Laughing-with-hat-SMALLOne year into the biography of Murshid Sam

Beloved Ones of God,

A year ago I responded to the request of Pir Shabda Kahn of the Sufi Ruhaniat International to write a full biography of Murshid Samuel Lewis. I felt that the time had come to accept, since so many people felt that I was best suited for the job, SRI would help finance it, and after a lot of years the voluminous writings of Murshid Sam were now available for digital search.

Even a year before signing on to do this mammoth task, I felt Murshid's wish to involve a number of people in the blessing of supporting such a project in different ways. Several researchers immediately joined me in the work. This attunement to his life turned out to be an aspect of fana-fi-Pir, self-effacement in the presence of the departed illuminated soul, a practice he said he would be well known for after his passing.

I threw out a net asking for helpers and more people responded. Our journey together has been quite memorable. What is very true of the contemporary landscape for researchers is that so much data that was previously unavailable is currently within reach for determined and skillful people who are willing to put in the time and effort to do deep research in specific areas that were previously unknown to us or barely mentioned.

A year now into the official process we have made a great deal of progress, and I am very grateful for all the work that has been done. We are probably about a third of the way through. The early years of his immediate ancestors were most challenging as there were so many gaps, and we wanted to get as close to truth as we can.

Let me mention just a few of these people. Gita-Barkat Burke became an expert in ancestry, and as a result has made contacts with the living and the dead in a most helpful way. Her husband Junaid Burke has run down Samuel Lewis' career as a civilian employee in the military, and got the full file from the National Archives. These documents have been priceless, uncovering both jobs as well as education that Sam had over the years we had previously not known about. Suria McBride researched our archives in the area of his service in this area with military intelligence during WWII.

Colyn Wohmut helped in finding material about Samuel Lewis' therapist Dr. Blanche Baker, Jami Walsh ran down his high school yearbook, Donna Walia DeMille did research on his time in New York and particularly the relationship with Nicholas Roerich. Shivadam Burke transcribed an interview about Murshid Sam with the Indian Chishti Sufi Master Hassan Sani Nizami. Yusuf Schuman researched his correspondence with Paul Reps. Barakat Bryan has helped in several areas of research and Tawwaba Bloch is the chief research assistant and keeps feeding me material document by document as I make my way through the writing. At the present time in the story that is evolving Samuel Lewis is 29.

I am very grateful to all of you who support this ongoing effort with your prayers and financial support. I feel Murshid's blessing is with us all. Azim Breise has provided much technical support. Nirtana Jane Elin coordinates the Khankah Sam website, Magdalena Goldman is holding the post of processing checks and related tasks. Halim Friedman publicizes our blogs. The Spirit of Guidance is very much with us. All praise to the One, the Only Being.

Love and Blessings,

Wali Ali