The Cogswells: Yasmin, Farhad, Shibli, Kristin—6/8/76
SABIRA: What do you all recall about meeting Murshid?
SHIBLI: I met him first through Amin and Amina when they were living on the Boardwalk in Larkspur and commuting regularly—I believe it was '68—Amin might have a better sense of the time—it was '68 about August. The group was very small, and Murshid was exceedingly bright, exceedingly lucid, very much a being of light on what you might say astral and etheric planes and just as much on the earth plane. There was energy and vibration in all of his concentrations. It was like a season where he was giving out, the group was very small and very intuitive, and he was very high by it. A perfect collation of teacher to disciple, talk about energy, the teacher was filling the disciples in the way that he could best do and the disciples in turn were giving to him—perhaps unknowingly to some—but I feel the group was even conscious of the reciprocal feeling of it. He spoke one night on the way home from a birthday of the love and the thanks that he had gotten from having so many children and how much this had returned so much to him the base feelings and vibrations which had been denied to him in an earlier time of his life.
FARHAD: I met Murshid the same way that Shibli did, through Amin Quan who was Stanley Quan; this was in 1967, and he had recently come back from India and he moved in as a neighbor to me with some other people.
SABIRA: You said 1967, and Shibli said 1968—
FARHAD: You were '68 probably, if I am not mistaken, I don't remember when you actually came back to the country whether we had met him before or after. But I was initiated with a group of people at the Mentorgarten on the same night that Vasistha was initiated, and he remembers it was Feb. of 1968 which is the only way I can fix the date, although I know it was recorded, it was recorded that night, so somewhere in the records is the exact date of this, but I met him awhile before I was initiated. If there was a person who was directly responsible for my being initiated, it was Amin himself, because when I met him I was looking for the equivalent of a spiritual teacher although I wasn't sure of it at the time. I was looking for a community and he had come from India with a lot of atmosphere that I was trying to soak up and understand. And then he met Murshid and began to describe him to all of the people in the house. It was like dominoes falling; everybody in the house went with Amin, one by one or two by two to see Murshid, and ended up going back to see him every time. It was only one night a week at first, and then it was two nights a week, and then he had a string of people that he would send you off to see the rest of the nights. Dr. Warwick, Master To-Lun, Joe Miller, and I keep trying to think of the one person I haven't thought of yet—Gavin Arthur! I can't remember how many people, but from no nights a week to one night a week, it got to be just about every night per week in once place or another.
SABIRA: Why do you think he sent you to all those different teachers?
FARHAD: Because one of the predominant themes running through all of the meetings at first, since my sense of everyone who was there was probably a little self-centered, but I thought they were all like me, and I was certainly curious and that was what originally led me to want to meet a spiritual teacher. At least on my part, I felt Murshid right away and I didn't really feel anybody else like I felt him even though he sent us to a lot of people, but everyone—I keep wanting to say everyone, when I mean myself—but I felt it was a group feeling of what is a spiritual teacher? And if Murshid was a spiritual teacher what were these other people, and he had a definite attitude about other spiritual teachers. He felt that there were a lot of them and that they were all valid and that we should have as much experience with each as we wanted in order to understand. And he had the ones that he knew of that he wanted to send us to so that we would have that experience. Some people spent more time than others visiting and getting the atmosphere of one or another spiritual teacher, for instance Master To-Lun At first I went to visit him, and I started, I believe, a good deal of time before the rest of them did, as much as a year or more in some cases. Then after about a year or thereabouts of being—I was just like a kid in a candy store-finding all the things he wanted to eat in as great a profusion as he thought he could consume—
SHIBLI: You were at the dry cleaner at that time?
FARHAD: But what got in my way was that it began to eat up an awful lot of my time. First I was more than willing, even eager, to give the time, but all of a sudden I found myself involved in all these concentrations trying to keep them going, and trying to keep a business going and trying to keep the family going, and it began to get too involved. There began to be problems internally with the family and just a general feeling of my giving more time to things that I was doing with Murshid or because of Murshid, and after I went through a little bit of a tug of war with myself about that I cut way back, and just cut a lot of classes and evenings out, and put my energy back into the family. We didn't all go in the same direction at once, but I—
SABIRA: I think we should get into those things after everyone has their initial time with how they met Murshid. Yasmin?
YASMIN: I didn't go to him because he was a spiritual teacher, and I didn't go to him because I was looking for anything, and I didn't go to him because I thought he was going to teach me anything. The reason why I went to see Murshid was that Farhad and Shibli were going and they said he was the grooviest thing they had ever seen, that I ought to go and spend some time just sitting in his living room, and so all my evenings were taken up with my acting concentration which I had been doing since I was first in High school. At that time I was planning to be a professional actress and I had everything pointing in that direction, and it just so happened that a play came along that had an all male cast, and the rehearsals which were always in the evenings didn't concern me; I did all my work on the costumes and the sets during the day and I had all my evenings free. So I started going to the City with either Farhad or Shibli or probably both and everybody else that was involved. A whole lot of people lived on the boardwalk in one house at that time, and we used to all meet and have dinner together and then drive to the City saying Om Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai, Jai Ram all the way, until Murshid told us that he didn't really think we should say mantrams because people got into car accidents when they got too high. But basically my contact with him was totally non-intellectual; I hardly remember anything that he said except that we spent most of the evenings laughing, and after that we raided his refrigerator, and I just was fascinated with him, with his whole self, but not with his mind necessarily. I feel as though he related to everybody in a different way, and to some people he showed himself as a brilliant mental person, and to others he showed himself as a warm heart or a strong personality or whatever. To me, all that I remember is that every time I came into the room he would always stand up and hug me—no matter what else was happening, no matter what he was saying to everybody else, he never failed to give me a hug. Now I just see that for him to have poured his heart energy into me didn't involve much intellectual stuff, but it just built this bond between us that sucked me in—like reeling in a fish—because I didn't want anything from him and he—in fact I left at one point because I was in a professional acting company down south and I had all this stuff I was doing. For three months I didn't go back, and then the next time I went back I suddenly realized that the reason that I went back was because of all the people on the whole face of the earth this was somebody that I truly loved. I could go on but I don't think it is time; it was just this process of totally having your mind blown because he was never anything that you could expect, but he was so total in everything that he did that there was nothing like it. No other experience offered anything like that; it was absolute self-assurance in the most incredibly insane situations. We followed him, one Sat. afternoon to the dance class—he used to have them in the afternoons—we were walking down Haight-Ashbury—this was our dance class to walk up and down Haight St. and chant—I don't even remember what it was, but probably Allah, Allah, Allah. And he just had his beads on, he had his prayer cap on and his dervish brown robe which came up to the backs of his knees and his floppy socks that always came halfway off his feet, and he just looked like nothing, and so weird—and we were all following him—following along behind him, "Allah, Allah, Allah," and people were sitting along the side of the road and they would go, "hey! what's all this, hey you guys, what are you doing." And he ignored them, absolutely wouldn’t relate, and he wouldn't let us relate either. It was like his mission at that point wasn’t to stop say, “Hi! I’m Sufi Sam, come join me and say, Allah Allah," it was just pure blessing the street and people got what they got.
SABIRA: Did people follow you as you went down the street?
YASMIN: Yeah, people did. Were you there that day, I think I remember you?
SHIBLI: I was there for at least one and maybe several Haight-Ashbury walks; we went through Kezac stadium one time, came down from around the parking lot came down from the UC Medical hill, from the U.C. Medical Center, then turned right onto Haight-Ashbury and I think came back through the park panhandle.
YASMIN: I remember, we stopped at Brother Junipers.
SHIBLI: It was a concentration of meditation in action that he was working with much of the time on many of those walks. And one of the truly—he could have been an, intellectual draw, but I don't think it was his intellectual draw that hooked people, as sort of the gate—just like the way that he would play cards with people, it was used in that kind of energy when it was needed, but it was heart-giving out and blessings and experiences of love, harmony and beauty put into actual practice. He would try to show us—he would put us on breathing rhythms, mantric rhythms, either internal or as a group external, and he would try to get us to be equal breathed, equal in balance and to be in tune as a group and Toward The One as a group, and to be able to radiate that energy. And it worked. Kris hasn't said anything about how she met Murshid yet.
KRISTIN: I was still in high school at the time and I used to hang out at Farhad's and do a lot of baby-sitting. Farhad's was the place where I felt that I could be most comfortable and be myself; there was a lot of warmth and family feeling, there, and I was going through all the high school changes that a teen-ager goes through. And Vasistha and Amin and all the folks that lived a couple of doors down from Farhad—I just remember that they all started talking about this far-out old man that they went to visit. They would sit on the floor and they talked and drank tea afterwards, and they said that we should really come and see him. Yasmin and I hadn't met Murshid yet, and I don't remember if we went together the first time or not. I remember that one night they dropped us off at Gone With the Wind while they went to see Murshid—
YASMIN: I forgot that we went that time, Gone With the Wind he’d love that—
KRISTIN: And I just remember that from the moment that I walked into the living room at the Mentorgarten I forgot myself and was just enveloped in this incredible warmth and love and I didn't even think about it until all of a sudden the meeting was over and Murshid walked up and said, "How do you like my family?" And I sort of woke up and I said, "Gee, I like it just fine." And I think I went fairly steadily for a few months anyway after that. When Amin started a class, I don't know what the time sequence this was in when we all would go to Amin’s house in Corte Madera.
FARHAD: That was the first Gatha class—
KRISTIN:—as well as go to Murshid's and that was at least two nights a week. There was another time after a meeting here; I had not come for awhile and then I had come back; again it was after a meeting and we were all raiding the refrigerator in the kitchen, Murshid turned to me and said, "How would you like to live here?" I said, “Gee, I would like it just fine," and then he kind of stopped for a minute and he said, “Well you know, we both spoke too soon."
SABIRA: Was this at the Mentorgarten?
KRISTIN: Yes, the Mentorgarten.
SABIRA: Who was living there then?
KRISTIN: Oh gee, I don't even remember.
YASMIN: Probably David Hoffmaster and Abd Ar Rahman—
SABIRA: Did Zeinob live there then?
KRISTIN: I can't remember the persons—
YASMIN: Zeinob didn't live there until later.
KRISTIN: It is just little flashes because I was sort of in and out for a long time. It wasn't until a couple of years later that I took Bayat after going to Pir's 1970 camp in the Cherakowa Mountains. Again, it was the same incredible warmth and feeling throughout the whole thing, and even when I wasn't there, there was this always this voice that would prod and say, "Come on, you know where you should be," and he always welcomed me back with open arms.
YASMIN: I was having a trauma at one point about if what Murshid was doing really constituted spirituality or anything, because I had started reading Gurdjieff and Krishnamurti, and I had some friends, I had made some friends who had bought—I had met the guy who introduced Amin to Murshid—he had been like a catalyst, you remember him—Kirk. He was that kind of person where he could bring people to Murshid who could see Murshid's light, and yet he wasn't able to see it himself or participate. And so he was very turned off to it, “He is just a little old man, and a big guru-hoo hoo," and so we would sit in his house in Forest Knolls, and I would start out the day by saying, "The meeting is tonight and I want to go," and he would say, "Sure, sure, we'll talk about it later when the meeting comes,” and little by little the day would pass and it would come time to go and he would say, "God's under the tree, why don't you go sit under the tree? God's in you, why don't you just go and look in the mirror," and so I would go and look in the mirror and I would go and sit under the tree, and it just wasn't working, and then finally I just got to the point where I didn't buy it anymore, the intellectual aspect of it, and the first time I went back after that, after being gone for awhile and really feeling, “I'm sure,” was his birthday party at the Greek restaurant—and there was this incredibly long, long table filled with all the disciples. At that time we could get everybody in the same room and not take up the whole space!! And it was like the whole—Murshid was dancing with Jemila and these guys, these violin players were in the middle of the floor and everybody was seated around this long table. He couldn't sit down all night, he just couldn't, he was too ecstatic and so we walked in—I must have been with you, because I remember him saying, "Cogswells, Cogswells," and he made places for us all to sit down, and he just came over and he pulled the chair out for me and pushed it in and he danced away, and then came back. And he fussed, fussed, "What are you going to have to eat," and finally he leaned over and he whispered in my ear, "Do you know what God is? God is having 75 people at your birthday party!"
SHIBLI: And 14 bottles of retsina—
YASMIN: The one burning question—
SABIRA: Who gave this party? All: That was him; it was his party—
FARHAD: He invited all his children.
SHIBLI: For all of the Libras, it was a Libra birthday party—
SHIBLI: And it has become an annual event in many places, it seems.
SABIRA: Does anyone else remember that birthday party?
SHIBLI: Yes, he got up and he actually danced on the table at one point. He didn't exactly have the Zorba the Greek steps together but he had the Greek heart and the feeling and he was not drunk, he was just very high. I am sure that he had had all that he needed out of the Retsina, but he was not in a drunk state, he was in a high state, and the energy that was coming forth from him, Again, he put out much for this party and he continued—it was just a giving thing. It was the most incredible thing to see to be with him, to commune with him. The party was very specially pointed toward Jemila as well, I believe, because of his strong love for her. It was also pointed toward myself because we shared the same birthday—if you recall, he called me his "tween." He gave me a special hug as I came in and we all sat close and driving him home he expressed the—he was with an older lady—there were two other people that I believe I dropped off—and he and this older lady were sitting in the back seat—I don’t recall her name,
SABIRA: Probably Vocha.
SHIBLI: Yes, it could have been, and he said, “It is such a beautiful thing to have been so alone in earlier life and to have so many real children at this point," I don't think he used the word real—there was no separation, and he had just had a birthday with 75 close family members, and he had given out rather than taking in and had come to a point of being just as full. To me it was things like that that actually took place where he demonstrated that the giver should be thankful, and truly he came up shining thankfully. In different ways in which he would put that into action in his life and in the presence, in the Akhlak Allah of the moment. And there was the time in the park, which in a way I connect with the same magnitude, where I believe he first met Yogi Bhajan and the Sikhs at one special meeting. It was the fall equinox one year, and somebody—one of the people, a Moorish-looking person in a turban was ridiculing Yogi Bhajan, and Murshid stood up to this huge figure—he was half the same size—and yet he matched his strength in psychic and mental power—just stood him back and turned back to the disciples and said, "You show kindness to your loved ones and fortitude to your enemies," and demonstrated places where at one point Yogi Bhajan had chosen to renounce this particular situation, and it just didn't seem the right attitude, he went into a deep concentration and Murshid Sam stood up for him in a magnificent fashion and totally in tone with the moment. The crowd had been tense, the situation had been electric and close to a violent state, and by standing up—this old man was beyond being challenged on any levels—and he just stood in truth. The man left; and the interworking and communing of the groups after that was just a very deep blessing and a very beautiful feeling and process to see take place. We saw, and were introduced to, brotherhood within the different families.
FARHAD: And Murshid used to say perhaps once a week—once an evening—how much or how little he thought of universal brotherhood groups—groups that preached universality and then immediately began to exclude other groups from their universal brotherhood—and he said that this was going on all over the place and that this was a big problem in the world. "Preaching universality and practicing exclusiveness."
SHIBLI: He preached universality and practiced universality. He demonstrated it to us by drawing us closer together with other groups, sent us to other teachers when he didn't feel qualified to speak of truth
FARHAD: in these Sects and he really demonstrated an equanimity of mind that you could not find in other teachers. It just was not there.
FARHAD: He also said, "Sufism is experience," and he managed to give experience to everyone, which was—instead of a lot of talk—just what everyone was looking for. An experience of what the real meaning of brotherhood of truth, of Sufism, of Buddhism of any of the isms was, and he showed how the truth was the same truth stated by each different teacher and each different faith in its own terms, so that gave a warmth and meaning to each of the different faiths that were spoken of, and it made brotherhood a real thing.
SHIBLI: He made it a practice, and everybody else was preaching. I recall being exposed to numbers of groups and the only thing that I really held on to at that point was Khalil Gibran and Yogananda, and a number of other teachers; but there were many teachers around, many offering their wares, so to speak, and much of it was good, but I don't know, Murshid really dealt in experiencing truth and he led people through that—
YASMIN: He started his birthday book, and after awhile when you took Bayat with him, the first thing you had to do after you had held hands and gotten your hit, was to sign his birthday book with your birthday so that he could make sure and celebrate it. And I remember one year when first we had a Christmas eve party, and then we had a Christmas party, then we had a birthday party for me, then we had a birthday party for Selima, then had a birthday party for Moineddin and that was all within the space of a week. It was just like one big party—"Where is the party tonight?" "It is going to be Mentorgarten." "Where is it tomorrow?" "It's going to be at Amin's," but there was a lot of opportunity to see Murshid in the context of his friends as well because his older friends would drop by the house. Every time they would show up, they would just join the meeting, and he would invite them up to the front where he was and he'd make them sit down next to him and they would both survey the group of adoring young people on the floor. He would say, "Isn't this far out? Look, there's all those people there. How do you like it?" When we came back from the camp in Colorado—the first meeting we had after that camp—it was the first camp that Pir had in the States—Murshid had gone to the Lama Foundation for the first time, and he wanted people to know that everybody didn't have to go to Pir Vilayat's camp, and "All those who are not going to Pir Vilayat's camp can come to Lama Foundation with me," and so when everybody got back, Pir was at the first meeting. It was happening at the seminary in San Anselmo in the round tower building. Murshid got this inspiration to organize us all into a dance of the Sufi symbol and had Mansur and Jemila and Moineddin and Fatima in the center of the circle; and the rest of us were kind of arranged to make this heart around them, and a bunch of us were the wings and we all had a mantram, and we were all supposed to shuffle around and do this movement, and after we did it, then the symbol was supposed to "fly its wings"—it was the kind of thing that Murshid did. It was so crazy, and on one level it was so embarrassing that if you didn't have the freedom to just let go and get in there and do it without worrying about what you looked like to anybody else, then you never would have been able to do it. Yet here we were going "hu-u-u-u-u" and the wings were going ha-uh-ha-uh-ha, and the star and the crescent—Pir was standing at the back of the room and Murshid, and they were speaking in whispers like, "Sh, sh, see that, see that see what's happening, see what they are doing?" I guess I have a lot of memories like that of Murshid standing with Father Blighton in the corner just kind of looking at us all and whispering together, and Murshid standing with Joe Miller—and with Pir Vilayat, Murshid standing with all these people, almost planning and shaping our beings from those moments. The seeds that were planted—I see these people's disciples now, I see the disciples of Father Blighton and the Holy Order of Mans and we kind of compare notes about, "Do you remember that night, what went down, and what's happening to us now?"
SABIRA: Did any of you have experiences of embarrassment?
FARHAD: I don't remember any specific experiences that happened offhand, but I remember a sort of general feeling of embarrassment that was always present from the beginning for quite a number of years. Like I would do anything that Murshid told me to do or anything that he told a group to do if I was part of a group. But there was a part of me that was privately watching these things—that part of me that is self-conscious and that part could see the ridiculous aspect of anything we were doing either as a group or as individuals. And if it was as a group, and partly as individuals, then I could feel that part of me just getting tense and anticipatory because pretty soon it would probably be my turn, but I didn't know when, but then I would have to do whatever everybody else was doing that this part of me found ridiculous. And at the same time it was a part that could lose itself in doing it and there was a general feeling of goodness that got more and more the more you forgot yourself. There was this constant thing going on between the embarrassment which was never going to get in the way—it just wasn't strong enough to stop me—make me stop coming or make me not want to spin in the middle or do any of those things—it still was there, and it was going "nye, nye, nye, nye," waiting for the time when it would have to face up to the moment, go through the moment, and come out the other side and that was the—
SABIRA: We've all experienced those moments—
FARHAD: Of course! That was one of the things that I finally figured out: the main point of doing just about anything we were doing, was to be able to put up with this feeling of self-consciousness in whatever it was you were doing that was spotlighting; you making you look so "ridiculous," so that you could just forget about that aspect of yourself which was always hanging out and always ready to trip you up that way, make you self-conscious and make you stop flowing in the moment and feeling! And that was going on all the time.
SABIRA: Do you have anything to add to that Shibli?
SHIBLI: Easily, I think one of the easiest methods that he used to get that to come loose was in the different styles of dancing that he would bring forth and the different states that he would try and that were trying to come through. It seems that that was much of what he was emphasizing, the way he would speak of Ruth St. Denis and; how he was trying to fulfill her dream of teaching children, teaching youth how to walk. A lot of the time the dances were very simple and such, but the Baraka that was being sent out and the way in which they were pulled together, often you would—perhaps one would go through many different changes—they were such that you could lift up, they were designed to lift you up into different states—into Astrological states in some cases, places of the heart—mostly centering on all of them, the Krishna dances, different ones to experience the different avatars, the different concentrations, the Kwan Yins—over and above, I guess that was one thing that I found was very special in his favor as a teacher—he really transmitted something through the dances.
YASMIN: We were speaking before about experiencing things, and I had an experience of you (Shibli) using Astrological Yoga that just—it was an example of that kind of thing … if one thinks about something it is often very subtle, that you think you understand it because your mind is filled with it, yet Murshid, by demonstrating that experience is even more subtle than that, gave us Sufism. When he introduced Astrological Yoga, the practice of using breath techniques to experience the energy of the planets rather than just to combine a lot of somebody else's insight into a mishmash about it. The Saturday class when everybody took their charts, and we would just start out by walking peoples' rhythms. The night that we walked your rhythms and I stood behind you and I walked breathing your breath and using your posture, for the first time I felt like I really was you and yet we had known each other for all of our lives. And I would have said if anybody had asked me, that I knew you, and yet there were thousands of little things that were totally unexplained to me about you and why you did things. I had taken them all for granted until I actually walked in your vibration, and automatically I understood why you do those things coming from that vibration, and it was just amazing to me. There was no intellectuality about it, all of a sudden you and I were the very same being and that was through that particular process.
SHIBLI: I really dug the way that Murshid would teach by experience, and he was so partial to giving people the experience of joy. There are teachers that have all different kinds of music that they play, so to speak, many of them, there are others that play from a heavier note, and he was constantly emphasizing the aspects of joy and the opening of the heart, and he would sometimes stop and say that when he was serious and chastising he was joking in many ways, and when he was playing the mother he was much more deeply into his work and more serious than at any other point.
SABIRA: Did he ever blast you or yell at you?
SABIRA: Do you recall the incidents?
SHIBLI: Yes, I was—I haven’t succeeded in this point yet, either so it is good to recall. I was doing a walk, and it might even have been that same night or another night like that—but there was some walk, it was a different walk what was I doing, I can't remember the walk, but it was a finer vibration, concentration and, it was a walking practice without chants, but perhaps there was a drum beat; I believe it might have been even the Kwan Yin walk, but I'm not sure, but anyway, Murshid bellowed at the top of his voice, "Don't be so Presbyterian!"
SABIRA: What did he mean by that?
SHIBLI: I don't think I have transcended that yet, so I don't know, but that was the only time he ever yelled at me, and I have tried to find out what the Presbyterianism is to uproot it but I have had to let that by because I can't touch it when I try too hard, but it has been born in heart and mind since then.
SABIRA: Farhad, did he ever yell at you?
FARHAD: Not where I remember a specific time, but I remember the feeling. I'm sure that he yelled at me like he would yell at other people for doing something unconsciously in the dance, or failing to heed an instruction after it had been clearly given. It was always a really great feeling; it was like a shot going through the whole group and everybody would go whoop, like that, whether you were the recipient or you knew how the recipient felt—
End of side one, reel one:
—he called it his Fudo aspect and he would refer to it in terms of his initiation into Zen, the Fudo stick and the disciplinary aspect of it.
SABIRA: Fudo is the other side of Kwan Yin—
FARHAD: It's just the strong father, the stern father, the disciplining father, the guiding hand of fatherhood in its real yang aspect. He would—sometimes it was for the effect, in my point of view, because I was cruising along in a beautiful space and somebody else did something. Sometimes it would just be a situation in which he felt that he had to demonstrate that aspect of his being, and maybe it wasn't directed at a person in the group, it was directed at a person or an institution outside of the group. That would be the feeling, and you could always feel it, it was a very powerful thing. It sometimes made you settle back down into the other feeling, the receptive and peaceful feeling that maybe if it wasn't joy or something light; that was what predominated. Most of what I remember of the times when Murshid was around was that he was usually giving a dissertation on one of another of the religions or talking about someone, a past experience, or just telling a story. During most of those periods according to what he was saying, it was just quiet, wide open receptivity, and then along would come the Fudo for some reason and it would just blast everyone, maybe because everyone was just getting not really drowsy but drowsy on a level—not like falling asleep drowsy, but drowsy just because they weren't really there—it was too quiet and peaceful. It was an attention-getting snap of the fingers!
SABIRA: Would he use Fudo like a Zen master uses a Zen stick?
SHIBLI: Yes, he would refer to it as that at times. He would say, "I am going to get my Zen stick," which resided up on the wall up above the fireplace. But he said that he never actually used it. I don't think he was ever physically violent upon anybody. I heard some wonderful stories about the arguments, the very loud arguments between himself and Fatima at times.
SABIRA: When he went to the hospital to see Moineddin, he took the stick and he said that if he didn't get out of that bed he was going to beat him. Did he ever yell at you, Yasmin?
YASMIN: He yelled at me as part of a situation that occurred during one of the Attributes walks. We were doing a concentration on Jamil and Malik in succession, and that was when I was pregnant and the name of Malik had come to me months before, so I had been using it as a concentration on the baby. Paul was standing behind me and he was living in the house at the time and he knew that the baby's name was Jamil Malik. At first we started doing Ya Jamil, Ya Jamil going around in a circle and it is all getting real nice, and then Ya Malik, Ya Malik, and he couldn't help himself, he got captivated by the idea that this child Jamil Malik was coming, and he leaned over and kissed the back of my head, and for Murshid it was the wrong time, and Murshid just like a sword, smashed him! It was like, "Don't you ever do that again in the dance. That's the wrong thing to do at the wrong time! "And it was like, it was so clean, so strong that there was no way to feel your ego when he was yelling at you. It was like he surgically removed part of you—and what it felt like—you couldn't even say, "I'm sorry Murshid, I'm sorry," because there wasn't anything to be sorry about. he just burned that thing that was wrong out of the air, and he just left the hiss of the energy behind. Everybody was so much higher after it was over; I remember speaking to Paul after it was over saying, “Wow!" And I kind of expected him to feel ashamed, I was looking for that sensation of, "Boy! you really did something wrong!" And yet he said—when we compared notes, there was none of that sensation blame or reaction; I don't know, it was a clean sword thrust. Slice and it was finished.
SABIRA: Other people have told us that would blast them and then just totally wipe it out, totally forget it.
YASMIN: Oh yeah, he didn't retain any of it, and maybe that is why nobody else did. If somebody is brooding, or of you can feel that they are still angry after they have spoken to you—or even self-righteous about having pointed something out, then the situation hasn't been resolved and it is still around, but I don't remember that in a situation where he was dealing with a disciple. But I know that at one time directly after we came back from Colorado, we heard that Pir's nephew was in town, Fazal, and this was during the time that Fazal and the Sufi Order—the Sufi Movement was represented by Fazal—and the Sufi Order was still not on the best of terms, and I called Murshid as soon as I got back in town. And he said, “Come right over, we are going out to dinner, and then we are going to hear Pir’s nephew, and I said, “Oh, how wonderful, oh Pir’s Nephew, oh!” I just couldn’t imagine—we had just had the uncle and now we were going to get the nephew, and he said, "Just wait and see!" he didn't say anything but "wait and see," so we went out to dinner and we always got treated to the story about red wine and blue-cheese dressing which was the occasion of him getting some kind of food poisoning which landed him in the hospital, which was when he began his disciple trip again. And he would always—every time we went out to dinner—tell us about blue cheese dressing and red wine as being a bad combination
SABIRA: Did he ever mention that this was a heart attack?
YASMIN: I don't know, that was just the dinner table conversation at this restaurant. So then we met a bunch of other folks at this hall where Fazal was going to speak. And the man who was ushering people in at the door met us and said, "Sam, I don't think you ought to come in tonight," and Murshid said, "Why?" He said, "We just don't want any trouble," and he said, "You are putting something on me, I'm not going to cause any trouble." And he said, “We have had just too much experience of you not causing trouble before," Apparently Murshid had busted up some of their meetings previously when he would stand up and start yelling at Fazal or at the people who were putting down the Sufi Order, and they had learned by hard experience that if he came to a meeting things were going to be a little warm. So he said—the guy wasn't going to let him in—and finally he said, "look, I promise I won't open my mouth," and so with that promise, we were all let in and we all sat down, and the lecture proceeded, and about half way through—the first order on this program was this man who was an historical expert on Sufism—which was just Murshid's pie, he loved to talk about "experts." But he didn't say a word, he had his hands in his pockets and he sat and stared, but for some reason Amin couldn't stop laughing, he didn't want to—he just sat there the whole evening and he just choked in his hands to keep the laughter down, and just this whole time there as this suppression of laughter which constantly burbled over. We were all sitting in a line and we couldn't help but pick it up from him. Then finally Fazal came out and he started talking about different aspects of the Work that the Movement was doing and how wonderful it was that this man had come and spoken to them about the history of Sufism, and he mentioned that there were summer camps that the Sufi Movement was starting, and people could apply. And Perica who had just been to Pir's camp raised her hand and said, "Oh! Oh, I would like to go to your camp, where can I get information?" He said; “excuse me mam, but this is only for initiates." And then I asked him if he would please speak about Sufism as being the religion of the heart, because I was really looking for something—Murshid never left that out, and every time he had a talk about Sufism; there was always something about heart, heart-quality, love, harmony, beauty—this whole outward movement from within. And this whole thing had been an inward movement, and he looked at me and he said, "I'm sorry but we just can't talk about that now; that is one of our inner teachings." And Murshid—after that we all went home—he hadn't said a word and yet he had thoroughly busted up the meeting by his disciples, and he spent the next three weeks, and every time we gathered together, sighting the examples of what had happened. He used to say, "And even the least of my disciples said the most important thing." underlined the least every time. "This girl, she doesn't know anything, and yet she raised her hand and she said this thing—shmuck of my disciples, even she could say this." And he wrote it to about five people. He was really proud of that evening, and yet he hadn't said a word. The first meeting, I believe, in that chain—I believe it was the first meetings. He had talked about it for a week or so after that, and I heard that he had not any trouble getting in the door—the one that I think was in the first line, was it the Claremont hotel? One of the downtown hotels—one of the bottom meeting rooms, Sunday morning we had a Sunday night meeting following that but we were all encouraged to come for that Sunday morning service to see and meet Fazal Khan and to hear his preaching, and we were encouraged to go and meet him as a group. We went in to what was—the whole aura of the place was as a Catholic, very dark, high Mass, everything was in black, the parlor was in black, he had on black with a white collar, I believe and gold jewelry, a gold Sufi symbol around his neck, and the talk that he did to the whole audience, to the whole room, it was so much directly something you had been through in so many other churches that everybody was asleep except for Murshid, and it lasted too long—it lasted just about the same amount of time as a normal Catholic Mass. It ended very anticlimactically, everybody sort of woke up after the speaker stopped and everybody started filing out, and there was really that air. The first few minutes you tried to follow him, but there wasn't any light in his words or in his speaking or in his effort. He was talking of things that he had not had experience with; we said nothing, we asked no questions, Many of us, I think, wondered why he wanted so many of us to be there other than the experience until we went to the back—it took people two or three minutes to get out of the place, it seemed. we slowly filed toward the back—we were mostly in the back rows, but we got to the back wall, lined up against it, and he gathered us close—he directed us back there, gathered us into a group, and we started just chanting, "Allah, Allah, Allah," and then sang, "Ishk Allah, Mahbood Allah."
SABIRA: Is that what they meant by disrupting a meeting?
SHIBLI: I couldn't say, I wasn't at the ones after that, but we sang one verse or perhaps two and then it ended. And two people who had been on the way out—we had started singing about two minutes after—everybody had to literally wake themselves up and crawl out, so to speak. As we left this older lady just stopped us and said, "That was the only, the one worthwhile thing of the entire meeting; you have totally filled me, and thank you."
SABIRA: Were you at these meetings Kris?
SABIRA: There are a lot of subjects to cover. What do you think his purpose in life was, how he has manifested to you since he died, anything that occurred in the hospital—any of these subjects that you might cover.
FARHAD: His purpose in life, as it was finally expressed, the part of his life that I knew him, was to bring together the community of people that now exist and inspire them. It's funny because it was not something that—I don't know who would have anticipated that we would be without Murshid—during the time that we were with him it was never thought of that I know of—that he was going to pass on.
SABIRA: He expected to live another 20 years, he told many people.
FARHAD: I never thought of it, and then when he was pretty obviously going to leave, just like a sudden realization or a shock, may be for everyone, but that was suddenly obvious. One minute it was an illness and the next minute it was obviously more final than that, and I remember thinking to myself—which has been the reality ever since—that this was where we were really going to find out what it was like, because we had been gathering around this being and doing it I think for reasons which compared just about to the pre-natal condition of a baby. That whole nine months while you are in the womb as a growing fetus turning into what is going to be born. It is a whole different experience from what life is like for you when you are born, and you don't think about—I guess you don't think about birth—you don't relate to it in the same way—it's an experience that is there for you, in your experience, it is coming lap, but you are not relating to it—and all of a sudden it is there! It's final! It's what you've been preparing for.
SABIRA: That's a very interesting analogy.
FARHAD: And that's what happened all of a sudden to everyone who had become attached to Murshid and become attached to the community. All of a sudden all of the time we had all spent together with Murshid up to that point became elevated to another level of importance or sacredness to us because it was finite space that we shared with him and with each other, and if from that point on everything that we were exposed to, taught, realized, found out that we already knew or whatever, had to become even more real, because we weren't Murshid's representatives in the same sense. We weren't going and filling up from his cup and then going out pouring it out into the world. In the worldly sense the cup was gone, and we were either going to let the whole thing fall apart or it was just going to go on and on. I personally felt it was going to fall apart or anything, because I really had a sense of the power of it felt the commitment myself. His purpose in life was just to make real for everyone that he could, and did, the deals that he exemplified, and then step off of the stage and leave it for the people that he had prepared. And it has been a real fine thing to happen every since.
YASMIN: I had a dream after he had passed about 3 months or so. I had been concentrating on this picture which showed him in his old man outfit, grey hair and all that, and trying to commune with that part of him which was the one which was familiar to me. What I saw in the dream was this old man person—it is hard to describe—inside a womb, and when the fruit of that womb was born there was a fresh, new body—and it was Murshid definitely—it wasn't a little baby, but the body was new and different, and much more—it was alive in the sense that the body was filled with light and the sense that I had was that I had been holding him back. By my trying to keep that image of him as an old man and trying to relate to that part of him that had been an old man, and that the new part of him was so much more comfortable for him, so much the next step involved, and the life of him, the living aspect of him—but what he said to me at that point after he had born this new body—or been born as this new body—"it's a lot harder than you think." It's like, 'You guys are down there, and saying, "Oh Murshid, yes, he passed away, now he is among the clouds, but it takes a lot of hard work to get your consciousness through, and if it is hard for me who spent my life in a state of realization, just think how hard you need to work right now."
SABIRA: What do you think his purpose in life was Kris?
KRISTIN: I think Farhad said it pretty, I don't feel that I can enlarge on that.
SABIRA: From your point of view?
KRISTIN: I remember that he used to talk about the time that he got sick and was in the hospital; I don't know which time or anything—but he was all ready to give it up right there—I guess it was food poisoning that he had. He said that he'd had a vision, that God came to him and said, "You can't die now, you have to be spiritual leader of the hippies," and so he came on back and that was when he started the work that eventually brought all of us into contact with him. Just to spread his message of love, harmony and beauty and spiritual brotherhood to the young people and anybody else too—the people, the younger people that were really searching and seeking through whatever means that they could find available to them—for something that, was different than the way in which they had been taught, the ways they had been taught before
SHIBLI: I got an impression of him in what he said at one time about “If you want to have peace in life, be a gardener," and he was a gardener all of his life, and he was a gardener with his disciples. If you look at the disciples as seeds and he was planting, planting seeds in the future, in the same way that he spoke of, I believe in the film, in some of the films that Amertat took down, and also he would repeat sometimes in class that he was looking to bring at least one disciple to a state of power or attainment and it was just like he was making wine—he planted so many teachings and so much love, and sent out so much that in his earlier years he had not been able to "gather fruit in your life, and if you are not going to be harvested and be able to give, you will be unfulfilled." And it does not—it is like it does not go on, and he was fulfilling those ideals and fulfilling that purpose by planting the most beautiful teaching by experience in so many different people who are carrying it on after him. And you can see it in the time that he passed, to this person it was an incredible shock to get the message that he had had such a heavy fall. I don't know how to describe it; I was very very busy in earthly concentrations at that point, and I had to keep with them, but I immediately signed up for some of the vigil and the watch over him in the hospital, and the question of whether or not he would survive or not was to my mind my being left in Allah's hands. I didn't care, I didn't want to put myself in there and choose. I knew the right thing would come, but I wanted to be as clear as possible in what I did, in the best way as possible, to make things come through, The whole community, I think, while it was a shock, it was like Fudo had really dealt a blow, and everybody in the same way responded, sobered up, carne out of the fog and just magnificently worked as a team and showed the teachings that he had—that we had absorbed and experienced many of the planes that he had been speaking of. Communions and the closeness that were passed between people in the time that we were being challenged in, in the same time that we were trying to put so much of the magnetism through to our teacher left confidence that no matter what—one could see that no matter what happened that things were growing from it, and that all the work that had been taking place before as one sat there and did a mantra, one could reflect back over the changes that people had been going through—the changes that Murshid had been going through because he had grown with all of us, and Pir Vilayat had grown. He came in, he came through at one meeting in May—he was not going to be back until the next spring, and he was back two weeks later in June doing a one week camp at Rancho Olompali in Novato—
FARHAD: I remember that.
SHIBLI: Again, I got visions of him constantly during his work with him and without him—seeing in others around him an overall—many different avatars, archetypes of avatars were enhanced in their positive sense in disciples and in beings—and he dealt so much with the Krishna teaching that he was making—I pictured him as a Hanuman and as a wine maker, and one who set out so much that continues to mature. One continues to see as one meets the different disciples in different places it is like setting a good wine on the shelf.
SABIRA: Yasmin, do you feel that he indicated that you were to have a certain mission, or any of you? I know at the Three Rings and other different concentrations, he kind of assigned people to be in those—
YASMIN: No, I don't know, but I don’t feel as though his work with me had anything to do with an intellectual trip; what I see now is that I am just now being able to appreciate certain aspects of his intellectual magnitude. I am reading books that I read years ago and had no understanding of, but what happens to me now is that the things that we did together, physically did, I picked up his rhythm, I picked up his attitude, I picked up all the subtle things that went into cooking or into cleaning a house or to working in the garden or to shopping or to dancing or something. These are things that I am infused with, and at times I can't explain why I do something, and my strongest motivation for doing it is because I know that's what Murshid wants, or because that is what he did, and I don't have to have any other reason, and before I might have had to intellectualize it. There is a love of the rational mind. Somehow in this particular case I feel utterly confident in proceeding without a reason if my feeling about it is that strong. So what I do is every day I see, particularly now that we are manifesting an aspect of work which I know has such an incredible blessing from him. In spite of ourselves we are doing his work and living his vision, and it is not an intellectual thing. I'm not designing the Khankah because Murshid said, "Do this and this and this and this," but when we attune to him all the answers come, and all the things that we need and all the directions are laid out—
SABIRA: I know what you mean; I sit in the office and look at his picture and something happens, thoughts come into my mind and I don't know where they come from—
YASMIN: I have a lot of little stories, I don't know—
SABIRA: Go ahead—
YASMIN: I don't know if we are winding this up or not—
SABIRA: There are other tapes, go ahead.
YASMIN: As an examples there was a pot of tomato sauce that got burned at the Khankah in Novato, and nobody could clean it, everybody tried: Jayanara tried, I tried, Fatima tried, we just couldn’t clean it, and we were ready to throw it out—and Murshid got furious at us for giving up on this—
FARHAD: The pot was dirty and no one could clean it—
YASMIN: He didn't want us to give up in this situation and so he said, "Alright, I'll clean it," and he disappeared with the pot one night, and the next morning it was absolutely spotless! And this was really burned on tomato sauce, there was no way that we could have gotten it off, and yet he got it off! And we all tried to get him to tell us how he'd done it, because we just couldn't understand it, and he said something about rocks, and so we figured that he had probably just sat there with the rocks and just rubbed the rocks around and got it off—but the example of him making that one extra special effort wherein the rest of us had come to our limit, I can't sit in a kitchen any longer without this feeling that if I haven't done every single thing to make that spotless than I know I am not doing it right. And that was a consciousness that I developed strictly out of being in his presence and having him time and again just encompass the situation. We used to get up in the morning and go picking blackberries and I didn't always know what to say, and he was always jabbering away and he would always—I didn't ever have any questions; when I was with him I couldn't ask things of him, even when I felt that he wanted people to stimulate his mind so that he could share some of the things that he knew. Every time he would say, "Okay, questions," I would feel that he was answering every question just by his presence there—there wasn't any—
FARHAD: Yeah, that was always really laughable on an inner point of view. In nine out of ten times I knew nobody was going to ask any questions; I never had anything to say his talk was enough “Who has some questions? Somebody ask me a question?" And there was nothing but this very calm, peaceful, informed, full-fed feeling in me, I didn't have anything to say. He always answered the questions though before you had a chance to ask them. That was one thing that always used to occur to me, and I never said it to him or to anybody else, but if there was a question—if there was anything that you wanted to know—before you got finished thinking about it and got it phrased in your mind in order to say it, the answer was there. I could never think of a question that in the light of having thought of it and phrased it actually I didn't know the answer to. It always comes through with like a picture of Murshid, like he gave me the answer, or he is present while the answer is coming through. He was a pretty good teacher.
SHIBLI: There was this phrase of Ram Dass that he would bring up at times "The Cheshire cat was a myth but the grin was for real!"
FARHAD: I remember that.
SHIBLI: He taught that so much; it was like he gave everybody in all of his waking and sleeping time meditation in action in so many ways that I believe it was here and now, I think it is true. I don't think he necessarily even said that, but that whole underlying feeling of love, harmony, and beauty was in everything that he was dealing with, whether it was on an earthly plane, in kitchen work, in esoteric places, in classes or teachings, or in space of meditation, it became a way of consciousness in his presence. It was actually direct baraka transmission. You couldn't, unless you were closing it out; it was just something that everyone fell under or swooped forward toward.
YASMIN: Remember his demonstration of how he met Papa Ramdas? He liked to recount how he and Swami Ramdas met each other. Ramdas first came to the United States on this American tour with Mother Krishnabai. He got off the plane—and he would always at this point stop the story and make somebody stand up at the other end of the room, and then he would say, "Now this is how Swami Ramdas and I met each other." And then he would say, "Now you run toward me," and he would start running, and the two people would just collide in the middle of the room and hug each other and w-a-a-a-a-a like this (claps) and he would say, "Now that's the way Holy men greet each other. One night David Hoffmaster and Wali Ali came over to Farhad's house just at dark—apparently some people had met Murshid over at his house in the City and they had all gone out together to do something and the whole party had ended up at Amin's house. I guess they had been out walking in the hills or something. So things like that happened a lot, spontaneous parties, and so Wali Ali had called up to make sure that we knew that it was happening and to come over and pick me up—pick us up if we needed a ride. So they arrived and we all dashed off to Amin's house. And you could hear the dervish dancing from blocks down the street where you had to park, because Amin and Amina lived in places that—
SHIBLI: are hard to find—
YASMIN: Really! The same as Farhad! But just those mantric dances from a distance they blend right into the sounds and the silence of the night, so that as you come upon them you hear this kind of stirring underneath the surface of the sound, and then you get closer and closer and the words start coming, and you start walking down the steps into this house that is lit by candlelight, and all of a sudden there is a circle of people doing this dervish dance. I had been very high on mescaline all day and I got up there and I blinked, and I didn't see any people in the room I only saw gnomes and elves and nature forces—really people, old people, not young people—they were white haired with, long beards and very powerful. And they were doing this dance and Murshid was in the center directing the dance. And it was really strange because the light in the room was so dim—there were just the candles—it could have been this forest scene somewhere in other times. All the elementals present, and everyone was doing this very strong and very rhythmic ceremony, and that feeling passed—whatever that was that I saw at that time passed away, and the dance continued and we all were doing this thing. And there was always a pot-luck dinner, and we all were sitting down, and Murshid has this big plate, and I was sitting against the wall just kind of oozing, so stoned, and so happy and so undesirous of anything. I was sitting there against the wall, and he came and sat down next to me and he started babbling about, "I don't do these dances, I don't think up these dances, these are not my dances; I just sit here, they come to me. I don't know what this is! I'm just me!" It was like total denial of his—
SHIBLI: Like Mother Krishnabai?
YASMIN: He was just an old man; he was just himself, and the dances and other things, they came straight from God. It wasn't his. I just guess he just felt it was really important that people knew that he wasn't sitting at home racking his brains for other dances!! I got the feeling one other time when he presented the dances he didn't really know what they were. As they were coming to him he would start, he would give us several movements and as he gave the movements he would see another movement, and if he yelled at us enough, then the rest of the dance would come together. Boy we had some dances at the beginning that didn't work at all, the movements were all uncoordinated, and pretty soon by just constantly listening and constantly feeding what he was hearing into the center, and making us attune—just like—
FARHAD: We didn't know what we were doing; we were just doing what he told us to and experiencing this thing for the first times. The energy built up for all of us after the motion got going, and the more dances we had done and knew, the more powerful the whole experience became. Each time a new dance was introduced it was easier just to do what you were being told to do without thinking about it.
SHIBLI: The hidden secret!
YASMIN: Just the whole thing of trying to get us to attune to him took so much work at first and I think that when we see the cuttings of Sunseed now, and we see how much that he really yelled at us, he really transmitted the dance mostly through his voice at that time, at that period—because we were all so spaced out he needed to constantly force us to look at ourselves and watch him. He began the women's dance class at Amina's house at one point, and he said, like when he first started the dance class he attended it, and he showed us certain—there were a couple of dances that he started out with— that he just had, that had come to him already—they were some of the flower dances and also 'T is a Gift to be Simple dance, and he said that the other things were just fragments, they were movements and they were from women's traditional work. There were things—like he demonstrated the way women had always carried a jar on their heads and he walked around the circle with this kind of step. And then the way women would wash clothes in a stream, and he would sit down and he would do all these movements and he would like throw out these inspirations so that we could pick them up and put them into dances. He felt that traditional movements that women had done—
End of tape one, side two.
YASMIN: Shibli's wedding happened at my parents' house in Tiburon: here is my father who is basically a very conventional person in his outward life and very unacquainted with any mysticism or any—he was not interested in religion in the least; he was scared of death, and everything that had anything to do with faith or belief was out of his realm altogether and he saw his children going out to visit this screwball in San Francisco weekly and coming back with shiny faces and a knowing look in our eyes, and probably, there was no way that he had to relate to it.
FARHAD: As a matter of fact I would imagine that he had to deal with a feeling of jealousy, because for him it was like watching all of us find in Murshid a father that he had not been—not because of something that he wanted to deprive us of but just because in all our lives and in his life was the absence of the knowledge, the confidence, the intuitiveness and whatever else scan think of to say, that went hand in hand with the atmosphere around Murshid. One of the things you could say about Murshid, one of the things which attracted people to him was his atmosphere, and it was his atmosphere. There wasn't anything in the imagination of a bunch of similarly deluded people. He had a powerful atmosphere, his atmosphere would permeate each of us as Cogswell children, and then we would be filled up with it and it would automatically come back out of us as soon as we went away. Those of us who have still lived with the parents or visited the house quite a lot exposed them to a lot of it.
SABIRA: Did your father and step-mother meet Murshid?
YASMIN: That's what happened, that day they finally got an opportunity to be around him because he came to the house so they couldn't ignore it, and he just blew their minds! He was so—I don't know, he paid so much attention to them on one level and at the same time he was so much in control and so obviously loved by everybody there. The whole day was such an incredible experience for them that after that my father started saying things like, "You sure were a mess until you met Murshid; he sure has straightened you out."
FARHAD: He still says things like, "The best thing that ever happened to you was when you met Samuel Lewis!
YASMIN: And the thing that is wonderful now is that he loves us so much, my father—we have the greatest relationship. He has gone from thinking that he has a whole passle of-
YASMIN: terrible children, all totally not what he planned to thanking his stars every day that he has such wonderful children who are so much more beautiful than he ever could have hoped, and he attributes it all to Murshid. He feels that there is a certain ability of his own to partake of that blessing. At one point it may have been that we went to Murshid for a father, and then later Murshid brought our father back to us. Of course we always gave him Inayat Khan books for his birthday and our step mother always read them.
SHIBLI: By that way it was translated through to him. It did seem at times that he was truly jealous of that energy and yet what lot of us were trying to communicate to him was that it wasn’t even that while he definitely did fulfill a father feeling in many ways, we weren’t seeking a father feeling, we couldn't explain to him what a Murshid meant without his opening to that and it has been in his own evolution that he has begun to understand that that has to mean.
FARHAD: We were seeking a father—
SHIBLI: Yes, but it didn't-
FARHAD: Don't say we weren't, because things are—
SHIBLI: I'm saying I wasn't, I wasn't seeking anything; quite frankly, I just went there and was awashed in light—
FARHAD: Perhaps not consciously, but it was a real thing—
KRISTIN: It was a lovely thing—
SHIBLI: But the important thing was that I was not seeking a father, I felt had found one on certain planes, but it had not limited anything, it had not renounced anything, there was no less of a father in any way, shape or form on my blood-father's side, and yet the drew away to a certain extent until he met him. In a way it would seem almost like a jealous lover because he did speak of him like a crack pot until he actually met him, and then I think he had the deepest respect. And at the times when I would meet him when he felt that kind of jealousy, I knew that it was because of a father-feeling—a feeling not only that we were seeking a father, or to me he knew it—a jealous that I was seeking a father in someone else, and at the same time mirroring an image that here was my son who was not fulfilling my image as a son—like there is this whole conflict of roles. In words, in every different way, we tried to communicate to him that this was not the case, and then again by experience, you couldn't translate it by an intellectual—there was no way that I could get through to it to him and explain what was taking place. He just had to, in his own time and evolution, meet him, and it naturally came about at the point of this marriage ceremony. He continues to deepen in his love and respect. I didn't mean that I am not denying that I wanted a father, but there was no conflict, and there was so much more and there was the dividing of lines on the natural on the blood side of the father relationship, and there was never any division truly there, and to see those problems, discontinuities work themselves out has been something that has really deepened my heart so much and deepened all of our family relationships.
YASMIN: I just have one more story. I used to work my dues off every week. I would go to the Khankah Novato and wash the floor, sweep and vacuum Murshid's room and make his bed and cook lunch every Wednesday morning, and Murshid at that time was gardening intensively up there. In the winter time he would bring the tomato plants in in a box and put them in his bedroom to keep them from being disturbed by the frost, the early frost, and that way he would get a few weeks more of tomatoes off of the plants. And so he hauled this big box of dirt with tomatoes in it into his bedroom and stuck it in the corner right next to his bed, and then every time I would go and vacuum his floor after the tomato plants came into his bedroom I would find these snail tracks from directly outside the back door; right outside his bedroom was the door to the back yard. The snails would come in—under the door from outsides—I don't know how they got in—they would come in and they would go all the way across his carpet right over to his bed and they would eat the tomatoes, and then they would go right back out the next morning before he woke up.
KRISTIN: Smart snails, eat something—
SABIRA: Was he just as messy out there as he was at the Mentorgarten? We have these unbelievable stories of what it was like, he was like when he lived at the Mentorgarten.
YASMIN: I don't know if this is for publication or not, but when Fatima's mother came to visit she was really middle-class, she couldn't stand—everything had to be very much the way she thought it should be. Murshid was in the bathroom, and I guess he got real tripped out, and he forgot to raise the lid and he peed all over the rim of the toilet seat, and she came running, he came out and went on about his business—and she came running out and she said, "I didn't do it. I didn't do it!!" Fatima told me that story, she couldn't hardly keep from laughing about it. It was like her mother was so—how could she relate to somebody like this who couldn't even remember to lift up the lid?
SHIBLI: There was just this choice Thanksgiving interplay one afternoon. You may have been there, I don't recall. There were many people who were gathered for a Saturday afternoon Thanksgiving and it had been planned for a week or two before, and at two different Sunday meetings he announced, "I am going to have a Thanksgiving—we are going to have a Thanksgiving feast here at the Mentorgarten and we are going to have dancing and you can all bring the kids you knew. We are going to do some walking, some dancing, some practices and just in general have a good time. After-wards we are going to have a very large dinner and give thanks to all the mureeds," or something like that, "but I want to find out how many of you here are vegetarians and how many of you are meat eaters." So 3/4th of the room raised their hands that they were vegetarians, there were maybe 25-30 people there per night, maybe an overall turnout for that thing maybe an overall turnout for that thing of around 60 to 80. He saw in most of them, probably all of them, during those meetings, and accounted for the family by that. And he said, "Now I want you to think not only of yourselves but the people that are coming, how many of you are meat eaters and how many of you aren't?" The massive majority was vegetarian. He said, "I am going to make split pea curry and I am going to have turkey, but I want to provide enough turkey for everybody, but I don't want to order too much so that we have a lot of leftover afterwards, so I have to know pretty definitely who here will eat meat—there is no compulsion in Sufism," so he estimated that all the—after all the coaxing there was maybe—that one turkey would suffice for the entire group, and quite honestly by the show of hands (I think I raised my hand because I was under the teaching that fish and fowl were alright and I needed that kind of energy quite a bit). Most everybody else was strict vegetarian by show of hands—well over 4/5th's of the room. The day came and there were 24, 25, 26 wonderful dishes, beautiful salads, hot baked bread, all different kinds, different cranberries, different nut loaves, different rice casseroles and just all these wonderful things. One turkey, the split pea curry and so many chutneys to go with it—the turkey came down last or next to the last, and part of it was carved and part of it wasn't. And Murshid had been the cook of not only the curries but I think also the turkey—he hadn't done the side dishes but he had had a major hand in the cooking, as this was very much a part of his teaching to be—that the cook was so much higher than the Sheikh—and again he was demonstrating. So down went the turkey and ten minutes later down comes Murshid, and there was not a scrap left on that turkey! Not one! There was nothing left of that turkey. The wings had been picked clean, no skin, the wishbone was clean—it hadn't been sanded clear but there was nothing you could take off of it that was any meat. And here comes Murshid, not violins playing for someone who didn't have any with a drumstick in his hand chewing merrily away, and he, said, "Gee! Look at all these vegetarians!!"
SABIRA: That's glorious!
SHIBLI: He didn't rub anybody's nose in it, but for three weeks after, “My, I'm sure glad we didn't have any more meat eaters than we had; a little reminder, if you say something, make sure that your actions have something to do with your words!" He taught much of his teachings in the Christian style. Like when he would catch you doing something in your lower consciousness he would tease you, or he would tickle you right where you couldn't stand it. And he would push you to a higher plane.
YASMIN: I remember that whenever I would have a problem he would take me in his office and it would be very serious, and we would go and sit on his couch and we would start talking; he would never ask me what was wrong. And he would never even talk about it; he would just start talking and I can't even remember what he would say, but he would just talk and talk and talk and talk and he would tell me everything that he did that day and what he was planning on doing, and all the letters he was writing. And after awhile he would say, "Okay?" I wouldn't have a problem anymore, it would be over. But it was like he would never focus in on it—he would just take me right out of the problem by any means he could. There wasn't any asking you what was wrong and then trying to explain why I was feeling that wry or anything. We would just kind of lift ourselves bodily out of any consciousness of a difficulty and it would just pass away, even if only for that few minutes. Shibli got his name one night at one of the meetings, and both he and I had had very old fashioned definite family names that we had both hated all of our lives and wished that we could get rid of, and secretly somewhere there was always this feeling that when we finally got our spiritual names if was going to lift us out of this past karma. And so we arrived at the meeting one night, and Murshid burst out laughing as soon as he sees Shibli, and he says, "I've got your name, I've got your name," and he wouldn't tell him what it was. He said, "I'm going to tell Vashti what your name is, so he called her over and he whispered in her ear what his name was and she started laughing, and she went over and she told the next person and they started laughing—pretty soon everybody in the room knows what his name is except for him. And it turned out that from being called Sibley (S i b l e y) which was our old family name Murshid changed it to Shibli which is S h i b l i who was a very respectable, magnificent Sufi saint, Vasistha's disciple.
SABIRA: How did you get your name?
YASMIN: Pir Vilayat told me at the Colorado camp that he just saw me doing practices with light, just the way Pir does—where you just kind of whisk yourself off to the level of Paradises so I decided "if I am going to do practices with light, I sure ought to have a name like Nur or Nura or something like that, so I drove all the way back to California from Colorado determined that the first time I saw Murshid to say, “Murshid please name me Nur.” And what happened was that I called him up and I ran right over to his house and the first thing he said to me when I walked in the door was, "By the way, your name is Yasmin, which is exactly what my name had been before only except instead of a J it was a Y.
SABIRA: Did that make you angry?
YASMIN: No, but I didn't use it until Malik was born, I didn't relate to it very well, and then when Malik was born whatever it was that had been my old name was no longer present in my being and that moment that he was born I was born into something else and that something else was named Yasmin.
SABIRA: Sounds more like your dream after Murshid died.
YASMIN: I don't know, I didn't feel comfortable in using the old parts of myself, because the birth experience at least with Malik was so intense and so high, it just naturally was taken as a beginning for me too.
SABIRA: Is this where we end? Do you have any more Kris?
End of tape.