Dear Friends,

Peace be with you!

Writing a biography of Murshid Samuel Lewis naturally expands one's awareness into the whole Earth, the whole Cosmos and beyond. I have been immersed in the period of his life that in the decade of the 1930s. He had a tremendous amount of involvement in working to reform monetary policy in the U.S. in lines with the ideas of Social Credit.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_credit

In this decade he led a very active life as was his usual speed. He researched and co-wrote a book on the movements of his times in California called Glory Roads: The Psychological State of California, wrote articles for magazines, was involved in a congressional investigation of the Townsend Plan that his research helped expose as a financial scam at the top, gave lectures on Social Credit to Republicans and Democrats. There were many letters to Congressmen, and lobbying for and against legislative initiatives.

At the same time, he was giving talks under the leadership of Murshida Rabia Martin in the Sufi Movement in the U.S. He was her Khalif and held her post at Kaaba Allah when she traveled here and abroad.

The Great Depression affected this whole period of the '30s-- record unemployment and poverty. Those earning $5000 a year or more possessed more than 98% of all the wealth in America. Socio-economic- political movements to address this situation abounded. Glory Roads described a variety of these schemes. Many of them were financial scams only benefitting the leaders. But the ideas ultimately had an influence, one outcome being our current Social Security system.

 Sokei AnThe change that was happening in the world was expressed by Sokei-An Sasaki, Murshid Sam's Zen teacher in New York City.

Sokei-an Sasaki was one of the very few teachers presenting Buddhism in America. In his teachings of that era, he expressed the culture of the times. He referred to the people of their era trying to find a pivot on the issue of money. What he was suggesting was a pivot in the realm of consciousness. Sasaki was the Zen teacher from whom Murshid Samuel Lewis received Dharma transmission in the manner Sokei-an preferred, which he called soul to soul. After that merging, Sam wrote that all the world scriptures became streams of light for him. While Murshid Sam benefitted tremendously from this experience and wrote about it in his book Dharma Transmission, until recently there were practically no texts available with Sokei-An's words and teachings. Thus his contribution to our lineage stream has not been given much space in our published teachings for lack of knowledge of details.

Now, because truth in the end always wins, as Hazrat Inayat Khan said, there are truly magnificent and clear writings that are available. The great universal theologian and writer Huston Smith wrote the preface to The Zen Eye, a book of Sokei-an's talks. He concluded it by saying "It is for me an honor of the highest grade to be accorded the privilege of saluting, through this Preface, one of the wisest teachers of our century—one who, until now, has not been widely recognized. It is his legacy that we hold in our hands."

Our lineage of Sufism very much embraced these particular Zen Buddhist teachings from the outset of their manifestation in America. Hazrat Inayat Khan and Nyogen Senzaki immediately came into oneness together after their initial meeting. Nyogen Senzaki and Sokei-an were from the same school and were among the first Zen teachers in America, students in the lineage of Soyen Shaku who first presented Buddhism in 1893 at the World Fair in Chicago where Vivekananda first presented Hinduism.

In researching the material now available, like Huston Smith I too became quite impressed with Sokei-an's realization and his clear way of presenting the teachings. It has inspired me to begin a yearlong class on Monday nights at the Mentorgarten in San Francisco. It is a Dharma Night class in which we focus on Sokei-an Sasaki's teachings and legacy and show its harmonization with the path of Sufism given us by Murshid Samuel Lewis.

TheZenEyeOriginalNAture

These classes are being filmed and recorded. Ali Charles, who was our film-maker and editor of previous longterm classes is editing this material for people to access. We have now had four classes and the offerings for January have been released. Ali's recent letter gives some details on this process:

The classes are being offered for a suggested donation of $10 for each of the weekly classes, and available a month at a time. The January 2017 classes are now available for a suggested donation of $30.  No one will be excluded for lack of funds.  If you wish access to the January classes, or have any questions, please send an email to: alicharles@ruhaniat.org

There is tremendous enrichment of being that continues to come from our work on Murshid Sam's biography. Our wish is to have this work continue to be a source of great benefit to all.

Love and Blessings,

Wali Ali

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Monday Night Dharma Class with Murshid Wali Ali Meyer

Every Monday Night from 7:30 – 9:00 PM at the Mentorgarten
410 Precita Avenue, San Francisco CA

Zen teachings focused on the extraordinary approach of the Zen Master Sokei-an Sasaki from whom Samuel Lewis received the Dharma transmission. The class will include a meditation period; use of ko-ans, study of Sokei-an’s translation and commentary on
the Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, and more.

suggested donation $10-20
for more information contact tawwaba@gmail.com

 
 

Sokei-an Sasaki was the Zen teacher from whom Samuel Lewis received the Dharma Transmission. Sasaki’s method was soul to soul communication, a meeting in the Buddha nature that is present but un-awakened in most of us.

Nyogen Senzaki was on the West Coast and Sam learned to perfect his skill in meditation and ability to unravel ko- ans with him. Sam would meet Sasaki in 1931 in New York City a few months after this Zen Master would open his zendo. Both Sasaki and Both Sasaki and Senzaki were of the same direct

lineage as Soyen Shaku who introduced Buddhism to America at the Chicago Exposition before the turn of the 20th century.

The lineage of the Sufi Ruhaniat started by Samuel Lewis is blessed to have a deep strain of Buddhist transmission woven into its heart. There was little to no writings of Sokei-an available during Sam’s lifetime. Now they are available, and very inspiring. I think he gives the clearest exposition ever of Zen Buddhism and points the way directly to Buddhahood

Wali Ali studied this new material as part of the biography on Samuel Lewis that he is writing. Now he is inspired to start a class on these teachings and practice.

The class will include deeply absorbing Sokei-an’s teachings in his translation and commentary on “the Sutra of the 6th Patriarch”, his lectures embodied in a work called “The Zen Eye”, and his autobiography “Holding the Lotus to the Rock”. We will meditate according to Sokei-an’s instructions, which will include incorporating several basic ko-ans. As Sokei- an liked to say “Everyone is welcome, and no one will be pursued if they leave.”

The classes will be recorded. If interested in obtaining these recordings please contact Tawwaba tawwaba@gmail.com

 
 
 
 

Reflecting on the Sufi Samuel Lewis' life in writing a biography, I find myself in the early 1930s in middle of the Great Depression. We also find Sam ever active among those wishing to bring change to society and willing to look for creative solutions.

 

He had just returned to the Bay Area from New York in 1932. Now a Khalif for Murshida Martin, Sam wrote lessons for Sufi students; he gave talks at Theosophical Lodges, he began researching a book on the California movements of the times, and he was active in political circles.

 

His association with Alexander Meiklejohn, a famous revolutionary educator reveals one part of the story. Meiklejohn had moved on from being a highly controversial president of Brown University to the University of Wisconsin where he was empowered to start an Experimental College that inspired scores of innovative programs. From there he went to the Bay Area, where he founded a free adult school, the San Francisco School of Social Studies.  Samuel Lewis attended as a student.

 

Meiklejohn's ideas about what was needed in our culture and his purpose in founding the school was described by him in an explanatory article in The New Republic about his purpose:

 

    "Our scheme of government and of life can succeed only if, in their more mature years men and women will engage in careful, enthusiastic and guided study of common values, common dangers, common opportunities… The end to be served will not be vocational…. The deepest question in American life today is not economic or political; it is educational. It is the question of the thinking power of a democracy. Can our people understand and direct their own living or must someone else do their thinking, make their decisions, for them? As a democracy we are pledged to try the first of these."1

 

In 1934-35 Sam lived primarily in San Francisco. He attended Meiklejohn's school in its very first year in California. Speaking of this program in The New Republic article, Meiklejohn wrote:

 

"…The first task of the teachers has been that of selecting the books in which the best minds of our civilization have expressed themselves upon our common problems in ways suitable for popular reading. In the nature of the case, most of our technical, scholarly books will not serve the purpose. But the "Dialogues of Plato", the Bible, the Constitution, the writings of Emerson, Whitman, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Emily Dickinson, Dreiser, Jeffers, Dewey, Veblen, Tawney, Brandeis, Turner, Beard, Lenin, Bourne, Mumford, Dos Passos, these and a host of others in poetry and prose, tell us of the attempts of our intellectual leaders to solve the human problems that we in America now face. The motive here found expression in the "Great Books" course at Columbia and again in the similar venture carried on at Chicago by President Hutchins and Professor Adler….

 

"The second task of the faculty has been to furnish guidance in the study of the books selected. To this end groups have been formed with six and fifteen as the lower and upper limits of membership. At weekly meetings the books have been discussed chapter by chapter, all the members being pledged to careful reading of the assignment in advance. The reading time of a single book has ranged from five or six to twelve weeks. In the guiding of the discussion, the teachers have tried to avoid lecturing… We need the practice of democracy rather than the preaching of it…."

 

This approach to adult education matches up with Sam's learning style. From an early age he had studied the Great Books of the world in depth with much attention to world religions. Thoughout his life, his goal was always to gain actual experience from going deeply into the teachings. Following the guidance of his Sufi initiator of being a bridge between mysticism and what passed for knowledge in American universities, he frequently found himself railing against those who preached what they did not practice, and who assumed knowledge in areas they had not actually experienced directly.

 

Reflecting on my own life, as a Graduate student in a Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt University one summer I was invited to teach in a Great Books of the Western World Course at Salem College in North Carolina for high school rising seniors who tested at genius level on their IQ's and those gifted in the arts who qualified by their work in drama or music. Little does one know how much one's own life reflects cosmic themes in the life of the person who would become one's teacher.

 

Spies were sent by The American Legion of California to the classes in the school in San Francisco and they "determined" that un-American teachings were going on, dangerous ideas. They ferreted around finding to their satisfaction that Meiklejohn posed a threat to national security. The House Un-American activities committee would follow up in the same vein harassing many creative Americans.

 

Even so, now we are in similar conditions. The times try our souls, and ask us to respond to the cry of humanity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and ask that basic respect be given to all. According to Meiklejohn and according to Sufi Sam, a proper approach would encourage actively thinking about ways that serve the human race and the world we inherit. Take heart. Don't be discouraged, actively engage in the process.

 

Love and Blessings,

Wali Ali

These indeed are the times that try men's souls. A mystic's view of the ups and downs of politics and the world in general is significantly different than the ordinary view. Hazrat Inayat Khan said the words that follow in "The Bowl of Saki" and Murshid Samuel Lewis wrote the commentary.

 

"Put your trust in God for support and see God's hidden hand working through all sources." Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

Commentary from Samuel L. Lewis (Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti):

 

"For the Salik, or sincere traveler on the spiritual path, this trust should be a verity not a blind faith in chance, not an unfounded optimism, but a trust founded upon surety. There is a world of differences between such a view and fatalism. The Salik in order to see God's hidden hand must see, and not merely hope. Then through the awakening of the heart the Salik discerns the spiritual forces in every part of the Universe.

 

---

 

When I was a young man in a Reform Jewish synagogue in Mississippi we were studying the Seven Plagues in our confirmation class. Every time the Prophet Moses acting as God's representative to Pharaoh revealed a divine plague such as the water of the Nile turning to blood, Pharaoh would agree to let the Hebrew slaves go out into the wilderness to worship with Moses and Moses would cause the plague to end. Over and over this happened and each time the text would say "But God caused Pharaoh's heart to harden" and he changed his mind about letting the Hebrews go. I asked the Rabbi why did we say Pharaoh was the epitome of everything evil and Moses of everything good when the Biblical text said this. He couldn't answer my question, but the depth of the question continued to resonate with me and led to a mystical life.

 

The period of the 1930s, where I am presently writing was a time of great social upheaval and tremendous poverty. Murshid Sam was co-authoring the book "Glory Roads" at this time. It was a book about the new groups forming in California in the political spotlight. A few quotations will show how this all matches up with our present situation.

 

"In Los Angeles the boom of the 20's was now in a backwash. This city and county was to have the unenviable distinction of being called the "blackest spot" in the United States. The army of unemployed threatened the peace of the city, the stability of government itself. There was little relief, federal or state, Community chests were taxed to the utmost. Charitable institutions were down to their last dime. But there were no moratoriums on foreclosures; homes were being taken over by banks and mortgage companies in sickening numbers…the fear and the hopelessness of 1930 and 1932.

 

"To some of the local soothsayers the day of Armageddon had arrived. Groups and organizations, some worthy, some sinister, began to take form. The Silver Shirts were accused of carrying on military drills in the hills near San Diego; the Ku Kluxers rode; agitators, demagogues, socialists, communists, anti-semites, anti-Catholics became vocal. The wolves were in the wake of the famine. A great fermentation was beginning again in California. There were at least twenty known groups in San Francisco whose purpose was to lead the way out of depression…. No two groups agreed on anything fundamental.

 

Murshid Sam said to truly do what Hazrat Inayat Khan proposed was not to become a fatalist. Fatalism just accepts everything that happens with a sense it was fated to be that way so we should just accept it as it is.

 

On the contrary we need to look deep into the sway of life and find the One and Only Being's cosmic compassion, and manifest it in our own sphere of activity, which if you were Samuel Lewis would be universal. Difficulties lead to creative solutions and Murshid Sam was quite involved in much of this creative genesis during the depression era.

 

The moon is so very, very close to the Earth this time round that I think there may need to be another blog to come out on the subject of our times transposed with the life of Murshid Sam.

 

Love and Blessings,

Wali Ali

 
 
 
 
 

Beloved Ones of God,

In The Bowl of Saki teaching for September 14, Murshid Samuel Lewis commented on the words of his teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan, who said: "Devotion to a spiritual teacher is not for the sake of the teacher; it is for God."

Murshid Sam's commentary was: "By attunement to the breath of the spiritual teacher, one becomes attuned to the Divine Breath, and by attunement to the heart of the teacher one becomes united to all the illuminated souls who form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance."

This was Murshid Sam's practice, and it was a key to his success in life. In 1930 on a personal retreat on February 5, anniversary of Pir-O- Murshid Inayat Khan's passing, his teacher appeared to him and exerted real physical pressure on his crown center, opening up a deep inner connection and making possible a continuing flow of inspiration in his spiritual writing.

Right now in the biography, I am writing about the period from 1932 to 1935, where he has returned from the East Coast to California in the midst of the Great Depression. In addition to helping Murshida Rabia Martin in the continuation of the Sufi work he is drawn into facing the social problems that are endemic during this era.

Circumstances are difficult, but he is able to draw strength from his relationships with many awakened souls. He can count in that number Zen teachers Sokei-an Sasaki and Nyogen Senzaki, the Sufis Hazrat Inayat Khan and Murshida Martin, and more. His effacement of self in these relationships gave him an attunement with the holy spirit in the breath and his living connection with all the illuminated souls that made him a vehicle of blessings.

Love and Blessings,

Wali Ali

 

 

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Becoming the Stillness between the Breaths

with Murshid Wali Ali Meyer

A quarterly series deepening in the study of the Breath in the esoteric teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan and Murshid Samuel Lewis

You are welcome to come to any individual class, no requirement to have come to the first one or commit to the next ones.
2017 CLASS DATES: March 25June 10September 16, December 9

 Preregistration is required. Space is limited. Open to initiates and others by permission.

To register, for more information or to request recordings, contact Tawwaba <Tawwaba@gmail.com>

The focus will be both fundamental and advanced. We cannot become adepts at practices deemed to be highly advanced, if we are not able to concentrate for extended periods, to actively practice contemplation, and to enter into stillness. We will work with sharpening our focused attention in our fundamental work with the breath. We will also continue working with various Shaghals, Mushahida contemplations, and effacements and tassawuri walks of illuminated souls.

imgres-2.jpg567636._UY200_.jpgOne of the doorways we will utilize are the Centering Exercises rendered by Paul Reps in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. Hazrat Inayat Khan had told him of manuscripts that were available in Kashmir that were of the greatest value.

Reps went to Kashmir and met Lakshman Joo a Yogi who had translated the Siva text, the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra. Reps offered a version he thought appropriate to his times, de-emphasizing the tantric aspects. Other translations are now available including The Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche. Wali Ali will use both the original translation by Joo and some of these newly expressed versions of what Roche calls "the 112 Gateways to the Yoga of Wonder and Delight" for meditative purposes in this series.

This all-day class starts at 10 AM at the Mentorgarten, 410 Precita Ave. in SF, Lunch included, bring a brown bag or explore local eateries for dinner. Evening program ends at 9:30PM

The cost for each day's program is $99. Preregistration is required. Space is limited. Open to initiates and others by permission. Inshallah - the class will be video recorded for access by those unable to attend in person.

 

 

Note: Please inquire with Tawwaba if you are interested in receiving recordings from previous classes. 

WaliAli2015.png

This month at the Full Moon, with Wali Ali on retreat at the Pacific Northwest Sufi Camp, we wanted to make sure we got the word out about this special class series that Wali Ali will be offering in September, and again by the end of the year.

Becoming the Stillness between the Breaths

with Murshid Wali Ali Meyer

A quarterly series deepening in the study of the Breath in the esoteric teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan and Murshid Samuel Lewis

You are welcome to come to any individual class, no requirement to have come to the first one or commit to the next ones.
SECOND CLASS of the series is September 17.
THIRD CLASS is December 10.

 

The focus will be both fundamental and advanced. We cannot become adepts at practices deemed to be highly advanced, if we are not able to concentrate for extended periods, to actively practice contemplation, and to enter into stillness. We will work with sharpening our focused attention in our fundamental work with the breath. We will also continue working with various Shaghals, Mushahida contemplations, and effacements and tassawuri walks of illuminated souls.

imgres-2.jpg567636._UY200_.jpgOne of the doorways we will utilize are the Centering Exercises rendered by Paul Reps in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. Hazrat Inayat Khan had told him of manuscripts that were available in Kashmir that were of the greatest value.

Reps went to Kashmir and met Lakshman Joo a Yogi who had translated the Siva text, the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra. Reps offered a version he thought appropriate to his times, de-emphasizing the tantric aspects. Other translations are now available including The Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche. Wali Ali will use both the original translation by Joo and some of these newly expressed versions of what Roche calls "the 112 Gateways to the Yoga of Wonder and Delight" for meditative purposes in this series.

This all-day class starts at 10 AM at the Mentorgarten, 410 Precita Ave. in SF, Lunch included, bring a brown bag or explore local eateries for dinner. Evening program ends at 9:30PM

The cost for each day's program is $99. Preregistration is required. Space is limited. Open to initiates and others by permission. Inshallah - the class will be video recorded for access by those unable to attend in person.

 

Preregistration is required. Space is limited. Open to initiates and others by permission.

To register, for more information or to request recordings, contact Tawwaba <Tawwaba@gmail.com>

Note: the recordings for the first class are still being processed. They will be ready later this month Please inquire with Tawwaba if you are interested in receiving them. 

 

Beloved Ones of God,

In 1930, Samuel Lewis made his first journey to New York City. He had been attracted there by the artistic work of Nicholas Roerich and his worldwide ideals. At that time Roerich's group had built a large skyscraper with housing for artists and poets and the like to go along with Roerich's amazing drawings in which Sam saw what he called a dharma transmission, the embodiment in art of spiritual realization.

As a young poet and writer, Sam applied and got an invitation to join this artistic community. Every day he would contemplate the vast array of pictures. He particularly loved Mother of the World, and years later would give it to his women's dance class as a meditation practice. Sam wrote a medley of poems each with a number from the exhibition in the Roerich Museum. Here is his poem inspired by Mother of the World.

MOTHER OF THE WORLD
O Thou veiled One,
Whose words unuttered fall like dazzling jewels
In the throne-room in the Center of the Infinite;
We kneel before Thy bounteous Presence...
Thou sacrificing, All-pervading Mother…
To Thee we offer praise for every favor,
Humbling ourselves before Thy Heavenly Throne,
Hailing Thy Glory through endless kotis of aeons.
Without Thee less than naught are we,
But through Thy magnanimity,
We have been raised to quaff the purest nectar.
Praise to Thee forever, Mother of gods and devas and men,
We worship and adore Thee, Soul of our souls.
-- From the poems of Samuel Lewis, in the set called Rhapsodiae Coronae

As a worker for world peace through the inner teachings of all religions, Sam became involved in the Roerich group's work for the Banner of Peace project. He warned them in a minority report that if they got "important people" involved - politicans and social leaders and the like - it would blow up in their face, and it did. However, he learned a great deal from Roerich's efforts and saw that it was not a movement that would bring peace through the arts but individuals who would stand forth in the light of realization. In the course of his life he would make peace through the arts part of his world program, and over time expanded it into to music, poetry, and dance.

Thank you all for your prayers and support for the biography project we are working on. And thanks to Donna Walia DeMille who did an excellent job helping us with researching Roerich's influence in Samuel Lewis' life, more of which you will see when the book is completed.

Love and Blessings,

Wali Ali

~by Tawwaba, May 2016 Full Moon~ 

Wali Ali and I call these research ventures, when he has a subject or topic for which he needs more details, background, or other information, "rabbit holes."

The first avenue I take is to search the online archives. This often brings more threads to pursue. With the intention of learning what Murshid was up to in 1930, I recently was drawn down a side warren in the rabbit hole. Sometimes I can't resist following these trails, even if what I discover isn't going to be included in the book.

In 1930, Murshid crossed the country stopping in Cleveland Ohio where he had family and perhaps other contacts. He went on to New York City where he spent time in the New York Zen Center and the Roerich Museum, but that is all another story! In Cleveland he visited the White Memorial Library, perusing various esoteric volumes. He came across a book in French which he consistently referred to as "Efleki's Lives of the Adepts." In correspondence and writings in his last decade, he  refers back to this volume which he had read thirty and more years previously.

Macintosh HD:Users:samia:Desktop:The Whirling Ecstasy.jpg

A few of these hits indicate what most interested him about this text.

From a letter to the Town Planners of Hyderabad India, August 24, 1970:

"There is very little difference in my inner life from the tales of Efleki’s Lives of the Adepts concerning the spiritual leaders of the Mevlevi School, founded by Jelal-ud-din Rumi."

In a letter to Seyyed Hosein Nasr, November 16, 1970:

"In the year 1930 I visited the White Memorial Library in Cleveland, Ohio, and there found The Lives of the Adapts by Efleki. In those days I could read French and was amazed to find I had had all kinds of inner experiences practically identical with those related in this voluminous work."

And a letter to Paul Reps March 27, 1963

 "When I was in Cleveland in 1930, I read The Lives of the Adepts by Efleki in French. It made me very lonely indeed because these Sufi saints had had experiences to which my own were akin and there was nobody to talk to about them. … It is only now that a descendant of Jelal-ud-din Rumi has come here that I could really open up.

My interest is always piqued when I learn of a particular text that influenced Murshid as indicated by his references to it through the years. I seek it out, in online digital archives and via used book sellers and have been collecting whatever editions I can find.

Efleki didn't bring up any hits on Google.

"The Lives of the Adepts" turns up a different book, about alchemystical hermetic philosophers. Interesting, I could get distracted! ~ but not Murshid's book.

Next I looked up Rumi on Wikipedia to see if there was any reference to this text since Murshid referenced him in that first quote.

BINGO: Efleki = Aflaki

"A hagiographical account of him is described in Shams ud-Din Ahmad Aflāki's Manāqib ul-Ārifīn (written between 1318 and 1353). This hagiographical account of his biography needs to be treated with care as it contains both legends and facts about Rumi." Wikipedia listing for Rumi

hag·i·og·ra·phy n.pl.hag·i·og·ra·phies (hăg′ē-ŏg′rə-fē, hā′jē-)

1. a. The writing of the lives of saints.

b. A biography of a saint.

2. a. The writing of an admiring or idealized biography.

b. An admiring or idealized biography.

(The Aflaki work is considered the 2B. Wali Ali notes that we are working on the first, not second kind of hagiography. And yet amazing things do happen in relation to spiritually realized beings and reports should not be lightly dismissed.)

Pursuing these breadcrumbs, Aflaki and Manaqib ul-Arifin, I began to find various editions and translations. The best known translation into English was an abridged version by a British man, James Redhouse, in 1881. This can be found online: http://www.sacred-texts.com/isl/mes/ It was later adapted by Idries Shah.

Many of the stories I have heard over the years about Rumi and Shems come from this source.

Yet I still wasn't finding this French translation that Murshid read in Cleveland.

And then I realized what had been tickling the back of my mind since seeing that Efleki is Aflaki. (Avoiding the tickling of the AFLAC ad!) I remembered a book called The Whirling Ecstasy, that has been floating around in Sufi circles.

It was originally published in 1954, in Mexico, in English, by a Rodney Collin-Smith, student of Ouspensky.

The introduction of this slim volume of excerpts reads, "…This booklet is a selection from The Lives of the Gnostics by Aflaki, disciple of [Rumi]'s grandson, written between 1318 and 1335. It was translated into French by C. Huart under the title 'Les Saintes des Derviches Tourneurs' (Paris 1918-22)."

The mystery is solved! And it brings us back close to home.

This is the same text that I had seen, first published in 1972 by Prophecy Press, Hassan Herz's publication house which printed Murshid's works, including The Jerusalem Trilogy. Hassan confirmed to me that the French translation (from the original Turkish) was a book that Murshid had talked about. Hassan found this translation from the French in the public domain and printed with the first cover and illustrations by Fatima. The cover I was familiar with is shown here.

A downloadable version: http://holybooks.lichtenbergpress.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Whirling-Ecstasy.pdf? 596349

Using the French translator's name and this French title, I found an online version of this text. I can read it to some extent with my rough French, and I LOVE reading the same words Murshid read, in a facsimile of the same typeface, etc.

https://ia802304.us.archive.org/10/items/lessaintsdesderv01jalauoft/lessaintsdesderv01jalauoft.pdf

This story is just one of many wonderful adventures in research that have delighted me as I serve this biography project.

With love and appreciation to all who support us with green and loving energy.

~Tawwaba

by Murshid Wali Ali, April 2016 Full Moon

Beloved Ones of God,

Last month, Saraswati wrote about the progress being made on the visual elements of the biography of Murshid Samuel Lewis. It is great to see the material that is being accumulated. Hassan Herz has begun showing us what the book might look like.

This is a fine development, and yet we are approximately about halfway done with the book. It is a gigantic undertaking as Murshid Sam's concentrations in life were so vast and his energy so boundless that it is a challenge to cut the diamond, so to speak. In so many ways, Murshid Sam was like a diamond in the rough. He faced many rejections in life that would have despoiled almost any one. In his youth he said that he looked on the figure of Job in the Bible with envy.

full moon 1 728x400Sam never gave up. He lived from his essence, and he continually returned to the eternal undying inner condition to re-focus. He never abandoned his great aim to be of benefit to humanity. His method and focus were flexible and his amazing energy gave him the strength to keep on keeping on. Planting seeds year after year and seeing nothing come up, yet he kept planting. Finally all the seeds came up at once, and the last 14 years of his life were filled with the blessings, and we see the fruits of these actively growing years later.  

I look forward to delving into those times! Our resources from more than a hundred interviews with people that knew him are marvelous, and it is very heartwarming to see him fully engaged with a loving community and the great gifts that arose. 

Right now I am plowing through the period immediately after the death of Hazrat Inayat Khan, analyzing the organizational break up that occurred, and seeing Murshid Sam working with the Church Peace Union, helping Murshida Rabia Martin as her secretary and Khalif. Around then, he became a prodigious writer of spiritual papers, poetry and the like; he met and studied with the great Zen Master Sokei-en Sasaki in New York City. And there is much more just within the years from 1927 through 1930.

One can only scratch the surface of the field in front of us in relation to completing this book in a brief blog entry. Speaking for the whole research and editorial staff, we are very grateful for the prayers and financial support that so many of you have generously offered.

Love and Blessings,

Wali Ali

Spring is here and all kinds of matters of importance are bursting forth.

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~Painting by Murshida Fatima Lassar~

As of March, the Murshid Sam biogaphy project has made a huge step closer to concrete reality as draft pages and actual chapters are being prepared by Hasan Hertz in Adobe InDesign. At a video conference in February we were able to view the first proposed layout. Tingles threaded through the electronic web to our fingers and reverberated with our ooooos and ahhhs. This book is really going to happen, though still in a draft state; seeing the black pixels on white brought it to reality. While Hasan is loading chapters of Wali Ali’s writing, Fatima Lassar is gathering, sorting, and making minute edits on photos, and Tawwaba is retreiving historical data, fact checking all along the way. 

We are still hoping to access the jackpot of familial realia in a house somewhere in Ohio where, it is reported on good authority, relatives have kept Sam’s uncle’s family photo albums and letters for decades.  

In the meantime, an overlooked Murshida in our lineage has been remembered, opening a new realm of inquiry begining with Netanel Miles-Yepez pilgrimage of remembrance to her tomb in December 2015. Following his visit, other mureeds have paid homage to her remembering that she was the first, the FIRST, mureed and Murshida appointed by Hazrat Inayat Khan in the Western World in 1911. A short autobiography of Murshida Rabia Martin is available at Wahiddudin’s Bowl of Saki website. Samuel Lewis first met Murshida Rabia in 1919 and spent several years at her Khankah in Fairfax during which time he was initiated by Hazrat Inayat Khan and was instructed to help her as a defender and protector. Although their journey together ended in difficulites, they each fullfilled their service to love.

Mind has its own notions
Yes it is often caught
In the web of its emotions,
Self-inflicted, self-brought.
Heart is always willing,
Answers with a “yes”
Finds it own fulfiling
In love’s calm caress.
-"Heart and Mind" (two stanzas) by Samuel Lewis - 1950

Beloved Ones of God,

On January 15th we celebrated the 45th anniversary of Murshid Samuel Lewis' Urs. An Urs, or wedding celebration, is what the Sufi's call what the world in general calls death. Sam Lewis is anything but dead, if that means inert. He often said he would be remembered for continuing to communicate and give guidance to beings after his physical passing, and this has proved to be quite true.

watercolor423x300His life, and living presence was just honored all over the world. This moment in history is a time for active remembrance. At Murshid Sam's burial place at Lama Foundation, a visitor can now see a beautiful structure going up that will soon allow the many pilgrims that come every year to meditate there for hours with a great view from the sacred mountain and with shelter in the sun or rain.

We are actively remembering Murshid Sam in our work. Month by month my colleagues and I are researching and writing the first biography ever done on Murshid Sam's life. It is a voyage of discovery, as new material amazingly appears, and complicated questions become clear. I pray the finished book will be a great blessing for the world. It will tell the story of an unusual and extraordinary person who had a most dramatic life that all can learn from.

An appropriate saying for him is the from the Psalms: "The stone that the builders rejected is become the cornerstone." Thank you for your help in supporting the process of describing him in a human way that God-willing may touch us all.

Murshid Sam's presence in the world continues to grow through the extraordinary success of his students, and their students, in catching his transmission of how to shed the artificial covering of the conceptualized and constructed self and merge with the oneness that is our real self, our immortal soul, an activity of God.

All over North and South America, Murshid Sam's Dances of Universal Peace touch the hearts of people and bring joy. And the same is true throughout Europe, in Russia, Australia, New Zealand, and the more than 35 countries where they are regularly done. The whole world is celebrating the sacred Names of the One and Only Being through the songs and chants of many religions and pathways to self-realization. At Khankah SAM we are happy to represent that work here in San Francisco and to receive guests from around the world.

Love and Blessings,

Wali Ali