Ranch Interview: Sheyla, Buzz, and Don 10/21/76
SABIRA: Okay, this Oct. 21, 1976, interviewing Sheila—what’s your last name?
SABIRA: Alright, Sheila U.S.A., Don McCoy, and Sandy Barton, is that correct?
BUZZ: I’m Buzz Rowell
SABIRA: Oh, I’m Sorry, then Sandy isn’t here, alright, Buzz Rowell.
SABIRA: Okay, so what we want to find out is what you recall about meeting Sam. Do you want to start, Sheyla?
SHEYLA: I met Sam, Carl and Pat Jablonski, (Moineddin and Fatima) in the Fall of 1967—they were telling me, “You must meet this man, Sufi Sam; he sees fire fairies, he sees elves in the woods and things; he is an extraordinary man.” So by January they took me to see him on Clementina Street and he was a broken-down, tired little man about 70, he was 70 then. And he was not a Sufi teacher, he was just a little man who was a very dear friend of Gavin Arthur’s, and Gavin Arthur—whom I had met first—called him a "walking encyclopedia." He had traveled around the world and he had been initiated into every religion and knew a lot about a lot of things, and was a horticulturist and knew a lot about growing things, and living things. And so we visited with him at the Clementina Street apartment. Immediately we met Nancy Fish and Ralph Silver, his god-children, and we became very close friends.
SABIRA: How did you meet Carl and Pat?
SHEYLA: I had met Carl and Pat when my former husband, my husband at that time was Bob McKendrick, and together we had two shops in the Strawberry Town and Country Village over here in Strawberry—and one of them was a dress shop called the Mad Hatter, and we bought and sold artists' articles and clothing, and we had purchased and sold their earrings and pins that they made. They made them together; I’m sure they still do that, and became friends with them. And then we went out of business and remembered them very well and invited them over one night, and we began to be very dear and spiritual friends with them, and they began to talk about Sufi Sam.
SABIRA: Were they living at the Khankah in Novato at that time?
SHEYLA: No, they lived in an apartment of their own. There was no Khankah, and there were no Sufis, there was no Sufi Order. This was the very foundation of the making of the Sufi Order. Sufi Sam was a broken-down, ill man, he was not well; he had had one of the roughest, roughest lives I had ever heard of, and I could see that he was a stone that had been rejected, as he called himself, the "Cornerstone," and shortly thereafter, about a week or two after I met him, he was seized by a terrible illness of the stomach, and taken to the hospital, and was on his death bed, and that is when God-Father came to him, and said, “You are not going to die—Samuel L. Lewis, you are not going to die, you are going to be reborn, you are being transfigured and you will have a new life—as the teacher of the hippies.”
SABIRA: This actually was a heart attack?
SHEYLA: It wasn’t a heart attack—
BUZZ: It was ptomaine poisoning—
SHEYLA: No, it was—
SABIRA: He said it was ptomaine, but the doctors—
SHEYLA:—at that time?
SABIRA: Yeah, found out it really was a heart attack.
SHEYLA: Okay, he was very, very, very sick; then he came back and I held his hand all the time—so I met him in January of '67, that’s the second year of Shiva Kalpa, the era that we are living in—Father was speaking to Sufi Sam from that time. He had always had a communication with God, a very close communication with God, but now God’s Voice came booming in on him just the same as he had come booming in on me, booming in on many of us: Don, Buzz, you see, and we actually heard God’s Voice, and he was actually directing us together, individually, and collectively as a family. Nobody knew why we were called "The Chosen Family"; Sandy Barton always said to the press, “It is because we chose each other for family,” but really it’s because we were chosen. So Sufi Sam was guiding us all the time to Father, hearing from Father daily. He was a different person, a completely different person. He had always been for 70 years a person that people could step on, push around, reject, deny, say “Shut up, you creepy old man." He was totally misunderstood and denied in his life from his birth. His mother denied him.
SABIRA: His family couldn’t stand him—
SHEYLA: He was like a deformity in the family, but they were just freaked out in every way. I know he was a freaky child, I know that. Women, he never got along with women or girls, and in particular older girls, and immediately what he wants me to right off speak about is Ivy Duce—his arch-enemy in the spiritual world. Now she has become my girlfriend. Did she die or anything?
SABIRA: No, she is still living, and living in Walnut Creek.
SHEYLA: She’s my girl friend, and you’ll see her surrender to this little baby, Sufi Sam. You see, Sufi Sam said, “Don’t bother that I will die for God, whatever you call it, we don’t call living dying”—beyond births and deaths, this is where he speaks to us from, and he said, “Don’t bother because I never could make it with girls, inside of me I am a very handsome Prince Charming like Buzz,” and he always pointed to Buzz, and Buzz was very, very close to him, closer than Ralph Silver, closer than Moineddin, closer than Wali Ali—in this, he was the first closeness because Sufi Sam projected himself into Buzz’s body, do you see, he told me that.
SABIRA: Then how did you meet Sam, Buzz?
BUZZ: I met him from living on the Ranch; as the Ranch was coming together there were several people that were already initiated disciples; Sheyla, and Shirin, and another fellow that came and lived with us, Kris Stens (?) was waiting for his initiation already, and we became fast friends with him too, and went down to a couple of Sufi meetings on Precita, and ended up going to maybe three meetings a week for the next eight months or so until I went to India with Sheyla.
SABIRA: Then were you actually initiated into the Sufi Order?
SABIRA: When did that occur?
BUZZ: That occurred maybe three months after I started—it was a period of time that I had never had a religious teacher or a religious inclination prior to that, and never expected anyone to make me want to feel like becoming initiated or—until I had gotten to know Sufi Sam. In fact, I wasn’t going to do it until the last minute.
SABIRA: When Sheyla says that she feels you were closer to Sam than some of the other people, would you talk about that a little bit?
BUZZ: For a period of about five or six months I had dinner with him every Friday night at his house, in his kitchen, and we took turns cooking but most of the time he did the cooking, and we ate fish just about every time.
SABIRA: No kidding; because it was Friday?
BUZZ: No, as a matter of fact, I had become a vegetarian. Along with deciding to become a Sufi, I became a vegetarian for my own purposes, and every week he used to make a joke out of this. “Because you’re eating with me on Friday, I have to go on a fish thing,” because he didn’t care about vegetarianism, and he made numerous jokes about that to me, and so we got to know him that way. That was a way that I was really lucky to be with him so much besides being with him at all the meetings, and stuff.
SABIRA: Could you describe those dinners? Particularly the ones that you remember—
BUZZ: One of the nice things about it was that we would always go shopping in the afternoon prior to this, and he would take me to all his favorite stores. We would drive around, and he would take me to parts of San Francisco that I had never seen, that I never knew existed, and introduce me to the guy at the fish store, the Fillmore Street fish store, and select a good fish—he taught me how to select good fish, and good wine. He was always the one that wanted to get the wine; I wasn’t drinking at that time, it was the only time I ever drank was having wine with him.
SABIRA: How do you select a good fish, according to Sam?
BUZZ: Ha, ha—you have to see it, I can’t flash on it, a quality now, but I don’t eat fish much right now, at least that kind. I am an Hawaiian—either raw or barbecued, pretty essential, pretty basic—I was going to tell you about that, and I have so many experiences with him that I don’t know which I can tell you that will actually be able to be used.
SABIRA: I think whatever stands out the most in your memory is what we want, because that would probably be the most important and the most interesting. We can’t do them all, obviously, nobody could—
BUZZ: Once I called Sufi Sam from Ohio because I had had a huge, full-on mystical experience the previous night, and I was so excited that I couldn’t wait to call him, and part of this experience was seeing Hazrat Inayat Khan’s face right next to my face in a mirror, and actually feeling that spirit coming to me. It was such an exciting thing, and I was going to tell him about it, and I called him up—it must have been, it was early in Ohio, so it was really a strange time, and he came to the phone and he said, “Yes, who is it?” I said, “Dara.” And he said, “What do you want?” and I said, “Om Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram,” that’s all I could think of to say, and he said, “Yes, yes, okay, what else? Is that what you called me to say?” And I was bursting with this whole story, and I started to tell him that I had woken up, that everything was coming into place. He said, he stopped me cold, he said, “Okay, that’s enough, alright, goodbye.”
SABIRA: How did that make you feel?
BUZZ: Ah, that was really a surprise, he did it with love, he didn’t cut me off—he just told me, “Just don’t get into talking about it,” so I am reflecting that right now about wondering about how much of each story I should tell.
SABIRA: What do you think he was saying to you?
BUZZ: He knew it the whole time. I didn’t bring him any news, he knew what was going on, and there was no need to say a whole bunch over the phone, or to say anything at all, and that was that. But it was like another realization, not only was I awake but he had been waiting for me to wake up for a long time, and he knew just when I woke up. He knew it probably way before. He called me "a sleeping giant" on several occasions, prior to that, and it bugged me. There I was trying to gain like a complement or something, in his eyes, and he came off the wall with something like noting my spiritual transgressions.
SHEYLA: He was counting on Buzz completely, and that’s why he sent Buzz. God told him to send Buzz with me. It first came to Buzz in a flash. From the beginning of Sufi Sam’s career as a Guru, and I am holding his hand every day, I was with him every day, and on the phone, and just his constant companion, and he said, “You must let go of your husband now, God is….” He said, “Don’t ask me anything. I am telling you what God is telling me to tell you to do, and I’ll help you in every way,” and he helped me a lot, he said, “But you must let go of your husband now, he will learn how to take care of himself, find his own socks.”
SABIRA: Were you able to do that, Sheyla?
SHEYLA: Yes. And, “You must let go of your children and they will grow up and learn how to take care of you.” And that has happened.
SABIRA: When he said "let go," did he mean like a divorce or simply letting go of the attachment?
SHEYLA: With my husband, obviously, it meant divorce because one night—I’ll tell you a story that illustrates where my husband stood. Sufi Sam pervaded our life immediately as soon as I met him. That was it. And one night at midnight, on a Saturday night, my husband and I were watching T.V. and laying out on the couch, yeah and just tranced, and the door burst open and Sufi Sam walks in with Mansur and—I can’t remember who else he was with, but a party—maybe Amin and his wife. At any rate, we’ll get into who the first disciples were, and they came in like the wind brought them in, and my husband became terribly frightened, and I became terribly happy. “Oh hi!” I am making tea and cookies, and having a nice little party in the middle of the night. My husband went up to bed, you see, and shortly thereafter I said, “When Sufi Sam comes into the room, my whole world lights up,” I said to him, and he said, “When Sufi Sam comes into the world—into the room, my world gets darker,” Because everything was pointing to that God was intervening in our mundane marriage—because of this American housewife in a condition of nervous breakdown cannot raise children in a world of lies. And I am calling out to God, “Save me, save me, save me, save me!" Then God came to me and said, “Everyone who comes to you now is coming to help you to come to me. Find out how they want to help you.” That was before Sufi Sam, before Gavin Arthur, before Sandy Barton, before Don McCoy, before Buzz.
SABIRA: It sounds a little about the story of Joya Santana, because she was also a housewife and had a husband and children—
SHEYLA: I have been told that I should see her and know her, so I would definitely like you to give her my phone number, if you know her. You don’t know her?
BUZZ: Can I ask a question?
BUZZ: In the process of gathering all this material, do you know of any records of the initiations, of Murshid’s initiations? Because I would be curious, because I can remember some details from my own. I was initiated with another fellow who I didn’t know very well at all. He just happened to come down at the same time, but the things that were said by Murshid were different from him to me.
SABIRA: I don’t know. I know that when Wali Ali initiates people he puts down practices and the person’s name and address and so forth.
BUZZ: Mansur was recording—
SABIRA: I’ve never seen a book like that, but I’m sure there is one, there must be, but I just don’t have access to it.
BUZZ: Because I thought back about it many times, and looking forward to my new initiations, the details of those things become so important later on.
SABIRA: Do you want to talk about your initiation a little bit?
BUZZ: Sure. I asked Murshid that I wanted to be initiated, and he said, “Okay,” and didn’t say another word to me for maybe a month, and I just had a few people had told me that this is the way it happens. Some people he initiates that night, and other people he—and sure enough one night about a month later, he just called me and this other fellow up. One of the amazing things was that this fellow—I didn’t know him well—I had just seen him at the meetings a few times, but his last name was the same as my middle name.
SABIRA: Which is what?
BUZZ: Which is Sager.
SABIRA: I know who you mean. Jonathon Sager, Jonathon—Joshua—Thomas Joshua Sager—we’ve heard from him and we have his tape. But go ahead—
BUZZ: And that was a coincidence, but anyway, so right in the middle of the class, he just stopped and called us up there and he initiated this other fellow first and went through maybe a minute or so talking about the various responsibilities of the Order, and then the guy nodded, and then Murshid put the beads on him. And then he came over to me, and he said about three things that took about five seconds and then put the beads on me. It was a whole other thing than what he had done with the other guy. And so I was just curious to know if any of that had been noted because I would love to read those words again.
SABIRA: Yeah I really don’t know, we could probably, maybe find out through asking Moineddin.
BUZZ: Mansur may be the guy to ask because he was the one who was doing most of the record keeping, I think, at that time.
SABIRA: Of course he lives in Boston.
BUZZ: Oh he does? Well, there you are!
SABIRA: He’s lived in Boston since 1991, something like that, for a long time.
BUZZ: I didn’t know that.
SABIRA: Okay, do you want to tell a little bit about your initiation, Sheyla?
SHEYLA: My true initiation happened when I heard Murshid calling to me, and I had a feeling I was going to meet someone—some very important teacher, and then from the moment—(interruption)—so when he began to become the Guru and get everything organized and take the few people that were his young friends and make disciples out of them—I don’t remember that as being a big moment, because every moment that I was with him was a very big moment, preparing me to go to Calcutta to recognize the beggar.
SABIRA: The young people you refer to were Akbar, perhaps?
SABIRA: And who else?
SHEYLA: Moineddin and Fatima, Jemila and Mansur and—
SABIRA: Did you meet a Bill Hathaway?
SABIRA: You don’t know where he lives do you?
SHEYLA: I don’t know anything about him—
SABIRA: We can’t—it’s really hard to reach him—
SHEYLA: I saw him a lot in the early days—
BUZZ: Did you talk to Kris Stens?
SABIRA: I’ve never heard the name before.
BUZZ: You never heard—he was a disciple of Murshid’s.
SABIRA: Does he live in the area?
BUZZ: Yeah, he is a good pal of mine.
SABIRA: When we get through I’ll get that.
SHEYLA: I want to talk about Murshid and why Murshid heard from God immediately when he began to be a Guru, that he was preparing this form, this freaked-out American housewife to save the world—“This young lady,” he would say, “is going to India to save the world.” He took me everywhere: to The Holy Order of Mans, to all the Rabbis, to all the priests, sages, and prophets and to Louise Snifeld (?) and we were sent and brought, and he sent Ralph Silver to become Don McCoy’s spiritual advisor.
SABIRA: Before we get into that, let’s put Don on for a few minutes—and talk about how you met Murshid and then kind of get up to the point of where the other two are and then we’ll try to bring the three of you together.
DON: I don’t actually remember when I met Sufi Sam, it was sometime in 1968, but I came to him, of course, through Sheyla, and Shirin, I remember used to go a lot to the meetings—
BUZZ: Nancy and Ralph—
DON: I think that party at their house was the first time that I met him. Do you remember that party?
BUZZ: Oh yeah! Right, right.
SHEYLA: A party at Ralph’s house?
BUZZ: Right, right.
SHEYLA: Christmas Eve—
DON: Yeah, I think that was the first time I met him.
DON: A PCP night—yeah, and Val was there.
SHEYLA: This was one of the first PCP nights, this was called the peace-drug, you see, everybody got a taste at the door. I was posted at the door with daddy-Don, do you see, this was the introduction of this drug that is known to the world to bust down barriers to loving you—see, God sent this, it’s gone now, it’s gone now. I asked everyone as they came in, all Sufi Sam’s friends, and oh Ralph and Nancy, his god-children, his friends, and all of the Olompali family, we were all there—daddy-Don and I were at the door, and I said, “Do you want to have the happiest night of your whole life?” “yes, of course,” and we gave everyone a taste—a tremendous loving feeling—that was that night.
DON: So that’s when I met him, and he didn’t impress me at the time that I met him at all—but there was something about him that I would say that for a period of time he became my highest teacher that I’d found. And I was definitely was going through a period in my life when I was searching for something. The hippie movement was happening, I was too old for the hippie movement, but I was curious, and I still wanted to know what was going on with them, and that was one of the main reasons for Olompali, which was the ranch that Buzz was referring to—where we all got together to try to do something spiritual and something—spiritual for those who wanted spiritualism, and material for those who wanted materialism, and it didn’t matter. It was mostly an attempt to start an alternative style of life and for me it became a period in my life when I started seriously questioning the reason for my existence, trying to find out who I was and what my purpose was for being here. Surely it didn’t seem right that I should come here just to "kick the bucket at the right time," as Father says. And I got turned on to the Bible and Christ at that time, and then I got turned on—I would say mostly by Shirin and Sheyla, but Ralph was there and Nancy was there always and people were directing me towards Sam, and I went to maybe three or four meetings and it was very high for me, I just didn’t know what I was watching or what I was doing, really, I didn’t realize that the whole thing, the whole show was being run by Father, and we were all being put together for a purpose, but I couldn’t see the purpose, and I wasn’t moving consciously, but definitely I was moving. And the direction that it all seemed to take—we had some evenings—I remember one at Sheyla’s house in Mill Valley, and Sam was there, Jeremy was there, Art Lang—
SABIRA: Jeremy Cave?
DON: No, Jeremy Ets Hokin—
SHEYLA: My ex husband, my emperor Don McCoy, my ex husband Bob McKendrick, his father in law and conservator, Art Lang, all the big guys, the big guns were there—that was that party.
SABIRA: I tried to call Jeremy Ets Hokin and he hung up on me—
SHEYLA: You have to say something very sweet to him—
SABIRA: Like he wasn’t interested whatsoever in talking or anything—
DON: He’s not in a good mood but we love him, we have dozens of people for you that are interesting. So, it was a very high night and the central theme at that time seemed to be what to do about me, because I had declared my intention—I was really flipped out, and I told Jeremy that I was going to give my money away—I guess I told everybody—and I had considerable money at that time. There was a summit conference or what—it was to figure out what do we do about going crazy—
SHEYLA: This was at the party, and Sufi Sam called the party, because his concern was to send us in an orderly fashion—Don and Buzz and I—to India, with all ties untied here, everything free, everything clear—that was the purpose of the party.
DON: It must have been Sam’s idea then. He planted the seed of the idea that eventually—when was that party?
SHEYLA: It was August '68, just a month before we started out for India—they were already taking your money away—I remember they said, “Oh give them $5,000 and send them to India right now,” and Sufi Sam said, like Art Lang said, “Let’s send her to India right now”—the whole thing was India, India—for two years Sufi Sam had me on his trip and then brings in the two gentlemen one on either side, just according to God’s orders—
SABIRA: Do you know what reason Sam had to send you to India?
SABIRA: What was his reason?
SHEYLA: God—Father—Father was speaking to him super-physically from dawn on Sept. 19, 1966, known in Revelations in the Bible as "666."
SABIRA: How did he pick that particular date; why did you pick that particular date?
SHEYLA: That’s when Siva Kalpa began—this era of the colorful imagination—where we get younger and younger, we don’t die—you are immortal—you have no intention of getting old and dying.
SABIRA: Did Sam tell you this?
SHEYLA: He did! He did! We were holding hands or on the phone, just like me and my husband. I am the only girl that had this kind of relationship with him.
SABIRA: You used to sit on his right side?
SHEYLA: Always—he called me “Mama-San, we are raising the children of God, Mama-san,” and we would go to the grocery store, and go to the bakery, and clean the house and cook, and just raise the children together, “We have to raise the children of God.”
SABIRA: This was the house on Precita after he had moved?
SHEYLA: Yeah, so we were in touch, daily touch, constant touch, do you see, and his theme, his theme, and what he wants brought out in this book is that he gave his life, like Jesus Christ. He consciously gave his life for Father—why? Because he was a workaholic Guru like Wali Ali is today, saying his famous words—look, here’s some documentary proof—here you are saying—“Wali is so busy and juggling interviews….” and here is from 1970, August 24, Samuel L. Lewis, in Wali Ali’s writing, “Secretary, Mrs. Sheyla McKendrick—Beloved One of Allah—” He’s writing me at Father’s house—“Beloved One of Allah, Peace be with you. Murshid received your telephone message, and he asked me to write you for him. He is a tremendously busy man and while he undoubtedly lacks humility, he is working seven days a week in an effort to remove suffering of all kinds from the world. As long as there are wars and people suffering from malnutrition, he is not making social calls of any kind. If you wish to speak with him, you are welcome to make an appointment and come to this house. Faithfully, Wali Ali, Secretary to Murshid”
SABIRA: What had happened that Wali Ali would say that he might lack humility?
SHEYLA: We just corresponded back and forth, hot and heavy—you’ll see the letters.
SABIRA: But this was before—you said that you had physical contact with him every day—something must have occurred in between?
SHEYLA: Oh, this was after India.
SABIRA: Oh, alright, alright—
SABIRA: See, he was preparing me to go to India—
SABIRA: Okay, let’s get it all in order—
SHEYLA: And preparing me through fairy tales, nursery rhymes, or holding my hand and skipping up and down the street, and preparing me with my emperor, and with Buzz—his hope in the Sufis was Buzz, to head the Sufi world, to set a perfect example of a man who stays home with his wife and children and the whole world comes to see him, like Father. He’s got a new house—like Father stays at home on Scott Street with his family and his mom and the babies and cooks and invites people over, and this is what the President of the United States has to do and everyone has to do—a father is a teacher—a father sees them—so he spoke to me daily, day in and out about Don. He said, “Look,”—and Don never received a formal initiation, that would be redundant. Did you?
DON: No, I had Darshan once but no initiation—
SABIRA: That’s the same thing, or it could be—
SHEYLA: When we met Sufi Sam—we met Sandy Barton first, she was the big flash on Father of the Western world, she’s out here—then we meet Sufi Sam andit’s all chemistry, it’s God’s chemistry, He makes flash, flash, flash, flash, flash, flash—right?
SABIRA: So there are the three of you, and let's get into the trip to India and how that developed.
SHEYLA: Buzz runs up to me and Sufi Sam had—oh I must tell you this in a nutshell—Sufi Sam spoke to me everyday—this is what he said about Don, first he would say, “Don is Zeus,” he is walking around like this holding my arm, all the time, walking around Olompali, which you see was "home of the Gods," Don called it—he said, “Don is Zeus, Don is Jupiter, you just stay near him, he doesn’t exactly know what’s happening and you don’t have to ask a lot of questions either—”
SABIRA: Now you moved to Olompali then after you left your husband? Is that the chronological order—
SHEYLA: Yeah, I made a home for my children and took my children there, and rented a house for me in a separate house for me for a year alone doing nothing but hanging out with Sufi Sam preparing to go to India. So then in 1967 in the Fall in the Peace and Freedom Party business, Don was going to run for president. You see he was having flashes from God, from Father, saying, “You are the ruler of the world,” so Sufi Sam says, he calls me up one morning, he says, “Don doesn’t have to run for president, Don is going to India to become emperor of the world,” this he told me way back, way back. I didn’t know from anything—emperors and empresses—I am just listening to Sufi Sam. And he carefully prepared me through all this with fairy tales and story books and what he is hearing from Father to recognize God as a beggar.
SABIRA: What do you mean by the fairy tales, how do they fit in?
SHEYLA: Like all nursery rhymes and fairy tales—all point to Father. Like in Pinocchio, Gepetto is Father, do you know that?
SHEYLA: Do you know that when Gepetto was praying, “Oh Lord, I made such a great puppet, so I want a real son—I want him to become my real son,” and Pinocchio becomes a real son, opens his eyes and calls him, “Father,” you see, so all fairy tales point to that.
SABIRA: I see.
SHEYLA: And all children’s beliefs, things that children believe in, because the whole point was that this American housewife was created to lead—like a little child—the whole world into eternal childhood, do you see? Where we are very grown up, very stable, but really our values are very simple like children: love, home, family, truth—my God.
SABIRA: Let’s talk about the trip then.
SHEYLA: Does Don want to say anything?
DON: I just want to say something about 666 because this might be the first documentation of the 666 that appears in Revelations in the Bible is referring to June, the 6th month of the year 1966, which on the midnight of June 14 and 15th is when God took possession of Father’s form, the form of Oiranjiva, and he had his permanent flash on that night which is the referral of 666, but I don’t know where I was on that night. I’ve often tried to figure it out where I was, but that is the turning point from the period of darkness. It was when the light first began to shine, when the light first appeared.
SHEYLA: June 6th—
DON: June 14th—
SHEYLA: June 14th to that date at midnight—
BUZZ: I know where I was, I was in the Army in Korea.
SABIRA: Where were you, Sheyla?
SHEYLA: In June of '66, I was being a freaked-out American housewife. I was the president of the PTA, and just closing it all down for the American ladies. I said this is not it. At the same time Alan Watts was having programs saying, “This is it, this is really it, this is really it,” so this wasn’t it—a world where my children had to get up in the middle of the night and go to school. We just became terribly focused on the children, we did the whole thing for the children, the book is for the children, everything—the era is for the children—to return everyone’s attention, undivided attention on the children.
DON: They all dug Sufi Sam too. They loved to go to the Sufi meetings—
SHEYLA: They loved Sufi Sam. He was grandpa, and he was everything; he was like that, that old fashioned character, and all he talked about was self-respect, connecting me up with Father—this is our by-line, this is our it philosophy or whatever you want to call it of this whole era. Self-respect is the way to the life of truth, knowledge, power, and love—not: I am the way, he is the way, you are the way—self-respect is the way—and self respect is what Sufi Sam spoke to me about every day. Why? Because Father was speaking through his form, and Father spoke through my form to him. It was like the conversation in the Bhagavad-Gita between Krishna the Knower, and Arjuna the asker. I would ask and Sufi Sam would tell me everything. Then he’d say, “Don’t ask.”
SABIRA: Did Father—did Sam meet Father?
SHEYLA: That was part of the mythology, of how he gave his life for God like Jesus Christ. He was playing on the stage of life for God, the workaholic Guru, he couldn’t stop running, like Pir Vilayat Khan and Wali Ali—
SABIRA: Yeah, but what I’m asking is did they actually meet in the flesh?
SHEYLA: They saw, I think they had a glimpse of each other one time at the Holy Man’s Jam when Father arrived in America—maybe they did just get a flash off of each other, physically—
SABIRA: Why did they avoid each other?
SHEYLA: They did not avoid each other; Father went to Sufi Sam’s house—
DON: We took him there on Murshid’s birthday—because they had not met—we of course thought that this was what we were supposed to do, would be to get them together, when Father got here from India—and so we took him—we knew it was Murshid’s birthday and that there was something going on there, and popped Father into the car and went over there, and I guess Sheyla ran up to find out what was going on and everything, and Murshid refused to—
SHEYLA: He went into his room from his birthday party to watch television, refused to see Father. They did not avoid each other, Murshid evaded Father.
DON: Yeah, that’s right—
SHEYLA: In the meantime I have to remind the whole Sufi world and the whole world that in part of my training, especially toward the end, he said, “Now you see, this is the point wherein the greatest teachers of the world—after they have taught the disciple everything that they know—then the disciple goes on and becomes the teacher of the master.” He said, “Do you have anything to say to me?” the day before I went to India, and I said, “Yes, I know that the Sufis will become known through the singing and the dancing and not any more through the seriousness, the spiritual, the heaviness, not anymore through that and therefore his true legacy in the Sufi Order is the Sufi Choir and the dervish dancing. Not the running; it’s the family life and through this book, the family—we’ll take the example from Don McCoy and Buzz Rowell—they will get to know what a man should do, what a perfect example of a perfect Sufi. Don is a perfect Sufi because he recognizes God in everything, but first in his own wife and children.
SABIRA: How long were you in India?
SHEYLA: For about three months. Two to three months.
SABIRA: And you brought Father back.
SABIRA: When was this then that all this occurred with Murshid going into the room to look at television instead of meeting Father?
SHEYLA: After Father came to America.
SABIRA: But what time? 1970, ’69—
DON: We got back from India Christmas time of '68.
SABIRA: '68, okay, that’s what I wanted to know.
DON: Father came on Labor Day weekend of '69. So it must have been his birthday of that next year.
SHEYLA: That’s right.
SABIRA: I see, October—
SHEYLA: That’s right—
SABIRA: Why do you suppose he acted that way?
SHEYLA: Because he was following his destiny, do you see. If you read through the Bible today it would blow your mind. How come Jesus did that, do you see? He had to follow that line to show how ignorance dies, because knowledge surrounds us, knowledge surrounds itself with peaceful, loving family.
SABIRA: So what does that have to do with Murshid, with Murshid Sam going to the room to look at TV instead of greeting and meeting—
SHEYLA: God, who he prepared me carefully for —
SABIRA: Why do you think Sam—
SHEYLA: Because at that time he had joined himself for Father, he had connected himself up with the workaholic Guru, do you see? And as Father was sitting in rooms full of people every day, with me right there, it’s on record, saying, “Now watch the Gurus tumble headfirst, Sheyla. “Sufi Sam first?” And I’d say, “It looks that way Father, it looks that way.” Because I knew, and Randy had phoned him, wrote him letters—I have the copies of the letters, my letters to him and his letters to me. I kept saying, “Please slow down and just meet Father, and let’s all be a family together. We’re just a family together, the whole Sufi Order.” I can’t go up to Banefsha or any of those people, “Everything is up now, that’s not the way Hazrat Inayat Khan meant it to be in the new world.” He didn’t speak it, he said, “The Sufi recognizes the true God in his own family.”
SABIRA: Let’s get some more information about your feelings about—at this time, apparently there was a rift of some sort then between you and Sam and Father?
SHEYLA: He said “The perfect master will throw the disciple out,” and so when I tried to go back to him as soon as I returned from India I went to visit him.
SABIRA: Who said "the perfect master will throw the disciple out’?
SHEYLA: He said he always told me that—
SABIRA: Sam or Father?
SHEYLA: Sam. So when I went to see him to visit him, I said, “I am not coming to you as a disciple, I am saying that what you sent me to India to find, I have found.” “Don’t tell me, don’t tell me, don’t tell me, don’t tell me, I don’t want to hear that….” And at the same time, he sent disciples to Scott Street to say, “Sufi Sam said stay with Father.” So you see it was like a cosmic joke in a way and a really fascinating story because here is Father saying, “Gurus will fall, watch them fall. Watch Steve Gaskin—”
[End of side one, reel one.]
SHEYLA: This new world, this new life is all family, and this 11th year of Siva Kalpa is the year of the marriage, do you see? Don and I as the rulers of this Planet—you’d never dream it, would you?—we are here to see that everyone’s marriage is perfect first, to see home, marriage, babies, how are the babies? how is the food? how is the shopping? how is the kitchen? And I am a household yogi, I am the first American housewife to reach enlightenment, and the first Sufi lady to reach enlightenment—and this is the first Sufi man to reach enlightenment.
SABIRA: What do mean when you say "reach enlightenment?"
SHEYLA: It means that I know everything that God wants a person to know in order to live a perfect life on this Planet at this time and forever more. Does that make sense?
SABIRA: Yeah. What are your feelings about this situation after you got back from India, Don? And also Buzz? Let’s get your story about it—
DON: About what situation?
SABIRA: The situation that apparently developed when you came back with Father—just whatever impressions you remember of that time—
DON: The strongest impression that I have of the time is of meeting Father—I don’t know if that is appropriate for your book or not.
SABIRA: Go ahead with some of that—then as you came back what occurred? In your memory?
DON: Sam was mainly responsible, as I said, for getting me to India in the first place. I had no idea why I was going, I wasn’t consciously going there, and as a matter of fact, a year before, if you had said, “Wouldn’t you like to go to India?” and I would have said, and I think I did say, “You’re crazy I have no—"
BUZZ: That’s why I went—yeah, because you weren’t interested—more or less.
DON: Yeah, I had no interest in going to India, but some power, certainly greater than and beyond me took control, and it seemed to come largely through Sufi Sam, so I didn’t really know what to do when I got to India, but Sam had said that there was this important spiritual Summit Conference, that we should attend as representatives of the New Age—
SABIRA: The Temple of Understanding conference?
DON: Right. The Temple of Understanding—and so I remember going to Sam’s house on Precita and filling out all the forms saying why I was going to India, and him saying, “Put there—to visit shrines and mosques, shrines and temples.” So, I had it in my head that while I was going temple hopping and Guru shopping, like so many people but I was a wealthy American hippie, that’s what I was, and when I was beginning to get turned on—I had gotten very much turned on, I had taken acid by that time—and I was very much turned on to seeking a higher meaning in life, or to finding out what was this thing called God that everybody called God because I never had any conception of it before—ever in my life, and that was 38 years—so I went to this Summit Conference in India, and interestingly enough we arrived in Calcutta eight years ago tomorrow, Oct. 22nd, and I met Father eight years ago on the day after tomorrow—it’s how all these dates coincide because Murshid’s birthday was last Monday—
SABIRA: Oct. 18th, right—
DON: Samuel Inayat Rowell’s birthday was last Tuesday, yesterday was a day off, and today we are having this; tomorrow I arrived in India, the next day I met Father—we all met Father—the three of us met Father on the 23rd—
SABIRA: So this interview, that’s why we need to be doing this interview—
DON: Right—so it feels very much like that time then is a good time to talk about that. I arrived, and I was informed that the spiritual Summit Conference was being held in Darjeeling. So I got to India eight years ago tomorrow, got off the plane at DumDum airport, and immediately went in and made the necessary arrangements to get a plane to Darjeeling. And I was blown by the language barrier, it makes it very hard to get anything done there, but I got the ticket and I got on the right plane, and I was on my way to Darjeeling thinking everything was hunky-dory, and there was a newspaper lying on the seat next to me—and it happened to be in English, so I picked it up and I started reading it, and I read about that there had been a landslide and the spiritual Summit Conference was not being held in Darjeeling, and I think maybe it said that it was being held in Calcutta, I’m not sure, so I got off the plane at Darjeeling, I went in, and there was this funny little airport there, and I looked around. They had a guest register that you sign when you get off the plane in Darjeeling, and you sign your name, everybody signs, right? And I looked through there and I didn’t see any names that I knew—except Molly Minudri, I saw her name, and so I turned right around and while everybody stood there and watched, this crazy American turn right around, and go back and get on the plane and fly right back to Calcutta, and arrived there late in the evening on the 22nd, and I had nothing to do—no buses into town until the next morning, so they had a little motel there where you could sleep. This Indian motel which is entirely different thing from an American hotel/motel, but anyway I went in and I spent the night at the airport motel there, and the next morning I got up and took a bus into town to look for Sheyla and Buzz, and I went to the hotel finally where they were staying. You have to understand, if you haven’t been to India—it takes hours to do what here you can do in a half an hour or an hour, just getting from one place to another and making your way through all the people it is incredible—
BUZZ: Gathering crowds everywhere—
DON: Yeah, and people stopped you—
BUZZ: Huge crowds—
DON: Whenever you stopped, 50 people stopped; if you stopped moving, 50 people stop and stare at you, so you have to kind of keep moving but at the same time you cannot move too fast—everybody wants to talk—the people who can speak English all want to talk to you—but anyway I finally found out that Sheyla and Buzz had gone to the Bureau and Academy of Arts and Culture to attend the second day session of the Spiritual Summit Conference, so I went there, and I went in—it happened to be the noon break—and there was only one other person in the hall which was Swami Chinmyananda, an interesting chap, who looks very much like “my American Guru,” Lou Gottlieb, who was at that time—I wanted Lou to meet Father—but that is getting ahead of my story—and I spoke to Chinmyananda for awhile and found him to be a fascinating man, and pretty soon people started coming in and the meeting began—and then we sat, I would say, through about three hours of total boredom—just nothing going on—it was like a costume party—everybody had his thing, and everybody wanted to get up and say his ten minutes and it was droning on and on until finally the whole thing—oh, before the meeting started we had a joyous reunion with Sheyla and Buzz and I—we were so happy to see each other.
BUZZ: Pir Vilayat was there throughout all of that too,
SHEYLA: He was there the day that we met Father—
DON: He went on several little….
BUZZ: Yeah he was with us on several different little occasions.
SABIRA: I assume Father was at this conference, to make a long story short?
DON: So you want me to make a long story short?
SABIRA: Yes, definitely, if you can.
DON: As the meeting was breaking up we were slowly filing up the aisle and I looked to the back of the room and I saw this person who seemed to have a purpose—he seemed to know what he was doing, what he was there for—nobody else—I didn’t know what I was doing there, and it seemed to me like nobody else knew. I I felt like an imposter the whole time—this man definitely knew what he was doing there, and then I Sheyla and said, “Look at that guy” and then he disappeared, and we went on out into the lobby and we were all standing in the lobby, and the director of the Conference was here, and I was here, and some other people were here—Sheyla was there, and 3 or 4 other people were all standing around in a big circle, and I noticed this man come up and speak to Mr. Dunn who was the director of the whole Temple, and I didn’t hear everything that he said, but Mr. Dunn went away and then this man stood very quietly next to me, and didn’t look at anybody, he just stood there, and Dunn came back after about five minutes and spoke to the man. He said, “I’m sorry,” and I started listening. He said, “I’m sorry, but I wasn’t able to arrange ten minutes for you to speak to the Conference.” And Father said, he just looked up at him, and he said, “That’s quite alright, don’t be sorry, you tried your best,” And then he looked right at me and said,” I have other means of communication.” I grabbed him by the arm and I said, “You tell them brother,” and we just jumped into each other's arms and we jumped around and we laughed—
SHEYLA: We all jumped up and down, hugged and kissed, laughed and cried—
DON: It seemed like flashbulbs were going off, and then I don’t remember for about ten minutes or some period of time, I don’t remember what happened, but we all went outside and across the street, and we were sitting in a big duney (?) on the grass—
SHEYLA: A hundred people all followed the beggar—and us—we followed him and all the people followed us.
SABIRA: “When the disciple is ready, the Guru appears?”
SHEYLA: Like that—only after our Guru. What our Guru was sending us toward was the One. So he was the one our Guru had sent us toward. We knew it, we all knew it instinctively and intuitively—we just knew it—instant recognition is what happened. As Father said, “hello, my gods and goddesses, I have been waiting for you for 2.5 years. Please come with me, I have something to tell you. He asked our names, and told us what our names meant, he called Don my emperor, he called me the empress. He called Buzz the sound of the universe, Pranyavananda—right away he began to organize us.
SABIRA: Did you know Pir Vilayat at that time?
SHEYLA: Yes, we had known him—
DON: We had hosted him at the ranch—he had come up there and conducted a Sufi camp at Olompali—I drove him around a lot and so we knew him—more than as just disciples—
SHEYLA: Like intimate friends—he spent a whole weekend with us at Don’s invitation, do you see?
SABIRA: So then you met Father, and then did you go to the other places that Sam had wanted you to go to in India?
SHEYLA: No, only on our way, Buzz and I went to Pondicherry for a week—that was Sam’s dearest wish—
SABIRA: To see Mother Krishnabai?
SHEYLA: No, the Mother. My whole path was the Divine Mother—the Holy Mother, so I was supposed to case this whole joint, called Pondicherry—now this is what this mother did, but you are going to do even greater than that, you’re not going to do what she did, you’re going to do that to the world, and your husband is not going to sit over there and write books, thousands of millions of pages and let you go do all this work. So that’s what I learned at Pondicherry, and then when we met Father immediately after we went back for one week to pick up Lou Gottlieb and because I had promised to bring the emperor, to bring Don back to meet them. You see, Sam wanted that because Father is the embodiment.
DON: Do you know Julie Medlock?
SHEYLA: Julie Medlock—you have to have her story in the book—
SABIRA: We'll be getting it—
SHEYLA: You’re getting it—Father is the fulfillment and the embodiment of Sri Aurobindo’s life Divine. Like they wrote about it, they talked about it—at that time so that we could live it. This is the Rassoul of God, the family.
SABIRA: You said a moment back that Sam wanted Don to do something? What did you mean?
DON: Me to meet the people at Pondicherry. Sam knew that something was happening in India, and he thought—he told Sheyla to watch the beggars—and it seemed that it might be happening at Pondicherry—definitely something—
SHEYLA: It was connected—
SABIRA: My impression of that is that Julie was quite disappointed with Pondicherry. Is that true?
SHEYLA: They are very poor; they need things—they need more American's attention, we’ll go there and take care of Pondicherry at the time. That’s our business—but they know us now, they know us.
SABIRA: Were you disappointed with it?
SHEYLA: I was not disappointed—I was on tour—I was checking out the scene. If I go to the Khankah or go to Novato I’m not going to say I’m disappointed—I’m not disappointed that Wali Ali is a workaholic, I love him like anything, I’m going to help him, hold his hand and get him out of it—all he has to do is take Jessica’s hand, she is his goddess. From Don—look, we gave Jemila, we gave Mary Sue, Don gave these beautiful goddesses to the Sufis—
SABIRA: Who is Mary Sue?
SHEYLA: Mary Sue is a goddess out in Novato, you asked them—
SABIRA: No; is this a Sufi lady that I don’t know of?
DON: She is; I don’t know what her Sufi name is—
SHEYLA: Jessica, Mary Sue, Shirin—
DON: She’s a tall blond lady, long blond hair,
SHEYLA: All Don’s goddesses, do you see? All prepared—
SABIRA: It might be Mouni, maybe, I can’t think who Mary Sue is.
SHEYLA: She’s a very beautiful blond, blue eyed pretty girl—
DON: With glasses—strawberry blond—
SHEYLA: Strawberry blond—very beautiful.
DON: And I’ve since heard that she accepted Christ as her—
SABIRA: Maybe it isn’t Mouni—I’ll find out—
SHEYLA: A Sufi, do you see, I am here to lift the Sufis beyond the distinctions and differences of the earth that divide men, that’s my purpose—
SABIRA: I understand, alright, so you met Father and then you eventually came back here to America—
DON: That’s when my search ended, when I met Father—then I didn’t see Sam after that.
SABIRA: I see—how about you Buzz? Where were you at that time?
BUZZ: I was the first one to come back from India, and I got here, oh a couple of weeks before Sheyla and Don, something like that—I called up to find out where Murshid was, and I had this big news—and he was at the Novato Khankah, so I went over there and waited, and told, I think, Moineddin that I am back and I want to talk to him. Okay, so he received me in the room with Moineddin present and that was cool with me, and I told him I started to tell him about Father and I had a picture of Father, and he said, “Who is this man, what does he do?” and I said, “Basically he teaches the Gita, he teaches us everything, but essentially the Gita,” and Murshid just freaked out. “Who is this man think he is? I am an expert in the Gita. Who is this man, he’d better—he’d better know his stuff. I’m going to check him out when he comes here.” He was just enraged.
SABIRA: So at this point he was willing to meet him?
BUZZ: Yeah. But he was enraged by the subject, it appeared—a reaction like that—I was not ready for that at all, I thought it was going to be all “yes, yes, yes.” And so there was a prayer meeting scheduled coming up right then, he couldn’t take too much time with me, I guess it was a Gatha reading or something, and so they invited me to stay for the Gatha reading and so I did, and then after it was over there was a time for questions. And so I stick my hand up and I said, “Is it possible to have two Gurus at once?” I was still coming down from the reaction that he had thrown me, and he looked at me and he said, “Oh sure, there is nothing wrong with that,” and something in the way that he answered that made me know that it was not going the way I thought at all. And it was just time for me to wait for Sheyla; and my next move was that the instant that Sheyla got back, I put her in the car and took her over to Murshid. And the same thing happened, except he was even noisier—
SHEYLA: He threw me right out the door, out the hall and down the stairs, he said, “Get out, get out, get out, get out.” But I understood. See, you can look at it from every level, a real Sufi does. I see from a gods-eye point of view, so I see, overhear—he is playing a part on the stage is all I could see. He was acting out this typical Guru ego, do you see? “Oh no, no, no, no, I know I’ve been preparing you to recognize God no matter what name and what form He came in, I know I have prepared you for that, but I can’t take it.” Now that the moment of truth has come, I really can’t take it, do you see? You can look at it from that level. I look at it that he gave his life to prove Father—he tumbled head first, he did—
SABIRA: He actually did—
SHEYLA: And one week before he died, before he tumbled—I made my last attempt—Mary Meyers took me over—Nancy Fish’s best friend, Mary Meyers, took/drove me over to a Sufi meeting at 7:30 one Monday night, and I sat down and held Murshid’s hand, and just held his hand and I said, “Please, you’ve got to see Father, you must see Father,” and he is holding up his watch and he is saying, “Time is my worst enemy, time is my worst enemy,” and I held his hand and I just looked at him—just trying to recapture that closeness that we had—but he was already gone. He said, “Time is my worst enemy,” and I said, “Murshid, time is your best friend, Father is time, Father Time, he is here, I want you to see him, he wants to cook for you. He loves you. Father was broken hearted. On that plane Father couldn’t believe that this man who had carefully prepared me for two years before had said, “Watch the beggars, honey, do not be distracted, do not gather daisies along the way, they will only detain you,” that’s what Hazrat Inayat Khan said. “Do not be distracted by the horror in the streets in India. You’ll want to pick up every baby and take it home with you, and don’t become distracted like that, but watch at the spiritual Summit Conference, do not allow them to put you in the formal part of the program—something extraordinary is going to happen to you between the scenes,” and that is exactly what happened. This beggar revealed himself to us as God, as the embodiment of every name and every form of God—he called himself Siva. He said, “I am Siva.” It says right here in chapter one—”when wealth is admired, then God comes as wealthy King Solomon; when beauty was worshipped, Joseph the most handsome gave the message; when music was regarded as celestial David gave his message in song; when there was curiosity about miracles, Moses brought his message; when sacrifice was highly esteemed, Abraham gave the message; when heredity was recognized, Christ gave his message as the son of God; and when democracy was necessary, Mohammed gave his message as the servant of God—one like all, and among all. And when destruction is necessary, Siva appears to destroy ignorance and create light in our forms.“ He appeared there looking like billions of suns, it would knock anyone out. This gorgeous face that you saw in your dreams in your childhood, in the fairy tales, in your imagination—he looks just like God. And in Revelation in the Bible, I have been prepared by Sam with all Scriptures to worship—and to know that all Scriptures are true, and in Revelations in the Bible, chapter one in Revelations is the perfect physical description of Father standing there “with hair as white as wool, eyes like fire, feet of burnished brass,” and there he was—”tongue like a double-edged sword of truth, a voice like many waters.” John in the Bible fell down at his feet, do you see? And I had that feeling; Father doesn’t require that, only hugs and kisses and recognition that you recognize him. Then he can serve you. He says, “I am a slave of your understanding.”
SABIRA: So it really had to happen this way for you to serve Father?
SHEYLA: Absolutely—and Sam served Father, and he is the only Guru that I am allowed by God to glorify. And it is not a complicated story. He got the message, he prepared this little girl, he sent these powerful men with her—without them I couldn’t have done it, I couldn’t have gone alone. I was cuckoo—I wanted to take my clothes off everywhere, to be a free flower-child. But Murshid prepared me and sent down to be on either side of me to see that I don’t do that, that I stick to the point which was finding Father, and immediately Father picked up the whole scene and carried it through. Don said, “This is it, this is Father; we have nothing to do now only listen to Father.” And we all agreed with Charlotte Partridge Wallace, the president, the first American girl, who was with us, the first American girl from the wealthy Summit Conference, the 42 wealthy delegates brought Shotsy Wallace, Charlotte Partridge Wallace, and her cousin Patty. There were two young, wealthy girls, Don and I and Buzz, and two wealthy young girls. There were five of us that joined together before we met Father—a couple of nights before. Well no, Don appeared on the day that we met Father, but Buzz and I and Shotsy and her cousin were already close friends. We had Shotsy looking at the Sufi Message book that we had with us, and talking a mile a minute, and then when Shotsy came with us to live in the mud hut with Father and his family—Shotsy’s parents contacted Murshid. Now they live in Ross, Mr. And Mrs. Craig Wallace, they’ll have a story to tell about their communications and visits with Murshid—about their lost daughter, she was lost in Calcutta—missing. “Where was she? She was in the mud hut with God. So you want to get Shotsy’s story, you want to get—you want to get everybody’s story who has anything to say about Sufi Sam. No other Guru—the Guru era is now ended—no other Guru in that entire era received the message.
SABIRA: Wouldn’t you call Father a Guru?
SHEYLA: No, not at all; he was a creator of Gurus; he created you, me, glasses, wallpaper—first he made heaven and earth, and began to tell us that as soon as we met him. He said, “First I said "OM," let there be light, and then I made light.” He said before creation there was language; he began to explain to us everything in the Creator’s words, so he has proven over the past eight years to all of us completely that he is God, and that we can all become gods, if we just love him with all our hearts—that’s all he wants.
SABIRA: What came down at Murshid’s funeral?
SHEYLA: I told this whole story of how Murshid gave his life for God, and about the fall, the tape is there—I’m sure there is a film and a tape, ask Ralph Silver. It was a blowout.
SABIRA: I just wanted to hear it from your lips.
SHEYLA: Murshid had carefully loved me and prepared me and stayed with me, and had taken such good care of me as a freaked-out American housewife, and lovingly preparing me to go to India to recognize God disguised as a beggar. And then freaked out and wouldn’t meet Father, so he couldn’t stay around. He had been saying, “Watch the Guru’s tumble head first. Sufi Sam first, Sheyla?” because I was broken hearted in my room at night in Father’s house—writing another letter to Sufi Sam. I am calling him up again, I was going nuts and he doesn’t you know, when you don’t have a man for your Guru anymore, he can be your buddy, he can be your friend, he can be your old uncle, he can be the—my goodness we take such good care of everyone—
SABIRA: You were broken hearted that Murshid wouldn’t meet Father.
SHEYLA: Because it was his glory, it would be to his glory and to his everlasting life, but he said—
SABIRA: Did you feel that way also? Were you broken hearted, whatever words—
DON: No, I didn’t feel one way or the other about it—about Murshid when he came back—
SHEYLA: I was disappointed that such a smart person on that plane preferred, knowing God’s will, really I knew God’s will was that he did exactly what Father said, tumbled head first “Sufi Sam first Sheyla?” “Yes, Father.”
SABIRA: Do you think that that is why he died?
SHEYLA: “Sufi Sam first, Sheyla?” “Yes, Father.”
SABIRA: Do you think that that is why he died of that—
SHEYLA: Yes!! Absolutely!! No one who even looks at Father can possibly die, you get a guarantee against sickness, old age and death—just knowing that Father lives at 59 Scott Street if you think—
SABIRA: Nobody ever dies anyway, I mean physical death—
SHEYLA: No, we are not giving up these bodies, this body is physically immortal; it’s just getting younger, and cuter, and darlinger. I am going to have a hundred babies with him. I am 43 years old and I have only just begun my life, because Father is eternal life—Ciranjiva means eternal life—
SABIRA: And he lives here now, in San Francisco?
SABIRA: Yes, he does, 59 Scott Street, anyone can go there. You can call or you cannot call, you can go over there and catch a hug from Father—and you’ll begin your life all over again too.
SABIRA: I have a living Master, so I don’t need another one, but….
SHEYLA: No, it isn’t a matter of Master, it is the matter that he is the Father of everything that lives, the trees, the breeze, the bees—and all he says is “Love me, please.” And he is so sweet and darling and lovable, and that is all he wants.
SABIRA: Did you bring him over, Don?
SABIRA: How did he get here? Money-wise and so forth.
DON: Lou Gottlieb was the main mover behind getting Father a ticket, and Father had some trouble getting out of India, and then Lou had to send him—but anyway Lou did all the financial arrangements—sent the tickets and the money and so forth. I was in a mental hospital at the time, actually I’d just gotten out of the hospital. I had come back with the message that I had met Father and found a tremendous resistance to people wanting to listen. What I have to say, it is really amazing, people don’t want to be proselytized, whatever that is.
SHEYLA: That’s right, they don’t.
DON: It’s been so ingrained—it’s even more strongly ingrained in a lot of people than their desire to know what God is, or to see or, experience God, “God, okay, it’s just that I don’t want to talk about it"—that kind of reaction, or like Sufi Sam had, a kind of evading or avoiding him almost. This surprised me—my brother did that, I couldn’t figure that out, because I listened to you and it is almost as if you are doing that, “I have a living Master, I don’t need another one.” But that indicates to me—as I said before, my search is ended, and it seems to me that you are saying pretty much the same thing—
SABIRA: That’s pretty much what I feel at this point in my life, but this tape is not about me.
DON: Okay, but the curiosity is the thing I am talking about. I was going to Hawaii—to and from Hawaii—and came from Hawaii, and I was received back into Father’s graces after twenty months of exile, which is another story. And I sat up and spoke to my brother for hours into the night, and I couldn’t get any reaction out of him at all, and I finally said to him, “Look, what I am trying to tell you is that I have found God. I have found a perfect form of love, and I don’t understand that you don’t even have the curiosity to just want to see this man,” just to say like “Wow”—and it all had to do with his feeling about me, is where the message comes from, right? God does everything. Do you agree with me? Nobody does anything; God does everything. Yeah.
SABIRA: We are just channels, as far as I can see.
DON: For me to speak to you is like God to speak to you, right. I know I didn’t have any conception of this before I met Father—even with Murshid Sam I didn’t—but now I know that God is in every form, and if I say, “God, this person over here turned me on to the fact that God is in every form, that he lives in you, he lives in me, and we are all messengers——imparting our knowledge to each other, through a medium of maybe a tape recorder, or the greatest medium is TV now. We can get our message to millions of people—right at one time. Here we are speaking to how many? Maybe a few handful, but is important because, don’t let the search end, that’s what I’m trying to say. If you have a living Master—
SHEYLA: Introduce him to Father—
DON: That’s groovy.
BUZZ: Pir Vilayat is your master?
SHEYLA: It’s Wali Ali—
DON: I don’t know if I’ve seen him, I don’t know if I’ve ever been even introduced to him—
SHEYLA: That’s easy-breezy—we can introduce Wali Ali to Father easy.
DON: Sure, anytime.
SHEYLA: That’s a cinch—
DON: To get into feelings, I wonder how he feels? If he has a living Master? To get into feeling that you have a living Master, that’s really good, and the next step—I don’t know what the next step is. Ultimately, ultimately, you’ll recognize God, when you see Him, you will—and all we are saying is that you don’t have to die anymore—
SHEYLA: Nor cry—
DON: And when you do you will be pervaded with such a feeling of happiness. It’s like an ethereal thing, you all of a sudden understand the myth about death, and that is has ended, that it did exist and it was here for a purpose, just like night has a purpose. Consider death as the same thing, it's like night time, so there is day time, so there has to be night time. So there was life; there had to be death, but there was a period when that existed, now there is a period where that doesn’t exist anymore.
SABIRA: Did your time in the hospital have anything to do with Sam?
SABIRA: None of these feelings?
DON: No, it had all to do with Father, as I was saying before, I was trying to speak this to people and they didn’t want to hear it. And the more they didn’t want to hear it, the more I wanted to make them hear it.
DON: That was when I was hitting people, and grabbing people by the lapels, so finally, I just wore myself out, and I couldn’t talk about him anymore. I couldn’t even remember him anymore.
SHEYLA: Murshid wants to be known as the Guru who sent three people to personally receive God.
DON: The meeting of the East and the West. He really set up the meeting between the East and the West—
SHEYLA: He really did—
DON: Which was Father and his family, and in the West which was Sheyla and Buzz and I and our family, the chosen family. Which we came right back to bring the message back to our family, and the first thing that Father wanted when he met us was to take us all, and he did take all five of us to meet his family.
SHEYLA: And they didn’t freak out to meet us.
DON: Then we got there he said, “Here they are, see I’ve been telling you for 2 1/2 years that they were coming, and here they are.”
SHEYLA: His wife and children and mother.
SABIRA: Have you been able to forgive Murshid Sam?
SHEYLA: God is forgiveness. To know Father is to become one with the faculty that is called forgiveness—and to understand forgiveness you give something—I give him lots of praise, Sufi Sam.
BUZZ: It was right after we had met Father and attended the spiritual Summit Conference that Thomas Merton who had just come out of a seminary Jesuit retreat there or a monastery and left that conference to attend one in Thailand and was electrocuted. It was just a matter of a day or two after he left our presence—
SABIRA: He knew Father.
BUZZ: And, yeah, he was really something else.
SHEYLA: He was with us and had met Father—
BUZZ: Yeah, he met Father and spent some time with him and spent some time with us, too—we were really lucky to be with him for a little while.
SHEYLA: The Holy Order of Mans was Murshid's—do you see them? He is part of them, they call him Dr. Sam.
SABIRA: Yes, right.
SHEYLA: Now they come to Father’s a lot, and they are around our block and they love him—they love Father a terrific lot. Because really they are the Sufi Christians, they have been into every Scripture, and they see that the same truth is in every Scripture.
SABIRA: Yes, we see a lot of them, in fact they are going to be putting out the book, “This is the New Age in Person,” but it is going to be re-edited and they are going to work on that with us and we see a lot of them.
SHEYLA: So we are all one family, right?
DON: Is that the book you are working on now with these tapes?
SABIRA: No, this is a book that Sam—
DON: This is a biography, you said.
SABIRA: The book we are working on now is a biography; the book I just mentioned were Sam’s lectures at the holy Order of Mans on the Corinthians—
SHEYLA: How nice.
SABIRA: Right, and it has already been printed, but it is now out of print, and the holy Order of Mans—
SHEYLA: It means that family is everything and Murshid definitely wants that message to be completely gotten across because he came back—he is embodying Buzz—and Buzz stays at home, makes a home, and takes care of his family, do you see? And so he became the son, he chose Buzz to be his dad, anyway—
SABIRA: It is interesting that one time Wali Ali said in a letter, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me repeating it, “I’m going to go upstairs to the only world that I really know, that of my children.”
SHEYLA: Who said that?
SABIRA: Wali Ali. So he isn’t just a Guru-holic.
SHEYLA: Good, good!
DON/SHEYLA: We’re all workaholics—we’re all running too much—
SABIRA: Did Sandy know Murshid?
SABIRA: Why wasn’t she in on the taping?
BUZZ: She’s still a skeptic, but she was there through everything, so—
DON: Sandy brought us all together—she goes back.
SABIRA: Is she here now?
DON: I think so.
SABIRA: Can we get her story, shouldn’t we get her story?
DON: Sure, if you want to.
SABIRA: If she wants to.
DON: Right, if she wants to.
[End of side two: reel one.]
SHEYLA: Murshid said to me so many, many times, because he wanted me to be sure that all the Sufis know this—this is very grown up stuff, whether you call it information or what—I call it knowledge, of Sufi Sam—when you write a biography about a man, you are writing about his personal life, and no one got so personal with Sufi Sam as I did. And in a world where everyone was calling him, “Oh what a creepy old man, oh, h’m’m’m’m, h’m, h’m—he rose above it all and became a teacher of self-respect and sweetness and clean living in the world of filthy hippies. That was all he had on his mind—cleaning the house perfectly, and minding the babies perfectly, and going to the store and selecting everything—just the same as Father is doing today. And about his body, he said, “Look, look at the body that God gave me, I even freaked my parents out when I was born, it freaked everyone out—it always freaked everyone out, and I never had a nice time with girls; I couldn’t get a girl to fuck me and I know that God means for people to eat and sleep and make love and live a family life, I know that.”
SABIRA: So why wasn’t he allowed to have one?
SHEYLA: The same as Jesus didn’t. It just wasn’t in the Plan, it was not in the Planning—he was given that body, he was given that to do, and he said, “Don’t bother I will die for Father, I will prove that Father is right, that running workaholic Gurus will fall head first—I’ll go first”
SABIRA: Sam said this to you?
SHEYLA: Yes he did.
SABIRA: He said, “I will go first?”
SHEYLA: Yes he did—and he said, “Please understand that," and “I want to be like Buzz, I want to have a healthy, beautiful body that girls want to fuck; I want to have a wife and a true life and a home life and everything.” You understand that Sheyla, you understand that Sabira, and “I will come back as an American baby with parents who love and worship it.” And so there is this little Sufi Sam—Samuel Inayat Rowell, and worlds will come and see this is Buzz’s baby.
And guess what else? He was so intensely, he really wanted me to understand this about him, every intimate—the most intimate feelings about himself, and I spent lots and lots of time with him and he would stay overnight at my house, Every. Wednesday night in Tam Valley I had this house—and we would have a Sufi meeting at my house, every Wednesday night. All Sufis remember those beautiful nights. And we served tea and cookies, and the children would come from Olompali, where Don was babysitting my children so that I could be with Sufi Sam, and get ready to go to India to meet Father, and Murshid would stay—oh, as many children as wanted to attend the Sufi meeting would stay overnight with me, and I could make a big fuss of them the next day and play with them—and that many children came from the ranch each Wednesday night. And Murshid and I would play with them, and Buzz and Shirin would bring the children that would stay overnight too, so we had like a little family night every week.
SABIRA: Buzz was living with Shirin at that time?
SHEYLA: Yeah. And then, Murshid—everyone had gone to bed, and late at night we would play classical on the radio or the record player. He would sit down and he would hold my hand and we would drink some wine and we would have some tea, and he would always talk about God, and said, “Don’t bother that I will give this ugly, creepy, dwarfy form for God; I will come back as an American baby .” And he came as Buzz’s baby. This is the absolute truth, and Murshid wants it in his book, do you see? This biography has to be the whole personal truth in the story—
SABIRA: Absolutely, that’s why we are doing it—
SHEYLA: And he was very romantic. We were very romantic together, and who did I have, do you see? I was chasing after Don McCoy who had a million girl friends, and Sufi Sam would just hold on to me and say, “Don’t, bother, don’t cry, don’t bother, do you see? And so he would like just consume my whole being with God the Beloved. “Take God as your Beloved. Don will become perfect like God and then He will be your beloved.” And that is what happened. Until Don became perfect and I could see that he was God, I couldn’t love him.
SABIRA: So you had to become perfect in order to see his perfection?
SHEYLA: That’s right. And Father made us both perfect; Sufi Sam sent us to meet Father, that is the whole point, the whole beautiful point, and this Shirin will tell you and Pir Vilayat will tell you. Pir Vilayat will tell you—he had a terrible sex life and home life and marriage, and poured his heart out to me when we first met at our ranch that weekend. At that very weekend, by the grace of Don McCoy and God, he gets this beautiful Jamila.
SABIRA: Is that where he met Jemila?
SHEYLA: That’s where he met Jemila. So Pir Vilayat had to stop running, do you see? Why should he lose them? It's called trashing people.
SABIRA: Maybe it is all part of that Plan, the Plan that they have—
SHEYLA: Anyone that can tell a great—but now it is time for me to stop them as the mother—to stop them. I can stop Wali Ali.
SABIRA: I don’t think you’re going to be able to. They have a certain message they’ve got to do—
SHEYLA: Yes, but you’ve got to—
SABIRA: Pir Vilayat included, he runs all the time.
SHEYLA: That has already happened in this tape—it is in the tape. It is called gene bombardment, do you see? And when I say that we are the first American couple to reach enlightenment, that means we know how to live perfectly, and help others to live perfectly. Praise God that we’ve found it. And so our loving message is Hi to Jessica and those babies, and to Wali Ali and the babies, and his wife Jessica.
SABIRA: At this point her name is Khadija.
SHEYLA: Good. Khadija.
SABIRA: Alright, that’s great.