Comments of Moineddin Jablonski
MOINEDDIN: Fatima just added that Murshid liked peanut butts on his spaghetti. Anyhow, after supper, everybody went to the front room and set around and that’s when we started lighting up the marijuana joints up and passing them around. It didn't faze Murshid in the slightest. And I guess the first things that happed was that Alan started passing around his color photographs of flying saucers and we all looked at them and I took about five minutes and then Murshid just started talking. I can't tell you what he talked about. It was interesting. I guess it was just that the ring in his voice had such a vitality of such a magnetic feeling to it that we were just all riveted to him as far as our attention went. And Ted Rich would interject comments to it here and there and Murshid would say, "Yeah, that’s right." I really can't tell you what he talked about at all, but I do know that about midnight Ted Rich said he had to go home, so I took him. Fatima had a little sports car at the time, so Ted and I went out and I drove him home. I can't remember where he lives, somewhere on Geary I think. I drove back and Murshid must have talked for another hour. It must have been until one-thirty in the morning.
INTERVIEWER: "Did you know right away that he was going to be your Murshid?"
MOINEDDIN: I guess I had a feeling, but it certainly didn't present itself like that. I didn't know anything about discipleship or anything. I just knew I wanted to meet a Zen master.
FATIMA: We knew right away that we were going to study with him, because we were going to (??)Subaru where we had to sit outside for 3 months and listen to them inside. So we went and sat outside for 3 months and we were just about to go in and then we met Murshid, and we never want back to (??)Subaru, I remember that. And you said that this was the way you were going to take, you decided that.
MOINEDDIN: Yeah, yeah, we gave up (??)Subaru instantly as soon as we met Murshid.
FATIMA: So it was known, it wasn't exactly expressed, it just happened.
MOINEDDIN: Anyhow, after this first meeting at the Cosmic Messiahs house, we started going to public meetings and at the time Murshid lived in a little back street between Howard and Folsom called Clementina between eighth and ninth avenue. The address was 772 Clementina St. and it was the apartment formerly occupied by Gavin Arthur. And you could look up at the dingy ceiling and see where some astrological symbols had been fixed, like little labels, and taken off and you could see where the dust around them made it as you could see where they had been. Anyhow, as I was telling somebody earlier today, that little room was permeated with the kind of atmosphere that I'd never experienced before. Even the type of incense that he burned at the time, Murshida Vera burns the same kind. It was a Japanese incense, purple stick I think. It always reminds me of Clementina St., because the atmosphere was so potent it could just transform your being just by walking into it, even if Murshid was there or not, or I should say, that actually that was a sign of his being there, if he was physically present or not. And us. The first or second meeting I thought I'd made some kind of wise remark when we were at the Cosmic Messiahs and Murshid sort of pooh-poohed that notion, he said, "No, what you said was something like what the world really needed was love." And I said I didn't remember saying that. And he said, "Oh Yeah! That was what you said. That was the most important thing you ever said!" I don't know if I said it or not. Murshid said that I said it, so I started believing it. Anyhow, that was a kind of nice thing to have happen, because it got me off thinking I'd made some really wise comment.
FATIMA: It was a tiny, tiny little apartment, just a little bedroom, and a little kitchen. It was the back half of an apartment, the front half was shared. They shared the bathroom and the front two rooms was a fellow named Jack, was that it?
MOINEDDIN: A fellow named Jack who followed the courses and who had a parrot. We used to see him occasionally; he had nothing to do with Murshid’s meetings. In fact Murshid used to sit on his bed and talk to us and he had plastic curtains like shower curtains on the window and they rattled and crackled in this tiny little room. It was the kind of place you would ordinarily call ramshackle or dingy or run down, but it had its redeeming factors. So we met there twice a week on Sunday and Monday evenings. At the time we were living in Bolinas. We'd made friends with a lady named Sheila McKendrick who ran a dress shop in Mill Valley and we met her because Fatima sold her jewelry, and still sells her jewelry which was at that time a good thing cause Haight Street was happening and it was kind of a psychedelic jewelry and mandalas and stuff so it was we met Sheila, and soon after we introduced Murshid because she was our friend. We'd go to Murshids for the Sunday night meetings then we stayed overnight at Sheila's, and then go to the Monday night meeting, then we went to Bolinas where we lived. In the meantime of course Fatima and I are corresponding with Otis and Nickey, Mansur and Jemila who are in Marquette, Michigan where Mansur is teaching at the college there and Nathan is less than a year old. We were writing them and asking them to come out and visit us and maybe live in California. And I started to say earlier in the tape, Mansur was actually my first guru because I said I was kind of on an atheist trip and Mansur, no matter what he said, always said that God was real. And that he connected or identified God with the experience of eternity, which we got glimpses of on our drug experiences or psychedelic experiences. It was really Mansur that gave me the glimpse that God was and could be a real being. So, we were writing to the Johnsons and ultimately they did come out the following fall of 1967.
INTERVIEWER: So you were writing to them and telling them that you'd found a connection?
MOINEDDIN: Yeah, I wrote to Mansur and told him I'd found a Zen Master, who turns out to be a Sufi teacher, which I don't know what I can tell you about, you just have to come out and experience it for yourself. That was an interesting thing because we'd invite our friends to come meet Murshid and who we called Sam at the time, because he wasn't Murshid yet and he didn't tell us to call him Murshid. We’d never heard the word Murshid. So, they'd say, "What’s he like?" And we'd start saying, "He's like this," and we'd get half way through our description of what he was like and realized there’s every possibility that he's not like that at all! If they went to see him, he'd manifest any way he wanted to manifest. He'd ask them if they had cold feet or empty stomachs or he'd be very sweet or he'd be very nasty—anything could happen. Actually though, I must say, those were the days he was all sweetness, primarily until he moved to the Mentorgarten. I'll tell you about that later. But he never showed his rough side or his Fudo side until he moved to the Mentorgarten. Alright, I think we'll stick to Clementina Street for a while. As I say, we went to meeting twice a week on Clementina St. and at one of these meetings a fellow who was later to play a certain role in Murshids life, Father Blighton, Father Earl Blighton, who before he died last year sometime, was the head of the Holy Order of Mans, a Christian Mystical Organization, came to one of or two of Murshids meetings on Clementina St., as well as some of his disciples. One fellow in particular named Eric who Murshid worked very closely with for a while. However, those first days on Clementina St., there were roughly 5 or 6 people who used to come and listen to Murshid’s talks. As Fatima said, he sat on the side of his little single bed there and spoke to us. We were arranged around the room in sort of e rough crescent, there were about 8 or 9 chairs never totally filled. Kirk came for awhile; Eric, followed by a disciple came; Fatima and I always came; Akbar had been initiated approximately a month before. Akbar was the first young person in our group or in the SF area to be initiated by Murshid. Murshid had, as Murshida Vera mentioned in her tapes, initiated quite a few people when he was living at the Kaaba Allah Khankah in Fairfax. At this time he had a few older Mureeds, at least in their late 30's or early 40's. All men. A fellow named Clark Brown and a few mureeds from Corte Madera, one named Wayne and another I can't remember his name. I remember his face but not his name. Shortly after we started coming they all dropped away. (Wayne and Howard and Claude Brown still continued to come because he was really interested in Murshid’s teachings. But a year or so later he got busted for grass or something in Idaho and spent a year in jail. Haven’t heard from him since. We were sort of, although we didn't realize it, we just thought we were interested in what we were interested in, but we were really a new wave type of people who were seeking spiritual teachings and Baraka and so forth. So we came and more and more people started coming and it started building very gradually. Then a traumatic event happened. Murshid ended up in the hospital. And I think this was the. Murshid had gone down to Ojai in South California to visit some old friends. And the next thing we knew was that he was in the hospital. And I think another fellow that was coming at that time was Amin, and even James from the Khankah was too. And I remember Amin had a bad back for about six months and Murshid told him to lay down on the floor of the apartment. So he did and Murshid walked right over his back! Just walked right up his backbone and apparently it set something in place and Amin said he had relief for the first time in 6 months, plus getting a real blessing from Murshids' feet.
Anyhow, after Murshids return from Ojai, we heard he was in the hospital. He was in a Chinese hospital, so we went to visit him, which later was the place where he actually did pass away. And we went in and I couldn't believe it. Here was this … he just sort of looked ashen gray and just totally, totally and absolutely … supremely subdued, I can't put it any other way. It was as though he were hardly even alive at that time. And as he later said, he'd gotton ptomaine poisoning, and I said Wow! What a bout you must have had with ptomaine to put you out that much! But he just looked gray. That’s where we met Joe and Guin Miller for the first time. Joe and Guin were there and Joe was being his usual self—mostly serious this time. He was actually exhorting him to live, was what he was doing. As I recall, he was saying "You know Sam, this world is waiting for you to give what you got to give them." And sure enough Murshid did rally back from the experience, which we later found out from his old friend Bill Hathaway, he said, "Don't tell the kids this, but I really had a heart attack." And I guess that Bill said he'd had one before that. So while Murshid told the disciples he had ptomaine poisoning, he told Bill Hathaway he had a heart attack. It was during this time in the hospital that he had a very profound vision. He said, "Yes, I saw a mountain, and at the top of the mountain was this little tiny trickle of water, and as it went down the mountain, other little trickles of water started gathering into it, and then a little farther down the mountain pretty soon streams began to run into it and then rivers. And he said, "By the time it was down to the base of the mountain it was this tremendous wide expansive water that kept going and going. And later he realized what this was, which was the vision which was indicating to him that the stage of his mission as a teacher. He said that the first trickle was the first disciples and gradually as the message began to come down from the mountain top, more and more disciples were to come and the message was to become broader and broader until finally, he said it went in 3 stages. The 1st stage went from 5 to 30 disciples, the 2nd stage was from 30-60 disciples, and the other stage was from 60-100 disciples. And he was waiting for more than that I’m sure. He told me once, "God tells me that I may have to stay in the body till I'm ll9!" And I could believe every word of it, because when he was vigorous, he was absolutely vigorous! No doubt about his youthfulness, which he's explained in his 6 interviews with Hazrat Inayat Khan. He talks about his initiation of Khwaja Khidr which he says generally has the effect of making one's life long, so it was shortly after this hospital trip which Murshid used to characterize by saying, "I'm a pretty feisty guy; sometimes even outright nasty, but, when I was in the hospital flat on my back, that’s the time Allah chose to come and speak to me, so I couldn't talk back. So I was flat on my back, I was just told what to do, so, and I couldn't talk at all." And he said that was the time God came and said, "I make you spiritual teacher of the hippies!” That sort of concludes the Clementina St. chapter. Shortly after that Murshid had Akbar come over and pack away his books and get out his personal things from the basement and he said he found a place over in the Mission District, which turned out to be 410 Precita Avenue, which is now known as the Mentorgarten. That’s where he moved. It was June of '67 he moved to Mentorgarten and set up house there. Murshid's old friend Mr. Hunt, who was a painter, lived in the backroom which is where Wali Ali and Khadija are going to be moving now. Just Murshid and Mr. Hunt. Some of this isn't clear to me, but at any rate the garage was simply being used as a painting studio by Mr. Hunt. And sometime after that David Hoffmaster, who later became a disciple of Father Blighton, lived there and used to work on his old blue pick-up in where we dance now at the Mentorgarten.
FATIMA: Was Wali Ali there too?
MOINEDDIN: No Wali Ali didn't come around till June of '68. We’ll get to this; we met him at rancho Olompali.
So know I want to give a little idea of the first month at Mentorgarten. Murshid kept his meetings, Sunday and Monday nights. I think he did keep those, and in the meantime Mansur and Jamila did come out to live in Bolinas.
They found their own house and also Jayanara and Hassan. First Jayanara, then Hassan was convinced that he should come out to. They weren't exactly together at the time although they really were destined to be together. So we sort of formed a nucleus of the disciples out there and Ayesha also lived in Bolinas. She wasn't particularly interested in Sufism at the time. She babysat for Nathan at the Johnsons house while we went into the city. And I think we started driving in about 4 times a week from Bolinas, which is quite a thing for 2 or 3 meetings. On Sunday and Monday nights, then on Wednesday for Murshid’s lectures at the Church of Man which at the time was called the Church of the Children. Then on Saturday morning, Murshid gave a walking class, which Mansur and I used to like, where we would just climb hills in San Francisco. I should also mention here, it was in the Clementina St. days, it was only a matter of two or three weeks after we met Murshid that I finally got up the courage to ask Murshid if I could study with him as a disciple or whatever he called that relationship. He said, “We’ll prepare a ceremony for a couple of weeks and your wife Pat can be initiated” and she didn't know if she wanted to at the time, but as soon as he said it, she thought, “I guess I do." Maybe there was a slight hesitation. She overcame the initial reserve, then (?) and Akbar showed up and handed us the fruit juice (?) in the Sufi Order, which we still didn't know too much about. It wasn't until Murshids move to Precita St. we started in the teachings, hearing the Gathas. So we started a regular schedule of going to the meetings and at the time Murshid was talking at the Church of Man and he was lecturing on the 5 religions of man or something, the 5 great world religions Buddhism, Hinduism Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Now somewhere along the line we came in contact with A. Warwick, otherwise known as Dr. Warwick, who Kirk introduced us to him too. It was funny; Kirk had a very interesting role in all this. Kirk introduced us to LSD, he introduced us to Murshid, he introduced us to Warwick, he was like a catalyst, he introduced us to so many things, and finally he started getting way off balance...?
We've had a break due to faulty batteries, so we're starting over 2 days later.
I think we've just talked about the role Kirk has played in introducing us first to LSD, and to both Murshid Sam Lewis and to Dr. Ajari Warwick, who’s the head of the Kilosh(?) Shingon Buddhist group here. To continue with the stream of how Murshid played an important part of our lives at this point, Fatima, and I were still living in Bolinas and it was a few months after Kirk had introduced us to Murshid. We’d been getting a little upset, hadn't mentioned it to anybody, simply because Kirk had been coming to our house and coming in and lighting up his own joints with no regard to whether we were or not and playing our records at top volume. Finally, we simply went to a meeting and I think Murshid picked up something through the ethers and he just said to me after the meeting, "You're gonna have to tell that man to get out of your house." And as I say, up to this time Murshid had shown "The Sweet" side of his nature and when he asked me to kick a man out of my house I realized all of a sudden there was a certain strength in his being which I simply hadn't realized. I think he knew that it was going to be a problem for me to do it but he asked me to do it so I said I would and I went home and I did. I kicked him out and I said, "You're simply not right for us at this point, so please leave." And he left.
Now, continuing along the same stream of … I want to indicate my first meeting with Murshid as my Fudo, or Fudo-sama, who is the Bodhisattva of dharma protection who manifests his fiery nature or his powerful nature more often than not, although Murshid said if you're really Fudo, you have to have Quan Yin or all mercy behind your actions just as if you're Quan Yin you have to have the strength ultimately to back up your gentleness. Now at this time Mansur and Jamila were living a couple miles down the road from us in Bolinas and Hassan and Jayanara were living up the road a couple of miles from us. Mansur and I were the habit of going to Murshid’s Saturday morning walks classes mentioned earlier on the tape.
Fatima and I went one Sunday to a meeting and Murshid said, "I want you and Fatima to come for your first lesson.” Which was to be at 3 o'clock on Sunday afternoon a week from that day. At the time we were highly impressed; we thought, oh wonderful, our first lesson! During the week our hopes and our aspirations were running high for that first meeting. Then Saturday came along and I don't know if I suggested it to Mansur, or vice-versa, but somehow we found out that Dr. Warwick was going mountain climbing every Sunday on Mt. Tam and he usually spent the whole day up there, and for one reason or another we decided to go mountain climbing with Dr. Warwick. And so the next Sunday morning instead of preparing to go to Murshids class at 3 o'clock, Mansur and I drove to Mt. Tam, or to Mill Valley and hiked up the mountain with Dr. Warwick and a bunch of other people. Not only that, after we came down the mountain at 4 o'clock, Mansur and I took our own sweet time and went to eat supper at a restaurant on Folsom Street. We had a beer with our meal and so forth and so forth and so on, and we got to Murshid at 6 o' clock, 3 hours late for our appointment, but Fatima got there just a few minutes after I did, she had driven out with Jayanara and Jemila I think from Bolinas. Whether intentional or not she'd missed the appointment, too. And all I can say is that Murshid said, "Moineddin, come into the front room, I want to talk to you." And I just noticed a different feeling in the atmosphere, like I say, up to that time it had been a lot of joy, a lot of love, a lot of laughter and so forth and everything was nice. And I could tell there was palpable tangible difference in the atmosphere there, and I didn’t know what it was and I could feel this new tone in Murshids voice. When Murshid said, “Moineddin, come into the front room I want to talk with you," I hurried as fast as I could. Murshid had a way of beating you to the punch and I followed him as fast as I could, but he was sitting down waiting for me by the time I stepped into the room, and he said "Sit Down!" And the only place I could sit was on the floor. So I sat down and he said something like this, he said, "You've missed your appointment." And I could not say a word, I knew I'd missed an appointment and that really somehow seemed to trigger off a whole stream of power coming out of Murshid in the form of words and scolding. And he said, ultimately he said, "When I make an appointment with you, don't ever break it again. You could have at least had the courtesy to phone me, all I received no notice of this or anything, you're three hours late, all I can say is don't ever let it happen again." He scolded me like this in front of at least 5 or 6 of the other disciples, and I was just totally ashamed. I couldn't manifest any kind of positivity after that in my inner or outer being with what felt like 4 or 6 weeks after that, with any of those people. It had a very deep affect on me I didn't know what to do except to keep coming back and keep accepting Murshid, because I had accepted him. I didn't know what else to do, I just kept going back, and finally the effect of it seemed to wear away and I got on my even keel once again and started feeling pretty good again. And that was my first meeting with Fudo. Actually, that was my second. The first meeting with Fudo was more during one of the Saturday morning walks which Mansur and I used to drive to. Not too many people went on them. Clark Brown, at the time senior disciple, Akbar, who was the first young person to be a disciple—he was initiated about a month before Fatima and I received our initiation. Early in 1967. And sometimes Amin, sometimes James, and a few other people here and there. He used to take us through these neighborhoods south of Mission which we'd never been in before. Vernal Heights, Potrero Hill neighborhoods I can't ever remember anymore, they were so far flung. McClaren Park. Whenever we were tripping through a neighborhood, seems like we attracted all the children in the neighborhood who would come and follow us around for a couple blocks on the bikes and yell. Hippy! Hippy! It was great! After one of the Saturday morning walks, Clark Brown took Mansur and I out to eat at the good Karma Cafe, and said. "Has Murshid put you on the Sufi symbol concentration yet?" And I said No, I don't know anything about it. And he says "Gee, I'm surprised. I do it 45 minutes every day. He will soon, and you'll really start having experiences all over the place.” And I thought, well that’s pretty far out. But I didn't know what to make of it really. Then Clark Brown said “Did Murshid ever tell you who he was in any of his past lives?"' And I said, past lives, you're kidding!? He said, "No! He didn't? Well, he was Marpa." “Marpa. Who's Marpa? Never heard of him.” "Marpa was the teacher of Milarepa." “Milarepa. Who's Milarepa? Never heard of him either.” He said, "Why don't you ask him?" So I said, "Sure." Even though in later years I may have gotten kind of afraid to be that informal with Murshid, although I don't know if I was or not. Sometimes I was. Sometime I wasn't. Anyhow, at that point of my life I wasn't at all. That was my whole demeanor with Murshid. In fact I don't even know if we ceased calling him Sam, at that time. We may have still been using the name Sam to refer to Murshid, before he asked us to call him Murshid. So in the following week, Murshid was leading us on this walk again an at this point on our walk, we were coming down the hill real fast, my mind doing what you might call a real fast water walk. And it was so fast, my mind started delighting in the step we were taking down the hill, and we were actually way ahead of Murshid and I looked back and said, "Hey Murshid, Clark said that you were Marpa in your past life." And I looked in front of me so I could see where I was going, and I heard this voice yelling, "Yeah, what of it?” It was Murshids voice. I said “Yeah!” and he said, ”So what’d you think?” And I felt this attraction to look backwards again and I looked backwards and there was Murshid and all of a sudden it was just Murshid leading us on a walk. He was full of this incredible, as Wali Ali would say, this radio-active power, which was just exuding or flaming out of every pore and at the same time he was just this compact fiery being just like an atom bomb, mini-sized. I realized later that this was the first manifestation of Fudo, in his own way in Tibet, many centuries ago. The effect it had on Marpa was to produce cosmic awakening, which was the whole point. So that was actually the first time I met Fudo in the form of Marpa and although Murshid never confirmed it—sometimes he would say he knew who he was in this past lives when he was taking with Hindus. Other times when he was talking with different types of people, some Sufis, he would interpret the history of his soul’s development in the terms Inayat Khan describes in the Sufi Message volumes, where there isn’t necessarily the soul reincarnating, but the personality reincarnates, but the soul simply has two motions: toward manifestation and back to its origin. Either way he could explain it. And I heard him say regarding Marpa, that it could possibly have been the falling of Marpa’s mantle upon him and he was simply fulfilling a particular mission in this life. Same as Dara Shiko. He could have explained that he was Dara Shikoh reincarnated or that he simply received the tana-souk (?) or the mantle of Dara Shikoh mission to unite the religions of the world. In October of 1968, I think the
Families Jayanara and Hassan, Mansur and Jemila and Fatima and myself, made plans to move to Novato to what is called a Khankah, which is the Sufi name for Ashram. That means where the brethren in unity with their Sheik. We had made these plans with Hussain who lived at Bolinas also, but Hussain, as was his wont, and may still be, to make plans and not carry them through, I don't know. So we all made plans to move to the Novato Khankah with Murshid who said that he'd be glad to move in with us if we found a p1ace. We did find a place two weeks later. The money manifested to buy it. We bought it. It has served its purpose well, and continues to serve its purpose well as a type of Garden of Inayat, which it has been named by Murshid, which the functions of which are described in Murshids Commentaries on the work of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Spiritual Architecture. In November of 1968, we all moved to 910 RR Avenue, the Novato Khankah. Murshid loved to throw open houses, yard parties and work parties at this location. And it was on the occasions of one of these yard parties and work parties that I met Fudo for the second time. My being on the receiving end, but this time, I was able to face it. I'm not sure of the exact date of this, I don't know if it was the Mayday celebration of 1969 or whether it was earlier than that. There were many people there and it was a whole work party situation and at one point in our preparations I had made a sign, I put it at the bottom of the stairs. It said “Non-residents not allowed on second floor.” Murshid said that’s fine. So, Murshid led us in a round of dances, maybe about an hour’s worth of dances and then we all went inside. And what happened was that we'd gotton so high doing the dances that Fatima and I invited Philip and Salima, Philip who is now known as Vasheest Davenport, who at the time they were married. So we invited them up to our room on the second floor and we talked and talked are talked and even Mansur came up. And we were just talking about spiritual experiences and Murshid and we were just running off at the mouth just for an hour or so and all of a sudden I sensed the atmosphere getting this feeling again that I'd experienced once before at Mentorgarten. Just like the atmosphere had prickles all over it and there was a kind of fiery quality to it. All of a sudden there was this knock-knock at the door, just so determined and I just knew what it was in a flash. I went to the door and opened it up and I said I know Murshid, I know what it is. He said, "I want to see you in the meditation room.” And I swear I ran down the stairs as fast as I could, by the time I got there, there was Murshid sitting down again before I walked in the door. And he says, "Sit down!" So I sat down across the room and Murshid shot this glance at and me and he just, like I say, it was no less fiery, but to me it seemed more focused this time, and, for some reason or other, I was able to face it and accept it and I absorbed it. And he just said, "You know what you've done." and I said, “Yes Murshid.” And he said, "You made a sign, and you've gone against the sign you made. I don't care if you make a sign, but if you make a sign you've gotta stick to it! You've got to stick to it, if you don't stick to your words, what are you going to stick to?" I said, "I know Murshid, and I won't do it again." So that was my second meeting with Fudo. But as I say, it filled me up and I feel like necessary it’s in the reservoir of my being, and if necessary, it has been called forth, simply, not by my willing it so, but simply because it has been called forth, just a few times for a certain purpose. Since we're in the process of mentioning my meetings with Fudo, I might as well go to the third and most superlative Fudo I've ever met. This came as a result of the tree-seat project. Murshid had asked that two tree-seats be built. One around the willow tree off the office and one around the scrub oak tree in the middle of the back yard at the Khankah. So Mansur built an interesting sun shaped tree seat made out of 2 x 4's which were like rays of the sun around the scrub oak, no, the willow tree, which really has never been used. As Fatima says it’s impossible to sit on, although Basira has sat under it many times and reports that it’s a most wonderful place to sit. It’s not what you'd call comfortable. Around the scrub oak tree slightly larger, although not anymore, because the willow tree has grown. At that time it was ‘68 or ‘69, Jelaluddin came and really made a wonderful tree seat. He 's a master craftsmen and carpenter and he picked up some driftwood around the canals around Larkspur where he was living and a five-pointed star or pentagram shaped tree seat with a back rest on it. It was wonderful, and yet it hadn’t been affixed yet. It was in two sections. One section could be easily taken apart and fit around the tree and nailed together again. Murshid came and saw it and said that’s very beautiful, but I don't want it installed until you get this other project finished. I can't remember what the other project was at this moment. Fatima mentioned that Jelaluddin was not a disciple at that time and Murshid was somewhat perturbed by the fact that we were having a non-disciple do something in opposition to Murshid’s wishes. Possibly it was the fact that Jelaluddin and Hassan were working on a large gas line installation that ran from the front of the house way to the back of the middle of the shed to be installed next to the kiln, which was and since has been used many, many years now. Whatever it was, the project was not finished and it was perfectly fine, the tree seat sat and it wasn't affixed around the tree, everything was cool. One afternoon I came home after working at New Age, and there was the tree seat around the tree! Immediately I started asking questions. I said, ”Who put the tree seat up? Murshid didn't want it up ‘til the end of this other project. At least the end of April.” There was at least a month to go. And they said, "Jelaluddin just came over and started doing it, he didn’t ask anybody." I said, ”Gee, gosh!” I could just feel what Murshid was going to react! But my mistake at that point was letting the project go through. I didn't ask Jelaluddin to take it down and Murshid would have. So the next day Murshid came and he didn’t see anything so I went up to my room and I know Murshid walked into the house and was enjoying himself a whole lot. And I tried to be pleasant, and he went out to work in the garden a little bit. I went to my room. I don’t know if I was just trying to hope things wouldn't happen or whether or just to escape whatever was going to happen. All of a sudden I heard this voice. "Moineddin … Moineddin” and I said something like coming, which is the only way you could answer such a voice. And I got down to the stairs and he was facing me and he turned around and said "Come here!" And all I knew was from that whole walk through the hallway of our house to the kitchen through the back room and out the back door, I felt like I was walking through fire. I felt like I was actually walking through actual fire! We got outside, and the first thing that Murshid said when we got to the tree-seat. He pointed to it he said, "I'm going to take an axe to this!!" And I couldn't say a word (laughter). He said, ”I’m to take an axe to this!!” And I felt so terrible. He said, "You've gone against Murshid’s word. I asked that this not be installed. I’m going to take an axe and break it myself!!" I couldn’t believe what was happening. It was so powerful, I couldn't believe it. I said, "Murshid this was done without my knowledge, it was done against my wishes.” He said" You could have stopped it." I don't know if he said that or not but it felt like he said that. Some other things were said. Finally I said, ''Murshid I'll have it taken apart if you want”. He says, “No! It’s done" But I'll tell you, for about six months after that I felt funny about sitting on that tree seat. I just felt funny about it. When I sit in that tree seat, there that memory of Murshid saying “I’m gonna take an axe to this." And that’s about the worst moment of my life. When I heard him say “I'm gonna take an axe to this,” maybe I felt almost a smidgen of the first time of all those seven times Marpa told Mi1arepa he was gonna tear down the house he asked Mi1arepa to build for him. I never told Jelaluddin. Jelaluddin all the while simply was in this space of assuming he was doing this very nice thing for us, and Murshid could care less about nice things that were being done against his wishes.
FATIMA: They'd think they were being real nice and they'd give it to Murshid and that meant he had to take care of it. This is an instance, another time the Garden of Allah gave us a little pine tree in a planter box two feet high, very beautiful, and of course Murshid said, “Thank you.” Then when the Khankah people got home Murshid said, "Look what they give me. Look at this. Instead of coming by to help me by working, they give me a tree which I have to plant. It’ just nothing but more work for me, just like the garden next door that went in without my orders, and was abandoned and Murshid had to salvage it. Do you realize that for every project that a disciple starts and then stops, Murshid has to finish." He said. "Murshid is one with his mureeds, I cannot allow my disciples to stop a project and not let it be finished."
FATIMA: His God-daughter from Pakistan was staying at the Khankah, and there was an annual rummage sale nearby that we went to every year. She went and she came back with two birds in a cage for Murshid. He was so furious not just because he'd have to take care of these stupid birds, but he loved cats and the house was full of cats and so immediately the first thing that happened was the cat jumped over the cage to attack the birds, so she had to get rid of them right away. So that was another case of somebody being nice—ugh!!
We might as well since we're talking about interesting episodes at Khankah, this is other one here. I guess a little gossip is allowed. At one point, Fatima woke up one morning very early, about 5:30, and said, “Moineddin. Moineddin wake up, a skunk is in the house." And I smelled and there was this extremely powerful odor, even in our bedroom which was upstairs. I said. "Fatima, don't be silly. That’s Murshid cooking breakfast, and he always uses onions and garlic". Fatima says “No, it’s a skunk”. I said. No its Murshid cooking breakfast.”
She said "Go see!" So I got up and went downstairs and it just kept getting stronger and more powerful, and all the kitchen was all dark and I went in and Murshid room was just off the kitchen right next to the back door, and we had a cat door which any animal could come into to get the cat food. What apparently had happened was that the skunk had come in, eaten the cat’s food from the dish which was right outside Murshids door which was open, Rufus the dog had surprised the skunk, the stunk had let fly with his defensive mechanism. Rufus had freaked out so totally from the experience of being shot through with this odor that he just jumped up on Murshids bed and started shivering. And that’s the way I found him, there was Rufus upon on top of Murshids bed, shivering and stinking to high heaven. And there was Murshid sleeping Peacefully, breathing deeply. Murshid had a presence when he slept that you wouldn't believe. It was very very potent and peaceful at the same time, when he wasn't so nervous.
FATIMA: Talking about sleeping. I looked out the back door at the Khankah and there was a little patio and three steps up and then a path out to the back gate, and there was Murshid, lying face down in the path, right out in the yard. Just lying face down and I thought, Oh my gosh, what happened? And I go out there and he'd just decided to take a nap and just gone out there, gone up the three steps and flopped down on his face right in the middle of the path. And that’s where he was sleeping. Another time Moineddin saw him sleeping under the oak tree, taking his nap, so Moineddin saw him and thought he'd go out there too, and sleep there to when he was done working, right on that place because it would be nice to sleep right where Murshid slept, get the baraka. So he went out there and laid down in the exact spot, and it was full of oak, and apples and rocks!
MOINEDDIN: It was so uncomfortable, you can't believe how uncomfortable it was, and all I could assume was that Murshid totally surrendered to the pokings of the sharp rocks and those oak galls there called, those round balls that grow on scrub oak. It was the most uncomfortable thing like a bed of nails! And there was Murshid just totally unaware of it all.
So, after that the skunk used to visit us sometimes, two or three times a week and usual procedure would be to wake up, light about three sticks of incense and stand by our door, inhale very deeply, take a very deep breath, open our door quickly, run down the stairs, put the incense all over, open all the doors and windows downstairs, run back upstairs, close our door and breathe again, so I wouldn't have to breathe in the skunk odor. And go to sleep and about an hour later when it was time to wake up all the smell would be mostly gone the incense would have helped a lot. People from the outside would notice it, but we just got used to it and after Murshid had passed on we actually—it became a family of skunks that lived under our house. There's a saying in the Gayan, "Snakes gather around the throne, while scorpions multiply under the crown" or something like that; anyway, I thought it was kind of fitting that a family of skunks should move in under the Khankah. But we finally had to get the humane society to give us a trap and we trapped them all and got rid of them and nailed up the bottom of the house so nothing else could get in.
MOINEDDIN: He was the type of person—you just didn't do things for him. Physically people just didn't. He was completely on his own that way. With a lot of teachers you have to be fixing for them, or washing their clothes; he was so independent of taking care of himself. Sometimes you’d want to do things for him sort of, but you'd almost feel funny about it. He didn’t do such a good job of taking care of himself, but he did it himself!
MOINEDDIN: Remember he'd use Score hair crème, the way he would apply Score hair crème, he would simply go into the bathroom, put a glob of score into his hand and hit one swipe on his head and that would be that. One swipe! And you’d look and there'd be a glob of hair crème right above his forehead just sort of imbedded in his scalp. And that would be his grooming—it was crazy. Actually the one thing he would allow was Shirin or Fatima or Jayanara to brush his hair out on the way to a meeting. But it was so snarled. And one time for Christmas this girl that lived in the house gave him some strawberry yogurt shampoo. And he opened it up, he usually opened a present. He barely looked at it and set it up he said. "Oh, too bad I already washed my hair.”
Didn't he tell Hassan once that it was good to wash your hair once a month? I think that’s what he said, something like that. It hasn’t helped Hassan’s hair much.
I think it’s time to shift the emphasis to Rancho Olompali which became one of the first spectacular hippie communes in the area anyhow. Sort of like Morningstar. It turned into a type of Morningstar. Although there are some really serious people have come out of Rancho. I’m not going to mention their names. But actually I have to. Shirin, Muni, who was at the time was known at the time as Mary Sue who later became Sultana, is now Muni. Richie who lives up north now makes sound equipment for the Grateful Dead. Khadija was there for a time. Sheila, who I mentioned earlier. Sheila was the friend’s house where we stayed overnight when we went to Murshid’s meetings on Sunday and Monday nights at Clementina Street. I should go back a little bit. We had started having Wednesday night meeting in Mill Valley. At Sheila McKendrick’s house in Mill Valley. And these were attended by upwards of 20 or 30 people.
Part 3 Moineddin
All right so were at Rancho Olompali here as Fatima just pointed out. It wasn`t really like Morning Star, because at Morning Star the people were fairly poor, and at Rancho Olompali—although the people may have been poor, they shared the wealth of Don McCoy who was sort of the chief "Acid Guru" of the group there, a towering figure, about 6'7" or 8', who had upwards of $200,000. I'll get to that later, but anyway they had a very exciting 2 or 3 months. Another fellow who has since become very instrumental and a key figure in our community is Saul, who came down from Mt. Shasta after studying with Mother Mary. He was also a big [?], whose name was Gypsey at the time. I'm sure there are more, probably think of them as the interview goes along here. Anyhow I want to—this tape is supposed to be reminisces of Murshid Samuel Lewis—I want to talk about his role at Rancho Olompali—which was on three occasions direct, and those are the times I want to talk about. Don McCoy had this habit of calling Murshid in for guidance, for advice. And, I remember once going up there and actually my first impression was rather startled because we got up there and there were a bunch of people swimming at the pool without any clothes on For some reason, maybe I shouldn't have been shocked but I was shocked simply because I felt that as Murshid remained fully clothed I thought that people should follow his example. Which I did, but anyhow, I saw Murshid frown a couple of times in my direction and I thought maybe he was simply saying that, I don't know what they're doing. Later Mansur asked him, "Murshid, why don't we do the nude thing?" and Murshid said to Mansur, "Look, we cannot join all the revolutions and succeed, we can do a couple of them and succeed, but if we join all of them we'll fail." Anyhow, later that day, Murshid turned to me and he said "Gee," it is wonderful, these New Age people even have different types of bodies than I'm used to. People have beautiful bodies." And that was a really startling thing for me to hear because I didn't expect to hear it, but Murshid was able to say something positive about something I felt kind of negative about. Anyhow, it was either that time or later on another occasion that Don McCoy had asked Murshid to come and bless their Deer Camp which was a former hunters cabin where they went up to hunt deer and it was up about 1/2 mile or 1/4 mile up this very steep slope up Mt. Burdell, on as Murshid called it "MacGraw-Hill" because a little bit down the road the MacGraw-Hill Book Company is located. But Murshid called it MacGraw Hill instead of Mt. Burdell, but anyhow, so he said "Come along, Moineddin, I want you to help me." So we got a bowl of water, some incense, and Murshid took me I;, I don't know if anyone else was present of not (Fatima says she was present) and Sharid and anyhow Murshid said the prayers Saum and Salat and then went and said the Invocation in every direction, facing the four directions, asked me to come there with a bowl of water (or maybe somebody else was holding the bowl of water), somebody was. He took his hands in the bowl of water, sprinkled all four directions, sprinkled in the dark corners and up above and all around, and said over and over again "Allah Mubarak which means Allah's blessings be here and then somebody was supposed to hold a lighted candle and hold it in all the dark corners and make sure any noxious influences would depart. And incense was done in the same fashion and we said Khatum or something and that was it. In the meantime, and that was fine, Murshid thought that was a good sign and he asked me to start a Thursday night class, or possibly it was a Friday night class, I can't recall, up at Rancho Olompali. So I went up there. I should go back a little bit to Bolinas here: Murshid sprung a real surprise on me once. He said, "Moineddin, I want you to start reading the Gathas," (which are the esoteric lessons for use in the Sufi Order) "I want you to read Gathas to the disciples in Bolinas." And the first few times I did that, I was so scared of facing people in that capacity that I would smoke a lot of Marijuana first just to get brave enough to do it, but it worked out fine. It sounds funny saying that now, but "Them's the facts". So at the time Buzz who later was named Dara by Murshid (who also lived at Rancho Olompali), Dora and Shirin came; they were the only two disciples from Rancho Olompali; they came to Bolinas to hear the Gathas. Then we moved to Novato and I started this other class Murshid had asked me to start and I didn't know what kind of class it was supposed to be. The dancing hadn't started, really, maybe just little tiny bit, hardly at all, maybe the Three Wazifas Dance and the Allah Line Dance (or Snake Dance or as Wali Ali calls it the Snail Dance) whatever it is; Ya Hayy, Ya Haqq may have been there. But there was some: Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram Dance, I think, because I chose for that first class to read some of Papa Ramdas's utterances when he was mostly in Samadhi at Panch Pandav cave in 1922 I think it was. Very high utterances, just totally illuminated statements from a very high state of consciousness, blissful, joyous. Anyhow so I think I went there for two weeks in a row. It was mostly most of the people were just into a heavy Marijuana, STP, LSD, trip—that was their scene, and maybe that’s all they were interested in. Later it turned into this thing called PCP which later turned out to be a horse tranquilizer. That’s what they were getting stoned on, a horse tranquilizer. Anyhow than after the first week fewer people came the second week because they just weren't into what we were doing. They may have had flashes of it, but nothing that would last, like trying to impress a seal upon a rock rather than on wax. So I gave that up. I said "Murshid, nobody's coming to the meetings." I was just sort of borrowing an attitude of Murshid's, why should I spend my time , when nobody comes? So, anyhow. I didn't spend my time, and it was O.K. with Murshid. However, after that, Don McCoy asked Murshid again to come for some advice and Murshid spent two hours in Don McCoy's private master bedroom (which was rather palatial at the time which you will see as I describe the events which followed later). And Murshid came out of that saying, "I had a very good meeting with Don McCoy." He seems serious about taking my advice" and so forth"; I haven't asked him to stop doing any of his dope or anything or any of his LSD." But shortly after that, as it turned out, Don McCoy never followed his advice, never ever took a word of it and started a big ego trip, he started a being tyrannical with Shirin, he just started saying why do you take Sam as your teacher?" He says "I'm just as good a Guru as anybody," just this type of thing. I shouldn't say this, this is mostly hearsay, but anyhow there was a heavy trip being laid down at this time and at the same time Don knew he couldn't stand up to Murshid, but this was sort of the beginning of the end of the Rancho Olompali Commune. And it just got worse and worse, Shirin could see things coming; she tried to keep her own little apartment clear of any of the noxious influences, but the spirits were kind of getting restless and the place was full of spirits of different sorts. Finally, one night, Rancho Olompali (which was called the Burdell Mansion, it’s a historic site, which actually was one of the "Grateful Dead's summer homes before that; they rented it for a summer) burned all the way to the ground. And like I say, this was the beginning of the end. Totally burned to the ground and this is also a pattern of things that has sort of followed Murshid's life. In 1949, when it was clear that the Khankah Kaaba Allah in Fairfax was no longer harboring sincere souls, seekers after God, primarily, for whatever reason, it burned to the ground. And later was sold and so forth and so on. I think it was after Murshid Martin passed on and gave her successor ship to Ivy Duce, who had, as Murshid said, no more right to be successor than … whatever. It just wasn’t a valid successor ship. And she foreswore the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan for the teachings of Meher Baba. Anyhow the place burned down and even at the Khankah in Dec., 1968, I think it was, shortly after we moved in, our apartment, Fatima's and my apartment burned, as Murshid said, "For Occult reasons." But as he later said, "It happened so you would be able to beautify your place". So that’s what we did. We accepted it totally. And, any-how, Rancho Olompali burned down. Wouldn’t have been so bad, but they still wouldn't pay any attention to Murshid’s advice, whatever it was. I wasn’t in the conference; I don't know what it was. But, whatever it was, it wasn't being taken seriously, that’s clear. And things started getting more and more scattered. I just assume that Murshid said simply, "Keep a Toward the One concentration and believe in the Prophets and believe in Allah or believe in Ram, God, who you say you're following." They did have a nice program for a while of baking bread and handing it out free to people on Haight Street. It was a wonderful program, but after a while there was no center to it, and the last straw was, after it burned down, everybody moved, sort of, more on to the land and shortly thereafter two young children died by drowning in their swimming pool and that sort of put the cap on it. Later Don McCoy apparently couldn't handle his psychic state and went into a mental institution for a time being and Sheila, who had long since abandoned Murshid, also did the same thing. I'm not sure if that's the case, my memory isn't too clear here on exact dates and events. What happened at a certain point, as I mentioned this fellow Dara used to be called Buz, but he received the name Dara because in the Fall of was it 1968?, sometime around then Murshid named this fellow Dara because he said that he and Sheila were going to go with Don McCoy to the Temple of Understanding Conference in, it was supposed to be in Darjeeling but it turned out it was going to be in Calcutta. This is a very interesting episode. Dara was so named after the figure Dara Shikoh who was a Prince in the court of Akbar, I think he was the grandson of Akbar, Emperor Akbar and really speaking, he sort of received the mantle of Akbar, in the sense that he took on the mission, or the Dharma of trying to unify all religions, as his grandfather, before him had tried to do. Anyhow, so he named this fellow Dara because he was going to a conference of all the religions of the world. When they got to Calcutta, for one reason or other they followed out none of the things Murshid had asked them to do—they were Murshid's disciples, they were asked to convey certain love and blessings to people, which I do not know if they ever carried out. What they did do, and this is in the journal of Thomas Merton, it’s actually in the journal of Thomas Merton. He talks about meeting these young people, who did nothing but smoke pot all night in this little village with this other apparent Guru. Anyhow, what they did was they went to this other Guru, who has since come over here, who they call Father whose name is Sherinjiva and when Sheila and Dara came back with Don McCoy—they no longer wanted to be with Murshid. (This is not the Dara in the Sufi Choir, a totally different person.) Although we did meet this first Dara who I'm talking about now at the Marin Co. Fair last week and he seems to be doing all right, he's married and I don't know if they have children yet or not. Anyhow, he has a twinkle in his eye, and I know where it comes from anyhow, so they went to this conference and abandoned Murshid for all intents and purposes and came back and Murshid was quite upset and he excoriated Sheila for about an hour one morning, she came over to see him and he just really scolded her good, Later he told me and I don’t know if we should say this on tape, but anyway he said "She is my Judas" and anyhow nothing was ever right from then on between them, which later happened at Murshid's funeral at the Khankah in January of 1971. Sheila got the floor. Pir Vilayat asked if anybody had any words to say, Sheila raised her hand and said "I'd like to come and say a few words." She just started spouting off about Sherinjiva and she said, "As Murshid knew, Father was Murshid's teacher" and so forth, spouting off words which had no basis in fact. She started going on in this Pollyanna fashion until Wali All finally just manifested Fudo and came up and said "Yes, he was a little man and do you know who this little man was?" and so forth and simply gave her the Bum's rush, to every one’s delight and applause. Anyhow, so, there's that in it too. I think that also happened before the total demise, like I say, the drowning of those two young, children. But, there's a lesson in it, and the lesson is that you don't play around with an actual representative of the spiritual hierarchy. (Who Murshid said, after he was dead, we could actually talk about. Before he was dead please don't say it.). Ali and many other people know this history and probably more than I know. But anyhow, Murshid said that he was an Abdal which means a changeling, it's taken from this word Bidelium which means change stone, or like a Chameleon able to change one's function from moment to moment in order to satisfy the fulfillment of God's purpose on earth and he was never consistent and he never said he was. He always said, "Don't expect me to be consistent, it's not my function." But anyhow, like I say, people have to learn a hard lesson when they mess around with God's actual representatives and this goes on and still goes on.
I want to go back to Sheila’s apartment in Mill Valley, or her house where the Wednesday meetings first started. They were at Sheila’s house before they moved to the San Anselmo Theological Seminary, which is characterized, oh, the Garden of Allah, that’s right. First Mill Valley then the old Garden of Allah, where Amin and Amina lived, on Morningside Drive. Then, it moved to the castle or the San Anselmo Theological Seminary. These Wednesday night meetings were the first place where the dances actually began to manifest It was also the place where I saw Murshid initiate Ruthie Winfield whose name is now Parisa on the spot. One of the only persons I ever saw him do that to. Anyhow we started doing the beginning dances there, The Snake Dances, the Ram Nam Dances, oh, Ya Hayy Ya Haqq was first and the Dervish Cycle over and over again that’s right. Yes. Yes, I remember doing those at Amin's old place. And also at Sheila’s living room there is the first place where the sacred walks began to manifest, at least to our group, as we know those walks. The first one being the walk of Moses, I believe and Mansur took pictures which (of course, Murshid didn't have a beard at this time) and we have some pictures of Murshid doing the Effacements or the Tasawwuris of Sri Krishna, Lord Jesus, Lord Buddha, and of Prophet Mohammed of Nabi Moses. Now, getting back to Rancho Olompali, in June of 1968 (I believe that is the date) no no I'm going to go back a little bit. Earlier that Spring was Murshid's first meeting with Pir Vilayat. Murshid had written to him before, as early as 1956, and possibly earlier, but I have a copy of a letter written at that time, where Murshid, some people may think brashly, and maybe even presumptuously, but I'm sure Murshid realized that it was part of his mission to speak directly to Pir Vilayat and he did so. And the manner in which he spoke to him was by introducing himself as Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti and saying that he was a direct disciple of your father (Pir Vilayat's father, Hazrat Inayat Khan, his sainted father, he would say). And he said, ”If you would allow me, I would be Shams-i-Tabriz to you as Jelal-ud-din Rumi. And, if you think about it, this is a very interesting statement. I don't want to go into that at all, but simply to say that Murshid had written to Pir Vilayat and hadn't met him physically until this time as far as I know.
So, Murshid and I drove down, and maybe Hassan drove too, I'm not sure, I think Hassan was with us. Somebody was with us. We drove down in the micro-bus to the airport and looked all around for Pir Vilayat; couldn't find him. Turned out that somehow he slipped by us and was waiting in the baggage claim check area, so, we went down there and saw this man, very clean shaven very delicate looking, as I’m sure his condition was very delicate at that time. A man whose name was Pir Vilayat; I didn't know what to expect; Murshid just said were going to meet this man, Pir Vilayat I said "who is he?" He says, "He’s Hazrat Inayat Khan’s son, he’s apparently trying to carry out the mission of his father.” And Murshid didn’t know if he was succeeding, or what to think or anything, Murshid said, that he would just wait and see how he felt when he met him. As Shabda reports, he said, as Murshid told Shabda, he said “I’ll know him by one glance, whether or not to accept him.” And apparently Murshid accepted him because he did accept him. So anyhow, we picked Pir Vilayat up and we were driving back to the city and one of the first things I remember Pir Vilayat saying to Murshid, I was sitting in the back seat, Pir was in the front, I think, with Murshid, was, "They call me Pir, but I don't call myself Pir, they call me Pir.” And, I don't know, I can’t remember Murshid's response but I don't think he paid too much attention. When we got to the Mentorgarten, which was where Murshid was hosting him. Murshid sort of spent half his time in San Francisco and half in Novato more or less. So when we got home, I noticed that Murshid had typed up name cards, gee it was really wonderful. Murshid had set all the table, he'd gotten organized in the living room, which was the front room of the Mentorgarten, which was at that time the meeting room and we had, I can't remember what we had to eat, probably some curry dish. And there were name cards all around, and I noticed that I was on one side of Pir Vilayat and I think Mansur was on the other side, and I said "Gee Murshid, you put me next to Pir Vilayat. And Murshid turned to me and said, "Yes, I want him to know." I really didn't know what Murshid meant. He said, "Yes, I want him to know." Anyhow, I say that for what it’s worth and after that, after supper, Pir Vilayat gave a lecture where he incorporated many elements of Hermetic teachings and talking about the chakras and how the sunflowers used to symbolize the chakras wherever the light was, that was where the sunflower turned and always turned to the light. And it was what you might call an erudite presentation. I wasn't, simply speaking candidly now, impressed spiritually with Pir Vilayat’s presence; I wasn't vibrating to him at all, mainly because I wasn't interested in him, I was simply interested in Murshid as my spiritual guide and I wasn't really interested in anything else. That was just my manner at the time, my disposition.
So, after the lecture Pir Vilayat called for questions, and some people asked questions, then, Murshid, as the host, got up and he said, "Now, I want to say a few words." Everything Pir Vilayat has told you tonight, that is wonderful and I can say everything Pir Vilayat has talked about, I have experienced actually.” And we all thought, "What a thing to say." It was almost like a challenge, as if to say, "Pir Vilayat's just talking about these things, but I've actually experienced them." But Pir seemed to be unruffled and just took it in stride, at least, those were the words I heard, for what they're worth and later, after Murshid passed, I took a ten day retreat, at Pir Vilayat's direction and came to the conclusion, had a kind of an insight into that experience and I could just hear Pir laughing uproariously that such a thing could possibly happen, just enjoying the whole joke of it and perhaps Murshid was too.
Now begins a very important chapter in my own life, and Murshid's life and in the life of Sufi community locally and the Sufi order, at large. And this is to coming to the group of Wali Ali, who at the time was named Melvin Meyer and he was a Mailman. And I met him at first at…. A few months later Pir Vilayat returned and gave his first series of lectures and seminars at Rancho Olompali. Like I say Rancho Olompali had a tremendous future, if it only knew it, but they didn't know it, so they weren't able to live up to the trust and confidence that was given to them. Anyhow, Pir Vilayat came there, I remember Murshid had Akbar, Amin and myself speak privately with him at the time. Presumably we three were considered to be the advanced disciples, at that time. So, we did and I'm not going to go into that. Anyhow, that's where I met Wali Ali. I remember on that occasion, I too, took off my clothes and joined in with the nude swimmers, which was wonderful and so forth and then, we went into the main room of the mansion, it was an actual mansion, the Burdell Mansion. Into the front room where the record player was blaring, as it usually was, with the latest in the Pink Floyd. Procol Harum whatever music was current. Anyhow, there was this very large chess set there and apparently Wali Ali was a chess freak. And I wasn't a chess freak, but I liked to play an occasional game, so we played. And right away, I could tell, Wali Ali had a real concentrated game, but for some reason he made one mistake, and I check mated him in a few moves, I think it was a few moves, could have been a few more moves but anyway I beat him and I think we played one more game and he soundly beat me. But I never played with him since. I guess Farid…. Tape cuts off here, can't make out the name.
That was my first meeting with Wali Ali and shortly after that, I have a very vivid memory of Murshid telling me; he said, "There's an interesting new disciple, several, as a matter of fact, but this one fellow, he said he's had some real advanced experiences." Which, I later found out was an experience Wali Ali had a week after he met Murshid; he was going to the beach and playing the Zither through a kazoo, and having a cosmic, he entered into a cosmic state although he was on LSD at the time, he knew that the actual nature of it was the realization of it was due to his connection with Murshid, or I should say, his connection through Murshid. And as it turned out, this fellow, Melvin Meyer, was later to be named Wali Ali, and he did indeed prove to be a very capable being and met all of the expectations of Murshid, which I felt were contained in his initial expressions to me, it was simply something in his tone of voice that he simply expressed about this person. Now here and there Pir Vilayat would come from time to time, I think it was that summer that Pir Vilayat gave his first Youth Camp in Colorado and still—speaking personally—I had about as much use for Pir Vilayat as I had for the President of the United States, I just didn't care about it. I just wasn't interested. His meditations didn't send me nothing particularly connected. And I was amazed when so many of the people from this group went to the Colorado Camp, because all I could assume was, they must see something in Pir Vilayat. On the other hand, I was a little jealous for them of Murshid or something, I thought they should be paying more attention to Murshid because he's our teacher and so forth. Wherever that was at, I don't know, I'm just telling you my feelings at a certain time. After that first Camp, a lot of people came back very, very stoned, and I think I was secretly jealous of some of the high states they'd reached or something although, I don't know why I should have been jealous, I guess I just was. Anyhow they seemed to have arrived at their highest states through a form of, some practice they called "Counseling," which was to get the person up in front of the group and to sort of read their past lives, just become imbued with the sense of their eternal being or eternal face. I don't want to say too much about it, I wasn't there. Anyhow this is just to say that Pir Vilayat came around from time to time; started that year giving his youth camps, which have now expanded to being held internationally at Chamonix. And, in the meantime, every time Pir Vilayat came to the Bay Area, Murshid would host him and give a demonstration of what we were doing. I remember a couple of meetings where Murshid led us in dances, had us do the spins. Pir Vilayat was always moved to express himself simply by saying, "The center is the hub of the New Age, no doubt about it, and this group, in particular, is a center of power." He used the word "Power," which was one way of looking at Murshid's being, although, not the only way. I think that's the way Pir Vilayat looked at Murshid's being because it was powerful.
That, I think, was the summer that Pir Vilayat and Jemila got together. Fatima says that Mansur decided to stay home from the Colorado Camp the night before but Jemila decided to go ahead. I don't want to go into personal histories here, because it would clutter up what were aiming for, but anyway, it has been the pattern of life Murshid definitely encouraged everyone to go to Pir Vilayat’s Camp, but as soon as everybody had left, the next day, the first thing Murshid manifested was his furiousness that everybody had left him to do so much work. But anyhow, we put on these dances for Pir Vilayat, who enjoyed them, but was mostly impressed by their powerful atmosphere. Oh yes, the interviewer, who is Shannon has asked me, "Was that the summer that Pir Vilayat and Jemila met?" Yes it was the summer at the Colorado Camp. I don't want to repeat the story, anyway they met at a very profound level of their being, possibly, what may even be regarded as recognition of their nature of being twin souls. And this started a very troublesome time at the Khankah, where we lived, because Mansur and Jemila were supposedly married and Jemila and Pir Vilayat were simply destined to be drawn together. This resulted ultimately in a divorce of Mansur and Jemila and very strained psychological testing for Mansur, and so forth and so on. I don't want to go into it, things seem to have worked out quite for the best, that is all one can say. I might add here, too, up to this time, and beyond this time Jemila had occupied a rather special role in Murshid’s transmission of his Krishna Dances. And as Murshid told many of us, for no reason or for every reason, Jemila was Radha when he became Krishna—she simply was Radha. Other women may have been other things, but Jemila was Radha when Murshid was portraying Krishna in the Dances and that was a rather special relationship and was probably part of both of their unfoldment. Incidentally, to go back a little bit, at that first Temple of Understanding Conference, where Sheila and Dara abandoned Murshid, as I say, for all intents and purposes, Pir Vilayat was present, as the representative of the International Sufi Order, at that conference, and he met the Reverend Trappist Thomas Merton, and if anybody ever has a chance to read Thomas Merton’s Asian Journal, it is called, it's been published, it's not too expensive, do so, it's a wonderful account of that time. As I say even Thomas Merton mentions these young people at the Conference. I don't know if he mentions Pir Vilayat, but there's a picture of Thomas Merton and Pir Vilayat arm in arm at that conference in a book that I have which was put out by the Temple of Understanding. Thomas Merton was apparently on his way after that conference, by way of Thailand and Northern India and then the Southern Buddhist countries of Thailand and Ceylon, to San Francisco, the Bay Area, and Murshid had a feeling he was on his way to meet him. Murshid told me that anyhow, Thomas Merton made it to Ceylon and all this time received permission from his Father Superior at Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, to seek the wisdom of the East and (God bless the Trappist Abbot) was given that right, or given that privilege; with full blessings, to go to the Asian Countries to seek the wisdom of the one and only Being. So, he did, and when he got to Ceylon, after seeking many, many different paths and studying with two Tibetan teachers amongst whom he said were the highest beings he's met, were these Tibetan teachers. He said he finally had his illumination Experience in Ceylon outside of Colombo. I think Ceylon is now named Sri Lanka as it was in the Mahabharata, and he said he came across these ruins, not exactly ruins, some of them were ruins, but some of them were still standing. These tremendous statuary of Bodhisattvas, centuries old, and, he said first he simply contemplated them for their size, as Murshid used to remark, he said, “If you ever go to Egypt, the statuary there is awesome. You will be awed by the statuary, and it is its own atmosphere." He said, “It simply represents a realization of those peoples that we simply lost sight of." Anyway, there was a similar awe in what Thomas Merton contemplated here, in the form of these statues. But he said, the real illumination came when he realized in a flash the being of those sculptures who had made those Buddhas and Bodhisattvas seated in meditation. He said, "The expressions on their faces conveyed perfectly the realization of what spirituality is in its fulfillment." And it simply illumined him at that moment, it was what the Buddhists, Zen people would call a Kensho.
Now I think at this time I'm going to shift to Murshid's journey to Los Angeles, where I drove him down, accompanied by Zeinob and by a girl named Hali, whom Pir Vilayat later named Lachme. This was in early June of 1969 and perhaps it came following the reception of a letter at Mentorgarten, which Wali Ali reported to me and showed to me after Murshid had read it, from a man named Sri Premanand Trikanand. Premanand means the Ananda of divine love. And Premanand Trikanand is Papa Ramdas's grandson, so there's a real connection here, because Murshid's Hindu Guru was Papa Ramdas. And he had even known Sri Premanand When Premanand was 12 years old in India during one of Murshid's trips there. Anyhow, the letter that Premanand sent, simply asked that Murshid come down. It was an invitation to come there, at least this is my recollection, and Wali Ali, I remember him, so happy that we were going to go down and meet Ramdas's grandson. I might also add another thing here. I have refrained from giving any esoteric history here, except indirectly, but now I think I will give a direct example of esoteric history here, because it may mean something. Anyhow, it simply illustrates, for the record, to me, what is a very wonderful attitude to have and this attitude is the attitude that one that a fellow Mureed encourages the spiritual development of his fellow Mureeds I think this is wonderful, and stands as an ideal. So, I will say here for the record , that in Feb. of 1968, I went into meditation, doing one of the practices at the back of the book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones and for some reason, I knew, there was a feeling in the atmosphere that night when I knew everything was as the astronauts say, "Go". Everything was "Go." I felt positive, I felt almost exalted from the start, and I knew that I was destined to go into meditation that night. And I don't normally feel that way, I don't know if I've ever felt that way, except by way of by way of reminiscing about some childhood memories. But that night, everything was "Go." So everybody else. Murshid wasn't there, physically at the Khankah, I didn't even connect this feeling with Murshid's presence at all, I just felt that it was a good feeling and that I should meditate. Everybody else was in the T.V. room at the Khankah and at this time our room was still under repair, after being burned so, I went into the guest room, which was where we were staying (and this is one of the reasons why I still consider the guest room a very sacred location) and entered into one of the practices at the back of the book, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. It was one of the practices you were supposed to do as you go to sleep. I must have practiced that practice for about two hours steady; then something started to happen. I started to enter into a cosmic awareness, I knew at that moment that that being always was, always is, always would be. I knew that my limited being had many times entered it, many times gone away from it, but that it would always be there; that it was, what you might say, the initial awakening to the real nature of God's spirit and it was, what I would say, simply the experience of eternity. Anyhow, I don't know what my mind must have started up after that and I simply came out of the state. Possibly it could have been only a glimpse, a momentary glimpse but even a thousandth of a second of a glimpse of that reality is sufficient. And that was the whole point. And anyway remember, after this, and this was the point I was trying to make. It's funny, I didn't even tell Murshid about it until about four days afterwards. I said, "Murshid, I had this experience." He said, "God bless you, this is very important." And that's the last I heard of it. I guess he hugged me and said "God bless you." Then a few days later, I went to the Mentorgarten. Wali Ali, who at this time had become Murshid's esoteric secretary at the Mentorgarten, while Mansur was his secretary at the Khankah and I was a few times, occasionally. And the first thing Wali Ali said to me was "Hey, Moineddin, Murshid's just dictated this important letter to Fir Vilayat and he talks about your awakening.” And I knew Murshid had said something about that and I was half embarrassed and half totally joyous that another disciple would share in the delight. This is simply by way of saying that Wall All was delighted when Papa Ramdas's grandson asked Murshid to come down, He was delighted when Murshid chose Moineddin to go down to meet him. He was simply delighted at the blessings bestowed upon other beings, so to speak. Now, maybe you’d have to ask yourself, "What are other beings?" Perhaps the best reason for delighting in the joys and blessings of "Other beings" is because one's being is seen as the being of other beings. So to continue, I drove Murshid and Zeinob and Hali to Los Angeles and we ended up going to Premanand's house and this was one of the blessed experiences of one's life. Murshid had long talked about the blessedness of Ananda Ashram in India, the home of Papa Ramdas and Mother Krishnabai. Murshid had privately told me once, he said, "These other people go around saying who and so and so is an Avatar; pretty soon, you end up with Avatar's on every street corner, but if you ask me who the Avatar of this age is, to me, it's Papa Ramdas as Avatar,” although Murshid totally excepted the being of Hazrat Inayat Khan as the message for this age. But, he said, as an Avatar, fulfilling, what you might say, functions within the background of the Hindu life he considered Papa Ramdas Avatar. And as a further example, He said, "The most evolved being on earth he'd ever met was Mother Krishnabai” he said he'd never met a more holy being. So it was rather special going to Ramdas's grandson's place. So I dropped Murshid off at the apartment, it was in N. Hollywood and I parked the car and Murshid had found the place and I went up, because I knew the apartment number too and I walked in. As soon as I walked in there was a feeling in that place which is beyond my ability to describe. It was even beyond what I described in the last tape session, of the atmosphere of Murshid's place on Clementina Street. I won't say it was it was beyond it, but it was different just a little different. As Murshid would say, "The atmosphere at Anandashram in India was like the Garden of Eden. Sufi Khankahs are not necessarily like Gardens of Eden; they have their own mode of Baraka, each unique and each blessed, in its own way. But this was more like the Garden of Eden.” And it was, in a way, like the Garden of Eden. I walked in there, and they had this special Jasmine incense burning which, even now reminds me of that atmosphere. It’s put out by the Vedanta Temple in Los Angeles: Jasmine Incense. They also make Sandalwood and Lilac. Anyhow the way that evening unfolded was, Murshid simply sitting there and Premanand, who’s very young Premanand is a little tiny fellow about 5'5" (Murshid himself was probably about 5'3"), and Premanand' s diminutive wife named Sheela, S-h-e-e-l-a, I think and they were both in their late 20's or early 30's I think. And they had friends, houseguests there, too, whose names were Bill and Linda—not Linda but Ida or something, I think. Bill looked like he was a professional football player and his wife was very tall and thin and they were so devoted. He would look like a football player, except that he would call Murshid "Brother" and the twinkle in his eye was just so like a child. And that was the atmosphere, the atmosphere made one feel as though one was a child. Even Murshid felt like he was a child, and yet Murshid functioned from the standpoint, that evening, of a Sage, a very old Sage. And it was like his being was channeling the spirit of Ramdas and all of the Sufis put together. I can't remember exactly what he talked about. Of course they talked about Papa end Mata Ji Mother Krishnabai and the old times, when he was at the Ashram. But, mostly, they talked about Realization, and the realization of Ram and the new Spiritual Movements but more than any words they said, and any stories, related, delightful as they were, everything was conveyed through the atmosphere for about an hour, until at one point Premanand said "Would you join us in our Meditation Room for Ram Nam?" And Murshid just, sort of, made the Pranam—Bow—folded his hands together and we went into the room, off the main room there. And there was just enough room. there was this huge poster-size print of Matha Ji and Papa, standing and I guess that's the way the Hindu's do things, they deify their Gurus end I thought that was a little weird but that's the way it was. But, as I say, the atmosphere was speaking more loudly than anything else. And Premanand played the Tamboura; his wife, Sheela, played the Tablas (those are the drums); I think the lady played some of those cymbal clackers, Bill played another stringed instruments, I had a pair of finger cymbals, and they gave Murshid something else, I can't remember what. But we all had musical instruments, and Premanand started singing Ram Nam. Before that time, I had not heard this version that we now sing, mostly (sings) Sri Ram, Jai Ram Jai, Jai Ram Om and so forth and we developed in, and he really got into it the but the minute he opened his voice, something happened, it's as if, even that atmosphere, itself, jumped 3 or 4 octaves. And I found myself in a state of consciousness, with beings, whom I felt I'd been with many times before, in many different lifetimes whether on this earth or in the heavens or wherever. I just felt I had experienced the same thing before at the side of my Guru, who was Murshid, in this case just an exalted state. And that whole night, after we finished, Murshid talked some more. Murshid did try to make one point and that was, that the state of Bhakti Yoga and the Sufi realization of Fana fi Sheik and Tasawwuri Murshid were identical. And he said, "The worship of God in form was not the highest realization and that the Sufis had systematized their devotion to include all realizations and that was the only point of disagreement that they had and it was, what you might call, doctrinal—they simply accepted that state could be the highest of worshiping God in a form. And Murshid didn't deny it, but he said there was more to it than that. But, I must say, Premanand there were 2 couches, I think, and Premanand opened up a couch and another one, and they put on clean sheets and pillow cases and Murshid and I slept on the couches. And that night was passed in the most beatific presence that I can remember sleeping in, in my whole life. And the next morning we woke up to Premanand singing Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram, just fixing breakfast and apparently that's all he does. He sings RamNam all day long, wherever he is, that is what he does, and every syllable and every note of the melody went into one's being and the only way I could express it was that I felt that Murshid and I were returning royalty and we had just been admitted into this heavenly reception into our home. Anyway it felt like it was our home. And Premanand fixed us breakfast. We ate, I think we had eggs and toast, coffee (Murshid said the best coffee in the world ever had was at Anandashram) and as we left that place we were driving across town to get the girls, who stayed overnight at another place. I'm sorry they were not able to come with us, but that was the way things worked out. Anyhow, the first thing Murshid said was, “Moineddin, (I don't know if you’ve had the experience of…. He knew I was high). In India they worship the Divine Mother, they worship this feeling we've been experiencing, but if there is a sin in India, it is the unwillingness or the inability to put into practice what the Divine Mother does. Worshiping her is half of it. Maybe even less than half, and they stop there." He said, "But you see what Premanand is doing, he is manifesting the Grace of the Divine Mother and that is what we have to do. We can't stop at worship, we must manifest to others what we, ourselves worship." And, it was right-on. It was just right. Anyhow on our way down to Los Angeles, we had stayed at the home of Murshida Bhakti Engle.