Feb. 22, 1976
Dear Wali Ali,
My thought in tackling this enormous project was to deal with subjects which came to mind i.e.; food, gardening, work, etc., as Murshid dealt with them. I'm going to start out writing because today I don't have any tapes, but have located a tape recorder.
I remember Murshid many times complaining of never having help from his disciples. Finally, it sank in that he meant Me. So I made an appointment to help him at the Khankah. I arrived on a hot Summer afternoon, Murshid handed me a hoe and told me to dig weeds in the baked earth. My immediate reaction was one of refusing to do it because the sun was really intense. But I thought, "No, I'll survive." So I started to dig, using a mantram on the breath. After about five minutes I actually started getting into it. All of a sudden Murshid yelled from the house, "Alright, that's enough, come in for some ice cream." Somehow I had the feeling I passed.
Murshid used to love to crawl around on his hands and knees in the garden. Many times I would drive out and find him crawling around in the strawberry patch. In those days Jelal-ud-din and I had as neurotic dog named Mardu. She had a fetish about tennis balls and sticks. She would lie and stare at sticks in front of Murshid while he was on his hands and knees in the strawberry patch. Every time I walked by such a scene, Murshid would look at me expectantly. Finally, I realized that I had to dismiss the dog and that he was not going to do it himself.
Murshid, many times, made connections between the Khankah and the palace of Akbar, in which the servants where expected to read their Master's mind. Murshid accomplished this in many ways with the people connected with the Khankah and would barely contain his disappointments and annoyances at the family meetings when this failed to occur. It was as if he had very little time to whip us into shape, or more likely, he lived so intensely himself. I realize now how patient he actually was.
Murshid's methods of planting where most unusual. He would get, as he called it "way high." At such times he would take a package of seeds and literally throw them on the ground. One time Fatima reported a patch of seedlings one foot in diameter. Murshid had literally dumped the entire package in one spot. Actually, he used "crawling around in the garden" as a way to come down from his morning sessions at the typewriter.
As one of his world projects was feeding people, food wasting was a grave matter on any level. Murshid became very angry when lettuce was bought at the super market and left to go to seed in the garden.
Love + blessings—Ahura