Fiona, Michael Ricketts, Mubdi Poppen—on Murshid 6/29/76
SABIRA: Let's start with Fiona; let's start with how you met Murshid or whatever you recall about his life.
FIONA: Actually, as I was going to say, the first time I ever heard about him was when I was in London before I came to America, and I was very new in the whole Sufi thing. I had just met Pir Vilayat in a place called Hastings.
SABIRA: What year was this?
FIONA: Oh, I have no idea.
FIONA: Approximately I think about 8 years ago; it must have been about that because I have lived here now for 6 years—6 or 7—and it was about—say about 8 years ago. I can check on that if you need it. anyway, I had met Pir Vilayat and in those days, our meetings—I was meeting with a group of Sufis in London, and it was very—the meetings were very sedate, they were very quiet and a lot of meditation. He used to do an awful lot of meditation, in fact that was practically what the whole meeting was. We would go in and there would be total silence, we would sing some songs, and we would do these lengthy meditations that Pir Vilayat was wanting to give out in those days—those very long meditations that I certainly couldn't follow at all. It was just awfully dull, and that was my orientation towards Sufism plus the writings of Hazrat Inayat Khan that I had just begun to get into. And then I—was that the year?—I think that was the year that I came to—I came to New York and not really forgot about Sufis but it didn't occur to me that there would be Sufis in New York, and I had no contacts in New York. I was just coming without knowing anybody, and I came to New York and I worked there for about a year. Then I went back to London and that was the year I went to Suresnes and Chamonix, and I met somebody there—then Reschad had been in contact with all these Sufis that had been coming through London at that point. This was before he was made a Sheikh in the Sufi Order, and he came with us to Chamonix that year. And we met an American—in those days at Chamonix they were very—they were mostly Europeans, though very few Americans came to that camp, I remember. The majority were Europeans and Pir Vilayat was giving all his meditations in three languages, and he would turn around and do the same thing all over again. And it was very small; I can't remember how many people, but I seem to remember there were only a hundred or something, it was very small. They called that the year of the big transition because just the year after that it went from 100 up to about 250 I think, and we were caught in this transition point. And I suppose because the Americans weren't organized with the camp (?) it seemed to be a complete shambles. We ran out of water, there was no water, and we had no buildings at that time. There were just tents that were pitched on the side of the mountain. And you had to find a place to sleep amongst all those rocks and stuff but anyway—this, this man called Bernard, I don't remember what his second name was—he'd been in San Francisco and he'd met Samuel Lewis, and he described the dancing that had been done, and you see, the only way that I had of relating that to any kind of Sufi dancing was with dancing from the Middle East, doing the turn which I had seen done, which was very sedate, yes, very sedate—and this fellow Bernard—the first time I had ever heard about Sam, or Sufi Sam as he was called—at least that's the way I first heard about him—was in Chamonix. It was approximately eight years ago—and we heard—I was hearing him from this English point of view—and that he was this crazy man that people seemed to be very divided about. They were either absolutely crazy about him or they thought it was very undignified what he was doing. That was the British point of view, but it was very undignified—how could you possibly get up and start stumping around a room shouting Ya Malik and all this kind of stuff and put actions to something that we were certainly very accustomed to sitting in an upright position and repeating over and over in a very sedate kind of way. So really he was the first introduction that I had to some of the walks. He would show us, and we thought, "My it is incredible, I've never seen,"—and I always enjoyed dancing a lot so I could see what he was doing, putting—
SABIRA: This was Bernard, you mean?
FIONA: Oh Bernard wasn't a dancer at all—
SABIRA: He was just showing you?
FIONA: He was just showing me, and showing my friend, a girl that I knew that had been an old friend of mine called Aeolia (sp) that went to the camp with me too, and we thought that it was something, a way of being able to feel in your body what was going on—at least that was the way we saw it at that time, what the different mantrams of the Sufis were. It was, of course, very interesting, but, of course, it didn't go down at all at the camp, not at all. People just absolutely could not—they were far too self-conscious to get a whole group of British and French and Germans all doing the dancing was absolutely no go at all. It was one dismal failure; they were much more comfortable sitting in anonymity, God forbid they should get up and perform. It was very funny, very funny, and also, at the time Pir Vilayat was very uncomfortable with it too, he isn't/he wasn't then the kind of man that could feel comfortable doing dancing of any kind.
SABIRA: Had he met Sam at this time?
FIONA: I don't think so, I don't think so, I might be wrong about that. But anyway, and then of course we all went back, and I went off on another retreat and then we all went back to London, and then Reschad started talking about him. Reschad of course the way he would talk about him would be, “Don't be deceived,” he said, “by the outward appearance of the man, but he is a very wise man.”
SABIRA: Excuse me for interrupting, there was one person who did a tape that the first time they saw Sam he had his pants unzipped, and he come with shaving cream under his ear—and they thought, "This is a spiritual guru?”
FIONA: Right, we couldn't see him (?)
SABIRA: "If he couldn't even zip his pants, what kind of teacher could he be?”
FIONA: Right, I know. Of course, we knew that Reschad was very much in those days—he laughed about him himself, but he felt that robes and beads and incense burning and all that stuff was very important, and someone that would, as you say, would come out with unzipped pants and stomp around the room yelling whatever he felt he had to yell, was just absolutely not home, but—And then about the same time I met this man—when I came back to New York I didn't know then, but I was due to come West. I left N.Y. and started driving West, again with my friend Aeoli and Tony, and we started heading West, and we came out here. And actually Reschad by that time had given me the address of the Mentorgarten. He told me that that was where Sufi Sam lived, and that I should go and introduce myself, as Reschad put it, and say that I was from the Sufi group in London, and I don't know what would have happened if I'd ever done that, but anyway I didn't. It took me a long time to get in contact with the Sufi group here, and I remember in the meantime I made friends with this lawyer who lived across in Berkeley at the time, and he was—like a lot of lawyers—very much into containing his emotions, being very objective and intellectual about all kinds of things that happened, but one day he told me the story about meeting—going to this meeting, this Sufi meeting on the beach here. Do either of you ever remember meetings on the beach? Do you ever, do you ever remember that? It is something that happened out of curiosity, do you ever remember? Did he used to go down on to the beach with a group of people?
MUBDI: Sure, he did, why? (inaudible) a lot of meetings were outside (several conversations here).
FIONA: Yeah, this was not him?
MUBDI: In Golden Gate park—Walks, lots of walks, we would walk up and down the hill just to walk. That was one of the first things that I remember him having me do “Learn how to walk.” So some of my first meetings with him were not really—though I did meet him first in a meeting in 1967. I had been in General Hospital and had met a girl there who was coming to meetings and also a very good friend of a girl who had been a very close friend of mine in college, and at the time I was married, and my husband had met Sam on Mt. Tamalpais through somebody that he had known at work, it was very interesting, who runs a book store in Berkeley,
MUBDI: Yeah that's right, Shambala. Michael Fegan. I really did have problems then at that time. I could hardly talk, I was very nervous, everything, that you were saying about the people, the German and the French being very shy to show themselves in any way, maybe—that was something that was going on in me then. Sam had started maybe helping so many people with that. One of the things that I remember, though this isn't in order, he said that he ran—he taught classes where you couldn't fail. And he used to split (?) the spiritual walks and the walks—just that idea that something that really—that really brought the love out in me right away, because I could then trust everyone, You see, everybody in their light, really where they shine. The first time I saw him was his hair was still short. He was, let's say, conventional Sam, compared to what he turned into. This was a little bit before the dances. He—I went to one of his—he used to divide them—at that time Zen Buddhism (?) —he had his gabardine pants on and his old Wool shirt, and two mismatched socks, and there was a little bit of incense and five very stern pictures on the wall, in the Mentorgarten that's what I saw.
SABIRA: They're still there too. Shaku Soyen and Senzaki I think.
MUBDI: I didn't understand him at all, I didn't. For me the experience was still very intellectual, partly from where I was at, partly because of where the people were at, they—finding a teacher or getting involved in yourself at a level at where most of us had only read about before, or come from the most rigid types of disciplines maybe.
SABIRA: Do you remember—
MUBDI: I wish I could talk in colors and pictures because that is what is coming to my mind right now—then I went to several meetings. I wanted to find out more about myself then—I had an interview with him and in the living room there. And he said, "You must learn to listen—listen to yourself, and breathe, breathe like a baby." I had children. I was very shy of the group. I felt older, I felt in a very different place, I was married and had children and it wasn’t until the dancing started that I began to feel that I could be a part of this group, because he was showing me myself and showing me the other people too. It was. Michael, you talk for a little while.
SABIRA: It's hard to remember isn't it?.
MUBDI: So much in a certain way, where—because this man changed my life; he gave me life too, he gave me life that I wanted to have. It was like he took me back to if there was a purpose, he just made it, and it wasn't in any one thing, or one, it was thousands for me of little looks, or one time over at Nancy’s house, I guess I was feeling that I had a little bit of a problem or something a little down and the next thing we were doing—holding on to each other and on a line just saying "Allah, Allah, Allah," and just going more and more—and hundreds of these little things, plus the classes which were a major part for me. One thing I want to say while I am looking at Fiona. He introduced the most wonderful world of women for me that has carried on after a year. I haven’t been an active member of the group now for three years, but I can say that my relationships with women were deepened beautifully, because of some of the things he started and the women’s dancing classes.
SABIRA: That's what's important to find out; it's not just the living being but what part of it is assimilated, and that which you can carry through and use in your life.
MUBDI: Practical. That's right there, this is another thing, in an extremely disorganized, very matter-of-fact person. I have a lot of energy, I have a lot of energy but I didn't know how to use it practically, like a tremendous—a realization that I had everything that I needed, absolutely everything that I needed, and I came—I wanted so much to have something special to be able to give to the group—this was right about the time that I was going to be initiated and so I sat down next to him one night, “What can I do for you and this group?" And he said, "What can you do?" I thought about that a while. I couldn't type, I couldn't garden whatever, I said; he said, "The house-keeper needs some work—Leslie come over here, what needs to be done?" "The laundry." I knew how to do laundry, so I did the laundry for quite a long time. In that example you have what you need to do, no matter what circumstance you are in if you can open yourself to do that. And if you can't open yourself to that, maybe that isn't the right place for you right then, and in that circumstance. And you don't see it and need some help in finding it.
SABIRA: Yeah, let's find out how Michael met Sam and then we'll get on to some other stories. Okay, you're on.
MICHAEL: I met him at Pineal Street.
SABIRA: You were living in that house?
SABIRA: And who was living there at the time?
MICHAEL: Joan, who is now Saul’s wife—
MUBDI: That's right, yeah.
MICHAEL: Stephen who is now—oh he is with Saul, he works he's into medicine, a little fellow, long hair—
SABIRA: Oh, I know.
MICHAEL: Has a wife and baby.
SABIRA: Khalil, is he Steve? Oh I see. (Several talking here)
MICHAEL: Then there was Abraham—
SABIRA: He was here last week, did you see him?
MICHAEL: Is that right?
SABIRA: Yeah, he stayed here for three days.
MICHAEL: I didn't realize that.
SABIRA: But anyway—
MICHAEL: Charlene, who is now somebody else, I don't know.
MUBDI: That name is familiar too.
SABIRA: That was a lady that Shabda came with—maybe, maybe not, there was a Charlene that Shabda was with for a while.
MICHAEL: Yeah, Shabda was there as a matter of fact—
SABIRA: Then it was probably the same Charlene then.
MICHAEL: Was that—
SABIRA: I don't know if she is here now.
MICHAEL: There might have been two.
SABIRA: Was John Deederick there then?
MICHAEL: I don’t think so.
SABIRA: Anyway go ahead.
MICHAEL: I had come back from a trip down to Big Sur Land; a little thing happened down there, and I was with a couple other friends and someone had cut their hand on a honey tin—they were eating honey—and they were trying to heal it with the honey, and they were laying back in a yoga position. This other friend and I looked up in the sky, and there was a cloud, exactly his duplicate above him, and God that’s far out (?) and there was one other cloud in the sky, and it was an arrow pointing North, and the next day we went North, and we were at Pfeiffer beach, a very windy beach with a lot of energy, a lot of prana. And this fellow was talking to me, we were—I met him on the beach and he asked me what I was doing and I was gabbing a little bit, and I asked him what he was into, and he said, "Sufi." And I said, "What's Sufi?" He says, he really couldn't explain it, I couldn't have explained it either. And that was it, that was the conversation, but he said, "It's just really, it’s really something." So the next day we went North again and we came back, and I went to Pineal Street and I was going there with the intention of trying to get some attention from my friends, proving my existence, and there were these other people in the house, and I thought, "It's not so easy,"(?) I was going there trying to get attention and here were all these other people getting attention, and they seemed pretty far out, but I wasn't going to recognize that was happening—who were these people? And it turned out to be Shabda and some others and they were just really enlightened at the time because they had just been to some meeting or the camp—maybe the camp it was that they were just at.
FIONA: Which one was that? Was that the—
SABIRA: Probably Arizona.
MICHAEL: (two talking) Yeah, it was around that time.
SABIRA: Shabda was Peter then? wasn't he?
MICHAEL: Peter, yeah, and they were just talking and talking about Sam, and they were like really fun. That was like just the first hit, and about a week or two later, somebody said, "Hey, do you want to go to a Sufi dance?" "Oh okay." So I went, and it was at the seminary? in San Anselmo. Very beautiful place—and I went there. I was pretty lost at the time in a different way than I am lost now, and there was Sam, and he just hit home. I think maybe because he was very radical and very different from anything that I had ever pictured a guru to be. He wasn't a guru to me, he was something else, I wasn't real close to him either, but I watched every move he made and I listened to every word he said and a lot of things didn't strike home then either, they struck home after he died. But when he opened his mouth, it was just, that was it, and I knew then that I wanted to be in that place, that I wanted to hang around the Sufis for a while and do that. So I did. I was probably the happiest I've ever been when I lived at Pineal Street right around that time, that was really a very neat time. But Sam said some far out things, far out—that's one that I remember a lot. People would say "far out" about something that was happening, "Wow, isn't this far out?" And. Sam would say, "It's not far out at all, it's real, it's right there, it’s not far out,” and that used to strike home. I used to hear that a lot. And I’ll always remember how we danced the Krishna dance—that was really something special, and I remember his hands—he had the strongest—they were so earth. They were like bright—they were trunks; they were like the fire meets the earth. They were so wide, and they really, they really had something.
MUBDI: Do you remember … watch (inaudible) … he would pour a great big blotch on his arm and he would lift up his sleeve like this and right in the middle, almost that was part of the comedy of his life—
FIONA: Yeah, part of his way of saying, “yeah, don't get too spaced out because we have time left—
MUBDI: He was always in touch—he was always there at just about any level you would—certainly any level I was at—and if the contract at San Anselmo said it was about time to be over he was aware of it rather than the light just being burned out.
MICHAEL: Once there was a Siva-Ram dance and the energy was really high. And I was at the Seminary, all of a sudden Sam says, "Stop!" and he just blew up on the floor, and everybody just stopped; I don't know how he finished it, what he did then, but he got into something else. And his reason was that people were not going to be able to handle the energy after they finished the dance—they were going to have all this energy and what were they going to do with it? It was going to be nervous energy and so he brought them down right then. Now he was into doing that—all of a sudden Bang! he'd zap on you, and he would just come out of nowhere with a heavy real movement.
MUBDI: He never let you forget that you were in the group; this was a group activity and anybody who wanted to be the star in some kind of way—you realized that you were the star in the constellation and I felt that that was what you were talking about of stopping something if somebody wasn’t letting their energy get out of control in a dance, let's say, because you are right, it would get so high. You would be aware and come back, and then it would soar even higher.
MICHAEL: Yeah, right.
MUBDI: That is—I thought of a funny story. Coming home, on the way back from San Anselmo one time—I had a car that really did not have much energy but that night it died, and Wali Ali was in the car and there were a couple of other people—what were we going to do, George do you remember George, I don't know if he has anything to do with … he was black—
FIONA: Yes, oh Omar (several talking) he married a Scottish girl—
SABIRA: We are going to do him Thursday.
FIONA: Her name was Jackie then—
MUBDI: I believe he had a little motorcycle; he stopped by riding in it (?) What were we going to do? So I believe it was he and Wali Ali got out and they started giving that car some energy
SABIRA: That's neat, I haven't heard that one yet.
MICHAEL: It worked! It was great. I remember George with his motorcycle—how kind. But his energy going round the car in a circle helped it get going. It got us back to the city.
SABIRA: How about stories about initiation? Did you have something else you wanted to add?
FIONA: No, all I was going to say was that that was one thing that constantly—there was something very nice about being able to sit down and do lengthy meditations, but the one question I always had about that after our meetings—and I know that it had to do with our own limitations. But we would get up and leave the building—and everyone could simply—it was like going to church on Sunday. In Scotland everyone goes to church and you wear your best clothes and then the rest of the week you can be an absolute idiot, as long as you go to church every Sunday. And for myself I would see people come and go from the group and do their lengthy meditations and then leave the building—and they were no longer in their posture or in their state, and they would just become—sometimes less than what they ought to be, and I don't know, but it didn't really make sense to me, because the thing that kept going on in my head was that if it is really going to work than it has to work in everything you do. Now maybe that has something to do with my Scottish practicality too, but I don't know. When I started, the first time that I saw these dances or the walks being done, I realized that that was something that throughout whatever you were doing during the day you could remove yourself from and see something working through you that had always been there and always is there, and it is a way of removing yourself from yourself, if you see what I mean. It's like, if you are very caught up in being self-conscious or being a fool or being depressed or whatever it is, you can see something else working in you. At least in those days that was the way that I saw it, and it made tremendous sense to me, and then after that, of course, I started doing a lot of Zen, you've done a lot of Zen?
SABIRA: Yeah, some—
FIONA: And it was very much the same thing, in a way, of being able to remove yourself in that particular aspect to see something that continues, that never ever goes away, that is just continuous and has nothing to do with you in a way, and catching a glimpse of that I found to be very helpful. But coming out here was very strange, because what happened was that I kept on dogging in his footsteps like those pictures in the Zen book of the Oxherding scenes? And I kept on seeing his footprints; I saw his impressions on everybody I met—and I thought "Good Lord," —and sometimes I would think, "Oh let me out of here, I just can't stand another minute of this, this is gross," and I would see someone get up and do something, and I thought "Good grief, has he no delicacy at all?" And then—and then another time I would see someone do something in the midst of the most mundane action, and I would think, "That's absolutely beautiful." But the one thing that was really impressed on everybody that I met was that they weren't making a distinction between being meditating, being in a state of meditation and a state of living—they were very conscious of that. And I think that actually at the time that a lot of people hadn't done any lengthy meditations as such.
MICHAEL: That drew you too him?
FIONA: Yeah—it made infinite sense to me and obviously again, depending on our limitations, we were carrying it into our lives. And that was the thing I think that finally cinched it for me was when Reschad came from England and made his first visit out here.
MICHAEL: Oh I remember—
FIONA: Do you remember that. And he decided, "Okay, Fiona, come on dear get into this car, we are going to do a great tour of all the Sufi Centres in the Bay Area and in LA and all over the place. So we got in to his car and we went up to the Khankah up in Novato, and Pir had met Jemila at Suresnes, the first time that she and Pir Vilayat had met each other, or got together after the Arizona camp and she came to Suresnes, and Pir Vilayat and she were together, and so Reschad had met her there. So then he came up to the Khankah, and he had a long chat with her, and I remember him. Reschad was just absolutely blown away by the Americans. It was the first time he had ever been here. And at the time communes were hot on the scene. People were all living in them, and there was a lot of inter relationships and there were babies from all different mothers and fathers. I remember Reschad sitting at the table having dinner with all these people and all these children would keep coming in and calling different mothers and fathers, and he would say, "Wait a minute now, whose little one is that," he would say, and someone would say, "It is mine, but his father lives over there, and I am now living with this man," and Reschad just couldn't, he just couldn't get over it—he just said, "How do they keep it all straight then, I don't know how they do it dear."
MUBDI: They were concentrating elsewhere.
FIONA: It was just so funny in one way, but then of course again there was this aspect of everyone would get up and dance before dinner, and then that was the Invocation to do those dances, and Mansur was still living at the house at that time. And he was hot in to Greek dancing and that was his concentration because Murshid Sam had said that he was to do that, that was to be his concentration, and he did it, of course, with a vengeance. We all got up and did Greek dancing, I remember that, and that was when Reschad was made a Sheikh by Pir Vilayat who was living in the small house at the back of the Khankah. So again there was this—the meeting of the two had already come together and that really clinched it for me, because in a way I'd been oriented towards Pir Vilayat and when I first came here one of the things was that I was the only person in that class that we used to all be at that wasn't a disciple of Samuel Lewis.
MUBDI: I also remember that you gave us some neat meditations.
FIONA: Yes, Wali Ali had actually suggested that I come to this dance class because he thought that since that was happening anyway it might be a good—I don't know—he obviously had his own reasons, but it seemed to me that he thought it might be good for us all to work together, since that was the way it was going to go anyway, as it turned out.
SABIRA: This was the original ladies' class then? You were in that too?
FIONA: in San Francisco —
MUBDI: At Banefsha's house; it wasn't the original ladies' class—
SABIRA: It wasn't the calendar ladies?
FIONA: No, oh no,—
(two or more talking)
MUBDI: Second generation.
FIONA: It was the San Francisco one, the original was in Marin, Wednesday night in Marin.
SABIRA: So what about in initiation?
MUBDI: I was elected for initiation and was initiated in the group—and it happened that we were to be initiated the night, or the night after Murshid fell, so I was in the first group initiated after he passed away, and I have a very special feeling about that initiation. Maybe not for myself, but in feeling the—Wali Ali was the one that I remember in that initiation, and I know that Moineddin maybe performed the thing, it was a very strong connection there between Murshid and Wali Ali for me, and can’t put it into words, how strange it was and still is, though I see Wali Ali coming into his own right, but that doesn’t in my dreams, whatever, I don’t know if there was one of us that didn’t feel that we hadn’t already been initiated by him.
SABIRA: Who was in the group that was initiated that night?
MUBDI: I know Khalil’s wife was—
MUBDI: Subhana. I don’t know whether Khalil himself was; Mary—
SABIRA: Mary Shaffea.
MUBDI: Oh huh—
FIONA: Was it Mary Shaffea? I don’t think it was Mary Shaffea—
SABIRA: She probably didn’t have Shaffea on it—
MICHAEL: No, no don’t you mean Mary who is now Jamshed’s wife?
MUBDI: No, I don’t mean her, I mean Mary Shaffea.
SABIRA: Alright, sorry.
MUBDI: I can’t remember—
SABIRA: So, let me ask, did the initiation occur then right—the same as planned even though he had just died?
MUBDI: No, —
SABIRA: You waited—
MUBDI: It was too late and he was in a transitional state for quite, what seemed at the time, for quite sure time—
SABIRA: About two weeks—
MUBDI: Yeah, a couple of weeks—and it was a kind of desperate time for us, because there was a feeling of being close in one way and not in another. I felt very close to Saul at that time, coming from a medical family myself, but Western medicine. I felt maybe there was something there that could introduce into the situation, but there wasn’t much other then energy coming from my father who didn’t really know what he could do, or if there was anything to do.
SABIRA: Oh, was it your father that they called the night he died to find out what to do? There was some doctor they called. What is your father’s name, last name?
SABIRA: No that was another name, there was another doctor.
MUBDI: No, I don’t think it would be; my father is in Boston, and I know that he called a doctor out here—
SABIRA: Alright, then your father is a cardiologist?
MUBDI: No, he is a neural surgeon—
SABIRA: OK, then there was that doctor too; that’s it.
MUBDI: And—I remember something about a—shortly after that there was a very large—I don't know the purpose of the meeting but we got together to go over to Winterland—did you go over to Winterland? I think the Sufi choir was there—the Sufi Choir was going to sing, and we started dancing. It was the first time I had ever been in—
MICHAEL: Was it Winterland?
MUBDI: Yeah, The Grateful Dead—that was it, The Grateful Dead were there, and that's when they were—
SABIRA: Even Frida was at that; she told me.
MICHAEL: Frida was there?
MUBDI: Right, she was still blind then, that's right—
SABIRA: Yeah, Frida told me she went to that (two talking) —
MUBDI: That's right, she was there—
SABIRA: It must be that one, it couldn't be another one—
MUBDI: Because it was very shortly after that—
MICHAEL: I remember her going to that—
MUBDI: Because it was very shortly after he died, and the atmosphere and the kind of feeling was very high. It was the first kind of appearance without Sam, and without our shepherd and the lights were so bright, and the energy, like you said, had gone up, up so high after the Grateful Dead had been on—the Choir had not been received so well and I remember somebody from the Grateful Dead saying, "These are our friends, we respect these people, they are our guests, or we invited them here," and we started dancing afterwards, the snake-dance—the only one I can remember. People kind of ramming, they needed to get something but they couldn't really be in the group—it was that same energy that I was talking about before, only this was a perfect example of the way theirs had gotten out of control. And some of the people in the audience were very, very high—you could see it all around them and the energy that they had picked up at the concert. And when we started the dancing it became even higher, but confused—I just remember this kind of grabbing sensation. People kind of wanting to get in, but they were didn't know whether they should break in and couldn't—but there was that something going in the chain and they wouldn't let them in. And I know—several people mentioned afterwards that they just had that—that Sam was still so close—that they could feel him and they could almost see him—laughing, happy.
SABIRA: Did you get your name at the initiation?
MUBDI: No, I didn't get my name until the—it was a couple of months before I started coming to meetings.
FIONA: Because I know that you were Elizabeth when I first met you.
MUBDI: For a long time I was Elizabeth; as a matter of fact, my name is Mubdi Elizabeth, so for a long time Sam felt I should be renamed, and it still is part of my name.
SABIRA: So, he actually gave it to you before you were initiated?
MUBDI: No, Wali Ali gave me the name. Do you know what Mubdi means?
MUBDI: It’s the beginner. Another thing that I wanted to say that came up, something about meditation—I remember Darshan. Sam said “The whole point of this is joy,” screaming out joy, and of course for that minute, and sitting looking at that face and Amin's face—like an angel, it was an angel face—there were these angel faces kind of standing around or you could feel being lifted to the highest angelic planes that feeling of joy. But then there is the next day and then the next day, and that is one of the things that Sam did in the dancing, and in the breathing, I suppose it's just natural, to me but he made these things, he made them so real and so true, that there isn't a doubt anymore, it is not that I don't get depressed because I do—it's that the depression isn't very often, and we know that you understand who Mubdi is. Then I see other people, and that's one of the things I have always wanted to do, it's really seeing the other people.
SABIRA: What memories do you have of initiation?
FIONA: Oh, I was never initiated by Samuel Lewis; I had been initiated by Pir, and through the years that's been who the initiations have come from for myself. And, as I said, the most impressive thing—the thing that felt so if there were no difference was when I saw it (him), so alive, and it just struck home and made such absolute sense.
MUBDI: Don’t ever look at the teacher; look at his disciples, do you remember him saying that?
SABIRA: Sam used to say that.
FIONA: The funny thing is, Reschad would always say that too. He would say something about—oh, because it was a quote from the Bible, "By the fruits of the tree shall ye know them," and so forth, and—anyway, so the fruits were wonderful albeit for me, very different. I had never experienced the kind of ways of living, the life style, and drugs of course, heavy drugs in those days. But again no one was saying, "Don't do it." They were simply saying, “See it for what it is," and that was very much like the Zen thing said too, so all this time as well, I was going off to sesshins and doing all that Zen thing (?) . The day would finally come, I met everybody, I met Moineddin, Shabda, all those people—Shabda, Vasistha, everybody in that tour that we did with Reschad, all the people connected with the Sufi thing, except Sam Lewis, and one day we were going to go to a meeting, a small meeting here at the Khankah and Reschad wasn't there, he had left, and I was going to go, and he had asked me to write and to let him know what had happened, my meeting and everything with Sam Lewis. And so I arrived at the Khankah and the first thing—not the Khankah, the Mentorgarten—and the first thing that struck me was the fierceness, everybody that night was particularly fierce and I thought, "Now wait a minute, what is going on?" I really didn't understand fierceness, I wasn't sure, and Wali Ali was there, and I thought of Wali Ali as being Sam Lewis—I really thought he was when I walked into that room, and I thought, "Oh there he is," and I sat down to start feeling Sam Lewis and there was no question in my mind but that Wali Ali was Sam Lewis. He looked like him, he just acted like all these people that I had met, the thing that I knew that all these people were reflecting, and as I say, he was particularly fierce. He shouted a lot that night, remember he kept stalking everybody and saying things like, "If you want to help, then," he said, "work, that's all I want out of you, work, I don't want your phone calls, I don't want to hear how unhappy you are, I don't want to see your tears, I want your work." And he was shouting, and I thought, "Oh wait a minute, I can see, I can see he is trying to get his point across." There was this—I was beginning to feel that there was something, very important going on, and I definitely wasn't in on it. I could feel it was very important but I just didn’t quite, I didn't quite have my finger on it—
[End of first side.]
—everyone got very quiet and Wall Ali said, "And now I’ll tell you how he is," and that was the day he had fallen down stairs, and he had been taken to the hospital and he was in very serious condition.
SABIRA: Oh, so it was Wali Ali who was doing the yelling, I see.
FIONA: It was Wali All who was doing the yelling, you see, and I had seen—I thought Wali Ali—he was—for me he had completely become Murshid—and I don't know, because you must have been at that meeting—
FIONA: He was incredible, he really was—(all talking here).
MUBDI: And that was…
FIONA: Hadn't he become, Wali Ali—hadn't he become Sam?
SABIRA: I never heard that story—
FIONA: And here I was—I was a total outsider, and all I was seeing was this man that had completely for me—was the reflection of all these—the footsteps, and I kept seeing them. I had met Moineddin, I'd met Jemila, I’d seen the union of Jemila and Pir and seen the whole thing beginning to come together, and I only had seen it from the European, but I hadn't been here, you see when that happened. I had seen it in Europe and I felt, "That's the Americans and Pir Vilayat getting together," that's what I saw it as, and that was the year that Chamonix had changed too. Lots of Americans came to Chamonix that year, no it was this whole union beginning, it was very interesting to me meeting all these people one after the other and finally going to the Mentorgarten to meet this man and thinking that I was meeting him. And then being told that he was dying and he was dead. Actually he died that night did he or the next day? Anyway, I don't remember—
MUBDI: No, he didn't die right after that.
FIONA: Anyway, I don't remember when it was, but I remember that that was the day that he had fallen down the stairs.
SABIRA: He didn't die for two weeks after that.
FIONA: Right—and so I remember thinking at the time—it was a strange feeling because I remember I had a feeling that it wasn't my time to be around just that particular time. But I kept on meeting those people and then through a whole series of circumstances I started working in Berkeley with the Sufi Group.
FIONA: This was the Mentorgarten that you saw this, when Wali Ali was really fierce?
FIONA: Yeah, yeah, very fierce that night,
SABIRA: How’d you—
FIONA: But I remember him being—you see you’d probably been used to that by that time, so you wouldn’t see—I don’t know (two talking here)
FIONA: I’m not telling you..
MICHAEL: He was definitely changing.
MUBDI: It began … there was a change—Wali Ali was not like that—
FIONA: See, I didn’t know that, I had never met that—
MICHAEL: He always, he got this, this, this Zen space—
FIONA: You see, I’d never met Wali Ali, he was the only person that I hadn’t met—
MUBDI: Wali Ali was the teddy-bear, sweet.
MICHAEL: Jelal, Jelal, Jelal
FIONA: Isn’t that funny, that night he was just—and I thought that—there was no question in my mind that that was Sam Lewis, no question.
MUBDI: Wali Ali was definitely one of Sam’s disciples to watch and see a tremendous change come—
MICHAEL: Yeah, for sure—
MUBDI: He couldn’t say boo; he could say sweet things but not boo.
MUBDI: And watch the voice (?) come, come, come, —not that he wasn't always powerful.
FIONA: Yes that night must been a real manifestation.
MUBDI: I’d have to say that time—because I saw it fluctuate—
FIONA: That’s right, because for me that was…. (two talking).
MUBDI: The practice that I liked the most that we did that was far out. We would refine our breath and breathe in all the joy we could breathe in and breathe out all the joy we could breathe out—
SABIRA: That's the three Jnanas—
MICHAEL: What is it?
SABIRA: Jnanas (several talking).
MICHAEL: They really did seem to work every time, they would really give us a feeling of more than I don’t know—When I heard that Sam died, how he fell down the stairs; I tried to remain unattached, and I was saying to myself, “That happened and here I am, this is now, and all that,” but it really hit much harder than I was counting on it to (?)—and later on I realized that I really had lost something that I was really following him and watching every move he made and being as close to him as I possibly could, and I know he was helping me. I wasn’t sure how; I wasn’t really in touch with what was happening inside of me, this body but I knew something was going on—and I knew I liked the people around him—
FIONA: Yeah, I was going to ask you that—what did you see in the other people?
MICHAEL: That's what I saw—I saw it in his disciples around him.
MUBDI: Yeah, it was remarkable to watch—you could tell it in numerous ways—
MICHAEL: I loved being around people, that is—
MUBDI: They were lovable—
MICHAEL: I kept on putting myself through tests of being with people who were not Sufis and I still do, but I guess we it's through the—(?)
FIONA: Oh, I like them too, though.
MICHAEL: But I do know that I really enjoy the Sufis, being close to them is really nice.
MUBDI: Were you initiated?
SABIRA: Yeah, right, did you take initiation, with Sam?
SABIRA: Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?
MICHAEL: The initiation wasn’t a special one, I don't remember that much of it even but the initiation wasn't a special thing, it wasn't that important, there wasn't any special meaning. I knew that it was part of it and I looked forward to it, and I wanted to be initiated. It was just kind of part of the attention thing that I was into at the time, that I just wanted to be it, because—and then I was a disciple—
FIONA: Yeah, the "in" Group.
MUBDI: There is a very strong feeling there about that.
MICHAEL: That's what kept me separate from people because I wanted to be "in." The first time I went to the seminaries all these incredible angels dancing around in white flowing things. I immediately went out and from then on for all of six months I had worn nothing but white—and I wasn’t really there, I was trying to be but I wasn’t. It came to me in other ways, the compassion is probably what I….
MUBDI: It is funny how your body carries even though you have a certain perception where you are and how you are relating with your inner and your outer—or I guess as I see now as you are talking you have these attitudes but still how your body brought you and the amount of levels that he could work, really work on/in—I am saying this for me, I can't speak for you, but I can see it in you—that's my feeling, like I do remember your white face, and let me say, here is somebody else looking, he was one of the people, he's wearing white. That was great, that was a great kind of time.
SABIRA: Did you go to his funeral, Michael? He changed….
MUBDI: Yes, he changed, because he wasn't that way the first time.
MICHAEL: Yes, I went to the coroner's office and sat. I was sure that he was going to move, I was sure. That was a nice time like that.
MUBDI: Yeah, it was for me too, it was the first and only time I had ever seen just the body of somebody, who had left. I hardly recognized him because he had a harsh face to me, when he was smiling he was joyous but I felt it was foreign and hard and harsh and I was afraid of him. But when I looked at the body I just realized that he had a beautiful body. His face was beautiful.
SABIRA: Would you remember some things like about the quality of the ski for instance?
MUBDI: It was translucent, it was beautiful. I remember walking around to keep looking and I was impressed that the air in there was very still, something about being able to see very small gnats. I think they were fruit flies, something that you would never see around Sam alive because he moved so much. Not that they wouldn't be attracted but his energy was so all the time doing. Now I'm thinking it was kind of weird, what were those flies doing in there, but they were and they were kind of floating around and I didn't have any of the feelings that I thought I would have about death and Sam. I was a completely different way than I thought I would be.
SABIRA: How long did you get to stay?
MUBDI: I believe it was half an hour. I was there from midnight to 12:30, it was late at night and they had little flowers and incense; it was so simple and touching, that they had made this kind of cold morgue into kind of a shrine. I remember all the little candles. And everything was—there were little mats on the floor with linoleum with steel things and even your—the table was one of those carts, but he was—there were flowers on his body, they put flowers there—that again, I think, was just like a symbol of the times. We were crazy people not afraid of convention because he wasn’t afraid of anything like that. I think, I know that I certainly was very impressed with convention and all those kinds of things and he just blasted through that.
MICHAEL: One thing that kept on coming to my mind while I was watching him, watching his body—was that he had said, that the teacher is as strong as his pupils, or as great as his disciples, and I think that Wali Ali had mentioned right after he had fallen that he was giving his—that it was up to his disciples now, it was up to disciples to carry on, and I was really feeling this when I was there, and it was making me feel—it was an overwhelming kind of feeling—I can’t say it made me feel good, I think it made me feel good and it also made me feel responsible. And I think that that is one thing that he did for me, he made me feel responsible where I should be responsible.
SABIRA: Did he ever blast you, ever get angry at you?
MICHAEL: He got angry, I was upset; I was very upset that he did but he wasn’t directing it toward me, I am certain of it now, he was directing it toward someone else—no, I’m not certain of that, I’m just saying—
SABIRA: What happened?
MICHAEL: I’m not really sure, I had a question to ask, and he was really wrapped up in something, something that had happened just before the meeting, it was at the Mentorgarten—and something had just happened. When somebody would have called him and asked him how he was doing and he used to bring that up and say, “Why do they have to call and ask me how I’m doing?” He thought that that was very annoying; it was something like that, something that happened just before the meeting—somebody brought something up, and I asked him a question, and he was still centered on this other thing and he brought it up again—and it was almost as if he were yelling at me for what I had to say—I can’t say that he missed what I had said, but he was still angry about this thing. And that’s what I mean he knew—I don’t think he ever paid too much attention to me personally.
SABIRA: Did that get you angry?
MICHAEL: No, I know exactly why he wouldn’t because that was exactly what I wanted, and if I had gotten that, then I would have, I would have lost more than I got.
SABIRA: When did you discover that this was so in your personality?
MUBDI: Oh, I think all the time, I really can’t say exactly when I discovered that that was what was happening.
SABIRA: Because he seemed to know, from what—he knew each person—
MUBDI: He knew, I tried in so many ways to get his attention, and I couldn’t get it, because that’s been my whole life. I’m always trying to get attention from others, to say that I was doing the right thing, and I’m sure that he wanted me to say to myself that I was doing the right thing. The walks were very meaningful for me too, and practices that he would do. Everything seemed right with me with Sam. Everything seemed to fit into place. He was born in San Francisco; I was; he was into the dancing; I was going to be a dancer. Solitaire—I was always very intrigued by solitaire myself little things like that.
MUBDI: Nero Wolfe? Nero Wolfe? That was what not me.
MICHAEL: What was it?
MUBDI: That he loved to read Nero Wolfe stories?
MICHAEL: Nero Wolfe?
MUBDI: The detective.
MICHAEL: Oh really?
MUBDI: I was a mad women for … (two talking).
MICHAEL: I was amazed that he watched Perry Mason.
MICHAEL: And you know what Wali Ali said about that?
MICHAEL: Somebody asked him, “Why do you watch Perry Mason? And he said that the only things that he used to watch were Perry Mason and the football games, because he claimed he saw astral beings on them.
SABIRA: I wouldn’t be surprised; he used to get signs from things—the solitaire was one of them—I don’t know just how it worked, but people told us that he would pick up a card, “Oh that’s a sign of that,” or he would read something in the newspaper, “Oh,” and he would get a sign form something, and then he would act or react, and that was sometimes one of the reasons why be got angry all of a sudden—the instance you remember—there is no way to know—things which had meaning for him.
MICHAEL: Yeah, right—
SABIRA: And then something would happen as a result, and somebody else would get the brunt of it. Did he ever yell at you?
SABIRA: And blast you as far as you know?
MUBDI: No, as a matter of fact, I tried, as everybody was talking to remember if I ever saw him angry over a period of time. I saw him flare up on met things in order, I heard stories—but all the time that I saw him he was—
FIONA: Does anyone remember Frank—(?)
MICHAEL: He used to ask the greatest questions, that I remember that he always used to ask the greatest questions. He was a friend of … the name means the wonderer—
FIONA: The wanderer?
MUBDI: Yes, the Sufi is, in Arabic it means—
FIONA: Oh yeah—he wanders form Khankah to Khankah and—he was in London, remember? And I gave you his number?
SABIRA: You did?
FIONA: Yeah, remember you called me up and he used to be at the Beshara center in London—
SABIRA: Oh yes, but I don’t remember who it is—
FIONA: A small fella?
FIONA: Yeah, I know exactly who you are thinking about, —
MICHAEL: A small fella—
FIONA: Yeah, I know.
SABIRA: Anyway, so what’s the point with Sam?
FIONA: He had a friend named Greg, and Greg had very curly hair, Greg … I think.
SABIRA: Greg Ptomkin, I think; it must be, there is only one Greg—Greg Ptomkin—
FIONA: Right (several talkings).
MICHAEL: He used to ask the most fantastic questions; Sam was really in to this person. He really liked him, and he was radical. Greg was definitely off the wall and Greg was very attracted to Sam.
FIONA: Where is he now? What happened to him?
MICHAEL: I don’t know.
MUBDI: I haven’t seen him, oh no I just remember him so vividly from camp and his friend, the wanderer—if you saw him—
FIONA: Salik!! got it, see. (Several Talking)
SABIRA: Oh Sure, Salik Cholom now I remember.
FIONA: He and I were at Beshara together.
SABIRA: He’s been in New York, Wali Ali wrote him or something; we didn’t get an answer.
FIONA: Yeah, you didn’t ever a hold of him?
SABIRA: Wali Ali wrote him a letter but nothing came back yet.
SABIRA: That might mean he didn’t get it, so I don’t know—
FIONA: Because he was out in L.A., he came to Los Angeles, and—
SABIRA: You’d hear about him, like he talks to everybody—
MICHAEL: He had (?) (two talking here)....
FIONA: He did the drawings for Reschad’s book—
SABIRA: Oh! Well.
MICHAEL: Sam used to say a lot of things to him.
SABIRA: Do any of you know how to reach Fred Rohe? Or Bill Hathaway? We just really want to talk to him. Fred Rohe too, he had a big part in Sunseed.
FIONA: No, Fred Cohn was the fella that made it—
SABIRA: That’s Amertat.
FIONA: That’s Amertat now, right.
SABIRA: I don’t know if he knows it or not.
FIONA: He must know, he made the film.
SABIRA: I could write him; he is at the Abode. How should we sum up, are there any stories that you can remember or anecdotes or anything that you’d like to add to the tape? Would you just like to sum up what Sam meant to you? Let’s see, you never actually met him, right?
FIONA: No, but all the same, but what he meant to me was the meeting of these two incredible forces, to me that was—
SABIRA: That was extraordinary, yeah.
FIONA: That I should travel, seeing myself in the whole puzzle of the thing and becoming—on the West coast at that time—I don’t know, I saw myself as being between the two, feeling very much submerged in the two within myself, because I was very involved on the West coast with Sufis here and still have strong loyalties to Pir Vilayat and then Reschad who is a Sheikh in the Sufi Order—he has since left.
SABIRA: He is Sheikh of the Mevlana order?
FIONA: Yeah, he officially resigned from the Sufi Order about 4 yrs ago, and because he felt that he had to be free of that.
SABIRA: This Sufi Order, there are so many.
FIONA: Exactly, and now he’s been made a Sheikh in the other, but anyway.
SABIRA: Yeah, we’d be interested in dreams too, or visions or anything of that sort that you might have had.
MUBDI: (from background—inaudible) It is something like I gasped because I hadn’t thought of it in all these years, and I’m sure it happened before I met him, it was right before I went to sleep, it was one of those things, you don’t know whether it was a dream or whether you were awake, but something different into your consciousness and I was very, I was a baby—somebody in this other plane who was about 4 yrs older than I was teaching me how to bouncer a ball, and I looked around and I realized that this was a very, very special place and this person who was teaching me how to play ball, was teaching me how to see something else, and I looked around, the people left, and we were surrounded by traditional leaders of religion, of the world’s religions: Mohammed, but I’m sure I could only say the ones about whom I knew the name at the time, but there was a circle of very enlightened beings around me and as I—you could see beyond them—and the light came down and through the spheres to the blue ball that was the earth and I said somewhere—some consciousness said, “there is this light falling” and it was falling on San Francisco; but I had no idea why this light that was coming down, it was everything, I won’t say philosophy or art or ideas, like that. There were tunnels like from a water-aqua-ducts, for the light to go through, channels for the light to go through, these were like vehicles that were used. To sum up, it isn't over but he did change my life; I said that at the beginning. He changed the life of a lot of people whom I was very close to and feeling closest to, and no matter what time or space in their life.
FIONA: It was really funny, because for a long time whenever I went back to Europe I would be quizzed all the time about the Sufis on the West coast, about Sam Lewis and his disciples, and about what was happening out here. Because everyone had a very strong sense and were being told constantly that there was some new energy coming from America, and I remember always having to be very clear in myself before I said anything, like when you are constantly defending somebody you can't, you can't defend them out of kind of a defensiveness. You have to be very clear, at least that was the way I always felt, I had to be very clear that what I was saying was actually what I was seeing, and that I wasn't being reactive. So it put me in a situation of of really doing a lot of searching, I think, in myself, to make sure that it was real—that it wasn't something that was an emotional reaction, that was probably also something to do with Sam. It was interesting being in that position for a long time, and now it doesn't exist, no one asks anymore, they know, because that's what's happening there too. The dancing still isn't done very much in Europe but there is most definitely that kind of non-duality of being in meditation or not being in meditation but trying—the emphasis of working it through, seeing it appear in yourself in everything that you do.
MICHAEL: I have something to say, now I noticed that because I wasn't really that I wasn't in touch with Sufis really, really, really, a lot after Sam died—I don't know for sure—but I feel that the dances lost so much after he died. They weren't anything like they were. The walks, the practices yes, okay, but the dances—those came to Sam in his dreams; those he carried out. They really had strength when he did them, but even the same dances weren't the same—they definitely were different—there was a different thing happening, more a social event, it seemed like—it really wasn't work.
MUBDI: There was a spontaneity that you often had the feeling that things that Sam would do in a meeting were coming to him right then and there, though they first probably had come before, but there was that quality that he had of. I remember I wanted to ask Michael if he remembered the choruses, the Allah choruses in the garage downstairs at the Mentorgarten.
MICHAEL: Alright, those were great.
MUBDI: We'll go "Allah, Allah, you over there—like, oh!—
MICHAEIL: Like that—
MUBDI: Oh, it was just—there—anything that was going to happen—
MICHAEL: That was nice in the Mentorgarten—
MUBDI: Yeah—mean, really, I don't know why.
MUBDI: All the daring started there, it started in the room around this size, I imagine 16 people, around and around. He was there, he was touching you, he was going from group to group, "Yeah, you are doing it right," joining this and then getting us all together—it's still like what's happening now, the meetings were—one of the things that I think is happening is that the meetings are very large.
FIONA: Yes, huge.
MUBDI: And it is much more of a responsibility—I think the need is different now, too. I needed his energy, that's probably the reason I was allowed to spend so much time with him—
SABIRA: You continued to work for him then after that first time he had you do the laundry—
MUBDI: I was definitely in and out—I was still quite sick—I went back in the hospital and, when I came out, I met him then—I don't know what his name is now—it was Daniel then—
SABIRA: Daniel Lomax? Abd ar Rahman
MUBDI: Abd ar Rahman that's right, and so Murshid Sam was close to me all during that time when my children were born, but like Michael said, he wasn't close to me in that way that maybe I would have liked for the glamour part but there was the other part I didn’t. I wanted to ask Michael—did you ever have the feeling, did you ever see Sam being your ideal? Maybe that's strange to ask maybe to a man, but I can remember why I used to be a good mother—I would see him being the mother, that's because you would talk about how he would dance in the Krishna dance with the ladies—his ability to be—all I can say is your idea the perfect thing. He taught me to be feminine.
MICHAEL: Yeah, I can see how he definitely could do that.
MUBDI: But I was wondering if he—
MICHAEL: I don't know—
MUBDI: If he did that type of thing.
MICHAEL: In certain ways, yes. I wanted to be as compassionate as he, I wanted to have the strength that he had, I wanted to have the will that he had—yeah—yeah, sure can I have it now?"
SABIRA: I go through this daily with Wali Ali.
MICHAEL: I love it, oh really!
MUBDI: You can look at it in another way too, you can look at pictures of when he was young—sure his destiny was probably very different than any of us—but he was worldly and I was sure that was one of the things, you could understand him as a person.
FIONA: Yes, yes.
MUBDI: Because he shared—
MICHAEL: Yeah, he was definitely real—
MUBDI: He shared with you, every time, almost anything that he said, he was right here: his grief, and the pain that he had to go through, his rotten family, feelings, and he didn't hide any of that—he didn't have to hide any of that—
FIONA: Yeah, yeah—
SABIRA: But that is the very reason he could communicate because he had gone through all of that understood it so that he knew what the generation gap was all about.
MUBDI: Was it awfully hard?
SABIRA: His parents didn't speak to one another for 25 years—they didn't speak; and they all lived in the same house together.
MICHAEL: You're kidding?
SABIRA: No, I'm not kidding. And that's just the beginning, what it was like for Sam when he was little/a young man—
MUBDI: I was thinking about—there was the story of the man who has all the books, and there is the time in some of these stories that he throws over the bookcase—Sam used to—that was always his reference, as I remember in the beginning, to Pir Vilayat, "I'm going to knock over his bookcase."
SABIRA: Oh yeah? He said that about Pir?—
MUBDI: Peace. Sam saw that as his relationship with Pir—
FIONA: That was what I felt when I said that I came out to the West coast and I saw it being—I saw that there wasn't the duality—but also I could see, because I love Pir, the sense of sacredness that Pir brought to people. He is very important too, and then meeting old Sam or meeting Sam really but not when he was in the body, and I could see how the two came from the same place. I was forced to see because they were so different and yet there was that sameness, there was that sacredness about both of them, that it made you see that it was coming from the same place and that it was two aspects of the same work, and I began to feel that very strongly and it stood me in good stead I think, because I found myself several times over the years in the middle of —
SABIRA: That's still happening, it's still happening many times—
FIONA: It's very good, because it makes you cut through.
MUBDI: It was reassuring when you were talking about the sanctity of people like Pir Vilayat and that feeling. And one of the feelings I had was that Sam was—he took it for granted, and it was also very reassuring to me—There was something about Sam—you don't need to worry about whether you are divine being or not a divine being—it is. "You don't, we don't believe, we know! We are…."
MICHAEL: Do you remember the stories he used to read out of those books?
MUBDI: The Chronicles you mean?
FIONA: No, no, you don't mean the Chronicles, the Bible you mean?
MICHAEL: Not the Bible.
MUBDI: He used to read stories from Papa Ramdas—
MICHAEL: No, I remember stories that he read, animal stories—they were about animals that were—
SABIRA: The ones that Pir Vilayat's sister wrote—or not that she wrote, edited?
MUBDI: I remember some fairy tales—
MICHAEL: Yeah, fairy tale stories like—
MUBDI: When he told them—I remember the one he told to my daughters when they were there.
MICHAEL: What was that?
MUBDI: It was about the sisters where one was beautiful and one wasn't so pretty, and she wanted to be pretty—and she was—the point of the story was that she had a big heart and she began to realize that she was feeling good about herself as she thought about other people she became beautiful.
SABIRA: That's nice.
MUBDI: Somebody may remember more details about it—it was very, there was much more detail of names.
SABIRA: Did your daughters meet Sam?
SABIRA: Are they still around?
MUBDI: Yes, they are still here.
SABIRA: Do you remember anything about—have they told you anything about Sam, to you, that you'd want to put on tape, speaking for them of course.
MUBDI: If they remember him they love him, they loved him but that's—
SABIRA: Were they very young when he was alive?
MUBDI: They were quite young.
SABIRA: How old are they now?
MUBDI: Jennifer is 15 now—Jennifer doesn't really talk about it, I think she feels confused about it right now, some of those areas Sophie was never confused and never will be.
SABIRA: How old is Sophie?
MUBDI: Sophie is 13.
SABIRA: So she wouldn't remember—
MUBDI: And Don and … were babies—
MICHAEL: Who was the little—who was the baby that was around the Mentorgarten?
FIONA: Basira’s baby?
MICHAEL: He was a Virgo baby.
FIONA: Basira and James.
SABIRA: James, yes, oh Samuel Vilayat, the little boy?
FIONA: No not Samuel Vilayat? James was the father's name.
MICHAEL: No .
FIONA: But then Basira was living with—
MUBDI: Yes, that was the girl I was talking about she was the housekeeper—
SABIRA: Leslie Gelder (two talking here)
MUBDI: She had curly hair—
MICHAEL: Yes, curly, black hair, boy the energy between that kid and Sam was really incredible sometimes—it was really high and every once in a while Sam would lay one on him, and he'd take it, it was incredible. (Several talking here)
MUBDI: He'd be a great one to interview.
FIONA: Yeah, he must be about twelve now—no, no, ten—
MUBDI: They are living in New Mexico still? I have no idea.
SABIRA: We get letters for Leslie Van Gelder or something like that, but I don't know where she lives.
MUBDI: I know they went to Lama.
FIONA: I remember Wali Ali telling me if I wanted to really hear what Sam Lewis was like I should listen to his tapes on the Chronicles—
SABIRA: The Corinthians?
FIONA: Yeah, I listened to them.
SABIRA: Shall we end or do you have some more?
FIONA: Wind up?
SABIRA: Memoires, recollections, or thing you want to add? We have about five more minutes of tape.
FIONA: You must be getting to know him very well through all these interviews.
SABIRA: Yes, and they are all different, that's what's so interesting. Every person saw him in a different way, experienced him in a different way, knew him in a different way—yours is very, very unusual because you didn't actual know him but you knew him.
FIONA: Yes, yes, that's what I find out all the time being in that position. It's a very interesting position to be in for me coming in yes—
SABIRA: Do you think Pir Vilayat has resolved some of his feelings?
FIONA: Oh yes, Pir Vilayat is very different now, he is a very different man—For a long time he and Jemila they would do these sort of meditations together and she really explained to him like she was his earthing she felt. I remember her once saying that she felt she was—she was instrumental in earthing him. Oh he is so different now, he is so different. In one aspect he has become totally his father; Pir Vilayat sometimes loses himself completely in his father. He makes mistakes, like he talks about about his sister and he'll say, he'll use the word "my daughter." And then he will correct himself, "my sister." He does that, he makes slips like that. He is really into it, especially when he is doing an intense seminar like at a leaders' seminar or something where he really gets into his father's teachings., and he'll sit right down and there will no stopping him, and he won't talk about meditation techniques and stuff, he will get into the Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan.
SABIRA: Do you think he eventually resolved his differences with Sam? What is your feeling on that?
FIONA: I don't know if he will ever feel comfortable about dancing, I really don't, I don't know, but I know that he—
SABIRA: Pir Vilayat dances, at the Universal Worship dances and he's wonderful—
FIONA: He definitely does , and he leads the Choir. Pir Vilayat is just open to—when I said that I meant that I can't imagine Pir Vilayat for instance leading dance groups. I feel that he feels that it is a very important part of the work. I definitely feel that he has resolved that conflict I think he feels it’s very important, very important.
MUBDI: There is one last thing I would—that I have been thinking about—you are talking about Pir Vilayat changing, and I want to say that I saw Sam change too in such a way I think, that makes him greater than ever. He really felt the effect of the people that he was with. He said, "Look at the disciples, don't look at the teacher and I was looking at him too and now tonight I am sitting here talking and really thinking about the first few times that I met him—I was going to a Zen meeting, and he was a Zen Master, he became…. I have to leave it at that, and people that know him more intimately, and can go into, say specifically some of the ways and instances in which he really changed.
MUBDI: I was thinking he was the gardener, right, and he already had the seed in, and he was cultivating us—
SABIRA: Mubdi, how did he function as a Zen Master, what way, do you remember:
MUBDI: I was just going to say his pauses; don't know anything about Zen, I remember his pauses, I remember—can't I just remember some of his—
FIONA: Is it like the feeling of concentration of forces?
MUBDI: He was just—I feel like acting it—
FIONA: You just did—
MUBDI: There was a very, very special—I just can't say (whispering).
FIONA: Yeah, it is a pity we couldn't see you on tape because—
MUBDI: And I was confused at the beginning with, as he—what's Sufi? Now it is something completely different. Sufi? That was going on Monday nights, and I was going on Sunday nights—
SABIRA: To Dharma night?
MUBDI: Yeah, Dharma night, and I know that there is/there were and still is—the differentiation and the meetings on different nights—
End of tape