Beloved Ones of God,
Khankah SAM will be hosting a Rainbow event, featuring Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual teachers in the Sufi Ruhaniat International. It will start in less than a week at our facility at 410 Precita Avenue, and also make use of the Khankah SAM houses up the block. The gathering is almost full, and it is mentioned here to let all know that SRI has never been bashful in promoting the inclusion of all human beings in our sangha.
The work on the biography of Murshid Samuel Lewis, for whom the Khankah is named, is progressing step by step. At this moment in the unfolding story, Sam graduated a semester early in 1914 as a top scholar at Lowell High School, which was at that time the elite public school in San Francisco. That summer he began attending the University of California in Berkeley.
His ideas were driving him toward meaningful work. There was a Socialist mayor, J. Stitt Wilson, in Berkeley and his teachings on the real message in the Bible resonated with this driven young man. Sam's voice was quite strong amongst the socialist youth groups on campus, but his influence waned when one of the students decided to bring in partying and dancing, activities which he was inwardly constricted from participating in at that time in his life.
How ironic it was, that years later he would study dances of all sorts, and one of his most famous contributions to the world was The Dances of Universal Peace, which uses sacred phrases from all the world's spiritual traditions. The Dances served to unite the Hippie movement in San Francisco, and they spread rapidly around the country and the world. Now they are performed regularly in more than 30 nations and have been used as vehicles of peace in many terrains, such as Russia and Israel/Palestine.
Samuel took an Art course that summer at Cal with J. Perham Nahl, who had created a prize-winning poster for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. It opened his eyes to art. Nahl later went to Japan and converted to Buddhism, and became a major influence in bringing real Zen artists over to teach at Berkeley and elsewhere.
Sam attended the exposition the next year in 1915. It took up more than 600 acres in what became the Marina. The PPIE is now celebrating its Centennial, June 5-27, as an Ethnic Dance Festival.
Sam wrote about his adventure there in a paper called "In Quest of the Super Miraculous." Here is an excerpt: "Youth comes to the Palace of Education. 'Lord I know nothing, show me.' He places his hands on his forehead moving each in the opposite direction to empty his mind, and walks in. He walks in as if Socrates and asks and asks and asks. Then he meets the Theosophists. 'All religions are right. They differ on the outside when taken exoterically; they agree on the inside if taken esoterically. All religions are from God. There are seven planes of existence, the lower ones experienced in life after life, the higher ones only by sages and the illumined.'
The youth is satisfied. He thinks he has found the Way. This impetus led him to begin his study of Oriental, and all world religions."
Love and Blessings,