WALI ALI: Why don’t
we begin with you telling us how you met Murshid.
VOCHA: It was in
the early 1930's in L.A., Murshid, then called Sam, had come to Los Angeles
with Luther Whiteman, you will recall he did all of the research on that
book "Glory Road” which dealt with several avant garde or off-beat
movements, and Luther introduced me then to Sam as he was called and I also
met him at the same time, because his friend Paul Reps was still married to
a girl who he called Estelle, and Murshid knew this flower child and had
gone to see her, and I met him there, and that was the beginning of our
forty years of friendship, and as you know, Murshid had the delightful habit
of writing letters. I have never known how many he wrote to me in the course
our friendship and I saved a great many of them, until I gave up my home on
the desert, and I could no longer keep a great many things, and I had to
dispose of them. Do you want to ask me the text question?
WALI ALI: When you
met him in the early days, what was he like? Because he evidently went
through a number of personality changes.
VOCHA: Murshid went
through several personality changes. when I first knew him, he was quite
scornful of a great many people, who had won some recognition in the world.
At the same time, he was quite envious that he had recognition, because as
you know he had a brilliant mind, I had never known anyone, and I can say
this with no reservations, with the erudition that Murshid had. And I could
quite well understand his feelings, that he ought to be recognized. But at
the same time he had several behaviors, that might keep that recognized from
WALI ALI: When did
Ruth St. Dennis come into the picture?
VOCHA: Ruth did not
come into the picture until 3 or 4 years before her death. And her death
occurred in '68. So, it wasn't until the end of her life. Murshid may have
met Ruth years before. I knew her for 50 years, but if he had known her
before I never knew it. I only knew it at the time I was living on the high
desert the Mohave, and Murshid would come to Hollywood, then he always went
to see her. And he felt very close to her, and felt decidedly that she
inspired him, in fact gave him on another plane many of the dances that he
taught the group here.
WALI ALI: We’ll get
back to this relationship later, concentrate on the period of the thirties.
VOCHA: Yes. Murshid,
and Luther Whiteman also, had done some articles I remember the title of
one, that certainly was Murshid’s that was labeled "Antics, or Semantics."
You see Semantics was just coming into some kind of notice then, and Murshid
did a very funny article. Now when this came out in a Social credit paper
that Luther Whiteman edited, of course it went away, as all such papers do.
It came out for about a year or so, and then disappeared, it was called
"Controversy," and this article, I used to have a copy of that, but I don't
any longer, and I don't know who might have a copy of it.
WALI ALI: What was
the background in general semantics, what was controversy? And where did
general semantics come into the picture? What was general semantics supposed
to solve, and how did Murshid get involved?
semantics was supposed to look at how words influenced the human nervous
system. And Murshid's interest in it was that it was a new tool so to speak,
although the Buddha certainly in the Lankavatara Sutra, said, about all
that is important about words, and Murshid knew this, but this was an
up-to-date, it was a scientific, terminology , that was being used, and so
you see, he became interested.
WALI ALI: Do you
know when this interest started, when he was studying with Cassius Keyser
and so forth?
VOCHA: Yes, it did
start then, because Cassius Keyser was one of the few professors—and he had
great standing as you know—that admired Alfred Korzybski's book, Science
and Sanity and he had written a splendid review of it, and
it began I'm sure, through Cassius Keyser that Murshid began a new interest
in Semantics, and that went on until it was a part of Sam, or of Murshid, in
the draft of what could be done as far as the Arab and Israeli question—in
the first paragraph Murshid writes: "It's largely a question of Semantics."
WALI ALI: He felt
Semantics could be used to solve problems, and that somehow or other people
that had become the generals of Semantics, lost this conception.
particularly Don Hayakawa and the San Francisco group, they all became
anathema, as it were to Murshid, he felt that they were just playing around
and as a matter of fact I, studied under Korzybski for 4 years, I know of no
one who is seriously using General Semantics. In ways that Korzybski
suggested, it could be used…
WALI ALI: What were
some of those ways?
VOCHA: Some of
those ways were: to have very clear understanding of the different levels at
which one used key terms. And to, if necessary, index the level at which you
used the term. Let us take the term religion, this is a very confused and
wobbly term, If one indexed that and said now in this context, my usual term
religion, refers to, and limit the way that it does refer, you would have
much fewer disagreements. Does that make that clear?
WALI ALI: It makes
it clear. Now this, when were you studying with Alfred Korzybski?
VOCHA: I studied
with Alfred from 1935. I was the one who brought him to Los Angeles, and
until after I had taught for him, in 1947, at his institute of General
Semantics which was in Lakeville, Connecticut.
WALI ALI: Did
Murshid have any connection with Alfred Korzybski?
VOCHA: No, not
directly. He admired Alfred very much. And in fact some of the more recent
letters, that he sent me, spoke about the need of people reading and using
Korzybski 's work, and when you think of the tangle of our communication, is
in, there is something in that.
WALI ALI: I've seen
a letter-head that he had with Luther Whiteman, it was called propaganda
analysis, that was going on or in these days.
VOCHA: What was
going on in those days, was that there was a great burst, as it were, and
not from the academic level, but there was a great burst of activity of new
ideas. For instance there was the epic movements in politics, which Upton
Sinclair was very active in, and then of course the coming on the scene of
Howard Scott's technocracy, and in a way, I suppose you could draw some
similarity between that period in the early '30's and this present period.
But the difference was, it was the old people then who were interested in
new ideas new solutions, and today it is the young people. Praise be.
WALI ALI: And what
was Luther Whiteman like, do you know?
VOCHA: Yes, I knew
him many years, Luther Whiteman came of English stock, and he began in
public relations and spent all of his life. He was a man who was interested
in forward looking ideas, ideas of social credit, which we don’t know
anything about now, and of course was then a very new idea, in the 1933, 34,
35 and in there. Luther believed in that, and championed it. And something
happened to Luther, after he was divorced from his wife of many years, and
he came down to Hollywood, and then Luther had two different wives; he I
would say that he never really found himself, he was a splendid friend, the
man with gorgeous sense of humor.
WALI ALI: Did
Murshid have much of a sense of humor?
VOCHA: No, he was
too wrathful, in the early ‘30’s, to show much of a sense of humor, but I do
hope when you are thinking about his style, in writings, you will remember
that he had a most delicious way of coining words, which became very apt.
This is the main reason that I regret that I have none of his letters,
because often I would take and underline when he had done this with a word
that seemed particularly effective.
WALI ALI: Nyogen
Senzaki was in Los Angeles in the late ‘30’s, isn't that right?
VOCHA: Yes, and it
was from there, he was sent when the war came, to a so called re-location
camp, which was in Wyoming, and he stayed there many months, during the war
time, and he returned in ‘46 to Los Angeles. And I met him in '47, of course
Sam had known him before, Murshid had known him before, I would like to
rather do this chronologically, now, and when I say that I mean the first
period to me, in which I knew Murshid, was the period when he was
free-lancing, doing things that just came to him, and it was before he had
gotten into his period of writing people all over the world, that interested
him to write to. What he was thinking and making proposals. Making proposals
about many what I call it social movements of the day, and an idea came to
me then and I should have immediately spoken about it. Then came the period
when Murshid was off on his trips to the Orient. I knew him during two of
those trips, and those trips lasted two years each. Of course he made many
many contacts, and it seemed to me, from his letters, that there was a great
sense of joy, when he got to Cairo, and he got into the Muslim world, and
this I can remember to myself, reading these letters of his, and of course
he was tremendously interested in soils, as you know, and I distinctly
remember some of his letters when he went over to Baluchistan, and places
many people never heard about, and taught, with different contacts that he
made there, as to what could be done, about their soils he certainly, to the
discredit of the United States, that no one in influential power ever
listened to what Murshid had to tell them about what could be done with
soils. I recall very well, a party that we had in Hollywood for Murshid just
before he left on his first trip to the Orient, and he was extremely happy
he was going. And this is the first time I can remember that he felt from
everyone who was present, there were about 30 to 35 people, in the studio in
Santa Monica, who gave him approval; this was something, I was to see
blossom. The last two years of his life. But this is the first time that I
saw what kind of a human being he could be when rejections, the scorn of
many years, had all dissolved. Then after he returned from that trip, I
should say that there came a period in his life, as I said before, he was
very busy, writing letters, to people expressing his ideas, and he always as
you know, wrote congressmen, and expressed himself, and sometime when I
would answer his letters I would say, "Don't push it too hard, it doesn't
need to be pushed too hard." But at that period Murshid tried, he over-tried
let us say, and that completely disappeared too, that was a very fine thing.
WALI ALI: I think
you finally got to the point, where he had enough stuff to push this
tremendous will that got behind things, he was bound to over-shoot his
bounds because there were so many things which he was getting a response to,
follow-up who he had so much enthusiasm, that….
likely true now. Then of course he came back to San Francisco, and it was
then that he called San Francisco, as far as I can remember it, this was
right after world war 2, "Baghdad by the sea," which of course was Herb Caen
who later took that without any acknowledgment to Sam, and referred to it as
Bagdad by the sea. But in later years Murshid had quite a correspondence
with Herb Caen.
WALI ALI: Mostly
VOCHA: Mostly one
way, then of course the international society of General Semantics had
become established in San Francisco, and Murshid tried very hard, I won't
say, to become a part of that, and yet he did, and he felt again their
rejection of him. Now this was because, according to Lloyd Morain, who was a
very influential in the society—Murshid complained about never being asked
for any articles to print in ETC. magazine and Lloyd said he did ask, and
Murshid never gave him any articles, and expressed his opinion to me, he did
not believe that Murshid had ever written any article. That seemed to me a
very strange thing, because I would feel that Murshid wouldn’t say that he
had an article if he didn't have, it was like him. But I don't know, it was
another great advance when Murshid gave up feeling that it was important for
him to appear in a chapter of a magazine, and it all happened when he later
came into his Sufi teaching. Now let me see, there are some other things. He
met, through me, Dr. Oliver Reiser, who is now an emeritus head of the
department of philosophy at the university of the Pittsburgh, and Oliver had
a project that he had written a good deal about, called, "Krishna and
Prometheus." And it's quite obvious Prometheus handing the Eastern world and
Krishna the Western world. And Sam became well-acquainted with Dr. Reiser
through correspondence, and Dr. Reiser is different from a great many
university professors and other people whom Sam had written many letters, he
always did reply, so this was very active, the contact between them, and it
was for Dr. Reiser that sent the one newspaper notice from the Chronicle, of
Murshid's passing, and I had a splendid letter from Oliver, saying, I am
glad that I knew Sam, he was such an interesting man, I have many letters in
my file from him, and it pleased me to feel that Oliver cared, he really
cared for Sam, a man who was extremely modest and the fact that he was on
the board of the science with Einstein and people of similar stature never
had played any part in Oliver’s promoting himself, because he never has
promoted himself, but it is a satisfaction to me as a person who knew
Murshid a lone a long time, that here was one academic contact, who saw
behind many different kinds of faces or masks that Murshid used to assume. I
can remember very well Murshid coming to the desert, and spending a few
days; he did that twice; I was living then on the high Mohave desert. And it
was a great satisfaction to walk about the desert with him, because he would
make so many comments about the soil and the different plants, that were
growing there, it was like a botanical walk, with one who really knew. And I
enjoyed it very much. Now what else can I tell you?
WALI ALI: I'd like
to have your insight into the last few years of Murshid's life, seeing if
you can, how it was a flowering of all his previous.
VOCHA: Then Sam
moved to this address; that was before he had actually become established in
his dance classes, and in the talks that he would give. And he wrote me from
time to time, of the more and more young people coming to see him, and he
would always say, they are all such beautiful young people mother divine,
and I felt this was the beginning of the happiness and the flowering that
came later; he must have been doing a great deal of Sufi studying, he never
referred to that, but I feel that he must have been, and then when I came
up, two years ago in April, then I came to the Khanka, in Novato, and I came
here, end by that time, Murshid was established, in the dance groups that he
was having, and he was established is it were in his Sufi work, and he began
to show such a change, all of the rancor, all of the desire for recognition,
all of the bitterness that his life had brought him particularly his life
when he was a boy with his family, had all disappeared, giving, giving
giving love to these young people. And they of course were giving it back to
him, and they were, Wali Ali, no similitude between the Samuel Lewis that I
had met in the early thirties, and the Murshid of two years ago, they were
distinctly different human beings, and this to me gave what I call the
fulfillment of his life. Through many desperate circumstances, he came to
see and to exemplify the one thing on which the Sufi teaching founded. That
is love. He gave it and he received it.
WALI ALI: When I
was talking to him about this, he told me, "Gavin said, that Sam used to be
the most opinionated rancor filled person I ever meet, and I said, of course
what I said was, “No one ever took those opinions seriously a few years ago,
and when we started listening to those opinions we found there was something
behind them, I was so frustrated because no one would ever listen to what I
said and think that there was something behind it." And what you said gave
me a real key, the send-off before he went on that trip, this was I guess
the biggest, he began to get an input when he was surrounded by these young
VOCHA: You see the
young people were not conditioned as a group, as his own age group had been
conditioned by prejudices and beliefs and social, the world as the young
people known it is a totally different world than the world the older people
have ever known. And so in coming into this “new world," I think it seemed
just natural to them to accept the Sufi teaching, and the joy of dancing.
WALI ALI: “Where
did he get this joy from, if he had such a terrible life?
VOCHA: I suppose he
got it from the fact that there was a great purity, and I use that word
advisedly, about Murshid, he had never abused his body in any way, and as he
began to peel off these layers of rancor and bitterness, that real thing
that was in him that gave him a heart, he just felt spontaneously it’s
upsurge, and then there was joy, at least that’s my explanation.
interested in getting more on Nyogen Senzaki. More about him and more about
VOCHA: Senzaki? Sam
might have, I wouldn’t know about that. He might have done meditation
sometimes with Senzaki, but all I knew is that when Sam came to Los Angeles,
he would always go and see Senzaki. And there was no meditation or anything,
they met friend to friend. And Senzaki was other that what he appeared to
be. He appeared to be a most unassuming and quiet, as he called himself,
“homeless monk," but he had great law, in regard to many of the Chinese
Buddhist texts, and I think Murshid was one of the few people who
appreciated that in Senzaki, and at one time, I know Murshid was interested
in bringing out some kind of small booklet about Senzaki, and then he
learned they were going to do this later at the New York Zendo, and so
nothing has happened with that, and I assume a good deal of Senzaki material
was found among Murshid’s things was it not. Yes I don’t know what you’re
going to do with that.
WALI ALI: We
discussed it with Ted Reich and Rev. Wagner, and Murshid gave most of his
originals to Rev. Wagner, and according to Ted Reich, the Japanese have
plans for this material, which they have copies of, and also Ruth
McCandles has rights to something, and it’s kind of complicated and I don’t
VOCHA: I will say
this; that I know Ruth McCandles very well, probably better than most women,
and if there was anything that you wanted to do and you felt you didn't want
to approach her about it, I could serve anyway as a channel, I would be
happy to do that. Just remember that.
WALI ALI: Now what
about Murshid and Ruth St. Dennis? He was so short and she was so tall and
VOCHA: I never went
when Murshid went to see Ruth. And there was no particular reason that I
should. But I know that after I would see him and he had been with her, he
was invariably elated. And of course Ruth, towards the end of her life, told
me that there were many sacred dances, that she had not been able to give
expression to at all. And I think that whatever she knew about Dervish
dancing, and she of course, in her group work, never approached anything
like it, I think that this was all something I now have to use a very, very
loose term, had come to her through the ether. And that was how she got it.
WALI ALI: This is
what Murshid said? She taught him how to read dances out of the ether. Do
you have any idea of what that means?
VOCHA: I will
simply say, that as you know, in the etheric body, one can see, Wali Ali,
things happening, that this would be the way that a dancer would come to
one. The only thing that I could compare it to, would be what Rudolph
Steiner, did, many years ago, there at Donali in Switzerland. And I was
there at the end of the summer of '69, and he had a tremendous sense of the
etheric plane. And Ruth, for years, things would come to her, she wouldn't
know where they came from, but they certainly came from the etheric plane.
So That was how she got these dances.
WALI ALI: Was she a
serious student of mysticism or….
VOCHA: Ruth was a
serious person, she was a serious student of Mysticism, there's no doubt
about that in my mind, but she had also that part of her that was so much a
show person, that I immediately—anything that she got she would camouflage
it with this show business thing. I am quite sure that Murshid got well
behind that in his talks and in his contact with her.
VOCHA: And we must
remember, that those talks were perhaps no more than six or seven. But they
were enough, quite enough, to give Murshid what he needed to know at that
WALI ALI: When you
first knew him, was there any possibility that he would be involved in
possibility at all. When I first knew him. His heart had not yet awakened
you see, and dancing is a matter of the heart.
PHIL: Do you know
when he began studying folk dance?
VOCHA: No I don't
know. Now, there and things that I left out that I meant to tell you. I
think I can in fair order now, his early period, and then his trips to the
Orient, and then his coming back, and in going through, carrying a lot, that
he was rejected by the General Semantics group, and then getting so he
didn't care about that at all, and then going into, yes, you see when I
first met Murshid, in the early thirties, I didn't know that he and Saladin,
as he used to call Reps that time, had some Sufi training with Inayat Khan
over there in Marin county. And was it Mrs. Bamberger? Some name that began
with B.. She was a woman who then went when Murshid came, to a southern part
of the state, lived in Hollywood, and he always went to see her. I never
happened to meet her. But she was associated in some way. With that very
early Sufi training. Did you ever hear of her?
WALI ALI: No, Did
he mention a person named Roderick White or Robert White who had a house
down Santa Barbara?
VOCHA: I don't know
about that house in Santa Barbara. I do know that Murshid knew the various
people who stayed in the dunes near Oceano, but the Robert White house in
Santa Barbara, I don't know anything about.
WALI ALI: Did
Murshid live at the dunes at any time?
VOCHA: He didn't
live there any length of time, he went on various times there, for a week or
two. Whereas Hugo Selig, who of course, he passed in '65, Hugo lived there
for a long lone time.
WALI ALI: I'm
interested in Hugo Selig because of the way that Murshid referred to him in
several oblique ways. I would think he saw him in a very curious occult way,
and if you have anything at all, did you know Hugo Selig?
VOCHA: I think that
I could say that I knew Hugo Selig, and that I knew him well, and his life
was in sense parallel in some ways to Murshid; they both came from very
well-to-do Jewish families here in San Francisco, Hugo forfeited all of
that, because he simply, as he often used to say, could not be brought on by
women. And it meant his mother and his mother’s sisters and everyone telling
what you should do. So he went one year, to Stanford, and just decided to
walk out, and leave all of that. Now one of these several aunts saw to it
that there was a small monthly sum that came to Hugo, and not that he
couldn't exist anyway, but that was all any of them would say about it. And
Hugo was very interested in the different kinds of yoga, and he was always I
would say experimenting with various forms of breathing, and this kind of
thing, but he was beyond the law, so to say; he paid no attention to the
usual social conventions and so on. He was a splendid person, and he had a
great gift of prescience, he could look at a person, and often would make
strange remark what you ought to be doing. And after a while you would find
that Hugo was right, even if you didn't accept it to begin with. But Hugo
had much more poetic temperament than Murshid. Murshid, when I say that,
Murshid had many different sides to him, where Hugo did not have so many.
WALI ALI: Did you
know Hugo as a Kabbalist in any way.
VOCHA: No, I wasn't
interested in the Kabbalah, but if he was he never talked about it with me.
WALI ALI: Have you
read Murshid's poetry?
VOCHA: I have all
of the poetry that he sent me, that I have read, and it has a great scope to
it, great scope, I think it would be a little time yet before people will to
grown up to it.
WALI ALI: Did you
read the poem Saladin?
WALI ALI: I want to
give that one to you after; Murshid considered that his masterpiece.
VOCHA: Yes, yes
alright, that will be fine, now,
WALI ALI: Now what
about Rudolph Schaeffer, Did he play an important part in Murshid's life?
VOCHA: I don’t
think that Rudolph played an important part. Murshid knew him and they were
friendly, but Rudolph had lived an entirely, I will say, too conventional a
life. In being an artist, getting his school established as he has done, and
that kind of thing. No I can think that Murshid appreciated going there from
time to time, the harmony and the rhythms and the colors in the studio,
themselves, but no, I would not say that Rudolph and Murshid, actively
re-acted to one another.
WALI ALI: When
Murshid first moved into this house he lived with Ed Hunt, and later there
was tension because of all the tension of all the young people coming over
and Ed decided he should leave. Do you know anything about that?
VOCHA: Yes, Ed Hunt
met me, when I played Mary Magdalene, in the Pilgrimage Play in Hollywood,
and Ed was one of the singers at that time, he had a fine baritone voice. in
those days. And Ed and I have known one another all of these years, and I
would simply say that Murshid would constantly keep opening and opening, and
Ed kept closing and closing and closing. The last time I saw Ed, was a
little while after Murshid’s going, and Gavin Arthur invited Lloyd Morain,
and Ed and me to come for an evening in Murshid's memory.
WALI ALI: That must
have been interesting.
VOCHA: During the
course of the evening, I kept trying to say, "We are here to talk of Murshid,"
and one of the three of them would say, "Yes we know.” And then they would
right on talking about themselves. As you know, Gavin talks completely about
himself. And Lloyd does likewise and certainly Ed can. So there as very
little honored of Murshid, and I will say that these "gentlemen" had a
chance to express themselves about what they thought about life. Now I know
Gavin and Murshid were good friends, I've known Gavin for a goad many years
but only in a slight way, I never really got close to him although he has
warmly invited me to come see him many times, and this last time he did
particularly. But the effort of going up the stairs where he lives rather
precludes, Wali Ali, by that you see. And I really don't know if it's
WALI ALI: It really
is a curious phenomenon the way Murshid kept, as you say, opening and
opening and opening, it was like, astrologically his Venus conjuncts Saturn
and Uranus, and this helps explain his love nature took so long to nature,
and when it did mature it was a very….
VOCHA: That could
very well be, I never knew when Murshid birthday was, that was something we
never discussed and I don't even know when my birthday was. These things
didn’t seem important to him. When was his birthday?
WALI ALI: October
the 18th, 1896.
VOCHA: And my
birthday is October 23rd. 1890 you see.
WALI ALI: After he
came back from his 2nd trip to the Orient, this would be around 1963, I
guess, did you notice any change in him, what was his general place?
VOCHA: He was still
interested in a great many of the social chances and in what could be done
in helping the countries in the Middle East, and he did write a great deal
of letters, to which there was no attention paid what-so-over, to members of
the government on different levels, as to their being a change, now that you
mention it, it does seem to me, that he was more centered, more composed
within himself, that doesn't mean that he couldn’t go off on a tangent. But
still there was a feeling of more centering in him.
WALI ALI: I'll
tell you what I'd like to get into, which is: if you can let your memory
play on any kind of anecdote or personal sort of life that you remember.
VOCHA: I think it's
very interesting that I never knew, despite the long years that I knew
Murshid, I never knew anything about his relations or his interests in
women. This was something that he never talked about, we always had a great
deal to say to one another, he of course taking the lead in conversation,
when we were together, but I suppose you might say our friendship developed
on higher levels only, and these things never seemed important, but I do
remember very well that it was after his second trip to the Orient that
Murshid had for a time the habit of singing his letters Puck of Pook's hill.
And he sent me a picture of himself that had been taken, and he’d labeled
it, Puck of Pook's hill and I felt it was some kind of sprite, a masculine
sprite. And a person doesn't usually associate any sex with any sprite but,
Pook's hill was a masculine sprite; how long that lasted I don't remember, I
suppose I got letters from him for a year, when he was Puck of Pook's hill
and then it went too. I see you smiling, Wali Ali.
WALI ALI: I've seen
that picture, I have a copy of it somewhere, of course I've never seen any
evidence that he was anything but Brahmacharya his whole life, if anyone has
anything to say it would be interesting, it certainly was for a person who
came from the upbringing and attitudes towards sex, that he had to dea1 with
all the problems with the young people who came to him in the last years of
his life. And he had the most broad un-clutching outlook of any one, of
course we don't know if he had any sexual relations with women at all.
VOCHA: No, and I
wouldn’t know. But my guess would be that Murshid’s life had been celibate,
this would be my guess, and with all of the negative things that his family
seemed to saddle him with for the earlier part of his life, they however did
give him one thing, and that is, the Jewish conventions, in regards to the
refinement of the body, and this kind of thing.
PHIL: He mentioned
several times that he was engaged. I heard up to five times he was engaged
to marry. Do you know anything at out that?
VOCHA: Only that I
heard him make that statement, but who the women were, I don't know anything
PHIL: Ted Reich
mentioned, that he knew nothing about that either.
WALI ALI: And I
think you two are probably his closest friends, he mentioned to me once that
you were his closest friend. I don't know if he had any real personally
close, in that sort of way, where he sort of opened up, the ins and outs of
VOCHA: I just don't
know. I soon after I met him, it came to me very clearly, what this man
needs is love, and I can say, Wali Ali, that all over the many years that I
used to write him, I make it a practice to take out the good, the
constructive things his letters had said, and comment on that. I don't think
I ever once wrote a negative thing to him, because it was so clear to me,
that what he needed was love, and not love that we would call it, of a
personal intimate kind. Murshid lived actually in other dimensions, than
just one, two, three, four; he lived in other dimensions, this is why, I'm
quite sure, Dr. Keyser’s work, and his friendship with him, meant so much to
him, because of course Keyser is superb about other dimensions, and I think
this answered something in Murshid. I don't know if I'd said anything or
not, but I tried to express it.
WALI ALI: We're all
just talking around it, and sometimes occasionally even by accident we say
something. During the periods you categorized as the free-lance period, what
was the sort of things that he was doing?
VOCHA: He would
write me that he wanted to do an article on such and such. Now whether he
ever did or not I don't know. because I never saw his files, has you got a
lot of articles by him?
PHIL: What he had
up until 1949 was destroyed in a fire. His whole library, and all his….
WALI ALI: Not quite
everything, he took the most important things.
PHIL: He took one
box about yea big, but the rest was destroyed. Destroyed what was perhaps
the finest occult library in America or at least on the West coast. And all
of his research, all the important things.
VOCHA: I don’t
remember about that, but did he do much writing after ‘49?
WALI ALI: We have
most of the writing that he did, which is a commentary on Inayat Khan,
poetry, we have a number of short papers which he did, he went to college
eternally, his college career.
VOCHA: I only
understand that he had originally majored in plant pathology, soils and
something else. Now, that was when he was young, he was through that, now
there were a great many years when he was doing a different thing, then he
began going back, and taking course after course. It used to interest me to
get a letter from him saying, he was taking so and so's course, Buddhistic
art and so on, "Why do you want to waste time Murshid?"
WALI ALI: That was
amazing to me; he even took me to a couple of the courses, and he continued
even after he became well known and respected attending these courses, and
some of us would be sitting there listening to the professor, and he would
have the most gentle attitude towards someone. and if had decided to speak,
he would have been 10 times more erudite on the same subject. But yet he was
able to sit there in this humble attitude.
PHIL: He delighted
in the fact that he always got "A's."
VOCHA: That was a
sort of a hang-over from the days that he needed something of approval, and
I would expect him to get "A’s."
WALI ALI: He got
"F," in one course I know: "in god is dead theology."
VOCHA: I’m trying
to remember. Searching the tablets of my mind. I've spoken about Dr. Reiser,
and I’ve spoken about Reiser.
WALI ALI: You made
VOCHA: Yes, I felt
of course, that I knew Senzaki for 11 years, before he passed, he was a
human being, the only human being I had know, who had a transparent mind, I
mean. by that, that he could see literally through things.