Anon Bush and Lou Gottlieb—12/1/76
SABIRA: Okay, you're on, why don't you tell me a little bit of what you recall about meeting Murshid, or in any way you want to put it.
LOU: It must have been in early '68, and it was at Morningstar Ranch and it was underneath what was then called the upper house. I was there digging out a space which was to be a retaining wall, and I was digging and Gary Sawder (sp?) was helping me—he was the contractor—then Sheila McKendrick, now USA, came in underneath this—it was like a cave, it was a cellar—followed by a very short man, stocky, gray hair, very good complexion—high tones, shining skin—but from my point of view then—extremely dropped-in—he looked like a retired accountant who had been taking care of his health.
SABIRA: He didn't have a beard then?
SABIRA: Was he wearing a robe?
LOU: No. He was in slacks and a shirt, regular Arrow shirt type.
SABIRA: Disheveled or neat?
LOU: Neat. I have almost no recollection of the meeting except he did take a shovel and do some work. The only question that I asked him that I can remember is, "Tell me about sex." He says, "I don't know anything about it."
SABIRA: How'd you happen to ask him that question?
LOU: I was involved in a cosmic relationship, who knows: He said, "I can't tell you anything about it because I don't know anything about it."
SABIRA: That's very interesting; we've been trying to collate the information that we have so far that Samuel didn't ever have a sexual relationship with a woman.
LOU: I believe he was Brahmacharya; I have seen Brahmacharis in India and they have the same skin color, same skin shine. Then the only other time that I saw him was someplace in Marin County in a large room and he was conducting a celebration of some kind—maybe it was a Monday night. This was three months later perhaps. I was horribly embarrassed because he looked and acted too Jewish, and I am a half-Jew, therefore I am terribly sensitive to any stereotypic Jewish behavior—for some reason or another he looked to me like a character out of a Julius Streicher cartoon. And the only thing that he did that really impressed me was that he held his hands as if he were playing a transverse flute and sang. That was very high.
SABIRA: That was the flute of Krishna. What was too Jewish? What did he do?
LOU: (expletives and hand waving description here) You are not Jewish.
SABIRA: Oh, yes I am.
LOU: It is a self-loathing.
SABIRA: What did he do, I don't understand.
LOU: You've never heard of people saying, "He's too Jewish for the room, go get your nose bobbed dear." He was too Jewish for the room. In other words he was behaving in a manner that perhaps can only be perceived by analogy with the Blacks in this country when they refer to a guy as "home." He was too close to European Jews. He seemed unassimilated. In a word he reminded me of my father with a few drinks, when he was cutting up. But my father was always afraid of that, but it seemed as though he had Jewish mannerisms—too much European Jewish mannerisms. It was the way he was laughing, it seemed as if he were terribly self-satisfied. He was absolutely delighted with how witty he was, and I could see a lot of people who were deriving pleasure from what he was saying and doing. I left! That's all I know about Sam Lewis.
SABIRA: Very interesting.
LOU: I have seen since a book in which he said, "I planted one year and nothing came up; I planted the next year and nothing came up; I planted the next year add nothing came up; I planted another year, it started to come up, and then everything that I had planted the year before came up." I know that he was a man in a great tradition, oh excuse me, I have one other story to tell you. A friend of mine by the name of Ramon Sender drew an insignia, a design for Morningstar Ranch, and it was somehow given to Samuel Lewis. I received two letters from him; he was extremely upset by this insignia because it had a winged-heart on it, and he said that this insignia was being used without authority; he gave his own credentials as having been added to the tradition at a certain time. I answered that this insignia was also through a tradition, and that Ramon was a Sufi, which he is, from Spain. There were two letters, and that's all I remember.
SABIRA: And then what happened with the insignia?
LOU: It's still available—I'll show it to you, one second…
SABIRA: I'll turn off the tape for a minute .
SABIRA: And then this is Anon Bliss, and he is going to tell his story; what do you recall about meeting Samuel Lewis?
ANON: Let's see, I met Sam in 1966 when he was living in just a small little apartment.
SABIRA: On Clementina?
ANON: I believe so.
SABIRA: That's where he lived before he moved to Precita.
ANON: It's where Moineddin met him. And then only about a dozen people came. At that time I was beginning my search for God, and Sam gave me flashes of an Intelligence beyond myself. I was starting to feel that but I didn't know what it was, and one of the things I remember was him playing his Krishna flute. As a musician it gave me an insight into sound—a Divine sound.
SABIRA: What do you remember about that?
ANON: Just that it relaxed me; the room became full of light for me, and at one of those meetings, he said to me, "You are one of my disciples." But I never said anything to him.
SABIRA: Did you become his disciple?
ANON: No, the more I grew to know Sam, the more I saw that he was a man who was endowed with a knowledge of sound and music and dance. And I think his one mistake was in becoming a Guru, because then he went off into a whole different existence. When I knew him, he was just a beautiful old man.
SABIRA: How'd you happen to go to his house, though? Who introduced you?
ANON: I believe Karl and Pat, that's Moineddin and Fatima. I was associated quite close with them at the time in the Haight/Ashbury, and I think that they just told me, "There's this man that we are going to see, he is a Sufi and he has meetings every week." And so I just went to check it out, because I was checking out everything in those days. And then I left San Francisco and was travelling around the country, and from then on I would just come into San Francisco, back and forth, finally wound up in Los Angeles. I would write letters to Sam and he would write back, and he turned me on to a few Sufis, down in Southern California, whom I visited. And I would come back, and then I saw segments of the process of where Sam was with just twelve people, then more people coming, becoming a Guru and getting a following and the lavish robes, the beard. Also during that process he became more and more impersonal to me. I would come and say, "Hi," and he would just walk right by. I also saw this in all the Sufis, too, who were old friends of mine; they also behaved like if I wasn't a Sufi, they didn't have time for me, and Sam was the same way. I think that if he had just been a music instructor and a dance instructor, he probably would be alive today. That's not for me to say, but I think his life would have been a lot easier and a lot more joyful. He did give me some early flashes, but he was just one of many along my search for God.
SABIRA: Was there something to the story about your name and Sam?
ANON: No, that's between God and me. Sam really had nothing to do with changing my name. I was writing music and the more I wrote the more it became like a mystical experience, because I was saying, "How can I write such beautiful things, they must be coming from some source other than me." And I found out that it is me and it is also a source that rules the whole existence. At that time, this was in 1968, I was searching for the unknown author, that's sort of where Anon came from, short for anonymous; and then I went to a Japanese Zendo in Los Angeles and the Master there said, "Do you know what Anon means in Japanese?" I said, "No." he said, "It means Bliss, like Ananda and Anon" and I said, "That's far out, Anon Bliss." And from then on, I was Anon Bliss until oh in 50-year Siva Kalpa which was 1971 early, Father said, "No need to be anonymous, Bliss has to become unanimous." So now it is Unanimous Bliss. And Anon is just for short, it is not anonymous anymore.
SABIRA: That explains why Sheila said to write you as Unanimous and when I got ready to write the letter Wali Ali said, "Oh, his name is Anonymous." Well I didn't know. When you went to Los Angeles, I understand that you introduced Claire Burnham to Murshid. How did that happen; what's in that story?
ANON: Let's see, she was living in a trailer back in some hills, and our association of friends got us together, and she at the same time was searching for God, she was trying to make something come together, and she was thinking of going to San Francisco, and so I said, “If you are going to San Francisco, why don't you look up Samuel Lewis? And because there are a lot of people that go to see him, you'll meet a lot of people, and you just may put a few questions that you have in your mind—he may have the answers for them." So she came up and then she never left his house. I see her every now and then at certain gatherings.
SABIRA: Then when was the last time that you saw Samuel Lewis?
ANON: Let's see, I came back to San Francisco in 1970, then I went to Novato and stayed a couple of nights n the house up there.
SABIRA: Was this the Sufi Khankah or the Olompali ranch?
ANON: No, the place in Novato, the house on Railroad.
SABIRA: That would be the Khankah.
ANON: And I spent a few days visiting there, then I went back in the city; I stayed at Saul's place for a couple of days.
SABIRA: Did you see Samuel Lewis at that time?
ANON: I went to the house, and I always like a warm greeting, like old friends should hug or at least say, "Hi." It was just that same attitude from Sam, he was just too busy, it was just zoom, zoom, zoom, he didn't have time. On one of my journeys to San Francisco I went to a meeting, and that was the last time that I saw Sheila—that was in '68—she was Mama-San then. I hadn't seen her for about a year, and she was getting ready to go to India, and she walked into the room and everybody rose, and they all bowed to Mama-San. She was one of the most enlightened Sufis at that time; she was being pampered by Sam, and all of his attention was for Sheila, and everybody just Mama-San, Mama-San, just bowed to her, and she just walked, she sat on Sam's left side that night.
SABIRA: It usually was his right.
ANON: But she sat on the left, and we would just always exchange glances, That is the last time that I saw her, and the next time that I ran into Sheila was up at 59 Scott Street and that is when I came over to play music, and I met some people in the family. Then here Sheila walks in, and then for me several things started to be put together about all the people. You meet a lot of people in your search for God, and it just kind of put a lot of things together until the next instant, then Father walked in and slapped me on the knee and started just rapping away for hours revealing the Divine creation. I could never really understand that, but I began to understand why Sam couldn't come and become friends with Father.
SABIRA: What is your opinion on that?
ANON: Sam had a lot to give up; if he would have realized who Father was and actually surrendered himself to that idea, he would have had to go back to singing and dancing.
SABIRA: Is that then why you think that Sam would not see Father?
ANON: Sam was a Sufi and he had the mission in life to create the Sufis, and he wasn't about to give up that idea for anything, even if God were to appear to him in a human form, because then he would have to give up everything. The idea of Sufis is the aspiration to realize God, and when that comes into fulfillment there is no need for Sufis. Then you are not a Sufi anymore, because then you are in the light of God. You aren't anything; you aren't a Christian, you aren't a Sufi, you aren't a Jew, you aren't anything—you are an expression of a living entity that realizes God. It doesn't really have any limits on it except God limited himself to a body. Sam didn't want to really see that. All religions have their purposes because for this time the need for limitation of those certain spiritual bodies are needed, because we are all going to melt into one eventually, and through time, the process of time, all the religions will just slowly dissipate instead of all at once where everybody would be all freaked out.
SABIRA: So then Sheila went from being Mama-San…
ANON: …to being the black-sheep.
SABIRA: Right, that was after she came back from India.
ANON: Yeah, after I met Sheila again, then I went back up to the house in Novato, and I talked to Mansur and several other people about that—I was a Sufi, and I see that the aspirations of the Sufis have been realized.
SABIRA: Did you go there to see, to find out if Sam would see Father?
ANON: No, I didn't even talk to Sam.
SABIRA: No, did you go to the Khankah to see if there was a way that they might suggest to Sam that he should see Father?
ANON: No—to me, I knew Sam as a friend—I was visiting friends—Sam would never have entered my mind at that time. I was going to see old friends and just talk to them, and try to get a good feeling, and instead, when I brought up Sheila's name—everything would be nice, I was just talking to them—as soon as I brought up Sheila—enraged! They were all outraged—just the mention of her name, especially with Mansur—he would just stand up and just start screaming about Sheila. I found out that on several encounters.
SABIRA: What do you remember about that? Why were they so angry at her, from your point of view?
ANON: Sheila is very persistent. When she wants to get a point across, you really can't stop her, and she really had the biggest point of all to get across to him, and in that way she oppressed a lot of people because they just didn't want to hear what Sheila had to say, because as a Sufi—she was set up to go to India to—Sam said, "Something great is going to happen, you are going to be like a guiding light to the Sufis," and so she went there and she ran into this beggar. She came back and she was just so overjoyed that she really wanted all the Sufis and Sam—because she loved Sam so much—she wanted them all to find out that a vision, a beginning of a new age had begun, and again, it is like all religions— I am not against religions—but they really limit, because people start saying, "We've got our way and you've got your way and never the twain shall meet. We love God, we are Sufis and you are this," so the only person I found that could understand what was happening to Sheila and to me and to Lou was Jemila. She is the only Sufi that has even a vague hint of what's going on right now with Sheila, what Sheila's mission was, what she realized.
LOU: I know why that is— Sufism is by definition opposed to Messianism. Messianism is the creator of the universe in human form; the Jews are blood and bone Messianic; the Christians are blood and bone Messianic; the Sufis do not recognize Messianism. They think that it is a tradition rather than an incarnation. That is why, in my opinion, Sam Lewis, who was a very great Guru—that means produced chelas who exceeded him—Sheila exceeded him, that's why he is a great Guru. It is a piss-poor Guru that doesn't produce a chela who exceeds him. Sam Lewis definitely produced at least one chela that exceeded him; I refer to Sheila. She was able to transcend the limitations of Sufism; for which I have great respect, but which becomes instantly obsolete the minute the creator of the universe appears in human form. It also covers the truth because it denied Samuel Lewis the ability to see this. He had so much confidence in the great tradition of all these very wise men, but these men are like fireflies in the face of the sun. I don't want to show disrespect, I don't want to say that my guru is greater than yours, anything of the sort, I am only saying that there are certain philosophic traditions which are in direct opposition to Messianism, and Sufism is one.
SABIRA: Yeah, the Sufis feel that these various beings are Prophets.
LOU: We are not talking about that, we are talking about the creator of the universe in human form; we are talking about that which the book of Revelations is predicting, we are talking about Messiah which is blood and bone of Torah, it is the blood and bone of Haf-Torah, it is the culmination of all religions, but if you are continuously reading the book, continuously worshiping a tradition—which the Murshid was—the truth is covered for you, and I would say it is this limitation which ultimately proved that Samuel Lewis was mortal.
SABIRA: One of the stories we have on Samuel is that he was wondering why he had so many limitations, and he went into meditation and what he received from God was that: "Your limitations are My Perfections." What are you referring to when you say that Jemila understood about Sheila?
ANON: Jemila knew that the Sufis still had to exist, still had to maintain their Order for this time. She knows that in time she has to exceed those limitations, and she knows that Sheila has a key that will bring her to that next step.
SABIRA: Did she tell you this? Has Jemila told you this?
ANON: She knows that, yeah; it was at a gathering up in Sonoma at a college. And the Sufis have to exist for this time, just as many other groups have to exist, and there is going to come a time when I believe that Jemila is going to be the one that will bring the Sufis into the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, and she is the closest one that could listen to this truth without freaking out. The rest of them could only come to a certain point and then they would freak out.
SABIRA: You mean, the truth is Father?
LOU: You see, Messianism or the ability to recognize that the creator has seized a human form, and this time he has seized what was a beggar in Bengal. So this time the myth is Beggar of to Ruler of the Planet in 21 years. The last time around it was Carpenter from Nazareth to Golgotha in three years. But the thing is, is the cast of characters plausible? I submit that the form that the creator of the universe has seized this time is eminently plausible, and that is why I believe. I have watched the thing since the second year of its history; we are now in the eleventh. I have seen that everything he says he does, and everything that he does he has predicted. What he says happens, and I can only say that this ability—the gift, the grace, or whatever it is—to recognize this fact is not available to everybody.
SABIRA: I know Father didn't meet Sam, but do you have any idea about what his opinion about Sam is?
LOU: Sure, he thinks that he was a Guru, and Gurus are obsolete because they are little lights, they put a limit on the creation of their time. You see, Christ was unable to produce anyone who exceeded him. Ram-Krishna was unable to produce anyone who exceeded him, Moses was unable to produce anyone who exceeded him, Shankaracharya and Buddha and the rest the same way, with all due respect to Samuel Levis. Samuel Lewis exceeded them because he did definitely produce at least one disciple, an important disciple in his constellation who exceeded him completely, who synthesized every teaching that he had into a platform from which she could recognize the reality, the fact that the creator of the universe does from time to time appear in human form, and it takes a creation of faith, a leap of faith to recognize it or in other words, a withholding of judgment.
The only thing that I would say about any doctrine—and the Sufis' doctrine I have read as much as I can of it—I think it is absolutely incredible; it is really a brilliant idea that it is the true vine—or it is the trunk around which all religions wind. I sometimes feel that I am a reincarnation of Ibn El Arabi, because I have read his things—and you know how you get these things, but ultimately all of those guru trips—and I say that with all pardonable lack of modesty—are limitations which cover the truth, render the person unable to see the plausibility of the cast this time around temporarily. Now, if this turns out to be a "My guru is greater than your guru," I want to be eliminated from this existence right before your eyes right now. That is not what I am telling you, it is not gospel, that is haggling; it has nothing whatever to do with that. The achievement of Samuel Lewis is imperishable; I have heard the records of the Sufi Choir and they are miracles of vocal scoring. It is definitely who is following his path has a key to great mastery in music, there is no doubt about that, but as far as a role of world significance, a role which will make actually everyone happy, it is a kind of a backwater, that's all. And I see that even when I say that, it sounds like a contention, it sounds like a low rating and all that. It has nothing to do with that, nothing whatever. That "my guru is greater than your guru" is something that I have absolutely forbidden for myself—and I don't sit around to do it or to listen to it. Just erase the tape—if that is the way it sounds to you.
SABIRA: What is your opinion about Sam's reason for existence?
ANON: I think I have pretty much said that. He helped me, he helped a lot of people. Like in 1966 I really didn't know what was happening to me. I just started getting up in the morning and I would go up to the living room where I was living, and I would sit in a half lotus, or just sit on the couch and just be quiet and still, and I would start crying or flashes would come into my mind. The whole room would turn into light and I would disappear, and then all of a sudden I would come back. I didn't know what I was doing. Then I started looking into Zen—I looked into everything there—and that is when Samuel Lewis presented himself to me, because then so many people were getting those flashes and nobody knew what they were, and Sam was one of the first people that I could meet and talk to like this face to face, and hear some answer about why am I seeing these lights, why am I enraptured at times right out of the blue. And I found out that I was being seized by God, and the more I pursued it, finally I would find God. And I went through a lot of gurus; I was going to become a monk in SRF at one time, and from the first days when I didn't know what was happening, it just seized me, these meditations, getting up in the morning and just go up and clear your mind and think of me alone. I wasn't even thinking of me alone, it was like clearing my mind of all the garbage, and Sam helped me clear my mind of a lot of garbage at that time. He put me on the path. I felt that Sufis are far-out because it opens your mind, really, to so many avenues—different ways to find God. Like a Sufi can find God anywhere, He can appear at anytime, so be prepared. And that's what I gathered from my experience with Sam and also all the Sufis.
My last guru or endeavor in certain techniques was Paramahansa Yogananda which employs a lot of different meditation techniques. I finally came to a point two weeks before I was to go into the monastery and I got a flash, "You can't go up on the mountain top and just meditate. Your job is to be with the people; you are not going to find me in a monastery." I came back to San Francisco and shortly after that I met Father. I had seen that the more and more of what gurus or a teacher would tell me, "Sit this way and think of this; put your eyes up here," all this was techniques. And I flashed that I was losing that initial flash in 1966 where I didn't know what I was doing. The more and more it got into "this is what you do to find God," the less feeling I got from it, because I was involved in the technique itself.
They always said that you had to overcome technique before you would get there, but I said, "I had it before I didn't even know anything about it." So that's when I just dropped out of a regimented type of a search for God. The last thing I told my mother when I left L.A. was, "I've had it with gurus up to here, and I am going to try to find my Father." But I didn't know at that time what I was really saying. I was going to look for a man that could give me the flashes of God, I didn't know what was in store for me, that I would meet a man that was God personified, and was my Father.
SABIRA: You really knew it at that time because you said it that way.
ANON: Yes, I had a feeling, I was getting back into the feeling of "follow your feelings" and just go where they lead you, and don't hurt anybody and tell the truth, and you will become your circumstances.
SABIRA: Yeah, that sounds like that is probably all we need to have on tape. I have one question, did Sam ever tell you that unless you changed your name that he wouldn't initiate you, that Anonymous was an ego trip? That was one of the stories I heard just from heresay.
ANON: No because I never asked to be initiated.