Despite the murder of her husband John Lennon, Yoko Ono still believes in a philosophy of peace and love.

"This is not a time for hate or disillusionment," she said tonight, resting in the couple's apartment at The Dakota, where she has been in seclusion. It was the first interview since Lennon, 40, was shot to death Monday night outside the building.

"It was so sudden . . . so sudden," Ono said. "We had planned to go out to eat after leaving the recording studio, but we decided to go straight home instead.

"We were walking to the entrance of the building when I heard the shot," she continued. "I didn't realize at first that John had been hit. He kept walking. Then he fell and I saw the blood."

Ono, who has requested fans of her husband to join in a 10-minute prayer vigil at 2 p.m. Sunday, said she disagreed with commentators who speak of the killing as the end of an era.

"The future is still ours to make," she said. "The '80s will blossom if only people accept peace and love in their hearts. It would just add to the tragedy if people turned away from the message in John's music."

Lennon's widow rested in bed in the semi-darkened bedroom, puffing on cigarette as she talked.

Ono said she hoped that people wouldn't blame New York City for her husband's murder.

"People say that there is something wrong with New York, that it's sick, but John loved New York," she said. "He'd be the first to say it wasn't New York's fault. There can be one crank anywhere."