MOST Newsletters Table of Contents

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The MOST Newsletter  Autumn 1996 Volume IV #2

A Project of The Peregrine Foundation

P.O. Box 460141 / San Francisco, CA 94146-0141 / Telephone: (415) 821-2090 / FAX (415) 282-2369
Staff: Ramon Sender, Editor; Vivian Gotters, Pam Read Hanna, Sandi Stein, Contributing Editors; John & Jeanie Nelson, Assistant Editors.
The MOST Newsletter is an open forum for fact and opinion, and encourages the expression of all views.
The opinions expressed in the letters published are those of the correspondents and do not necessarily reflects those of MOST editors or staff.

 

 

Autumn 1996 Volume IV #2    i - ii - iii

-------------- "What Go 'Round Come Around" --------------

Well, folks, here's a report on the Lou Life Celebration at the ranch this July! Hope you enjoy the various Lou stories, as well as a nostalgic look back at the Good Old Days. Reminds me of Josh/Cliff's lyrics for the song that we used to play, "We're All Livin' in The Good Old Days!" So I guess they were already back then!
Please keep us informed of your changes of address. We got a dozen copies back as not deliverable for various reasons. And the same goes for friends/folks who you know didn't receive their previous one. By the way, a generous donation to cover postage and printing would help out. The MOST account is galloping in the red, heading for the infra-red nether regions at minus $324.00
It's true theat we haven't published regularly, but I now realize that one reason I hesitated bringing out frequent issues was that I did not want to focus too much attention upon our resident piano player. Lou deserved his privacy, and I think it worked out well over the past few years in the way of a balance between people and practice time. But now we'll try to get the MOST newsletter out on, at least, a quarterly basis. So please contribute your stories -- and your cash! Any extra $ we'll put in the Friends of Morning Star Ranch account that we're planning to open soon in Sebastopol.
IMPORTANT NOTICE! We are planning the MOST Winter '96 issue with a "Family and Friends' Letters from Lou" theme. So if you have letters from Lou tucked away, please send them to us either as hard copy, e-mail or on diskette. Thanks!

-------------- "Meanwhile, Back On The Ranch" --------------

-------- Table of Contents --------
John Todd
Otto Osip Ochs
Vivian Gotters
Nancy Collins
Judith Gottlieb
Bill Wheeler
Hon. Rex Sater
Merlin Davis
Alex Hassilev
Hari Myers
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John Todd to Ramon, 7/14/96: I felt a terrific shock and loss about Lou. I had no idea at all that he was ill. He had looked so healthy when I visited last fall. I'm sorry I couldn't get out to San Francisco for the funeral. I tried to arrange it, but with such short notice I just couldn't get all the pieces to come together.
I have been listening to my Limeliter CDs this weekend. Lou was quite an artist, in addition to being a fine human being. He touched the lives on many people in many ways. Time scattered us around for a variety of reasons. Those of us who lived far away were only able to have occasional contact with whim. I think I speak for many in saying how much we appreciate all you have done for Lou over the years.
The loss of Lou reminds us how fragile we all are, and it makes me value the friends I have left, like you. I really appreciate the interest you have taken in me and the time you have spent with me over the years.
I was devastated this last January when I found that the birthday party tapes had been damaged. They contained Lou and Pam singing, your speech and Lou's speech. I had really treasured those tapes and am disgusted with myself for not protecting them better. If, as you go through Lou's things, you find the copies I mailed him, please don't throw them away. Please send them to me and I will make copies and return them to you.
Please let me know if you need me to come out later on, or if there is anything I can do to help from here. Best Wishes,
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Otto Osip Ochs, 7294 Prairie Road, Winnsboro, LA 71295, to Ramon: Michael Morrissey/Mathudvisa called me from L.A. to inform me of Lou's passing. I remember more than once when you helped Morningstar people (us) with taking us to exchange vegetables for grains in Oakland or Berkeley somewhere.
There is much to say and feel about Lou and Morningstar and the Sixties era in general. Last I saw of Lou was in 1974 or 75 in Fresno, when he and the Limeliters performed at the Selland Arena. Lou's oldest son Tony played guitar with him. Lou and I walked a few blocks to the Fresno Hilton and he talked of opening Morningstar again. That was the last time I saw him. Michael's call brought a lot of memories to the surface. The Sixties encompassed many individuals and created stories of joy and much sojourning into the "human condition."
Ramon, I hope you are well and are with friends. Send me a newsletter and greet people for me. "Seek the 'I' in the 'Thou' and you will share encounter and dispel hate."
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Vivian Gotters, 9/14/96: I am a Spiritual seeker. I found Morningstar Ranch because I was on a Spiritual Quest. My grandfather was a Rabbi in Poland. He was called Gottesgnade. He was killed in a Pogrom during WWI. My father said that when I was six years old they could tell that I had inherited my grandfather's gift.
I know that I was with Lou at the end of his life because of my Quest. As lovers, we had already said our good-byes. I was called to his side for a lesson. He knew that I was afraid of Death. I had avoided my father's funeral, playing at the beach three thousand miles away while he was buried. I always told Lou that I wouldn't be at his funeral. He asked me if I had ever seen anyone die. I said that I didn't want to. Now, I would like to share that last experience I had with Lou. I think that I was there to observe and learn, and that he would want his last moments recorded. The Finale
When I arrived at the hospital, they told me that Lou was still in the emergency room. I arrived at the room and found Lou lying on a gurney, an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth, and intravenous hook-ups in both arms. His breathing was labored and his color was pale.
I leaned over him. "Hi, it's Vivian," I said. "I'm here with you."
I could see that his eyes were half-open. This was how he always meditated.
The nurse bustled up to me. "We don't know if he can see or hear us, she said.
"He's in meditation," I replied. "He's a meditator."
She and the others in the room seemed to understand this, and they relaxed and became quiet. This was the peace Lou needed. I was on Lou's left side and the nurse, who was at his right side, reached across his body to hand me Lou's wallet. I took it and put it in my purse. I understood then that this was his last act of responsibility -- before letting go. I kissed his forehead and smoothed his hair.
"You look magnificent," I said.
(He did. That regal countenance was there to the end.) He was relieved to hear my words. I think that he was concerned for me -- that I wasn't seeing something too unpleasant. He relaxed.
Then the nurse was at his feet starting to bustle again, trying to move him up onto the gurney because his legs were too far over the edge.
"He's too heavy' she complained.
I could feel Lou wince at her words. It was a comic moment. Out of my mouth came the whine, "He just lost 40 pounds, and in his last moments you accuse him..."
"No, no!" she interruped, very embarassed. "It's just that he's like dead weight..."
She couldn't make it better, but we did discover that Lou's left arm was actually caught in the rail of the gurney, making it impossible to slide him. I helped him to move it out of the way. He could no longer make the effort on his own, but I could feel him move with me, and I was reassured that he was really following the proceedings, conscious and in control.
Another nurse came over and said that they were now going to move him into the Intensive Care Unit, that this would take some doing, and that I would need to sit in the waiting room. They would come and get me when Lou was re-settled. I went to make a phone call to Steve Fowler and when I returned, they were ready for me in the ICU.
"I'm back Lou," I called as I approached Lou on his left side, put my purse down, took off my glasses and sat down in a chair beside him.
His eyes were half open. He was very calm and still conscious. The intravenous devices were lying limp at each arm. He still had the oxygen mask on. I sat watching him. The phone rang. It was Bill Gottlieb. I got up to take the call. I heard Bill's voice and said, "Your Dad is passing now," and gave the phone to the doctor at Bill's request.
The pain of that moment passed through Bill, Lou and me. I realized then why his children couldn't have been with him. It was the only discordant moment in the entire Finale, but somehow I sensed that Lou wanted to get that call. I said to Lou, "Bill is on his way," as I returned to my chair. Peace descended once again. The nurse came over to me and said that they were removing the oxygen and they would give him a shot. The end had arrived. It came very, very quickly. As they gave him the shot I stood up, kissed him on the forehead and said, "God Bless." He was with me then, and I with him. It was a moment very high.
I returned to my chair. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, a deep "Ooohm" escaped with my exhale. When I opened my eyes again and looked at Lou, he was not breathing. I watched him for a few moments and reached out and touched his arm. It was still warm. I sat back again, closed my eyes, took another deep breath. When I opened my eyes again he lay motionless before me. His arm was cold to my touch. I got up and closed his eyes. I could feel that life had already left his body.
I walked quickly out of the hospital into a sunny Sebastopol morning. As I felt the sun on my face I said out loud, "Now, that was interesting!" I felt only elation. I walked a few blocks, and then I headed back to the hospital. Rachel was the first to arrive.
Transcriptions of the talks given at Lou's Life Celebration at the Upper Redwood Grove, Morning Star Ranch, Sunday, July 28, 1996
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Nancy Collins: Hello, can everybody hear me? Is it too loud? Thank you, everybody, for coming here! Lots and lots of people came from very far away. Lou's biological family is here and we want to thank them -- and Dollie, their son Tony, daughter Judith, their granddaughter Rachel, his son Bill. Lou's goddaughter Oceana is here; and Saivya is here, Lou's other goddaughter, and all of his other families which come from every aspect of life. All are now here together in this beautiful spectrum.
We read in The New York Times obituary that when Lou got his Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley he wrote his dissertation on the liturgical polyphony of the Fifteenth Century. "Liturgical" loosely translates into "spiritual," and "polyphony" the blending two melodic lines to create a harmony. My feeling was that was basically Lou's aim in life -- spiritual harmony, in music and in everything else he did. This was sort of obvious in everything that we see here. Yeah! Anyway, I want to introduce our first speaker, Judith Gottlieb, Lou's oldest child. Please come up and say a few words.
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Judith Gottlieb: I have to kind of get a sense of what this is all about. This is really a nice gathering for us today, our family. I've liked it. Thank you all for coming. I don't have a whole lot to say. One thing I've been overwhelmed with in the last two weeks is how much my father seemed to affect other people's lives in many ways. Sometimes I will have a forty-minute conversation with somebody -- one person in particular I recall, John David, with whom I had a conversation. John David played with the Limeliters, and he told me how much Lou taught him about parenting and how Lou loved children, and the love of family. Everybody I talk to has some kind of story to report about the effect that my father had on their life. That's a marvelous thing. What else can you ask is that you're remembered in people's lives?
This is just a wonderful gathering. I just so pleased that everybody's here. I don't really have anything profound to say. This is his piano... One of the things that he wanted to do was that he wanted to be a concert pianist. I think he was planning a debut coming up this fall. I don't know who offered it to him, but I think it's a wonderful thing to die having wanted to still accomplish something more than what you've already done. He also died very fast, which is something that was really important to him, that he didn't suffer.
I can't think of anything else to say. Does anybody have any questions? Again, thank you very much for being here. It's quite a moving day for me. Have a good time! Nancy Collins: We're going to interject different parts of Lou's worlds, so the theme of today is "When Worlds Collide," sort of, or come together in a peaceable way. Our next guest is the incredible Bill Wheeler, one of the heavyweights of Sonoma County, I understand, he and Salli Rasberry and Delia Moon.
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Bill Wheeler: Welcome. I guess it was thirty years ago or so when all of this started up. I came up and visited Morning Star, and Lou in his small cabin down here with his piano, and all of a sudden all these people showed up and he said, "Sure, stick around! Why not?"
Lou taught me a lot in my life. It was really a wonderful thing. He taught me to really respect people and to pay attention to everybody, and to be nice to everybody whatever they did, whoever they are, whatever station of life they are. He also taught me about tribe in the larger sense. I think that legacy is continuing on. That's about all that I have to say, except, "We'll miss you, Lou! A great guy!
Nancy Collins: We are very very honored and really lucky to have the Honorable Rex Sater, who represented Lou as Public Defender during the Morning Ranch court appearances. Obviously he either believed that God could own land or he's just a really good lawyer. Maybe the latter is true, because now he's a judge of the Superior Court, and I understand that he might be retiring soon. So, Rex -- where are you?
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Judge Rex Sater: Well, if I accomplished nothing else, I may have assured that Lou is upstairs in Heaven and not in that Other Place. After all, he'd given his property to The Big Man, so I'm just going to take a minute or two to think back. As a matter of fact, it's been thirty years, and I thought surely I would find the ranch when I drove out here, and I drove right by. So you can see how much time has passed.
I've been walking around looking at people and trying to decide, "Is this the Morning Star generation or their children or grandchildren?" If you're Morning Star generation and you were here then, I just want to say that it's great that none of us look a day older!
What made me feel real good when I got here and walked up the hill are these portable johns that you've got set up. There's a story about that. Dear Dick Wertheimer, who's an attorney in San Rafael, a real sweetheart of a guy and a great lawyer -- he was actually Lou's first lawyer and he got to me because he needed someone on the scene -- but Dick and I would have these discussions with Lou all the time because the authorities were down on him about getting some bathrooms put in. And we'd talk to Lou about it and he'd say, "Sure, baby, we're going to have them real soon!" And we waited and waited. So it's really good to see that the bathrooms are here now, and Lou, you took a little time, but by golly you were straight with us!
There are a lot of stories I could go into about Morning Star, including advising a whole group of Morning Star people seated on the embankment down below here of what it meant to have an injunction against them. The only unique thing about it in my career as a clean-cut young lawyer then was that they were all naked while I was talking to them. But that was Morning Star. I always thought that Lou must be a high guy because if I owned a place like this I would've built a wall around it or something, and he opened it to everybody. That was the main thing about Lou. They kept saying, when they were going after him for violating codes, that the ranch did not comply with the California Organized Camp law. If you have a camp you have to have so many bathrooms, and this, that and the other. Lou kept saying, "But it's not an Organized Camp! It's a DIS-organized Camp!"
So that was his defense. It was a great era. I think I learned a lot, and I learned a lot from Lou. Lou was a high guy. He was also the world's greatest comic, and you never knew whether he was putting you on or not. That's a great combination. Lou was great, it was a big part of my life being involved with him. Thank you.
Nancy Collins: I guess I'll tell this story. Bill Gottlieb told this at the funeral, but as Judith mentioned, Lou had been practicing the piano every day. He had a strict regimen of four hours every day, until one day he had been practicing for three days straight and he didn't know what day it was. After his death, Bill and Rachel found a little micro cassette on his bed and thought, "Gee, this must be some tape recorded message about what we should do." When they played it, it was Lou playing Bach. He had obviously come to the point of playing Bach where he felt that he had reached a certain level of Bach Bliss, so he recorded himself on this little, teeny micro cassette, and I'd like to play it at the end of this show today. Knowing how long he struggled with memorizing Bach, if he was able to achieve that before he died, that was what he wanted more than anything else, I think.
The other thing that Lou was doing at the ranch during his recent years there was that he taught piano. He did not charge. I'm sure that people threw money at him -- I don't know. My neighbor wanted piano lessons and I asked "How much does it cost, Lou?" And Lou said, "Nothing."
Lou had two students: Jacinthe who is not here today and I'm really sorry because she's very gifted, and we also have a young man who is very gifted also, Merlin Davis, who lives on a neighboring property and who is going to perform for us a number that he had been practicing. He has never performed before, and this is a nice size audience to have for your first 'go' at it. So let's all try and make him feel comfortable. Merlin? Here you go!
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Merlin Davis plays Mozart. [Well done, Merlin!!!]
Nancy Collins; Well, I hope that you heard that, Lou! That was very beautiful, Merlin!
Alex Hassilev, the Limeliter, is here. And he is going cheer is up -- well me anyway -- with some funny stories about Lou and him. Are you going to sing, Alex?
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Alex Hassilev: It's very hard to find any words to say today. I said a number of words at Lou's funeral, of course, and it was a very difficult and moving experience for me, but today is in a way even more moving because I see all of you, most of whom I don't known and never have met. And it warms my heart to be in this place, which is so much what Lou loved. He loved these trees and he loved this grove, and he loved all of you. And I'm pleased to see that you all love him and that you're here for him.
Of course Lou and I had a very peculiar relationship in many ways. He used to say that we were "the Bicker Twins." Anything that I said he would of course contradict and vice versa. But we loved each other dearly, and I think that both of us had a great deal of fun sparring about various things. We were different -- our life styles were very different -- but I can honestly say that there was not a day in performing with Lou that I didn't love to be on the stage with him and he always made me laugh. No matter what. He was always always funny. There were a few times... when he might find a joke or two that might not be quite apropos for certain audiences, but to me it was always amazing how Lou could get on stage and re-create that sense of fun and spontaneity and general feeling of happiness and togetherness that never failed him. In fact, the last year and a half or so -- we had gone back to our original format, just three musicians, Lou and myself, and a young man named Rick Daugherty, our current tenor -- for the last year and a half it felt as if the years had all slipped away and we were back in the Sixties doing folk music just the way we did when we first started out.
That's all we ever, a crazy band of folk singers, and we loved it and had a lot of fun doing it. I must say that from the first time that I ever met Lou, I never ceased being amazed by him, never ceased being surprised by him. But I'll also tell you that he was much funnier off the stage than he was on. And he was very funny on stage, so you can imagine. Many of you may know a lot more about that than I do!
I wish I had on tape his running commentaries from whenever we were traveling somewhere in a van or just going to various concerts. Lou was very much a morning person. Those of you who know him know that he got up in the morning with his engine running full speed. And we'd get in a van some place and he'd start to rap, and we would just sit back and luxuriate in this incredible, free-wheeling, stream-of-consciousness improvisation with polysyllabic words, with those amazing words. I only wish that there were a collection of Lou's best bon mots somewhere gathered in one place.
At the funeral I said something about Lou which I always found to be true, and I'd like to share it with you. Lou of course had many, many aspects of his personality that only came out during these improvisations, and some of the wisest things he ever said were not when he was trying to prove a point or give a lecture, but just kind of in passing. You'd be listening to him and he'd be rapping on and rapping on, and suddenly he'd say something and it would stick in your head. And you'd think, 'That's really great what he just said!' And then he would go on and would continue, but the thought would stay with you. He always had that quality of being so wise, just in passing. Of course this young man Merlin who just played, it reminded me of the fact that Lou was always the pedagogue, ever since I knew him he kept trying to teach me various aspects of music which I fiercely resisted for many years. I'm kind of sorry that I did now, but it's lovely to see somebody who is carrying on what Lou loved to give and gave so freely, which is his love of music of every kind, and the ebullience of spirit that he had at all times. At all times. Mr. Positive Thinker every day. You'd ask, "How do you feel, Lou?" And he'd reply, "Never better!" "Never better!" Is that right? Yes!
I miss him terribly. Terribly, terribly. I feel him all around me here. I was in his cabin yesterday, and the family was packing up his things. Lou had such few things, really. What did he have? He had books, he had music, he had a bed, a few utensils. He didn't need much. That was enough. Of course he had the piano, always the piano. And of course stacks and stacks of music that he wrote over the years and unfinished lyrics and the beginnings or endings of songs. I can only say that for me it was a great privilege and great happiness to have known Lou and to have worked with him for 37 years, always on stage with the greatest happiness in my heart to have him on my left, as he usually stood. Well, most recently, he actually stood on my right. We kind of shoved him off on the side, but you know it didn't matter. Wherever Lou was, he was the center. Isn't that true? You bet. And very deservedly so, and I loved playing second banana to him, because as Lou used to say, "I do the jokes." And that's okay. I'm not a comedian, but I was a pretty good Ed McMann to him, because he always made me laugh. It was genuine every time, no matter how tired we were, no matter how unresponsive the audience, although I must say that in all these years, I don't think we ever lost an audience and it was largely due to Lou. He had a way. Sometimes people would come to see the show who did not know the Limeliters, and for the first fifteen or twenty minutes would watch us on stage in a kind of bemused bewilderment. They'd kind of stare, but after twenty minutes or so you'd start to hear giggles and then outright laughter. They'd finally got who Lou was. That's the way it was.
Once again, just looking at you all, especially in this grove, is just a thrill, a true thrill. God bless you all for being here. I'm really happy that I'm here too today. Thank you.
Nancy Collins: Before we go on I want to let everyone know that we have a donation jar here that someone's going to take around, and the reason for that is that the Port-A-Potties. We want to reimburse the person who paid for them. So if everybody can put a dollar or two in, we'd really appreciate it.
Like I said, Lou had different worlds in his life, and we have a speaker now, Hari Myers, who I've chosen because he's a real witty and educated man, who is going speak to you now.
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Hari Myers: I'm honored to speak of my good friend Lou. What's personally painful for me is that not only was Lou an absolute milestone of a giant in a story that I'm going to tell you of how I've known him in the past, but he was currently one of my best friends, someone I looked forward to having conversations with. I'm just going to miss that, as everyone else will. He was so entertaining and intriguing, no matter what he was speaking of. He could speak of the contents of Mozart, or he could speak of how you should hold the sphincter muscle when you're playing the piano, with the same illuminated certainty.
When Morning Star was happening in the Sixties -- and I was not aware of it at that point -- I was traveling in India -- I met Lou 28 years ago in Calcutta. There I was witness to a great moment in Lou's life which, like everything else in Lou's life, is very controversial and hard to understand.
I met Lou on November 14, 1968, and he was on a brief tour to India with a spiritual touring group that was led by the guru Asok Fakir. I had been to Calcutta many times in my travels and was returning there, and I saw Lou from a crowded streetcar I was taking up the crowded Chowrengi. I didn't know who Lou was, but he stood out instantly in my mind. He was taller than the Indians on the street, and he was looking around. So much was going on and he was besieged by Indians. They were all over him, wanting to touch this great god of an American. The image stayed in my mind, and later that day I was given one of my few LSD journeys that I had in India and I went down to the Grand Hotel to take a shower. As I came out of the shower butt naked, there was a man speaking to the whole room whom I recognized as the man I had seen on the street that morning, and it was Lou Gottlieb.
He was speaking of all he had learned about Land Access To Which Is Denied No One, this great spiritual vision that he had had on this land. He was making homage to Mother India for the next influence. He very clearly laid out his principles which most of you I think know. Just the other day, my brother Rich gave me a videotape that Ramon had requested, which was Lou at Jerry Brown's loft in Oakland speaking for ten minutes. There he was, speaking about the next step of this same Free Land idea. He was suggesting, controversially and outrageously enough, that the Bureau of Land Management give a certain amount of acreage to establish eight Cities of Refuge in the state of California, and this would take the heat off the homeless problem. There just are certain people who are "allergic," as he put it, to the status quo and need some other relationship to the Divine.
So Lou was an emissary from the Divine, and it was my privilege meeting him at what he felt was the culmination of this in his life. And by the way he immediately sensed that I was on LSD and made a comment on my being naked having come from the shower, saying "When you are illuminated, the impulse that you cannot resist is to take your clothes off and stand naked before the Maker." And so forth. He was going on and on.
Anyhow, Don McCoy from the Olompali community was in India on a different sort of tour, and I ran into Don and I knew that Don had met this holy man that they were calling "Father." I had met him before, and they were just about to reconnect at the Grand Hotel. I was in a room with Father, I had witnessed some things, and Don came in and said, "Would you like to meet our friend Lou Gottlieb now?"
Father said 'Yes.' He went across hall and I went right behind him. The door opened to this room, in Calcutta in the Grand Hotel, 1968. Father didn't even say a word. He walked in, and Lou said, "Hey, it's him! By God! It's him!!!" His hands went up and he started screaming in hilarious laughter, "Ah-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah! It's him!!!
The two of them leapt at each other from different sides of the bed, and what I saw, anyhow, was them suspended and merged as one in the air, holding together and then separating. Then Father began to speak, and Lou was overwhelmed.
A dhuni is 'a circle of communication,' and I'm sure many people are familiar with it in other words. Lou commented that there were exactly twelve of us, and Father speaking, and we were picking up where another famous 'dozen' had left off before. And Lou was a man who loved scripture. He saw it as alive. He understood it, and he took it high and low. Lou understood that the highest part of ourselves is to witness the evolution of consciousness as scripture, and Lou was a great witness to it, in some ways, fortunately for us and unfortunately for him sometimes, he was not only a witness, he was a compulsive commentator on it as well. He loved to say what it all meant, and it got him in trouble sometimes with Father.
Lou would say to Father, which was a big hint to me of what Lou was looking for, he would say "Smarter than I am! Teach me something!" You could feel in his statements the relief that Lou felt, because when I met Lou, to me he was 'Uncle Lou.' I have grown up in the time to be a contemporary with him in some ways, but then he was 'Uncle Lou.' He was way beyond me. He was of another generation, and he remained that in many ways. He was very reassuring, but I realized that he himself wanted the comfort of the Next Step, of knowing that there was something that was transmitting through him as well. He was devoted to it. He was irreverent and devoted at the same time, a unique combination, and I loved it.
So when I came back to the States and I was at Olompali for a while, I was in a very fragile state. I had been in India for a couple of years, and I was integrating back in this society, plus LSD was being given to me every day. I was enjoying it, but I would get to some freaky places, and of all the people I knew -- Father was not yet in the States -- Lou was totally reassuring to me, totally. He would always pop up whenever I was in one of those narrow passages. Lou would show up and help me through, and understand things and always reassure me. He'd always convince me that I had the power to get through and that it was all all right. It was in the hands of God.
When I met Lou in Calcutta, I would have described him -- in fact I did describe him in a book I wrote about those days -- as someone who was anxious, even desperate, to meet God. So he would talk to you and say, "Did you meet so-and-so? Did Balak Brahmachari give you a mantra? Get a mantra! It'll accelerate your evolution!"
I never got a mantra from Balak Brahmachari, but while I was at Olompali, Lou Gottlieb gave me a mantra that I have never forgotten, and I want to share it with you folks -- and I'm sure there are people here who must've heard this from him as well. In some ways, this mantra was a commentary on his name, 'Gottlieb,' which of course means "God's love." Lou spoke of it as "Love Divine." He taught me, whenever I was palpitating, to sing this mantra. So since Alex Hassilev didn't sing, you have the opportunity to hear me sing this, and you can join in a little bit. It's very very simple.
"Love divine, I am thine, thou art mine, Love divine." [see music below - editor]
I want just to say, in celebrating the passage of a great mentor and sage, what Lou really was in my eyes was a rabbi. He was a teacher, as Alex said. Alex said that Lou's personality was pedagogical, but he would use words that betrayed that he was someone who had studied liturgical polyphonic music of the fifteenth century. But if you could get past that, and Lou had a gift of taking us all past that, you realized that his devotion was profound. On his cassette "Lucky Lou," he has a song done in reggae style called "Truth Is A Feeling." It starts off, "There is a whole from which you can deduct a whole and what remains is whole." Very strange words. "There is a love from which you can deduct a love and what remains is love." Lou was paraphrasing great Sanskrit chants, which I'd like to do for him. This one usually translates as "Existence is complete," and you can take something complete like Lou, a phenomenal form to us, from the complete existence, and what remains is no less complete. This is the mystery of creation, as Lou put it. Good food for meditation. Nothing really there to think about. Truth is a feeling, and you get it when Jah (God) takes you by the hand.
Aum Tat Sat.

Aum purnamadaha purnamidam
purnat purnamudachyati
purnasya purna madaya
purnameva vashishyati
[Translation: Om, that is Complete (perfect)
This is Complete (perfect)
From the Complete (perfect) arises the Complete (perfect).
Taking the Complete (perfect) away from the Complete (perfect)
What remains is Complete (perfect)]
Om Shanti, Shanti

Bom Shankar Bolenath
I can imagine Lou entering the next dhuni, and saying, "Smarter than I am, teach me something!"
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