Merybehn Peller on Murshid Sam—9/16/76
WALI ALI: We are talking with Merybehn, though you were known as Martha, right?
WALI ALI: Marti. Do you recall the date or the period when you first met Murshid? Was it 1969?
MERYBEHN: I think it was '68, the end of '68.
WALI ALI: How did you happen to hear about him?
MERYBEHN: Sheila Carr, a friend of Brian Carr's—not related, they just have the same name. She met my sister-in-law, Jill, and they suggested that I go over and see Murshid. They called him “Sufi Sam,” or something like that. So I went over there with my husband, my first husband and the landlord of my brother's and Jill's apartment. I tried to wear a nice dress. We walked in the door and he said, "Lady, lady, come up here." He made me sit so I didn't see him—he made my husband sit in a totally different place.
WALI ALI: You mean the room was crowded and he just had you sit in a spot where there was a space?
MERYBEHN: No, no, he made me sit in an exact place, so I couldn't see him. And I was sitting next to Moineddin.
WALI ALI: Up in a chair?
MERYBEHN: Up in a chair. He made my husband sit quite somewhere else, so I couldn't see him through the whole meeting, and the main thing that came to me was everyone's' eyes. That was something that I had never seen before. It was all of life, and it was very beautiful also. So without ever having thought one way or another about it—I never thought of anything connected with this as spiritual, or anything, but seeing the people, developed each as their own person, while developing in the same way—it was just an overwhelming experience. Since then I have seen that in few other groups, like Ananda Marga, where the Guru comes in on a certain Astral level and then they look like the Guru. This didn't happen; though everyone would turn to Murshid, he immediately turned to God, or something like that, so they were all really developed. It was the eyes, all those eyes looking back; it was something beautiful. Is this too personal?
WALI ALI: No, I don’t think so; I think it is better to open it up because what we are doing is just trying to get a full file of everybody's memories and relationships with Murshid.
MERYBEHN: That's fine. The main experience then was a Christian one. What I got that day was, whatever the phrase would be, "And I will make you fishers of men,” and it was all the eyes and Murshid was sitting over there, so I never really looked at him.
WALI ALI: That was here, in this house?
MERYBEHN: Yeah, that was here at the Mentorgarten. So then I went away back to Berkeley where we—my husband and I—this is very sad, coming at this point in my life—had just reached a very low point. Everything had dissolved, we had no home, and we were crashing at my brother and Jill's. Then, right after that, we went and saw Murshid and he made my husband and I separate. Then my husband left, he just walked away in the night.
WALI ALI: You mean, after that meeting?
MERYBEHN: About that first thing he said as soon as I started walking in the door, "lady." He never called me “lady” again, for at least six months, or anything about “lady.” Then, one time, I started up the stairs at the Mentorgarten to a meeting. He called over some new person who just came. He said, "I give my teachings in all different ways. For instance," and he grabbed me, "now this lady, she doesn't like to be called 'lady,' but I call her 'lady' all the time, and that is my teaching to her," and he hadn't called me “lady” in all that time, except the first time I walked in the door.
WALI ALI: Why do you think he said that you didn't like to be called “lady?” Did you mind being called “lady,” or was that something else he was trying to get across to you?
MERYBEHN: Murshid, I believe, was hoping that I would become a lady. No, I didn't mind him calling me “lady,” no.
WALI ALI: That was his concentration, or something that he was putting out?
MERYBEHN: Yes. He wanted his women to be ladies. He had seen it with people that impressed him, some princess of Siam or Thailand, women who could affect something in the world. This came up again and again, like the “ladies of the Khankah, and then there is Meribehn, she is doing her very best to do this.” And with the ladies of the Khankah, I did everything, and it still wasn’t quite it. Then, at a party at Banefsha's, sort of a spiritual holiday, or something, but anyway, a real party, I started lighting up a cigarette and I don't think it was because of smoking. I loved this kind of social thing that we could have, because it was the spiritual things. Murshid always said that a spiritual person enjoys himself socially, these spiritual outings and activities, like a meeting. And that was a great relief for my soul, like these parties that we'd gone to and then everyone's smoking. At Banefsha’s party everyone was the same people pretty much, when, all of a sudden, it was the same people in a party situation. People were smoking dope and doing this other thing. Then I started lighting a cigarette and I closed down, and he did that “lady” thing with me again, there—I never quite got it. We’d been on different levels. This is one social level, now, but he did try to do that. As far as I could see, he wanted to have ladies.
SABIRA: Do you think he intuited that you were about to be separated and that's why he separated you two in the room?
MERYBEHN: No. I think he saw things in our souls—harmfulness in the soul.
WALI ALI: Somehow, then, there had been some violence or something—something from him that wasn't right.
MERYBEHN: Yeah, that's right, that wasn't what God wanted. It wasn't Murshid's will, no, nothing like that. It wasn't what, I would say, intuition of what would happen—no.
WALI ALI: It was just his innocence.
MERYBEHN: The Grace, the Grace of God through Murshid.
WALI ALI: Right, he just did things.
MERYBEHN: And horrible; he just did it. So then I went back to Berkeley, sad, running around here and there.
WALI ALI: Did I give you a ride back that night? Did he ask me to?
MERYBEHN: That night? No, not that first night because I was with them. That landlord has since, we have heard, committed suicide, but he never came again. He was studying at the Christian Seminary in Berkeley. My husband came again, two times, I think, or once, and he gave his name as odd things to Daniel, who collected names for a couple of weeks or something. He said his name was “Ronald Rhinoceros,” but he never would give the correct name. So, I went back there, and I was really very crushed. Then there were three things in this Berkeley University paper. One was the death of Meher Baba, one was Max Von Sydow—is that him, of the Life of Christ in the movie—and one was some statue some artist did about waiting, a woman waiting for her lover to return. Mainly, there was Meher Baba, in that he died and his main Sufi thoughts. I didn't care about any of those three things, but that made me just go back to Murshid then. I went there and it was very different the second time. Before we broke up, when I first went there, Nasima and Daniel came before Murshid and they had bread to sell to make money for their wedding that they were going to have in Haight Street Park, and Murshid was going to be there. Their eyes were so beautiful to me, it was just overwhelming. And we were going to go. My husband just couldn't go—it was just down in Haight Street Park—and so we didn't go.
WALI ALI: I know, I was there.
MERYBEHN: And meanwhile there were drugs, and all these people running around, and I don’t know what it was. At that time, the only thing I was reduced to was two things, or just about one thing—listening to music and making my head go around. I did this all day and night. It was a Zikr, except for going down, I just went around in a circle. I’d never heard of the Zikr, I did that all the time, I was reduced to that. So he wouldn’t go and then, this and that, and then he left.
Then I heard there’s going to be an old Japanese man, running around gardening. And the other was building this community, like a mission. This was the closest to these missions Father Serra built; I could see it. Now, I don't know where this could be, but I could see it. It was in a desert-type place; not desert exactly, but I could see it. It was golden. Those were the only two things left. What they could mean, I don't know. But I went back, and I went to the meeting, and Murshid called me up in front of them and called some more people up, and then, he goes, “What do you know about Oriental Philosophy?” And I just stood there, like I had no mind, I mean (laughter) none! I knew a lot about Oriental Philosophy and I could maybe somewhere get it but no I couldn't. So I had nothing to say, and then I had everything to say, too, but I had nothing to say. His eyes went right through me and then, at that moment, that’s when I would say that I would never leave Murshid. It would be impossible. He was there; he was everywhere, and I had never experienced that, never heard of that. It was everything. Everything else was unreal, that there is an other, and that means any/every other, actually, potentially. There and every place, all I'd experienced was extremes of loneliness. So I had a heart and other hearts, it didn't matter. These great lonelinesses in Murshid, in his eyes, and we went everywhere together, and that has meant everything to me ever since and I consider that initiation. Much later I got initiated because there is a rule in the Sufi Order, that to live at a Khankah, you get initiated. So, the day before I moved here, Murshid initiated me. I remember that Wali Ali came out with candles and some water and candles, and he said, “No, no, no, we aren’t going to do that,” and he took me back in some closet and imitated me. But I didn't call it initiation at the time, not at all, because then I remember Wali Ali and Daniel, they had these papers and they would come up every now and then. I started going to every meeting possible, and I hitchhiked a lot. Then sometimes Murshid would send people to drive me home. And then, Daniel, especially said, “Well now, won't you get initiated?" And at the time, I had experienced this and heard it was initiation, and I didn't want to have anything to do with it. It was like Egyptian mysteries—you die, and then a few people, if you are really together, you live again. But no, I didn't want to be initiated. I saw no possibility that I would live again through another initiation. But, as far as following Murshid, or being with him, that was from the very first.
WALI ALI: Was he giving Darshan that night or that was just a moment?
MERYBEHN: It was a moment. He did it, he called me up there. “What do you know about Oriental Philosophy?” I don’t know if he was hoping for something?
WALI ALI: Just trying to draw people out. I remember, one time, he asked this one fellow, “What is your favorite subject in school?” (laughter)
SABIRA: That was Abraham Sussman.
MERYBEHN: While he was talking to me, I had a great scream in me. At least, there is just a scream—overwhelming but I know a lot of people couldn’t hear it that’s good. But that’s what I was, a talking scream. Though, that’s not what Murshid saw, particularly.
WALI ALI: What do you feel Murshid did see? How did he treat you on the human level in that day? Do you think he reacted to you? Where did you have the impression that he was tuning to in your being?
MERYBEHN: Everywhere at once! Everywhere. I really think that. Something about him was everywhere. I doubt if it was this feeling exactly but that was my feeling. I remember, very soon after those first few times I started going to every meeting. He asked, “How many think that a Zen master can do miracles?” I was terrified. There is this little story that he could turn me into a fox. Remember the story about the fox? So there I was in terror, and then there was this big thing about whacking with a stick and didn’t he give you this stick, or something like this?
WALI ALI: I remember that happening in the group downstairs.
MERYBEHN: I was right there with it, except I was in such terror. I knew he wouldn’t turn me into a fox, but I knew that he would turn me into a fox if I dared to say yes or no.
WALI ALI: My impression of living here with Murshid and seeing different people come around—there were only two people who ever came here that I ever felt, when they came in, that they were really hopeless. It was you and Zeinob. My faith wasn't great enough at that point. I didn't see how the light was going to be aroused and it was real illuminating to me the way Murshid dealt with both of you. He didn't react to anything on the surface that was dead in your beings. It was like a clod of earth, or something and he looked right through it and found it, just by focusing on the light on the inside; and that's where he was. After awhile I saw it too, I could begin to see something was really happening. It was this great power, not to react to anything on the surface, but just to go right into the spiritual depth, the God place in that person.
MERYBEHN: On the surface there was nothing wrong with me, except that I was actually dead.
WALI ALI: That's what I mean.
MERYBEHN: I was dead; I had been dead. I had been killed, several times. Now, in the readings, there is, “give up something you want, and so be dead to cigarette smoking," or something, and even heavier than that. But I was actually dead. Maybe Don Juan hits it a little bit. I walked around for years and I knew that I was dead, I was gone. That's what it was, inside and outside. There was no outside; the inside was the outside to me. Since then, I have seen one person in that exact state. I know people turn inside-out, I am not sure that that is the same thing. Just now, I saw Jemila; at the last camp I saw her in this blown-out state, I don't know what it is. Now she is, of course, very developed and she has all this protection and beauty and her own development. I was like that then, I was not alive. At first, I died in a car accident, and Buddha, this whole trip and then the insane asylum and then Christ. Actual blessings flowed through me for awhile and then I was dead.
WALI ALI: That was my impression when Zeinob came here. She was in a similar state, on the other end of the spectrum.
MERYBEHN: I don't see this state at all clearly. I was trying to say that it is a puzzlement to me, I hope I don’t get in it again. I’m still working with it, I don’t even know anything about it, what it is, but it didn’t matter to Murshid at all.
WALI ALI: That was the important thing—it didn’t matter to him at all and that’s what allowed him to be successful, it just didn’t appear to his vision.
MERYBEHN: He wasn’t “doing his duty” either and if he was, I couldn’t have nothing come from it. He was not a person in the normal sense who was in love with what he saw, except that it was God. If it was any other way of trying to help people, it wouldn’t have worked. He was not actually a person in a sort of way—he was God. That’s it, he was God! I don’t mean that he was God and anything else isn’t at all, but nevertheless, he was God! And I am not saying it, right now, about that chair. That was it, he was God, nothing else could have done it. Of course, God arranged the whole thing, anyway. Also, now I’ve looked at my whole life as a preparation for meeting Murshid. I wonder when these things start?
WALI ALI: Let’s go to that time then, did he discuss with you what it would be like living up in Novato at the Khankah?
MERYBEHN: No. This was almost a year later, I guess. I’d gone to everything that I could, all the time. I came over and he said, “Go and get a social worker,” and a couple days later, he said, “Would you like to move? Where are you living now?” And I had a few things to hide, but anyway, I was living at Renee’s. He wanted to know, “Who is there?” I said, “dah de dah de dah—it was almost like my Catholic confessions dah de dah de and dah de dah de dah—anyway, later he said ,"Do you think I care what you do?" Now, what am I going to say to that? Yes? No? So I didn't say anything. Anyway, so he said, “Why don’t you more up there?” So I did. And he said, “Tomorrow, you get initiated, tomorrow.” And I said, “No, I have to go and see my social worker.” I went there—he didn’t discuss it with me—he did bring me in front of Fatima, who was very cruel. The first time she saw me, she didn’t care about me. I didn’t do anything to her—he brought me in front of her and she just gave me this glance, a real, what can I say?
WALI ALI: Piercing?
MERYBEHN: Yeah, more than piercing and very judgmental, very ignorant, very strong, with the power of God. She said, “Can you work?” I didn’t know if I could work or not. Because of you and me going to Banefsha's and working for her—that's why I went there, because Banefsha told Murshid how good I worked. I didn't know if I could work, or not work, or anything about that.
WALI ALI: I don't recall that. I had taken you over to the Three Rings house, is that right?
MERYBEHN: No, this is before Three Rings; to Banefsha’s house, when she was having her Joshua Rama.
WALI ALI: The one on 6th Avenue?
MERYBEHN: And she was feeling that it was really a lot for her to have Joshua Rama.
WALI ALI: Right, she was laid up in bed.
MERYBEHN: And she couldn't do her housework—and other things I remember, now, about it. Another woman had been trying to help her—Beate, but she had more things on her mind to talk about, so she was unable to help her at all. So I just went there and did this little thing and then she told Murshid that that was the best work anybody had ever done. Then, he got me in front of Fatima, and Fatima said, "Can you work?" And I said, "Yes." But it never got better with Fatima. When I left, my heart was my being was crushed again. I know she was under great strain with Moineddin when she said, "You were never here for any other; you didn't deserve to be here. You were only here to work for us." Okay. And that has been somewhat of the relationship I have had with the Sufi Order. It has affected my thinking. In the same time, all the time my heart and soul have attuned to, for instance, Fatima, and I have also tried to attune new people who haven't even met her, to the same heart. I don't understand these things; these problems never get better for me. Murshid would come to me about it and he would talk funny, so there is no way to say what he said. It just lifts you right up. He would say it with laughter and that was just everywhere, if you are laughing or not, ”love, light, and eternal laughter.” That was when I had that first glance. That’s what I mean, another was there, he was whoever you might say that he is and it was all “love, light and eternal laughter.” Everywhere he went, everywhere. But he needed that function, that was a very important function. With Fatima, everything that she did—that was the function needed for Murshid’s work.
WALI ALI: And your function out in Novato?
MERYBEHN: I don’t know about a function, out there or anywhere.
WALI ALI: But somebody was needed out there to help, somehow. That was the context in which you were invited up to the Khankah. Moineddin was in the hospital at that time, is that right?
MERYBEHN: Moineddin was in the hospital. Murshid had a number of women up there. He later came to me. Every time he left, Fatima had a vision that Murshid said that I had to leave instantly. Then I would start leaving and Murshid would come back and see it and say, “That’s not true at all.” He would go on very strongly about that. Then he’d call me and he would say, “Do this as a favor to me, please.” I felt he put it that way to free me from Karma, or something. I still haven’t quite gotten it. He said, “We have had so many girls in here, and none of them will stay.“ Fatima would always have an idea of someone else to have. He said, “She has an idea there is nobody who will be able to do it. They come and go, they can’t stay.“ I know Khadija did afterwards, and it was very good, it worked out better.
WALI ALI: She stayed there, I know, almost a year.
MERYBEHN: Yeah, well, that was a change then. That was very good, and I still have this relationship.
WALI ALI: How long were you there?
MERYBEHN: A year. I went there when Nur-un-nisa was born, which was real important to see; then Moineddin got sick after that. Shirin also. She and Fatima had discussions—I think this thing might be a mistake, I don’t know about the whole thing, Murshid set up the “Begums” and the somethings, and then Shirin was the head of the Inner Planes, or something. She got an initiation and then—it would only happen when Murshid would go away. She would lay this thing and I didn't know what the Inner-Planes were.
WALI ALI: You mean, “go away,” meaning come to the City?
MERYBEHN: No, go away. He went on a few trips and then he wasn’t home for the family meetings. Or short little trips.
WALI ALI: He went to New York, he went to the Conference, to Lama, to the Brotherhood.
MERYBEHN: Yeah, the Temple of Understanding. And then, she would go on the Inner Planes. Of course, at that time, I believed every single person, anything that they said. So, I didn't know what an Inner Plane was, but I never again would want to go to an Inner Plane or have anything to do with that. I’ve never worked all this out, really. My relationship to Murshid was just to be always with him—that's all I can see. Even now, that's all I can still see, that's the only function—I've heard it even. I am ashamed of that; I hope to grow.
WALI ALI: I don’t know what there is to be ashamed of. Your relationship with him was simple; it wasn’t complex. You had been touched by him and you wanted to be with him and wanted to be of whatever service that you could. That’s the way that I see it, it was a very simple relationship.
MERYBEHN: Yeah, simple it was. Then, very soon after I first started going, he called me in and he said, "Come in after the meeting, I want to have an interview. I want to ask you a lot of questions, many, many, many questions, and I want a lot of answers." This is after I couldn't do well on Oriental Philosophy. So, of course, I loved to go in there. We went in and then we didn't say a word, and we had this long interview. He breathed with me. We just breathed together for a long time. What I experienced, which is the main thing that happened, was that we had the second chakra thing established. This is nothing of “Kundalini burning.” This is light and breath and I feel that God gave him, through his strange life, his strange Dharma. God told him to do this and that, and finally to be the spiritual hippie-teacher, “spiritual hippie of the teachers; spiritual teacher to the hippies.” He gave him a certain Dharma to bring to change men and women in human evolution. Of course, anybody, you could say, does that. But really, I believe, it is true. Something that people do not, could not imagine, and it would come through Murshid's Grace.
WALI ALI: You were going to talk about that interview, you said he had lots of questions for you, and then he made you breathe with him, and you had this awareness of the second chakra changing or something, a transmission up there?
MERYBEHN: Maybe there is a word for this that I don't know. Ecstasy? That can mean so many things. I don't know, communion? That was the main thing that I experienced with Murshid. And these real far out, heavy things would happen about the Sufi Order and many people doing this and that. He would go, "Yeah, yeah, yeah," and then we would just breathe like that. Now, when I say second chakra, it is almost the opposite to anybody else that I hear talking about the second chakra. It does not mean heart consciousness, it means everywhere and on down, and then it is just total delight, and also, there is no personality; there's none of this “karma?” No, there's karma; I don't know!
WALI ALI: What else happened that afternoon, that you remember? Did he ask you lots of questions?
MERYBEHN: No, no, not a single question.
WALI ALI: I do remember him speaking about your astrological chart. I don't know if he ever talked to you about it, but you must have shown him your chart, up in Novato, at one time. Do you remember what happened?
MERYBEHN: I felt this great thing all this time, since being a Sufi. I felt so honored to be with people who were real people. I know, I am a real person, but yet I didn't feel, "Oh I am a hippie." I always wanted to be a person in the world, but I never could do that. I was showing it to people in a meeting and I showed Basira my chart, trying somehow to become. I would see people do this and do that; I would try to do that. I was showing Basira the chart and Murshid ran in and grabbed it when he came out of the meeting and the only thing he said was, "Oh, you are very highly educated aren’t you?” Or, “You've had a lot of education, haven't you?" and he glanced at me….
WALI ALI: Had you had a lot of education? Formal education?
MERYBEHN: Yeah, I guess so.
WALI ALI: I know he later came in and said, "I have just seen the most remarkable chart, it's just very, very promising, and very surprising. It had all these wonderful things in it," and he said that it was your chart. You know, there was going to be this when you fulfill this, you were going to be really surprising to everybody.
MERYBEHN: I forgot then. That was between the first and second time I went to see him. During the time that I didn't go back to Murshid's, I went to Brian Carr’s; this is real important about my relationship, how I got to Murshid. I went to Brian Carr's because Jill, my sister-in-law, actually kept telling me, "Go do this, go do that," and I couldn't do anything. But I did go do that. And there, I went into Brian's, and I was really out there. He happened to have his light hooked up to his Beatles' music, so I thought, "Oh, I am really tripping,” because his light was going all around, but the music was actually doing that. Anyway, I walked in and there was all this bunch of papers all over the floor, and this one thing—I couldn't even see what it was—just shone up at me, and the whole thing just turned into light, and it was a great, a very great experience, perhaps. Then Moineddin said that Murshid said that his third eye opened when he saw charts. So, I don't know if that is the name of that thing, but anyway; to me it was love, and follow that. And I go, "What is this?" and he said, "Oh, that's my teacher's chart.” It was just lying on the floor. It was Murshid’s chart—I don’t remember it or anything, but all I remember is just this great light, just coming in.
WALI ALI: When Murshid was up in Novato, what sort of things do you recall happening? Do you recall any particular episodes or incidents during that period that you were up at the Khankah?
MERYBEHN: I remember everything. Right now, I am just so concerned in my own life that I am picking out all these things concerned with myself, relating to what is going on now. I can remember all these things and I just want to get a hint. I remember lots of things, if I could only just remember them right this minute.
WALI ALI: Maybe I can make a few suggestions, like working; when he was working in the kitchen, or working in the garden, do any kind of things stand out like that?
MERYBEHN: These are the things that are most important. He was always God walking around. His type of Baraka was just being there, every second, doing just, what are the words? Very clear, free, great suffering now hidden, hidden or just not put out onto other people. Great suffering, every moment, but I would say God, just walking around, and just this real way—I love this kind of communication with everything he was doing. His activities were just a wonder to me. Everything that he did was just right there. I guess it was what Zen is supposed to be, and I guess it has to do with earth quality, but to me it was just love. Ranganathananda said Murshid was the greatest karma yogi in the world. He also insisted that I go and see Ranganathananda.
WALI ALI: When he came over and spoke at Vedanta Center in Berkeley?
MERYBEHN: Yeah let's see, how he did things? See, on the important things words fail me and on these little tiny hang-ups that go on and on, it's easy. What can you say? God, light, perfection, total, just right on, everything.
WALI ALI: What I don't want is the quality, what I want is what happened. Like just an example of something or a story, or an incident.
MERYBEHN: One thing he liked to do was to put strings around his feet for the cats to play with. He liked to do that. You do a certain type of Murshid's walk, with little strings and cats will follow you all over the place.
WALI ALI: He did that with Shahabuddin, when he first met him. He said, "Now that I've made the cats' acquaintance, I'd like to make yours." That's how he got into Shahabuddin's.
MERYBEHN: I wish I had the type of mind that out of the same facts make an interesting funny story that would be good for writing about. You know that.
SABIRA: What do you remember about the family meetings? Or meals particularly, things of this sort?
MERYBEHN: The family meetings—he tried to work out many things at them, for all different things of humanity. He would be in and out of all these levels at once—he would just bring all these levels into one little thing and try and work them out. Then he would flash out to here and go back to there, with different states, or accomplishments, or goals, and functions of light and functions of work. One thing he had was Robert’s “Rules of Order.” He insisted on that which probably none of us had ever heard of before.
WALI ALI: You mean that there would be a certain proper procedure?
MERYBEHN: Yes, but then he never followed them. He was the only one that didn’t follow them and then he’d always pretend that we had all followed them. And we would vote and someone would say this and that and then the vote would be whatever he wanted.
WALI ALI: Whatever he wanted, right!
MERYBEHN: Why he even bothered I don't know; we were willing to do it—I guess that was to set up something or possibly to make life interesting. But I felt it was set up. He was always trying to set up a lasting something that would affect the generality—he was trying to reach the generality, to establish something in the world that would have effect by this means or that.
WALI ALI: He wouldn't depend upon being physically present. You were there when they were filming the movie, weren't you?
WALI ALI: Do you remember anything about that time?
MERYBEHN: People didn't want him to film the movie. I thought it was great, of course, because I was out there seeing, "May the Message of God reach far and wide." We don't know what is going to hit us after we say that. I took that really seriously. I couldn't quite get down to some other things. He said that we were supposed to concentrate on building the pottery kiln, building this, building that. I always tried to, and all I'd ever see—we'd do it every day at least—was the people. Not the people in their present state, but throughout it. That's the main thing I saw in Murshid's work. I tried my very best, I kept real busy, physically. I did my best to really concentrate on that.
A couple of times here, maybe more than that, I saw him; he was now the spiritual teacher because God told him to be, which is a guiding thing also, and then, of course, he has to be it. He has to do some trip to be this spiritual teacher, instead of the gardener in Golden Gate Park. So, what is he going to do? It is a new role, so he'd have a few tricks. One thing he slipped into a number times, was Alfred Hitchcock. When new people would come, he would always want to do something or other, and sometimes he would go, "Good ev-e-ning." Then he would go, "Oh, no, no, forget that. That wasn't it," and he would slip into being Alfred Hitchcock a number of times. He told me a few things about his role as spiritual teacher. He said that, for a practice, "Keep Murshid in your heart." And he went, "Murshid," he went "S-h-h-h-h,” through a whole eternity of Murshids. And he said, "You know, I went over and saw baby Shirin, that's Selima and Vasistha's child, today, and Selima told her, 'Oh, Murshid is coming over,' and then when I came over she was really happy. When I got over there, she didn't think I was Murshid, because she goes, 'No, that's Murshid,' and she would point to Murshid's picture. And he said, "That's how I feel about it, too."
SABIRA: Did he put you into any embarrassing situations?
MERYBEHN: I don't think so. I did get really frustrated once, about spraying the plants. You put fish emulsion in, and garlic and onion, and this and that, in this little sprayer, and it doesn't get through the holes. I tried getting it through and I did it over and over and over. He told me to do it and then I got mad at him. Nothing seemed wrong with that, and he didn't he just helped me fix it.
He really kept up his many magnetisms, unbelievably strong. One time he came back from Lama, he was really tired, exhausted. I remember Krishnadas hugging him and trying to give him more, his health wasn't that good.
WALI ALI: The last time he came back?
MERYBEHN: Yeah. He used to like us to comb his hair. I gave him some shampoo, some far-out kind of shampoo, strawberry yogurt shampoo, for a Christmas present or something like that. He says, “Oh I love that present. It is too bad you gave it to me right now, because I just washed my hair two weeks ago.” (laughter) And then he would always try to put Vaseline on his hair, or, no…
WALI ALI: On his beard.
MERYBEHN: Or was it Vaseline? Oh, some kind of Vaseline that they have on TV. Brylcream, or something like it, that nobody that we'd ever met had used for a hundred years. But he saw it on TV, and that was part of what he’d say, like "Good Evening." He knew that these slick men on TV did it and he didn’t want to be too weird now, because he had to meet the public, so he did this. He just smashed it all over his head, nothing like what normal people would do, but that was his attempt at it. He liked costumes, and he tried to get all of his disciples into costumes. He did really well with his women. Now, the one oddest part, what he did with Daniel, was to get him to wear these skirts from Ceylon or something, of these certain types of plaids. He tried to get him into that.
WALI ALI: Well, Shabda is the only one who could really get into it. I forget the name.
WALI ALI: Longees, yeah, right. That was all connected with helping East Pakistan, if you recall.
MERYBEHN: Not exactly.
WALI ALI: They have people who make longees and send them to East Pakistan for relief from the floods, or whatever they had had there. He gave the first one to Shabda, I believe and Daniel. Shabda was able to wear his, but I don't think Daniel was ever quite able to do it.
MERYBEHN: I know he tried. He was always, every moment, very concerned with humanity and trying to create something that would actually affect humanity, on whatever level he found possible, with these very creative ideas all the time, that would have an actual effect and it eased human suffering and lasted.
WALI ALI: Were you here when Saadia visited? Did she come up there at the time when you were up there?
MERYBEHN: She had come there once before, but then she came again when I was there.
WALI ALI: Do you recall anything that happened while she was there?
MERYBEHN: Murshid was funny, all the time. I wish I could think of it. He was very funny and he made a lot of sense. He’d relate one person to another; that was a big thing, I thought, in his teachings. He would drag one person, and then drag another person in and confront them, one way or the other. I think that is a great thing for a spiritual teacher. Then, Pir Vilayat said, a few months ago, how unusual it was for an ashram, as he called it, to survive after the teacher died. How else could he do it if he didn't confront, at least, in some ways, looking at the person, or in whatever thing that he confronts, one to the other. Through him they get the benefit, to whatever extent, of seeing through Murshid's eyes; loving through Murshid's heart. He did that, as far as I saw, everyday. That was a great genius.
WALI ALI: Do you remember some specific thing where he did that, that involved you or someone around you?
MERYBEHN: Yeah, Krishnadas. He always confronted Krishnadas with me over and over and over and over. He would just bring Krishnadas there and have him look at me, then say, "Hasn't this girl changed? Isn't she a lot lighter? Isn't that wonderful? What do you think about it? What does it mean to you? What are you going to say now? What are you going to do with this? Are you going to run away? What’s happening?” And Krishnadas, I don’t know what he ever thought about that. I guess that could be embarrassing, but it wasn’t embarrassing at all. If Murshid was around, it could hardly be embarrassing, it was just Murshid. He did that over and over with Krishnadas. He told me he did it with you a couple of times, it was very different.
WALI ALI: Yeah, I think it is interesting that you point that out, because he did do that.
MERYBEHN: It was really funny with Krishnadas. It was just whenever a person would be in front of Murshid in a public or fairly public meeting. The love from his eyes was a real thing. That was as much as really getting into a confrontation.
SABIRA: He also used to talk to someone else about someone else. Did that ever occur with you? He'd say to someone, “Gee, I wish Merybehn would be….” and then that would come back to that other person.
MERYBEHN: Yes. (laughter) I wish I could give a better picture of Murshid.
WALI ALI: I think you are doing fine. What I am looking for is not easy to come up with because one wants to have some events that really happened.
MERYBEHN: Outer events.
WALI ALI: Yeah, right. That are connected with inner events, but something that you can really get your teeth into, so far as an outer event is concerned. Because the description, simply, of the inner event is meaningful to the person that it happened to.
MERYBEHN: Maybe for a few people who are more polarized into the inner, which, I am sorry to say that I am, except for outers. Murshid, it was as real to him, and he would talk about it—he knew what was going on. Like, say, with Krishnadas. I didn't know about Krishnadas going to jail. As soon as he went to jail, every night Murshid said to do these practices. I did the practices, and afterwards I would just go and be with Krishnadas. Then I stopped one night and that night he got out. I didn't care to do this, I didn't want to do it, I didn't know anything about it. Murshid knew about it; Krishnadas probably doesn't know about it.
SABIRA: So you are saying that your practices included going to this other place?
MERYBEHN: They seemed to. I don't know, I like to do what I should do but I don't want to be spacey or anything. It was real to Murshid, the different things that his different disciples were.
WALI ALI: Do you recall him talking to you about other disciples in that way; in which he was saying whatever their particular features were?
MERYBEHN: I don’t know.
Thursday night meetings here at the Khankah; those were really good meetings. He expressed a lot of his hopes. He did walks and a few practices and at those meetings he would express his great hopes for the Sufi Message. He would always go into this, but even then, I don't think he was really detailed, exactly, either. But these great, these real things came through about it and where he hoped it would go. I don't remember details. I always saw him at those meetings as Hanuman, always. I didn't want to make him into a monkey, or something like that, but I always saw him, at those meetings, like that. He brought an oscilloscope to one of those wonderful meetings….
WALI ALI: I remember, once we were over at Sears, going up an escalator, and I just had such an impression of him as Hanuman, like a monkey jumping up that escalator, that I mentioned it to him. And he said, "That's right!"
MERYBEHN: Yeah, since then I have thought, "Well, some other great teachers….” but they, also, aren't like this great devotee. Maybe they are more into it, with the Self-Realization or some other thing, and then, in a way, you might miss the fun of it. Especially, certain people who became Murshid's disciples, couldn't have possibly gotten in. Murshid was a great devotee of everyone. He would be like Hanuman who rips open his heart; and there could be as great a master who wasn't into that. Yet, to me, what a great loss that would have been. Like his great love, he would always talk about the Lord Buddha, and Ramdas and Mother Krishnabai. Christ he never talked about as a devotee, as far as I heard. He was more like Christ himself than a devotee. Not like he wasn't the saint, the person himself. Very obviously he was, but he got the fun of being Hanuman, and Hazrat Inayat Khan, and he said that he used to go see Shlomo Carlebach, and Shlomo said, "Oh, I stole some of your dances," and he said, "Oh, that's alright, I stole mine from the Baal Shem Tov.
WALI ALI: He told Shlomo that?
WALI ALI: You were going to say something about the oscilloscope.
MERYBEHN: Oh, yeah, that was at that meeting. He brought that there. We would sing a note, “AH,” I guess it was, and you could see if your heart was open or not.
WALI ALI: You could see how even it was—it made the picture of the sound?
MERYBEHN: Yeah, and then when you got these overtones and undertones in harmony, it would make sort of a clear pattern in the center, and then he got into that a lot. Daniel was into it and Allaudin. I think that Murshid thought that that was really far-out. He was very interested, of course, in science, and he always approached things in what he called “the scientific way.” What, to me, seems to be science and made sense. Whereas, the little I see about science, sometimes, doesn't quite—it's not the same. It was always the revelation of God or always funny-sensible.
WALI ALI: Open-minded and experimental. He could be objective and experimental with regard to things and then, he wasn't attached to it. I remember him saying that you could tell an awful lot about people by the sound—the picture that they made on this machine.
WALI ALI: What else do you remember about those Thursday night meetings? Were those Gatha classes?
MERYBEHN: Yes. I remember them; I experience them now, so it gives my whole life motivation. We walked around and we did walks that were very, very deep.
WALI ALI: What about the morning practices, how did those go?
MERYBEHN: I remember him saying, about his head or his heart or something, "What part of me do you think is ringing now?" I didn't know, but I think it was his head. He thought that that was real important that his head would be ringing, and that he would ask us when we were singing “Om Sri Ram, Jai Ram.” He kept asking us that, over and over, "What part of me is ringing now; is vibrating?" Moineddin would sing and that was very beautiful. A lot of times I see the underside of everything. I also see the things I could discuss in the underside. I am ashamed, but that's it. I could say a whole lot about the underside but….
WALI ALI: You mean the part of it that was limited, is that what you mean? The peoples' limitations?
WALI ALI: I don't know what you mean, then.
MERYBEHN: Maybe that is what I mean, but it is like well, when the thing came down about Mansur and the money, and the typewriter—he was going to steal a typewriter and back and forth and back and forth. You see, Moineddin just brought this up in a public meeting, lately, and he was still baffled by it. And Moineddin didn't even understand it a couple of months ago. His kidney is the same thing, it is the underside. Murshid said to me, because I couldn't believe it was coming down, he said, "This is Karma, and you don't understand it, do you?" I said “No.” He said, "I know you don't.” But since then, I have come to understand it. Murshid always said that karma and Grace were the same thing. Of course there was this ecstasy, but—and all popular teachers do not say this, but he said it—that he has come to see the blessing, the Grace in karma. He was very aware of everyone's karma, and how God is working out through this. I don't mean any of these pseudo-karmic things like Atlantis, this and that, but you are a person there, and I was getting into this person I was. I noticed that when he was working with karma and his disciples on that level, he would always go “I,” “I,” really strong. He'd make up some ego to deal with it. "I want it, not you, I want it," and he'd try and he'd try and he'd be going along: God, Rama who knows, doing this and that. And then, all of a sudden, "No you, I," it's like maybe a level of child development or something like that, to try to break through these things that you have, year after year after year.
WALI ALI: Yeah, I think that is a very good observation.
MERYBEHN: It was hard for him to do, though; his thing on compassion. His whole being was a resonant of, say, "Bismillah, Er Rahman, Er Rahim," which definitely includes karma. Some other teachers do not quite have this. When I first came to him we were hippies and then Vietnam—I was absolutely crushed. I was in a place where I could not make a movement, even just moving my head around, because I had experienced the guilt. I knew the guilt, besides my own guilt, of the world. I knew every effect we had, but he didn't care about that. He tried cutting through that and said to some people who were in a stuck place, "Just do anything." He'd say, "You're not guilty." He'd say this, "You're not guilty, those people who are fighting actually are guilty, now, they are the ones that are guilty.” Or, another type of teacher does say, "We all do share in this guilt," and that is good for another type of disciple who doesn't even realize that they have any responsibility to the world at all. But if you feel the responsibility, a million times beyond your personality, you just can't move. Now, Murshid was into being able to go onwards.
WALI ALI: He said the same thing about pollution, I remember. And we'd say we’re all to blame, we’re all the blame. He said, “It’s a lot of bull.” The biggest people that are to blame are these companies that put wastes in the rivers and that the thing that prevents people from doing anything about it, is all these pseudo-prophets go around saying, "We're all to blame."
MERYBEHN: Yeah, we're all to blame. You say that, but if you really believe it, then you're stuck, really stuck. And then to compassion, he had Khidr and all this kind of stuff. There is the hierarchy, and that's in those Alice Bailey teachings, and then there is Shambala. Murshid just had this thing, like the mother sees her child out in the road. Well, you don't go on. Well, maybe Khidr, or certain stories he would tell about Khidr, you let that go because you see the reason, the cause behind the cause behind the cause. Murshid said, "No, you run out there, you grab that child, that's it. You do that." I don't think he was real dumb about not seeing the cause behind the cause behind the cause, etc. but his whole being was that mother running out. He was definitely a mother, he was a father and he was real Jelali. Isn't that the way that people say that he was? He was noisy, but he definitely was a complete mother without his being a real being a sweet kind of thing. But he was as sweet as anything—sweeter than anyone else.
WALI ALI: I know, this whole thing that he felt was often a way of avoiding any kind of a person taking responsibility and changing situations in the world just to put it off to karma or hidden causes, because he had this other side to him. I remember him really criticizing whoever it was that that came here—Indra Devi or maybe somebody. He was talking about Sai Baba, and he was asked, "What about the suffering of the people in India?” and he answered, “That’s their karma.” And Sam said, “That is a horrible thing to say and you are supposed to have the power to change these circumstances.”
MERYBEHN: I was talking, then, about someone like Khidr. But yeah, on those lower teachers, he definitely was most strong. Of Sai Baba—we were seeing him on TV at the time—Sam said, "I could get into him if he didn't look like a monkey. How come he doesn't even look like a man?" On these karma things, he got on a real ego trip. He was pretty cool in a normal way and then when he saw this bad karma coming in, he would pretend, he would go “I, I, I.” He'd be really strong in that; Sai Baba wasn't even raised to human level, that's what he said. He said, "He looks just like a monkey."
Another thing was Baba Ram Dass, young Richard Alpert. We went to see him. This was interesting. I was sitting next to him and we were downtown somewhere. That was the Hari Krishna's; they had a run-in with Murshid, in the building itself. We went in there and this is the new age, if anything all these people going to see Ram Dass. Then, the people right next to Murshid were on this trip, talking real loud about the Sufis, and said they were the “Hash Hashins,” the assassins (where the word assassins comes from), the old men of the desert, and that's what the Sufis were. They knew what it was; they were these people who took hashish and went out and robbed and killed people. That is where Sufis came from, and that's what a Sufi was. Murshid is sitting there but they didn't see him. Then Ram Dass lifted all these people, really lifted them; Light lifted them. Murshid said, “It's really wonderful." He loved any sign of the new age, he loved it. He saw it, he’d bend over backwards to find a trace, and make the most of it. But then, at the same time, he goes, "It's really good, but he hasn't had the initiation of any compassion, yet." And this was a man who could lift millions. Murshid would just do anything to find the footsteps of Allah and to give them, instantly, to another person; just bend over backwards.
WALI ALI: Yeah, I know. He would hit on the smallest, little thing, and it would seem to you to be very insignificant. He would just talk about it, sometimes for weeks on end. He would bring it up at every meeting, "This particular thing happened."
MERYBEHN: And then another thing is that they were usually not true, isn't it?
WALI ALI: There was a lot of….
MERYBEHN: Okay, now what could be more important for thousands of years than, “Every man shall have his vine and fig tree?” Alright, and people get away from that. We go and do samadhi and this and that, “Every man shall have his vine and fig tree,” yes, or no? So Murshid says, “Yes, why not? It's been a long time, after all this time, we might as well do it now." So then, he would go on and on, he would probably want to be interviewed by every TV program in the world and tell about his fig tree there, in Novato, and his vines—he had some grape vines.
WALI ALI: And he sold the grape leaves to the Gossip restaurant.
MERYBEHN: Yeah. Actually, he told me to go down there and do it, and I didn't do that. Oh god, and later he told Jayanara to tell me, "It's alright, tell Merybehn, or Marti, it doesn't matter who does the work, just so long as it gets done." Jayanara hated to do it more than me. I went away to Pir Vilayat's camp.
WALI ALI: She hated to take those grape leaves?
MERYBEHN: I didn't hate to, but I just….
WALI ALI: Did you ever do it?
MERYBEHN: No, I just didn't do it; very bad. The fig tree that he was talking about was mowed over while he was talking about how great it was by Mansur. That didn't matter, I mean, the fig tree there was still another fig tree. But actually, he just mowed it. It was this giant fig tree that he was talking about. He told everyone about it. I'm sure he wrote letters to whoever he wrote people out in the world. He took me, one time, to go to see Admiral Evenson over in Belvedere, but he wasn't there. I am sure he wrote him about his fig tree. Now, this fig tree— I'm sorry Mansur had already run it down with the lawn mower— but I think there was another one. And he got onto a few things like that, that weren't quite actually there, but it gives courage and hope to people forever.
WALI ALI: They were symbols and he just took them. He could have mentioned something else that was a lot more true. That was what I meant.
MERYBEHN: They were symbols, though.
WALI ALI: They were definitely real.
MERYBEHN: And he really made things real, like the Khankah. He made it light, points of light, and he just made them real, no matter what, by hook or by crook and he also tricked people all the time.
WALI ALI: Can you give an example?
MERYBEHN: He was always very tricky. I think that’s good. He used to say that to me, that he was tricky. He liked that, he thought that was really funny. Plus, his tricks were on the same level, and the only level I can explain it now in, were his stories. All of his disciples would be laughing hilariously, I mean what could be funnier? Nothing else in life is as funny as Murshid's stories. But you would see some new, real, openhearted people. Usually, he would mix up stories; he would have five stories at once and finally, the punch line would be the first line of the story. That would be funnier than anything. But if you were seriously looking, in this other way, and you saw all those people laughing, sometimes they did come through. But you heard them over and over.
WALI ALI: So, he finally filled them all in.
MERYBEHN: You could fill them in but they would be real. Great laughter, just absolute laughter. They were usually about non-existent things, too, as far as I recall. Or not non-existent, but he would do anything to…
WALI ALI: …things that had happened that were colored by his idealism somehow. The interesting thing to me was, that often the really important things, the things that would really impress people, thatreally happened, he wouldn't even remember, or he wouldn't even think to speak about. Or maybe, they were too important to speak about. He would rather talk about something really small and build it up into something really big. It was very funny, the way that happened. He’d have his, sort of, stock stories that he would just bring out that he would tell over and over again, some of which one had no way of knowing about because they took place in other countries.
MERYBEHN: The Chinese Communists capturing him, something like that? I remember once, when he would speak, people would hear him say different things. I'm sure of that, but now I'm not sure of it, now I never hear that, so I don't know.
WALI ALI: Now that you listen to his tapes, it all seems so really straightforward. But then, it always seemed like that so many different things were happening in so many different ways.
MERYBEHN: Well, he did give individual teachings all the time when he was talking in the group. But at the same time I know that different people heard different things, and I knew he hid certain things. I felt him hiding things from me, occasionally. I felt him hiding things from other persons that I heard and they had stories of that, of those Hassids.
WALI ALI: Hiding things in the sense that he didn't want people to hear them? Did he want to protect people from certain things?
MERYBEHN: Yes. One time he said at a meeting, "I have seen a lot of enlightened people in another country, "Timbuktu? I don't know. He said, "The strange thing there was," and he got in this real state—it was a very heavy state. He said they were gray. He said, "I didn't know that could happen," and he said, "Oh, you're not supposed to hear that," and he took it away, a lot of it. He said, "I am not even supposed to know that," and it seemed that was a heavy thing, and that is more like the kinds of things that Pir Vilayat gets into. And right now, Pir Vilayat is in there, right in there, it's a sad thing or maybe it's just me. Maybe it's just something passing through, I don't know what that means. I don't even know what enlightenment means, exactly, but you know what gray might mean… Then they had this in one book, a magnificent Buddha, and unfortunately he cast no light; but that's another story.
SABIRA: What do you remember about Murshid's passing?
MERYBEHN: I was away in Bloomington. I feel a deep regret; I hope I am getting over it. I hope it is alright in my soul with God. He told me to come back and I didn't come back. It was beyond me in the physical plane, I couldn't even find a pair of shoes, and I was dependent. He told me to come back by the time he came back from N.Y., and I didn't. I left when he went to N.Y. and I didn't come back, and that is all that mattered to me, being with Murshid, and that is all that has mattered to me since. But because Murshid looked to God to do what God wanted him to do, that's what I try to do. I hardly care. I just care about being with Murshid. Before he went there, in the summer, we were in the Khankah dining room; Shirin, me, Fatima, Beate, a couple other women. One person said, “I had a dream that Murshid died," and I said, "I did too," and everyone did. And as far as I know we all said, out loud, "Oh, I guess it meant something else." I don't know what it meant—death, birth, whatever. It never occurred to me that Murshid would die. I got this letter from Jayanara once, and she said, "Murshid's wrist is much better now." That's the first thing that I had heard about it, "Murshid's wrist is much better." And I said, "Well, that's good, I didn't know that something was wrong with his wrist," and then the night that he died we were having Sufi meetings at someone else's home—but it wasn't a Sufi meeting night—we were listening to these tapes of Ram Dass, and then I became Murshid, in his real far-out way, a new way for me—I was Murshid—it just poured through me to other people and certainly that was a happy experience, happier than any other, except being with Murshid. I am sorry to say that I know it makes God happier when a person gets to that, but it makes me happier to be with Murshid, that's all.
Anyway, the next day, Halima and Basira called me up and said that Murshid had died that night. It wasn't an opening for me, later a few times—there was no death as far as I experienced. In fact, death disappeared for me—I am very aware of great initiations and purifications, the sufferings of humanity that were given to Murshid at the time of his death or surrounding that time that he experienced. He did experience them, although he also experienced higher levels, but you can't say that he wasn't there. God chose him to do all these many, many, many things for humanity—it was a great thing, I know it was a great thing. He told me once, "You aren't supposed to see that." The suffering, certain suffering, he could let it show, or not. He wanted to increase joy. I very much regretted that I didn't come back. I should have been back. I don't know if I could have lived if I was back.
I never understood his letter to Barkat Ali. When I’d see it at Shahabuddin's it meant everything to me and it freaked me out because I think that Murshid hoped that the United States of America would be an Islamic nation. No, Murshid did not hope that; Murshid hoped that the will of God would be fulfilled, and he hoped humanity would get it instead of fooling around forever. But then, of course, this doesn't add up. It doesn't take away from the Sufi Message. All the people who are into any kind of religion and all their struggles—the scientists, every housewife, everyone. The great ideals of the United States of America even—I've seen it mainly through Shahabuddin's eyes, because New York was the closest to a large group of Sufis. When I went to Bloomington, there was just us and younger mureeds, so we go to New York and see it. And when you see it through a person with a certain cast, it broke my heart because it was such a jihad, it was so ignorant that other people had been, all this time, trying to accomplish great things. They had given their whole life. I know a lot of people out there were just doing nothing, but nevertheless, it wasn't just like we came up with something all of a sudden. I felt that Murshid definitely wanted me to be a Muslim. I don't understand this because this doesn't have to do with "Toward the One, United with all," it’s certainly not going to be less than that but something to do with the evolution of humanity.
WALI ALI: And you got that from his letter?
WALI ALI: Because he wrote it to Barkat Ali?
MERYBEHN: No. I don't know what it means; I don't know how other people see it. Murshid was really the "West," not in the way of Western Civilization, but as in this thing about the elves. Murshid had this right there, he brought up this “fairy,” thing a lot of times, this little trip about some little creature under a flower. And it is really real. It also has to do with it being a Muslim nation, because Christianity came in for the evolution of humanity and killed off all those things. They had to do it, because how humanity was at the time. They couldn't even survive—barely—but they cut off any of that and Murshid had it in him, and he connected it up with the one God, the Jewish-Christian, this one God, instead of before.
I think Murshid was chosen—we all are, especially the great ones—by God. God chooses whom He wills, to do tremendous wonders. After he died, what he said about his death I could just see in a more certain, masculine way—he even said this once at a women's meeting. He said, "A woman sees this circle, the man is on the line." Now that I can see his life, it just gives all hope to humanity, though other teachers are the same. It has always been that way, but his life, his being, at his death, being this straight line—something in time. Just a straight line, his whole life, just a straight line of light, and I forget what else. God gave him these absurd things to do and go through. To his friends, at various times in his life, and the people surrounding him, he must have been really, really weird and also, I bet, an annoying personality in many respects.
WALI ALI: Oh yeah, if you take a look at some of his things.
MERYBEHN: It wasn't just that they didn't like him, they were really mean. He probably was not too pleasant and then, by the time I could see it throughout his life and death. God sums it up as this line of light. I think that God gave him all these weird things to accomplish, great, great things.
WALI ALI: I feel you have really touched the heart of things.
MERYBEHN: I remember seeing Vasistha's piece in In The Garden, and when I saw his, I thought, "Oh, maybe I could, after all." What Vasistha said, that was one of the major things that I also experienced with Murshid.
In meeting the other disciples, sometimes he would bring you up and breathe together. It had the flavor of Vasistha's story, like you are almost dying, and he's the all-encompassing love. He worked on breath all the time with me when I first got there. One time, I got there on some kind of opium. I didn't even want to do it. I was doing it only to become like the other disciples, a real, together person, and work through it. And I couldn't, no matter what I did. I was taking opium, hoping to do that, and it didn't work. I got there at the end of the meeting; I couldn't even tell what time it was. He said, "You want an interview, don't you?" I never asked him for interviews because I knew how busy he was. I said, “No.” And he said, "If you came here, you must want to see me." So, we went into the kitchen, and looking back on it, I think that he almost gave up on me that time. Murshid was a very great healer, a very, very great healer. I have seen him since healing people. But I was almost so far gone—he took me in the kitchen and really struggled. Other times, he struggled and it was really working. This time, I think, it was almost no hope, but he did try to get through, and there were so many problems. But he worked on the breath for healing a lot, and beyond the breath.
WALI ALI: Were you able to communicate that you were under the influence of opium? You didn't say anything about that, did you?
MERYBEHN: Probably. I very rarely used drugs by this time. I only did it a couple of times. I called you up in the middle of the night, once. I took acid again, an enormous dose, trying to get over my first enormous dosage of many shots of it to be like the other disciples and be a regular person, and I just couldn't work it out. I called you up, I ran around, and then I came over in the morning, collapsed, while you quietly came in, and I saw Murshid. I knew that if I could just get it together. He was really surprised that I came in, and he was typing. I mean he was the verb, “typing.” He was typing, that's all, he wasn't there. I mean he was there, nobody else was there, but either way, whatever it is he was there and he wasn't there. It wasn't the same as everyone else. He was surprised to see me. When I got there, he didn't feel that I came in. I don't know why, I was so agitated, and he was glad to see me, or he wasn't glad, but he was fine, and I just went and collapsed on the floor for awhile.
SABIRA: Have you had any experiences with him since he has passed on?
MERYBEHN: Oh yeah.
SABIRA: Dreams, visions, any you want to talk about?
MERYBEHN: His presence is a major part of my life. But I must say, that right at this moment, for some reason his guidance is not coming through. I know I am blocking. Visions—just seeing Murshid working with other people. I guess you could call it healing, in different ways. My last thing was at Unadilla, Murshid coming to Surya, and just seeing him just jumping on Surya's back, just jumping, with his hands. He would be, like, in the air ? I don't know how to explain it—he was pretty big at the time and his hands on to her back. And working with Moineddin, I saw that. Visions, I don't know, but at Unadilla we had so many visions. Other people had so many visions: Hazrat Inayat Khan, walking around the roof and kissing the roof.
WALI ALI: Dreams.
MERYBEHN: Yeah, there is something, I guess. Is this true, that when you dream and you are with Murshid, and then you see yourself, to me that’s more valuable and that comes rarely. When it comes, it is so beyond, it is so definite, most definite, and so beyond my personality, I just can't feel I feel no guidance. I feel guidance all the time. Yet these things are very specific, and very much above my own way of how to even begin to achieve them, so I feel at a great loss for any guidance, and it means everything to me. I can feel, I just feel, I can't reach it, I can't. Yeah, I like it when I am with Murshid and then we look in together on myself. Then, what is said then, it is so far beyond anything, I just can't even begin, so I just don't know what to do with myself. I can, of course, be with him; that is very easy. His beautiful smile and love, and the love of all others. I've seen Murshid's influence being spread in the Midwest, and people falling in love with Murshid, and having their mind blown with Murshid, whatever place they are at, and this being pre-arranged from eternity. It's a great thing, and who is Murshid? Nobody, in another way or, if anything, what is he? And then, he is everything. Now, I don't mean to say he is Murshid instead of God, or something like that, but Murshid died, Allah died. People's souls, longing for Murshid and they find him, they see him and one little step. Now I truly regret, or it is really hurt, that I could not really manifest this. I would see great relief come to their soul after a million lifetimes. I would see this, and I would be doing some little Sufi meeting or something, doing my very best but there would be no connection. I wasn't enough for them to get it but then who knows? He said, "I have no control over these matters." I prayed, I said, "Please, please let this person come out when Pir Vilayat came, because Pir Vilayat has more power than me, I just can't do it." And Murshid said, "I know." You know he wasn't there. This is the thing that they are asking about. I have no control over these matters. Well, what could I say? "Well, that's good, I don't either?" Something else started to come through right now, who knows what. Okay, as Allah wills. He sends this person, and that, then this foolish person, this very immature person, who knows what? Then, this one girl came and then I felt a new thing, like Murshid felt, and it just, really, made me feel very different. She came. She was uneducated, not anything in particular, exactly, she was young. She wasn't this and she wasn't that, and it was such a great relief to my soul, that she'd come and relieve me of the burden. I don't know what burden. She was nobody, nothing special. I met lots of special people there, they were cosmic, or they were this, or that. I knew it was; I could feel Murshid. It wasn't me; she went and taught Sufi dancing, there in Chicago. I can't explain when I felt how Murshid felt. You think, "Oh God, Murshid gets all these weirdoes for his disciples.” He said, "Some of the disciples have already been accepted by the Saints of God, the Saints and Masters of God." And he said it another way, he said, "People look at my disciples and they say, ‘what are they, what is that?; how ridiculous, how can that do anything for humanity?'" and he said, "Who else?" And that's the answer. Who else? So, there's that. But then, to feel that; how Murshid got these people. "They're alright, they're far out,” or, “Their horoscopes are far out," or something. But actually, they were pretty weird. They could never be President of the United States, or General Motors or something like that. A couple of people, maybe yourself, can type or something, it's a great relief to the Murshid's soul, that was something. It's my experience, what can I say?
WALI ALI: I think we ought to stop at this point.