- letters from Moineddin
February 9, 1979--Fatima to Moineddin et.al.
Moineddin writes in his letter of February 28, 1979, “Enclosed are copies of her [his wife, Fatima’s] letters from Anandashram.” Moineddin sent copies of 4 letters from February 9 to February 18th, covering 8 zeroxed pages. The letters were written on those single page, thin sheet, air mail letter form. Fatima filled front and back all the available space. To give a flavor, I copied out the first letter.
New Delhi, India
February 9, 1979
Here we are at Anandashram at last. We are all entering into varying degrees of retreat although the whole atmosphere here is very much apart from the world.
This 1stday lasted an eternity. Even when I took a nap I would wake up only 10 minutes later. I was very fortunate to get my own room—mostly they are all doubles. Swami Satchitananda [the senior male functionary at Anandashram] went on a 4 mo. retreat without seeing anyone and eating only milk & fruit but he says Mataji [aka Mother Krishnabai, the realized disciple of the now deceased Papa Ramdas, whom Murshid knew] likes people to eat.
I met her this morning. She is doing well—very strong in spirit not as frail as when others were here—but never leaves her room except to go to the adjoining hall for the Arati (fire ceremony) at noon. She’s not very comfortable you can tell. Her body seems quite uncomfortable to her but she rises above it.
All I can say about the meeting (which Vasheest was sorry to have missed is that I cried & cried and then sobbed in my room. I felt very unworthy. I guess it was like Ananda’s darshan. No apparent reason for all the tears.
Here’s my retreat schedule which starts at 9 pm tonight & will last 4 or maybe I’ll add a 5thday.
6 am Mataji’s room or Bhajan Hall
6:45 flower offering from Mataji (tell Khadija I’ll bring her some)
7-8 breakfast of hot milk in my room. I leave a pail hanging outside’8-9:30 Mataji’s room’9:30-12 Arati (fire ceremony)
12:30 lunch buttermilk & bananas in room
Reading all the books here, shower, nap etc.
3:30-6:30 Mataji’s room for reading in English. Satchitananda will translate any conversation then.
7:00 pm dinner milk & bread in room
EVENING Ramnam & Bhajan
This morning there was a visiting swami who spoke a little English. I didn’t know he was just visiting and asked if he knew Sam Lewis. Mother Krishnabai said SAM! He was here about 18 years ago (actually 16, I think).
Then this evening we went back to see her. She said “SAM danced even when he walked. He used to go around and talk to everyone at the ashram and make them laugh even when he didn’t speak the language. Once he fell in a dung pile, the path was very narrow. Those were her words translated by Swami S. She spoke of him with such joy!!
I stayed after everyone let and talked with her thru Swami S. about my retreat & life. She said not to concentrate on her but to the higher truth as Papa taught her. I told her a lot about Murshid (These people are so much more open than Muslims. I can’t imagine a Hindu ever congratulating you on your “conversion”.) She said never to worry about the future.
I held myself together but then the tears came again. For some reason I thought I’d feel great joy here—not that the tears are bad but I’m not radiating much light.
There is a lady visiting here from Santa Ana named Indira, who was initiated by papa in 1961 when in college. She remembers Murshid dancing around with a typewriter on his head and Ramdas saying “look he’s in ecstasy saying Ram’s name.”
Mother Krishnabai also mentioned when SAM first came to them in S.F., she remembered a university of 7000 students with 7000 cars.
I’ll have to write smaller as I’m filling these up too fast. [Again, Fatima’s letter is handwritten on thin sheet international mail paper.]
Tonight they had a special unveiling of Papa’s bones but none of us went I don’t think. His presence is everywhere.
Oh and I told Mother Krishnabai how Murshid had first told me about a woman in India at an ashram who never reprimanded someone for not doing their work but did it herself. She laughed & said she didn’t do that now.
I slept with my light on because some really huge critters came out in the dark—like gigantic cockroaches the size of potato bugs. I awoke about every half hour but that’s not unusual for this trip. My bed is just boards with a covering and it’s hard to stay in 1 position for long. It’s the dead of winter here yet so hot you need no coves or clothes. Every room had a big ceiling fan, thank Ram.
It feels almost as though I’m breaking my silence when I write.
Mother Krishnabai sits in perfect peacefulness. Then she’ll correct a word in the reading or give instructions or just chat & stay peaceful, merry. I just keep sobbing away. Now I can’t even look into Pap’s beaming smile without breaking up. When I look at her I cry more than ever.
When I think of Murshid the gates really open. He danced in ecstasy here & I weep but it’s the same I hope.
At first I thought how lucky Murshid was to have been here when Ramdas was alive & none of this prostrating & bowing all over the place. Then I realized I fell into the trap and he’s still here and I had Murshid for a while & now have him forever like everyone else.
Maybe you could sing Ramnam in the mornings again.
It continually amazes me that wherever we following Murshid’s footsteps we find so much unity. Our “roots.” How he came to teach what he had received. Of course, I know her. I’m not in awe of her she is so familiar. She seems to hang around only for the people here. She must [be] in a lot of pain.
All my love to Nooria & Noah. There are lots of children here and I brought them bubbles but someone else has to give it to them since I’m on retreat.