
departure from Theosophy 30, 34
granting use of Arya Vihara for school
dormitory 75
illness in 1946 75
Logan’s view of 38
name involved in criticism of Happy
Valley Foundation 86
pacifist 47
Krotona 17–18, 24, 29
Kunz, Fritz 17, 123
and Happy Valley 18–27
problems with “top bananas” 25
acey, Franklin 128, 152
Happy Valley Board and school
director 90
Meeting with Annie Besant 1926 90
Music Man 90
Lacey, Gladys 126, 128
Larson, Gerald 153
Leadbeater, Charles Webster 19–20, 30, 73
Lehwalder, Heidi 132-134
Lilliefelt, Erna 152
Lodge, Joseph 152
Logan, Deborah 113
Logan, Robert 24, 37–41, 43–46, 49–51,
57–58, 63, 72, 81, 86, 94, 98, 123, 152
a founder of the Happy Valley
Foundation 24–46
a founder of the Happy Valley
School 70–85
backing of Rosalind 49
death of, in 1956 85
pacifist 47
philosophic background 37–38
Logan, Sara 24, 26, 38–40, 152
death of, in 1939 42
faith in Rosalind 49
Mack, Katherine 106
Margon, Joseph 152
Mayes, William 42, 152
Mills, Joy 141
M:OME 120
Moore, James 152
Morgando, John and Wendy 106
The Music Man 126
Myers, Devereaux 42, 49, 124, 152
N Neutra, Raymond 104, 141
Nitya, brother of Krishnamurti 17–20
O’Gallagher, Liam 96–97, 115
Ojai Foundation 97
Ojai Valley School 49
Order of the Star 20, 25, 30, 46
P Pattee, Howard 82
Pollock, Joseph 141
Porter, Mima 152
agan, Eleanor (Nell) 74, 79, 82
Ragan, George 42, 62–63, 78, 140
Rajagopal, D. 18–20, 21, 24–26, 39, 69, 75, 80,
91, 95, 123, 152
founding of Happy Valley School 72
Happy Valley Foundation trustee 90–91
in Ojai with Annie Besant 16, 18, 20, 25
pacifist 47–48
Rajagopal, Rosalind (née Williams) 17, 18–
20, 26, 42, 48–50, 57, 63–64, 69–72, 75–76,
79, 82, 85, 88–89, 93–94, 98–100, 103, 106,
125, 130, 152
appointed director of the school 82
chair/president of the Happy Valley
Foundation 88
character of 49–50
death of, in 1996 113
discussions with other founders 72
influenced by Annie Besant 49
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Part 1 of 2

Robert Thurman [Bob Thurman] [Alexander Thurman] [Alecsander Thermen]
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The Kalachakra temple in St. Petersburg

There is a simple reason for Dorjiev’s enthusiasm for Russia. He was convinced that the Kalachakra system and the Shambhala myth had their origins in the Empire of the Tsar and would return via it. In 1901 the Buriat had received initiations into the Time Tantra from the Ninth Panchen Lama which were supposed to have been of central significance for his future vision. Ekai Kawaguchi, a Buddhist monk from Japan who visited Tibet at the turn of the last century, claims to have heard of a pamphlet in which Dorjiev wrote “Shambhala was Russia. The Emperor, moreover, was an incarnation of Tsongkhapa, and would sooner or later subdue the whole world and found a gigantic Buddhist empire” (Snelling, 1993, p. 79). Although it is not certain whether the lama really did write this document, it fits in with his religious-political ideas. Additionally, the historians are agreed: “In my opinion,” W.A. Unkrig writes, “the religiously-based purpose of Agvan Dorjiev was the foundation of a Lamaist-oriented kingdom of the Tibetans and Mongols as a theocracy under the Dalai Lama ... [and] under the protection of Tsarist Russia ... In addition, among the Lamaists there existed the religiously grounded hope for help from a ‘Messianic Kingdom’ in the North ... called 'Northern Shambhala’” (quoted by Snelling, 1993, p. 79).

At the center of Dorjiev’s activities in Russia stood the construction of a three-dimensional mandala — the Buddhist temple in St. Petersburg. The shrine was dedicated to the Kalachakra deity. The Dalai Lama’s envoy succeeded in bringing together a respectable number of prominent Russians who approved of and supported the project. The architects came from the West. A painter by the name of Nicholas Roerich, who later became a fanatic propagandist for Kalachakra doctrine, produced the designs for the stained-glass windows. Work commenced in 1909. In the central hall various main gods from the Tibetan pantheon were represented with statues and pictures, including among others Dorjiev’s wrathful initiation deity, Vajrabhairava. Regarding the décor, it is perhaps also of interest that there was a swastika motif which the Bolsheviks knocked out during the Second World War. There was sufficient room for several lamas, who looked after the ritual life, to live on the grounds. Dorjiev had originally intended to triple the staffing and to construct not just a temple but also a whole monastery. This was prevented, however, by the intervention of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The inauguration took place in 1915, an important social event with numerous figures from public life and the official representatives of various Asian countries. The Dalai Lama sent a powerful delegation, “to represent the Buddhist Papacy and assist the Tibetan Envoy Dorjiev” (Snelling, 1993, p. 159). Nicholas II had already viewed the Kalachakra temple privately together with members of his family several days before the official occasion.

Officially, the shrine was declared to be a place for the needs of the Buriat and Kalmyk minorities in the capital. With regard to its occult functions it was undoubtedly a tantric mandala with which the Kalachakra system was to be transplanted into the West. Then, as we have already explained, from the lamas’ traditional point of view founding a temple is seen as an act of spiritual occupation of a territory. The legends about the construction of first Buddhist monastery (Samye) on Tibetan soil show that it is a matter of a symbolic deed with which the victory of Buddhism over the native gods (or demons) is celebrated. Such sacred buildings as the Kalachakra temple in St. Petersburg are cosmograms which are — in their own way of seeing things — employed by the lamas as magic seals in order to spiritually subjugate countries and peoples. It is in this sense that the Italian, Fosco Maraini, has also described the monasteries in his poetic travelogue about Tibet as “factories of a holy technology or laboratories of spiritual science” (Maraini, 1952, p. 172). In our opinion this approximates very closely the Lamaist self-concept. Perhaps it is also the reason why the Bolsheviks later housed an evolutionary technology laboratory in the confiscated Kalachakra shrine of St. Petersburg and performed genetic experiments before the eyes of the tantric terror gods.

The temple was first returned to the Buddhists in June 1991. In the same year, a few days before his own death, the English expert on Buddhism, John Snelling, completed his biography of the god-king’s Buriat envoy. In it he poses the following possibility: “Who knows then but what I call Dorjiev's Shambhala Project for a great Buddhist confederation stretching from Tibet to Siberia, but now with connections across to Western Europe and even internationally, may well become a very real possibility” (Snelling, 1993, xii). Here, Snelling can only mean the explosive spread of Tantric Buddhism across the whole world.

If we take account of the changes that time brings with it, then today the Kalachakra temple in Petersburg would be comparable with the Tibet House in New York. Both institutions function(ed) as semi-occult centers outwardly disguised as cultural institutions. In both instances the spread of the Kalachakra idea is/was central as well. But there is also a much closer connection: Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman, the founder and current leader of the Tibet House, went to Dharamsala at the beginning of the sixties. There he was ordained by the Dalai Lama in person. Subsequently, the Kalmyk, Geshe Wangyal (1901-1983), was appointed to teach the American, who today proclaims that he shall experience the Buddhization of the USA in this lifetime. Thurman thus received his tantric initiations from Wangyal.

This guru lineage establishes a direct connection to Agvan Dorjiev. Namely, that as a 19-year-old novice Lama Wangyal accompanied the Buriat to St. Petersburg and was initiated by him. Thus, Robert Thurman’s “line guru” is, via Wangyal, the old master Dorjiev. Dorjiev — Wangyal — Thurman form a chain of initiations. From a tantric viewpoint the spirit of the master live on in the figure of the pupil. It can thus be assumed that as Dorjiev’s “successor” Thurman represents an emanation of the extremely aggressive protective deity, Vajrabhairava, who had incarnated himself in the Buriat. At any rate, Thurman has to be associated with Dorjiev’s global Shambhala utopia. His close interconnection with the Kalachakra Tantra is additionally a result of his spending several months in Dharamsala under the supervision of Namgyal monks, who are specialized in the time doctrine...

We have described often enough the political goal of this much-admired religious movement. It involves the establishment of a global Buddhocracy, a Shambhalization of the world, steered and governed, where possible, from Potala, the highest “Seat of the Gods” From there the longed-for Buddhist world ruler, the Chakravartin, ids supposed to govern the globe and its peoples. Of course, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama would never speak so directly about this vision. But his prophet in the USA, Robert Thurman, is less circumspect.

Robert A. Thurman: “the academic godfather of the Tibetan cause”

Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman, the founder and current head of the Tibet House in New York, traveled to Dharamsala in the early 1960s. There he was introduced to the Dalai Lama as “a crazy American boy, very intelligent, and with a good heart” who wanted to become a Buddhist monk. The Tibetan hierarch acceded to the young American’s wish, ordained him as the first Westerner to become a Tibetan monk, and personally supervised his studies and initiatory exercises. He considered Thurman’s training to be so significant that he required a weekly personal meeting. Thurman’s first teacher was Khen Losang Dondrub, Abbot of the Namgyal monastery which was specifically commissioned to perform the so-called Kalachakra ritual. Later, the Kalmyk Geshe Wangal (1901–1983) was appointed as teacher of the “crazy” American (born 1941), who today maintains that he will be able to celebrate the Buddhization of the USA within his lifetime.

Having returned from India to the United States, Thurman began an academic career, studying at Harvard and translating several classic Buddhist texts from Tibetan. He then founded the “Tibet House” in New York, a missionary office for the spread of Lamaism in America disguised as a cultural institute.

Alongside the two actors Richard Gere and Steven Segal, Thurman is the crowd puller of Tibetan Buddhism in the USA. His famous daughter, the Hollywood actress Uma Thurman, who as a small child sat on the lap of the Tibetan “god-king”, has made no small contribution to her father’s popularity and opened the door to Hollywood celebrities. The Herald Tribune called Thurman “the academic godfather of the Tibetan cause” (Herald Tribune, 20 March 1997, p. 6) and in 1997 Time magazine ranked him among the 25 most influential opinion makers of America. He is described there with a telling ironic undertone as the “Saint Paul or Billy Graham of Buddhism” (Time, 28 April 1997, p. 42) Thurman is in fact extremely eloquent and understands how to fascinate his audience with powerful polemics and rhetorical brilliance. For example, he calls the Tibetans “the baby seals of the human right movement”.

In the Shugden affair, Thurman naturally took the side of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and proceeded with the most stringent measures against the “sectarians”, publicly disparaging them as the “Taliban of Buddhism”. When three monks were in stabbed to death in Dharamsala he saw this murder as a ritual act: “The three were stabbed repeatedly and cut up in a way that was like exorcism” (Newsweek, 5 May 1997, p. 43).

Thurman is the most highly exposed intellectual in the American Tibet scene. His profound knowledge of the occult foundations of Lamaism, his intensive study of Tibetan language and culture, his initiation as the first Lamaist monk from the western camp, his rhetorical brilliance and not least his close connection to the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, which is more than just a personal friendship and rests upon a religious political alliance, all make this man a major figure in the Lamaist world. The American is — as we shall see — the exoteric protagonist of an esoteric drama, whose script is written in what is known as the Kalachakra Tantra. He promotes a “cool revolution of the world community” and understands by this “a cool restoration of Lamaist Buddhism on a global scale”.

We met Robert Thurman in person at a Tibet Conference in Bonn (“Myth Tibet” in 1996). He was without doubt the most prominent and theatrical speaker and far exceeded the aspirations laid out by the conference. The organizers wanted to launch an academically aseptic discussion of Tibet and its history under the motto that our image of Tibet is a western projection. In truth, Tibet was and is a contradictory country like any other, and the Tibetans like other peoples have had a tumultuous history. The image of Tibet therefore needs to be purged of any occultism and one-sided glorification. Thus the most well-known figures of modern international Tibetology were gathered in Bonn. The proceedings were in fact surprisingly critical and an image of Tibet emerged which was able to peel away some illusions. There was no more talk of a faultless and spiritual Shangri-La up on the roof of the world.

Despite this apparently critical approach, the event must be described as a manipulation. First of all, the cliché that the West alone is responsible for the widespread image of Tibet found here was reinforced. We have shown at many points in our book that this blissful image is also a creation of the lamas and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama himself. Further, the fact that Lamaism possesses a world view in which western civilization is to be supplanted via a new Buddhist millennium and that it is systematically working towards this goal was completely elided from the debate in Bonn. It appears the globalizing claims of Tibetan Buddhism ought to be passed over silently. At this conference Tibet continued to be portrayed as the tiny country oppressed by the Chinese giant, and the academics, the majority of whom were practicing Buddhists, presented themselves as committed ethnologists advocating, albeit somewhat more critically than usual, the rescue of an endangered culture of a people under threat. By and large this was the orientation of the conference in Bonn. It was hoped to create an island of “sober” scholarliness and expertise in order to inject a note of realism into the by now via the media completely exaggerated image of Tibet — in the justifiable fear that this could not be maintained indefinitely.

This carefully considered objective of the assembled Tibetologists was demolished by Thurman. In a powerfully eloquent speech entitled “Getting beyond Orientalism in approaching Buddhism and Tibet: A central concept”, he sketched a vision of the Buddhization of our planet, and of the establishment of a worldwide “Buddhocracy”. Here he dared to go a number of steps further than in his at that stage not yet published book, Inner Revolution. The quintessence of his dedicated presentation was that the decadent, materialistic West would soon go under and a global monastic system along Tibetan lines would emerge in its stead. This could well be based on traditional Tibet, which today at the end of the materialistic age appears modern to many: “Three hundred years before, this is the time, what I called modern Tibet, which is the Buddhocratic, unmilitaristic, mass-monastic society …” (Thurman at the conference in Bonn).

Such perspectives clearly much irritated the conference organizers and immensely disturbed their ostensible attempt to introduce a note of academic clarity. The megalomaniac claims of Tibetan neo-Buddhism plainly and openly forced their way into the limelight during Thurman’s speech. A spectacular row with the officials resulted and Thurman left Bonn early.

Irrespective of one’s opinion of Thurman, his speech in Bonn was just plain honest; it called a spade a spade and remains an eminently important record since it introduced the term “Buddhocracy” into the discussion as something desirable, indeed as the sole safety anchor amid the fall of the Western world. Those who are familiar with the background to Lamaism will recognize that Thurman has translated into easily understood western terms the religious political global pretensions of the Tibetan system codified in the Kalachakra Tantra. The American “mouthpiece of the Dalai Lama” is the principal witness for the fact that a worldwide “Buddhocracy” is aspired to not just in the tantric rituals but also by the propagandists of Tibetan Buddhism. Thurman probably revised and tamed down his final manuscript for Inner Revolution in light of events in Bonn. There, the emotive terms Buddhocracy and Buddhocratic are no longer so central as they were in his speech in Bonn. Nonetheless a careful reading of his book reveals the Buddhocratic intentions are not hidden in any way. In order to more clearly give prominence to these intentions, however, we will review his book in connection with his speech in Bonn.

The stolen revolution

Anybody who summarizes the elements of the political program running through Thurman’s book Inner Revolution from cover to cover will soon recognize that they largely concern the demands of the “revolutionary” grass roots movement of the 70s and 80s. Here there is talk of equality of the sexes, individual freedom, personal emancipation, critical thought, nonconformity, grass roots democracy, human rights, a social ethos, a minimum income guaranteed by the state, equality of access to education, health and social services for all, ecological awareness, tolerance, pacifism, and self-realization. In an era in which all these ideas no longer have the same attraction as they did 20 years ago, such nostalgic demands are like a balsam. The ideals of the recent past appear to have not been in vain! The utopias of the 1960s will be realized after all, indeed, according to Thurman, this time without any use of violence. The era of “cool revolution” has just begun and we learn that all these individual and social political goals have always been a part of Buddhist cultural tradition, especially Tibetan-style Lamaism.

With this move, Thurman incorporates the entire set of ideas of a protest generation which sought to change the world along human-political lines and harnesses it to a Tibetan/Buddhist world view. In this he is a brilliant student of his smiling master, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Tens of thousands of people in Europe and America (including Petra Kelly and the authors) became victims of this skillful manipulation and believed that Lamaism could provide the example of a human-politically committed religion. Thousands stood up for Tibet, small and oppressed, because they revered in this country a treasure trove of spiritual and ethical values which would be destroyed by Chinese totalitarianism. Tibetan Buddhism as the final refuge of the social revolutionary ideals of the 70s, as the inheritance of the politically involved youth movement? This is — as we shall show — how Lamaism presents itself in Thurman’s book, and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama gives this interpretation his approval. “Thurman explained to me how some Western thinkers have assumed that Buddhism has no intention to change society ... Thurman’s book provides a timely correction to any lingering notions about Buddhism as an uncaring religion.” (Thurman1998, p. xiii)

But anyone who peeps behind the curtains must unfortunately ascertain that with his catalog of political demands Thurman holds a mirror up to the ideals of the “revolutionary” generation of the West, and that he fails to inform them about the reality of the Lamaist system in which used to and still does function along completely contrary social political lines.

Thurman’s forged history

In order to prevent this abuse of power becoming obvious, the construction of a forged history is necessary, as Thurman conscientiously and consistently demonstrates in his book. He presents the Tibet of old as a type of gentle “scholarly republic” of introspective monks, free of the turbulence of European/imperialist politics of business and war. In their seclusion these holy men performed over centuries a world mission, which is only now becoming noticeable. Since the Renaissance, Thurman explains, the West has effected the “outer modernity”, that is the “outer enlightenment” through the scientific revolution. At the same time (above all since the rule of the Fifth Dalai Lama in the seventeenth century) an “inner revolution” has taken place in the Himalayas, which the American boldly describes as “inner modernity”: “So we must qualify what we have come to call ‘modernity’ in the West as ‘materialistic’ or ‘outer’ modernity, and contrast it with a parallel but alternative Tibetan modernity qualified as ‘spiritualistic’ or ‘inner’ modernity” (Thurman 1998, p. 247). At the 1996 conference in Bonn he did in fact refer to the “inner modernization of the Tibetan society”.

Committed Buddhism, according to Thurman, is instigating a “cool revolution” (in the sense of ‘calm’).It is “cool” in contrast to the “hot” revolutions of the Western dominated history of the world which demanded so many casualties. The five fundamental principles of this “cool revolution” are cleverly assigned anew to a Western (and not Oriental) system of values: transcendental individualism, nonviolent pacifism, educational evolutionism, ecosocial altruism, universal democratism.

For Thurman, the Tibetan culture of “sacralization”, “magic”, “enlightenment”, “spiritual progress”, and “peaceful monasticism” stands in opposition to a Western civilization of “secularization”, “disenchantment”, “rationalization”, “profane belief in material progress”, and “materialism, industrialism, and militarism” (Thurman 1998, p. 246).Even though the “inner revolution” is unambiguously valued more highly, the achievements of the West ought not be totally abandoned in the future. Thurman sees the world culture of the dawning millennium in a hierarchical (East over West) union of both. Upon closer inspection, however, this “cool revolution” reveals itself to be a “cool restoration” in which the world is to be transformed into a Tibetan-style Buddhist monastic state.

To substantiate Lamaism’s global mission (the “cool revolution”) in his book, Thurman had to distort Tibetan history, or the history of Buddhism in general. He needed to construct a pure, faultless and ideal history which from the outset pursued an exemplary, highly ethical task of instruction, aimed to culminate eschatologically in the Buddhization of the entire planet. The Tibetan monasteries had to be portrayed as bulwarks of peace and spiritual development, altruistically at work in the social interests of all. The image of Tibet of old needed to appear appropriately noble-minded, “with”, Thurman says, “the cultivation of scholarship and artistry; with the administration of the political system by enlightened hierarchs; with ascetic charisma diffused among the common people; and with the development of the reincarnation institution. It was a process of the removal of deep roots in instinct and cultural patterns” (Thurman 1998, p. 231). A general misrepresentation in Thurman’s historical construction is the depiction of Buddhist society and especially Lamaism as fundamentally peaceful (to be played out in contrast to the deeply militaristic West): “[T]he main direction of the society was ecstatic and positive; intrigues, violence and persecution were rarer than in any other civilization” (Thurman 1998, p.36). Although appeals may be made to relevant sutras in support of such a pacifist image of Tibetan Buddhism, as a social reality it is completely fictive.

As we have demonstrated, the opposite is the case. Lamaism was caught up in bloody struggles between the various monastic factions from the outset. There was a terrible “civil war” in which the country’s two main orders faced one another as opponents. Political murder has always been par for the course and even the Dalai Lamas have not been spared. Even in the brief history of the exiled Tibetans it is a constant occurrence. The concept of the enemy was deeply anchored in ancient Tibetan culture, and persists to this day. Thus the destruction of “enemies of the teaching” is one of the standard requirements of all tantric ritual texts. The sexual magic practices which lie at the center of this religion and which Thurman either conceals or interprets as an expression of cooperation and sexual equality are based upon a fundamental misogyny. The social misery of the masses in old Tibet was shocking and repulsive, the authority of the priestly state was absolute and extended over life and death. To present Tibet’s traditional society as a political example for modernity, in which the people had oriented themselves toward a “broad social ethic” and in which anybody could achieve “freedom and happiness” (Thurman 1998, p. 138) is farcical.

Thus one shudders at the thought when Thurman opens up the following perspective for the world to come: “In the sacred history of the transformation of the wild frontier [pre-Buddhist] land of Tibet [into a Buddhocracy], we find a blueprint for completing the taming of our own wild world” (Thurman 1998, p. 220)

Thurman introduces the Buddhist emperor Ashoka (regnant from 272 to 236 B.C.E.), who “saw the practical superiority of moral and enlightened policy” (Thurman 1998, p. 115), as a political example for the times ahead. He portrays this Indian emperor as a “prince of peace” who — although originally a terrible hero of the battlefield — following a deep inner conversion abjured all war, transformed hate and pugnacity into compassion and nonviolence, and conducted a “spiritual revolution” to the benefit of all suffering beings. In the chapter entitled “A kingly revolution” (Thurman 1988, pp.109ff.), the author suggests that the Ashoka kingdom’s form of government, oriented along monastic lines, could today once again function as a model for the establishment of a worldwide Buddhist state. Thurman says that “[t]he politics of enlightenment since Ashoka proposes a truth-conquest of the planet—a Dharma-conquest, meaning a cultural, educational, and intellectual conquest” (Thurman 1998, p. 282).

Thurman wisely remains silent about the fact that this Maurya dynasty ruler was responsible for numerous un-Buddhist acts. For instance, under his reign the death penalty for criminals was not abolished, among whom his own wife, Tisyaraksita, must have been counted, as he had her executed. In a Buddhist (!) description of his life, a Sanskrit work titled Ashokavandana, it states that he at one stage had 18,000 non-Buddhists, presumably Jainas, put to death, as one of them had insulted the “true teaching”, albeit in a relatively mild manner. In another instance he is alleged to have driven a Jaina and his entire family into their house which he then ordered to be burnt to the ground.

Nonetheless, Emperor Ashoka is a “cool revolutionary” for Thurman. His politics proclaimed “a social style of tolerance and admiration of nonviolence. They made the community a secure establishment that became unquestioned in its ubiquitous presence as school for gentleness, concentration, and liberation of critical reason; asylum for nonconformity; egalitarian democratic community, where decisions were made by consensual vote” (Thurman 1998, p. 117). To depict the absolutist emperor Ashoka as a guarantor and exemplar of an “egalitarian democratic community”, is a brilliant feat of arbitrary historical interpretation!

With equal emphasis Thurman presents the Indian/Buddhist Maha Siddhas (‘Grand Sorcerers’) as exemplary heroes of the ethos for whom there was no greater wish than to make others happy. However, as we have described in detail, these “ascetics who tamed the world” employed extremely dubious methods to this end, namely, they cultivated pure transgression in order to prove the vanity of all being. Their tantric, i.e., sexual magic, practices, in which they deliberately did evil (murder, rape, necrophagy) with the ostensible intention of creating something good, should, according to Thurman, be counted among the most significant acts of human civilization. Anyone who casts a glance over the “hagiographies” of these Maha Siddhas will be amazed at the barbaric consciousness possessed by these “heroes” of the tantric path. Only very rarely can socially ethical behavior be ascertained among these figures, who deliberately adopted asociality as a lifestyle.

But for Thurman these Maha Siddhas and their later Tibetan imitations are “radiant bodies of energy” upon whom the fate of humanity depends. “It is said that the hillsides and retreats of central Tibet were ablaze with the light generated by profound concentration, penetrating insights, and magnificent deeds of enthusiastic practitioners. The entire populace was moved by the energy released by individuals breaking through their age-old ignorance and prejudices and realizing enlightenment.” (Thurman 1998, pp. 227-228) When one compares the horrors of Tibetan history with the horrors in the tantric texts followed by the “enthusiastic practitioners”, then Thurman may indeed be correct. It is just that it was primarily dark energies which affected the Tibetan population and kept them in ignorance and servitude. Serfdom and slavery are attributes of old Tibetan society, just like an inhumane penal code and a pervasive oppression of women.

Padmasambhava, the supreme ambivalent founding figure of Tibetan Buddhism, is also celebrated by Thurman as a committed scholar of enlightenment. (Thurman 1998, 210). Nothing could be less typical of this sorcerer, who covered the Land of Snows with his excommunications and introduced the wrathful gods of pre-Buddhist Tibet in a horror army of aggressive protective spirits, not so that their terrible character could be transformed, but rather so that they could now protect with sword and fright the “true teaching of Buddha” from its enemies. Great scholars of the Gelugpa order have time and again pointed out the ambivalence of this iridescent “cultural founder” (Padmasambhava), among whose deeds are two brutal infanticides, and expressly distanced themselves from his barbaric lifestyle.

When the Indian scholar Atisha began his work in Tibet in the 11th century, he encountered a completely dissolute monastic caste in total chaos and where one could no longer speak of morals. At least this is what the historical records (the Blue Annals) report. Thurman suppresses this Lamaist moral collapse and simply maintains the opposite: “When Atisha arrived in Tibet, monastic practitioners were limiting themselves to strict moral and ritual observances” (Thurman 1998, p. 226). This is indeed a very euphemistic representation of the whoring and secularized monasteries against which Atisha took to the field with a new moral codex.

For Thurman, the Great Prayer Festival (Mönlam) institutionalized by Tsongkhapa and reactivated by the Fifth Dalai Lama, a raw Lamaist carnival in which monks were allowed absolutely everything and a truly horrible scapegoat ritual was performed, was a sacred event where “the power of compassion is manifest, the immediacy of grace is experienced” (Thurman 1998, p. 235). At another stage he says that, “[i]n Tibet, the Great Prayer Festival guaranteed the best of possibilities for everyone. People’s feelings of being in an apocalyptic time in a specially blessed and chosen land—in their own form of a “New Jerusalem”, a Kingdom of Heaven manifest on earth—had a powerful effect on the whole society” (Thurman 1998, pp. 238-239). When we compare this apotheosis of the said event with the already cited eyewitness report by Heinrich Harrer, we see the lack of restraint with which Thurman reveres the Tibet of old. Harrer, whose portrayal is confirmed by many other travel accounts, regarded the scenario completely differently: “As if emerging from hypnosis”, writes the mentor of the young Dalai Lama, “at this moment the tens of thousands spring from order in to chaos. The transition is so sudden, that one is speechless. Shouting, wild gesticulation .. they trample over one another, almost murder each other. The still-weeping prayers, ecstatically absorbed, become ravers. The monastic soldiers begin their duty! Huge fellows with stuffed shoulders and blackened faces — so that the deterrent effect becomes even stronger. Ruthlessly they lay into the crowd with their batons ... one takes the blows wailing, but even the beaten return again. As if they were possessed by demons” (Heinrich Harrer, 1984, p. 142). — Thurman’s “New Jerusalem”, possessed by demons on the roof of the world? —an interesting scenario for a horror film!

We find a further pinnacle of Thurman’s historical falsification in the portrait of the greatest Lamaist potentate, the Fifth Dalai Lama. Of all people, this “Priest-King” attuned to the accumulation of external power and pomp is built up by the author in to a hero of the “inner revolution”. He paints the picture of a prudent and farsighted fathers of his country (“a gentle genius, scholar, and reincarnate saint” — Thurman 1998, p. 248), who is compelled — against his will and his fundamentally Buddhist attitude — to conduct a horrific “civil war” (in which he lets great numbers of monks from other orders be massacred by the Mongol warriors summoned to the country). Thurman presents the conflict as a quarrel between various warlords in which the “peaceful” monks become embroiled.

Here again, the opposite was the case: the two chief Tibetan Buddhist orders of the time (Gelugpa and Kagyupa) were pulling the strings, even if they let worldly armies battle for them. Thurman misrepresents this monastic war as a battle between cliques of nobles and ultimately “the final showdown in Tibet between militarism and monasticism” (Thurman 1998, p. 249), whereby the latter as the party of peace is victorious thanks to the genius of the Fifth Dalai Lama and goes on to all but establish a “Buddha paradise” on earth.

All this is a pious/impudent invention of the American Tibetologist. The merciless warrior mentality of the Fifth Dalai Lama spread fear and alarm among his foes. His dark occult side, his fascination for the sexual magic of the Nyingmapa (which he himself practiced), his unrestrained rewriting of history and much more; these are all highly unpleasant facts, which are deliberately concealed by Thurman, since an historically accurate portrait of the “Great Fifth” could have embarrassing consequences, as the Fourteenth Dalai Lama constantly refers to this predecessor of his and has announced him to be his greatest example.

It would be wrong to deny the Fifth Dalai Lama any political or administrative skill; he was, just like his contemporary, Louis the Fourteenth, to whom he is often compared, an “ingenious” statesman. But this made him no prince of peace. His goal consisted of resolutely placing the fate of the country in the hands of the clergy with himself as the undisputed spiritual and secular leader. To this end (like the Fourteenth Dalai Lama today) he played the various orders off against one another. The Fifth Dalai Lama formulated the political foundations of a “Buddhocracy” which Robert Thurman would be glad to see as the model for a future worlds community, and which we wish to examine more closely in the next section.

A worldwide Buddhocracy

At the conference on Tibet in Bonn mentioned above (“Mythos Tibet”, 1996) Robert Thurman with stirring pathos prophesied the “fall of the West” and left no doubt that the future of our planet lies in a worldwide, as he stressed literally, “Buddhocracy”. Europe has renounced its sacred past, demystified its natural environment, established a secular realm, and closed off access to the sacred “represented by monasticism and its organized striving for perfection”. Materialism, industrialization and militarization have taken the place of the sacred (Thurman 1998, p. 246).

At the same time a reverse process has taken place in Tibet. Society has become increasingly sacralized and devoted itself to the creation of a “buddhaverse”. (In the wake of the Tibetologists’ criticisms in Bonn, Thurman appears to have opted for his own neologism “buddhaverse” in place of the somewhat offensive “Buddhocracy”; the meaning intended remains the same.) A re-enchantment of reality has taken place in Tibet, and the system is dedicated to the perfection of the individual. The warrior spirit has been dismantled. All these claims are untrue, and can be disproved by countless counterexamples. Nevertheless, Thurman presumes to declare them expressions of traditional Tibet’s “inner modernity”, which is ultimately superior to Europe’s “outer modernity”: “As Europe was pushing away the Pope, the Church, and the enchantment of everyday life, Tibet was turning over the reins of its country to a new kind of government, which cannot properly be called ‘theocratic’, since the Tibetans do not believe in an omnipotent God, but which can be called ‘Buddhocratic’” (Thurman 1998, p. 248). This form of government is supposed to guide our future. At the Tibet conference in Bonn, Thurman made this clearer: “Yes, not theocratic, because that brings [with it a] comparison to the Holy Roman Empire ... because it has the conception of an authoritarian God controlling the universe” (Thurman at the conference in Bonn). Thurman seems to think the concept of an “authoritarian Buddha” does not exist, although this is precisely what may be found at the basis of the Lamaist system.

For the author, the monasticization of Tibetan society was a lucky millennial event for humanity which reached its preliminary peak in the era in which the Gelugpa order was founded by Tsongkhapa (1357–1419) and the institution of the Dalai Lama was established. In Bonn Thurman praised this period as “the millennium of the fifteenth century of the planetary unique form of modern Tibetan society ... [which] led to the unfolding in the seventeenth century [of] what I call post-millennial, inwardly modern, mass-monastic, or even Buddhocratic [society]”. Tsongkhapa is presented as the founding father of this “modern Tibet”: he “was a spiritual prodigy. ... He perceived a cosmic shift from universe to buddhaverse” (Thurman 1998, pp. 232–233).

The Tibet of old was, according to Thurman, just such a buddhaverse, an earthly “Buddha paradise”, governed by nonviolence and wisdom, generosity, sensitivity, and tolerance. An exemplary enlightened consciousness was cultivated in the monastic Jewel Community. The monasteries provided the guarantee that politics was conducted along ethical lines: “The monastic core provides the cocoon for the free creativity of the lay Jewel Community” (Thurman 1998, p. 294).

This “monastic form of government”, pre-tested by Old Tibet, provides a vision for the future for Thurman: “I am very interested in this. I feel a very strong trend in this [direction]” (Thurman’s presentation in Bonn). The “monasticization” which was then (i.e., in the fifteenth century) spreading through Asia whilst the doors to the monasteries of Europe were closing, has once again become significant on a global political level. “And if you study Max Weber carefully... in fact what secularization and industrial progress brought had a lot to do with the slamming of the monastery doors. ... So, a monastic form of government is an unthinkable thing for Western society. We often say Tibet is frozen in the Middle Ages because Tibet is not secularized in the way the Western world is! It moved out of the balance between sacred and secular and went into a sacralization process and enchanted the universe. The concrete proof of that was that the monasteries provided the government” (Thurman in Bonn).

Here, Thurman is paraphrasing Weber’s thesis of the “disenchantment of the world” which accompanied the rise of capitalism. The “re-enchantment of the world” is a political program for him, which can only be carried out by Lamaist monks. Monasticism “is the shelter and training ground for the nonviolent ‘army’, the shock troops for the sustained social revolution the Buddha initiated ...” (Thurman 1998, p. 294, § 15). The monastic clergy would progressively assume control of political matters via a three-stage plan. In the final phase of this plan, “the society is able to enjoy the universe of enlightenment, and Jewel Community institutions [the monasteries] openly take responsibility for the society’s direction” (Thurman 1998, p. 296, § 24).

But this is no unreal utopia, since “Tibetan society is the only one in planetary history in which this third phase has been partially reached” (Thurman 1998, p. 296, § 25).In this sentence Thurman quite plainly proclaims a Buddhocracy along Lamaist lines to be the next model for the world community! Elsewhere, the Tibetologist is more precise: “The countercultural monastic movement no longer needs to lie low and is able to give the ruling powers advice, spiritual and social. Enlightened sages can begin to advise their royal disciples on how to conduct the daily affairs of society, such as what should be their policies and practices. Likewise, after a long period of such evolution, the entire movement can reach a cool fruition, when the countercultural enlightenment movement becomes mainstream and openly takes responsibility for the whole society, which eventually happened in Tibet” (Thurman 1998, p. 166, footnote).

According to Thurman, the Lamaist clergy assumes political power with — as we shall see — the incarnation of a super-being at its helm, an absolute monarch, who unites spiritual and worldly power within himself. The triumphant advance of the monastic system began in India in around 500 B.C.E. and spread throughout all of Asia in the intervening years. But this, Thurman says, is only a prelude: “The phenomenal success of monasticism, eventually Eurasia-wide, can be understood as the progressive truth-conquest of the world” (Thurman 1998, p. 105). Pie in the sky, or a event soon to come? Thurman’s statements on this are contradictory. In his book he talks of a “hope for the future”. But in interviews with the press, he has let it be known that he will experience the Buddhization of America in his own lifetime. In 1997, his friend, the Hollywood actor Richard Gere, was also convinced that the transformation of the world into a Buddhocracy would occur suddenly, like an atomic explosion, and that the “critical mass” would soon be reached (Herald Tribune, 20 March 1997, p. 6).

According to the author, the Lamaist power elite of the coming “Buddhocracy” is basically immortal because of the incarnation system. They already pulled the political strings in Tibet in the past, and will, in the author’s opinion, assume this role for the entire world in future: “Whatever the spiritual reality of these reincarnations, the social impact of this form of leadership was immense. It sealed the emerging spirituality of Tibetan society, in that death, which ordinarily interrupts progress in any society, could no longer block positive development. Just as Shakyamuni could be present to the practitioner through the initiation procedure and the sophisticated visualization techniques, so fully realized saints and sages were not withdrawn by death from their disciples, who depended on them to attain fulfillment (Thurman 1998, p. 231).

One can only be amazed — at the impudence with which Thurman praises the “Buddhocracy” of the Lamas as the highest form of “democracy”; at how he portrays Tibetan Buddhism, which is based upon a ritual dissolution of the individual, as the highest level of individual development; at how he depicts Tantrism, with its morbid sexual magic techniques for male monks to absorb feminine energies, as the only religion in which god and goddess are worshipped as balanced equals; at how he glorifies the cruel war gods and warrior monks of the Land of Snows as pacifists; at how he presents the medieval/monastic social form of Tibet as an expression of the modern and as offering the only model for a global world-society.

Tibet a land of enlightenment?

The Tibet of old, with its monastic culture was, according to Thurman, the cosmic energy body which irradiated our world in enlightened consciousness. “Hidden in the last thousand years of Tibet’s civilization”, the author says, “is a continuous process of inner revolution and cool evolution. In spiritual history, Tibet has been the secret dynamo that throughout this millennium has slowly turned the outer world toward enlightenment. Thus Tibetan civilization’s unique role on the inner plane of history assumes a far greater importance than material history would indicate” (Thurman 1998, p. 225). In Thurman’s version of history, it was not the Western bourgeoisie which fought for its freedoms and human rights in battle with the institutions of the Church; rather, all this was thought out in advance by holy men meditating among the Himalayan peaks: “The recent appearance of modern consciousness in the industrial world is not something radically new or unprecedented. Modern consciousness has been developed all over Asia in the Buddhist subcultures for thousands of years” (Thurman 1998, p. 255). —And it flowed into the consciousness of the modern, Western cultural elite as an Eastern energy source. That is, to speak clearly, the Tibetan monks meditating were one of the causes of the European Enlightenment. A bold thesis indeed, in which a Tibet controlled by a belief in ghosts, oracles, torture chambers, the oppression of women, and human super-beings becomes the cradle of modern rationalism.

The enlightening radiation began, says Thurman, with the Tibetan scholar Tsongkhapa’s edifice of teachings and the founding of the Gelugpa order: “This tremendous release of energy caused by thousands of minds becoming totally liberated in a short time was a planetary phenomenon, like a great spiritual pulsar emitting enlightenment in waves broadcast around the globe” (Thurman 1998, p. 233). Accordingly, Thurman considers all of the great Tibetan scholars of past centuries to be more significant and comprehensive than their European “peers”. They were “scientific heroes”, “”the quintessence of scientists in this nonmaterialistic civilization [i.e., Tibet]” (quoted by Lopez in Prisoners of Shangri-La, p. 81). As “psychonauts” they conquered inner space in contrast to the western “astronauts” (again quoted by Lopez, 1998, p. 81). But the “stars” of modern European philosophy like Hume and Kant, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, Hegel and Heidegger, Thurman speculates, could also at some future time turn out to be line-holders for and emanations of the Bodhisattva of knowledge, Manjushri (Lopez, 1998, p. 264). Ex oriente lux — now also true for occidental science.

This incorporation of the Western cultural heroes is an underground current which flows through the entire neo-Buddhist scene. It is outwardly strictly denied, through the Dalai Lama’s demands for tolerance in broad publicity. In contrast, writings accumulate in the milieu, which celebrate Jesus Christ as an avatar of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara for example, the same super-being who has also been incarnated as the Dalai Lama. A recurrent image of modern myth building is the placement of the Tibetans on a par with the Nazarene.

Thurman as “high priest” of the Kalachakra Tantra

A worldwide Buddhocratic vision of Tibetan Buddhism is contained in what is known as the Kalachakra Tantra (the “Wheel of Time”). We have studied and commented upon this central Lamaist ritual in detail. The goal of the Kalachakra Tantra is the construction of a superhuman being, the ADI BUDDHA, whose control encompasses the entire universe, both spiritually and politically, “a mythical world-conqueror” (Thurman 1998, p. 292, § 5).

From a metapolitical point of view, Robert Thurman appears to have been appointed to implant the ideas of the Kalachakra Tantra in the West. We have already noted that the teacher the Dalai Lama assigned him to was Khen Losang Dondrub, Abbot of the Namgyal monastery which is especially commissioned to perform the Kalachakra ritual. In the USA he was in constant contact with the Kalmyk lama Geshe Wangyal (1901–1983). Lama Wangyal was Robert Thurman’s actual “line guru”, and this line leads via Wangyal directly to the old master Agvan Dorjiev (Lama Wangyal’s guru). Dorjiev the Buriat, Wangyal the Kalmyk, and Thurman the American thus form a chain of initiation. From a tantric point of view the spirit of the master lives on in the form of the pupil. One can thus assume that Thurman as Dorjiev’s successor represents an emanation of the extremely aggressive protective divinity Vajrabhairava who is supposed to have become incarnate in the Buriat. At any rate the American must be drawn into the context of the global Shambhala utopia, which was the principal concern of Dorjiev’s metapolitics.

What Thurman understands by this can be most clearly illustrated by a vision which was bestowed upon him in a dream in September 1979, before he saw the Dalai Lama again for the first time in eight years: “The night before he landed in New York, I dreamed he was manifesting the pure land mandala palace of the Kalachakra Buddha right on top of the Waldorf Astoria building. The entire collection of dignitaries of the city, mayors and senators, corporate presidents and kings, sheikhs and sultans ,celebrities and stars—all of them were swept up into the dance of 722 deities of the three buildings of the diamond palace like pinstriped bees swarming on a giant honeycomb. The amazing thing about the Dalai Lama’s flood of power and beauty was that it appeared totally effortless. I could feel the space of His Holiness’s heart, whence all this arose. It was relaxed, cool, an amazing well of infinity” (Thurman 1998, p. 18).

The magic projection of the Tibetan “god-king” as ADI BUDDHA and world ruler cannot be illustrated more vividly. He reigns as some kind of queen bee in the middle of New York, and lets the world’s greatest, whom he has bewitched with sweet honey, dance to his tune. It is typical that there is no mention of grass roots democracy here, and that it is just the political, business, and show business Establishment which performs the sweet dance of the bees. Anyone who is aware how much significance is granted to such dreams in the world of Tibetan initiation will without further ado recognize a metapolitical program in Thurman’s vision. [1]

In 1992, as Director of Tibet House in New York City which he co-founded with Richard Gere, he sponsored “the Kalachakra Initiation at New York’s Madison Square Garden.” (Farrer-Halls 1998, p. 92) The Tibet Center houses a three dimensional Kalachakra Mandala and the only life sized statue of the Kalachakra deity outside of Tibet. Following the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, “The Samaya Foundation, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the Port Authority jointly sponsored the Wheel of Time (Kalachakra) Sand Mandala, or Circle of Peace, in the lobby of Tower 1.” (Darton 1999, p. 219) For over thirty days, many of the World Trade Center workers and visitors were invited by the Namgyal Monks to participate in the construction of the mandala. It is said that, “ Its shape symbolized nature’s unending cycle of creation and destruction and in the countless grains of its material, it celebrated life’s energy taking ephemeral form, then returning to its source. At the end of the mandala’s month long lifespan, the monks swept up the sand and “offered it to the Hudson River.” This ritual, they believed, purified the environment. (Darton 1999, p. 219)

Report of a former participant of the Kalachakra Ceremony in New York: “Get a call from one of my Kalachakra sisters I haven't heard from since the Indiana Kalachakra in '99. […] The topic shifted to the Kalachakra mandala that was made at One World Trade Center. I was at the dissolution ceremony there, may be around '96. The monks gathered up all the sand from the mandala at 1WTC, put it in a vase, then carried it across the bridge into World Financial Center through the Winter Garden, then dumped the sand ceremoniously into the Hudson River for the sake of World Peace. The surface of the river glittered with the afternoon sun, and I cried. 5 years later, the whole building is gone, just like the sand mandala.” See:

Thurman’s devoted commitment as Lamaist initiand, his absolute loyalty to the Dalai Lama, his consistent vision of an earthly “Buddha paradise”, his uncompromising affirmation of a Buddhocratic state, his involvement with the world of the Tibetan gods which reaches even into his own dreams, his systematic training by the highest Tibetan lamas over many years—all these certify Thurman to be a “Shambhala warrior”, a Buddhist hero, who according to legend prepares for the establishment of the kingdom of Shambhala over our globe. This is the goal of the Kalachakra ritual (the “Wheel of Time” ritual) performed all over the world by the Dalai Lama. Thurman has, he reports, seen the Dalai Lama in a vision as the supreme time god above the Waldorf Astoria. But even here he conceals that the Shambhala myth is not peaceful, and can only be realized after a world war in which all nonbelievers (non-Buddhists) are destroyed.

Perhaps such a perspective frightens some Western intellectuals? No worries, Thurman reassumes them, “who is afraid of the Dalai Lama? Who is afraid of Avalokiteshvara? No Tibetans are afraid” (Thurman in Bonn). How could one be afraid of the supreme enlightened being currently on earth? He, in whom all three levels are compressed, “that of the selfless monk, the king, and the great adept” (Thurman), who is (as great adept) preparing the creation of “a buddhaversal human society” (Thurman 1998, p. 39), even if he (as king and statesman) is still concentrating chiefly on the concerns of Tibet. Then, “Tibet’s unique focus on enlightenment civilization makes the nation crucial to the world’s development of spiritual and social balance” (Thurman 1998, p. 39).

Thurman is convinced that the Dalai Lama represents a projection of the ADI BUDDHA, who can liberate the world from its valley of sorrows. He describes very precisely the micro- and macrocosmic dimensions of such a redemptive being in the form of the Fifth Dalai Lama. If humanity were to recognize the divine presence behind the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, it could calmly place its political matters in his hands, just as the Tibetan populace did in the time of the “Great Fifth”: “Small wonder”, Thurman tells his readers. “Suppose the people of a catholic country were to share a perception of a particular spiritual figure as not simply a representative of God, as in the Pope being the vicar of Christ, but as an actual incarnation of the Savior—or, say an incarnation of the Archangel Gabriel. In such a situation it would not be strange for the nation to reach a point where the divine would actually take responsibility for the government. In Tibet, this moment was the culmination of centuries of grass-roots millennial consciousness, the political ratification of the millennial direction that had been intensifying since the Great Prayer Festival tradition had begun in 1409. The sense of the presence of an enlightened being was widespread enough for the people to join together after the last conflict and entrust to him their land and their fate” (Thurman 1998, pp. 250–251).

There is no need to read between the lines, simply paying close attention to the text of his book is enough to be able to recognize that, for Thurman, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama represents the quintessence of political wisdom and decisive power for the coming millennium. The author draws attention to the five principles of his planetary political program: “nonviolence, individualism, education, and altruistic correctedness. The fifth [principle], global democratism, is exemplified in His Holiness the Great Fourteenth Dalai Lama himself” (Thurman 1998, p. 279). The Tibetan “god-king” as the incarnation of universal democracy—a true piece of bravura in Thurman’s “political theology”. No wonder the “god-king” applauds him so roundly in his foreword: “I commend him for his careful study and clear explanations, and I recommend his insights for your own reflections” (Thurman 1998, p. xiv).

According to Thurman, the USA is the first western country in which the lamas’ Buddhocratic vision will prevail: “Most of the teachers from the various enlightenment movements seem to agree on one thing: If there is to be a renaissance of enlightenment sciences in our times, it will have to begin in America. America is the land of extreme dichotomies: the great materialism and the greatest disillusionment with materialism; great self-indulgence and great self-transcendence” (Thurman 1998, p. 280). The Dalai Lama (“the fifth [principle of] global democratism”) as the next American president? —But if he dies?—No worries, thanks to the system of incarnation he may remain among us as priest and king for ever.

Thurman’s methods, adapting himself to the point of self-deception to the consciousness and the customs of his environment (in this case the western democratic environment), but without losing sight of the actual grand metapolitical goal, has a long tradition in Tibet. Padmasambhava, for instance, Buddhized the Land of Snows by integrating with aplomb the various tribal cultures which he encountered on his missionary travels into his tantric system, together with their particular ideas and cultic practices. In doing so he was so skillful that the pre-Buddhist inhabitants of Tibet believed Buddhism to be no more than the realization of their own traditional expectations of salvation. The Fourteenth Dalai Lama is masterfully repeating this heuristic principle from his eighth-century incarnation on the world stage. In the meantime he knows all the variations and rules of the game of Western civilization and has managed to generate a public image as a great reformer and democrat who brilliantly combines modern political fundamentals with old Eastern teachings of wisdom. There are countless sermons from him in which he strongly advises his audience to stay true to their own religious tradition, since in the end they all come to the same thing. Such superior invitations have as we shall see a double-bind effect. People are so enthused by the ostensible tolerance of Tibetan Buddhism and its supreme representative that they become converts to the Dharma and ensnared in the tantric web.[/size][/b]

-- The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: Sexuality, Magic and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism, by Victor and Victoria Trimondi
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Part 2 of 2

Geshe Wangyal, the CIA's Mongolian translator...

Following World War II, the United States remained on hand to administer the Northern Mariana Islands. In July 1947, this role was codified under a trustee-ship agreement with the new United Nations, which specifically gave the U.S. Navy responsibility for the chain. In practice, this trusteeship translated into an exceedingly small U.S. presence. With Japan's wartime population either dead or repatriated, the chain boasted few settlements of any note; only Saipan hosted anything approaching the size of a town. Even its airfields -- which had once been so critical during the War -- now fell largely dormant after being vastly overshadowed by the sprawling U.S. military bases in neighboring Guam and the Philippines.

For the CIA, however, the tranquility of the Marianas held appeal. Looking for a discreet locale to build a Far East camp to instruct agents and commandos from friendly nations, the agency in 1950 established the Saipan Training Station. Officially known by the cover title Naval Technical Training Unit, Saipan station took up much of the island's northern peninsula and featured numerous segregated compounds where groups of Asian trainees from various nations could spend several months in isolation. "We did not even let two classes from the same country know one another," underscored one case officer. [3]

The course work offered at Saipan station ran the gamut of unconventional warfare and espionage tradecraft. By 1956, Chinese Nationalists, Koreans, Lao, and Vietnamese had passed through its gates for commando instruction; a Thai class had been coached as frogmen; and other Vietnamese had been preened to form their own version of the CIA. In some cases, classes consisted of just one or two key individuals who were going to blend into their central government structure. "There were no standard lessons," said one CIA officer. "Each cycle was custom tailored." [4]

None of the prospective trainees presented more of a challenge than the newly arrived Tibetans. The six recruits were to act as the CIA's eyes and ears back inside Tibet, John Reagan explained to the resident instructor cadre. This necessitated that they absorb not only communications and reporting skills but also a general knowledge of guerrilla warfare techniques, as well as a limited understanding of tradecraft. Although such a broad curriculum would normally require a full year, Saipan station was told to ready the subjects in a quarter of that time. [5]

Under such strict time constraints, three different CIA training teams were assembled to begin instruction. The first team offered the Khampas an extremely rudimentary course on classic espionage tactics. The second started coaching them in Morse communications and use of the RS- shortwave radio and its hand-cranked generator. The final team initiated a primer on guerrilla warfare and paramilitary operations.

Very quickly, problems became apparent. Having had almost no schooling, the Khampas had trouble with such essential concepts as the twenty-four-hour clock. They also had difficulty quantifying distances and numbers. Precise reporting would be vital once they were back in the field, emphasized one agency officer, "but too often they tended to use vague descriptions such as 'many' or 'some."' [6]

To overcome some of these challenges, the CIA instructors had to rely on visual demonstrations. "We had to physically show them," said one trainer, "not simply use a classroom." To clarify the construction of ground signals for an aerial resupply, for example, scaffolding was assembled atop the island's northern cliffs. Below, firepots were arranged on the beach so the Tibetans could visualize how they would appear from the air. [7]

Communications training proved even more difficult. The main stumbling block: Khampas traditionally received little formal language instruction. The six students, who were barely able to read or write, could hardly be expected to transmit coherent radio messages. Not realizing the seriousness of this critical deficiency until nearly halfway through the training cycle, the CIA instructors scrambled to find someone who could teach basic Tibetan grammar. [Thubten] Norbu [the Dalai Lama's oldest brother], who was acting as primary interpreter for the other course work, could not be spared for double duty. Neither could Jentzen [Thondup] [Thubten Norbu's loyal servant], who in any event was weak in language skills.

Enter Geshe Wangyal.

As a result of the unique symbiosis between Tibetan lamas and Mongol khans during centuries past, Tibetan Buddhism had converts spread across the Mongolian steppes of Central Asia. Some of these Mongolians, being a nomadic people, had wandered far with their adopted religion. By the early seventeenth century, one such band had settled in the Kalmykia region of Russia just north of the Caspian Sea.

Blavatsky's family was aristocratic. Her mother was Helena Andreyevna von Hahn (Russian: Елена Андреевна Ган, 1814–1842; née Fadeyeva), a self-educated 17-year-old who herself was the daughter of Princess Yelena Pavlovna Dolgorukaya, a similarly self-educated aristocrat. Blavatsky's father was Pyotr Alexeyevich von Hahn (Russian: Пётр Алексеевич Ган, 1798–1873), a descendant of the German von Hahn aristocratic family, who served as a captain in the Russian Royal Horse Artillery, and would later rise to the rank of colonel. Pyotr had not been present at his daughter's birth, having been in Poland fighting to suppress the November Uprising against Russian rule, and first saw her when she was six months old. As well as her Russian and German ancestry, Blavatsky could also claim French heritage, for a great-great grandfather had been a French Huguenot nobleman who had fled to Russia to escape persecution, there serving in the court of Catherine the Great.

As a result of Pyotr's career, the family frequently moved to different parts of the Empire, accompanied by their servants, a mobile childhood that may have influenced Blavatsky's largely nomadic lifestyle in later life. A year after Pyotr's arrival in Yekaterinoslav, the family relocated to the nearby army town of Romankovo. When Blavatsky was two years old, her younger brother, Sasha, died in another army town when no medical help could be found. In 1835, mother and daughter moved to Odessa, where Blavatsky's maternal grandfather Andrei Fadeyev, a civil administrator for the imperial authorities, had recently been posted. It was in this city that Blavatsky's sister Vera Petrovna was born.

After a return to rural Ukraine, Pyotr was posted to Saint Petersburg, where the family moved in 1836. Blavatsky's mother liked the city, there establishing her own literary career, penning novels under the pseudonym of "Zenaida R-va" and translating the works of the English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton for Russian publication. When Pyotr returned to Ukraine circa 1837, she remained in the city.[22] After Fadeyev was assigned to become a trustee for the Kalmyk people of Central Asia, Blavatsky and her mother accompanied him to Astrakhan, where they befriended a Kalmyk leader, Tumen. The Kalmyks were practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, and it was here that Blavatsky gained her first experience with the religion.

-- Helena Blavatsky, by Wikipedia

Geshe Wangyal, the CIA's Mongolian translator. (Courtesy Joshua Culter)

As an ethnic and religious anomaly, the Mongolians were initially ignored by their host country. By the early twentieth century, however, their mastery of Tibetan Buddhism eventually brought them to the attention of the Russian czars. Looking to outwit the British in the great game of colonial competition, the Russians sought to use a particularly gifted Mongolian monk named Agvan Dorzhiev to court favor with Lhasa.

The task proved deceptively easy. A true scholar of Tibetan Buddhism, Dorzhiev (who hailed from a displaced Mongolian clan in Siberia) not only won an introduction to the thirteenth Dalai Lama but also was retained as a palace tutor and confidant for ten years. Through this inside connection, the relationship between Tibet and Russia had the makings of a close alliance. In 1904, however, chances for this were dashed when the Dalai Lama briefly fled to Mongolia following a British incursion from India. Dorzhiev was dispatched to plead for emergency Russian support, but he returned with nothing more than moral encouragement. Having just been humiliated in the Russo-Japanese War, the czar had little time to spare for Tibet.

The Russians never had a chance to make amends. In 1917, the czar was overthrown by Bolshevik communists, and Russia became the Soviet Union. By that time, Dorzhiev had settled among his ethnic relatives in Kalmykia and opened a pair of monastic schools. Tibet never strayed far from his mind, however, and shortly after the Bolshevik revolution he personally selected several of his best pupils to continue their studies in Lhasa. Among them was a prodigy named Wangyal.

Born in 1901, Wangyal had started monastic life at age six. He was known for his ability to memorize several pages of Buddhist text in a single sitting, and he regularly excelled in class. Switching briefly to medical school, he again took top honors before reverting back to religious course work following the untimely death of his professor.

After being selected to study in Lhasa, Wangyal learned that he would be part of a larger expedition with ulterior motives. As the Bolsheviks still harbored the czarist desire to court Tibet, one of his co-travelers was a communist functionary who intended to offer Lhasa weapons as a sign of good faith. Having Moscow's obvious blessing did not ease the physical challenges of journeying to the Tibetan plateau. What was expected to take four months instead took fourteen and claimed the life of one apprentice in a blinding snowstorm.

Once in Lhasa, Wangyal enrolled at the prestigious Drepung Monastic University. Located on a high ridge eight kilometers west of the capital, Drepung had once been the largest monastery in the world (its population in the seventeenth century was a staggering 10,000 monks), Setting his sights high, the newly arrived Mongolian intended to become geshe (doctor of divinity) -- a title that can take up to thirty-five years of study to achieve.

Rigorous study was not Wangyal's only challenge. He ran short of finances and was forced to leave Lhasa in 1932 to seek funds at home. Planning to return by way of China, he got as far as Beijing before hearing stories of Soviet repression back in Kalmykia. This led him to look for an alternative source of financing in Beijing, and eventually he was able to earn a good living translating Tibetan texts.

By 1935, Wangyal had amassed enough cash and headed back toward Tibet via India. Making his way to Calcutta, he had a chance meeting with Sir Charles Bell, a senior British colonial official and noted Tibetan scholar who, ironically, had earlier displaced Agvan Dorzhiev as the closest foreign confidant of the thirteenth Dalai Lama. Given his linguistic skills -- Chinese, Mongolian, Tibetan, and a smattering of English -- Wangyal was hired as Bell's translator during an extended tour of China and Manchuria.

Following these exhaustive travels -- including a four-month visit to England -- Wangyal finally made it to Lhasa. There he earned his geshe degree after just nine years of study. Though this was an impressive scholastic accomplishment, he found himself under a cloud of suspicion. His foreign heritage, coupled with extended time spent in China and service to the British, did not sit well among the xenophobes of the Tibetan court.

Not fully welcome in the homeland of his religion, Geshe Wangyal limited his time in Lhasa to the summer months. Winters were spent in Kalimpong, where he displayed pronounced entrepreneurial skills as a trader. Although this was financially rewarding, he yearned to open his own religious school. Stonewalled in Tibet, he instead targeted Beijing -- only to cancel those plans when the communists came to power in 1949. Figuring that he would give Tibet a second chance, he again ventured to Lhasa but was forced to flee upon hearing that the PLA was approaching the Tibetan capital in late 1951. ]

Back in Kalimpong, Geshe Wangyal grew restless. China, Tibet, Mongolia, and his native Kalmykia were all under communist occupation, but wasting away the months in tiny Kalimpong lacked both mental and spiritual stimulation.

There was one attractive alternative, however. In late 1951, the United States accepted 800 Kalmyk Mongolians who had been languishing in refugee camps since the end of World War II. These refugees were drawn from two waves that had fled the Soviet Union during the preceding decades. The first had departed Kalmykia shortly after the Bolshevik revolution; the second left in late 1943 after Joseph Stalin adopted a ruthless line against minorities and started deporting the Mongolians to Siberia aboard cattle cars. Once in the United States, the older wave of emigres settled around Philadelphia. The newer ones -- no more than seventy families -- established a small but vibrant community near Freewood Acres, New Jersey.

Hearing of this, Geshe Wangyal contemplated a move to the United States. His first several visa applications were rejected, and it was not until mid-1954, following introductions by a British acquaintance, that the U.S. vice consul in Calcutta processed his papers with a favorable recommendation.

Arriving on American soil in February 1955, Geshe Wangyal found that word of his religious accomplishments in Tibet had already made him famous among his fellow Kalmyk Mongolians. With an instant audience, he opened a modest temple in a converted New Jersey garage.

Geshe Wangal's fame was not limited to his ethnic home crowd. As the first (and to that time, only) qualified scholar of Tibetan Buddhism in the United States, he soon came in contact with Norbu, who at the time was also living in New Jersey and teaching Tibetan at Columbia University. Out of mutual respect between geshe and incarnation, Norbu was given an honorary chair at the New Jersey temple.

The two cooperated in another way as well. Following Norbu's lead, Geshe Wangyal began teaching languages -- first Mongolian, then Tibetan -- at Columbia University in 1956. Having dissected Tibetan grammar during years of poring over Buddhist texts, he had a particularly deep appreciation for its written form. His extended time as Bell's interpreter had left him with reasonably good English skills. The U.S. government, for one, found his linguistic talents more than adequate: among his first Tibetan students at Columbia were two from the U.S. Army.

Given this background, Geshe Wangyal was the perfect choice to instruct the Khampas about their own language. Having already been indirectly exposed to the U.S. government while teaching the army students -- and after being informed that Norbu was already involved -- the monk offered his cooperation and was soon en route to Saipan.

-- The CIA's Secret War in Tibet, by Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison

Robert Thurman
Thurman in 2014
Born: Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman, August 3, 1941 (age 78), New York City, U.S.
Other names Bob Thurman, Alexander Thurman, Alecsander Thermen
Alma mater: Phillips Exeter Academy (1958); Harvard University (B.A., M.A., Ph.D.)
Spouse(s): Marie-Christophe de Menil (m. 1960; div. 1961); Nena von Schlebrügge (m. 1967)
Children: 5, including Uma Thurman
Scientific career
Fields: Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies
Institutions: Columbia University
Doctoral advisor: Daniel H.H. Ingalls, Sr.
Doctoral students: Christian K. Wedemeyer

Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman (born August 3, 1941) is an American Buddhist author and academic who has written, edited, and translated several books on Tibetan Buddhism. He is the father of actress Uma Thurman. He was the Je Tsongkhapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, before retiring in June of 2019.[1] "Robert Thurman held the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West."[1] He also is the co-founder and president of the Tibet House US New York. He translated the Vimalakirti Sutra from the Tibetan Kanjur into English.

He is the recipient of India's highly prestigious award Padma Shri 2020 for his work in the field of literature and education.[2][3]

Early life

Thurman was born in New York City, the son of Elizabeth Dean Farrar (1907–1973), a stage actress, and Beverly Reid Thurman, Jr. (1909–1962), an Associated Press editor and U.N. translator (French and English).[4] He is of English, German, Scottish, and Irish descent.[4] His brother, John Thurman, is a professional concert cellist who performs with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy from 1954 to 1958, followed by Harvard University, where he obtained his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.[5]

In 1959, at age 18, he married Marie-Christophe de Menil, daughter of Dominique de Menil and John de Menil and heiress to the Schlumberger Limited oil-equipment fortune.[5][6] In 1961 Thurman lost his left eye in an accident while he was using a jack to lift an automobile, and the eye was replaced with an ocular prosthetic.[7]


After the accident Thurman decided to refocus his life, divorcing de Menil and traveling from 1961 to 1966 in Turkey, Iran and India.[5][8] In India he taught English to exiled tulkus (reincarnated Tibetan lamas).[5] After his father's death in 1962, Thurman came back to the United States and in New Jersey met Geshe Wangyal, a Buddhist monk from Mongolia who became his guru.[5] Thurman became a Buddhist and went back to India where, due to Wangyal's introduction, Thurman studied with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.[8][9] Thurman was ordained by the Dalai Lama in 1965, the first American Buddhist monk of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition,[10] and the two became close friends.[9][11]

In 1967, Thurman returned to the United States and renounced his monk status (which required celibacy) to marry his second wife, German-Swedish model and psychotherapist Nena von Schlebrügge, who was divorced from Timothy Leary.[8] Thurman obtained an M.A in 1969 and a Ph.D. in Sanskrit Indian Studies in 1972 from Harvard. He was professor of religion at Amherst College from 1973 to 1988, when he accepted a position at Columbia University as professor of religion and Sanskrit.[5] At Amherst College Thurman met his lifelong friend Prof. Lal Mani Joshi, a distinguished Indian Buddhist scholar.

In 1986, Thurman created Tibet House US with Nena von Schlebrügge, Richard Gere and Philip Glass at the request of the Dalai Lama.[12] Tibet House US is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help preserve Tibetan Culture in exile. In 2001, the Pathwork Center, a 320-acre (1.3 km2) retreat center on Panther Mountain in Phoenicia, New York, was donated to Tibet House US. Thurman and von Schlebrügge renamed the center Menla Retreat and Dewa Spa. Menla (the Tibetan name for the Medicine Buddha) was developed into a state-of-the-art healing arts center grounded in the Tibetan Medical tradition in conjunction with other holistic paradigms.[13]

Personal life

Robert Thurman 14 Jan 2006

Twice married, Robert Thurman is the father of five children and grandfather to eight grandchildren. With Marie-Christophe de Menil, he has one daughter, Taya; their grandson was the late artist Dash Snow.[5] He also has a great-granddaughter through his late grandson.[14] Robert and Nena Thurman have four children, including Ganden, who is Executive Director of Tibet House US, actress Uma Thurman, Dechen, and Mipam.[8][15] Robert and Nena's children grew up in Woodstock, NY, where the Thurmans had bought nine acres of land with a small inheritance Nena had received. The Thurmans built their own house there.[15]


Thurman is known for translations and explanations of Buddhist religious and philosophical material, particularly that pertaining to the Gelugpa (dge-lugs-pa) school of Tibetan Buddhism and its founder, Je Tsongkhapa.[8]

Public reception

Time named Thurman one of the 25 most influential Americans of 1997.[16] In 2003 he received the Light of Truth Award, a human rights award from the International Campaign for Tibet. New York Magazine named him as one of the "Influentials" in religion in 2006.[17]

Thurman is considered a pioneering, creative and talented translator of Buddhist literature by many of his English-speaking peers. Speaking of Thurman's translation of Tsongkhapa's Essence of Eloquence (Legs bshad snying po), Matthew Kapstein (professor at the University of Chicago and Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris) has written that, "The Essence of Eloquence is famed in learned Tibetan circles as a text of unparalleled difficulty. ... To have translated it into English at all must be reckoned an intellectual accomplishment of a very high order. To have translated it to all intents and purposes correctly is a staggering achievement."[18] Similarly, prominent Buddhologist Jan Nattier has praised the style of Thurman's translation of the Vimalakīrti Sūtra, praising it as among the very best of translations of that important Indian Buddhist scripture.[19]

Selected publications

• The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti: A Mahayana Scripture, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000, ISBN 9780271012094
• The Central Philosophy of Tibet: A Study and Translation of Jey Tsong Khapa's Essence of True Eloquence, Princeton University Press, 1991 ISBN 9780691020679
• The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Natural Liberation Through Understanding in the Between Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1994 (translations in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Russian) ISBN 9780553370904
• Essential Tibetan Buddhism, Castle Books, 1995 ISBN 9780062510518
• Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet, with Marilyn Rhie Abrams, 1996 ISBN 0810939851
• Mandala: The Architecture of Enlightenment,with Denise P. Leidy, Shambhala Publications, 1997 ISBN 9780500280188, ISBN 978-0500280188
• World of Transformation: Masterpieces of Tibetan Sacred Art in the Donald Rubin Collection, with Marilyn Rhie, Tibet House US/Abrams, 1999 ISBN 9780810963870
• Inner Revolution: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Real Happiness, Penguin, 1999 ISBN 9781573227193
• Circling the Sacred Mountain: A Spiritual Adventure Through the Himalayas with Tad Wise, Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1999 ISBN 9780553103465
• Infinite Life: Seven Virtues for Living Well, Riverhead Books, 2004, ISBN 9781594480690
• The Universal Vehicle Discourse Literature (with Lozang Jamspal, et al.), Columbia University Press, 2005 ISBN 9780975373408
• The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism, Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2005 ISBN 9780743257633
• Visions of Tibet: Outer, Inner, Secret, photographs by Brian Kistler, introduction by Robert Thurman, ed. Thomas Yarnell, Overlook Duckworth, 2005, ISBN 978-1585677412
• Anger: of the Seven Deadly Sins, Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 9780195169751
• Life and Teachings of Tsongkhapa, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 2006, ISBN 9788186470442
• Why the Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet and the World, Atria Books/Beyond Words, 2008, ISBN 9781582702209
• A Shrine for Tibet: The Alice Kandell Collection with Marylin Rhie, Overlook, 2010 ISBN 9780967011578, ISBN 978-1590203101
• Tsong Khapa’s Extremely Brilliant Lamp, Robert Thurman, 2010, ISBN 978-1-935011-00-2
• Brilliant Illumination of the Lamp of the Five Stages, Columbia University Press, 2011, ISBN 9781935011002
• Love Your Enemies: How To Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier with Sharon Salzberg, Hay House, 2013 ISBN 9781401928148
• My Appeal to the World, 14th Dalai Lama, Sofia Stril-Rever, compiler, Robert Thurman, foreword, Tibet House US, Hay House, 2015, ISBN 978-0967011561
• Man of Peace: The Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama of Tibet, graphic novel, William Meyers, Robert Thurman, Michael G. Burbank, initiated artistically by Rabkar Wangchuk, art a team effort of five artists coordinated by Steve Buccellato and Michael Burbank, Tibet House US, ISBN 978-1941312032
• The Treasury of Buddhist Sciences, series, editors, Robert Thurman, Thomas Yarnall and The Treasury of Indic Sciences, series, editors Robert Thurman, Gary Tubb and Thomas Yarnall, are copublished with the American institute of Buddhist Studies and the Columbia University Center for Buddhist Studies; distributed by the Columbia University Press:


1. "Robert A. F. Thurman | Department of Religion". Columbia University. 2019-12-21. Archived from the original on 21 December 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-10. Robert Thurman held the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West, , the Jey Tsong Khapa Chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies (...)
2. "Padma Awards 2020 Announced".
3. Desk, The Hindu Net (26 January 2020). "Full list of 2020 Padma awardees". The Hindu.
4. "Ancestry of Uma Thurman".
5. Binelli, Mark (1 August 2013). "Robert Thurman, Buddha's Power Broker". Men's Journal.
6. Foege, Alec (13 July 1998). "Guiding Light". People. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
7. Roberts, John B.; Roberts, Elizabeth A. (2009), "Freeing Tibet: 50 years of struggle, resilience, and hope", AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn: 160, ISBN 978-0-8144-0983-1, retrieved 2011-09-19
8. Kamenetz, Rodger (5 May 1996). "Robert Thurman Doesn't Look Buddhist". The New York Times Magazine.
9. Valpy, Michael (1 September 2006). "Bob Thurman's Cool Revolution". Lion's Roar.
10. Kamenetz, Rodger (May 5, 1996). "Robert Thurman Doesn't Look Buddhist". New York Times. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
11. "Why We Need Monasticism". Lion's Roar. 1 June 2010.
12. Hoban, Phoebe (15 March 1998). "Thurmans All Come Out to Play". The New York Times.
13. Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman. Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2007.
14. Feuer, Alan; Salkin, Allen (24 July 2009). "Terrible End for an Enfant Terrible". The New York Times.
15. Green, Penelope (20 May 2017). "50 Years of Marriage and Mindfulness With Nena and Robert Thurman". The New York Times.
16. Time's 25 most influential Americans. Time, 21 April 1997
17. Heilemann, John (May 15, 2006). "The Influentials: Religion". New York Magazine. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
18. "Review of Robert Thurman, Tsong Khapa's Speech of Gold in the Essence of True Eloquence in Philosophy East and West XXXVI.2 (1986): 184
19. “The Teaching of Vimalakīrti (Vimalakīrtinirdeśa): A Review of Four English Translations” by Jan Nattier in Buddhist Literature 2 (2000), pg. 234-258

External links

• Official website
• Tibet House Thurman Biography
• Tibet House, New York City
• First 30 Years of Tibet House film
• Tibet House US Channel
• Menla Retreat, Resort and Spa in upstate New York, the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, Spiritual Directors
• Sharon Salzberg + Robert Thurman, Meeting Our Enemies and Our Suffering, On Being with Krista Tippett unedited interview
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Carl Jung, Stanislav Grof, and New Age Medical Mysticism
by E. Patrick Curry
Center for Inquiry: The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine
Originally published in SRAM Vol. 6, No. 2
Spring 2002

Magic relates to the hidden part of the psyche. It might be called the science of exploring man’s hidden powers. . . . It is the recognition of this reality that is the basis of the psychology of Jung.

-- Colin Wilson, The Occult: A History1

Depth psychology . . . in the last 20 or 30 years has evolved into transpersonal psychology and archetypal psychology . . . through people like Jung and Grof, there has been a real awakening to the spiritual dimensions of the human psyche.

-- Richard Tarnas, interview in Towards a New World View: Conversations at the Leading Edge2

The most neglected area in critiques of New Age mysticism and mind-body alternative medicine is the influence of Carl Jung’s model of the mind. Since the early 1970s Jungianism has helped transform the Human Potential Movement of the 1960s into today’s New Age, postmodernist, mystical, alternativehealing movement. More than any other single figure, Jung has given an appearance of scientific legitimacy to alternative medicine’s “irrational reformation”3,4 and its array of practices based on assumed intuitive access to a subconscious “realm of healing.”

Paranormal research of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) shows Jungian influence. All 3 codirectors of the original Mind-Body Panel of the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM), which established the direction of such research in the early 1990s,5 demonstrate features traceable to Jung.

Codirector Dr Larry Dossey, explicator of “distant healing,” reveals Jungian roots in his paranormal bestseller, Healing Words,6(pp81–82) where he praises Jung for discovering the “timeless psychic forces” buried in the unconscious. He credits his own conversion to mind-body medicine to codirector Jeanne Achterberg and her husband, Frank Lawlis.6(pp26–28) Codirector Achterberg, an expert in shamanism and guided imagery, is a past president of the Association of Transpersonal Psychology. She is a professor at the Jungian-oriented Saybrook Institute and director of research at the Transpersonal Psychology Institute. Achterberg’s version of guided imagery, pioneered by Carl and Stephanie Simonton, is based on Jung’s paranormal theory of the “active imagination.”7(chap10) Achterberg has trained Russian psychedelic therapists in guided imagery.8

The third codirector, Dr James S. Gordon,9 the first chair of OAM’s Program Advisory Council, considers his own entry into alternative medicine to be an example of Jungian “synchronicity.”10(p60) Gordon’s spiritual teacher, the Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh, criticized Freudian theory in terms very similar to Jung.11(p33) Gordon believed Jung to be the only psychoanalytic theorist to understand the “higher aims and aspirations” of humanistic psychology.11(p63) Gordon has been so influential that in July 2000, President Clinton appointed him chairman of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy (WHCCAMP).12


To locate Jung relative to the other main 20th-century currents of psychodynamic approaches to psychotherapy, one must first identify and understand concepts of depth psychology. Sigmund Freud located neurosis in unresolved conflicts from early childhood sexuality. The Freudian-oriented analyst probes the “depths” of early childhood emotional memory and creates a therapeutic relationship intended to eventually resolve conflicts. Dominant from the 1920s through the 1970s, Freudian depth theory, in the wake of dramatic progress in pharmaceutical treatments for many psychological disorders, has been effectively criticized as being nonempirically based pseudoscience.

Freud’s apostate disciple Otto Rank postulated a second layer of depth beyond the Freudian model. Rank believed that the birth experience had profound psychological effects upon the child, and that in therapy, a therapist could guide or regress a patient to the point of birth in order to reexperience and resolve what he called the birth trauma. Psychiatrist Arthur Janov is a modern proponent of this type of therapy. Therapists using Janov’s Primal Scream believe that they can regress patients to reenactments of primal (birth) traumas, even claiming that the birthing obstetrician’s fingerprints can occasionally be made to reappear on a patient’s body.13(p319) Rebirthing, the procedure that in spring 2000 resulted in the smothering death of a Colorado girl wrapped in a blanket to simulate the womb, is a variant of Janov’s therapy.14

One can easily dismiss Freud, Rank, and Janov as pseudoscientists. However, since they located mind within the material, physical development of the brain, they were not spiritualists. Freud’s most famous apostate disciple, Carl Jung, a true prophet of the New Age, pioneered the exploration of a third layer of depth—a spiritual layer of mind—that he believed was based in realities beyond the brain.


Jung kept going “deeper,” formulating the idea that mental health, while affected by birth and sexuality, was rooted in the ego’s relationship to the collective unconscious, which pushes beyond the bounds of the individual physical brain. The unconscious became almost identical to the Theosophical spiritualism with which Jung had dabbled as a youth.15(chap2)

Jung’s collective unconscious is a murky concept. When thinking more scientifically, he described it as racially or genetically inherited memory, using the language of Darwin’s German follower Ernst Haeckel (ontology recapitulates phylogeny), who believed that all human evolutionary memory was encapsulated in genetic material. Jung thought ordinary memory and dreams were aspects of this unconscious.16(chap3) Jung first called his discovery the racial unconscious until, in his haste to distance himself from Nazism, a movement to which he had initially been sympathetic, he renamed this mystical substrate the collective unconscious.

Jung then moved beyond late-19th-century speculations on racial memory transmission, and interpreted the collective unconscious as a spiritual realm that patients could access by using therapeutic dream interpretation, active imagination, and forceful persuasion. Jung compiled a vast literature on world symbology, believing that every race or culture had a symbolic language, called archetypes or archetypal, representing expressions of the collective unconscious. Dream interpretations used by therapists trained to identify, interpret and manipulate archetypes became a favored way of accessing the collective unconscious.

Two recent biographies have shed light on both Jung’s long-standing paranormal beliefs and the cultic nature of his inner circle.17,18 Authors Frank McLynn and Ronald Hayman both agree with noted Jung critic Richard Noll that Jung had a psychotic episode in 1913 in which he believed he had been deified under the guidance of an ancient “spirit guide” named Philemon. Jung believed that he had conjured up Philemon from the collective unconscious through his own active imagination. After this resolution of this psychotic episode, Jung became increasingly committed to a spiritual interpretation of the collective unconscious.

Princeton University Press, the publisher of most of Jung’s writings, has provided 2 useful volumes of Jung’s writings on paranormal topics19 and on the active imagination. The influence of Jung’s method of dealing with psychosis is illustrated by this quotation from the editor of the second volume:

Jung’s analytic method is based on the natural healing function of the imagination. . . . All the creative art psychotherapies (art, dance, music, drama, poetry) as well as Sandplay can trace their roots to Jung’s early contribution.20(p1)

To Jung, psychology also explained biological disease. He believed that cancer was caused by frustrated creative development. If a person’s inner process of psychological growth were delayed, terminal cancer might result.17(p38) He also believed that his psychotherapy, through constellation of the synchronicity archetype, could produce spontaneous healing.17(p519)

The Jungian therapist’s task is to integrate the subject’s ego with the creative, healthy source of the collective unconscious through the evocation of symbolic archetypes. The ego, and therefore rationality itself, must be suppressed in order to allow the intuitive collective unconscious to assert itself.

By the end of his life, Jung was so immersed in spiritualistic and paranormal thinking that he refused to fly in jet planes, believing that their speed would outrace his soul. He elaborated on his theory of Synchronicity. He proclaimed that meaningful coincidences were non-causally arranged by the collective unconscious. He speculated that UFO sightings might herald the advent of the Age of Aquarius. Wolfgang Pauli, a Nobel Prize–winning physicist who was also an early pioneer of quantum mysticism, helped Jung develop his theory of Synchronicity.17(chap25) Pauli had been a patient of Jung’s since 1933.18(pp326–330)

By the late 1950s, Carl Jung and his followers had begun exploring the use of the newly discovered psychedelic drug LSD as a tool to reduce rational faculties so that the mind would be open to the archetypes of the collective unconscious.17(pp518–519) While Jung was concerned about the dangers of LSD triggering uncontrollable psychosis, in the last weeks before his death on June 6, 1961, he was still praising the use of LSD as a therapeutic tool.18(p449)


The postmodernist belief in multiple ways of knowing is consistent with the Jungian concept that each culture, each race, has its symbolic path to truth. Some of these symbols overlap; some are universal, others are not. Postmodernist relativism is consistent with the Jungian perspective of the many ways of access to the collective unconscious. The concept is seen in the New Age ways: the Way of the Shaman, the Way of the Healer, the Way of Psychedelics.

New Age concepts, paranormal claims, and Jungianism are looked to by spiritualists and psychotherapists alike for validation. Psychedelic therapists believe that psychedelics, especially LSD, are an efficient means of accessing and activating the collective unconscious. In recent years New Age Jungian theorists, such as psychiatrist Stanislav Grof and parapsychologist Stanley Krippner, have also endorsed the use of MDMA (Ecstasy) to achieve the same purpose.

The same concepts are increasingly found in standard texts and references and manifested in people in important policy-making positions. Krippner recently joined fellow Jungian and Saybook Institute faculty member Jeanne Achterberg in writing a proparanormal chapter on anomalous healing experiences in a book published by the American Psychological Association (APA).21 The book also contains a discussion of the LSD mysticism theories of Stanislav Grof as well as a chapter on psi-related experiences by Elisabeth Targ and Marilyn Schlitz. Schlitz, research director of the paranormal Institute of Noetic Sciences, was appointed scientific advisor to the WHCCAMP. Krippner, who coedited the APA book, wrote a seminal paranormal medicine book, The Realms of Healing, in 1976.22

While most official Jungian therapists restricted their depth probing to dream interpretation and interviewing, by the 1950s and 1960s there was increased interest among some in finding more efficient methods and new classes of psychedelics to access the collective unconscious. Jung was a great friend of Duke Parapsychology Laboratory ESP researcher J. B. Rhine. The paranormal community, which intersected the Jungians, sponsored conferences as early as the 1950s discussing whether psychedelic drugs enhanced paranormal powers.


A famous American Jungian, Ira Progoff, was a participant in one such conference.23 His books, The Death and Rebirth of Psychology and Depth Psychology and Modern Man, were influential in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. Doctors at Johns Hopkins and the Menniger Clinic praised them and they received favorable reviews in the New York Times Book Review. Progoff is known for his technique of “journaling,” using daily journal writing to reinforce Jungian therapeutic breakthroughs. The Jungian mechanism is described in his 1973 book, Jung, Synchronicity and Human Destiny: Non-Causal Dimensions of Human Experience.24 While not explicitly mentioning psychedelics, this book opens a window into how Jungians think. Progoff maintained that many events are “noncausal.” He embraced Jung’s paranormal concept of Synchronicity, a scientific-sounding word explaining “meaningful coincidence.” A meaningful coincidence occurs when the collective unconscious arranges—or, rather, synchronizes—significant events into one’s life. One of his chapters is titled “The Synchronistic Ground of Parapsychic Events.”

Progoff’s description of Jungian therapy might concern ethical therapists because of its manipulation of vulnerable patients. Through unspecified methods, the therapist reduces the influence of the rational ego, something he and Jung call abaissement, using the French term meaning “lowering, falling, abatement, depression, humiliation, abasement.” With the ego defenses lowered, the therapist “activates” the powers of archetypal symbols, which, connecting to the “collective unconscious,” cause a “reconstellation” of the personality with “intuition” dominating thought. The Jungian term for this process is integration—therefore “the integrated personality” is in constant connection with the intuitive, creative font of the “collective unconscious.” This is the Jungian model of mental health.

Progoff’s book illustrates the links between conversion therapy and paranormal thought liberated from the rational ego. Progoff was only one of many Jungians and other “mind explorers” inside and outside academia who became influential in the 1960s.


From the late 1950s through, possibly, the early 1970s, the federal government was surreptitiously financing academic LSD research as part of the Central Intelligence Agency’s investigation of “brainwashing.”25 Under a barrage of criticism and scandals, LSD research was finally discontinued. American Medical Association president Roy Grinkler called for the elimination of psychedelic studies, saying that “at one time it was impossible to find an investigator willing to work with LSD-25 who was not himself an ‘addict.’ ”26(p91)

One LSD investigator, Stanislav Grof, left Czechoslovakia in early 1967 during a period of post-Stalin liberalization, having received a fellowship from the Foundation’s Fund for Research in Psychiatry at Yale University.* Grof, an early convert to LSD spiritualism through his own personal use,† had conducted multiple-session serial LSD therapy on psychiatric patients and terminal cancer patients at the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague.27 (pp19–21)
A sympathetic account of this research is given in a book of Grof’s close friend, Jungian editor, scholar, and mystic Joseph Campbell:

“The patients,” states Dr. Grof, “spent hours in agonizing pain, gasping for breath with the color of their faces changing from dead pale to dark purple. They were rolling on the floor and discharging extreme tensions in muscular tremors, twitches and complex twisting movements. The pulse rate was frequently doubled, and it was threadlike; there was often nausea with occasional vomiting and excessive sweating. . . . Subjectively,” he continues, “these experiences were of a transpersonal nature—they had a much broader framework than the body and lifespan of a single individual. . . . The identification involved all suffering mankind, past, present and future.”28 (pp258–262)

Campbell believed that Grof ’s patients’ LSD-induced hallucinations contained mythological material that provided empirical evidence for the existence of Carl Jung’s collective unconscious.

Soon after his arrival in the United States in March 1967, Grof became involved the Maryland Psychiatric Institute’s LSD research at Spring Grove State Hospital near Baltimore. The research—the last clinical LSD research carried out in the United States—was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health.‡ Grof is best known for his research combining Jungian psychotherapy with LSD-invoked near-death experiences to treat anxiety in terminally ill cancer patients.

Walter Pahnke, a Harvard associate of Timothy Leary with degrees in medicine and theology, originally organized this experiment. After Dr Pahnke’s disappearance and presumed death, Grof assumed control of the research in 1971, using his then-wife, Joan Halifax, as archetypal therapist. Halifax had received her Jungian training with Joseph Campbell, her teacher and mentor at Sarah Lawrence College. Therapists and nurses underwent “psychedelic training sessions” themselves so that they could empathize with the “death and rebirth” experiences of the 100 patients enrolled in the research.27(pp31,130) Terminally ill cancer patients were given LSD to facilitate the intense Jungian therapy intended to treat their anxiety about death. Grof claimed great success, even bragging that he could convert a Jewish rabbi into a Zen Buddhist using this method. Given that the patients were all deceased within months, no study of the long-term consequences of this therapy was undertaken.

Grof and Halifax’s book about this research, The Human Encounter with Death (foreword by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross), was written after the Spring Grove research was shut down in 1974 and Grof became Scholar in Residence at the Esalen Institute.27(pxii) The Esalen Institute is generally considered a birthplace of the New Age movement.

Grof’s main interest in this research was in having the opportunity to explore in extremis what he calls “the cartography” of the mind. His aim was to probe the deepest strata of the mind, from the Freudian layer to the Rankian layer to the Jungian “transpersonal” layer, the level of the collective unconscious where he believed that the subject makes contact with the “spiritual” side—with cosmic consciousness. Grof describes at great length the terror and hallucinations of his patients experiencing “life/death struggles” on their way to spiritual peace. One example:

LSD subjects in this state experience powerful currents of energy streaming through their bodies and accumulation of enormous tensions alternating with explosive discharges. This is typically accompanied by images of raging elements of nature, apocalyptic war scenes . . . and vivid destructive and self-destructive experiences. These involve bestial murders, tortures of all kinds, mutilations, executions, rapes, and bloody sacrifices.27(p50)

Among Grof’s advisors and supporters in this “stress reduction” research were Joseph Campbell, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Margaret Mead,>** and Mead’s daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson. Mead’s former husband, Gregory Bateson—friend of both Grof and Dr James S. Gordon11(pvii)—was a founder of the Esalen Institute, Grof’s base of operations after leaving academic LSD research.

Grof, his many prominent supporters, and the National Institutes of Health never questioned the ethics of using human subjects in this type of research.


Grof represents the apex of New Age Jungianism—a parapsychological experimenter willing to use extreme methods to “transform” subjects into spiritual beings like himself. Grof’s magnum opus is his book Beyond the Brain: Birth, Transformation and Transcendence in Psychotherapy, published in 1985 by the State University of New York Press as part of its Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology.†† In this book—based on his experience in supervising more than 3000 LSD sessions— Grof outlines all the psychological “depths,” cataloging them as a series of 4 “Basic Perinatal Matrices” (BPM) from prenatal (or preconception) to birth itself. The moment of birth, at BPM IV, is typified by feelings of “total annihilation” changing to “light of supernatural radiance and beauty.”29(p123) At BPM III, the life-death movement through the birth canal, patients report “crushing mechanical pressures . . . anoxia and suffocation.”29(p116) BPM II, the preparation for birthing, is typified by fear of “cosmic engulfment.”29(p111)

At the deepest BPM I level, where “transpersonal” cosmic consciousness is accessed, Grof claims his subjects share “the consciousness of animals, plants, or inanimate objects . . . of all creation, of the entire planet, or of the entire universe.”29(p42) At this level, he discerns “transpersonal experiences” involving “telepathy, psychic diagnosis, clairvoyance, clairaudience, precognition, psychometry, out-of-body experiences, traveling clairvoyance, and other paranormal phenomena.”29(p44)

Documenting his research are paintings of the oftengrotesque visions of LSD-hallucinating patients that are interpreted according to Jungian symbology and/or Rankian theory. He gives credit to Freud, Rank, Jung, Wilhelm Reich, and Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard. He describes how these phenomena—especially what Grof calls his theory of the Holotropic Universe—can be explained by the New Physics.

Grof claims that his “altered states” therapy can radically alter the belief structure of his patients away from a standard scientific worldview. He states:

After the individual has been confronted with a considerable sample of transpersonal experiences, the Newtonian-Cartesian world view becomes untenable as a serious philosophical concept. . . . At this point, the mystical alternatives appear to be much more appropriate and reasonable.29(p50)

Thus, Grof’s psychotherapy is used to undermine a patient’s belief in the modernist view of science. The achievement of a mystical worldview is Stanislav Grof’s measure of mental health.

A number of persons involved in Grof’s original Spring Grove research have become important “alternative” medicine figures. Grof’s former wife, Joan Halifax, with whom he wrote The Human Encounter with Death, had a major nervous breakdown due to LSD usage while still married to him.30 She is now a Buddhist teacher Roshi, teaching New Age geriatrics from her Upaya Institute in New Mexico.31 At Upaya, Halifax organizes “Being with Dying” seminars with former OAM Mind-Body Panel leaders Larry Dossey and Jean Achterberg. They train health professionals in spiritualistic geriatrics.32 Ram Dass (formerly psychology professor Richard Alpert), Timothy Leary’s former collaborator at Harvard, shares her involvement with the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Halifax was invited to give the Harold Witt lecture at Harvard Divinity School, following the path of another Jungian LSD researcher, Jean Houston, to prominence on the Harvard Divinity School stage.

Another alumna of Spring Grove is the pioneer of paranormal music therapy Helen Bonny,27(p33) who prepared the music to accompany the LSD sessions.33 Bonny found “alternative” medicine success through advocating the paranormal healing powers of music. The Bonny Method has been used to help access not only prior, but future lives.34 Helen Bonny is a founder of the World Congress of Music Therapy and developer of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), which purports to “to integrate mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of well-being, as well as awaken to a greater transcendent identification.”35

Even in his first book on the Spring Grove research, Grof portrayed his therapy as affecting the human body as well as the mind. He claimed that his research unearthed evidence that LSD therapy strengthens the body’s resistance to cancer. The claim supports another tangent of Jungian theory, the “visualization therapy” of Carl and Stephanie Simonton. The Simontons—supported by OAM advisor Jeanne Achterberg—claimed that emotional blockages cause cancer.27(p109) A wing of the burgeoning field of psychoneuroimmunology currently supports the Simonton approach.

Grof was Scholar in Residence at the Esalen Institute from 1972 until the early 1990s, where he collaborated with a variety of mystics, healers, psychotherapists, and parapsychologists, including “remote viewer” Russell Targ and his daughter, Elisabeth.36(pp105–110) There he taught hundreds of Esalen students LSD and MDMA therapy and Holotropic Breathwork. The latter, an apparently legal yet dangerous method, attempts to produce hallucinatory altered states through severe cerebral hypoxia by reducing oxygen to the cortex of the brain.37 Grof’s influence today is seen in “rebirthing” science, parapsychology, “alternative” medicine, and the New Consciousness movement. He and Arthur Janov are considered by the Primal Psychotherapy movement to be the most significant living birth trauma theorists.

Grof is considered the central founder of the mystically oriented Transpersonal Psychology Movement, which has spun off several educational institutions producing “spiritual” psychotherapists.‡‡ In the late 1960s Grof joined Abraham Maslow in founding the Association for Transpersonal Psychology. In 1978 he and Esalen founders Michael Murphy and Richard Price launched the International Transpersonal Association.29(ppxvi–xvii)

In November 2001 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved research proposals for MDMA (Ecstasy) treatment based on Grof’s LSD research protocols, combined with Grof’s Holotropic Breathwork, as a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder.38 On July 10, 2002, an independent Institutional Review Board approved the research, involving 20 assault victims, after its proponents failed in their attempt to gain sponsorship from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The principal investigator will be MUSC clinical assistant professor of psychiatry Dr Michael Mithoefer, a Grof-trained Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. A second FDA-approved study, using psilocybin as a treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder, is currently in progress at the University of Arizona. In this case, the research staff themselves are undergoing Holotropic Breathwork therapy in order to empathize with the altered states of their subjects.38

All of this research is organized by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Research Studies (MAPS),38 whose president, Rick Doblin, is a longtime user of both LSD and Ecstasy. Doblin was first introduced to Ecstasy therapy by Grof at Esalen Institute sessions in the early 1980s.

Richard Yensen, Grof’s former research colleague, is seeking FDA approval to resume the 1960s LSD research. Grof himself continues to be at the center of an underground LSD therapy movement consisting of hundreds of illegal practitioners. The Secret Chief, a book describing this movement with a prologue by Grof, is available on the Web site of MAPS.39

Popular “alternative” psychologies have shifted from the materialist-based hypothetical proposals of Freud to the paranormal spirituality of Jung and his followers. This is the terrain of New Age psychotherapy and much of mind-body medicine today. Numerous leaders of “alternative” medicine—from Norman Shealy,40 founder of the American Holistic Medical Association, to Andrew Weil—are educated by or associated with the transpersonal psychology movement.


What makes Jungianism so influential? Two reasons come to mind. First, Jungian method and its variants make people more irrational, with the therapist or therapeutic circle having suggestive influence over the subject. The model values intuition over rational objectivity. The addition of psychedelics or other severe consciousness-altering methods amplifies this effect.

Second and equally important, because of Jung’s pop reputation as a psychotherapeutic scientist, equal to or surpassing Freud, his collective unconscious provides a pseudoscientific rationale for a variety of speculative claims. The placebo effect, distant healing, homeopathy, bioenergetics, intuitive diagnostics, paranormal guided imagery, Q’i Gong, and Therapeutic Touch energies can all be attributed to Jungian-type unconscious and spiritual forces.

Science-oriented critics are frustrated by the lack of clear mechanism in mind-body spiritualism. However, to the Jungian mindset, spiritualism is mechanism and intuition is evidence. Research—to a Jungian—consists of manipulating the symbols of science in order to arrive at a result already intuitively known. When research does not confirm that result, the research must be wrong or improperly designed. The mechanism of assumed “spontaneous” healing is attributed to the spiritual realm of the collective unconsciousness, which the natural mind, freed from the restrictions of ego skepticism, can creatively access. This is what Andrew Weil writes in his book The Natural Mind. He praises psychedelic drugs and Carl Jung. He posits the Jungian-based theory that psychotics, whose natural minds are unimpeded by rational ego control, are the vanguard of evolution.41 Weil stated at a recent conference of the Association of Transpersonal Psychology that he credits the development of his own “natural mind” to LSD, and still occasionally uses LSD.42

One cannot attribute all of modern mind-body medicine and New Age concepts to Jungianism and the LSD mysticism and conversion therapy of Stanislav Grof. However, advocates of the ideology nest at the center of the mind-body mystical movement. The ideology features mind manipulation and drug-induced revelations, while it diminishes or “abases” rationality in the process. The New Age movement’s variations and permutations have created a large pool of dedicated followers, many of whom adhere to the Jungian model of the mind. They influence many in the federal government and in medicine who believe their claims and who seek an alternative, cheaper, and more spiritually based medicine. Pseudoscientific mind theories, psychedelics, disillusionment with contemporary society, formation of alternative communities, romantic wishes to return to “nature,” old-fashioned quackery, and a society that is focused on new economic opportunities all contribute to the popular confusion.


* In 1967 Robert Jay Lifton held the foundation’s Fund for Research in Psychiatry professorship at Yale. Lifton is the nation’s most prominent scholar of brainwashing theory and coercive persuasion. Lifton completed his classic study, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China, while a research associate at Harvard in 1961.

†Grof recounts his personal conversion from rationalism to mysticism under the influence of LSD in The Holotropic Mind: The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape Our Lives. New York, NY: Harper/SanFrancisco; 1993: 14–17.

‡The Maryland Department of Mental Hygiene and the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation provided additional funding.27(pxi)

** Prominent skeptic Martin Gardner has written about Margaret Mead’s various paranormal interests and endeavors. In addition to supporting Russell Targ’s research on “remote viewing,” Mead, as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in 1969 convinced the AAAS board to admit J. B. Rhine’s Parapsychological Association as a member organization. Gardner M. The New Age: Notes of a Fringe Watcher. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books; 1991: 19–24.

†† In 2000 SUNY Press published Grof’s latest book, Psychology of the Future: Lessons from Modern Consciousness Research.

‡‡ Transpersonal Psychology institutions include Saybrook Graduate School, California Institute of Integral Studies, John F. Kennedy University, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Naropa Institute, the Association for Transpersonal Psychology (ATP), the International Association of Spiritual Psychiatry, the Council on Spiritual Practices (CSP), Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). Links to these sites along with other information is available at the Guide to the Transpersonal Internet Web site,


Wilson C. The Occult: A History. New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Books; 1995: 169.
2. DiCarlo RE, Towards a New World View: Conversations at the Leading Edge. Erie, Pa: Epic Publishing; 1996. Available at PageType=Interview&ID=298. Accessed January 22, 2002.
3. Barnes R. The irrational reformation. Sci Rev Alt Med. 2000; 4(2): 48–52.
4. Barnes R. The irrational reformation: part 2. Sci Rev Alt Med. 2001; 5(3): 154–159.
5. Fields of practice: mind-body interventions. Available at: ... ndbody.htm. Accessed October 4, 2001.
6. Dossey L. Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine. San Francisco, Calif: Harper Paperbacks; 1997.
7. Lerner M. Integrating the Best of Conventional and Complementary Approaches to Cancer. Boston, Mass: MIT Press; 1994. Available at: Accessed January 22, 2002.
8. Krupitsky E, Maikov V. New transpersonal bridge between Russia and America. Newsletter of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. 1993; 4(1). Available at: Accessed January 22, 2002.
9. Curry EP. Notes on James S. Gordon, MD, chair of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. Sci Rev Alt Med. 2001; 5(4): 229–231.
10. Gordon JS. Manifesto for a New Medicine. Reading, Mass: Perseus Books; 1996.
11. Gordon JS. The Golden Guru: The Strange Journey of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Lexington, Mass: Stephen Greene Press; 1987.
12. Gorski T. White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy: a membership directory. Sci Rev Alt Med. 2001; 5(4): 211–212. 213.
13. Janov A. The Biology of Love. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books; 2000.
14. Gardner M. Primal scream: a persistent New Age therapy. Skeptical Inquirer. 2001; 25(3): 17–19.
15. Noll R. The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung. New York, NY: Random House; 1997.
16. Noll R. The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster; 1994.
17. McLynn F. Carl Gustaf Jung. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press; 1997.
18. Hayman R. A Life of Jung. New York, NY: W. W. Norton; 1999.
19. Main R. Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; 1997.
20. Chodorow J. Jung on Active Imagination. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; 1997.
21. Cardena E, Lynn SJ, Krippner S. Varieties of Anomalous Experience. Washington DC: American Psychological Association; 2000.
22. Krippner S, Volloldo A. The Realms of Healing. Millbrae, Calif: Celestial Arts; 1976.
23. Parapsychology Foundation list of international conferences, Conference on Parapsychology and Psychedelics (1958). Available at: activities.conferences/intl.cfm. Accessed January 22, 2002.
24. Progoff I. Jung, Synchronicity and Human Destiny: Non-Causal Dimensions of Human Experience. New York, NY: Julian Press; 1973.
25. Marks J. The Search for the Manchurian Candidate. NewYork, NY: W. W. Norton; 1979.
26. Lee MA, Shlain B. Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond. New York, NY: Grove Press; 1992.
27. Grof S, Halifax J. The Human Encounter with Death. New York, NY: E. P. Dutton; 1977.
28. Campbell J. Myths to Live By: How We Recreate Legends in Our Daily Lives to Release Human Potential. New York, NY: Arkana; 1993.
29. Grof S. Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press; 1985.
30. Halifax J. A Buddhist Life in America: Simplicity in the Complex. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press; 1998. Available at: Accessed April 17, 1999.
31. Upaya Institute Web site,
32. The Project on Being with Dying. Available at: Accessed December 16, 1996.
33. Excerpts from Presentation by Helen Lindquist Bonny at the World Congress of Music Therapy Plenary Session, Panel of Founders, November 19, 1999, Washington, DC. Available at: html. Accessed January 28, 2002.
34. Association for Preand Perinatal Psychology and Health Web site, point.html. Accessed May 7, 1998.
35. The Bonney Method Web site, http://www.bonny Accessed January 28, 2002
36. Targ R, Harary K. The Mind Race: Understanding and Using Psychic Abilities. New York, NY: Balantine Books; 1985. 37.
37. The Association for Holotropic Breathwork International Web site, Accessed January 28, 2002.
38. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Web site, Accessed August 10, 2002.
39. Stolaroff M. The Secret Chief. Charlotte, NC: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies; 1997. Available at: http:// Accessed January 26, 2002.
40. Dr Norm Shealy’s Web site, Accessed January 28, 2002.
41. Relman A. A trip to Stonesville: Andrew Weil, the boom in alternative medicine and the retreat from science. New Republic, December 14, 1998. Available at: ... 21498.html. Accessed January 28, 2002.
42. The psychedelic vision at the turn of the millennium: discussion with Andrew Weil, M.D. Bulletin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. 1998; 8(1): 28–37. Available at: 08128wei.html. Accessed January 28, 2002.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Moral Re-Armament
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/2/20

Moral Re-Armament
Successor Initiatives of Change
Founded 1938
Dissolved 2001
Key people
Frank Buchman, Peter Howard

Moral Re-Armament (MRA) was an international moral and spiritual movement that, in 1938, developed from American minister Frank Buchman's Oxford Group. Buchman headed MRA for 23 years until his death in 1961. In 2001, the movement was renamed Initiatives of Change.



In 1938, Europe was rearming militarily. Frank Buchman, who had been the driving force behind the Oxford Group, was convinced that military rearmament alone would not resolve the crisis. At a meeting of 3,000 in East Ham Town Hall, London, on 29 May 1938, he launched a campaign for Moral Re-Armament. "The crisis is fundamentally a moral one," he said. "The nations must re-arm morally. Moral recovery is essentially the forerunner of economic recovery. Moral recovery creates not crisis but confidence and unity in every phase of life."[1]

The phrase caught the mood of the time, and many public figures in Britain spoke and wrote in support. British tennis star H. W. Austin edited the book Moral Rearmament (The Battle for Peace), which sold half a million copies.[2]

There was a similar response in the United States. The Mayor of New York City declared 7-14 May to be "MRA week', and 14,000 people came to Madison Square Garden on 14 May for the public launch. Three weeks later Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. was the site of another launch, to which 240 British Members of Parliament sent a message of support.[3] And on 19 July 1939, 30,000 people attended the launch of Moral Re-Armament in the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles.[4]


Moral Re-Armament also became established in many countries of continental Europe, but it was suppressed in all the countries occupied by Nazi Germany. In Norway and elsewhere MRA leaders were imprisoned.[5] In 1945, during the Allied invasion of Europe a 126-page Gestapo report on Buchman, the Oxford Group and Moral Re-Armament was discovered. Die Oxfordgruppenbewegung denounces Dr Buchman and Moral Re-Armament for "uncompromisingly taking up a frontal position against National Socialism… It preaches revolution against the National State, and has quite evidently become its Christian opponent."[6]

In 1940, the novelist Daphne du Maurier published Come Wind, Come Weather, stories of ordinary Britons who had found hope and new life through MRA. She dedicated it to "Frank Buchman, whose initial vision made possible the world of the living characters in these stories," and added, "What they are doing up and down the country in helping men and women solve their problems, and prepare them for whatever lies ahead, will prove to be of national importance in the days to come." The book sold 650,000 copies in Britain alone.[7]

When war broke out, many of those active in the campaign for Moral Re-Armament joined the Allied forces. Others worked to heighten morale and overcome bottlenecks, particularly in war-related industries. Senator (later President) Harry Truman, Chair of the Senate's Truman Committee investigating war contracts, told a Washington press conference in 1943: "Suspicions, rivalries, apathy, greed lie behind most of the bottlenecks. This is where the Moral Re-Armament group comes in. Where others have stood back and criticised, they have rolled up their sleeves and gone to work. They have already achieved remarkable results in bringing teamwork into industry, on the principles not of 'who's right' but of 'what's right'."[8]

In Britain, about 30 MRA workers were exempted from military service to continue this work. But, when Ernest Bevin became Minister of Labour in 1940, he decided to conscript them. Over 2,500 clergy and ministers signed a petition opposing this, and 174 Members of Parliament put down a motion stating the same. Bevin made clear that he would resign from the Government if he was defeated, and the Government put a three-line whip upon its supporters. As a result, the Oxford Group workers were excluded from the Exemption from Military Service bill.

After the war

At the end of the war, the MRA workers returned to the task of establishing a lasting peace. In 1946, 50 Swiss families active in the work of MRA bought and restored a large, derelict hotel at Caux, Switzerland. This became a centre of European reconciliation, attended by thousands in the following years, including German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman.[9] Buchman was awarded the Croix de Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur by the French Government, and also the German Grand Cross of the Order of Merit.[10] The historians Douglas Johnston and Cynthia Sampson described the work as an "important contribution to one of the greatest achievements in the entire record of modern statecraft: the astonishingly rapid Franco-German reconciliation after 1945."[11]

In Britain, hundreds donated money for the purchase of the Westminster Theatre in London, as a living memorial to the men and women of Moral Re-Armament who had died in war service. Many servicemen gave their gratuities.[12] For the next 50 years the Theatre presented a host of plays and musicals. One of the best-known was the pantomime Give a Dog a Bone, which ran every Christmas for many years, to the delight of thousands of children.

In France, the well-known philosopher Gabriel Marcel edited a book, Un Changement d'Espérance à la Rencontre du Réarmament Moral, which brings together the stories of a French socialist leader, a Brazilian docker, an African chief, a Buddhist abbot, a Canadian industrialist and many others who found a new approach through MRA.[13] The English edition, published by Longman, was titled Fresh Hope for the World.

MRA began holding conferences on Mackinac Island, Michigan, in 1942, first in a leased hotel and then at the island's Grand Hotel. By the early 1950s they acquired considerable land holdings on the island. Between 1954 and 1960 they constructed an extensive training center including a theatre and a soundstage. The soundstage was used for the production of motion pictures, including The Crowning Experience, Voice of the Hurricane, and Decision at Midnight.

In 1966, MRA deeded much of the property on the island to Mackinac College. Several new facilities, including a classroom building and a library were constructed. This independent and non-sectarian institution of higher education operated from 1966 until 1970. It developed programs in statesmanship and leadership, as well as more traditional curricula.

Global spread

In the 1950s and 1960s, MRA's work expanded across the globe. Buchman was a pioneer in multi-faith initiatives. As he said, "MRA is the good road of an ideology inspired by God upon which all can unite. Catholic, Jew and Protestant, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Confucianist – all find they can change, where needed, and they can travel along this good road together.".[14]

These ideas appealed to many in the African and Asian countries which were then moving towards independence from colonial rule. Leaders of these independence struggles have paid tribute to MRA for helping to bring about unity between groups in conflict, and for helping to ease the transition to independence. In 1956 King Mohammed V of Morocco sent a message to Buchman: "I thank you for all you have done for Morocco in the course of these last testing years. Moral Re-Armament must become for us Muslims as much an incentive as it is for you Christians and for all nations."[15] In 1953, Kim Beazley Sr. the future Minister for Education in Australia, joined the movement following a visit to Switzerland. For him, "the need to uphold truth and reconciliation, and abjure expediency and acrimony, became ever more imperative.[16] In 1960 Archbishop Makarios and Dr Kucuk, President and Vice-President of Cyprus, jointly sent the first flag of independent Cyprus to Frank Buchman at Caux in recognition of MRA's help.[17]


Some attacked the movement. MRA was regularly attacked in the 1950s by the Radio Moscow Overseas Service. In November 1952 it said, "Moral Re-Armament supplants the inevitable class war by the 'permanent struggle between good and evil'," and "has the power to attract radical revolutionary minds."[18]

The Catholic theologian John Hardon claimed that the movement's political ideas were naive, since they appeared to assume that moral awakening would solve "social problems that have vexed humanity since the dawn of history".[19] Other Catholics took a different view. In 1993 Cardinal Franz Koenig, Archbishop of Vienna, wrote that "Buchman was a turning-point in the history of the modern world through his ideas."[20]

The actress Glenn Close, whose parents were part of the movement, has described it as a cult.[21]


MRA has always been active in industry and business. In Buchman's view, management and labour could "work together like the fingers on the hand", and in order to make that possible he aimed to answer "the self-will in management and labour who are both so right, and so wrong". MRA's role was to offer the experience which would free those people's hearts and minds from the motivations or prejudices which prevent just solutions.

William Grogan, an International Vice-President of the Transport Workers Union of America, said that "between 1946 and 1953 national union leaders, local union officials, shop stewards and rank and file union members from 75 countries had received training" in MRA principles.[22] Evert Kupers, for 20 years President of the Dutch Confederation of Trades Unions, stated that "the thousands who have visited Caux have been deeply impressed by its message for our age and by the real comradeship they found there".[23] In France Maurice Mercier, Secretary-General of the textile workers within the Force Ouvriere, said: "Class war today means one half of humanity against the other half, each possessing a powerful arsenal of destruction... Not one cry of hatred, not one hour of work lost, not one drop of blood shed - that is the revolution to which MRA calls bosses and workers."[24]

Today the Caux Round Table Principles for Business are being implemented by businesses in many countries.[25]


The movement had Christian roots, but it grew into an informal, international network of people of all faiths and backgrounds. It advocated what it called the 'Four Absolutes' (absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness and absolute love) and it encouraged its members to be actively involved in political and social issues. One of the movement's core ideas was the belief that changing the world starts with seeking change in oneself.

Rename "Initiatives of Change"

Main article: Initiatives of Change

In 2001, the MRA movement changed its name to Initiatives of Change (IofC). A non-governmental organization based in Caux, Switzerland, Initiatives of Change International serves as the legal and administrative entity to federate the national bodies of Initiatives of Change for purposes of cooperation with the entities such as the United Nations and the Council of Europe.[26]

National initiatives include Hope in the Cities in the United States,[27] the Caux Forum for Human Security in Switzerland,[28] Global Indigenous Dialogue in Canada and the IC Centre for Governance in India.[29]

In the media

In 2014, Initiatives of Change was awarded the Ousseimi Prize for Tolerance. The Ousseimi Foundation produced a booklet outlining the work of Moral Re-Armament and Initiatives of Change in peace-building and change-making since 1946.[citation needed]

In a 2014 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, American actress Glenn Close who was raised by parents involved in MRA–characterized MRA as a cult that attempted to control every aspect of its members' lives.[30]

The group is also mentioned in Raymond Chandler's book Farewell, My Lovely. A cop says to Philip Marlowe: "I think we gotta make this little world all over again. Now take Moral Rearmament. There you've got something. M. R. A. There you've got something, baby."[31]

See also

• Up with People
• Michael Henderson (author)


1. Buchman, Frank N.D., Remaking the World (London, 1955), p. 46.
2. Lean, Garth, Frank Buchman: A Life, p. 279.
3. Washington Post, 5 June 1939.
4. Los Angeles Times, 20 July 1939.
5. Sunday Times UK, 29 Dec 1940 and 5 Jan 1941.
6. The Times, London, 29 December 1945.
7. Lean, p. 300.
8. Lean, p. 324.
9. Lean, p. 382.
10. Edward Luttwak, "Franco-German Reconciliation: The Overlooked Role of the Moral Re-Armament Movement", in Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft, Douglas Johnston and Cynthia Sampson (editors), Oxford University Press, 1994.
11. Johnston and Sampson, Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft, Oxford University Press, 1994.
12. Lean, p. 340.
13. Marcel, Gabriel ed. Un Changement d'Espérance à la Rencontre du Réarmament Moral, Librarie Plon, 1958.
14. Buchman, Remaking the World, p. 166.
15. Lean, p. 454.
16. "A Christian in Politics – Quadrant Online". Retrieved 2020-04-29.
17. Lean, p. 524.
18. Lean, p. 418.
19. "Fr. Hardon Archives - An Evaluation of Moral Rearmament". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
20. Lean, p. 2.
21. ... arent.html
22. Grogan, William, John Riffe of the Steelworkers, Coward, McCann, 1959, p. 140.
23. Foreword to World Labour and Caux, Caux, 1950.
24. Piguet and Sentis, Ce Monde que Dieu nous confie, Centurion, 1979, p. 64.
25. See
26. "History - IofC International". Retrieved 8 June2018.
27. "Hope in the Cities - IofC US". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
28. "Caux Forum - IofC Caux". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
29. "IC Centre for Governance". Retrieved 8 June2018.
30. "Glenn Close Returns to Stage, Reveals Remarkable Childhood in Cult". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
31. Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely (Tower "Books in Wartime" Edition, 1944), p. 161
• Preliminary Guide to the Albert Heman Ely, Jr. Family Papers, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, Materials document the 1930 meeting of Ely and his wife, Constance Jennings Ely with Frank Buchman, and their subsequent involvement in the Moral Re-armament movement, Yale Library.

External links

• Initiatives of Change, successor of MRA
• Timeline of the organizations' history, Initiatives of Change
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Ojai Valley School
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/2/20

Osel [Rangdrol Mukpo/Sakyong Mipham] was in boarding school in Ojai, California. We thought that an intense residential situation might help overcome his difficulties learning to read and write in English...

The day of his enthronement [1976], Gesar and I were driven by members of the Dorje Kasung to the dharmadhatu in Berkeley... Osel was also there to witness the enthronement. He was in boarding school at the Ojai Valley School near Santa Barbara at this time, a school founded on, the teachings of Krishnamurti and Rudolf Steiner. He was maturing into a much more confident and outgoing young man [14 yrs. old].

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian

Ojai Valley School
Location: Ojai, CA, United States
Coordinates 34°27′0″N 119°9′38″WCoordinates: 34°27′0″N 119°9′38″W
Type: Private, Boarding, Day
Established: 1911
President: Michael J. Hall-Mounsey
Faculty: 60
Campus size: 425 acres (1.72 km2)
Color(s): Green and White
Mascot: Spud

Ojai Valley School is a co-educational independent boarding school in the Ojai Valley near the city of Ojai, California, United States. The school was founded in 1911 and offers pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education. [1]

The motto of the school is Integer Vitae. In English it means, "wholeness of life" or "symmetry of life".[2]

Ojai Valley School was one of the first boarding schools in the Western United States to establish English as a Second Language (ESL) programs for all ability levels.[3]

Campus and facilities

The school is located on two campuses in the Ojai Valley. The Lower Campus, located near downtown Ojai, enrolls day and resident students in grades pre-kindergarten to eight. The facilities include a performing arts center, cottage-style classrooms, dormitories, library, art studio, woodshop, technology center, athletic fields, a swimming pool, and stables for the equestrian program.

The Upper Campus, located seven miles (11 km) from downtown Ojai, is nestled amid orange groves and rolling hills in the east of the valley in Upper Ojai. The 195 acres (0.79 km2) campus enrolls day and resident students in grades nine to twelve. The campus is situated on a former cattle ranch and features dormitories, classrooms, athletic fields, climbing wall and ropes course, a swimming pool, as well as art and ceramics studios. The academic program on both campuses is challenging and well-rounded, encouraging students to explore their interests, know themselves, and develop a respect for others. Students participate in outdoor education, equestrian, fine and performing arts programs, as well as athletics and community service.


In the early part of the 20th century, an Eastern couple settled in the Ojai Valley and opened a small private school. Edward Yeomans, a Chicagoan educated at Phillips Academy and Princeton University, had written a series of articles in the Atlantic Monthly on the need for educational reform. The articles caught the eye of a wealthy businessman, Frank Frost, who persuaded Yeomans to move to Ojai and create a school that would embody his modern ideas.

At the core of Yeomans’ beliefs was the concept that children learn best through experience. Yeomans considered his own education to have been dull and stifling, and wanted to establish a school that would emphasize experiential learning and a love for the outdoors. He envisioned a place where music, art, and woodshop would be taught alongside math, history, and languages. Yeomans declared that “Integer Vitae” – meaning the wholeness of life, symmetry of life, and soundness of life would become the school’s motto and philosophy. The school has grown from a one-room classroom serving 12 pupils to a two-campus boarding and day school for more than 300 students in pre-kindergarten to 12th grades.

The school was heavily damaged by the Thomas Fire in December 2017. The fire destroyed two buildings on Upper Ojai campus, a dormitory and a science and technology building.[4][5]


1. Stats
2. Information
3. Information
4. D'Angelo, Alexa (December 8, 2017). "Thomas Fire hits Ojai Valley School: 'It's a miracle there's anything left at all'". Ventura County Star. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
5. Hamilton, Matt (December 6, 2017). "Fire damages Ojai Valley School's upper campus, but administrators are determined to reopen for spring semester". LA Times. Retrieved 30 December 2017.

External links

• Ojai Valley School Official Website
• The Association of Boarding Schools profile


by Ojai Valley School
Accessed: 7/2/20

In the early part of the 20th century, a distinguished Eastern couple settled in the beautiful Ojai Valley and opened a small private school. Little did they know it would be flourishing more than 100 years later. Edward Yeomans, a Chicagoan educated at Phillips Academy and Princeton University, had written a series of articles in the Atlantic Monthly on the need for educational reform. The articles caught the eye of a wealthy businessman, Frank Frost, who persuaded Yeomans to move to Ojai and create a school that would embody his very modern ideas.

At the core of Yeomans’ beliefs was the concept that children learn best through experience. Yeomans considered his own education to have been dull and stifling, and wanted to establish a school that would emphasize experiential learning and a love for the outdoors. He envisioned a place where music, art, and woodshop would be taught alongside math, history, and languages. Yeomans declared that Integer Vitae – meaning the wholeness of life, symmetry of life, soundness of life, and, therefore poise and strength of life – would become the school’s motto and philosophy.

Today, the breadth of learning experiences offered at OVS is Yeomans’ legacy. The school has grown from a one-room classroom serving 12 pupils to a two-campus boarding and day school for nearly 300 students in pre-kindergarten to 12th grades. But its values and spirit remain the same.


Ojai Valley School merged educators dreams
by David Mason
Ojai Valley News
October 1, 1999

Frost Hall, designed by Wallace Neff.

“[The Ojai Valley School] So far it has proven very successful, combining as it does the most intelligent educational methods of the best city schools and the beautiful and healthful environment of the Ojai.”

-– Country Life Magazine, September 1924

During 1909, Walter W. Bristol organized the Nordhoff Union High School in the town of Nordhoff, now Ojai, and became the school’s first principal.

He held that position until 1919, when he resigned to assist his wife in the running of a small country school that she was operating, known as the Bristol School.

Mrs. Bristol’s school had started in the fall of 1912, with two students. Classes were held in her home on the northwest corner of Ojai Avenue and Bristol Road. The house had been built in 1911, and it was typical wooden construction with a screened-in sleeping porch that ran across one end.

By 1913, the sleeping porch had been divided into classrooms and desks were installed, so as to accommodate more pupils.

The need for a progressive private school was very much in evidence in the small western town.

Before long, a separate school building was erected farther north on their property. The Bristols felt that their new building would probably accommodate up to 15 pupils, but before long that total had reached 25 pupils. It was indeed a crowded little school.

The great forest fire of 1917, which had burned the Foothills Hotel and 60 other building in the Ojai Valley, also destroyed the charming little Bristol School. The fire, however, did not burn the cottages that were on the same property, so classes continued. The Bristols had been asked to board students at the their school, but there had not been enough room. Now that the building was to be rebuilt, they made plans to include rooms for boarding students and three classrooms. It was a very successful school. The outdoor life in a superb winter climate and amidst charming scenery made the school life both wholesome and attractive.

Another person who had a profound interest in the local children’s education was Edward Yeomans. Arriving in the valley for the winter of 1912, Yeomans was not happy about coming to California from his home in the east. He was working for the family business, Yeomans Brothers Co., a water pump manufacturing company, and his feelings about California were that it was merely a vacation spot for rich bankers with whom he had absolutely nothing in common. However, the beauty of the Ojai Valley and the simplicity of life here convinced him that he could find no better place in which to spend the winter.

Yeomans wrote to his friends in the east: “I felt this valley to be the most beautiful spot in the world. Fruit orchards and their blossoms, and the entire 15 miles from Ventura to Ojai, not a house visible! They valley itself was fully planted in orange groves, or left as God made it; acres of live oak trees and acres of wild wheat growing under the live oaks awaiting harvesting. Olive and fig trees line all roads and mark the divisions of property.”

Deciding to stay in the Ojai Valley, Yeomans resigned his position at the family-owned company. His desire to start a school of a progressive nature took full charge of his thinking. He had found the perfect spot for his new school, the Ojai Valley, a place he had grown to love. A valley “completely unspoiled by man — nature so generously holding her beauty and rich gifts for man’s careful husbanding on so vast a scale that man was rarely visible.”

Yeomans heard that the Bristols would be interested in selling their school and property, but Yeomans was not interested in the Bristol property or the buildings, so the Bristols agreed to sell him only the goodwill in the school.

A meeting of the prominent local residents was called to discuss the plans of Yeomans’ new school. A name was decided upon, the Ojai Valley School, and it would need to have beautiful buildings in order to be a credit to the community.

Mary Bard, the wife of Senator Thomas Bard, attended the school meetings, and she was the most enthusiastic person there. Mary Bard had married the senator in 1878, and they had seven children. It was not surprising that she was interested in education.

Thomas R. Bard
United States Senator from California
In office: February 7, 1900 - March 3, 1905
Born: December 8, 1841, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Died: March 5, 1915 (aged 73), Port Hueneme, California
Nationality: American
Political party: Republican
Military service
Branch/service: Union Army
Battles/wars: American Civil War

Thomas Robert Bard (December 8, 1841 – March 5, 1915) was a political leader in California who assisted in the organization of Ventura County and represented the state in the United States Senate from 1900 to 1905 as a Republican. He is known as the "Father of Port Hueneme" for his efforts in building and expanding the city, as well as the first and only deep water port in the area. He is one of the founders of the UNOCAL company.

Early life

Born in Chambersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania on December 8, 1841, Bard attended the common schools, and graduated from the Chambersburg Academy in 1858. He studied law in school, and before his graduation, he secured a job with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Later, he became an assistant to the superintendent of the Cumberland Valley Railroad. Other business ventures included the grain business in Hagerstown, Maryland. During the early part of the Civil War, Bard served as a volunteer Union scout during the invasions of Maryland and Pennsylvania by the Confederates.

In 1865, Bard arrived in Ventura County, California to develop his uncle Thomas A. Scott's properties in Ojai. In 1867, Bard would become the first person in California to produce oil from a drilled well.[1]

Political career

Senator Thomas R. Bard

Thomas R. Bard moved to Ventura County, California in 1864 and served as a member of the board of supervisors of Santa Barbara County from 1868 to 1873. In 1871, he was appointed as a commissioner to organize Ventura County. During this time, he purchased and subdivided Rancho El Rio de Santa Clara o la Colonia and laid out the plans for Port Hueneme, California, the future site of his Berylwood estate.

Bard was the California delegate to the 1884 Republican National Convention, and later served as the director of the California state board of agriculture from 1886 to 1887. In 1887, Bard became a founding board member of Occidental College. He was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill a vacancy in the term that began on March 4, 1899. He served from February 7, 1900 to March 3, 1905. Bard was unsuccessful in his 1904 reelection bid. During his term Bard served as the chairman of the Committee of Fisheries (for the Fifty-seventh Congress) and served on the Committee on irrigation (for the Fifty-eighth Congress). One of Thomas R. Bard's notable achievements during his time in office was to appoint George S. Patton, later General Patton, to West Point.[2]

Family and later life

Contemporary photo of Bard Mansion on his Berylwood estate.

Thomas R. Bard became a successful business man, and held profitable interests in several oil companies. Thomas R. Bard and his brother, Dr. Cephas Little Bard, established the Elizabeth Bard Memorial Hospital in Ventura as a memorial to their mother.[3] His son, Archibald Philip Bard, became a noted physiologist and the dean of Johns Hopkins Medical School.

He died at his Berylwood home in Port Hueneme, California on March 5, 1915 and was interred in the family cemetery on his estate. His remains were moved to Ivy Lawn Cemetery in Ventura, California by the military.[4]


1. Nelson, Mike (2020). "The Hunt for California Crude". AAPG Explorer. 41 (2): 18. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-11-13. Retrieved 2012-03-29. The United States Army. "History of the Army Olympians: A General Athlete" http://WWW.ARMY.MIL
3. City of Ventura. Detail Sheet #19 accessed 29 September 2013 from link on City Map with Historic Landmarks
4. "Thomas R. Bard". Ivy Lawn Memorial Park & Funeral Home. Retrieved 29 September 2016.

Further reading

• Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
• Hutchinson, William Henry. Oil, Land, and Politics: The California Career of Thomas R. Bard. 2 vols. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965.
• Lawrence Kestenbaum. The Political Graveyard

External links

• Works by or about Thomas R. Bard at Internet Archive

-- Thomas R. Bard, by Wikipedia

When asked what type of school Yeomans was interested in starting, he responded, “A school whose main subjects are music, nature study and shop work. No languages for little children and no English grammar taught to them. No arithmetic at first, except what we need for work in construction. No desks fastened to floors, just desks that could easily be moved for acting of ballads or poetry. No examinations, no discipline for its own sake, but inner control, and consideration for all working in the school, and so, good citizenship.”

Mary Bard was much stirred and inspired by Yeomans’ talk and said she wanted to do whatever she could in order to help start such a school. Frank Frost, another valley resident, also wanted to do his share of work toward the new school.

E. D. Libbey, Ojai’s greatest benefactor, had just subdivided a large tract of land and had named it the Arbolada; and Frost felt that the lots in the subdivision would sell more rapidly if there were a school nearby. Frost wrote to Libbey in Toledo, Ohio and said, “You never can sell your land unless you can also say there is a good school nearby.” It was just the right message. Libbey donated a parcel of land to the group with only one restriction. They could have any amount of land they required, but it had to remain in the ownership of Libbey until three years had passed and the school had succeeded. The Ojai Valley School officially opened for business in October 1923.

With so many students requesting to attend the new school and wanting to be boarding students, Frost decided that to do his part, he would build a dormitory for the school. He supervised the building, which originally would hold 30 students, and it was filled to capacity the first day.

Yeomans wrote to Mrs. Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen to see if she could be persuaded to leave the Francis Parker School of Chicago and come to the Ojai Valley and be principal of the new school. Thorne-Thomsen accepted the position and arrived in the valley, only to be sick most of the first year; so it was up to Yeomans to be in charge during that time. He thought of himself more in the capacity of janitor rather that principal. He felt that “a school and its faculty are not a group working together for the benefit of the school on equal footing always, the school has no power of growth.”

As word spread up and down the state about this new school and the progressive learning that was taught there, people became anxious to hear all they could about it. Invited to speak at a large function in Los Angeles, Yeomans found himself extremely nervous in front of the crowd of people. Once he had spoken a few words, in which he referred to himself “as a pump manufacturer, not an educator,” he became at ease. He said he “was there as a rebel against his own painful and unhappy education in childhood, where fear ruled his entire life and school was a prison.” At that time he had promised himself when he grew up, he would try to save other children from such an unhappy life.

Libbey advertised the new school in his sales brochures for his Arbolada lots. “In this lovely sport, far away from the noise and crowding of city schools, children are given a superior training” and a far finer appreciation of life. The purpose of the school is “to cherish and develop the individuality of each pupil rather than to turn out a rubber stamp product.” This proved to be a successful move for both.


Ojai Valley School
by Lynn Yoakum Taylor

Karen Morse.
One: A Little History. The Threshold. Over the course of OVS's first 100 years, more than 5,340 children have enrolled to be educated by dedicated teachers who measure their own success by the success of their students. Students from 34 countries have come to seek the academic and social guidance that would allow them to contribute to the diverse global community. More than 2,400 students have come from the United States, with the remainder from as far away as China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Vietnam, and South Korea. From its roots in 1911, the school has followed the same motto: "Nothing less than your best." Each student is encouraged to reach his or her full potential, both academically and socially. This book describes the experiences of those students during the school's first century. Over this span of years, there have been 23 heads of school at the Upper and Lower Campuses. Karen Morse, seen here at the threshold of the Lower Campus in 2012.

Paradise. The Name Ojai, derived from the Chumash Indian word A'bwai ("moon"), was given to an inland California valley by early Spanish settlers. A.H. Campbell's 1854 lithograph (pictured), part of a survey for a transcontinental railroad from California to Mississippi, is the earliest known image of the Ojai Valley. The village began in 1874 as the dusty western town of Nordhoff, named for author and journalist Charles Nordhoff. The name was changed to Ojai in 1917 for three reasons: people were already calling the village Ojai; Nordhoff was a German name, unpopular during World War I; and mail was being erroneously delivered to Norwalk, California, instead of Nordhoff. In 1997, Don Weinman noted, "Most residents are sure Ojai means 'nest' in the Chumash language, but experts disagree. They say it means 'moon.' Those of us who live here say it doesn't matter. To us, it means paradise.' (OVM.)

Edward Libbey. Edward Drummond Libbey, founder of the Libbey Glass Company of Toledo, Ohio, and his wife, Florence, loved to vacation in the Ojai Valley, staying at the exquisite Foothills Hotel. They and other guests arrived by horse-drawn conveyance, such as Thomas Clark's "six-in-hand" (below). In 1911, the Libbeys built a home on Foothill Road. Thus began the great influence Libbey would have on Ojai and Ojai Valley School. Libbey, a leading benefactor of the Ojai Valley, tried to market 360 acres west of Nordhoff, which he referred to as "the Arbolada," to Easterners. Although The Thacher School for boys had been established about five miles east of Ojai in 1889, people advised Libbey that potential home buyers would be more interested if a private, coeducational school existed in the area. Libbey agreed to donate three acres for this purpose. (Both, OVM.)


Before the Arcade. The above image shows downtown Nordhoff in 1915 before the arcade was added. Horses and buggies moved lazily down the dirt road that was Main Street, late named Ojai Avenue. The businesses ranged from a drugstore, a barbershop, and a clothing emporium to mercantile stores and a telegraph office. Electricity did not come to the valley until 1913. The arcade, shown below soon after construction in 1917, looks very much the same today. Vehicles of the 1900s parked at an angle to the shops but later had to park parallel to the curb because of increased traffic. Unfortunately, the stately oaks and sycamore trees that Libbey once protected eventually had to be removed for safety reasons. The citizens of Ojai still take pride in keeping their village quaint, minimizing or prohibiting modern developments such as parking meters and fast-food franchises. (Both, OVM.)


Civic Center Park. Edward Libbey, pictured [below] with his wife, Florence, around 1901, saw a need to improve the downtown business area, so changes in the valley accelerated sharply after he arrived. His most notable project was financing a face-lift of Main Street. Storefronts were transformed in the Spanish style, a Mission Revival arcaded walkway went down the side of the business area, a Spanish-style tower was constructed for the main post office, and the same style continued with a pergola and a city park across from the arcade. Here, families enjoyed picnics and listened to music. The photograph above, with a view looking west toward the tower, shows the entrance to the park. This became the site of the renowned Ojai Music Festival, which began in 1947 and continues today. (Above, David Mason collection, below, OVM.)


Very Little Change. When Ojai Valley School opened at its Arbolada location in 1923, the town of Ojai looked very much as it does today. In 1917, the citizens wanted to have a special day to honor Libbey's contributions to the town. The name "Ojai Day" was given to this special occasion, and it is still celebrated. The above image shows the paved Ojai Avenue in 1930. Between 1960 and 1990, the structures and even the park began to deteriorate, but by 1990, there was an increased emphasis on preservation and renovation. The same view in 2011 is shown below. (Above, OVM; below, photograph by author.)


The Ojai. Tennis came to the valley in 1892 when Sherman Thacher and his brother William built the first packed-dirt courts marked with chalk on Thacher property. The first tournament was held there in 1893, and subsequent tournaments began drawing tourists. Men's dress code early in the 20th century required long pants. By 1907, women's interscholastic competition was introduced, and the ladies wore white dresses. By 1912, the Ojai Tournament was the largest amateur tournament held in the United States. In 1917, courts were constructed on land donated by Edward Libbey in the middle of town, and over the years, this tournament, known as "the Ojai," has attained national status. The Ojai tennis tournament celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2000. (Both, OVM.)


The Foothills Hotel. Given the need for more accommodations, the Foothills Hotel was constructed in the west end of the valley and opened on January 19, 1903. This facility attracted the wealthy clientele that Libbey hoped would purchase property in the Ojai Valley. The hotel burned to the ground in 1917, but was rebuilt in 1918. It continued to flourish until the onset of the Great Depression in 1929. The hotel finally met its demise in 1976, and an Ojai treasure was lost. (OVM.)

Benefactors. After purchasing the Bristol School, Edward Yeomans opened Ojai Valley School (with 38 students) in the winter of 1923, on land donated by Edward Libbey for a "private co-educational school." Funds for a dormitory, classrooms, and a shop were provided by Frank Frost. Land for the athletic and gymkhana fields was donated by Mary Ford [Mrs. William Ford].

William Ford was a successful businessman from the Midwest with an impressive resume and eclectic interests. Inheriting his father’s insurance empire, he used some of the capital to found the Ford Plate Glass Corp. becoming an important figure in the production of modern industrial glass. Later he was appointed president of the Bolsa Chica Oil Corporation after the unexpected death of its founder and his friend, Irving Augur. Though his primary residence was in Ohio, Ford had a number of homes across the country including a working cattle ranch in Montana that was rumored to have the world’s largest herd of Holsteins. One of his favorite retreats, however, was his winter estate in Ojai, California. (Sheet Metal Worker. Vol. 26 1935)

After WW I Ojai (originally named Nordhoff) became a winter destination for many American millionaires looking for healthy air and a temperate climate. In 1908 Edward D. Libbey, a glass manufacturer from Ohio, bought a large tract of this undeveloped land and commissioned Myron Hunt to design a Spanish-revival style home for his property. (Libbey continued to add to his home, hiring Los Angeles architect Wallace Neff in 1923 to design an elaborate stable complex.) In 1917 after fire destroyed much of Nordhoff, Libbey personally oversaw its revitalization to recreate his “version of castles in Spain.” (Westways. July, 1937) Libbey hired the architectural firm of Mead and Requa to implement his ideas. The town of 500 officially became Ojai in 1921 and Libbey began promoting its livability to many of his friends and colleagues. Among those who followed him to Ojai were Irving Augur and William Ford. Auger and Ford selected Paul R. Williams to design their winter residences.

Architectural “revival styles” were the rage in Southern California before WWII. Spanish Colonial dominated both commercial and residential construction. With its characteristic clay tile roof, arches, balconies and stucco-like finishes, the style was believed to compliment California’s moderate climate and outdoor living. Ford commissioned Paul Williams in 1928 to plan a residence sympathetic with Ojai’s new aesthetic. Williams was already recognized for his mastery of the revival genre. Williams used period styles as inspiration and skillfully combined the “historic” with modern function, current technology and client lifestyle to create a unique home. The Ford “hacienda” built around a landscaped courtyard (image 2) with a tiled 3-tiered fountain and rooms with panoramic views of the Ojai Valley was his design for this family. (Architect and Engineer. March, 1946)

Ford purchased property in Ojai’s Country Club Estates and his 16-room, 14,000-square-foot home was the first built in the development. While Ford wanted his home to have a heritage look, he insisted on the latest modern building materials and gadgets. Williams, a master of architectural disguise, successfully concealed the modern features behind white paint, plasterwork, wrought iron details, wooden shutters and thousands of handmade decorative tiles. (San Valle Tile Kilns featured photographs of the house in its print advertisements.) Using concrete blocks on the exterior, Williams and the contractor created the impression of aged adobe brick. The result was a new home with an instant California pedigree.

“This artistic country home is designed in Antique Spanish Architecture to harmonize with the magnificent surrounding scenery.” (Southwest Builder and Contractor. May 2, 1930)

The Ford residence was well known throughout Southern California for its comfort, beauty, extensive outdoors entertaining areas and natural setting. Though Ojai was located in a rural California outpost, the house included a tennis court, swimming pool, elaborate outdoor areas for entertaining and Blackburn’s Disappearing Rollup Window Screens. Images of the house appeared in popular contemporary magazines as an example of ideal California living, attracting both the wealthy and those aspiring to live like them to Ojai.

William Ford died in Ojai within five years of completing his home. The Los Angeles Times reported, “He had been ill only a few days, having suffered a stroke after returning from an eastern business trip.” (May 3, 1935)

Thanks to historian Charles J. Fisher for his insights into the Williams Ford residence and use of his images.






-- William Ford Residence, Ojai, CA, by Paul Revere Williams American Architect

Renowned architect Wallace Neff designed the new school.

Two, Wanting a Little More for the Children.
A Simple Beginning. In 1911, Dr. Philip Schuyler Van Patten; his wife, Emily Adams Van Patten; and their two small sons, Philip, age six (left), and Charles, almost four (right), settled in the Ojai Valley. The Van Pattens wanted structure and a broad exposure to life and nature in their sons' lives and thought a small school situation within the home would be idea. They hired Ida Belle Lamb as a tutor for two hours per day. A year later, Ida Belle, who was getting married, recommended her sister, Olive Bristol, as a teacher for the boys. Olive and her husband, Walter Bristol, taught classes in their own home, located near the present-day northwest corner of Ojai Avenue and Bristol Road. The young boys, along with the Bristols' seven-year-old daughter, Esther, began their studies in the fall of 1912. A large sleeping porch at their home was divided into classrooms to accommodate desks for more pupils. (OVM.)

Earliest Photograph. This 1914 school photograph is the earliest image of Olive Bristol (standing, far right) and the Bristol School. The school filled a void in many people's plans for their children, and so it continued to grow. By 1915, a small school building was erected to house 12 to 15 pupils, but it was not long until it was bursting at the seams with 25 children. In 1916, at age 11, Philip Van Patten became the first graduate of the Bristol School. The disastrous Ojai fire of 1917 destroyed most of the Bristol School, which was also the family's home. Only the cottages remained, but the Bristols continued educating children. When reconstruction was planned, there was a request for boarding accommodations for six girls. In 1922, Olive retired, and Edward Yeomans bought the school. He reopened it as Ojai Valley School in 1923 on land donated by Edward Libbey between El Paseo Road and Ojai Avenue. While the dorm and classrooms were being constructed, the children remained at the Bristols' home.

Progressive Educator. Edward "Ned" Yeomans married Julia Day at Lake Forest, Illinois, in 1904. He and his wife adopted a baby, Andrew, in 1911, and three years later, another son, Edward Jr., was born. Desiring a better education for their boys, Yeomans became instrumental in promoting progressive education in the public schools of Winnetka, Illinois. His system encouraged students to progress at their own rates and to be responsible for their own learning. In 1919, the family returned to the Chicago area to give their boys a year in the Francis Parker School. While in Chicago, Yeomans published his progressive ideas on education in his book Shackled Youth. The 1922 photograph above includes, from left to right, Ned, Ed, Julia, and Andrew.


Frank Jefferson Frost. Frank Frost was born in Missouri and earned an engineering degree from the University of Missouri. He had worked in a number of professions, most recently as the treasurer of the Standard Oil Company of New York. As a winter visitor to the Ojai Valley, Frost had read Yeomans's Shackled Youth, and his pamphlets on progressive education with extreme interest. Frost wanted more for his only son, Morris, and had yet to find a suitable school. Encouraged by his wife, his mother, and Frost, Yeomans was persuaded to leave Illinois and set up residence in Ojai, where Morris Pratt Frost and the Yeomans' boys could experience the outdoor life of the West. In addition, Yeomans could create a school that would put into practice his unique perspective on childhood education. Frost approached Edward Libbey and asked him to donate a parcel of land from his Arbolada tract for this purpose.

Philosopher. When Edward Yeomans, pictured here in 1941, first arrived in the Ojai Valley, he was awed by its simplicity and beauty. He was amazed by the orange groves and fruit orchards that ran from Ventura to Ojai. He saw the grandeur of the mountains and the stark beauty of the trees and shrubs on their slopes. Yeomans said, "It was the most beautiful spot on earth." In a sense, Yeomans's educational philosophy was fulfilled by the beauty of the Ojai Valley. Here, he could put the philosophy he had carefully crafted in Shackled Youth into practice. Here, he could create a school focused on experiential learning. In his words, "Unless a community is a good place for children, unless it can take care of their growth intelligently, it cannot stand the test of time."

Basic Principles. Yeomans never compromised his educational ideals; educational reform was his dream and desire. He was motivated by the beauty of nature and intriguing conversation and was inspired by life outdoors. He felt compelled to speak on behalf of children across the country. Teaching was an art, and he felt that each teacher must be an artist. "Experiencing instead of telling" was one of his core principles. He envisioned a school where children could pursue artistic expression alongside mathematics, history, and science. Yeomans's precepts in action can be seen in this image, which shows children painting in the great outdoors.

Ned's Shop. Written over the doorway of the OVS shop (this image shows the shop's interior) are the words of Horace, Integer Vitae, principles upon which Yeomans based his school.

Early Donors. In 1923, Katharine Twichell [Mrs. Burton Twichell], one of the founding members of the holding company that owned the school prior to incorporation in 1925, donated money for the first primary classroom building at OVS (above). While construction on new classrooms and the Frost Hall dormitory (below) was being completed, students continued their studies and residence at the Bristol cottages. Mary Bard, a charter member of the board of trustees, donated funds for additional classrooms, an assembly hall, and offices. In 1926, all OVS activities were moved to its present Lower Campus location.

Frost Hall dormitory.

All-School Photographs. From its beginning, the school established a tradition of taking all-school photographs. This tradition has continued as the school has grown. This 1938 picture shows the 45 students enrolled that year.

Ojai Valley School Lower Campus 2010-2011
The School Has Grown. This image shows the Lower Campus in 2011. There are nearly five times as many students as in the 1938 image. Note that the dress code has changed but the venerable oak trees remain.

Boarding Student. In 1923, at age seven, Morris Frost was among the first boarders to attend OVS. He took up residence in the Bristol School cottages until the completion of Frost Hall in 1924. Morris's father, Frank, was more than willing to donate anything the school needed to give his son the education that followed Yeomans's beliefs. This image shows Morris at age 10 or 11.

Reading. One of Edward Yeomans's legacies is the belief that reading is the foundation of lifelong learning. Even before a student arrived on campus, he or she was expected to prepare for the upcoming year by reading five or six books over the summer and being prepared for an in-depth discussion during the first week of the fall term. Here, Kitty Bragg manages her reading class with quiet firmness. All the children loved and respected her.

Early Growth. Frank Frost was a widower when he and his son Morris moved to Ojai. Morris attended the Bristol School until the opening of Ojai Valley School in October 1923. As he had promised, Frost supplied the funds to build a shop and a dormitory to hold 30 boarding children. By the fall of 1924, the dorm was filled to capacity. Almost 100 years later, this little school has grown to two campuses, accommodating more than 300 boarders and day students from prekindergarten to 12th grade.

Wallace Burr.
Pioneers. Ojai Valley School began as a tutoring program in the home of Phillip and Emily Van Patten. It grew under the guidance of Olive Bristol and flourished under the vision and philosophy of Edward Yeomans. Although Yeomans's view remained important to the ethos of Ojai Valley School, the "real world" of education inevitably intervened. Issues of funding and concerns that students were not receiving a conventional education were raised by parents and faculty. This eventually led to a restructuring of the school's daily schedule and curriculum. Classes were set up to be better aligned with standard subject matter, all the while retaining an emphasis on creativity, experiential learning, and individuality. This transition was orchestrated by a series of exceptional individuals, beginning with Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen and continuing with Wallace Burr (pictured). Teachers often worked without pay for long periods because they believed in the education of children and the values of the school's founders.

Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen.
First Lady in Charge. Olive Bristol was contemplating retirement in 1921, and Yeomans saw an opportunity to open his own school with the existing Bristol enrollment. He agreed to purchase the school from the Bristols in 1922. The transfer took place on March 15, 1923, when the Bristol School became Ojai Valley School, continuing to operate on the Bristol property while the new campus was being completed. Then, tuition was $200 a year. Yeomans selected Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen (pictured), an advocate of progressive education and a Norse mythology teacher whom he had met in Chicago in 1919, as the first headmistress. One of her teachers, Kitty Bragg, admired her administrative abilities. "Mrs. Thorne-Thomsen was an exacting headmistress, but supported and defended her teachers, if necessary, until they proved inadequate or unworthy, in which latter case they didn't stay long at the school."

A Woman of Many Talents. When the Bristol School became Ojai Valley School in 1923, it was agreed that Thorne-Thomsen would make decisions regarding educational and disciplinary matters as the new headmistress. She was known for her lectures on children's literature and on improve the standards of education. She authored several children's books and was a much-loved storyteller. Thorne-Thomsen was a stern disciplinarian and served as headmistress from 1923 to 1936.

In 1925, during her term, the first board of trustees was appointed. Those selected to serve on the board were Morgan Barnes, Frank Frost, Georg Thorne-Thompson [Georg Thorne-Thomsen; B. 1871 (Norway); D. May 28, 1936 (Ventura, Calif.); Spouse: Gudrun Nielsen Thorne-Thomsen (1873-1956); children: Francis Thorne-Thomsen (1897-1987) & Leif Thorne-Thomsen (1907-1994)], Carl Lindin [Mrs. Carl Eric Lindin], Mary Bard, and Edward Yeomans. When the school and its students moved to the new campus, there were 48 day students and 17 boarders.


The graphic relief map, North America. Designed and drawn by Georg Thorne-Thomsen. 1:6,336,000. A.J. Nystrom & Co., Chicago [1915].

The graphic relief map, South America. Designed and drawn by Georg Thorne-Thomsen. 1:6,336,000. A.J. Nystrom & Co., Chicago (1915].

Nystrom (A.J.) and Company, Chicago. The Webster-Knowlton_Hazen European history maps; a teacher's manual, by Georg Thorne-Thomsen. © 15Sep24, Nystrom & Co.

-- Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, Volume 47, by American Geographical Society of New York

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