Wall Ali on Murshid Sam
WALI ALI: He said he got all these gifts because people failed to take Inayat Khan seriously, so he said, "I have received this whole harvest which was meant for many people to reap, but as I was one of the few people or the only one that really took Inayat Khan at his word then others ignored it: Simple things like, “There is a voices which constantly comes from within.” He said the problem with the sacred lessons was that nobody ever took them seriously. They were a nice, wonderful philosophy, but nobody ever thought of applying these teachings, these things that you find in the path of attainment, or in the lessons on mysticism. And so consequently he said, "All these people kept things in the mental world and failed to reap all the things that were being offered.” So he got a lot by forfeit. And he said Inayat Khan had seen him originally as playing a leading role in the Brotherhood activity, because at that time his evolution was primarily that of an intellectual. And he was encouraged to write commentaries and to serve as a link with the real intellectual community in America and Europe and in the spirit of the Brotherhood activities. The fact that nobody among Inayat Khan's successors was willing to accept anything that Inayat Khan had told him during these interviews, by this transcendental logic of karma, made him fulfill other things that he wasn't probably destined to do. I don't know if that makes sense; but this kind of logic was the kind of logic Murshid used. You might say the typical feature of it is the phrase of Christ, "The stone which is rejected has become the cornerstone." He said, "This could be the theme of my whole life—‘the stone which is rejected has become the cornerstone.’” He was rejected. And it was a tremendous rejection and in the end he felt it was the source of his strength. And as he pointed out on a few occasions, this is the way in which the Sufis teach occultism, which is that all you have to do—you don't have to develop your third eye particularly—is learn to take an objective look at Karma. And then you will see things are bound to swing in the long run, because there is a transcendental justice which takes place when all things are evened out. So this is the “stone which is rejected will become the cornerstone” sort of theme. You read a lot of his early prophetic writings (a few of the things which survived the fire); this Book of Cosmic Prophecy is a good example. And much of it is in the spirit of the Warner: he is warning Japan that it will be destroyed for the karma that it has wrought on killing people in China going through and murdering all the children and women in China. And this was in 1933, or whatever it is; he is warning Germany that it will be destroyed for the karma that it is sowing; taking an objective view of world affairs from the standpoint of the swing of karma.
And with an understanding, which compliments it, of that which is mentioned in several places, but specifically in “The Day of the Lord Cometh,” which was the echo of the thing in Malachi: “Then those that feared the Lord got together and a book of remembrance was written. And the Lord said: ‘I will save them as my own on the day that I do make.’” This whole idea that there is a positive functioning in the spiritual hierarchy in the world, those people who really wish to be nothing else than the servants of God and who dedicate their lives and make that sacrifice in their lives, and that it is possible to really influence the swing of world events by making this kind of commitment. The thing about Murshid was that he saw this, not simply in the kind of abstract terms that I’m presenting it, but he saw it as a matter of actions in everyday life; and that would be okay, except some of these actions seem to have very little relevance to the scope of the world events. In other words, if you have a monsoon in Pakistan, or a tidal wave, and 5,000,000 people are out of their homes and starving and suffering from exposure, it doesn’t make too much sense to send—to have some of your disciples make longies and send them over there, but this is something that he did because he understood that yes, there is a power in thought, and the thought of one man may be greater than the thought of a thousand, or ten thousand, or a hundred thousand men, but there is more of a power when the thought is combined with action. So there was always some action, some practical example given in connection with some thoughts which were very grand, and which seemed so grand that it seemed almost like a comedy to think that some insignificant action of a human being could have anything to do with affecting the world in this way. I gave the example of Pakistan, that is a sort of straight-forward example. But it was this kind of thing, and who could see the connections? Murshid’s mind was so encyclopedic—he knew such a great deal about history and science and mysticism and religion and so on—but he never bothered, except on rare occasions, to try and present it all in a very neat, logical way. He knew how it was connected; he knew how this historical phenomenon of the Palestinians was connected with the rule of Omar, for example. He said, “If I spend all my time explaining everything, I would never do anything.” So he just let it all hang out, in a certain sense, and consequently people could listen to his talks or look at his letters and not be able to tell what the hell was going on because it seemed so disconnected, whereas someone like myself or someone else could communicate it better to someone very often, because you would say, “This and this and this,” and then, “Oh, I see—well, I didn’t see that, what has that got to do with it?” But in Murshid’s mind it had something to do with it; all these things had these connections and he just really looked upon himself as—well somewhere it says in Inayat Khan, "The master is at war perpetually with circumstances.” And he was at war perpetually with world circumstances. He did things that can only make sense seen against this world perspective, and only then if you give some credence to the possibility that he was moving energy on global dimensions through his being and that he was receiving Divine Guidance. Then things begin to make sense. He always was conscious of his being, being energy, and knowing that you couldn't always be in a positive mood, he understood how to use negative energy and make it useful. It was very interesting—he didn't try and get himself out of a mood. For example, if he was mad about something he would see that thrown against the world perspective somehow. And maybe he would write a letter to Lloyd Morain or to Auroville or to one of these people that often got all these angry letters that he used to write—just saying what was wrong with the world situation. As I said, it was a kind of a war, and at the very least you can see it was taking place in the psychic sphere to meet negative trends and negative thoughts with power. And he would use this kind of negative mood by being positive against negativities in the world that he couldn't accept. So the saint will accept everything as coming from God; the master will regard everything as an opportunity for shaping it towards the ideal of God. And this is what he did, and also to be prepared to accept it when you have no choice in the matter. So while he was living here and doing things here, he was really trying to help solve the world food problems or bring peace in the Middle East, or the Indus Valley situation in India—whatever. And again this was something that he didn’t care where he spoke about it; he might go into a grocery store, and there he is with his baggy pants, and maybe some great big stain on him or worse, and his disheveled appearance, and talk to the clerk about, "I'm going to attend this conference on all the World’s religions in Geneva and I'm going to tell them “bla-bla-bla.” And yet the funny thing was, whereas apparently all of his outer manifestations seemed so much to be like madzub. The effect of his being was to give people sobriety.
Whereas sometimes I think Pir Vilayat is just the opposite. And again, in almost every way they were opposites, although in some ways they found a very harmonious meeting ground. I think even to the end of Murshid's life they both had a tremendous amount of reservation about the other. I wouldn't put it simply on one person's terms, but deep down, as I have already pointed out, Murshid accepted Vilayat, and for the good of the Message, decided to work with him, though on his death bed, and this was no surprise to me—because whenever he said, "Write a letter to my Pir," he meant Pir Barkat Ali in Pakistan, whom he regarded as his Pir from the standpoint of spiritual hierarchy, certainly not from the standpoint of the kinds of teachings that one would give to Americans, and not in terms of the Sufi Order, but in terms of—he looked up to him. He felt that you always needed to have somebody on earth that you were willing to be receptive to in some way and he followed this as a principle even though he was—see, he followed it with regard to the Sufi Order as much as he was able with Pir Vilayat, and I saw him very often swallow a great deal of stuff for this reason. He said to me one time, "I'm much higher than Vilayat." I certainly agreed; he didn't have to say it to me. And yet he functioned underneath Vilayat in the Sufi order, but his real concern was with putting the Sufi Order on a firm footing in the West to fulfill his trust as being a protector of the Message. But his real work was not that, particularly, it was concerned with what you might say World revival in the sphere of the problems. He said that much of his life he was what you might call Buzurg—when you talk about the spiritual hierarchy Buzurg is someone who regards everyone as an initiate and puts out energy on a world level and deals as a scientist of that kind, not necessarily in the garb of a spiritual teacher. It has more to do with how much energy you move around. He said, "Hierarchy and heart are synonymous; it's a matter of how grand your heart is and that's the scope of how much authority you actually have."
But he had quite a few differences with Sufi Barkat Ali as far as that goes—mostly about Islam; he didn't kowtow to him on that point at all. Sufi Barkat Ali's criticism was that all his people ought to be Muslims, and Murshid felt that he had the same kind of right to tell Sufi Barkat Ali where to get off on such matters. But it is really important to understand how, combined with this tremendous positivity and self-confidence, there was an equal amount of receptivity which a lot of people never knew Murshid had. But he was able to meet a spiritual teacher, which he did on a number of occasions, and just be entirely receptive, entirely receptive. It's like Shamcher said, comparing himself and Murshid in terms of their meeting with Inayat Khan, "I recall when I met Inayat Khan there was still a question in my mind, when I received initiation, about whether he was the teacher I had been waiting for. And he said, Inayat Khan caught it and he smiled at me. He says whereas when Sam Lewis went in he just became empty; he just accepted himself fully. Of course Inayat Khan was the first one to really touch his heart. And that was why he had a basic loyalty to him throughout his life, though he accepted a whole number of spiritual teachers. Whenever he wrote his Commentary work he said, "I'm in the state of fana-fi-sheikh, I really feel like there are three beings present” (speaking of Inayat and Murshid). And, Inayat Khan, as I said, touched his heart. But when he met certain Zen teachers, he just became entirely empty, the same thing with Sufi Barkat Ali.
He was able to understand that you can win by surrendering just as well as you can win by overcoming with power and sometimes Murshid would be very receptive to his disciples, very receptive, entirely listening to you like you were the Voice of God. And some people can tell you about this better than others. Some people never knew it was going on because they always thought he was positive. But sometimes he would be just the opposite, just entirely receptive. And I never saw anybody that could be so receptive, and I think that was why he could be so positive. But he didn't generally stay in that mood for a long length of time; he could just drop everything and be totally receptive to a teacher that I couldn't be, for example, or to a person, and just see their perfection, just see their perfection. And then he would be so enthusiastic about that person—just see God so much in that person, and then very often he would ultimately have to revise his evaluation in the course of time. But he went through this kind of thing; he had this enthusiasm about people that came—it was hard to understand because—and I've only now been able to see how it was so much connected with how he would be sometimes in so much of a receptive state with people and just see their perfection, and be so innocent in some ways about where people were coming from; whereas I could see much more their various ulterior motives and the ways in which they were going on.
In fact, I recall one of the first times—it was a short time after I had started coming over here and working regularly. It was while this whole Olompali thing was still going on—that was a very strange episode; it is hard for me to recall the individual details of it. We were riding in David's truck, I was driving the truck; he had troubles getting the proper transportation and he would be dependent on someone driving him around to different places. It wasn't like now—now everybody is “Murshid, Murshid, Murshid”—then people were interested in themselves, they weren't so interested in just making themselves available to help. So, whenever this came down the circumstances were that I just gave him a very strong warning about some people that he was very innocent about—and how they were trying to, what was really going on, which was very surprising because I could only do it because I felt it so strongly, and he really listened. Because for most people it was almost like a test to be able to be positive in the presence of Murshid because he had so much positivity, and he had so much self- confidence that it was like there was a blanket of energy up in the space towards anyone asserting their own positive energy. And this was really a means of training, I don't know now whether these things were conscious or unconscious, but it served more than any other thing to help people build up their own latent positivities because it gave them this tremendous mountain to climb, or however you want to put it.
Anyway, I think I am getting a little bit off my rail here.—oh his family! He talked about his family all the time. And he would bring up his family problems in the midst of the most profound discussions: he would say something like, "My brother Elliott has opposed me my whole life, and my parents always favored him because he was interested in making money; of course they didn't care about the fact that he was a crook! So long as he was interested in making money it was fine with them. He said, "My brother never respected me until I sued him;" you know, just various sorts of things. He had had tremendous problems with his family. His father—Murshid said they never forgave him for being conceived out of wedlock! And, in any case, they certainly never forgave him for having such a philosophical bent of mind, so other-worldly. But his family things would always crop up, and in a sense Murshid had so many obvious flaws on the surface that it took people who had vision to come along—hippies or whatever you want to call them—to be able to see past the surface. His flaws were so noticeable on the surface, so exceedingly human that he hadn't been accepted at all by anybody in the West, with very few exceptions. He had a few friends: Bill Hathaway was one of his friends, he was always very cynical about Murshid in a certain way; and Gavin Arthur was something like a friend and yet Gavin had been part of that very polite society which had rejected him, except Gavin also liked to accept him in the back door and reject him in the front door! And Murshid had been very critical of Gavin too. When he lived next door to Gavin, Gavin used to say he was better than an Encyclopedia Britannica because he knew everything. He'd have an incidental question when Gavin was writing his books; he'd just knock on the wall and say, "Sam!" But Sam was something of a mascot, because he couldn't move in the same social circles as the grandson of the President, or that sort of thing. He would always do something that would make people say, “My god, who is he?" And Ted Reich was his friend for years and years, and they always got along; there was something about him. And he was also friends for years with Joe Miller but he didn't see Joe as often as he saw Ted; Ted used to drive him around sometimes. And Vocha Fiske was a very close friend of his for years and some of her memories we have on tape. She was always—she said she saw in Sam that he was destined to become an integrated personality, that he had just been so wounded by people. And whenever he would write her letters, she would always write him back and just sort of repeat the positive things that he said in the letter back to him and give some reinforcement to it, you know from a genuine place. Because he’d never been accepted; he was starved for affection, starved for being accepted, never had had any sort of relationship with anyone of the opposite sex, never had any kind of real family ties. And it all came through in the end as fulfillment, but these negative impressions had to all be overcome. And to the end of his life he would sometimes come out with these things about how so and so had always rejected him and so on and so forth, out of a feeling of being hurt. But at the same time, what lay behind it all was his own feeling that it was really God that was being rejected by these people. And when he looked at himself—he saw himself against the—as I keep saying—glass of world history, and actions against himself he saw in this way, in this kind of world karma. And you have to keep going back to this, because otherwise you don't understand what was going on. And some people were just to him—I would say, they were like symbols—Lloyd Morain was a symbol to him, a symbol of the surface semanticism, I don't know. It is hard to understand a lot of this past karma that Murshid had. He was very critical of certain spiritual movements like the Aurobindo movement after the passing of Aurobindo, because he felt that it had been taken over by people who didn’t have the realization and who were holding things down to a limited extent while taking advantage of publicity and so on; and these avatars who with a great deal of fanfare, advertise themselves. On the scene of Meher Baba too, the Maharishi, this whole Hindu phenomena of proclaiming yourself as the avatar of avatars!
Here is a letter to Vocha Fiske; and I notice here the name Paul Reps. Now their relationship was a very interesting relationship too. He knew Reps for years; he was very critical of Reps, I have to say, especially at the end of his life, he was somewhat bitter and very critical of Reps, because you see, they had chosen to….
End of side one.
And you can imagine how quaint and of course nobody ever had the slightest idea that there could have been any hanky-panky with Murshid and any disciple—and it was only years later when we saw a whole number of other spiritual teachers that took advantage of this kind of magnetism that flows to use it, that we realized that he really couldn’t have had the slightest bit of interest. I recall Sitara told me of one conversation he had with Karmu, who of course does sleep with the girls who come around, in which he told Karmu, "You see this (pointing below his waist) there is nothing there." And there wasn't; he was dead to that part of his anatomy; it had all gotten transmuted, and it was a great blessing that he gave to people for that very reason. And he was very critical of particular Hindu teachers that teach Brahmacharya to their students and then sleep with their secretaries on the sly. This has been going on for years. And he would often speak out against this whole kind of thing—which you might put into the category of people who break the Precepts. So all the more difficult, I would say, it was for him to accept this situation with Vilayat and Jemila. Vilayat had a wife, Jemila had a husband, Jemila's husband was, besides this, Murshid's secretary—but he did accept it and he was very understanding and when Vilayat came to him about this whole matter it was like he was coming to his father and I think that made Murshid understand it. Because Murshid would never judge anyone who would be open let’s say accepting him as a spiritual teacher. So that, I would say, he had a great thing to play.
I started out, to go back to the personal side of things a little bit, I immediately wanted to become a disciple. I had been in universities quite a bit and had a lot of interest in mysticism and had done a lot of acid, not too much compared to what some people have done, but had some really strong experiences, and I was very much ripe for him, and I could just hear in Murshid's voice that he knew what he was talking about. He was very clear, and I had heard a lot of people talk and they all could be bluffed if you challenged them but he couldn’t be bluffed! It was all coming out of his experience, and you could tell. And so I was immediately impressed. Shortly after I met him, and then Vilayat came the next week as I said, and he taught the Zikr. I was living out by the ocean at that time, and I took a couple of tabs of acid and sang the Zikr all day into a kazoo on the beach. It didn’t sound like a kazoo; it sounded like a flute. And it was an entirely transforming experience, and I had a very real connection with Murshid. At some later point I had an interview with him and told him just a little bit about it, and he said, "Very good, you come Thursday night and I’ll initiate you.” But he wasn’t initiating any people at that time. He’d sort of come to a ceiling, and he would just say, “I’m not initiating now; in a couple of months I’ll initiate you.” But because he felt I’d had an initiation in the inner world he did initiate me. I should say interviews with him were very brief, especially with men; if you got 30 seconds you were lucky; or a minute or two, you were very lucky, because the way he dealt with men was to—he would be very much in to his—what you might call his Zen mood, or his Rama, or whatever it is—just very strong and not putting out any kind of moonlike energy whatsoever. He would just be there: “yes?” And he would just tell you something. You maybe got a word out and that was it! He just wasn’t nice and reflective and listening and compassionate and considerate and sympathizing—nothing of the kind. He was trying to work with men from the standpoint of them to overcome fear, to build up their sense of self-confidence, and the way he did that was just by being in that place. This is one thing I have to say I question myself about, whether I’m not too lenient on people or whether I should just let Murshid come in a lot more, but I think everybody has to work out their own way. He used to say that he discovered in this lifetime that he had to work very hard, that the keys for his success in this time around were hard work. He said, "I worked very hard," and he did work hard. I've never seen anybody that worked harder than him, just on the plain physical level. And he said, "I know all these various yoga systems and this and that and the other, but if you ask me where I get all of this energy from, I just can't tell you; it's just a Grace." He certainly had it; in addition to just a tremendous amount of physical energy, you might say it had to do with Kundalini or this or that, but it was just there. Whether it would be just going out and cleaning up the park—he'd go outside in front of the house here and pick up paper in the park real early in the morning, and write all these letters, see people, be all around, and he was going, going, going—and he was in his seventies and nobody ever thought about him being in his seventies. He had much more energy than any of the younger people—anybody. I was able to more or less keep up with him, and then I realized after his death that really this was a reflective for me—that by just matching his rhythm when he was alive, one could keep up with him, but to do it on one's own is a different matter. At the same time somebody like a Reps might say that he was going too fast, or he was going too hard all the time. Maybe something inside of him knew he didn't have that much longer to live; I don't know. He certainly didn't know that on the surface; he felt that he had another 20 or 30 years to live. And he would complain quite a bit about not getting enough help. In fact when I was coming around here the first time, almost every meeting, or every other meeting, he would make some complaint about not getting enough help. And he would threaten sometimes to close everything down if he didn't get some help. And then, it's funny; somebody would come over to help and he would give them something to do, like go through this drawer & catalog it or something, just some old stuff, not important papers or anything. It’s just that he needed to have the support of people that were working. It wasn’t so much that they would be actually taking any work off of his shoulders. I think I was the one steady worker that he finally got. I never missed a meeting after the first one, and after awhile Daniel Lomax gave me the understanding that a person should come and work for his teacher, and so I started coming over here and working. At that point what I was doing was dusting and taking out the garbage and washing the dishes. The house was a mess; no guys lived here, two old men: Murshid and Mr. Hunt. And Mr Hunt was also in his seventies, and he was something of a contradiction on the scene because he didn’t really have any part in Murshid's life; he lived in the back room. And he moved out Jan. of ’69. So that was around the time when I first I used to come over here, and Mr. Hunt would complain because all these people were coming over and coming to these meetings and not leaving any parking space, or coming into his part of the house or this or that or the other. It just wasn't right, but anyway I came over and the biggest thing one tried to do when Murshid was here was to stay out of his way, because he was concentrating, and if you were here to work, he wasn't giving you energy, unless you happened to be in his way! But if you were concentrating on some job, then he was perfectly happy to work around you, so that the only way that you could stand it, was to be working and concentrating on something. And anytime you finished something you’d come to him and he would give you something to do. As I said, the house was a mess; I don't know if they ever washed the floor. They certainly never cleaned the stove—that would have been unheard of. It was just a mess! And of course I'm no housekeeper myself. The office was a mess, the house was a mess, and Murshid really wasn't getting any help. Then, he didn’t have any car, and he had to do the grocery shopping, so we would walk to the grocery store. There used to be a store right down Army St. a couple of blocks down, a Big Bonus, and they closed it down finally when they did a lot more work on the Freeway. But we would walk over there and do grocery shopping together and carry the groceries back, because I could help him by carrying the groceries. He didn’t strain himself carrying a lot of stuff; he could do it but he—it’s like he was explaining once when he was talking about climbing hills, he said, “I didn’t want to do phenomena and out-climb a lot of other people on hills, but I don’t have any reason to do it, so why should I do it?” But anyway learned very quickly that it was okay as long as I was working and concentrating and doing something then he was happy; but if I was just hanging out then I was in trouble. Murshid had so much energy that people used to get nervous just being around him, and they certainly were afraid of him. And they were afraid to say anything sometimes; a lot of people were just simply afraid to say anything. And he would just turn to them and say, “What do you think of that?” He was always, “What do you think?’
And your response would be, “Gosh, I don’t think anything, I don’t think anything!” but that would never do! But people would be very embarrassed; they didn't know how to talk to him. And I learned that as long as you stayed on the subject you were okay; it was when you started jumping the subject around that you were—that he would jump at you. But as long as you knew how to stick on the subject that was being discussed he would accept your comments. So this was around the time when there were meetings in Marin County just starting up at Sheila’s house (Sheila McKendrick)—that was another very difficult episode in Murshid's life. It was when Sheila and Dara went to India and decided they had found this avatar that they ultimately brought back here—Sirinjiva—
There was something about Murshid that kept him veiled from people, for the most past. It was his protection, I guess; it was very hard to understand. He didn't make any bones about being Samuel Lewis, and this was something that most spiritual teachers do. When he was in his human personality, he was just being a human being and he didn't have any sense of trying to maintain his dignity as a teacher or however way you look at it. And it made him very natural, but it also made it very difficult for people to see him as a teacher. When I first came out he didn't have a beard and often he didn't ever wear robes either. This Rancho Olompali—Murshid had hoped that Vilayat was going to take that place over and buy it and turn it into a big school and commune and he was concentrating on it happening. And it never happened because the people there blew their chance, but also because it wasn't in Vilayat's mind either. Murshid never told him it was in his (Murshid's) mind either. He would often be concentrating on major things, and because he talked about a lot of stuff, he would keep concealed what he was really concentrating on, and he would keep real silent about that. I think a lot of people must have known him for years and years and never really knew what he was concentrating on, or never really knew what his actual opinions were about things because he was very much the mystic, very much aware of the inner world as a corollary of what was going on in this world. And his practice was—well living with him, you began to get this feeling everything had a reflection in the next world, or however you want to describe it. So it was impossible to just have a low key day because some event of seemingly no importance would happen, like some article he would see in the paper or some chance remark somebody would make on the street or just something—and it would just trigger something on a world scale, and he would be feeling that he had gotten a confirmation from God on something on the world level or that it was a warning being given & he’d have to go write a letter to somebody. This was again a hard thing for people to realize what was really going on, because on the surface he was like an eccentric man; and to try and really attune to where he was coming from was what we were really being asked to do, but very few people could do it. And he wouldn't just lay it all out in front of you like a textbook; he would always be somehow—you were supposed to see something that was implied by what he said and put it together. And consequently his “yes” sometimes meant “no,” and his “no” meant “yes.” And people who didn't realize that got into a lot of hot water; but the closer you were to him the more he expected you to realize that. He was very—by the end of his life I always knew what he really felt regardless of what he said, and he knew that I knew, but I would see so many people walk away with just the opposite impression. But he would get very angry with me if I didn’t know that when he said “yes,” he really meant “no.” He would get very angry; he expected me to know. And if people had criticism to make of Murshid, they would say, "Why couldn't he just tell me that he felt that way; why can't he be straightforward?" And he couldn't, because he was a mystic, a real mystic in that way. And if he was straightforward in one way it would come out backwards in another. His very being was a mystery—but this was the kind complaint people would have, because Murshid would then come to other people and complain about them behind people's backs. He would come to the city and he would complain about the people at the Khankah; when he would go to the Khankah, he would complain about the people in the city. And very rarely would he ever complain to anybody, straight to their face, about themselves. But he would complain to somebody else about them, and then they would hear about it. So naturally this could get on people's nerves, and people could get very much hurt by it. For some people, it was just like getting too close to the fire. One person I think of in particular was when Charlene lived here; she was so fragile, and to her Murshid seemed so cold and unfeeling about her condition because he was just concentrating on what he had to concentrate on. It was just like being a little bit too close to the fire. Some people could take it better than others; the closer you lived to Murshid the less, in one sense, did he concern himself with your person, the more he expected you to just sort of carry the thing sort of the way he carried it. He had very high demands and expectations for the people who lived with him whereas someone just saw him at meetings and was his disciple and so on might never have met that side of his being whatsoever. Some people did better than others living with him; there were some people he just couldn't bear himself. When David Hoffmaster lived here he used to complain about him constantly to me, because he didn't pay his rent on time and this and that and the other. Finally I learned to be something of a buffer between Murshid and people, in order to communicate to them what he was really trying to say and to even take things up with people directly, when he really wanted them to change something that they were doing. And in a way it helped to smooth certain things out. He had a way of very often putting the worst foot forward, and I used to think it was deliberate. Actually I went through a lot of changes about it, and a lot of people used to be tremendously embarrassed by Murshid when they were in any kind of social situation with him, because he would always do or say something that somebody would misinterpret entirely, usually giving the impression that he was the biggest egotist in the world, and was entirely unfeeling about something. And people would go through many changes about this. Or else he would put people into a situation where they would go to a restaurant with him and then he would say, “Alright now, let’s sing,” in the middle of a restaurant, he would sing, "Subhan Allah, alhamdulillah…." It was always something embarrassing—that was sort of funny but sometimes he would be with people and he would just…. And then I used to think, well, he does it on purpose in order to figure that a person … you might as well show him your worst side first, and then if they can still see what is working underneath then everything will come forward in a positive direction, rather than you put your best foot forward, and then later people see your faults. And I'm sure this had something to do with it, but it was unconscious, it wasn't deliberate, it just happened to work this way. To me, and now again I am talking very personally, he was like an Elijah, or Mohammed. But his being itself was a mystery, and so consequently he didn’t necessarily know why he did anything. But he worked in people's lives in a certain way that was very miraculous and he would be veiled and un-veiled in all sorts of inexplicable ways. He didn't have that—whatever it is—it's a kind of calculating consciousness that a person can go into a situation and know which is the best sort of way to present yourself, you know, to make his virtues evident and to be accepted. He didn't have that kind of consciousness, or if he did he just didn't care about it. And on a few occasions he would say something like, "I'm not under any requirement to be tactful, you know; I don't have to make a good impression." And he really didn't care—he did and he didn't; he just wasn't up with social skills, and for years this very lack of social skills had made him entirely rejected by the spiritual society in America whereas people like Watts, who had all the social skills and who could say just the right thing at the dinner party were put up as the leaders. So maybe it was something of a reaction to that or just that it wasn't in his nature to have this—whatever you want to call it—the art of personality, this kind of refinement on the surface. He was like a rough-hewn diamond, uncut diamond, a massive piece of sculpture without having made all the little refinements in it. And this is the way it was, but he could move a tremendous amount of energy, and this was on the world level. Most of his life was concerned with world issues, questions of world peace and questions of whatever it is—the concern of the spiritual hierarchy for the future of the human race, whatever form it might take. And this was his main concern most of his life. He never really expected to—he never saw it as his role to be a spiritual teacher until the last four or five years of his life. And then he said that it was just the times, and the need of the human beings that were coming into the world at that time that made him take on that role. But he would say to me things like, “I’m getting so burdened down here I don’t know what I’m gonna do if I am called upon to fulfill my real work.” And his real work was the world work in the spiritual hierarchy. This was where his real concern was. So he was a Murshid, but he was a master and it wasn’t the same; he learned how to be a teacher, having disciples that were open made him function more as a teacher, but he felt that he was the protector of the message; he never really saw his work as that of a spiritual teacher.
End of reel