- letters from Moineddin
November 5, 1978
Moineddin refers near the end of this letter to an exchange of letters relating to my seminar in Santa Cruz [see www.mansurjohnson.com/content/declaration] that I omitted earlier for several reasons: First, I was embarrassed that someone (it might have been Moineddin’s secretary who chauffeured me to my workshops) told Moin that I smoked some grass and drank a beer after my workshop. [What I’m getting 30 some years later is that I indulged before my workshop.] He called me on it. And I didn’t think I deserved a reprimand, not understanding the reprimand wasn’t for indulging privately; it was giving classes stoned! Secondly, I suppressed the exchange of letters, because my answer to Moineddin was angry and belittling to him.
But here this incident comes up again in this letter, apparently initiated by a comment by Taj. I amplified what she said by reporting my experience. (I had written [October 31, 1978] “I do recall Taj returning from Mendocino camp this summer and reporting the same “dingy” atmosphere that I had observed at Wednesday dance in San Francisco,--dingy being the light diffusing dust particles that dope produces around the headlights [the eyes].”)
The question might come up: Why would a pot head comment about pot smoking at a Wednesday dance that he attended? Simply because, being a smoker, I could identify the look of one who had smoked. And it must have appeared to me that many in the audience had indulged. Apparently stung by my observation, not a judgment I must say, in this letter, Moineddin dismisses what I observed by suggesting, in effect, “it takes one to know one”. Since he writes in this letter below that he “observed my state,” I’d better own that I was smoking whenever I felt like it and didn’t realize my condition was as noticeable to others, just as it was to me.
There was more for me to get from this many years after these incidents. And my memory here is not good. But here was my process. When I received Moineddin’s warning in 1978, I felt misunderstood and resisted what he was telling me. I thought I was being impeccable by not smoking in front of others. Now, I get that the criticism was that I smoked before giving a seminar, and this was apparently not appreciated, because Moineddin mentioned in the suppressed correspondence that: Zeinob spoke to you, etc. This didn't happen elsewhere on the seminar trail, but only when I returned to my heart home where herb was plentiful.
It isn’t often one has the opportunity to reinterpret communications decades in the past and gain new insights. This is what publishing Letters from Moineddin has done for me on just this one point. The reader will appreciate, I hope, that warts and all applies to this correspondence.
758 D Street
Petaluma, California 94952
November 5, 1978
Thanks for your letter of October 31. It may not be necessary to give my reply to Taj too much thought; I don’t think it was a particularly good letter in many senses. But it was motivated by a concern to restore a higher degree of friendship between Taj and myself. If any restoration has resulted, all I can say is Praise be to Allah! Taj hasn’t written back as yet.
I pulled a muscle somewhere deep under my right shoulder blade yesterday morning just prior to a Noor Mahal family outing to Bear Valley. It still hurts a lot, but a hot bath this morning helped a bit. Also, this morning is my one week a month to do the Worship Service—and usually physical pains diminish greatly when one’s concentration is devotional and ‘on call.’ (Incidentally, the Services are held here once every week, and despite the rotation of Cherags performing the Services, the attendance stays constant, by which I mean a whole roomful of devotees. This is in marked contrast to the experience last year at Hurkalya when people would only come to Moineddin’s Services, and stay away when other Cherags would be in charge. This angered me so much that I terminated all Services. But here so many doors have opened that one is constantly surprised.)
A recent saying to come through is: ‘My house is filled with Good Samaritans, Simons of Cyrene and Women at the Well.’ But this is not just a one-way street in which Moineddin gets all the juice; the mureeds living here and elsewhere feel Moineddin’s heart-calmness encouraging and sustaining them all the time too inshallah.
Just to set the record straight, Mansur, Taj apologized to me for her remarks about the atmosphere at Mendocino. Not only did she speak to the Camp on the very first night—traditionally a time of great adjustment on the part of all—but there was no dope anywhere. We were explicit on our camp brochures that no dope would be tolerated, and if any were found the possessors would be asked to leave.
Nor do I consider that your ’insight’ was anything special during your visit to California, and in particular to the Wednesday night meeting in San Rafael. In fact, it was your temporary but excessive use (or abuse) of beer and pot that clouded the ’beauty in the eyes of the beholder.’ I think Zeinob spoke frankly to you about this when you gave your workshop in Santa Cruz. (I’m not trying to say that more realization of “Subhan Allah” is not needed; we will need that every moment of our lives even if all our habits are good. But the Tibetans have a very fine teaching: As viewed, so it appears. I believe it was Sri Ramakrishna’s experience to actually see the Divine Mother in the red light districts more than anywhere else.
You were actually the one person who received the full force of Pir Vilayat’s Declaration initially—surprisingly through me. You arrived in the Bay Area just a few days after Pir disclosed to me his intention with regard to marijuana, etc. When I saw your state (albeit temporary), I felt compelled to say something. I don’t recall if I faced you directly or sent a letter later after you had left. But for whatever it was worth, you did join with Pir and his overall efforts, inshallah.
You ask: if Pir gave a communion would I join him?
My dear friend, there are many hidden assumptions in such a question, assumptions that you may not realize. Despite obvious disparities in programs and functions, are you prepared to state beyond doubt the makams [stations] of those in question?
Allah is the Knower. Through His Grace alone is any communion possible.
And as Mataji Krishnabai says: “Papa, your presence is bliss, and your absence is bliss.”
Ya Hayoo, Ya Qayoom!