Rosalind Rajagopal

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Rosalind Edith Rajagopal, (née Rosalind Edith Williams, 1903–1996) was a long-time director of the Happy Valley School in Ojai, California, United States, which she founded with Jiddu Krishnamurti, Guido Ferrando, and Aldous Huxley in 1946.[1]

Through her family's involvement in the Theosophical Society she became acquainted with Jiddu Krishnamurti[2] and his ailing brother Nityananda ("Nitya", 1898–1925) in 1922. At the time, she had been asked to be a companion and nurse to the latter, who died of tuberculosis in 1925. Rosalind developed close ties to the brothers and sometime after her 1927 marriage to their fellow Indian associate Rajagopal Desikacharya (commonly D. Rajagopal, or "Raja", 1900–1993), she and the philosopher Krishnamurti began a long-term romantic relationship. This relationship became a source of controversy when it was revealed in the 1991 book Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti written by her daughter Radha Rajagopal Sloss.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

She was born Rosalind Edith Williams on 20 June 1903 in Buffalo, New York, to John Williams and Sophia Waldow. She was the youngest of four daughters. During 1918, Sophia Williams left her husband and moved to Hollywood with her daughters. It was through Rosalind's Theosophist sister Erma, that she met also-Theosophist Mary Gray. In 1922 Gray enlisted Rosalind to help with the newly arrived from India Jiddu brothers, who were staying at Gray's estate in Ojai, California. Jiddu Krishnamurti, then twenty-seven years old, was being groomed by the quasi-mystical, pan-religious society as the "vehicle" of a World Teacher, a sort of new Christ expected imminently by many Theosophists. His brother Nitya was charged with fulfilling administrative and organizational duties related to Krishnamurti's mission. Noted for her beauty and vivacity, Rosalind became close to both. This relationship lead to her being a witness, along with Nitya, of Krishnamurti's "life-changing" spiritual experiences of August–September 1922.

Because of her special relationship with the Jiddu brothers, Rosalind moved with them through rarefied Theosophical circles, making the acquaintances of Annie Besant, Charles Webster Leadbeater and authors Emily and Mary Lutyens. She accompanied the brothers to India and Australia in 1925. It was in Sydney that Nitya's tuberculosis grew worse, hastening the trio's return to the more beneficial climate of Ojai in July. According to her daughter Radha Rajagopal Sloss, Rosalind and Nitya were in love when he died in November 1925, leaving Rosalind permanently affected by his loss.

Marriage and friendships[edit]

In 1927 Rosalind married D. Rajagopal while in London, in a wedding organized with great care and enthusiasm by Annie Besant, who was approving of the couple's relationship.[5] D. Rajagopal, Krishnamurti's friend and editor, and Rosalind had been charged with looking after Krishnamurti's interests by Mrs. Besant following the death of Nitya. The three lived in close proximity in Ojai from the late 1920s through the 1960s, and the Rajagopals were closely involved with Krishnamurti when he broke with the Theosophical Society and began his independent speaking career in 1929.

Rosalind's marriage was not a happy one; after the birth of a daughter, Radha, in 1931, the couple became physically estranged, and their relationship was never close again.[6] (The Rajagopals finally divorced in the early 1960s).[7] According to Radha Rajagopal Sloss, the long affair between Krishnamurti and Rosalind began in 1932[8] and it endured for about twenty-five years. However the ending of the relationship was not amicable, and damaged their friendship, which never recovered.[9]

During the late 1930s Krishnamurti and Rosalind became close friends with Aldous Huxley and his wife Maria, with frequent visits and correspondence. Huxley reputedly modeled the character of Virginia in his 1939 novel, After Many a Summer, on Rosalind.[10] She was present at Huxley's deathbed on 22 November 1963.

Happy Valley School and Foundation[edit]

Rosalind became the director of the Happy Valley School now named Besant Hill School after its inception in 1946, and eventually became president of the Happy Valley Foundation.[11] Krishnamurti disassociated himself from the school in the early 1960s as he became estranged from Rosalind and D. Rajagopal. Their subsequent complete break led to acrimony and lawsuits between D. Rajagopal, the older Krishnamurti organization (Krishnamurti Writings Inc. [KWINC], of which D. Rajagopal was the head), and its trustees on one side, and J. Krishnamurti, the newer Krishnamurti Foundations, and their trustees, on the opposite side. As Rosalind was involved in the disputes, her already-distant and unamiable relationship with Krishnamurti dissolved completely in the face of the legal and personality conflicts. Most of the legal matters were resolved prior to Krishnamurti's death in 1986; however, the three never made up their personal differences.[12] Rosalind died in 1996 having shared a house in Ojai for many years with the artist Beatrice Wood and serving on the Happy Valley Foundation board of directors until 1988.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sloss, Radha Rajagopal (1998). The Story of Happy Valley. Ojai, California: Happy Valley Foundation.
  2. ^ Lutyens, Mary (1975). Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening. New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux p. 308. ISBN 0-374-18222-1. Jiddu was Krishnamurti's family name.
  3. ^ Sloss, Radha Rajagopal (1991). Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 0-7475-0720-1.
  4. ^ Lutyens, Mary (1996). Krishnamurti and the Rajagopals. Ojai, California: Krishnamurti Foundation of America. ISBN 1-888004-08-8. Sloss' book prompted the publication of this rebuttal biography by Lutyens, an official Krishnamurti biographer and a longtime friend and associate of his.
  5. ^ Sloss 1991 p. 93; Lutyens, Mary (2003). The Life and Death of Krishnamurti. Bramdean: Krishnamurti Foundation Trust. p. 71. ISBN 0-900506-22-9. Annie Besant "gave Rosalind away".
  6. ^ Sloss 1991 pp. 111–112.
  7. ^ Sloss 1991 pp. 271–272.
  8. ^ Sloss 1991 p. 117.
  9. ^ Sloss 1991 pp. 250–256; M. Lutyens 1996 "Chapter 22".
  10. ^ Huxley, Aldus (1939). After Many a Summer. London: Chatto and Windus. ISBN 0-06-091063-1.
  11. ^ Happy Valley Foundation [website].
  12. ^ Sloss 1991 "Chapter 28: A New Circle in the Shadow" and "Chapter 29: The Wheels of Justice" pp. 285–317 [cumulative]; M. Lutyens 1996 "Chapter 27" through "Chapter 32".

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