January 8, 1964
My dear Jack:
The New Year has come with optimistic enigmas. Late in the year I was approached by a spiritual sister to learn that the late Nyogen Senzaki had left here a library, manuscripts and funds; that these were to be used only for the restoration of his Mentorgarten or something that would be a reasonable facsimile thereof. Both Senzaki and Robert, on his last visit to the States urged me to restore the Mentorgarten in case either my way in life was blocked, or there were no suitable operative Sanghas. But both the original Mentorgarten and the terms fostered on me were essentially the same:
There would be a Buddhist library opened to the public and I would be given free rent on condition that I remained as librarian. It would also be required to have certain meditations either at fixed hours or to teach newcomers into this practice during the operative periods. It would not be a Sangha. The meetings of all Sanghas whatsoever would be placed on a bulletin board so that people could go to any of them; or they could become members of the Mentorgarten by taking out paid library membership.
The librarian or attendant would be expected to read Buddhist literature, or more strictly speaking the Scriptures and Senzaki’s translations and explanations. This is something I have always wanted.
Preliminary efforts have not resulted in locating a place but all I have to do is to consult a local Japanese editor. There is not enough money available to purchase a place; there is enough for a joint tenancy and the joint tenant would become the assignee of the library in case we old members of the Mentorgarten did not find a suitable assignee.
Lectures would be limited to Buddhist scriptures as above but would not prevent other lecturers from coming. These persons would be limited to three subjects:
a. Buddhist practices (any kind)
b. Japanese culture (any kind)
c. Asiatics—which could cover anything at all dealing with the continent of Asia or the adjacent Islands.
There is going to be a Japanese section added to San Francisco and we want the Mentorgarten to be there, near its old location. Besides, we would have to observe the high Buddhist holidays and the Boys’ Day and Girls’ Day (Cap and Doll) festivals.
At the present time there are a number of Sanghas and so-called study groups most of which use “Buddhism” as a vague abstraction having almost nothing to do with Buddhist scriptures, Buddhist philosophies or the practices of the schools which have united in the WBF. And even those who are connected with the schools are drifting further and further away from the niceties, or even the fundamentals.
You do not hear the Triratna and when I was asked last to light incense and did it in the name of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha it caused the officiator to wince. What is happening in Buddhist circles is exactly what has happened in Jewish circles—the Jews have long since abandoned their Name-of-God; the Buddhists ceremonialize but do not repeat the Triratna.
There is a revolution going on in Japan where the Lotus movement is trying to enter politics. This came before when the historical Sakya Muni was overlooked in favor of Amida, etc. At Too Lun’s an announcement was made of the day of Amida’s birthday. I asked how could Amida have a birthday. But this is what Buddhism has become. And I learned from a Vietnamese who is here how Buddhism has changed into politics rather than religion and ceremonies are excuses, not ways to liberation.
I was fortunate to have lived when the Rhys Davids’ were dominant in getting people to study Buddhist literature. This day is gone. Indeed, the only people I know around here who are interested in Buddhist and Hindu literature are the serious poets and literary people who will not be confined by Mortimer Adler’s nonsense. But just as the world is get-rich-quick, it is get-salvation-quick.
On New Year’s Eve a young man was telling me his spiritual experience. Without a doubt this man has had the Satori experience and it is notable that this experience is either absent or played down by leaders in so-called Sangha movements all over the United States. The Buddha may have come (and succeeded) in combating pain, decay and death. He pointed out the way to rise above human sorrow. But nobody speaks of that. In trying to get data on Buddhism in the U.S. all I can find is a number of warring Sanghas, or groups calling themselves Sanghas without Triratna, without Pancha Sila, and without karma or any understanding of karma. For the path to liberation is a path to liberation from Karma. This ends, in my experience and that of others, in the Prajna outline. Naturally every intellectual and every egocentricist abhors Prajna, and they are often successful in building up Sanghas which will have nothing to do with other Sanghas. While those who accept Prajna work together.
As we were leaving on New Year’s Evening, I told this young man there is a simple way to remove pain and showed him and to my amazement he said: “But you have just taken away my pain.” Well, one may be adept at taking away pain, suffering, sorrow, but this has little to do with contemporary “Buddhism.” People want nice lectures and excuse their pains or the woes of the world. And this young man amazed me when I heard him Sunday telling Jataka tales to little children. This is something not done in “Buddhist” circles. I have waited over thirty years but am happy that somebody is doing that. We might have a world with far better morals and morality, but no, the leaders have to talk on “Buddhism and fishing,” “Buddhism and cleaning teeth,” “Buddhism and higher education,” “Buddhism and…” and that is it.
Typical is the friendly correspondence with Miss Harlowe. She writes long letters in praise of her work and then sends me Hindu literature. So I haven’t the slightest idea of her work and would even be glad to pay for anything, but this is what I get. And running around San Francisco is a Hindu in a yellow robe and he does not even have to speak on “Buddhism…” and, but he talks on politics, archaeology, his books and travels, and this is the kind of man welcomed at Sanghas and forums.
Unfortunately, he is not the only one. And I forbear to put on robes though I carry written credentials and these men put on robes with no credentials and this is it.
The only difference we ever had, so far I know, has been on Tibetan Buddhism. Life, not logic, has convinced me you were right. I have given one talk on “How to Realize the Two Aureoles of Lord Buddha” and I hope to arrange another small meeting in Rev. Eugene Wagner’s house. It will be invitational but not necessarily confined. It will be as much demonstration as lecture. Everybody talks but few actualize. And it is noticeable that this person does not grow old with the same pace as others.
The Fudo initiation was not only real but confirmed over and over by many spiritual teachers, all over. I have seen the deaths of Sufi Inayat Khan, Dwight Goddard and Phra Sumangalo from “broken hearts” and “softness.” I have seen the longevity of Nyogen Senzaki and Grand Roshi Furukawa and others of “hardness.” If you want to live, you have to perform certain functions, or if you are called to perform certain functions you must live. But the world wants Milarepas without Marpas and they are not going to get Milarepas. After all the world kills its Milarepas and there must be a strong teacher to preserve future Milarepas even though he is a Marpa with fierceness, firmness and esoteric equipment.
Of course when one is permitted to teach the mask of Fudo is removed. The last argument, and I shall get into it again, was over vegetarianism. So I am writings: the poor Eskimos cannot be Buddhists because they are flesh eaters; the rich Banias can be because they are not. True the Eskimos are honest, cooperative, brotherly, hospitable; the Banias are none of those, but the Eskimos are damned by the Buddhists and the Banias are not. Nor may the Eskimos become Muslims because they cannot grow beards but the Banias can. Nor may they become Hindus so there is nothing left for them but to be Christians. This is called “spirituality.”
Lord Buddha came into the world to liberate everything and everybody. With the false interpretation of Samma Drishti, there is a false interpretation of everything else. Yet the historical records—which are neither read nor dispute show that at last 400,000 persons became spiritually emancipated just by coming into his presence.
The next thing is the absence of the Pancha Sila. And after that the Prattimoksha. This was supposed to be recited by those who had been liberated and has become more verbal repetition. No more Moksha or Mokkha, just words. So we come nearer to home when the celebrated Daisetz Suzuki infringes on the moral teachings of the historical Buddha and attributes to himself what was not his, taking from others; and the celebrated Christmas Humphreys karmatizes Suzuki-san by doing the same thing to him and both men by a haze of compounded verbiage have presented a very complex and not too illogical teachings which amazes, amuses and satisfies but leads nobody into the experiences of either the Zendo or the Vihara. Thus remains the pain, the suffering, the sorrow, the woe, the aging, the neglect, which things are too “awful” to be considered by Sanghas and “Buddhist” open-forums.
Speculation has taken the place of worship; speeches the place of study and devotion; and separation the place of brotherhood. But all this will prepare for honesty, straight-forwardness and adherence to some kind of authentic teaching.
The original Nyogen Senzaki I met was adept in six languages (he probably knew more but did not say): English, German, Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. He never confused them and always told us exactly what language he was using. We repeated Pancha Sila in Pali but salutations in Sanskrit. When Sanskrit passages appeared in Chinese or Japanese literature, he extracted them as such. Thus we learned the true Dharani and Mantrams which are today hodge-podged both by the Japanese and Chinese. So I have written to India to see if one can get the Sanskrit chants in their original form. In the Shingon they are fairly well preserved and fairly well used but not otherwise and elsewhere.
But I say this because when Senzaki-san used them you could feel all the magnetism, the grandeur, the loftiness. Once I met a secretary of his and said, “You are nearly ready for the Dharma. Did you get it from Senzaki?” “No, I did not.” “Please come with me so nobody can hear us and I shall whisper something in your ear.” We got away and I whispered a real Sanskrit formula which is covered in the texts which are recited and she said: “I have it.” I said: “I knew you would have it.”
But it is my lot, all over the world either to receive from teachers or teach them, and in America from childhood I was placed in the bottom of every Sunday school group and this was so whenever I changed my religion or faith and the strange part of this is that I have learned little from any and all ecclesiastics. To have me cry of past lives, to come over into this world with a compendium of wisdoms of many lands and to have had the experiences connected therewith does not bring popularity. It is only now that I am meeting more and more fellow-victims. I can hide behind or cooperate with Gina Cerminara (I hope to send you her book soon) on reincarnation.
I have for years been in the dog-house, as we say, on Asian matters. During my absence a certain doctor of social sciences was given that enviable position. Then I met a retired colonel and we joined forces and to our surprise attracted one after another Americans who had lived in Asia, associated with Asians and been ignored by the press, State Department, universities, everybody. Since we have joined the whole picture is different and for the first time I heard yesterday on a forum on Asia two Asians speak and no diplomats, press men or university book-wallahs. This makes me feel indeed it is a new day and that East and West come together.
I may have sent you my picture—if not will do—seated on the top of the Holy Mountain of Japan, Fuji in the background, between a Western and Eastern Plane tree. This is my favorite picture and is my life. Now privately I am doing what should be done, and this is not the way. But if officials do not want those who know (very necessary in the sciences) each must willingly bear the karma of karma itself.
Years ago I read a series of Volumes: “Bodhisattvas, the World Liberators.” It is long out of print.
Samuel L. Lewis
S. A. M.
January 10, 1964
My dear Della:
You will please excuse me if I do not phone but wait until I might see you Sunday. So many things are happening. There is not only the illness but it came while I was copying notes on spiritual healing. The first impetus for this were some miner ailments in Pakistan but it seems that as I typed along more and more of friends and acquaintances have been stricken. And while one side of the Bodhisattvic oath is to try to alleviate the pain and suffering of others; there is another instruction I have, not to put weights on people who cannot bear them.
My affairs in all surrounding towns have been complicated. My pal in Mill Valley disappeared and I should be trying to find him as well as have some other social visits so if the weather permits—and nothing else happens, I’ll run over Saturday.
My humor also caught up with me when I used to laugh and say I have a favorite god-son and a favorite god-daughter, wouldn’t it be funny if they met. Now Norman has moved to Berkeley and my god-daughter wishes to complete her studies there. This is a long way off but it shows the folly or the wisdom, of idle talk.
My best friends in Fairfax have just been divorced complicating my relations there, plus the fact that I baby-sat for their children. Fortunately those children have all long since been married and I find I still have a “home” there, but the weather is a factor now.
Then there is another subject, miracles. I have read Too Lun with glee, but actually in my own life I have seen and even been directly involved in miracles which make his reports look like those of a little child. Since Phra Sumangalo passed away I have been able to hint only, and no matter what is said, that is really a sort of “persiflage.” But today, after being challenged in public last night, I laid my cards down on the table and they were accepted.
It is the irony. Real Asians do neither act nor react much like professors and diplomats and newsmen say they act. Real Asians have no candor for those types of people. When I was in Egypt miracles that I have never performed often appeared in the paper, but then I remembered how I met Prof. Mohammed Hussain who was primarily responsible for them.
After leaving Ajmir in India, where some miracles did occur, I was so feasted I had the only attack on dysentery that ever occurred. When I reached New Delhi my long departed spiritual teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan, appeared to me and told me to go to the Egyptian Embassy. I did and found a single man there—the above Mohammed Hussain. “What do you want?” I told him. He looked at me in astonishment. How did you find me? Do you know I am the world’s greatest authority on these two subjects?” Unfortunately Americans have accepted very false teachings on both these subjects and I am not going to disillusion anybody here.
In March I may to put the coup de grace on the person responsible for this nonsense. Americans will believe the culprit but Asians will believe me, as they always do.
While at San Rafael I had a visit with another “god-daughter” and her husband. This lady has read all the Ramayana and most of the Mahabharata and has a very different view from that imposed on the students at the Academy—which impositions could never be offered in India.
Then there is another side to the Bodhisattva to which I have alluded but unfortunately cannot corroborate unless certain books can be found. At the moment Jacob Feuerring is here. He used to stay around the Academy and has a deep interest in Zen but his affiliations are Rinzai. If I locate him I might even change my plans and bring him to the party. This won’t be settled. He is a wonderful pianist and has been in Japan. We have a spiritual link now.
The next Bodhisattvic function throws one into the arena of politics insofar as present day politics are making world peace impossible. There is nothing but turmoil and samsara, and today even students of Oriental Philosophies (so-called) do not bother about the samsara. Fortunately here, again, the Asians are all with me and now gradually the Americans too.
I may thaw out some of my earlier diaries, the only ones saved from a holocaust years ago. But my later diaries are intact. What I have said in public speeches included wonders but not miracles. There is definitely a difference but personally I prefer the wonders. Man has no control over the miracles, he is just an instrument.
Now I go back to my duties and will enjoy the parties through you—which is what my first spiritual teacher used to do.
58 Harriet St.
San Francisco 3, Calif.
January 13, 1964
Hon. Robert F. Kennedy,
Office of the Attorney General
In re: Mission to Indonesia
Dear Mr. Attorney General:
I have before me your letter of September 13, 1962 signed by your good self with the statement:
“I enjoyed receiving the benefit of your views, although they were different from mine.”
Now, Sir, the difference might not have mattered but upon your departure from Indonesia anti-American riots broke out, and they will continue to break out and more and more and more until and unless we find it possible to depart just a little from so-called “diplomacy” and indulge, just a little, in actual humanity.
The America of today will have nothing of the policies and views of our own Presidents Washington, Monroe and Wilson and are even departing from the ideals of the late Franklin D. Roosevelt. This makes us both a laughing-stock and a subject of derision abroad. What happens in friendly Panama will certainly happen more and more and more in Nations not so friendly. I was in North Bombay during the election campaign there and nobody in this land wants to know the truth—the truth is hidden and so does not make us free.
It is terrible and it shows we have no faith in any God that we can sit down with all Aryan peoples, no matter what their politics and policies are, and we cannot and do not so sit with other peoples. We had a conference on Asia (so-called) in Northern California and a conference on Africa (so-called) in Southern California last year and it seems we cannot do without American newspaper men, European professors and British diplomats. This is not sarcasm, this is policy. As to Americans who have lived in those parts of the world, or the Nationals themselves, they are seldom given any attention. This was in marked contrast to Loy Henderson who held a conference on Africa limited to State Department officials and Africans. This to me is humanity, no matter what views are expressed.
Recently the World Affairs Council had an American who lived in Indonesia speak on Indonesia. This is their new policy, seldom used elsewhere. The man was not only acquainted with the subject-matter but he proved point by point that everybody who challenged him was wrong.
In contrast to this were the Peace Corps candidates (this is not a criticism of the Peace Corps per se) who were briefed (???) for Indonesian field work by no Indonesians but, of course, by at least one European professor! How in God’s name are we ever going to communicate with a Nation with that preparation?
Mr. Attorney-General, the most useless words of your late lamented brother were these:
“It is not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”
It is practically impossible. Oh yes, I could enter India and immediately call on the President and sit down with him. Oh yes, I am entrusted with two epochal research jobs by top officials of Asia, but this is apart from my country, its diplomacy and even its culture. I have been to more “secret” places than any other American, I have probably met more Asians than any other American, but it is exceedingly difficult to suggest we follow in the slightest:
a. Dale Carnegie
b. Oswald Spengler
c. Jesus Christ
If we did, your mission to Indonesia would not be needed and the cold war would end tomorrow.
Samuel L. Lewis
(Ahmed Murad Chisti)
January 14, 1964
There is a microscope which distinguishes tiny bits of space and there is a camera which distinguishes tiny bits of time. There is within man a great instrument which he does not use, and which appears in the scriptures. It has become unknown, more unknown than the esoteric knowledge because we are too much interested in the interpretation of scriptures by others or in the personalities involved. Buddha said: “Work out thy salvation with diligence” but instead we are still often teenagers that watch the crowd.
Mystical sciences have become occult and then esoteric. The culture of the day gives authority to college professors to interpret the Eastern wisdoms (and even the Western wisdoms) in which they have not been trained. You can know all the Sanskrit words in existence without touching any of the superior states of consciousness. The heart is concerned only with the superior states of consciousness.
Now you are studying Buddhism and the Lord Buddha took as his ko-an the suffering of the entire humanity. People do not want to do that and often it is choice rather than incapacity. We all verbalize the “law of cause-and-effect” and then when somebody like Dr. Chaudhuri gets sick we cannot face that law because it interferes with the popular behavior-pattern which gives prowess to personality. I have seen the tragedy of Dr. Nicholas Roerich and others because of this. Even the assassination of President Kennedy was very, very simple when you look at the law of karma and the occult view. There was nothing mysterious about it at all. The Universal Justice prevails.
The science of breath is accentuated in the sacred Books of the Hindus and is kept from humanity by its acceptance of selected persons to “explain” it them, which they cannot. But those who have crossed the portals of the gate’s own wisdom can nonetheless use this compact, profound science and its wisdom, and there is one aspect which transcends time and transcends space, and yet is very simple.
Yesterday I wished to introduce some of the profound wisdom in a simple way—the profound is often simple. I could not so it was time to use the breath and not the sight or the mind. It is time to dispel, just on teeny occasions our roadblocks to the Gita. The Gita says not to use the mind and the senses and all the students of Gita use the mind and the senses, so they are left with empty shells, and sometimes ego-conceit, but not with the profound wisdom.
The breath is a profound, absolute and pure way of communication from all planes of existence to all other planes. I looked and saw the cause-of-suffering of Della Goetz and the vision which accompanies the breath opened up.
a. You are a little child, one passionately drawn to the doors of love. But you are confused. Your father is noble, stem, moral, righteous but not soft, nor tender. To him there is a truth, but it is no the truth of love and though he uses all the right words, he has none of the right truths in himself. You love your father but when the love changes to admiration it brings some sore spots; you want to love, not to admire your father.
Your mother is softer and more love but not idealism. She gives you comfort but it is not the deep comfort you want, and you want because it is the real You that so wants. And when your parents are inharmonious it tears you.
So you go to your grandfather and sit on his knee. There is some comfort in sitting on the grandfather’s knee. You don’t even have to tell him and instead of telling him your troubles, which you feel he knows, you speak about yourself. He listens and is kind. Your parents wouldn’t understand, they understand neither each other nor themselves, how can they understand you.
b. You grow up and are married. You have found the love you are seeking both in yourself and the husband. The life has been adjusted. God is good. You realize externally what you have sought. You are happy, you are almost blissful. But alas, the shadows come and the night. And instead of being a loving and beloved housewife you have to take on the family responsibilities and weights. And it is very hard for the heart to command when the world demands the hand. So you have the double existence of housewife and career woman. Instead of crushing you it brings growth; you are not always aware of it, but there it is.
c. The happiness of many women comes to fruition and fulfillment in the child. You have the child. He is a good child, a happy child and you find some adjustment and compensation there. If you haven’t had the parents, if you had to carry the burdens in marriage, you are finding the happiness of motherhood.
But now even that is removed. Instead of bliss, problems and you almost stand bare, naked and alone.
Christ said “love brings light” and Buddha said: “Light brings love” and you make two of these. The mind says they are one, thinks they are two. And what the mind thinks dominates over what it says, or the tongue says. Then the heart and breath tremble, and Mountsalvat is not ascended.
Every day you are chanting. Jesus has said, “Do not perform vain repetitions as do the heathen” and yet this is exactly what is done. The chanting is beneficial and it is useless. The rules have been incorporated into the Mantram, and the Dharani of great power is lost. And you memorize what is neither Sanskrit nor Japanese nor English and repeat over and over again. And then when conversation begins whatever was and is in the actual Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutra, instead of being the light which lightens the room of conversation, is stored away in the closet and one proceeds in the darkness.
Now I have learned the Walks, and there are the Walks under karma and there are the Walks under salvation. These two stand distinct. The Walks under karma can be analyzed and learned and mastered, or they can master us. The Walks under salvation can be learned and mastered but not analyzed. When you were in love, could you analyze the walks you took to your beloved, or the walks your child took to you?
But there are these Walks and they will be taught in the Orient and to a few people here. And for these Walks either there must be an understanding of the breath or the Breath will bring the understanding of the Walks.
Do you know what Dhammapada means? I am sorry, but now everybody throws the word “Hinayana” and Hinayana has come to mean such a bad thing. A man can call himself Buddhist and break all the teachings of Lord Buddha and yet nobody is supposed to criticize him. But let the word “Hinayana” out and everybody looks at it just as Christians look at the word pagan.
Dhammapada means “walking in the footsteps of the Dharma.” There have been men who have deliberately walked first in all the places where Lord Buddha walked and then where Buddhism traveled. And they walked. They did not use automation, and they thought they would pick up through the Walk and some say this adds merit and although I do not generally accept merit this is a merit indeed. But now we don’t walk excepting a little Zen walk during Sesshin. So we don’t know how they magnetism of the different planes of existences passes through our feet, either from within without or from without within.
The mind blocks the freedom of the breath and we forget that “spiritual” means that which has to do with the breath. It originally had no other meaning. But as soon as we accept the authority of men who do not know the breath, we accept the popular intellection, we cannot know the breath, and all it brings, which is tremendous.
I have left with you one book of my first teacher. It has many things, it omits many things. You don’t memorize your textbooks (though you might), you teach their contents. The same with wisdom. You have to learn to teach and when you can teach it you have it and when you have it you can teach it.
The academy served a divine purpose and a diabolic purpose. The subject-matter was divine; the methodology was diabolic. This cannot be helped. It is only when you approach the scriptures you find tremendous differences.
It is strange that only the poets are interested in the Hindu scriptures. The Swamis, the Pundits, the professors want you to study through them and they make a place of intercession. But if you had the true teachers they would show you how to actualize and then you could make use of the wisdom you have.
And where did I learn the Hindu Wisdom? From a few glances by Sokei-an Sasaki.
Someday the Eightfold Path may be unfolded.
58 Harriet St.,
San Francisco 3, Calif.
January 18, 1964
Rev. John Mangram,
2041 Larkin St.,
San Francisco 9, Calif.
My dear Rev. Mangram:
I must thank you for your patience in answering in detail some things for which I should be satisfied with principles. From the analytical point of view perhaps all men differ, but this reply will be mostly from (a) the devotional; (b) the integral; (c) the mystical.
Let me say, to begin with there is enough harmony, there is enough satisfaction, there is even “faith” to warrant my coming to worship at your church—let us say, on occasions. But from the analytical point of view I am most inconsistent, having worshipped with almost all faiths, not only those that are known here but others; and getting partial satisfaction at least.
If one wanted analytical satisfaction he would probably land with either the Roman Catholic or Unitarian Churches in the end. But prayer and devotion—at least my own—do not demand agreement in views, but in attitudes. I love to pray with people who have harmonious attitudes, whether they define their terms or not. Besides, as I think I have written, your church satisfies half my religion—i.e. where people of all races, and classes and divisions come together and it does not matter to me how or why they come together as that they have come together.
I have failed to find “The Apostles’ Creed” in the Bible, and I have found some people who say they believe only in the Bible, the whole Bible, no more and no less repeating the Creed. But as I have never said I believe just in the Bible, or in all of it, I can recite the creed. Nor do I see anything in the way of repeating the Lord’s Prayer with whomsoever, howsoever, wheresoever.
Outside my inner life long ago I read “The Meaning of God in Human Experience” and “Varieties of Religious Experience.” My only objections to experience—and this is my objection and not necessarily God’s—is where the threshold of consciousness is lowered and one indulges in emotional intoxication.
As to philosophy, I do not accept premises of “good” and “bad,” am today very anti-Manichean, and have noticed through long years all kinds of characters worshipping in all kinds of devotional edifices. As I have never seen anybody excluded from any church for breaking the Ten Commandments, much less the Sermon on the Mount—or the moral code of Buddhism, etc. but excluded for quite different reasons—I have accepted the norm of behavior rather than the norm of ideal. But in the end believe all persons will reap in exact counterbalance for what they have sown, either here or in the hereafter, plus the element of Grace which may not be subject to logic or argument.
From this point on I am on dangerous or hallowed ground and it is unfair to say which. My study of religion started before I entered grade school, and that is a long time ago, and it is still on. I have met religious and spiritual leaders of all faiths, worshipped with them, communed with them and even lectured from pulpits. I am almost like Walt Whitman’s “The Song of the Answerer” and I should much prefer showing my poetry than prose, which makes me as totally inconsistent or enlightened and again it is not fair to draw my own conclusions.
For example there is an edifice in Fatehpur Sikri in India which the Emperor Akbar built so all faiths could worships there, together or apart or both. And when I last visited it I danced and many saw me. The reaction there was marvelous, but this was not in America.
“The Gospel of St. Thomas” suits me as much as any scripture, but I repeat the phrase suits me. Or my last two lectures on the Bhagavad Gita were discrete: “Many lecture on the Gita, few become the Gita”—this, incidentally accepted in India, but not here where a college education is supposed to grant one privileges of explaining exotic scriptures but knowledge of religion the accepted faiths.
Anyhow I was long a member of the World Congress of Faiths, London, an organization which might interest you. But here again, I do not think it necessary to indulge in comparative religion or cosmic mysticism—at least not for worship. In worship one bows down and serves.
My life is now dedicated to trying to solve food problems, which was the last teaching of Jesus Christ; and also to the last teaching of Buddha, “Work out they salvation with diligence.” But I do not demand agreement.
As to the mystical experiences, they are better expressed in poetry than in prose, and as yet in America the mystic is not often given platform and forums so he keeps quite, worships with others, listens to them, agrees or disagrees, but what is in his heart-of-hearts remains silenced.
Hoping to see and hear you at a not too distant date,
God bless you,
Samuel L. Lewis
58 Harriet St.,
San Francisco 3, Calif.
January 20, 1964
Russell G. Smith,
Director, Asia Foundation
550 Kearny St.,
San Francisco 11, Calif.
My dear Mr. Smith:
I noticed in the paper this morning that you have been selected to be the active Director of Asia Foundation, and I am taking this opportunity to ask for a favor, if you will.
While our relations with many Asian countries seem to end inevitably in impasses, there are a few Americans who have been successful in winning the hearts and minds of Asians, having lived among them and been curious, if not humble enough, to study their folk-ways and wisdoms. Among them is Jacob Feuerring who is now in San Francisco, not so much with ambitious plans as being the actual representative of actual Asians, and so on a mission.
At the present time his most obvious mission is to raise funds for Tibetan refugees who are the unfortunate victims of political disasters. But they suffer in one more measure than other such victims in that they have to adapt their bodies, as well as their minds and hearts, to totally different environments. I have met some of these people myself and realize that even if they are otherwise cared for, they may be in danger of tuberculosis or other diseases.
In any event Mr. Feuerring is giving a public performance on the night of January 31 at the Veterans Auditorium. He shows five reels of color-films actually taken in Tibet some time before the occupation. He may also on that occasion or on another occasion play parts of his program: “Music Around the World,” and I know no one, not even our own Henry Cowell, who has made such an objective study of Asian music.
There is a part of Mr. Feuerring’s career which is most unfortunate—for our country. There is no way by which an American living in Asia can inform and warn his country of impending dangers. We have instead the State Department, the Press, the CIA and the Army, all in conflict and none of them open enough to receive unwelcome news. Mr. Feuerring is the third American in regard to Tibet who has tried in vain to inform, and been no more successful than Nicol Smith (who was once with Intelligence) or the fiction writer, Talbot Mundy.
In addition to this Mr. Feuerring comes from London where he has spent some time with Dr. G. Malalasekera. This gentleman and I began our Buddhist studies with one Mr. T. Kirby. Kirby tried in vain to warn Americans of Japanese plots and ended by abandoning our shores and giving up Japanese Buddhist studies.
Kirby’s career was followed by one Robert Clifton who tried in vain to warn the United States, and he had just two interviews in the whole United States, one with Mrs. Meyer in Washington and the other with the World Affairs Council here. He was rejected everywhere until it was found he was a third cousin by marriage with Senator Fulbright. He was so disgusted that he gave up his American citizenship.
Dr. Malalasekera was as well acquainted with Clifton as with Kirby and tried in vain to show Adlai Stevenson that America would not and could not influence foreign lands if it did not trust its own citizens—and it does not. And at this moment my friend and I are two outlets for Dr. Malalasekera who is regarded as friendly toward Moscow, when he is merely disgusted with our subjective attitude toward friendly warnings.
But there is another thing: it is now a simple and easy matter for the Chinese communists to go around and tell nationals that the American “Imperialists” are out to destroy their religion and culture. And we are cooperating with the communists in every way. It will only be in March, for the first time, that local citizens will be able to hear some Muslims explain their religion and culture.
Some time ago I wrote Russ that I hoped to see him. But my colleague in Pakistan, Major Sadiq, has suffered from two motor-car accidents. He is coming to this country as soon as he is released and wishes to make a detailed examination of Agriculture in California. To this end I am trying to see Henry Schacht in Berkeley, and Mr. Stevenson at the Foreign Trade Section, Chamber of Commerce here, this week, as well as others.
Major Sadiq will also represent the University of Islamabad, but at this moment it is not clear how he will be serving either the Pakistan authorities or the President. Behind the scenes we are very closely connected with President Ayub, and run into the weird situation in this country of having our credentials ignored, especially when “we” select European professors for Oriental culture.
Later in the year my god-daughter wishes to enroll in Berkeley to get her Ph.D. I have accepted the good-will of your staff here as I thought it would be better for her to study elsewhere but she wishes to come here. She is not only beautiful and talented but has won prizes in both national and international (All-Asian) contests.
I am hoping that either you or somebody on your staff will be willing to greet Mr. Feuerring should I bring him to your offices.
S. A. M.
Samuel L. Lewis
January 23, 1964
Beloved One of Allah:
As-salaam aleikhum. Monday was spent in Berkeley which is about nine miles from San Francisco, across our Bay. In the morning I visited the Agricultural Extension Department mostly concerning either Major Sadiq or my own researches and it proved to be a very happy occasion. There is no doubt that Allah is blessing his coming.
After that I called on my god-son, Norman, who lives nearby and he also took me around, very fortunate because he has a motor car and you cannot take taxis around the campus and leave them there—and it was raining most of the time.
There have evidently been some changes in organization following the pattern of the University of California at Los Angeles. Pakistan is still a sort of “no man’s land” but so is India also today. It is awakened because in Agriculture and Ecology Pakistan belongs to dry west Asia and in languages and meteorology, it is closer to India and East Pakistan is even closer to S.E. Asia.
It must please Muslims that the scientific and agricultural work I am doing links your country closer to Persia and Arabia than to India—this is not intentional, but the problems of salinity, water, soils and agriculture point more in that direction.
There is a peculiar point here, that both in Los Angeles and Berkeley I found the authorities rather stiff and formal, but not in the Washington institutions. However the lady at the Department of Graduate Studies was very warm. My agricultural contacts are so warm and human; it is hard to comprehend such differences. But those who are dealing with food problems are always closer to humanity than those with languages.
I have not made inquiry but if possible would suggest you investigate studies in Linguistics or I may take this up with Prof. Sharma to whom I have sent copy of the other letter. This letter is formal for obvious purposes and my legal name is attached. Pir Dewwal Shereef has told me in person he would like to have a course in Linguistics at Islamabad University and I also hope to find a teacher here but have not been very successful.
I do not know who is now in charge of the offices of Asia Foundation on the Mall but sometimes the American is also a graduate of the University of California.
After mailing this I am lunching with a Colonel Cowgill who wishes to know about Alcoholism in South Asia. He is the father-in-law of one Felix Knauth who was long on the staff of Government College, Abbottabad, Hazara. Having alike homes in Abbottabad and San Francisco we became fast friends and he is now in charge of the Peace Corps training for Pakistan.
We have just had a fierce rain-storm but now the sun is shining just like Springtime. May Allah bless you and help you in everything,
Sufi Ahmed Murad-Chisti
January 24, 1964
The difference between the Christian and Buddhist interpretation of “Leave thy neighbor as thyself” is that the former try it by intensity and the latter by identity. For thirty-five years I had the identify feeling with the late Phra Sumangalo (although there was some intensity too.) His last wishes were that I “father” his flock and instead this one man wanted me to brother him, and the next thing I found was that this became the relationship of social rather than spiritual brotherhood.
There may be something karmic that I had just completed my letter to Iru when you came. My protests have all been taken as personal and there is not the least objection to non-Buddhists taking the personality objection. But it was not that at all. To begin with I do not object to anybody rejecting anything I say, do or think. But I do object to these objections when the rejections come in the name of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha and the same persons, while rejecting the ego, accepted in the name of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, personalities and teachings which are at variance with any of the many teachings in the whole orb of Buddhism.
Years ago the late Shaku Soyen introduced the Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters. It appears in his “Sermons of the Buddhist Abbot.” It has been republished in Taiwan and a spiritual sister has sent for a copy for me. It comes in two volumes of excellent Buddhist texts but the cost is $14, slightly beyond me at the present moment.
The teaching in this Sutra is the operations of karma within the spheres of hierarchy. This hierarchy is established is the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. A cosmic evolution is established and references to it I have found in the Hongaji Manual, which is not studied by the Sanghas and so remains outside their ken.
I called attention to the simultaneous operation of this Sutra that when those Vietnam monks immolated themselves they were destroying the Diem family. “Love thy neighbor as thyself” operates on an identity basis, not on a separateness cum passion. But my so-called “Buddhist” colleagues have retained the Greco-Christian outlook.
The same happened here also. One of the “accepted” Buddhist monks (???) is a retired Hindu business man who finds it very convenient to go around in the yellow robe and discourse on anything in public, and he does. He is the accepted type of Buddhist. I found it was impossible to protest and the next thing his host had a heart attack, which follows the teaching of the Sutra above. Now the Sanghas here have gone further—having “accepted” a retired Hindu business man as a Buddhist teacher (but not this person); they have accepted a Parsi whose father was on the FBI list and whom I doubt has even ever left this country. But he sends out leaflets as Buddhist documents, ergo they are Buddhist documents and they are read and used as being Buddhist literature. And while I have no objection to anybody rejecting my person—with years of background—this continual acceptance of persons, ordained or not ordained—who wear robes is and will continue to be a tragedy.
The farce continued. Having learned to actualize the aureoles of Lord Buddha, I am planning a meeting wherein to show people the reality of these aureoles. I do it by means of a bell, borje (vajra) and candle. I shall not do this until after Chinese New Year because I whish to cooperate with the Universal Church in this regard. But after a number of efforts to address Sangha here just on my conversations with Buddhist teachers—nothing of my own views—and being rejected, I planned a secret meeting. Somebody blabbed and now I have a lot of people wanting to hear me after all efforts to get them to invite me to give a valid talk failed. So sooner or later I shall give a largely attended ᾀ?secret” meeting. My whole position for years has been against establishing another Sangha. I have seen death and heart attacks to those who tried it before, and it is only my Fudo strength that prevents this again.
My argument—and it has failed—that there are 4500 Buddhist scriptures, and none of them are being studied in eight Sanghas in San Francisco can only lead to more dire karma. Recently I was asked to light incense and when I did this “In the name of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha” the official blanched! Only the Honganji use the Triratna. The Chinese don’t, the Americans (English speaking don’t). And while the present Zen leader is a noble man, he has made some changes from the services of his processor who at least used the Triratna in Japanese and recited the Prajna Paramita Sutra correctly—this is no more.
Now Jacob Feuerring is here, trying to raise funds for the Tibetan refugees. He knows everybody and spent three days with Dr. Malalasekera. I won’t go into the story of Dr. M. here but may sometime. The communists have invaded the Buddhist ranks all over and are finally successful in Burma. Even those in Ceylon are now troubled. My very good friends, Princess Poon Diskul has taken over.
I am about to write the Zendo here suggesting a travel fund. The plan is to have a world WBF conference in Hawaii in 1966. I have been willing to given them $10 to start and the personal response is favorable so far. But I have another reason for writing:
The late Nyogen Senzaki died under peculiar conditions and left a library and some funds. His heirs—and I know this to be true anyhow—want to restore the Mentorgarten. This would mean today, in practice, the opening of a Buddhist library from which people could draw books, and the library would be directed by an attendant who must know how to meditate. Although theoretically I am the sole person here with credentials, this is only true in the sense that I am the sole person who would be free in the afternoons to care for it. The object would be not to have night meetings that would conflict with any Buddhists group whatsoever.
There is an ample fund for the library and its upkeep and for other related purposes. But the Mentorgarten was also a clearing house for both Asian persons and Asian problems and also to help Americans cooperate with Japanese in both Buddhist holidays and their own folk holidays. But it seems not even a substantial I sum has any effectiveness in inducing so-called “Buddhists” here to study some form—any form—of valid Buddhism.
I have written Iru that in principle there is no difference between phonies taking over in American and communists in Asia. He himself knows about the enemies of his own teacher, persons who set themselves up as Buddhists, established Sanghas and taught anything at all. Now he has gone into the same nonsensical stream.
The Lord Buddha refused to discourse in the presence of drunks and dips and pimps. With all his compassion he did not permit these people into the Sangha, or even into the ranks we should call svarakas (sramanas). Today a phony “compassion” permits anything and anyone not only to attend meeting but to address audiences.
The means our direct participation in the very samsaric whirl against which Tathagata protested. And while in a sense we cannot stop communists from invading Buddhist ranks in Burma and Vietnam, we should try to keep our own groups clear and clear. I can understand now why Dr. Eidmann, who has the greatest intellectual grasp of Mahayana, keeps away from allocations, ceremonies and robes. He has accused people of being interested in power and not enlightenment. He does not even advertise his own public appearances but leave this to others. But when it comes to patience, knowledge and clarity nobody outranks him. It is only that he accepts the Shinshu point of view: often the layman devotee has higher spiritual wisdom than the cloaked or robed monk.
You are entirely correct in assuming that I would not only be willing to cooperate with you, but without even having to make suggestions. Every time I go into a Buddhist meeting and they do not repeat the Triratna I feel all the suffering and tribulation of the whole world. I have withdrawn from Rev. Too Lun for a while because of the attitude toward one Mrs. Sigeliev who is my elder Sister in Dharma. Right and wrong do not come into this, the Dharma is Dharma, I find much to praise in the Zendo but the attention is on the successors of the Sixth Patriarch and not on the Sutras and Vinaya although these are held in respect. I am still cooperating at the Universal Church for China New Yearᾀ?this is the largest and most active group, but I object to their non-cooperation with other Buddhists. Yet their Dr. Fung is Vice-President of the WBF. The Japanese group is more open, but I am back where Dwight Goddard was. I did ask Iru to ask Princess Poon Diskul to visit this country but now I am wondering. Your letter has restrained me from writing to Dr. Malalasekera.
There is a Jewish saying: “We escaped the jaws of the lion to fall into the clutches of the bear.” Alan Watts has gone and still we have little pure leadership.
I have practically told Iru that I would no longer cooperate with him but would teach him. I could teach his teacher and did. But then I can name quite a few persons whose teachers I have taught and who will accept me only as an inferior—and what I want is identity as above, Ekayana.
Samuel L. Lewis
January 25, 1964
Beloved One of Allah,
There are a number of things and events happening now very quickly which form a harmony and which give what we could call today semantic significance to inshallah. Therefore you will find enclosed the two pages of Gatha, Series I, #3 on Naqshibandi or Symbology. I do not know at the moment whether the commentary will be enclosed or be revised, for since you Murshid originally wrote the commentary he has gone through many processes and changes and neither his Ilm nor Hikmat nor even makam are the same.
A good deal in this study are now autobiographical. If you think your Murshid is a popular man this may be mistaken. All of efforts to get people to come to his lectures have heretofore failed, and now a very funny thing has happened. There is a man here named Mischa and you Murshid knew him as a boy and he was both very self-centered and at the same time spiritually minded. He went away into the wilderness for 20 years and has returned a strong, sterling Jelali soul, but with a noble outlook.
Your Murshid has been discussing a very occult subject that he would invite a few people and he told Mischa. He did not tell Mischa to keep it a secret and Mischa spoke out loud and in a few minutes a member of people came and asked to come to the secret meeting and now this has taken on very serious, if humorous dimensions. Anyhow it will not be given this month because now your Murshid is assisting a man of the same caliber who goes to Asia and tries to build up friendships on both the material and spiritual aspects of life and is giving a musical recital and public lecture next week.
And the next thing in the paper is notable that the crucifixion precedes the resurrection. Now your Murshid has experienced those things actually as well as symbolically and has been taken through many mysteries of many religions. Of course the crucifixion of Jesus is not historical but follows the Egyptian and perhaps later mysteries. And it also has come indirectly in poetry and “Saladin” depicts fana-fi-Rassoul.
And though you Murshid has not many close admirers everybody remarks that he does not seem to grow older. This is more Grace than ryazat or effort, for Allah has given the Grace first through Khizr and then through Isa actually and not symbolically and the resurrection has followed the crucifixion. But also your Murshid has met some very old sages who have gone through these processes. And there is no exact way of showing people how to live long for this does not bring assurance or probation. Without the Grace they are nothing.
At the moment your Murshid is not having the ego-suffering but all around him many friends are having accidents and heart-attacks, and while you Murshid’s health has been fine and his strength even increasing, he does not find anybody who will submit to the discipline (tarikat) which will make it possible for them. But perhaps this is in preparation for Major Sadiq’s coming, that all things negative things happen.
And the next thing is that while Hazrat Inayat Khan wrote that an artist subscribes his creations to Allah, in humility but not modesty one must here relate the personal history. Hazrat Inayat Khan asked your Murshid to write commentaries on his writing, and your Murshid could not. Then exactly three years after his death he manifested and began dictating these commentaries, according to the capacity of your Murshid. And neither the language nor the wisdom belong to you Murshid but are products of fana-fi-Sheikh and tasawwuri Murshid.
And the same is true of the Part II of “Saladin” which was not inspiration but a direct transmission from Rassoul-Lillah in fana-fi-Rassoul and Tasawwur. In this sense it is questionable how far man is a creator and how far an instrument. Or again your Murshid is writing a paper on the architect Frank Lloyd Wright; and this seems personal. But during the week a retired military officer sent for him to write on “Alcoholism in the Different Religions and their Teachings thereon” and one cannot say whether this belongs to the personal or impersonal side of life.
Now this is the reason for writing: on March 7 the American Friends of the Middle East and the Arab Ladies are combining to have a big gathering an Arabic culture. Your Murshid discovered that the main speaker is one Professor Raoul Bertrand, a Frenchman, who taught at the American University of Beirut. This morning I telephoned him and he was very happy to hear about you and your possible coming here but at the moment he was not sure whether you have been in his classes—i.e. whether you were at Beirut when you were but he is going to look up his records.
In any event on appointment was made for February 11th and this is what one may call the semanticizing of inshallah, that it may be the Divine Will for you to come here. Nor will we have to wait until the March meetings to make further plans for you coming.
Part II of “Saladin” has been copied, in part for Consul-General Bashir of UAR and after he receives that we shall also discuss some matters.
Next morning. Due to having imbibed more wisdom both from Sufi teachers and from Allah it may be best to revise the commentary on this Gatha, so this will follow in an early posting, inshallah. Much attention is now being paid to the identity-love which is found among the Sufis, that we are often like one soul in several bodies. One awaits the writing of Hazrat Inayat Khan to see what has been published and what not published. As in the poem still to be written, the elements of Kalama contain the great truths. But now the sign that before this commentary is written it will be wise to copy some of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s teachings for Sufi Barkat Ali.
As-salaam aleikhum. With love and blessings,
January 28, 1964
My dear Adolph, Eva and Bobby:
I have Adolph’s letter of the 21st and am very glad to have the news. I am working on food problems and run into a very strange situation; it is exactly is accord with C. P. Snow’s The Two Cultures. For example last week I went to the Agricultural Department of the University of California and was given a royal welcome—I mean just that, for the men accepted at once that I carry a message from top flight officials abroad. I have not had a single favorable reply from any newspaper man, State Department official or social scientist. But this is not a complaint, this is standard practice.
In November a group of us who had lived in Asia staged a public revolt and it was not even a push-over, it was holocaust and we did not want that. We just want human communication. I instead of that we are seeing Chou En Lai, very successful in human communication. It has nothing to do with communism.
Just before Christmas I said a few words about Nehru’s spiritual teacher who has been my host. The crowd applauded wildly and I sat down immediately. I even said where anybody could go to meet him—it is not a secret. It has been made a secret because nobody from the State Department or press will call at the place.
Now I am waiting for my Pakistani colleagues to come here and we may tour the state in detail in connection with food problems.
My closest friend (Zen Flesh, Zen Bones) Paul Reps has been here campaigning for the Osawa diet. He found that I had already accepted it, purely by trail and error. It is based on brown rise. They claim it cures many diseases. I don’t know and anyhow I have not many diseases. But I think the problems of Nutrition deserve top priority. Actually the University of California is leading in agricultural research today, but this applies to growing and marketing, not to intake.
I am glad to here from Vincent but am going to have some difficulty doing anything about it. I have copied Part II of my own last epic for some private distribution. Everybody says I shall make the grade. But my esthetic efforts have changed, giving up folk dancing for interpretative (at my age); and going to art school. I go twice at night and once in the day. The School (operated by a life-long friend) is very progressive. My first theme this term is on Frank Lloyd Wright and my second theme is on contemporary composers. You would find many kindred spirits here.
Last summer I was in Mendocino which is almost a Western correspondent to your Camp Site It has modern art and Israeli dancing, as well as fishing but very limited swimming (undertow).
In addition to four projects for Pakistan (and I can’t drop any of them yet), my god-daughter is coming here this year according to all plans.
According to the form of Islamic (it may be just folk-) law in Pakistan, although a stranger may not meet women, an exception is made concerning orphans and in particular orphan women who have no brothers. If the girl is married she can be adopted as sister and if she is unmarried as daughter.
My god-daughter is Miss Khawar Khan and she is opulent enough to have become owner of Gandhi’s old home in Lahore. While I was there she won an international Philosophical award and last year a Pan-Asian Psychological Award. She wishes to come here for her Ph.D. I wanted her to go to Washington but she wanted to be near me, and also the weather is favorable all the year around (it still is). Well I have just run into a professor who taught at the University of Beirut where she matriculated and it seems all plans for her coming are proceeding OK. Yes, she is beautiful, but she is very religious and that is one reason, in addition to her having brains, which has stood in the way of marriage. Only Bobby must know I have unwittingly two god-sons here—what am I to do? I also have one in Pakistan.
Am glad to find Eva hooking rugs. I hope your house is suitable for meeting the winter.
I may appear in public in that picture soon. Also gradually showing pictures from Japan. The Buddhist world situation is very complex. The people who write the books never meet the religious leaders. The communists have taken over many temples and there may be a world conference in Hawaii in 1966. The Zen temple here is growing and prospering. And this week a friend of mine is showing pictures from Tibet which he visited just before the Chinese took over. Lowell Thomas is also trying to raise funds but he gave such a false picture of that country (and other countries) that we do not realize the harm in it. The way to write about people is to meet them first.
I like Vincent’s poetry, which is full of the repose so badly needed, but for the moment I have given up literature for art, and … if I know why. There is a Turner exhibit on and also will be attending more art lectures this week.
Samuel L. Lewis
S. A. M.
58 Harriet St.,
San Francisco 3, Calif.
January 31, 1964
Hon. Abdul Sattar,
Secretary, Embassy of Pakistan,
My dear Friend:
As-salaam aleikhum. There are a number of factors which impel me to write at this time and perhaps none of them need replies.
Yesterday I met a young anthropologist who leaves today for Ghana. He is going to fly across Africa, then to Cairo, then across Asia. I gave him Minto’s address and then suggested he call on you. Also that you might give him some information as to how to reach Harappa. Apparently he will cross northern Pakistan and then proceed to India.
He does not intend to go to Karachi, but I told him that Dr. Bryan, Director USIS at the Embassy is an amateur anthropologist and could help him with regards to Mahenjo Dara and Baluchistan. I also gave him the address of Dr. Abdul Rahman, Pushtu Academy; and the Khans who own Tahkt Bhai. You no doubt remember Jamshyd Khan who visited this city along with Abdul Rahman. As for ‘pindi and Lahore I gave him the name of friends.
Major R. Mohammed Sadiq is my closest spiritual friend. He is leaving the service and would have been here some time ago but he has had two motor car accidents.
Project A. He is a spiritual healer and also hopes to use this means to spread knowledge of the higher aspects of Islam.
Project B. He hopes to represent certain American corporations and directly or indirectly take part in the building of Islamabad. He is already closely associated with the elder son of President Ayub Khan.
Project C. He will be representing Islamabad University with which President Ayub is also associated, at least sentimentally. I have copy of Pakistan Times of September 15 last in which the President has expressed himself forcefully and directly.
Myself. I am also a representative of this institution and so at least indirectly am connected with your President. But I have now written in regard to the place of Islam in a progressive society. There is no doubt that I shall be received on a large scale when I return, date quite uncertain now.
Miss Khawar Khan is my god-daughter and also spiritual disciple. I shall omit here how and why we met. She has been planning to come to American to work for her PhD. in Islamics. She wants to be in this region partly because of the weather and partly because of personal trust.
My dear Khalifa:
As-Salaam aleikhum. Despite several strident and harsh notes it is evident that a Beneficent Deity favors your coming here; or at least many signs have been given, especially those last few days. And you can see why this person has not time for ordinary relaxation but must take it along with his disciplines and studies. This works no hardships, but may be out of the ordinary.
The other day a request was made by our friend Shams-ed-din Ahmad, for Bayat. Our Pir-o-Murshid Sufi Barkat Ali has suggested it and one is willing to take full responsibility. But there are several things to be understood. To begin with one must separate absolutely and without equivocation that Holy Qur’an is not the only book of revelation but is the final book of revelation. There is a difference. Anything whatsoever that is not in conflict with Qur’an may be taken as spiritual. Our good Messenger has said: “The word of Allah may abrogate the word of the Rassoul but the words of Rassoul may not abrogate the words of Allah.” And while President Ayub is asking why Islam has failed it is because of this and not for any other reason.
Shariat is not Fikr and Fikr is not Qur’an and the opinions of a community may be binding on the legal person but they are not binding on the soul. There are many institutions is Islam which come from the previous prophets and you have seen and done at Mecca what you to not read in Qur’an and which people say come from the Prophet Ibrahim. This is correct and even if it were not correct it would be expedient because there is nothing to disprove it.
The Bible says that God made man in His image. So when a person comes and asks for Bayat one must hold in mind that the work of the Murshid is to bring out the divine image in the soul of man. Ruh-Nur. If you look at the earth it is full of mountains and crags and ravines and all kinds of formations, and yet it is the creation of a Perfect Being. It is the analytical faculty of man which brings out the imperfections and it is the spiritual wide of man which reveals the perfections.
There is no compulsion in Tasawwuf. Mian Mir was the Pir-o-Murshid of all the family of Shah Jehan but they did not all turn out the same. Dara Shikoh tended toward universalism and Alangir turned to extreme sobriety. If we lean toward the politics we take sides and if we surrender to Allah we accept Divine Judgment. Aurugazeb introduced compulsion into religion and considered the path of madzub as sinful. He would not have been wrong if he had separated his careers as mureed, theologian and emperor. He did not. Therefore when somebody comes for Bayat and he tends toward the way of Dara Shikoh or the way of Alangir or any other way he is not turned aside for man has been made in the Divine Image.
The Murshid takes the responsibility for this. Only the mureed must confide in the Murshid and no in anybody else and therefore a preliminary questionnaire and test is given to sahib. His sins, weaknesses, shortcomings are either forgiven or the responsibility of his Murshid; but his sharing of his problems and his secrets with others, especially those in his family are not forgiven and this has to be made clear from the beginning.
The Way of Illumination. This has been republished in a larger volume and preliminary lessons are being made for him (copies for Sufi Sahib and yourself also, enclosed). He has to accept these lessons or reject them, and only so can the path be cleared. But otherwise it does not matter if he be orthodox, heterodox or universal. The Murshid, by guiding with proper practices opens up the inner eye to kashf and shahud.
Yet as it appears you may be coming here, inshallah, you will be absolved of all Khalifa functions unless you feel you have time and inclination—this until your return to Pakistan.
The Sufis by Sheikh Idries has been read, a long letter written to Robert Graves who wrote the forward, then after reading the book Part II, “Saladin” was sent to him.
This book has also been shown to Dr. Mawlawi, the descendent of Maulana Roum but will not be loaned until after the interview with Dr. Betrand on your behalf on Wednesday. On Tuesday another visit to the University of California with copy of you book on Urdu and preliminary inquiry as to the possibility of your teaching here. But I know beforehand they will need you credentials.
Avicenna. Mr. Fields, the owner of the book store who ordered the works of Hazrat Inayat Khan and found “The Sufis” for me showed me an excellent book on this philosophy. This has been placed on file. I think it will become an important adjunct to your perspective theses. It has a good deal to do with Miraj and the explanations, in effect, corroborate or are corroborated by Part II, “Saladin” as above. I think this is a very important sign.
The other evening a very important dignitary spoke on “Education in Asia” and your murshid challenged him in public, why were not inquiries and letters answered. He equivocated but in the meanwhile and important professor introduced himself to me. Inshallah, I shall telephone him Monday. Positional people are great on speeches, short on deeds. This may mean something for the University of Islamabad and other matters.
Rumor is that some young men are seeking me for Sufis studies. As the common people here are more concerned with glamour than discipline, there will be caution. The way has been made misty rather than mystical but well known persons who try to get a following and wealth and then mislead the multitudes. But this has been always. Yet there is no bad news, only a “plethora” of good news and it is very hard for a person working and being alone to accomplish everything. It is like the Biblical Jacob wrestling with the angel before he became Israel.
There is a “terrific” experience I am going through. This comes from selecting a single passage of the Hadith and meditating on it day and night. Now I have the choice of either sending a few such passages or waiting until you come and explaining the whole Irfan.
With love and blessings,
Sufi Ahmed Murad-Chisti
February 11, 1964
My dear Vocha:
So many things are happening and so fast that I have lost track of you.
Accidents, Illnesses. It started out that on the same day you had your accident so did my friend Major Sadiq in Pakistan. He was preparing to come here on a spiritual healing and also on an agricultural mission. Then it seems people around me were falling like ninepins, especially heart-attacks and some of these to non-smokers. It is certain that if the Major comes soon he will have his work cut out for him.
Buddhist Complexes. I was very uncertain here and when Kristine got into a problem I refused to intercede. She has since been here and heard Dr. Fung at the Universal Buddha Church. This man preaches respect to elders and some of the new advocates of what they call Buddhism have no respect for anybody. I told Kristine that she was my elder sister and did not have to justify herself to me. Actually I was an ear- and eyewitness at the every beginning and if there was an original misunderstanding it was not here fault.
Now when we started out at the Universal Buddha Church we had 30 workers and a big debt. The church is a magnificent structure, and out of debt today. This shows faith, insight and operative wisdom.
Many of the Chinese who are against the Fungs backed Too Lung. He was going to demonstrate more faith, more insight and more wisdom. It was up to him and when he assented to Kristine both she and I thought he had the insight—not necessary the money, to make a promise to her. It is certain that the Universal Church demonstrated and it equally certain that the other people did not. So both from a person point of view and a legal one, and then on top of it from the dharmic point of view she is entirely justified.
A colleague came up from Ojai. He has been battling against the same forces of ignorance as I have and was delighted with the Soto Zen and Universal Churches. Kristine also likes them. I introduced him to the Roshi and we meditated there too. He left quite satisfied with condition of Dharma here despite the ignoramuses with whom Kristine had words. So here again she has become justified.
My friend has been battling against Krishnamurti for years and his position in Ojai is harder than mine because of the psychic atmosphere. Here today I have too many cooperative persons among Buddhists to bother about the successors to Alan Watts who have college degrees, ignorance and egos.
What this has to do with religion I don’t know.
Islamics: Sufism. My long war against the European Professors of Oriental Philosophy is drawing to a successful close. Robert Grave has written a foreword (and I believe he collaborated too) on a work called The Sufism. It is very simple. The Sufis are and he and his colleague pointed out a lot of facts that contradict the excellent, well-worked and noble non-existent types described in the authoritative works of the day. It is just like the official book on Buddhism by Prof. Ward—honest, zealous, without prejudice and excellent historical material that says nothing about people.
Anyhow I have two interviews tomorrow thereunto.
My God-Daughter. Three letters in one month reporting successes, and we are planning for her coming here unless suddenly she goes to Iran. But this would interfere with my plans. It is really wonderful what has been happening here. I don’t wish to go into details. But this person who has met perhaps half a million Asians and who has spoken in many universities, too, cannot be by-passed.
Speaker Unruh spoke the other day on education in the Orient, what they want, what they need and what can be done. I asked him, “why does the State Department and Universities not answer inquiries?” “You wrote to the wrong people?” “Who are the right people?” Boy, that was an uppercut and I heard a lot of snickering. Must have been republicans. He hemmed and hawed and came up with a part-answer. But he will have to do better.
American National Anthem. I have been having a lot of fun.
Senator Goldwater: “Stop the earth I’m a getting off.”
Senator Smith: “Lady of Maine, I adore you.”
Both Parties: “Whatever you do, I can do better.”
I did get some leads from Unruh and start tomorrow on the Berkeley campus, but without assurance. The Chancellor his still to explain to me that every time I call on a scientist he doubles the time of our meeting and every time I call on non-scientist it proves that Snow is correct. My statements about myself continue: I am not that good and not that bad.
Arab Conference takes place next month. I shall put on regalia. Then people will listen. Without it I am a nobody. Clothes more than make the man. I know this is contrary to both Zen and Sufism, but sometimes you have to act that way. I feel very good about it.
Gavin is walking around with a cane.
Sorry I misplace your last and this may still find you at Edwards. I shall be glad when you are well. Plan to come south about March 20.
February 15, 1964
As-salaam aleikhum. Preparing for Bayat to be given to Shams-ed-din Ahmed of Lahore, there are some more pages of “The Way of Illumination” of Hazrat Inayat Khan. It is probable also that some of these lessons will be sent to my god-son in Rawalpindi who is a very close associate of major Sadiq and now spiritual step-brother also, begun with Sadiq so there is a close relationship all around. But I’m waiting for my definite words from major Sadiq who seems to be moving from place to place too rapidly to write. And although there is peacefulness within, there is not exact assurance of outer behavior.
But I am also writing because of two “miracles” which took place recently. On the first occasion a notable was speaking on education in Asia and I challenged him that neither universities nor the State (Foreign Affairs) Department answered inquiries of any sort. He said: “You have been writing to the wrong people.” “Who are the right people?” He had to seek an answer and a man sitting in front of me gave me his card and inshallah, I shall contact him next week both in regard to Miss Khawar’s coming and the University of Islamabad.
Then on another day I took Khalifa Khawar’s book on Urdu to the University of California. The office clerk said: “I am sorry. Professor Gompertz who must decide the matter is on sabbatical leave and we don’t know whether he will be in for three months at least.” Then the door opened and Prof. Gompertz came in and I gave him Khalifa’s book and we are to see each other Monday after which appointment and the appointment mentioned above I shall write in full to Khalifa.
This shows how much we work, or must work with inshallah and that there is always the divine guidance.
After going to post I go to a bookstore to pick up a work on Ibn Sima for Khalifa. It contains a good deal on Miraj and in a sense Miraj is the central theme of my personal (is there such a thing?) Islam. People celebrate Eid festivals and talk about the “Grand Night” but it is apart from their lives. Rassoul-lillah said: “I am a man like you,” but the bible says that Adam was created in the Divine Image, and as you have with you madzub Sahib you have an example of a man who lives perpetually in the “Grand Night.”
This book, The Sufis, recently published has much to say about Khwaja Khizr and Data Sahib and this will be of great value to me personally. I don’t know what will come out of the meeting on Arab culture to take place soon. There is an awkward situation because both Muslims and non-Muslims place the glory of Din in the past, and do not see that Allah is operating every moment, every breath. Our Zikrs are too much of history, too little of Allah.
Sufi Ahmed Murad-Chisti
My dear Khalifa:
As-salaam aleikhum. There is no compulsion in Islam and yet to me religion should be inshallah as far as possible. Your Murshid’s first desire was that you should attend university either in the Northeast of the United States or around Washington, preferably the latter. You have expressed desires and wishes inward and outward and one is certain that these desires and wishes may also be inshallah. If you had accepted your Murshid’s views—which are of his nufs and not his spirit, a stop-over in Iran either before or later would have accorded. And it may still be the divine Will that this be done.
However in recent letters your Murshid has concluded that Allah also wishes you to be in California. And in the letter attached written to Pir Sahib of Salarwala, you find two incidents mentioned, which would indicate this is so.
Also I was told to call on Prof. Metcalf of the History Department of the University of California who is in charge of South Asian Studies. And as Allah willed he was in his office and we had a fine visit. The policy of the University is that you have a year residence before teaching and to me this is the best.
But as regards to Urdu this is entirely in Prof. Gompertz’ hands and previous instructors in Urdu began teaching on arrival. So your Murshid is seeing him Monday, inshallah, by appointment and there will be another letter in this regard. Also on account of Prof. Metcalf whose office is close to that of Prof. Gompertz there was no visit to the other departments which are quite distant—on the same campus.
Or again the fact that there is also the book on Avicenna as well as the one on the Sufis mentioned and other things which would help if you came here. Your Murshid is not satisfied with most literature which shows a wonderful Islam of another time. Nobody acts as if there was any Glory of Allah any more, and yet in Cairo I had some miracles in regards to subhan Allah.
There is much more for both Sufi Sahib and yourself but this is just one person working alone in a vast country. Patience is therefore needed above all things.
February 26, 1964
My dear Vocha:
Pressures of all types have prevented me from keeping up with correspondence and I am not sure (having misplaced certain letters) whether this will catch you at Edwards or be forwarded or what. But among other things I saw Renee last week and while it is curious we seem to be working in very harmonious fields, we also seem to be undergoing the same sorts of pressures, hazards and blessings, and top it off with gaining the same type of friendships.
On March 7 there will be a conference here an Arab culture and I shall come out in public as a Sufi. Having had enough rebuffs I am taking the chance. Now if anybody thinks I am in the slightest paranoiac, they should hear this story:
Sheikh Idries has written a book on “the Sufis.” He is a Sufi. He lives in England. He has had the experiences and has written a manuscript about his experiences as a Sufi. He ran up against the “Supreme Court” of professors who dominate Islamic teaching at least in England, Canada and the United States. They are the “Supreme Court,” and they teach noble, suitable, unprejudiced nonsense. They are mostly linguists who can tell you exactly how much Persian and how much Arabic is in a famous manuscripts and that equips them to explain present day Islamic culture to a T.
The Sheikh heard about Robert Graves and went down to Mallorca and after some consultation Graves, convinced of the objective honesty of the writer, made a special trip to England and got him a publisher. It is a nasty story but Graves, knowing the adulation America has officially and unofficially for some veddy Englishman who are the first word and the last word in Islamic, is not very favorable to this country; he evidently knows about my “friends” the EPOOPS (European Professors of Oriental Philosophy) about whom I have been saying some sarcastic things but he is all out on the subject.
It is interesting to know that somebody has discovered that Negroes are now transferred from “things” to people but Buddha-heads are still things, in Korea and Vietnam and by this token we are suppose, but suppose what I do not know. And it is going to be some pumpkins that Grave has come out and said a spade is a spade and not an artifact and done so unequivocally what the reactions is going to be. Anyhow the philosophical correspondence has been set up and I shall hear later on what he says about my poetry.
Of course in Pakistan they want me to help revise the so-called “Encyclopedia of Islam,” a master work performed by English Scholarship, helped by a few Germans, Americans and on rare occasion, when compelled, an Arab. It is a wonderful guide book to wonderland, but it will not help you in Sudan.
In the meanwhile somebody gave me a book on Taoism and the last chapter is a Taoist view of present day American international policy. I am copying talks—for the Chinese. I am going to make a vague effort at reach some Americans, and know I can touch Asia Foundation.
Well Lottie and I have seen each other and she has dedicated her home to Soyen and her library either to Soyen or yours truly. I got a tip and called on Sensei Osa Noji (I think) who was purported to be a Rinzai teacher. Well I took out my credentials which have been rejected by every American and European but Ambassador Reischauer and as I used to write Alan Watts, it is remarkable how easy you can fool a real Zen monk. He believed everything on my credentials. The meeting concluded:
“Have you a Zendo?”
“I tried to have one but failed.”
“But you don’t need to look, I have a Zendo for you.”
“I cannot accept it.”
“I would have to get my Master’s permission.”
“Who is you Master.”
“My dear man, I brought you my credentials, we talked Prajna, and you want your Master’s permission. Who do you think owns this Zendo I am offering you?”
We agreed on many thinks from that point on proving it is easy to “fool” a Zen monk but not an “expert.”
Spent some time at the Universal Buddha Church setting up their Bazaar and dismantling it. At last Dr. Paul Fung who is both President of the Sangha and Vice President of the World Buddhist Federation let me speak and he is in full accord and more about the Epoops as above. But neither have I been able to convince the “experts” until recently that Dr. Fung is the Vice-President for the World Buddhist Federation and all these “phonies” whom they have been selecting as representatives of Buddhism represent nobody but themselves.
In the last mail I got more of this cross-current of egos claiming to represent Buddhism. Also received from Taiwan two volumes of Buddhist texts in Chinese and English. They are the best thing since Goddard but include a debate between a Buddhist and Christian which very debate negates what Lord Buddha stood for.
March 13, 1964
Saadia, Beloved of Allah:
As-salaam aleikhum. It has been necessary to write many letters recently warning the recipient that in all cases he must hold to the Salaam and not to the content of any communication. This is particularly true of a Murshid that he must try to guide without disturbing anybody yet one must explain a truth which is hard to understand if we consider man real.
There is a great danger without being a danger at all of overestimating a Murshid and finding also he is very human. The grandeur of the Seal did not prevent the loss of Ohod. And in the midst of a number of disturbances a young man applied for Bayat. And when your Murshid sat down with him your Murshid discovered that he was not a Murshid, he was not even a man, he was a Vehicle, a Voice that used his mind and body and out of it poured nothing but Wisdom, with no thought even. And during those interviews all he could feel was love, and if anything else but love, it was Oneness or as Sufi Inayat Khan used to say: “Murshid and Mureed are one.”
Externally the life is full of more difficulties than at any time and yet there is something peculiar, and one has to bear in mind, “Praise Allah in times of prosperity and resign to him in times of adversity.” And at the same time there is an alchemy of transformation, only it would seem that the Divine Grace, and not the person, produces this alchemy. So from the standpoint of logic and common sense all around seems very bad and yet the news is of a very different nature.
In the last report it was that there is a Professor in the Library of Congress that will undoubtedly want to see your films, or get copies of them on the Holy Places. This is one door.
Things got so bad for your Murshid that he was ill Tuesday night, and it was undoubtedly psychic if one believes in such things. The stars were in the worst position he has known. Yet the next day he was in an office and a man named Malik came in and he was from Teheran. He looked at me and said, “You look like a Dervish, I think you are a Dervish.” I said, “Yes, I have a spiritual name, Sufi Ahmed Murad.” “I thought so. You look just like the Sufis in Teheran my home town. There are a lot of Dervishes there and they look just like you and you look just like them.”
So you see that Allah has his wisdom and inshallah, your Murshid may be cooperating with this man—there is much unfinished business.
Then your Murshid is involved in several projects and it is like he was taking on such loads, and when he was unwell he asked Allah and Allah Who is the Gracious, the Merciful said: “Don’t you see what you are doing? You are going to be of the greatest help to Major Sadiq. He cannot be here studying what you are studying, but what you are doing is going to be of utmost help to him.” Then I realized that many things done which look so foolish, so un-logical, are going to be of inestimable help to Major Sadiq. And this illustrates the truth of Spiritual Brotherhood; also of Kashf for your Murshid did not know before why he was doing some things. So the Divine Wisdom operates in and through man even when he is not aware of it.
When you come to this country, inshallah, I shall show you come more teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan which are scattered through his books and by these one can understand the above experiences. But now I am sending copy of another lesson in Naqshibandi, which is also really a lesson in Murakkabah, that as one concentrates on these symbols and holds them in what we call the mind, their real nature impresses itself on the person. For man is not the nufs and is not a fixed entity or beings. Only Allah is permanent, or in man, ruh.
Also the commentary is enclosed, written some years ago which is not perfect but will no doubt help you to understand more. For symbols are like mummies, only living, encased in words and forms and art, and yet the blue-prints of life itself.
Also I have written to Prof. Gumpers asking for an appointment and there are other matters. For example, if I haven’t told you, my friend, Hon. Abdul Sattar of Kharian, is now secretary to the Minister of External Affairs.
Next your Murshid is to send you the ten lessons in what are called “Tasawwuf” but not exactly what we mean by this word; a shortened version. And after you receive these ten lessons will your please check back all you have received as you can be sure of having the whole complete series I of the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan. Then, excepting for special materials (such as the commentaries on Naqshibandi) nothing more will be sent until you geography is settled, such as when you will be coming to the United States.
The information, unconfirmed, is that Major Sadiq may leave Pakistan, Inshallah, in May, crossing the Pacific Ocean and landing in San Francisco. The news about Memsahib is not so clear. Shams-dud-din Ahmed is preparing for Bayat and he will have to learn that although letters may be shared up to a point, lessons are not shared at all.
If the signs be correct, there will be nuclei of mureeds both in San Francisco and in you country, but one knows that Allah has something more in store.
It is not easy to be involved in international matters. The representatives of each country lack candor, and all alike forget that we live and move and have our being in Allah, the Omnipresent.
Love and blessings, from
Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti
[first two pages missing, date unknown]
Anandashram means “The Abode of Bliss,” and I have never known any quarrels of any kind arising there. It is like a huge, integrated, happy family. I also noticed that whenever I was inspired to a “good deed,” it was her thought that I picked up. But I would rather you read her memorial which I could lend you. The fact that there is a single woman on earth like this is something. She doesn’t “teach” Yoga; she is the perfect Yogini.
Saadia Khawar is my god-daughter, and became my disciple. It was attraction at first sight. Her uncle must have noticed it. Her mother must have been very spiritual and her father neglected her. It is against Islamic principles for women to be without protection so any man can adopt an unmarried girl-orphan as daughter and a married girl-orphan as sister. Age has nothing to do with it.
I knew soon she was to be my disciple—this involves some others. I went to the great Sufi and his disciples objected. I insisted and when I called on Sufi Barkat Ali he was ill. But meanwhile I had learned healing from Pir Dewwal Shereef, the teacher of President Ayub and head of the Islamabad University. It worked suddenly and miraculously. As soon as Sufi Barkat Ali saw Khawar he said, “She is your disciple and associate.” And then all the men fell in love with her, a most unusual situation. But none proposed as they regard her as being superior.
Khawar was a full professor at 26, has won many degrees and plaudits and wishes to come here. I hope this can be done but it is not easy. It was only before I left I found she is not poor. And there is another strange element here—she owns the former home of Gandhi in Lahore which is for all purposes my home and I carry the torch of Gandhi in the Universal Religion regardless of the refusals here or elsewhere—which have nothing to do with it. I have rededicated Gandhi’s meditation hall and will use it as my base when I return to Lahore.
Now I had a lady-pupil and there was a relation which is fictional-like. In later times I could be her, which might seem strange and awkward. But whereas I have been subscribing, let us say, to “saintship” she has devoted her life to the strangest combination of holiness and sin, till it came to a breaking point. I would tell you, but not write, the strange complex in her. I felt her in a most unusual way, which comes from the real soul and not a jumble of emotions.
When our lives broke—which ended the possibility of a marriage, the spiritual relation was transferred to Khawar and the Universe of God told me I was not to be punished where I had not sinned. But as I have tried to indicate in Sufism teacher and pupil are as one, and not symbolically but actually in a way the dualistic people cannot understand. Therefore I am waiting for my associate, Major Sadiq, or for Khawar to come and then explanations will not be necessary.
Magana Baptiste is my spiritual daughter in another sense but with Magana (and to a certain extent Walt) I do something I do not do to another woman—lean on her, give her weights, tell her my problems which are of a different order. Both she and Walt understand my true position and true work in this world.
The other night I said to a young woman, “You know why I come here? It is not because the dancing is better—it is because the dancing is prayer.” “That’s why I come.”
Magana resembles Rihani above (and Ruth St. Denis) as being the Oracle type. We play that I am a hierophant in Egypt and she a Priestess of Isis but both of these and some others believe this was so. You can’t prove such things in the ordinary way. The influence of Nefertiti is great in Magana and she has the most beautiful of bodies but along with remarkably developed heart and mind and she is fulfilling her motherhoods too.
This is the only case where I share “secrets” with a younger person. But I thank God there are such people. And this is not the end of the story…. There is no end….
I think you are beginning, or maybe you have for a long time, the actual work and responsibility of people in certain, let us say, “cosmic” positions. They go on noticed or not noticed publicly and it does not matter. But we all have the motto, “Never say die.”
The above is both too long and too short.
March 19, 1964
I am writing in my long neglected diary. The event Sunday illustrates a high point in both externalities and in the use of the Buddha-meditation to solve problems. It does not matter what the problem is and the difference between a “monastically” minded Bodhisattva and the long-faced members of the Sangha cannot be resolved, it can only be dissolved. And while it is bad enough to find the whole world suffering because of attachment to selves, it is horrible and horrifying to find this in Sanghas and one unfortunately still finds them in Sanghas.
I do not know what the reactions to either the speaker or myself were but I ran into the same things Tuesday and may run it today too. Tuesday a military official spoke on S.E. Asia and I thought his language was good and most of his statement clear. But they did not fit into the confounded dialectical dualistic popular American views. So he was challenged all over. Some of the questions were impossible and he sat down and asked, “Are there any comments.”
I said, “This is the first time I have ever been permitted to speak for the opposition party in Thailand” and I explained the opposition party and what was wrong with Seato. The speaker thanked me and some of his critics kept on saying, “There can’t be any opposition party in Thailand.” They weren’t there, but that does not matter. After the meeting, to my surprise, the speaker, a Pentagon colonel, sought me out and thanked me for my contribution. But many Americans are not interested in truth; they just want their opinions substantiated.
Today I shall hear a Persian but here the rapport has already been established. I am hoping more people will at least listen to facts, if not accept them.
This has been a period of great pain and joy. Fritzi Armstrong read my horoscope previously and saying there was death in it and Friday that I would have a sudden move. Saturday I met my old landlady at 772 Clementina St. She told me that the former occupier of “my rooms” had just died and wondered whether I wanted to return. So it looks as if Fritzi was right on both counts. I shall therefore probably be returning to the rooms where Gavin Arthur put the stars on the ceiling. And if I show up at the Zendo mornings it is because I shall be close to the car line again which used to make it possible for me to attend the morning sessions—and this coming week, with vacation, I might even come to an afternoon session, don’t know.
Next there is the problem of Phil, a very nice soul, to whom I challenged in Zen style: “Who is Sharishi?” I did not mean to hurt him but I have found that people who recite the Prajna Hridaya Sutra don’t know the meaning of any of the words.
Well, yesterday I got a strong feeling to call on George Fields and when that feeling is strong something nice always happens. He greeted me and showed me a new book on Chinese Buddhism and the next thing I bought it. When I returned home I fund there is a school of Chinese Buddhism that teaches exactly as I have explained to my friend, Rev. Eugene Wagner, about Sariputra (Sharishi). I now have a complete literary background on Sariputra with the Psalms of the Early Buddhists, some scriptures and now this School-explanation.
Actually it is not too different from my calling Roshi “Dogen” and he calling me “Rinzai” Sunday. It is a “mountain” state of consciousness and the aim of Zen is to reproduce Sariputra-Bodhisattvas all over. There is another explanation from Tibet into which one need not go here.
With the Chinese book I guess I have today the most complete compendium of esoteric practices anybody has ever collected, but I don’t know whether I am going to be either a Spiegelberg or Evans Wentz merely because I have the formulae.
The next thing was I found a fine book on color at George’s which is going to help me no end.
The next thing is that he wants books on Sufism so I have written to my friends, Mohammed Ashraf, in Lahore, asking that he become their American outlet.
In between times I have been acting in a method which illustrates the Nirmanakaya. There is no permanent behavior-pattern and one is at the some from one incident to the next. Thus I had a rollicking argument with a young woman who is a gourmet that the stomach is as spiritual as the heart while Miss Gourmet argued that the heart is superior to the stomach. We argued strenuously for just that pattern of life which the other follows. This is something Dale Carnegie never thought about.
The American missionaries are being removed from Sudan. What do the people in Sudan believe?. Well I have just had a toughie trying to explain Zen to some of your tight-lipped colleagues; and Thai politics to “experts” that were never near Thailand and today have to get into an Iranian irony, so we won’t make it suddenly Sudan.
May not see you Sunday but am not sure—trying to contact the aforesaid Rev. J. Wagner for several reasons.
May you awaken to the Sambhogakaya,
My dear Sharab:
Although most of my letters express pessimism, there is something in me which stimulates optimism in answer to your letter of the 19th. It is almost like perversity and yet today is very Springish, and while ell a faith forums are talking about “regeneration” of (and I am excluded therefrom) the body and to some extend the mind is being regenerated. At the moment only the eyes age and I have faith enough in my friend, Major Sadiq that when he comes he will take care of them. And the fact that there is regeneration and the fact that this body is constantly confusing critics stands out regardless. The word “Inayat” means Grace and in his early talks POM spoke of nothing but “Grace.ﾀ??
Yesterday I was thinking about calling on my friends, the Atlas Fish Emulsion people, when your letter arrived and I went off on what proved to be an unusual day. One might as well face it—if you want spirituality go among the hard boiled business people and keep away from the metaphysical and “truth seekers.” A 5-gallon can will be shipped from Cleveland which is the nearest depot and I have asked that they send suitable literature. My assumption is that you will be growing more garden vegetables than flowers or trees but I said you had some trees. The program is somewhat different and in any event we tend to use fertilizers too heavily.
The ground must warm up first but if you plant seeds or cuttings, a weak solution may be used at that time, as a stimulator. If you have chickens the use of chicken manure can be integrated with the fertilizer program and I can give details from my own experiences. In general leaf vegetables require more then root vegetables. But one must not be lavish with Tomatoes as they will show big vines but not so much fruit.
I have been pretty low at times but went into the meditation and got some interesting answers which have much to do with the practical life. In any event I seem to have more answers to big problems but also more difficultly in communication. But yesterday I got three groups of people on “my side,” dealing with a new hosing program for dry lands; salinity; and fertilization. Behind all these are water problems.
I don’t know whether I told you about Malik. I met him in the offices of the American Friends of the Middle East. “Ah, a dervish.” Right out like that. I told him, “My spiritual name is “Sufi Ahmed Murad.” “I am not surprised because in my home city of Teheran there are a lot of Sufis and they look just like you and you look just like them.” He is the one who has the housing program.
From the spiritual point of view these is even a more remarkable occurrence. The meditative answer to the problems of Mrs. Duce long ago come: “Make friends with the friends of Mr. Duce.” This Malik is a very close friend of Mr. Duce. And when I went to a luncheon last week where both were I as introduced as an “expert,” received as an “expert” and answers to technical problems were so forthcoming the group accepted me as an “expect.” This covers a lot of other things.
Mr. Malik’s programs will integrate with those of Major Sadiq. The Major should be here about the end of May. He has a round-the-world air ticket. We shall cross the country, perhaps together. I hope he will pay for my fare with him. This would take us to Fort Worth, Cleveland and perhaps Washington and Boston. I don’t know whether I should want to go on beyond Cleveland unless we went to the World’s Fair in New York, but if this can be arranged I should like to go to your place. But there are so many details to take up first.
The appearance of The Sufis by Sheikh Idries Shah has stimulated interest here and for the first time I am acting as go-between to get literature on the market. There also are increased sales of Pir-o-Murshid’s books. But the “experts” are still those European professors who control everything and known nothing. I appeared in public for the first time on March 7 as a Sufi. It was supposed to be an Arabic cultural conference. But it was the same trip with the European Professors who don’t know anything, addressing an informed audience of American and Levantines and being unwilling or unable to answer questions. I found more intelligence among the audience then I have ever met anywhere in these parts. But the usual procedure, the audience is kept silent listening to humbugs. Fortunately the last speaker was an American from Washington who knew his subject and captivated the audience.
I’m having a hard time quantitatively, having to copy so many of POM’s teachings. Among them are his instructions to Rabia which were never used and only these scraps which Mrs. Duce returned to me. How much was thrown away by Etta the world will never know. But now I have a grand compendium, both of Sufic and non-Sufic esoteric methods, the quantity of which so far outstrips anything in books, it would require volumes. And yet it is only now I am even getting inquiries.
I am very anxious to have the Major come to Cleveland to do healing work. This will be beneficial on all sides.
My methodology is very different from Vilayat’s. True, POM used many Orienta1 terms but these seem largely confined to his most esoteric work. Actually one can find all these teachings in Scriptures. People today can’t interpret their own scriptures.
If what you say is true of Vilayat he did not learn much. Pir-o-Murshid was a very advanced soul. When he stood before an audience he became attuned to the audience. He did this first with his music and if you have the volume covering “The Mysticism of Sound” and “Music” you will learn that the spiritual musician always tuned to the audience and could only play from attunements. Consequently he could only give what could be received.
Actually this is true of all his work with mureeds also. He waited until people were ready before bringing in the Sufi words but he did explain that the Sufi words were Sufi words. Many have no equivalents at all in English. If you read some of the puzzles in our crossword books you will see how many foreign words get into our language.
The first work the Major and I would at Cleveland is visiting all the sick people or the bedridden. There are quite a lot besides Fred and Catherine. We would get them well. Then to arrange with Eleanor or somebody to see others. We would want a list of about 12 people to visit for this purpose before any lectures. Then if Catherine or others are impressed to start the spiritual-work with them.
As for the mureeds. I think each of us is today advanced enough to give them proper esoteric exercises. But we do not have all of Pir-o-Murshid papers. Fortunately I have enough papers to give out a multitude of the same and, with copies of some other writings from the Orient to keep mureeds busy on the intellectual, mystical and esoteric sides for many years. Besides this we are also formulating a new type of Sufism. This is very, very simple. It begins with the walk and possibly with the walk the stance; after that the breath. The age of mental aptitude of the person would not count, anybody could learn, even down to a little child.
A good portion of this “new” form of Sufism is in the 1910 papers of Hazrat Inayat Khan. More come to me from Saints in the Orient, etc. But now I know enough to give simple teachings and my body is a testimonial, that even people who are not attracted to the person cannot account for vitality. And last night for the first time I tried this with a young man and succeeded, although it was just a speculative trial. I think even Paul would like it. And I could give it to your children and grand children and everybody.
As to the Bible I can show anybody even in the common English versions—which are being discarded for better translations, there are whole sections which nobody studies, much less understands, And I am not going to argue about anybody with regard the Moon. We are not the eye, and the main thing, as you state, is, to know more Love and kindness and Good-will.
Claire believes in her brother and Etta believed in her mother and this has nothing to do with Sufism. Flesh and blood do not inherit any kingdom of heaven or earth or anything. Claire does not know the Bayat and both of them look upon people as clay to be moulded; I may look upon them more as trees to be properly shaped, which already have their form.
I doubt whether I shall ever complete all Pir-o-Murshid asked but this is what gives life and zest. The only reason I can see for my being in San Francisco is that here I can learn things. The sainted Hasan Nizami, POM’s friend, spent more time going about learning from others, yet he ended up with millions of disciples. Hazrat Inayat Khan said: “I have come to teach the pupils and learn from the teachers.”
In The Unity of Religious Ideals there are portions which hint about floods, wars, everything. All the religions teach the samsara or nufsaniat or “the deluge.” This is the way the world has always been, and you can’t change it, but we can change ourselves. The whole universe is inside us.
If you could perform a “Mediation on Salat” you could develop some of this Wisdom. Take each line and use it, and then each name and use it as meditative subject for one month: or skip around:
1. Most Gracious Lord
4. Savior of Humanity
5. We greet Thee with all humility
6. Thou art the First Cause
7. And last Effect
8. The Divine Light
9. And Spirit of Guidance
10. Thy Light is all forms
11. Thy Love in all beings
12. In a loving Mother
13. In a kind Father
14. In an innocent child
15. In a helpful friend
16. In an inspiring teacher
17. Allow us to recognize these in all Thy Holy names and forms
18. As Rama
19. As Krishna
20. As Shiva
21. As Buddha
Etc. Etc. Use any Name or Phrase. Or do it one week only. The Salat is full of germs. And I could write a whole book on Nimaz but not now.
The above gives an idea by which to save one self, and the world.
God Bless you.
Samuel L. Lewis
Sufi Ahmed Murad-Christi
March 26, 1964
I am back to my old trick of writing a letter and keeping the carbon for my diary. And it seems at long last that the world does move and today I feel more encouraged than ever before. True I am still up against the indifference if not opposition of politicos, social scientists, etc. But I do have some interviews coming up with one Prof. Seymour Farber of U. C. Hospital who claims to be the big-wig; part of this is in opposition to Unruh who, being a politico was trapped when I asked him a very simple question. And when I reported this read-block, instead of it being presented in Pakistan I was promoted to the Board of Directors of the Islamabad University.
Now I am an “expert.” Recently I met one Mr. Malik of Teheran who spends about half his time in Iran and half here. He has been employed by the Standard Oil and American Bitumen Co. He invented a type of adobe using petroleum waste material instead of dung—releasing the dung for better purposes. He proved that this abode would withstand both earthquakes and rainstorms and has sold it to the Shah of Iran. He left and I gave him introductions that would do him good in the Arab world, but it left the door open for me elsewhere.
When I ran this thing down I found that the University of California has continued the research but you can bet that nobody in Berkeley knows about it among the sociologists, social scientists and everybody who is trying to make a better world out of their private subjective ideas. So this is now up to me. And I can take it up with Guy Atcheson, who, not being politicians and sociologists have to face the housing problems or else.
At the farewell lunch for Malik I was greeted as an “expert.” I think I know who started it but when I answered questions off-hand quick the audience decided I was an expert. There was a Dr. Ward there who is all hot up in water-problems and then I did one thing that you approve of people doing if you could ever find them doing it—which is rare: I thought.
You see, Harry, Los Angeles and Arizona are dividing the billions of acre-feet of water which the Feather River dam will not proved, and while Eureka is burning they are going to sue each other and everybody else. The idea of putting some of that legal money into salt-water conversion plants isn’t, but I am for that. I would even divert—though this borders on treason—some of the money for space-research into salt-water conversion research. Or, in letting the world know what has already been accomplish which is more treason today than giving away atomic secrets. So I am out for salt-water conversion.
In the meanwhile Mexico may object that they will be getting more salinity and less irrigation water from the Colorado, and again the lawyers are sharpening their axes. So I have proposed to the Chamber of Commerce a project: A joint American-Mexican Agricultural Research Station in the Gulf of California, with some attention to the possibility of raising Coconuts and this would give us the fresh nuts which have never appeared on the market; plus a lot of other positivities. In any event—and so long as the politicos have the public ear you can’t do anything, one of the simplest and most elementary facts in life is that fats are in short supply.
The C. of C. sent me down to the California Vegetable Oil Co. and they rather surprised me with spontaneous enthusiasm.
This is an example of the integrative approach for the solution of problems, a matter I shall take up shortly with William Vogt. I have had a nice letter from him and he guessed where I received my “logical” disciplines pretty well. These came originally from Cassius Keyser of Columbia, the mathematical philosopher. He was also mentor of Alfred Korzybski which made me anathema to the semanticists.
I now have a fairly good grasp of the general water, soil and even housing situation for many lands, but have the over-all approach. Then I went to the World Affairs Council luncheon to hear the Bechtel engineer speak on his work in North Africa. It was very amusing. A lot of people were wondering how many communists were playing hide and seek in the sand dunes while I was shouting: “Viva Fr. velutina and Pr. lyonii.” I lost the audience and won the speaker. He did not find any communists; he was looking for Oil and other minerals and building roads and pipe lines. So I shall be welcome down at Bechtel soon and take up first my idea that rehabilitation begins with tree-planting, and then grass.
They are now planting grass in So. Calif. after the catastrophe. You do not win friendships by shouting, “More trees mean less communists,” but here I have a one-track mind.
At least I am being taken more and more seriously when I go around the Asians—no resemblance to the “Asians” you read about in the papers. Why even the Indonesians would like us if we showed them how to plant trees in Sumatra and how to refurbish the soil in Borneo. But we are too busy chasing communists for that. However slowly but surely I am holding my own.
This letter has the advantage that no reply is necessary. Haven’t visited your new quarters, must soon. Happy Easter.
Samuel L. Lewis
April 11, 1964
Today you asked a question about magnetism and you will excuse me now if a long answer is given and perhaps subtitle too. Connie and I have ended a direct correspondence and to show her what was really my point of view I gave her a copy of a letter to a young woman in Pakistan.
It is going to take some time to have my Robe taken seriously and even when it is first taken seriously it will not be taken deeply. But in foreign lands it is different and no doubt there I am also given more consideration than deserved. For if you delve into folk lore you find that the mysterious people are often in far away lands and if you go to them and ask who their mysterious people are they might point, as has occasioned, Baghdadi Jews who are not as mysterious to us, but to Hindus and their neighbors, they have been mysterious. You can check this slight in Kipling and heavily in Talbot Mundy—and this is based on realities.
The Robe in a certain sense emblematizes the body of Transformation, or Nirmanakaya. I had a terrible jolt today when Sensei came up and body me good-bye because I know he knows my “secrets” and understands exactly what my work is. But for the moment I wish to stick to two things—magnetism, because you asked for it and work on food problems because I have already spoken on them.
In the letter to this young lady I explained four types of spiritual service. There are more and none of these will be beyond me all the life, and others are either not fulfilled or not attained. There will be occasions when more is mentioned about the food missions. This Connie already appreciates and so she probably got the hook-up which is explained in the letter.
I am not so brash as to tell you to link all you read in The Unity of Religious Ideals with my person. And if you tried you are liable to associate with what any think are functions and missions and miss the actual functions and mission. Many of them are not, but not all. Or as came to me today, perhaps I am greater than any book and yet my words are less than any person. Even the greatest books maybe smaller then the smallest persons for they come form the intellectual side of the personality only and miss the grandeur areas of being.
One of the smallest things brought back was a healing power and this has nothing to do with what may be in many theories of healing and even less on magnetism. But it was in this capacity I went to Jean and Connie knew it and Jean almost missed it. And actually I can be called to account more for failing to heal or try to heal than for social or moral errors. For the healing faculty, small though it be, come under orders, as part of a mission. This is the lower part, it is true, but it is real.
In the peon given to George the essence of healing is described but at that time I had insight but not power. Today there is perhaps much more power than insight.
Friday we had discussion on Taoism at the Rudolph Schaeffer School. I tried to show a young man how to lift by Taoist methods. He said he could lift a chair and hold it but he would be tired. A young girl same along and she said she could not lift the chair at all, “If it were a young baby and were five pounds heavier than the chair, could you lift it?” “Yes” “Of course you could and that shows you understand Tao.” For I explained ordinarily we are the power behind the lifting but in Taoism Nature is the power and we are the fulcrums and our ability as powers is limited but if we can harness the universe we can lift much more.
There is a statue of Atlas at the Baptiste studio and some of the devotees are learning to lift heavy weights both physical and psychic. What I did not tell the girl above that the Power that would have helped her and the Universal Love are the same—Love and Power ultimately are one. We cannot see this here; and we cannot avoid this there.
A man came to me for preliminary Sufi training and all the time was spent showing him haw to walk. And each block we had another exercise and after a number of blocks be began to get great insight into walking and breathier—he was getting it through experience and not through books.
I hope you are now realizing as Claude is the difference between real Zen and book Zen, that they, are not necessarily either alike or, different. The same is true of all Oriental philosophy. You go to the PhDs, the professors and they give long explanations but they give short wisdom The Sufis does not do that, he wants people to realize the Wisdom, but here again his methods are different and often as un-intellectual as Zen, but sometimes they are more intellectual than philosophy or metaphysics, which may be confusing. It depends on the audience, for the teacher gives what the audience has capacity for or needs.
The actual training in Magnetism is esoteric, not exoteric. But the Teacher says that the more search for magnetism is selfish. It is rather as Jesus said. “Seek you first the Kingdom of Heaven.” Only we don’t know what the words, “Kingdom of Heaven” mean. I gave a different version to my friend, Leonard Austin, and he thinks I ought to send it to the press, but I am not ready. Neither do the Jews know the essence of Judaism nor the Christians the essence of Christ and I could show you long passages in the Scriptures that have no more relation with accepted religion than the daily news has. And so long as the common versions are accepted, it is impossible to work with either Judaism or Christianity.
The years go on and the only argument one can offer is to show it is not necessary to age. You heard the talk on Time. That was the first Lesson. Now to put it into practice and when the true Time and the apparent Time do not coincide, and you live the true Time instead of clock Time, one might continue a long, long period, for the solar measurements do not compel aging.
The essential different between Zen and Sufism is that Sufis work with the God-Ideal and beyond it with the God-existence. This becomes a reality, not a matter of speculation. It is the daily life. It is the now, the breathing, the walking, everything.
I have already written of the mistaken interpretation of “Love thy Neighbor as thyself” that we try to love the neighbors as much as we love the self. But the love of self is not only se1fish it is the root of all evil. What is meant is to love the neighbor as if the very self.
In a former letter to Nishat I took the “attitude” of being an older man a teacher or uncle or step-father. This time I took the attitude of being the very self and she as my very self. And it seems as if Connie had been writing and I had been writing as if we were different people and the differences were not of views—we are remarkably in agreement but in the attitude, “You art different and I am different.” So when I wrote Nishat I sent Connie a copy because it was as if the writer and this reader were one. I think Connie will understand that. At the same time in the explanation which is long and mystical, it shows the functions and the functions are the realities to the Sufi—the philosophy is not their reality, it is the shadow.
In the spiritual path of Sufism from the very beginning it is as if “Seek the Kingdom of Heaven and all else will be added.” But the words are not ”Kingdom of Heaven.” This Hebrew is Malchuth Ha-Shamaim. But if we look further Malchuth does not mean “kingdom” at all. The Arabic Malakut, which is the same word, means something different. And when you go into the mysteries it will come out in Buddhism as Alaya Vijnana which is depository of everything that can be known, past, present and future.
To those who have not The experience, Kingdom-of-Heaven and Alaya Vijnana are very different, but to those who have had It, they see the identity. And he Jews originally did not think in terms of kings and royalty. This came afterwards, and even the Hebrew and Arabic Rab which means “Lord” has a different meaning.
Jesus said the Malchuth Ha-Shamaim is within and if you study the Buddhism the Alaya Vijnana is within and anything else is both inconceivable and impossible. But by thinking one way as a Christian and another way as a mystic or Buddhist, one is confused.
The kingdom (Malchuth) being within, one can draw from it and one can draw everything from it. In Islam there are 99 derivations and one essence and in Buddhism 108 derivations. But we need not be too “wise” about the numbers.
The end of the Lord’s Prayer’s has an addendum which was drawn from the Kabbalah or mystical tradition and we translated it. “For thine is the ‘Kingdom,’ and the power and the glory.” Which is nonsense for if there is a power beyond kingdoms, then the kingdoms do not have the power. But the Malchuth is not the kingdom; it is the abode of messages, the force behind all messages, inspirations and all Prajna. So when one has the “kingdom of heaven” one is also close to Prajna Paramita, which is immeasurable. So actually if you have the “kingdom of heaven” you can drew on the Paramitas. And then we come to Power.
Power is in the Breath, power is in the Heart, power is in the Life-itself. It is not in the words. The professors have given you arrays of facts and degrees but evidently they have not bestowed Power or Love or Magnetism. The Magnetism imparted to Jean was on a comparatively low plane and as she treated me as a male and not as a not Bodhisattva—she knows better, I should not impart more. We have discussed we have or we are enlightenment. Then why the shortcomings?
The Sufi does not say that. Jesus said, “Only God is Perfect.” But he also said (not part of Christianity), “Be you perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” Only you have the Zen training on Perfection. This leaves still the want or need for Power or strength or magnetism But these cannot be bestowed. The relation of Sufi teacher to his disciple is according to “Love thy neighbor as thyself” as interpreted above—the disciple is not apart from the teacher nor the teacher from the disciple. So the teacher normally and naturally shares with the pupil and having a much greater operative electro-motive force—to use a scientific analogy—he enables the pupil to draw upon it, not by any giving (vide Prajna Paramita Sutra) but by attunement-induction, just as what takes place in electro-motive operations. Then the pupil finds he has the same thing in himself as the teacher has been using, only in the teacher it is conscious and in others it is not so.
Now I have written on this to two beautiful young women in a foreign land. But the second is now as my very being, to share naturally everything, especially those things which belong to the universe beyond physical. And in turn I am being roused and awakened constantly by what we call the Sufis-in-chain which is a reality and which you will not read about in books because the book writers never study Sufism with Sufis so they know nothing about this reality (or others).
Or finally, all the Muslims say constantly “Allaho Akbar.” And I could write books on this one phrase alone without going into any mantrams of the Sufis or Yogis. In life I use it and the first step no doubt is to repeat the phrase. But as it is in Arabic and was first used in this form by Mohammed, most people will not try it or try it with faith. I have used it and it changed me from a timid introvert an exuberant extrovert. This is just one phase.
I was asked about Magic by Phil today and there is a magic in it, a wonderful magic. When this magic is not apart from love and wisdom it can be safely used. This power, this magnetism is much mightier than the small force which comes through my fingers, or the seemingly larger force in the eyes. Your faith in it would be the first step but I cannot draw to Sufism those who have teachers otherwise without the permission of teachers. In the case of Senzaki and Inayat Khan I was very lucky; each recognized the other.
God, bless you
Samuel L. Lewis
S. A. M.
772 Clementina St.,
San Francisco 3, Ca.
April 21, 1964
My dear Sharab:
As-salaam aleikhum. One has to start that way [?]
given life looks like a Strauss symphony, full of harmony [?]
and if the moment was not so entirely right side up, it would [?].
As Pir-o-Murshid has said, it may be your worst enemies who become friends and your best friends who bring troubles. My worst enemy so to speak, Ivy Duce and Rom Landau were so inimical to each other that very emotional and a-moral attitudes have rendered them, so to speak, hors de combat. They have not appeared at public gatherings and when they did, gave each other a wide berth. And my own brother, who has been my bitter enemy all through life, wishes a reconciliation. I have no time for enmity or bitterness; it is not a matter of moral change, there is simply no time when one is engaged in vast pursuits.
Last week started awful. I had prepared a big spiritual program and a big agricultural program and a smaller paint program in conjunction with Major Sadiq. His affairs have so prospered he has formed a gigantic corporation and asked me to represent him and it here. So money has been sent and the legal and permit fees were beyond my abilities; besides I have been working all day every day excepting for change of subjects. My Pir-o-Murshid is in the same position.
I did not know whether to address this to Paul for a good deal will be of interest to him. There is going to be a big “food & civilization” conference here next month and I am expecting to attend. Then the school term will end and unless I get a clear picture from the Major—and I am getting everything else—will arrange to come East at a suitable date.
I called on the travel agent yesterday. For reasons I do not understand the railroad round trip to Cleveland is much less than to New York. If the Major does not come I should get such a ticket but if he takes me, then just a return ticket, and this may be by air. The best thing seems to be to come to Cleveland—necessary if by air. But if I come by train, the terminal should be some place near you, and you would have to advise which is best. Otherwise I should come by ground. In any case there is more pressing business at Pittsburgh than at New York or Washington and I have been most successful in cooperation with my colleague there (Prof. Oliver Reiser).
My reports have been accepted by William Vogt, the conversationalist, who is coming here and he may also be a determining hand in my schedule. But the book, No Need for Hunger by Jonathan Garst has been published, and I have written him. It may be advisable to stop in Iowa which could easily be arranged on a return trip if Major Sadiq does not come at an early date. His trip involves Dallas.
Not only have my general plans been accepted or acceptable I am now working in cooperation with Bryn (Shamcher) Beorse, who is a spiritual brother on all fronts.
I am still terribly concerned with the healing mission [?]
This was long approves by the Sufis in Pakistan. I [?]
communication from our Pir-o-Murshid, Sufi barkat Ali [?]
my visit to Cleveland is a thousand times more important [?]
deals in which the Major is engaged. If I can only convince [?]
person is quite limited in funds and time, and especially in [?].
Besides the whole social order is going backward and complicating it more is that the UN will be meeting here next year. My intention is to be the host to the Sudanis who are mostly Sufis and also it happens rather Mulatto-Arabs. They are a blend of two races and two types of emotions and also respond much to music and dancing.
Then Saturday I had one hour with my “fairy god-mother,” Ruth St. Denis. It was she who hosted Pir-o-Murshid on his first trip to the United States and she still looks to him with grand admiration. Without contacting her I have done exactly what she wants—words and mental communications are not necessary between spiritual persons. Indeed I have worked out a complete system of education beginning with early childhood based on “Alif,” a story which is found in some of Pir-o-Murshid’s early records.
Yesterday I was in the gymnasium and a stranger came in. He said he was waiting for his “son” who has sixty years old. I said, “I am a lot older than that.” “You can’t be.” Then I began to tell of San Francisco before the fire. “But you are not over 45.” I went on and described things in detail. He said, “If that is so, I am going to sign up and join this gym.” Later on I found he was a millionaire Hollywood producer. So we shall see. Excepting my eyes the whole person is looking younger. But this is first time the talking point went over.
Also I have given my first bayat and have some inquiries. As is written in The Sufi Message of Spiritual Liberty, Murshid and Mureed are one. The successes and failures of esoteric methods impinge on this. There are several so-called esoteric movements here which seem only to instill more nervousness and emotionalism. At the same time the doors are pretty well closed on mysticism.
A few weeks ago a real Zen disciple arrived and there was a long discussion. Most of the people who have read books and “studied” under well-known people who really know nothing about Zen, did not understand him at all. At the end of an hour and a half I asked permission to speak which was granted by the chair. The chair was a Zen Master, not an American “expert.” After I confirmed the speaker the chair said there was no more need for discussions, the points had been proved. This was a great source of satisfaction. And it is this sort of thing that will surely come out in 1965 when the UN delegates meet here and the press and “experts” will have to face realities.
I have long since ordered a can of fertilizer for you but have had no bill. Perhaps this week will go to the office and also discuss the Garst plans. For “reasons” I do not wish to go to the vacation spots where I have been before, or to go to Summer School here, but in any case it would be better for both mind and body if I could make this trip.
I shall also discuss matters with my god-son, Norman McGhee. In case he wishes to go to Cleveland by car, then the above matter of air and rail would be altered. But if he does not go he may wish me to carry a message or two for him. I shall not, however, become involved in integration politics. It is not a matter of sympathies; it is that when one is involved in food problems there is no time or energy for other things. And also I am not facing the complex of Libya, which Shamcher Beorse has also faced. These people follow a way of life half between Sufism and Orthodoxy.
I may have written some time ago about Robert Graves, the famous poet-scientist. Sheikh Idries Shah wrote a book on “Sufism” and he ran smack into the “experts” and could not get a publisher. He was told about Graves. The book has been published and now it appears that Graves is studying Sufism along with other things. This has resulted in some rapid and cordial correspondence. So it is evident now that a wise Allah wishes the world also to cooperate, and this is nothing but the aftermath of the conversations Pir-o-Murshid had with me on Kearny St. way back in 1923. I have stuck to this, I believe, and come hell and high-water, actually, as he has said, “Neither can I be broken nor God but the one how would break me, he is broken.” This is something very few understand.
I won’t write here of frustrations abroad and at home. They are largely ridiculous and here again, the situation will be changed next year and it will reveal a lot of hypocrisy on the part of Asians and Americans a like. The simple solutions would come if we sat down together, something which seems to be avoided.
I am sending a copy of this to Cleveland to avoid extra work. I am hoping somebody will pay my hotel bill there—the rest does not matter. But for the most part outside of Sufism I have work at Wooster and Pittsburgh and know I shall enjoy it with you. I shall bring my boots and work pants but not gloves or tools. I now have clothing for all sorts of weather excepting rain (have rubbers).
Will have to keep you informed. The overall picture is very fine, considering the past periods, so there is hope and more than hope. But the need of spiritual typing is tremendous, along with scientific research. Anyhow one is not bored.
My best to everybody,
Samuel L. Lewis
S. A. M.
April 22, 1964
My dear Sharab and Paul
So many things have happened so fast in such a short time that I had to tear up a letter to you. At one extreme, although not too literally, as Pir-o-Murshid said, it may be our worst enemies who help us and it may be our friends who cause trouble. It is not that bad. My worst two enemies have attritioned themselves without my being concerned although it does concern Sufism. My last personal enemy wishes reconciliation.
But the trouble comes from Pakistan. Everything has been progressing with Sufism, with agricultural matters and finally with plans for a paint-sales mission abroad. These took up all my time and energy without a break. Then I get a long request, my efforts have been so satisfying that I am asked to become the executive in an import-export business. Years ago I should have loved it, but how in God’s name I could find time—and all my protests that I have overworked have fallen on deaf ears exempting with the Chief Sufi—does not seem to have impressed people. In three months I have not even been successful is arranging for my goddaughter to come here—everything leads down blind alleys. This is true all over but each one expects it otherwise with the other fellow.
The spiritual instructions made it advisable to come east, at least to Cleveland. Then out of the blue I received a bonus, which insures my paying my own if nobody else does. The dates for the coming of each of the three Pakistanis is now most uncertain and I have been waiting. But I cannot wait, I cannot go plan-less and it has been necessary to advise that I am going to go east this summer now regardless.
The first reason for changing the letter was that the fertilizer has been sent you as a gift. There is a long story here which I should rather tell than write. The next thing is that there is a big food conference here next month and a very comical series of events has lead me to the same office and the same person: (a) the coming of my god-daughter; (b) cultural exchange with Pakistan, (c) How California can Help Asia; and (d) the food conference—all to the same man. Indeed he tapped me one night and told me he could help me and that is the way things appear.
Had a fine letter from William Vogt the Conservationist who wants to meet me and will be here soon. But it may be that he, or the assemblage, may want me to go as far as New York. If so this will be done on the ground. I shall either take the plane to Cleveland and then bus or, if you advise, get a rail ticket to the nearest point. There has been come uncertainty on account of the threatened strike.
Then the book by Jonathan Garst came out and it may be advisable, if I travel alone, to go through Iowa on both a food mission and spiritual mission, but this should be returning.
The biggest disappointment—and it may not actually be so—is concerning the healing mission. I have not only lined up people, but they could include California’s Senator Engle who is now invalided. I can only pray that everything will work out on time processes.
I should bring work-clothes and boots no tools. I have replenished my ward-robe to meet different climates but no raincoat; will get if advisable and perhaps it is.
I may also check on commentaries on Gathas. I seem to have plenty and instead of throwing them away will bring to Ruth. But I have such a bunch of Sufi material, I have not been able even to edit it all.
Last week gave the first Bayat and have now two inquiries. This comes largely out of the book, The Sufis by Sheikh Idries Shah. I think I told you the story. Anyhow the foreword was written by Robert Graves and now Graves and I are exchanging letters at a rapid rate and most friendly, too.
My own health and vigor increase and several persons told me I look younger. Actually I have felt almost no aging since 1923 when I went to Kaaba Allah and thought I would die, and instead became completely revivified. This has happened several times.
If you have any advice about timing let me know. The food conference ends about May 19, and school (Art School) almost the same time. There will be a water conference here in a few days and after that the Edgar Cayce people will be around so there is no rest.
Last week spent a most wonderful hour with my fairy godmother, i.e. Ruth St. Denis. You know he was Pir-o-Murshid’s first host and still looks back to him with love and reference. Without visible communication I have done everything she wishes down to details. If you have any young grandchild I can explain it better with and for them, but there is lots more in it.
Am also preparing to host some UN delegates when they come next year. This makes it uncertain whether I shall go on from Pennsylvania. But all projects in cooperation with Dr. Oliver Reiser of Pittsburgh are making some progress in some direction and so I should visit him too. Only I don’t know whether he will be in that vicinity or not.
It is only an emergency now that would cause any change of plans. I have a deep feeling something good will come of it.
God bless you,
Samuel L. Lewis
Sufi Ahmed Mureed Christi
April 23, 1964
My dear Vocha:
Alas, I cannot call you “Mother Divine”—not for the moment. You see my fairy god-mother has been here—she may be here still and we had a whole hour together without interruption. Without any form of communication I have done everything she has wanted and wished—down to detail. Not to keep you in suspense, it is Ruth St. Denis. But them again, as she is my Fairy-God Mother, she belongs in that realm and so you are still safe as Mother Divine.
What happened last week was that I had three awful days, followed immediately by three grand days. On one of those days, having lots of time I called at offices knowing the people would be out and everything “ran” according to the negative schedule. Then boom, the reversal, not the revolution. The largest bonus of my life and I gave Gavin $10 to progress my horoscope which he has not done, but this was also a test. So bought clothes and inquired into a ticket east.
Major Sadiq was to have come here and to have worked on a spiritual, an agricultural and a paint program. This made me busy 7 days in the week without pause and he was so satisfied he has appointed me commercial representative! Of course, no pay! And he knew I have been having obstacles, and this upended all my programs. So I have decided to go east anyhow. And if you are near Victorville and I come by train will advise ahead of time. But at the moment a lot depends on the Food & Civilization conference next month.
I have had three projects, all of which were to be settled by Dr. Seymour Farber of the Affiliated Colleges, U. C. And to make it thicker I get a very nice letter from his secretary—he is away and will give the matter his attention when he returns.
Well I spent hours on the campus today mostly with agriculture matters and the chief expert did not have time to see me so I made an appointment. No being a diplomat—or being one--- I spent more time joking with telephone girls (some over 50) than with Profs. and that was right. I got a beautiful star, or rather two of them and upended on top. First with the publications and then with the Food Civilization conference. And who is in charge of the conference—you might have guessed—that same Prof. Farber as above. So all my eggs and me have been thrown into the same basket.
After three hours I decided to call it a day but must return Monday to other departments so did not call Renee. May telephone here this week and before I come over.
In the meanwhile the strings are pulling for Bryn and to top that off the Chronicle had a big headline on Salt Water conversion so I mailed it to him. “They” want him in Pakistan, if I only could semanticize “they.”
Do not know UNCTAD or Probitsch. But I have a book on “Libya” written by financiers. “They should plant soil-control grasses” and “they should introduce machinery” and “they should start technical schools” and “they should build roads on the desert” and They should and They should and sometimes two or three per paragraph and never a mention of the people, what their religion is, how they live, what their ideals are or anything. A marvelous combination of dialectics and buncombe and, of course, the poor fellahin who can’t read and write will not appreciate “foreign aid.” No doubt they should trade their camels for cadillacs.
Have just written to KQED a long letter and enclosed carbon of one to Ruth Sasaki. Next year the UN will meet here and I have advised and even warned them of the awful hypocrisy on our part of absolutely refusing programs to the real representatives of real Asians and giving endless time to “experts.” There will be the third Zen conference in this sector soon, all in Japanese, and you can bet there has been a total of zero “experts” at these conferences. There is Sesshin now. And in the meanwhile another matter has come up.
The papers of Nyogen Senzaki are in the hands of my life-long friend, Ted Reich who was also a friend of Whitey and S.C. Another copy is in the hands of Lottie Fernandez (Watts got mine, kept them, would not permit their being used in class, etc.). We shall someday have to annotate these and get out official copies but it is doubtful whether we shall call in even Ruth McCandless. All the versions are slightly different.
Lottie has been visiting Christine and she ran into the “official” disciples of the old Roshi, but no heart. Now that “we” have the papers, someday some official cognizance will take place. In any case however else “we” differ there is a united front against all the LSD stuff.
Reps has been out of sight and I know he has not lived right because inquiries followed him here and he has been in hiding. I am amazed how little self-assurance and “Prajna” is in the lives and characters who become “experts.” But “experts” we have and “experts” we want, and this being a “democracy” there is more inexorability than almost anywhere in the world, excepting of course, in the self-confessed dialecticians.
I’ll show Pat Hunt your letter and the remarks about Hugo. Ted is also a very good friend of Hugo and Hazel.
Last night heard a wonderful Prajna lecture from what are called, I think, “The Blue Cliff” papers, dealing with the successors of the Sixth Patriarch. It was easy for me to follow and Sensei said anybody who had studied Buddhism would find it clear. Many of them laughed along but did not show any sign of understanding. I called the head of the Sangha aside and explained it to him and I could see that he had had not idea of the “symbolic” use of terms.
The other day in the gym a man came in and said he was waiting for his son, aged 60. He was kidding. I told him I had passed that several years ago. He thought I was kidding. So I gave him the history of S.F. and he was so astonished he said he was thinking of signing up himself. Later I found he is a big Hollywood producer. Well Fred and Corinne gave me a steer clear so I have “secrets” but what made them “secrets.”
“Politics we bar, they are not our bent,
On the whole we are, not intelligent.”
Not true. I am writing post haste to Congressmen on food and water problems. The future of Cuba? I’ll take Vanilla.
Hasta la vista, con mucho amore,
May 2, 1964
My dear Vocha:
The other day I sent a long letter to Lancaster and yesterday one was received from you from Apple Valley which fell out of my pocket somewhere. Yet enough has happened to warrant writing again.
Friday night I met another kindred soul. It is Dr. Erich W. Bethmann, Director of Research and Publication for the American Friends of the Middle East. His titled subject was “Historical Background of the Jordan Water Problem” but it involved two other subjects:
a. The Palestinian political imbroglio
b. The “two cultures” of Snow.
It is the last which particularly concerned me. There were a number of other points brought up and while Arabs and Israelis have their strange attitudes toward each other, there is also the effort of the so-called “humanists” to dominate the scientists. The selection of Eric Johnston is a case in point. He has solved (?) every problem with a sermon. Previously I investigated his so-called “moral censorship” of the movies and it was nothing but ivory tower preaching. His associates were carefully selected by the very Hollywood producers who have been most flagrantly guilty of questionable films and still more questionable private lives. And there is no question that communism has thrived and will continue to thrive on our un-moral dualism. Johnston undoubtedly helped elect Krishna Menon—I was there and we are not going to stop infiltration by destroying the sanctity of the family.
Johnston was successful in getting funds for the largest water survey in the Near East and just as successful in having it pigeon-holed. We are constantly putting out funds for “Foreign Aid” and all the most powerful surveys which concern my own efforts have been pigeonholed—you never hear about them, but you do hear of more cries for more funds. In the meanwhile both the Arabs and Israelis are kept at each other’s throats and kept arguing over a limited supply of water. The Israelis have a “program” something like that of Southern California, but no more successful.
As the discussion was reaching an impasse I gave my report on efforts to have salt-water conversion plants on the Red Sea. There is still the pseudo-argument on costs. The fact that you can get miles of land for a song is overlooked—water is both the limiting factor and the only one involving money. It is just the opposite of some parts of the world where the land is expensive and the water cheap. It all balances out but the press and politics have their way and their say and they look at the one item—the cost of water—and overlook the others. I proved that given an over-all budget the cost of reclamation would be cheaper even if the cost of salt-water conversation did not go down.
At the end of the meeting I received the very good will of the speaker (this is happening all the time now) and several congratulatory remarks from a number of friends of Prof. Howe of Berkeley who were in the audience. I felt like a hypocrite stealing Bryn’s thunder but it is Bryn whom I wish to promote, not myself.
If I am fortunate enough to pick up about fifty dollars extra I shall go on to Washington. But in any case I shall send Bethmann a long report and put in anything Bryn advises. I think it is very important to have him on record with the American Friends of the Middle East. One of Teddy Roosevelt’s grandsons is a leader and on the board but I now know most of the officials.
Admiral Evenson, the director here spoke in glowing terms and I assent. For in addition to being a research scholar on water and deserts, Dr. Bethmann has been giving his whole life to the reconciliation of Christianity and Islam and I have not even touched it.
In the meanwhile I have had two more important communications from Pakistan, one from each wing, very satisfactory and cordial and they will undoubtedly be of help in promoting both the spiritual and material missions. East Pakistan in water-logged, West is dry. It will be just two weeks now for the gathering of the clans and less than that for the meeting with William Vogt, the Conservationist.
Meanwhile I have had such a response from the Sierra Club here, from my old teacher in Horticulture and even from many of my former colleagues, both city and state, that I feel very much more reassured. I do not know many problems which do not have answers. The main obstacle is still communication, not between the material haves and have-nots, but between the question and answer people. As I have not heard from Major Sadiq I do not know whether and when I shall be moving about. But if you are at Apple Valley and I travel by train I would stop off at Victorville either coming or going—we can arrange that later.
Morning. Went to the Zendo and met my Friend, Claude Dahlenberg who has traveled a lot. He tells me that the New York group has gone down-hill. I expect to visit them if I get that far. Not interested in the Fair, just in the UN and serious things. If Vogt presses, also I may come on to N.Y.
Love and a’ that,
S. A. M.
772 Clementina St.
San Francisco 3, Calif.
May 9, 1964
My dear Mr. Hopkins:
I was very pleased to learn that you have accepted a position on the Board of the Buddhist Association. While this group does not seem to have any connection with the work of Dwight Goddard of another generation I feel they are doing what he would have and what may in the end be best for the country and for the world.
The Soto group here is doing very well. But with my going to Art or Dancing school at night there is little time for lectures. The Roshi (S. Suzuki) is always telling his Sangha to study Buddhism. Instead of studying, the tendency is to substitute tense meditation for relaxed meditation and all the while he is using the word “study” in both the inner and outer senses.
We did have a visiting monk who had experienced satori and he held an open meeting. One could see then the progress or lack of it on the part of devotees. There is still too much hang-over of the PhDeism, as I call it, for personality-worship to appreciate attainment. But the picture is much more pleasant today than heretofore. Bishop Yamada has since been here and they are gradually, in their own way, helping intellectual and egocentric Americans get over the humps.
My position about “studying Buddhism” is different for I have not only read the whole Tipitaka (and more recently Buddhaghosa) but tomes of Mahayana. More important at this point was an early study into Bodhisattva literature in which the Bodhisattvas were pictured as “world saviors.” In this metaphysical California this is usually interpreted to mean weird or exotic personalities from questionable places—never the simple monk who had the satori or persons like myself who seem to be engaged in quite different endeavors. Yet the Bodhisattvic quest produced the world-view which has remained, and makes it possible to seem to be engaged on quite different products at the same time. Yet all of these projects, placed before the University of California, have gone to the same office which deals externally with very different kinds of subjects.
For instance this week there will be a gathering of Scientists and “experts” on problems of “Food and Civilization.” One of the “experts” is Editor Luce who will give one of the usual obtuse harangues which never have and never will take away the pains of humanity. At the extreme other stand are those devotees who wish to make their ko-ans or aims in life something quite other than taking away the actual pains and sufferings of actual people of an actual world. Therefore a Bodhisattva who has for his ko-an the emptiness of the stomach is liable to be misunderstood in both directions. And yet if one has his own understanding this does not matter.
A report of one’s private affairs and ventures does not present an immediate pleasant picture. Yet three quite different projects in Asia are succeeding and succeeding to such an extent that later on instead of appalling for funds, the appeal may be for assistance in the wise use of same.
Roshi Suzuki is trying to impress his disciples on the use of Prajna. Despite the Sixth Patriarch, there are intense meditations, and intense studies but little or no Prajna. There have been two periods in my life—both annotated—in which the Prajna was operative on a grand scale. It had the effect of horrifying and repelling those close to me despite the fact that it was never wrong. There were no inquiries on how to develop the same in oneself and it is only now that in America anybody listens at all. The effects in Asia are quite different.
The other day I met a young woman who has begun a job for the American Friends of the Middle East. “The first thing you must learn is that Europeans are human beings and Asians are thought-forms.” “I have learned that already.” To sit in silent communion with Dr. Radhakrishnan is an easy task; to get Americans to accept the fact is almost impossible; and those Americans who have pierced the veil are in the same position but today there are some Americans who have gone through the “gateless gate.”
I am preparing to cross the country in connection with both the food the spiritual missions. There is one idea of helping to host some UN delegates here next year. Last time these delegates (excepting the Arab) were taken in tow by the elite and never touched those sympathetic to their countries or the ideals thereof. In the case of the Arab it was just as bad—I had him in tow when nobody would believe it and could not share him. Neither of these situations is ideal.
For the Muslims and others I am planning a huge coffee celebration, different kinds of coffee and not liquor. For the Buddhists, my friends are planning a Buddha-pageant (I belong to this dance group) and there are means of reaching U Thant and others. If I am successful in my trip which extends as far as Pittsburgh, I may go on to Washington and New York, but only for such purposes and not for attending the World’s Fair.
Recently I was fortunate to have a whole hour with my “fairy-godmother,” Ruth St. Denis. With no external communication I have developed a whole basic system of education which bids fair to be introduced in Pakistan by 1966. It is based on the walk and with it breathing and also esoteric mediation, but no philosophy, and can be taught even to four-year olds. Of course a “religion” based on the teachings that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the little ones is anathema to the establishment, a goodly portion of which seems to want school prayers for and from those who are considered “damned.”
The combination of Indian and Mathematical Philosophy resulting in the new “integrational outlook” has enabled me now for the first time to express myself in an American audience. The subject was the problem of the Jordan waters. The matrix for the solution was the Vijnanavada of India plus actual discoveries by a spiritual brother who is also on engineer. The Israelis, UN, Saudians and UAR scientists have all accepted it, but the “establishment” has refused even to examine the possibilities. Fortunately this audience was refused even to examine the possibilities. Fortunately this audience was composed largely of engineers and their families and not diplomats or sociologists.
But now the same “solution” is being broadcast and I have gone so far as to push it in California politics. There is a peculiar situation locally in our Congressman Burton. When Senator Fulbright came out with his new approach I made my pledge to this Congressman only to find his confidential secretary was a Taoist! Americans cannot understand how the Taoists operate and in this world of “either-or.” I found myself in full cooperation with those with whom I have been secretly allied for a long time. Now it means that along with modern science and Indian Metaphysics there is the Taoist psychology and in the end this should triumph despite all.
It is as yet anathema to regard Asians as starving people other than their being puppets in a cold war. Actually few Asians are starving, many are subject to malnutrition and sometimes our endeavors to introduce Iowan farming has led to disaster. These disasters never appear in print yet they go on all the time.
The epitome is my “How California Can Help Asia” which is multifarious. Outwardly it is being applied in the food and agricultural world. It should come to a first climax next week. Before the convention I am to have a private session with William Vogt. This state is full of research scientists who have solved most problems. Thus on the Stanford campus is one of the world’s greatest authorities. What has happened? Off the campus there is a “Stanford Research Institute” which has confused the public, obtained vast sums and is nothing but a specialized laboratory serving special interests. The people starve and charity is used to show how to freeze Peaches or Spinach in a better fashion for the chain stories!
After the food conference I am attending three World Affairs meetings. One deals with China and another with Somaliland. The third is a steam-blowing session where I shall present the theme as above: “Europeans are people, Asians are thought-forms.” Whether it be the religion or the agricultural approach we have and are making messes.
And it is only now after years of effort that I have been sent for an interview with a local radio station. I am accepting, not for the “self” but to prepare a series for the visiting UN delegates next year. It is time that the American people learn about foreign nations from their own citizens and not from the Luces and Hearsts.
I am preparing to visit Southern California on my return, but dates are indefinite. One finds that if one attends to one’s concentrations despite every hazard, these will come to successful conclusions. Our failures abroad, the silly ideas we have about the peoples of Zanzibar, Indonesia and other lands, make it impossible to establish equilibrium.
This week I heard Dr. Von Grünebaum of UCLA. I have been pursuing this man for at least fifteen years. In his public address and contrary to his earlier writings, he has come out for mysticism. I have been pounding away—with the President and Vice-President of Indian both mystics, with Nehru having a real Pundit, etc., it is time for some people to get out of “realism” and into reality. This the professor has done. He has evidently met enough mystics or students of mysticism.
But beyond this he sees the unhappiness, the misery, the dissatisfaction of his own students. They go to alcohol and sex and excitement and there seems to be no alternative. He spoke on the joy of the Christian Ecclesiasts and the Islamic Sufis. It is evident he has met enough of them—and he contrasted their existence to that of the peoples of Europe and Asia. A long war has ended in total and happy agreement.
When I first studied Buddhism—and it seems to have been largely forgotten, we used to end our letters:
May all people be peaceful!
May all people be blissful!
May all people be happy!
Samuel L. Lewis
May 12, 1964
I am answering your letter of the 10th immediately because things will be humming. The Food conference is going to change to the Auditorium in Golden Gate Park which pleased me muchly. I can go to a restaurant just outside on my Diners Card.
Am clearing up my work for art school. Have been studying color and this is most fortunate because indirectly I am involved in the paint business, and if this prospers, shekels will be coming my way, instead of complex arrangements with Pakistan. But my present plan means going from Pennsylvania to Fort Worth and thence to Victorville and not stopping in LA unless something important crops up.
My recent most pleasant surprise meeting with Prof. Von Grünebaum of UCLA brightens the picture. I have also had another cordial letter from Reiser and as soon as I reach my destination will inform him. From Pennsylvania I should radiate to Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Wooster, the last also depending on the conference this week. I expect to meet Vogt Thursday p.m. and this also may cause some slight change in program.
The lack of alacrity over some of my inquiries slows the possibility of G.S. for Pakistan. And what is most awful, it is the spiritual people, not the humanists, who want the semantics. I know Reiser will see this but will go slow with Lloyd. Lloyd and Mary are the “devils” here to the Catholic conservatives—make out of it what you will.
I have just read a novel supposed to be based on Mogul events and it is very evident that Europeans cannot fathom the sex-life of the Moguls, much less the constituent elements, i.e., the Hindus and Sufis. In a similar way the new schools can’t see how the Asians will react to them as even the most outstanding non-Asian people have not really ingested integration (philosophical and mathematical).
When I do reach L.A. shall call on Harry and buy what is necessary, but have to revise my manuscript and know today I can do a good job. It is not easy to explain how my life work is really a ko-an to Zen students—never mind others. You become what you are doing. But fortunately the Rudolph Schaeffer School is impregnated with Zen, carry over from you old art teacher, the later Perham Nahl.
I hope your social events will lead to something more.
772 Clementina St.,
San Francisco 3, Calif.
May 13, 1964.
To His Excellency,
The Ambassador of Pakistan,
Washington, D. C.
Enclosed is a copy of a letter sent to me which I ask you have read by the proper person and then return. The writer of the letter and myself, long disciples in tasawwuf, hold firmly to the Bismillah and thus to Rahmat and do not believe there are insoluble problems. At this point the letter divides itself into two matters:
a. What is Islam? The Pir Dewwal Shereef is the founder of the University of Islamabad and also the Murshid of your most worthy Prime Minister, Hon. Ayub Khan. He has presented to me what is known in this country as the “semantic problem,” which is to say, the right use of words with definite purport and one of my early undertakings now is to complete matters so that you country may be relieved from what I consider its worst difficult, the tyranny of words.
That Allah who is All Beneficent will not let His people suffer excepting it is nufs, and this is the crux of everything.
b. The scientific solution of the problems of salinity, aridity, proper crops, proper agricultures, salt-water conversing, etc., etc. have all been accomplished and mostly in this State of California. But is not easy on the one hand to get Pakistanis to appreciate that the All-Merciful guides all people and that without this guidance, happiness is impossible. The Hadith may say: “Seek wisdom even to China” but ignorant people who call themselves Muslims will not accept any foreign wisdom at all. Rather before Allah nothing is foreign, nothing is strange and therefore this letter and there may be more like it, inshallah.
2. On the other hand there has been very slow acceptance of Islam here at any level. Islamic instruction in the United States is nearly all in the hands of non-Americans, non-Muslims and neither the Americans nor Pakistanis have (with a few exceptions) faced this. When the late A. Bokhari was here and gave the greatest oration I have ever heard—and I have heard many orations from William Jennings Bryan on—he was introduced neither as a Muslim nor as a Pakistani, but as a UN delegate.
I am therefor hoping that when the Hon. Zafrullah Khan and any other of your colleagues come here they will make it clear what country they represent and to what faith they belong—and make it very, very clear.
Even now the writer is working on a new educational approach for your country based on Tauhid—not a word to be exploited and admired, but an actuality. Therefore his first public appearance whenever he returns will probably be at Kashur at the mazar of Bulla Shah. Already a number of Pirs of several schools have accepted this invitation. And this is mentioned also because in this letter enclosed my brother, Shamcher Beorse, has mentioned his prowess. These things remain secret or unknown because authorities do not always recognize what is at their feet.
For example one of my friends is lecturing on Hunza and many people are interested in Hunza and want to go there, but there has not been much of a response on the part of your fellow-countrymen, even those who imagine they are promoting tourism. But there is not only no question of health and longevity, but I met the Grand Master of the Khalandar Order, who, at 115 (one hundred and fifteen) climbed the Himalayas like a young goat!
Actually all the above is based on the actual Hadith which are admired but not scrupulously studied, and even less practiced. This means there is hope, and more than hope.
A food conference takes place here shortly. Many of the men at the conference will have the knowledge that your country needs—the answers to questions. I even now have colleagues who have cooperated in kinds of soil research which could increase the output of East Pakistan 300% (three hundred percent). As to West Pakistan, that is a long story and I am awaiting the coming of my colleague, Major M. Sadiq who is now the Chief Khalif of the Pir of Dewwal Shereef.
I am also planning, inshallah, a coffee party for UN delegates who would object to alcoholic beverages. I am hoping this can be done in cooperation with the American Friends of the Middle East or some other worthy group. Nothing is gained when Islamic diplomats partake of strong drink—they gain no friends, rather otherwise. And the possibilities in alternative affairs have hardly been tried.
Sufi Ahmed Murad-Chisti
(Samuel L. Lewis)
772 Clementina St.
San Francisco 3, Calif.
May 18, 1964
Beloved one of Allah:
All Praise is due to Allah the Lord of all the worlds, of whom the Bible says: Ki Leolem Chasdo, which is translated “whose mercy endures forever” but which really means “whose Mercy penetrates every portion of the universe.” And we cannot separate the Sifat-i-Allah from Allah so each attribute connotes the others and with Mercy the Wisdom.
This letter is being sent to you in duplicate so that you may share if, your desire, with Dr. Naar or Sufi Sahib. But I must write a separate and even longer letter to Major Sadiq. I was unable to fulfill his last request and stuck to the Murakkabah and now the Murakkabah has manifested and the most beautiful things have happened in these last few days. But first it is necessary to answer you letter in full.
The relations between Murshid and mureed are beautifully set forth in “L’awarifu Ma’arif” of Sheikh Shahab-bu-din ibn Omar Sohrawardi, one of the Grand Sheikhs. The Teacher must not reveal the mysteries of the mureed and any request aside, no mention has been made of your name. But it seems that this Shafiq has associated your name with every project she hears I am associated with, which is not and cannot be true from the every nature of these projects, some of which will be related below.
The Invocation of Hazrat Inayat Khan: “Toward the one, the Perfection of Love, Harmony and Beauty, the Only Being, united with all the Illuminated Souls who form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance” posits Allah, almost in the sense of Moineddin Ibn l’Arabi and Mansur Hallaj; and also the Spiritual Hierarchy and although Hazrat Inayat Khan says that without Hierarchy creation could not be this is not grasped by many people. When Shams-i-Tabriz met Maulana Roum he asked: “Was Abu Yezid or Mohammed the greater?” and this question—not any answer—involves the whole of wisdom. The state of Abu Yezid (i.e. the hal) may have been equal or even superficially superior to that of Mohammed but in the makam, there is no compassion. You see the same in another way if you would ask or have somebody ask it about Sufi Sahib and madzub Sahib. This is not a real, it is a pseudo-question where the mind enters and destroys paradise or itself.
Even well-intentioned people who have not passed tauba miss the point and either the mind or nufs (especially the latter) become very active and very misleading. The use of “Allaho Akbar” as a constant Zikr or Fikr sooner or later impedes these disturbers of peace. Or as Holy Qur’an says: “Say Allah and leave them to their devices.”
Now the next “lesson” is concerning the Wali and there are Walis of two kinds: geographical and functional. Once a master came to Lahore and the Governor asked him what for and he said, “To protect the city against plague.” This was in 1894 and this actually happened and while the plague ranged elsewhere the city was not touched.
Some Walis protect a shrine or tomb, some a small area, even city; some a river, some a country. Others work for human welcome as in the development of a science, or providing food or lodging or practical wisdom. They are not necessarily known and you will find them in research in UAR.
In Egypt the Wali is likely to be Salik and in Pakistan Madzub but there is no rule for it. The Walis are either Jelali or Jemali and we can call the Wali Jelalis “Masters” and the Wali Jemalis “Saints” but neither word is exact. I don’t know of any Wali Kemali. The Wali Kemali is Nabi and while theoretically you could have Wali Kemali, the Kemali can only perfect or destroy. So in order for mankind to progress—and mankind has surely progressed, you have the Wali Jelali and the Wali Jemali, and the interaction between them helps the humanity.
Those men to have claimed to be Mahdis have, with one exception been extreme Jelalis and by that very fact could not be Kemalis and if you understand that you don’t have to argue about the Baha’is or Ahmadiyyas or anybody. The Kemali cannot posit himself and the nearest has been Shams-i-Tabriz with the question as above and sometimes he used to call himself “Mohammed.” It is interesting that he was martyred (or disappeared) for calling himself “Mohammed” and Hallaj for calling himself “Allah” but the Dayyals do not proclaim either Mohammed or Allah but themselves and this automatically proves the short-comings. The same applies to Elijah Mohammed in this country if he only understood Wali and did not misunderstand Nabi and Rassoul. Besides Nabi and Rassoul are not identical. Arguments aside, there is no objective evidence of anybody attaining fullness since Mohammed.
Besides the Wall is not concerned with theoretically theology or hagiography. He is concerned with his ryazat, and you will learn more of this from later portions of this communication.
Now about Idries Shah. The criticism about no Baraka is correct and in sharp contrast to books concerning the saints of North Africa. These books are full of Baraka. At the same time the West is discursive and this is the first time a book has been written to penetrate that great wall of obscurantism manned by the Professors of Oxford, Cambridge, McGill, Glasgow and other universities whose words are standing in the West and who have made a mess of “The Encyclopedia of Islam.” I believe I have written about the recent meetings with Prof. Von Grünebaum and Brinner. A letter has been sent to Prof. A. A. Siddiqui at Lahore covering this. Until and unless Muslims realize that what passes for “Islam” in the West is a synthetic fiction compounded from university professors; or else an extremely ignorant derivation of those whose ancestors were devotees, you can see that there is no Allah-Islam in the West, or very little. And until this is actually cognized any criticism of Sheikh little. And until this is actually cognized any criticism of Sheikh Idries Shah is incomplete. He suffered enough even to get his book published.
Even now I have not fully succeeded, only by slow steps in getting recognition from the universities and locally from the Islamic community not at all.
As you can surmise your Murshid has a fair scope of literary knowledge which must not be confused with divine wisdom. In speaking before a new audience one has to be careful not to expound that which is beyond their comprehension. One must have attention and interest, and without those the book—or lectures—would be worthless. Sheikh Idries was definitely writing for the Western world and this cannot be compared to books for the Islamic world.
There is a vast difference between surrender to the living Deity and calling oneself a Muslim and trying to convert others. The Sunis failed to convince the British about Rassoul-lillah having several wives and as they were trying to win the audience to Sunna and not to Allah they failed. But Judge Rabani Khan went and explained that Islam was primarily surrender to Allah and even the Hadith say (this is rejected by most Muslims (?): “The word of Allah can repudiate the words of His messenger but the words of the Messenger can never supplant those of Allah.” Kashf, love, humanity and social niceties brought about plural marriages and I personally see nothing to argue about. In Paraguay after 1858 there were nothing but plural marriages and even today limited polygyny is practiced in Sweden.
The standard is our surrender to Allah every moment and in reality, not in recourse to law books or even to scriptures. For example it is said, “Allah is closer than the neck vain.” In the practices of Zikr your Murshid has found these more effective accordingly as the neck-vein is used. This comes in two different methods:
a. In the Servahs of Zikr where the head is moved or rotated, the center of gravity and action is the neck-vein and this is most effective.
b. In the recitative Zikr the further back in the mouth toward or through the palate to the neck being the more profoundly effective the Zikr. So when one says “Allah” and the voice comes from the back of the palate all the way through the month the word “Allah” is so wonderful there is nothing like it.
I am writing to Major Sadiq separately covering some of the events of the day. It is now impossible for me to ask him to change his affairs. Inshallah, I leave in two weeks to go to a sector of the United States near the cities of Cleveland and Pittsburgh and between them, returning by way of Fort Worth to see his principles. After that there will be the confluence of two matters:
William Hathaway was given Bayat by one of my spiritual brothers and we have been very close. He came Saturday and asked that I do not go to New York until he reaches there. This was the same a I have had through Kashf, that the trip to Cleveland must come and then return; and then preparation to go again, to host the UN delegates here in San Francisco in 1965. Therefore your plans fall in fully with you Murshid’s in everything and perhaps in more as you will see.
Yes, buy the works of Hazrat Inayat Khan if they are not too expensive, but do not spend money just for the sake of so doing. If you get them, you must let your Murshid know which Volume you are studying. There are some commentaries already written and these would be sent to you, but for much the commentaries are not yet written.
The Berkeley Campus. Prof. Brinner is reviewing your book and when I write the paper on “Muslims in Contemporary India” we shall have a conference. This is the subject for their summer studies. But your Murshid will be away.
The San Francisco Campus
Prof. Seymour Farber is in change of all graduate students and exchange professors from foreign lands. He is also in charge of international university relationships which means the offers from Islamabad University must be presented to him for final say. He will also be the man for Uncle Sadiq to meet coming here as a spiritual healer. And also he was in charge of the “Food & Civilization Conference” which took place the last three days.
Prof. Wm. Vogt, one of the World’s leading conservationists wanted to meet me and did. But it is strange that his closest friends here in San Francisco have been lifelong friends of your Murshid and everything worked out so harmoniously that the last speech of the conference was made by him and he called attention of the assembly to my work and conclusions. This was a surprise and it has raised the social importance of your Murshid no need—coming soon after the meetings with Prof. Brinner and Prof. Von Grünebaum.
But the miracle took place Saturday when the speakers presented the problems of Pakistan was the examples to be discussed. Prof. Ravelle, who is in charge of the University of California at La Jolla, San Diego, which is also the Scripps School of Oceanography, has visited almost all the same places and the same persons as your Murshid and discussed “Salinity in the Indus Valley Basin” at length. This threw the whole conference into the hands of your Murshid. Dr. Farber greeted me Sunday morning by saying: “Well, there’s you problem. Have you the answer?” “Yes, and I have already discussed it with Dr. Ravelle and will send you the copy.” “Please do.” This report, following the one on Sufism to the Berkeley campus will change, inshallah, is already changing the social position of your Murshid.
Also present was Prof. Mehren who is now Assistant Secretary of Agriculture in Washington and whom I had met before. He also wants reports from me and told your Murshid he will do everything possible to assist him—which means now that when Major Sadiq comes here and we go to Washington we shall have the best introductions—there will be others, but this will be best. No more can be asked from Allah, the Mighty, the wise and the extremely practical.
Your Murshid is therefore in a sort of daze, that after long years there come to manifestation dreams and desires and now it will be easy to work out programs for Pakistan. But following all this your Murshid has just returned from a long breakfast and conference with Dr. Vogt mentioned who has offered every kind of help when we come to New York. Therefore holding on to Murakkabah and Kashf everything seems to unfold and demonstrating as Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan taught: “Allah is the perfection of Love, Harmony and Beauty.”
Love and Blessings from
Sufi Ahmed Murad-Chisti
May 21, 1964
My dear Aramdarya:
This letter is written knowing that you may not be able to answer it, but in the hope it will bring you blessings of comfort and love. The circumstances are altering at a rapid rate and the receipt of a progressed horoscope from Gavin Arthur substantiates the events of the day and the presumable tomorrow. In a short while I leave for Pennsylvania going directly to a farm of Paul and Sharab Harris.
Sharab was christened Viola Barness. She and Earl (Fatha) Engle were a young threesome with Rabia Martin and Mushtari Miller, separated by age and inclination but not always in class until Pir-o-Murshid came in 1923. Earl became Fatha and went to France. Voila returned to Cleveland and married a childhood sweetheart. She later was partly responsible for Fatha coming to that city, and had the same complex problems later on with Bhakti and Pir-o-Murshid’s family. She and her husband have retired to his family farm where I go in part to do experimental and labor work; in part to move to cities nearby to meet with people who have become, in a sense, colleagues, on a high level.
In 1923 Pir-o-Murshid gave me the earth for my field of endeavor with the request to spread the spiritual message among the intellectuals. I have worked alone. I feel like Yudhisthira who is the hero of the “Mahabharata” though not of the Gita, who lived on an on after his brothers died and had the attainment, accompanied by his dog. In a sense now I am being accomplished by Shamcher Beorse in a vast series of complex events mostly at high level which bid fair now to succeed.
The Late Swami Ramdas used to describe Ram, which is to say God, as a Humorist. I have been striving very had to introduce spiritual wisdom to America and scientific wisdom to Asia and at this moment have been summoned to submit more spiritual wisdom to Asia and Scientific wisdom to America. The scientific wisdom is a compilation of everything that has gone on in my life for fifty years despite it’s almost non-acceptance by disciplines of spiritualism and occultism; my spiritual wisdom was accepted at once or I was accepted at once in every country and by every spiritual leader from Japan to Egypt.
The progressed horoscope holds, and the events indicate a marked improvement in financial circumstances. This has not come to pass yet, though very slowly and gradually there is an improvement and the Bank of America will again come to my rescue as it has many times in the past. First there has been a long commercial inquiry from West Pakistan and now there is from East Pakistan which neither financially or personally I was able to embrace, but the harmony between the two inquiries and the love and trust which is mutual in those lands may mean later on a new and glorious material venture. This is also borne out by the horoscope.
But Major Sadiq will not come now until October and it seems there is a world of mutual endeavor. Everything that Pir-o-Murshid placed before me in 1923 and 1926 is now on the horizon if not actually in the presence despite all obstacles, inner, outer and karmic.
The first climax came two weeks ago. Dr. Erich Bethmann was speaking on the problems of the Jordan waters and during the discussion he said he saw no way out; neither did anybody else. I arose and presented my own plan which has been modified by Bryn Beorse’s endeavors and it was accepted at once.
Now there are some curious things. The audience was composed of engineers, their wives and American women whose outlooks are most similar to my own—and there were no sociologists, diplomats or newspaper people around. The unanimity was complete but I have not been able yet to submit this program because of the rapidity of events.
In 1946 I was spiritually commanded to bring peace in Palestine and only Ivy Duce knew of my plans. She later not only betrayed but road-blocked me making further efforts impossible. I kept quite for yours until I met the aide of General Bunns who was in charge of the Gaza Strip and he told me he had never heard of a better plan, that I was the first person to bring anything sensible. Step by step the Israelis, Egyptians and Saudians have accepted my efforts but not Americans and most of all not those in diplomacy or “peace” movements.
Now I have long since reported that “God” told me to mark friends with the friends of Terry Duce, and Dr. Bethmann is a very close associate of Terry. One by one this has happened and psychologically and socially Terry is working for me and Ivy has kept very, very mum. This is only one of string of events in this direction and if I were to write Terry the carbons of the other reports I am making it would put Ivy in a very terrible position.
It is enough that yesterday I learned of the failure of Ivy’s closest mureeds in their journey to India and Baba and they are returning chagrined; why add to anybody’s difficulties?
I have four or five problems or projects, the nature of which need not concern you—although you would be interested in each and all. By the strangest processes all these came to one Dr. Seymour Farber of the Hospital of the University of California. Originally he approached me, not I him. But we have not been able to get together.
There has just been the “Food and Civilization” conference, a meeting of scientists of the highest level discussing food problems from breast-feeding to biochemistry, farming to jelly-making, malnutrition to gourmet meals—a long parade of top people in each and all and I guess I was one of the few able to follow all the way through. Everybody is a specialist today but me.
On Saturday Asst. Secretary of Agricultures Mehren arose and presented problems and a program. As events turned out I approached him and in the end he is willing to help me with everything and everybody when I come to Washington—which will probably be in connection with Major Sadiq later on. He comes from Berkeley and this was not the first time we met in person or by correspondence. But he brings problems, not knowledge or solutions.
Then Dr. Ravelle who is in charge of research at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California, La Jolla, San Diego arose and gave the main talk of the whole session—the problems of soil and salinity in the Indus Valley. At the recess Dr. Faber sought me out—this is the second time he has done this: “There’s you problem.” I replied, “No, there’s you problem. Here’s your solution. I have already approached Dr. Ravelle, intend to write to him in full detail and send you copy.” “Please do.”
Now the Jordan and Palestine story has behind it the spirit of Jesus Christ but the Indus Valley difficulty has behind it the spirit of Hazrat Inayat Khan.
Pir-o-Murshid left a Khalif in India of whom Kismet Stam, kept in Purdah, knew nothing. It was this man, who along with Hasan Nizami met Rabia Martin in New Delhi and proclaimed her a Pi-o-Murshid. The Khalifa also died and all his mureeds and Pir-o-Murshid’s mureeds in India seem to have disappeared excepting Shams-du-din Ahmed.
This man met me socially; we became excellent friends and companions and now he has been working on soil and water problems. Finally I was able to get Bryn Beorse and him to correspond with each other on both the Sufic and scientific fields and there the matter stands, plus this event.
In any case when the Major comes we shall also go to San Diego; or I may have to go after my return. In the meanwhile the Major has so prospered financially and me intellectually that my plan is to go to Viola as above, and then stop at Fort Worth and Los Angeles on my return, possibly seeing Vocha Fiske and then you and then come back to San Francisco unless something else intervenes.
While I was still living in Fairfax a young woman (then) introduced me to the works of Dr. William Vogt and his soil and conservation programs became the basis of my work. Besides I soon saw that the rhythms of nature are identical with the teachings of basic Indian philosophy. This Ford Foundation discovered and has been using and I found also that Vogt, though he manifests as a humanist, is also a good friend of Dr. Radhakrishnan, President of India.
On last Sunday Vogt spoke on his works and also praised the Ford Foundation. By Grace I had their book with me and showed it to him and said. “I have been their guest in Indiana.” We had already made an appointment for Monday.
The concluding speech of the conference was given by Dr. Vogt: “This conference should not come to an end without calling attention to the work of one Sam Lewis who is in the audience. He has informed me that the answers to half the problems we have been discussing are found in the publication section of the University of California in Berkeley.” This did not hurt anybody’s feelings for the Hospital is part of the University, and the audience was for the most part UC graduates.
The next day we had a long session. Vogt’s closet friend here is one Lloyd Morain whom I have known since he was 19 in Los Angeles. He was originally the protégé of Vocha Fiske, the long friend of the late Luther Whiteman and received his degree at the University of Pittsburgh from Dr. Oliver Reiser.
Viola’s farm is only about fifty miles from Pittsburgh and Reiser and I have already made plans to meet. And I have been successful in getting Reiser and Vogt to cooperate. I carried Reiser’s works with me all over on my last grip. He ad I were both student-disciples of the later Cassius Keyser of Columbia who was also the teacher of the late Count Korzybski. So we have a full round—although the Reiser story is here incomplete.
Vogt wants me to go to New York. He wants all my manuscripts, all my reports, everything. This means a tremendous load and I shall have to work it out somehow. I now have a definite use for money and understand this will come either through Major Sadiq or another source. It means at least one secretary, maybe more.
And if you think that my work in Pakistan spiritually is any less—Major Sadiq has been successful in everything. The disciple of Pir-o-Murshid’s Khalif in Pakistan is Shams-ud-din Ahmed and he is looking to me for both spiritual and scientific rehabilitation of his country. Meanwhile my Khalifa, Saadia Khawar Khan is reporting nothing but success and attributes it all to the spiritual training I have been giving her.
For through Khawar I have already made and am making contributions both to philosophy and education. All these people in Pakistan know each other and again the story makes a full circle.
But I have been instructing Khawar and another young woman the cosmic philosophy of Pir-o-Murshid which is presented in the central part of The Unity of Religious Ideal concerned with the work of the Wali, Buzurg and the abdals which comes out of either direct experience or intuitive perception. You can understand why I am known as a Pir-o-Murshid abroad, but here world prefer to work on one of the other planes. I now have a new mureed who has been making rapid progress and sooner or later this will spill over and out.
There is a lot more here. The big thing to me was the complete rapprochement between Dr. Von Grünebaum of UCLA and myself. I had already made friendship with Dr. Brinner, head of the Near East Department at the University of California, Berkeley, who wants my Sufic reports and he was present when I met Von Grünebaum: “I have been chasing you for at least fifteen years. I have understood everything you said though it required a knowledge of Latin, Greek and Arabic and fortunately I knew enough of each; and I agree with you on every point.” This does not make for enmity! Von Grünebaum who used to be critical of Sufism has by now met many Sufis. He finds they are the happiest—or the least unhappy people of the world. One cannot ask for more. “My cup runneth over.” You will understand why I can no longer afford time for special trips but pray you are able to see me when I return from the East.
Love and Blessings,
Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti
June 14, 1964
My dear Guru Dev:
All ironies are not unpleasant. You know I brought back the later Upanishads with the esoteric and Mudra material which came into your hands. Now the same thing has happened with respect to the Chinese wisdom. Mohammed said, “Seek wisdom even as far as China” but not many people have.
For many years I worked in close and absolute harmony with the later Robert Clifton (Phra Sumangalo). When he died I had hoped to continue with his purported successor. To the contrary, not only was I excluded—excepting when help was needed, but every kind of pretender, poseur and amateur was called on to give lectures on “Buddhism.”
As there are several Buddhist-Taoist groups in Chinatown, I tried to find if any of them had any traditions about longevity. No answer. Now the answer-ironies:
a. Paul Reps gave me the information on the so-called “Zen Diet” which is not Zen but Japanese application of Taoist and Chinese wisdom, based on Yin-Yang. In general it contains all the principles of the Prakrit side of life. Many of the teaching and applications are in close harmony with what you have always taught.
b. At the recent “Food and Civilization” conference much attention was paid to “Gerontology” or the science of old age. The biochemists were quite optimistic. They believe that age comes on through the impairment of the pituitary-thyroid, or the pituitary-adrenal system-functions. If they added the pituitary-gonads they would have reached the same conclusions as the Tibetan esotericism.
In any case it is quite evident that the leading scientists of the day are coming toward the “truth” much faster than the metaphysical pseudo-esotericisms who abound in California.
c. I purchased copies of The Embossed Tea Kettle by the great Japanese Zen revivalist, Hakuin. I had some Hakuin teachings from the late Nyogen Senzaki.
c1. When I return there will be a conference on the editing and establishment of a master-copy of Sensaki’s Hakuin work and even the possibility of it being read and studied—there are two or three possibilities for this which will be settled later.
c2. The Embossed Tea Kettle does for the Purusha side of the Chinese wisdom what Ohsawa does for the Prakrit side. In any case there are practices discussed concerning meditation, breathing and the centers. I have not gotten far as I find it slow reading, full of wisdom and inspiration and it needs much consideration.
In any event I shall place this book in your hands for you, Nefertiti-Saraswati and Norman at least. Or for Norman I should suggest his buying a copy through Fields Book store—or they may have extra copies. I think this will round out another field.
Now I have in my possession the complete—and perhaps and most complete compilation of Sufistic, Yogi and Chinese esotericisms ever come into one hand. Just before I left a thick skull recognized that I just might have some of this material without being a PhD, or have worldly recognition. Spiegelberg’s works are near frauds and have nothing to do with either the lives of the people or the attainment of samadhi. But if the “world” wants to “think” that way, let it “think” so.
Much more interesting is to find I do not get tired. The disciplines and training, especially the leg exercises have resulted that I can kneel for long periods without any fatigue. As I have been a professional gardener, it is noteworthy that gardeners cannot and do not kneel or posture for long periods without getting cramps.
I have had nothing like house-maid’s knee or a cramp although I have been working hard transplanting Peonies, Mums, Lettuce, Parsley and Poppies, and bringing in many plants from my host’s other properties to be put in the ground here. The only trouble came the day when the heat jumped from 68° to 92° and that was do in part to not taking enough moisture. So the next day I drank plenty, but it went down to 72° maximum and no trouble since.
This is very hilly country, lush and green with meadows used chiefly for dairy cattle; and both Christmas tree and natural forests. The native trees are dominantly Maples but lots of Oaks and some Hickories, Birch, Beech and other hardwoods. There are Pines both native and transplanted and some excellent Spruce (I believe some from Colorado) and, of course, Fir trees. They begin cutting the Christmas trees in September.
This is also lush strawberry country. You can pick your own at a low price and we expect to do so next week. But there are plenty of strawberries here and we have them with ice-cream and shortcake. Two big meals a day, and two snacks.
Don’t know when I shall return but as I marvel at the ability of the body to work and withstand different positions I think everybody should know this. I have some other matters to take up on my return.
Love to everybody,
Samuel L. Lewis
S. A. M.
Sufi Ahmed Murad
June 16, 1964
Beloved One of God:
Perhaps you know by this time that I am in this vicinity and am expected to be in Cleveland soon. Life is so full of wonder that it is awkward to write of what may be called “disappointments”—that is, we had long hoped that Major Sadiq, the spiritualist and healer would be traveling through this country. He has performed miracles in his own land and perhaps he is performing miracles, but of another order—for in the last few months he has met with material and social success. For the West the spiritual things are needed but in the Orient the others are needed and it is possible that because of these material and social successes, there may be a change in my own affairs. Anyhow, with so many friends and acquaintances needing spiritual healing today, it is a little awkward to be traveling without the Major and my own abilities in this line are not very great or important.
The late Swami Ramdas used to write of God being a sort of humorist and there is humor, in a sense, that devoting one’s efforts to try to bring spiritual teachings to America and our scientific acumen to Asia, I am now recognized in Asia as an important spiritual teacher; and in this country, last month received surprising recognition from leading scientists. Actually it was more than that.
About the beginning of May I was permitted to see my Fairy God-mother, Miss Ruth St. Denis. It was she who originally brought Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan to this country and she remembers him very well. I can always go into her home or studio in Hollywood whether she is dressed or not—in other words more like she was a real mother; but heretofore when she traveled her press agents and secretaries kept me away. It was always ironic but her present secretary was willing for me to see her; it did not mean any demand—and it did not.
Such is the nature of the spiritual life and love that I am either doing or accomplishing everything Ruth St. Denis wanted, even with my own body. The training of the last year has been such that I can get down on my knees and weed or transplant without the slightest ache or pain or groan and do this for some hours—as Paul and Sharab may attest. But this is not even the first step. And while the people in this country ignore the wisdom-of-the-body, it will be possible, upon my return to Asia, to teach all kinds of people simple postures, walks and exercises which have both a spiritual and physiological basis. And I have to visit Ruth S. D. when I reach Hollywood again, whether on my return or otherwise.
It is certain that I performed at Fatehpur Sikri in India that same universal dance that Ted Shawn once did, in the same place and to some extent in the same way—for it is written there in the ethers, and for the second time I surprised the people of the region.
After that about everything began to happen in a favorable way. My god-daughter in Pakistan wishes to attend the University of California and I had been running into red tape. In the course of events I met the new head of the Department of Near East Studies who is an American. Previously it was a Pole and all the universities in this country whose professors in Asiatica are Englishmen or Europeans have turned me down. After a long fight Princeton accepted the existence of Sufis—there are about 40,000,000 disciples—but they are ignored. The new professor accepted my credentials and first report on my experiences with Sufis and Muslims in India—which is quite unlike what you will read in books. And when I return I am to meet an instructor who is lecturing about the Sufis.
Shortly after that a colleague, Prof. Von Grünebaum, from the University of California in Los Angeles, same to Berkeley. I have been chasing him for 15 years with no results. He gave a very lofty, intellectual talk the end of which was a long praise for Sufism and Sufis, in contradiction to his earlier writings.
But this came during another series of events. When I left the United State in 1956 I had ten sets of enemies and Pir-o-Murshid appeared to me and said, “Let you enemies fight your enemies” which has been true. They finally were limited to one Rom Landau who has been regarded as an “expert” on the Near East and Mrs. Duce. Both of them had gone out of their way to denounce me publicly. But Landau had written about and hates Meher Baba and Mrs. Duce has been preaching that Meher Baba is the chief Sufi and the others are false. The two clashed all over and finally neutralized each other so that they both stayed away from meetings, or else kept quiet in the presence of the other. This opened some tremendous doors about which I shall not write—they are technical and I am working with Bryn Beorse in these regards. So after years all personal animosities disappeared and I left San Francisco with clear fields in every direction.
A conference of scientists during that month paid more attention to the problems of Pakistan and India than anything else and I was “tapped” with the result that now all doors are open for me in every direction, all over. So my prayer and hope is that Major Sadiq will enable me to open an office and have a secretariat.
There has been another series of events which I write about here. In addition to my personal experience—which I should prefer to relate in public, I came back with a great many more esoteric practices. These come from three Sufi Schools and the later Upanishads which have forms of what we call tantric exercises. Between these and the scientific research assigned by a Pir-o-Murshid, I felt I was on the way to discovering the “elixir of life.”
Paul Reps introduced me to the Ohsawa diet which has one form of applied esotericism—through foods. There remained a larger one—through breath and practices, and this I found recently in buying The Embossed Tea Kettle by the great Zen Master, Hakuin.
An apothecary is not necessarily a physician or sage and this one makes no such claims. But there must be some wisdom in applying the esoteric knowledge of the great religions or otherwise, and it is not necessary to have any faculty of extreme diagnostic ability to propose types of walks which can clear up many ailments.
My god-daughter in Pakistan has been so universally successful that one stands in amazement. She affirms that these successes are due in large part to the guidance of her Murshid (which is yours truly). For when there is a breakdown between “thee and me” there is an establishment of what I call an I-I, or integrated individual. This may be within a single person—who thus becomes a Bodhisattva; or within a group which thus becomes a Sangha. Both these methods are used in Sufism although one finds theories in the Buddhist literature. I have a volume of commentary and original (?) teachings therein on this point.
My own exoteric knowledge was vastly increased when I studied Organic Chemistry. Until a few years ago Inorganic Chemistry was essentially Christian and Organic Chemistry essentially Buddhist—i.e. the one was based on the atom, an ego-soul; the other to the contrary having the “chain.” Present day Chemistry is entirely “Buddhistic” in this sense and I know of no scientific laws which do not conform to the Triratna.
When this philosophy is confirmed by personal experience one feels very solid but one is also apt to feel lonely—although this stage is now transcended. It is only to give you more faith, if you haven’t it already, in Hakuin. Hakuin offers two encyclopedic outlooks which are entirely absent from the Cloudnine people: (a) esoteric practices—not more philosophies—to deal with human ills: (b) the Bodhisattvic social philosophy which decries poverty, exploitation and the lowering of the dignity of man. There is perhaps more, but these are so tremendous as to be immeasurable.
I keep on getting enigmatic letters from Paul Reps who shows up in enigmatic places on enigmatic missions. He will do everything but partake of humanity. Our Pir-o-Murshid had us take a special oath to each other which has resulted in my defending him in many awkward circumstances and he criticizing me in all circumstances, awkward or not—although he often counterbraces that by criticizing my “enemies” even more so. None of these “enemies” has any longer a mark in the world, all of them being of that class which contemporary psychologists rightly label “as persecution complex,” mean persecuting, not persecuted complex. At the moment I am singularly free from external harassment.
But it is America which needs a proper moral and psychological readjustment and this can only be done when there is a better understanding of emotional behaviorism. Even at the lowest level hardly any of the materialists both to explore the physiological aspects of the emotions—at the Food and Civilization Conference the biochemists show they are far closer to Oriental wisdom than the Cloudnine people are, or can be.
One is torn by the incessant letters from abroad: “How is the apothecary business getting along?” and the slow acceptance here. This may be as it should, be, for one dare not cast pearls before swine. Yet it is very amusing now that Doug Burns is going to go all over Asia on a strange “royal roads to romance” and now Hakuin is published with all the basic esoteric practices of a grand region of Asia.
He is in a difficulty because he made interpretations basically opposed to those of Miss Cloudnine and her people and even dared to denounce spiritualists, theosophists and occultists in public gatherings. They won’t accept him unless he accepts such phenomena. But it is all the more bizarre that it is his superior in his own profession who is now my main contact in San Francisco for all my efforts in all directions. George Bernard Shaw said, “I think I may be able to convert a banker to Socialism some day, but a banker’s clerk, never!” Doug is my banker’s clerk.
From my own point of view—and this need not be taken too seriously—I am concerned with the walk, the breathing and the physiological centration posited by Hakuin. Morna wants dynamic meditation and she is undoubtedly motivated by a high intuition or impulse. One need not say she is going to find it is Hakuin. For as above stated, the spiritual growth comes chiefly through I-I, the teacher-pupil unity-relationships wherein strictly speaking there is no teacher and no pupil but the universe operates positively through one and negatively through the other. The Sufis transform this into love and the Buddhists to wisdom which may be a distinction without a difference.
I should be in Pittsburgh on July 1st and may go there from to either Wooster or Cleveland Ohio, and then to the other of these places; returning here and then going westward depending on answers to letters. I don’t want the Republican convention but if it can’t be avoided it can’t be avoided. There are two spiritual themes here which may be verbalized (not quite correctly) as excitement and acceleration. These should be mastered, but politicians are slaves of them and so we never find peace in the outer world. But we can find peace inwardly and I hope you will gain from The Embossed Tea Kettle what I am—I am pretty sure you will.
Love and blessings from
S. A. M.
June 18, 1964
Beloved One of Allah:
As-Salaam aleikhum. It is over forty years now since Sharab, Fattah and your Murshid formed a sort of threesome, the youngest members of classes in tasawwuf directed by Murshida Rabia Martin and Khalifa Mushtari Miller. All the disciples of that period are gone excepting perhaps one. Fattah became a spiritual teacher who directed disciples in the eastern part of the United States. He was a sort of angelic soul, and a Jemali; his last marriage was most unfortunate. The woman devitalized him and his death left the Sufi Movement in shambles in these parts.
Sharab has long since married and is a grandmother. She and you Murshid are Jelalis and while Jelalis do not always attract people, they do build up reservations of vitality in their personalities and so derive the life from the universe and persist with consideration manifestation of vigor. At the request of Sharab and her husband Paul, I came to their farm which is in Northwestern Pennsylvania and so far from California. It was planned that I would do some work and also communicate some teachings here and visit neighboring parts of the States before returning to California, and also undertake whatever business was necessary in cooperation with Major Sadiq. No letter has come from him or his secretary but another month is allotted for this purpose before my return.
It is important to visit two large universities and then go to the city of Cleveland where there are not only some mureeds, but also the largest Oriental library in this country or perhaps in the world. It is not well organized. The shelves dedicated to Sufism and to “Islamic Mysticism” are far apart. The shelves dedicated to Hindi literature which is related to the above, is actually under a subclass of Indian literature! If one does not know what he is seeking he can do little, or must submit to stall by stall search. Yet also your letter (or letters) will be taken there. Any letter written by you until July 10 may be addressed to
c/o O. P. Harris
Guy Mills #2,
But after that to the San Francisco address. It is possible that I shall return from here through other places on return. This depends upon answers from Pakistani Muslims in the intervening Sates.
Your long and beautiful letter of the 10th merits careful attention. It was some time back when your Murshid discussed the possibility of a life-partner for you and he said he felt that the best answers would come from the vicinity of Peshawar and among Pathans. While this answer was verbally accepted, nothing was done. A long time since you have met Prof. Durrani and it was among his students that your Murshid felt the best hope. He had met some of them and still feels that an answer might come from such quarters.
If there are answers in the United States, the best young men might be found at Ann Arbor (Michigan University) or in California. The alternative would come later, inshallah; after the Sadias arrive and we go to New York and Washington there we should meet the leading Muslims of this country. There are others but again this would depend upon answers to letters which might take one into those parts; this is a very large country—I am 2500 miles or so from home.
There are not many spiritual Americans. I have a god-son in California and also a disciple whose ages would be satisfactory but at this time there are certain objections. They would be devoted but other factors must be considered, chief of which are those signs which point in the right direction.
At the time of Bayat by Hazrat Inayat Khan I had gone through the processes of “initiation.” And as you study the literature on Sufism you will know more about hal and makam which are important. I shall be writing to the Harvard University Press for a copy of the world on Islamic philosophers, of whom Suhrawardi is the most important at the moment. Your Murshid has studied “L’awarifu Ma’arif” while in seclusion, but the destruction of the Sufi library in 1949 following the death of Rabia Martin either meant the loss of this work or its falling into the lands of the university. Yet this book and others will be traced at the Cleveland Library.
Two letters have been sent to Cleveland asking for dates, and another to a mureed who lives near there, but is an invalid. In the meanwhile your Murshid has already been invited to Pittsburgh and there will be a number of important matters to take up while in that city and also visiting the University of Pittsburgh.
The next thing to consider is your dream and this illustrates what your Murshid has been contending on the difference between “Allahism” and “Islam.” This has been an artificial distinction made by human beings and most of all by those who stress politics and hold that religion and politics are identity. In the interpretation of Allaho Akbar—peace is power, the highest from—and you will find it in the chart in The Sufi Message of Spiritual Liberty is the identity of Zat and Ahadiat. Now logically this is neither identity nor non-identity as both are Allah and both are beyond conceptions. Yet the nearest word one might have for Zat is Peace in the sense of the fullness of potentiality. Ahadiat is still universal potentiality but it already includes the passage from the transcendental to intellectual activity—although this is beyond action yet.
In the science of Physics—and this can be discussed with Prof. Durrani, we have PD, Potential energy, and KD, Kinetic energy. All KD is within PD but PD is also within itself. So all Ahadiat is within Zat but Zat is within itself and is not within Ahadiat. The identification of Zat with Allah means that everything is Allah and the devotion to Allah in all things and with all things is the completion of Allaho Akbar.
In the political Islam—and this is nufs—a bad “Muslim” is placed above a good “non-Muslim” which is a contradiction of Qur’anic teaching and more so of much in Hadith. Besides in the history of the world Allah has given wisdom and accomplishment to many peoples who do not follow the Sharia of Mohammed.
The devotion and attention to what is known as Sunna—which includes a lot of things not in the Sunna of Mohammed—forms a body of quicksand and as one discusses your letter piece by piece and point by point this will be illustrated, and by taking advantage of this illustration you will avoid such quicksand.
Now your Murshid has been raised among people who since the year 1918 have equal rights for men and women and spiritually there must be equal rights for men and women. Saying “spiritually” does not mean socially or politically or anything excepting the relation of the soul to Allah. The disciples at Salarwala did not wish your Murshid to bring you there and then they immediately reversed themselves upon beholding your person. Your Muslim, certainly no Sufi, can deny the sainted Rabia who kept in the highest makam, and perhaps also in the highest hal. Pir Barkat Ali has the Sabri school within inculcates morality and sobriety and not so much ecstasy—wujud and hal.
Your Murshid is very glad over the cooperation from Ford Foundation. He has been trying to get the Directors of Islamabad University to contact this organization, for in it may be the hope of some aspects of future education, and culture, in Pakistan, Inshallah.
Many thanks for the complete list of the works of Hazrat Inayat Khan. An order will now be placed for same. These teachings are known to you Murshid excepting Volume VIII wherein it would be necessary to know the exact contents. Naturally you Murshid cannot send you papers when he is away from home, but from time to time there will be commentaries on this literature—some at least written and only need to be revised, which may become the basis for intellectual and to some extent mystical tasawwuf for the succeeding generations.
As to you understanding there is no negative feeling but it will be wise to initiate you into the complete science and art of Murakkabah upon my return which is most wonderful and complex. The inner sciences systematized by Hazrat Inayat Khan include: 1. Concentration etc. (Murakkabah): 2. The sciences of breath and the elements; 3. The science of magnetism and Baraka—and several others. The intense possibilities within tasawwuf and thus into and beyond Ilm into Marifat are immense.
Not written there are Mushahida, which is presented in the writings of the Grand Sheikh Omar ibn Shahabudin Sohrawardi; Mujahida, which will come in the commentaries on certain sections of The Unity of Religious Ideals or more specifically with the works on Waliyat; Irfan which Major Sadiq has in a book, and also the development of Azaniat which your Murshid wishes to make the basis for the future methods in tasawwuf and ryazat. And this is not the end either. Allaho Akbar has many significances…. It is probable that on return the Murakkabah instructions will be given and must be studied first as a devotee-mureed; then to get the deeper meanings and explanations; finally the same from the standpoint of a teacher to help others and instruct them. This will cover many, many facets of life. We pray “Guide us on the right path”—the prayer is the key. It is neither the door nor the palace.
Your Murshid did receive a very favorable letter from “Taj,” published in Karachi and will be glad to communicate further with Mr. Ahmad after his return. And there is much in this letter which may be shared with Dr. Nasr. It will, of course, give him a better picture of your Murshid than any subjectivities concerning Idries Shah.
Now we go over your dream again:
A huge construction work is going on and I am one of the workers. Suddenly I find myself sinking in the sand and unable to come out. A shout for help and a girl appears and says, “Wait, I’ll call for the man in charge of the construction.” Then she comes back and says: “Sorry, I can’t help. The man says, “Let her die, it is not our business to save those in danger.”” I said in reply: “Well, I never thought man could be that inhuman, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t care. My Allah will save me.” Etc.
You see, my dear, you are called into many projects “for the glory of Islam” and not “for the glory of Allah.” Allah will save Islam and Islam will save Pakistan but the reverse is not true. You must see this for that is the quicksand and those who are in the quicksand are regretting to much the deaths of Jinnah and Liaquat Ali, and act as if either or both of these men were Mahdis. And so great is this regret that the actual ways of Mohammed have been supposed ways of Jinnah and Liaquat. Thus unconsciously your country has deified politicians who may have been good politicians and good men but nobody has ever placed them as leaders within Din, as some have placed M. Iqbal. And at times jurists and politicians are more afraid of transgressing Jinnah and Liaquat than of transgressing Qur’an and Hadith. This has split Pakistan from both the Arab and Indonesian worlds. Your people do not see this and cannot understand it.
The rest of the experiences concerning Allaho Akbar is most wonderful, most true and one hopes it can be communicated also to Sufi Barkat Ali, but of course, no mention is being made of this to anybody, and one is even cautious about unfolding it to Major Sadiq—for there have been no deep esoteric reports from him recently. Still it is not so much your future, but the future of Pakistan which is in balance and which is falling into the quicksand for it has made substitutes for Kalama, and Kalama must be restricted both to the words and sounds and any interpretation which is not in complete accord with both its words and sounds misses the whole meaning of the mysticism of Sound, etc.
The manifestation of the moon thereafter is in complete accord with your Murshid’s guidance from Pir Barkat Ali, which guidance is the PD (potentiality of all that is manifesting now), as above. As you gain both the vibrations and interpretations of Allaho Akbar you will also have the wisdom of experience. The Muslims in both Pakistan and India are stuck too much to “Islam” and repeat “Islam” which sounds (whatever interpretations we offer) are not in Kalama, not in Fateha and seldom in Nimaz. The nearest is in as-salaam aleikhum. This is a wonderful brotherhood greeting but it is not directly part of Din.
In the Ten Sufi Thoughts of Hazrat Inayat Khan it is affirmed that “Allah is the Only Teacher.” In this house your Murshid found “The Bowl of Saki,” a collection of Hazrat Inayat Khan,” one for each of the 366 days of leap year. This will probably be put in a folder after returning and will be sent air or see mail according to your Murshid’s financial condition of the time. For although there are not many doors of opportunity it is necessary to write and lecture on grand scales.
Your Murshid has probably reported the favorable turn of Prof. Von Grünebaum on Sufis and Sufism. Copy of Modern Islam—the Search for Cultural Identity—was purchased and is being studied. This was published by the University of California Press. Your Murshid’s last visit to Berkeley just before departing was a triumph of a life, after long years in so many directions and with so many departments one cannot present all details. His paper on meeting Sufis at Nizam-ud-din Auliya, Ajmir, and Hyderabad was accepted along with a report on Aligarh. Since then a report on Sheikh Mahdoodi has been accepted and he was told he will be welcome as the studies on Indian Islam will be continued until September at least.
But the university of California Press has also published Religion and Politics in Pakistan by one Leonard Binder and every effort will be made to find this gentlemen. He has also written a book on Iran. So far the social scientists have not granted one interview and the physical scientists have not refused one interview; at the recent Food and Civilization Conference the physical scientists did not think much of the leading social scientist from Berkeley which illustrates we have two complete and distinct cultures in the West, one based on experience, the other on opinions.
On return to California it will be necessary to visit the University, Department of Near East and South Asian Studies and find out what they want, or need. It is possible, inshallah, that I may communicate with Prof. Von Grünebaum first if Los Angeles is visited before returning to San Francisco but if this one is not sure.
You understand most of your dream. Now as above, Allah is the Teacher. When facing mureeds this person is full of kashf and in the rest of life it is not necessarily so. In facing mureeds there is elevation in hal and the rest of the time not so. If there were really a Master, Murshid, Sheikh, this would divide mankind into ignorant and learned but Ilm belongs to Allah Who is Rab-alamin which means not only “all who worlds”—in the sense of creations, but of all the knowledge’s of all worlds, and also of its continuations as the Christians say, World without end. If a person, Murshid or otherwise were the possessor and not the transmitter, it might be different, but the wise are not possessors of wisdom, they are transmitters and so at times are also fools when the kashf and Ilm are not operating.
Now the quicksand again when the Philosophical Congress wants a paper on “Reorientation of Muslim philosophy.” What is needed in reorientation in “Allahistic Philosophy.” The mere fact that some men have worshipped in Mosques does not increase their Kashf or their Ilm above others. True, this person places Sohrawardi and Ibn l’Arabi in top ranks but Avicenna (Ibn Sina) not so high; for “Islamic Philosophy” can ignore hal and makam and Allahistic philosophy cannot.
The philosophy becomes bound in intellectualisms and personalism and does not bring the wisdom. Unless the whole emphasis is placed upon Allah and His Sifat and Ismi-Azan are given proper consideration and equated it will be a useless, quicksand effort. If one develops in or into nufs salima he both experiences and transmits the atmospheres of peace. This may be illustrated by certain comments your Murshid may make on portions of “Metaphysics” by Hazrat Inayat Khan when he returns. But it is certain that the spirit of agitation (nufsaniat, samsara) is dominant and the failure to understand this prevents the “solution” of the Kashmir complex. Is or isn’t everything that happens in accord with the will of Allah? Your Murshid says (from Mian Mir) Peace Is Power, and the development of and into nufs salima will solve all problems; but “Islam” without this nufs salima is nothing but shirk. And if people will stop talking about the Khalifa al-Rashidin and look into the habits and ways of Siddiq and Omar, they will see that this is operative and when it was operative (nufs salima) everything went in full accord with Divine Will and no successful interference of Iblis in the physical realm.
Any paper or any mail you send to Clementina St. will be forwarded here until 10th July. After that these would be held until my return, subject of course, to any other instructions left; and if mail misses me, it will also be sent from this address, or from Cleveland, to the proper destination.
Now again for your relatives. If your Murshid did not wish you to be affianced, he would have assigned the name of “Rabia” which also was given to his first Murshida. Although married she gave up sexual and other relationships for the spiritual life. But this name as assigned to her by her Pir-o-Murshid.
Or again, your visits to Dargahs or your inner life could bring visions and also somebody might have a visions of your. Allah is Rab-Alamin, of all worlds and not this one alone. Your Murshid is not adamant that you go to Peshawar, but he still feels that among the men he has met there are certainly many suitable ones; and even at Salarwala he has met those who feel most favorable.
Or again, and this is very delicate, he has a god-son in Pakistan who has met you and who has all the qualities. He was discussed a little and there was objection that he has three children by a former marriage. Outside of that there is not only no objection form your Murshid’s part, but he is very, very close; he also happens to be the closest friend to major Sadiq and if there were to be an assignment other than Kashf, this would be favorable to your Murshid. But your Murshid is considering you, not himself. However you would have companionship, appreciation and the true love which is beyond the niceties of society. One must not write unless there is full hope and the sun of Brilliance behind you life. This and not the merely verbalization of
Love and blessings,
Sufi Ahmed Murad-Chisti
June 21, 1964
O Bosatsu San:
Life is a continuance of happy ironies. As Della has written she is going away this is addressed to you, but there is an underlying anatta theme and if you or other reader remain attached to the idea of a separated ego-self, this communication is in vain.
In 1915 at the Panama Pacific International Exhibition (PPIE) in San Francisco I met one Miss Crane who was in charge of the Theosophical Booth who affirmed that all religions were true, that their esoteric aspects were in agreement, and that we live and die continuously. The next year, through her I met Ted Reich and Harriet Allison which friendships have continued unabated.
But the important thing is the teaching that on the esoteric side all religions are in agreement. I, not feeling well, went out on a walk keeping in mind some of the teachings of Hakuin in The Embossed Tea Kettle with a number of reflections on the present trend of events. I used to say: “The experts on Asia are European professors and Americans newspaper men.” Then I wrote, “I forgot—I forgot Miss Cloudnine and her followers.” Whatever Miss Cloudnine and her followers accept it is always in absolute contradiction to the European professors and American newspapermen. Indeed Miss Cloudnine goes to the extreme of accepting at times, almost any Asian without regard, sometimes believing that an Asian qua re being Asian knows more than any non-Asian on any Asian subject—which untruth is, of course, at the extreme opposite of both Europeans professors and Americans newsmen.
Now as American professors are honing in, I find myself being accepted more and more by them, and in recent efforts to fix dates for departure from here, prompt and cordial answers have come. But there is still the complexities with the Cloudnine people who increase in member and perplexities.
As I have told you, sometimes this Fudo person thinks he may be a reincarnation of Marpa, or both of us are incarnations of Fudo. Cloudnine People are universally shocked at Marpa—and they are not wrong—and at least they accept Milarepa which European professors and American newsmen do not. This theme has also been in my own life as “Beauty and the Beast” that perforce a certain roll must be played or I could not change character at all and so also one becomes a sort of Capt. Vanderdecken (The Flying Dutchman) who is given a chance every seven years or so to find the Beauty that will transform him from the “Beast.” Even now such mission remains although it is so covered by both the spiritual and international themes that even when it is presented or explained, it is now overlooked.
The difference between this person and the Charmboys who please the Cloudnine assemblages is that this person is always ready to present an esoteric practice or a number of them which may serve to relieve one of pain, be that pain physical, psychic, mental, moral or otherwise.
I once wrote Thea McInroe that I was an apothecary, bringing back all kinds of medicines from the Orient, which might heal a multitude of diseases. But society rejected this, offering me a steady job as a mortician, protecting me against poverty and want but practically forbidding me to operate as an apothecary. She did not get the theme at all and never, under any circumstances permitted a single suggestion which might alleviate her troubles. She remains one of a multitude if women who insist: “You never encountered such pain, such, suffering, such misery.” All the Cloudnine people verbalize this and one begins to assume they are all masochists.
The Embossed Tea Kettle plus the appearance of books on Sufism have increased my stock as an apothecary multifold. While this stock is immense, and my scientific knowledge small, it seems that everywhere the call is for more of my scientific knowledge and aptitudes both here and abroad. And it is only the insistence of my spiritual teacher in Pakistan that I stand firm, that one could easily throw up the sponge.
But there is one thing I have learned and leaned firmly through experience—there is no such thing as a spiritual teacher. When one is with the teacher, or disciple, the teacher-pupil operates as a single unity—the twain are one. I cannot sit down and write very profound articles but when it is necessary to report to my teachers, or instructing pupils, or even answering inquiries on spiritual matters, there is a transformation and the wisdom pours through the personality. This is the Nirmanakaya which means just that: nir, not; mana, mind; kaya, vehicle. When it is translated “transformation body” it leaves the ego-mind standing although it is a transformation condition, a change from atta to anatta. Therefore more and more the deeper wisdom seems to pour through the personality at times of inquiries or problems. Otherwise one is ordinary or even ornery.
When it comes to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, in view of the Nirmanakaya experience, one can explain all the scientific knowledge of the day and perhaps more. And this is gradually going on in relation with scientists. But when one’s mission it to be an apothecary and one sees all kinds of suffering, unhappiness and negative states, with an extreme zeal for “excitement” one can only behold an increase of madness.
The Oriental philosophies explain this very well. But the dialectical outlook which pervades a portion of our community makes it most difficult. In this region some doctors go personally to Africa to learn from “witch-doctors” and this is a tremendous step in the right direction. I know a Chinese doctor in Hong Kong who told me he never lost a case, and I believed him. He treats three bodies, not one; and so long as we consider only the physical and not the finer bodies we are going to have a number of unsolved cases of disease.
It is curious here that even a slight inkling of Oriental wisdom is now being accepted by American professors, but it is not yet accepted by the Cloudnine people. This will produce more and more not only ironic but downright amusing situations. Once I had matured in a certain science but when among the Cloudnine people they asked either somebody who learned from me or from a disciple of somebody who learned from me—this one could not possibly be an apothecary!
June 24, 1964
Aboard the San Francisco Zephyr crossing northern Arizona. Just before leaving home I received an enigmatical letter from Senor Paul Reps. He writes two kinds of enigmas—in the one, as in his books, he uses few words, and perhaps lines and leaves it to you to find out what he means. In the other there are plenty of works but still less meanings.
My guess is that he is coming to California and rather expects to find me at home. He was critical—he always is. If you have difficulties it is you fault and if you don’t you are full of self-praise. After the long Senzakian history I have neglected to relate troubles and trials to him—he would not understand. So I only told him the good things and he kept on accusing me of self-praise.
It is my dharma to share blessings and to hide pains, and contrariwise to share other’s pains. It is no wise-crack when I say I won’t share Morna’s money until I share her pains. That is the Bodhisattvic way.
I am presuming that Reps-san is going to join Alan Watts in Big Sur and I am asking that Della or you advise me of Watts’ program where Reps is also a speaker. It will be a grand conglomeration of those who would not under any circumstances share pains of others but who can only give advice, labels it “wisdom” and charge accordingly.
The story of Sensei, that he sometimes picks up something he wants belongs to the way of the Bodhisattva and is not a taking or game. It is an identification. According to Prajna Paramita there is no giving and no taking. There is sharing, all kinds of sharing. This is the true Dharma. Neither Reps nor Watts can do that.
Paul ends by suggesting I should be married. He is not the first to suggest but his own marriages are closer to those of Watts than to those Madam Grundy. I have bee in ironic situations for years, but now I seem coming out. However I have three big gates or obstacles which have to be surmounted not by me, but whosoever is to become my wife (as against traveling, social or even room-mate companion):
a. The task which is before the Bodhisattva or more strictly speaking the Sufi performing the same—the difference is in the vocabulary and would be misunderstood by most Westerners.
b. The substitution of career for home—requiring a good deal of traveling and having two or three homes, at least, in different parts of the world.
c. An understanding or appreciation both of Sufism and the work of the Prophet Mohammed which is practically a closed book to the Western world.
The Sufi poets have told the truth, and books in prose seldom do. For poetry is the language of love, and I even have a huge love poem which has been filed away.
I can no longer have traffic with metaphysicians, pretenders, dilettantes and poseurs, and have not time to confute them either. I have received in the same mail a letter from a young lady in Pakistan who has more wisdom than the poseurs or PhDeists can imagine. I have Haridas Chaudhuri curious. I can only do to him what I did to Dilip Koomar Roy. Roy refused to meet me as an equal and demanded sycophancy. He lost his money, his position, his reputation. So I visited him: “I am coming here as your guru” and occupied the guru’s seat. One thing Dilip realized at once—which Chaudhuri has never considered—I am a Californian and know a lot of rich people here. I did not demand that Dilip accept my spiritual position but only that I knew rich Californians. He had no choice. In two months he not only recuperated but doubled his assets and was able to return to India in high style.
He is now a saint (really) with a large following of respectable people, and he saved me in an annoying circumstance.
No one ever connected with the American Academy of Asian Studies (so-called) ever accepted either my Asian Wisdom or the fact that I knew rich Californians excepting one Satya Agrawal who himself was squeezed out. This is, of course, karmic retribution.
Alan Watts came in the day Chaudhuri arrived in San Francisco—I was the first American to meet Haridas. It was when I was giving Watts all my Buddhist papers, a collection of 25 years work. Chaudhuri saw something in me and during his first course I was always having psychic or mystical experiences which he recognized until he opened his ashram, then I was out and have been out ever since.
Haridas and Watts also had a sort of “hate at first sight” between themselves. Neither understands cosmic grandeur or human sympathy and compassion. Sexually they have taken opposite paths.
Paul Reps knows about me and could know me. He has battled another Western Sufi, Bryn Beorse and now Beorse and I are “one” in our Bodhisattvic-Sufi functions. Therefor I would like, if you or Della can tell me, Reps’ address in Big Sur and the dates. I shall probably write Della separately.
It is a duty to help some others with their positions and this is done by internalizing. You do not help “others” but you help when the demarcation between self and other is erased. Unification and identification enables one to bring about the soothing of dissatisfaction and even “success” to some extent. “Love thy neighbor as thyself” means that you make the neighbor become “you.” The Christian way is intensity and passion and not identity and so it fails and will always fail because that is not what Christ said anyhow. Or Moses.
I may add more before mailing. Don’t know.
Love and best wishes,
June 25, 1964
My dear Irene:
This is written at Guy Mills which is in Northwestern Pennsylvania. The place is owned by my long-time friends, the Harrises. They are now retired and in addition go Guy Mills, they also have a life-time or rather family estate which nobody else wants. The older Harris was a farmer and nature-lover. This whole country is made of farmers and nature-lovers whose children leave for cities for fame and fortune and often do not come back.
It is all rolling hills or even mountains. There is plenty of water and rainfall—we just had a thunder-storm last night. Everything is green. The country was originally green, mostly hardwoods—Maples, Hickory, Oaks, Buckeyes, Wild Cherries, etc. But the main industry is growing Christmas trees so there are a lot of Pines, Firs, Spruce and other conifers.
The meadowlands are used mostly for diary cows. There is a native Clover which comes up, is very rich and makes for good milk. The stands of alfalfa are excellent. Some people raise heifers for the meat market and a few have chickens.
There are many stands of Corn and oodles of Strawberry patches. In fact we went out picking Strawberries elsewhere, and there are some here. But the meadows beyond are full of Wild Strawberries and no time to pick them. Have been planting and transplanting, mostly garden plants—Peonies, Poppies, Petunias, Marigolds, etc.; also working with Lettuce and Parsley. Paul has put in the Vegetables: Tomatoes, Corn, Potatoes, all kinds of gourd plants, Peppers, Cabbage, etc. So we can keep busy but these things are for the house.
As the younger generations go away—first to school, then to work, many places are abandoned. So now people are moving in chiefly from Cleveland and Pittsburgh either to establish summer homes or to retire. The former owners of this place go to Florida in the cold months and up here in the warm months.
It is ideal vacation country—plenty of places to hunt and fish. In fact the whole region has been turned over to Conservation. Swamps are drained and lakes put in—some quite large yet not appearing on maps. Some are used to seed fish, others for boating—all kinds—and a limited amount of bathing. These waters do not seem to be needed for drinking.
With daylight saving we often go out riding in the evening. But the next two weeks I shall be riding all over before coming back for a final visit—fertilizing, composting, mulching and putting in a new set of Iris patches. May write later….
Love to everybody,
My dear Ted:
It is necessary for me to make some diary entries and although the reports are unequal, one must start out with an incident that will interest you and one or two others also might.
I was walking through the streets of this city minding my own business and all that and saw a sign, “Fields Book Store” and went in with a remark not destined to make friends and influence people. “I buy all my books from “Fields Book Store” in San Francisco.” “Dat tief, dat low-life, dat gonuf, dat good-for-nothing. I get his bills, I get notices, I get law suits, all on account of him.” That is no way to get a new customer and although Cleveland Fields has a large disarray of text-books, new and second hand, I did not want to upset my one meal of the day from a kosher ham restaurant. This is not a wise-crack. It is a basically Jewish restaurant where I had borsht and gefülte fish and they do serve ham and not another goy food!
I have failed to do well by former acquaintances here and went out for a long walk Sunday, straight to the home of the leading Pakistani of these parts. He had failed in his efforts and was getting ready to go to New York to visit his cousin Chowdery at Pakistani House in New York and asked me if I knew him. “Knew him? Why he was my host in 1960.” So if you don’t make friends and influence people by going into Fields Book Stores or failing to impress your acquaintances, God, Allah and Parabrahm seem to have other ideas.
So I go down to Pittsburgh to see my friend Prof. Reiser and his associate Frank comes into the room, looks me straight in the eye and asks: “What do you know about Zen Buddhism?”
Which is strange that Allah, God and Parabrahm should bless me by coming out for Zen. Anyhow I gave him the name of the Zen Teacher in S.F. and a little about Mme. Sasaki and a rather negative about old Suzuki-san. But both of the Professors had met the “Old Man”—who is not the “Old Man” and were dissatisfied with super-intellect and not clarity or vision.
Then they pop up—of all things—with a man of whom they know little but who evidently wants to be known—owe Paul Reps who, despite his attempt to ostrich me has been in New York with the Ohsawa foundation. This led to the real “Old Man” and Taoism. So I gave Prof. Reiser copy of The Embossed Tea Kettle which I had with me making it necessary to have another visit with Fields Book Store in S.F. my after return despite the Cleveland incident as above.
Well from that point on the “impossible, unthinkable and inconceivable” happened—two PhDs in the respectable University of Pittsburgh when everybody else is discussing that the blacks and whites are equal, unequal, superior, inferior, the same and different at the same time—they discussed clairvoyance, reincarnation, Jungian dream analysis, mysticism, the reality of Dr. Radhakrishnan and all those subjects dear to HPB and by-passed by the death theosophists: This in Anno Domini 1964.
And to show you how crazy the sane world is or how sane the crazy world is. There is a new book on abstracting medicinal herbs from plants and I don’t know whether it is in that book or not, but the common Dwarf Periwinkle or Vinca minor has been found to be a specific for Leukemia.
I met another madman just like me, the Superintendent of the Gardens and Greenhouse, Schlenley Park, Pittsburgh. The details will be reported elsewhere. It just happens that some old wise-fool had been planting Vinca minor all over the place years ago. Now they are carefully pruning and trimming it and sending all the cuttings to the university. So we come to that grand stage of trampling on the flowers and tendering the weeds which is most wonderful.
I am living on Ramona Ave., which reminds me of Harriet. Something else also reminds me of Harriet. There is a special art exhibit of leaf drawings at Carnegie Teach and foremost among them are the works of one of Harriet’s colleagues. It may even be her own illustrator.
Well I have lot to write and this is just diary stuff. Tomorrow is the 4th and on the 6th I should go to the Ohio State Agricultural College Experimental Station at Wooster, etc. and shall be moving around for some time.
Don’t expect to leave here until the 20th or so but don’t know.
July 25, 1964.
My dear Sharab:
Thank you for you letter of the 22nd. I supposed I am as annoyed as you are by the storm and weather. I had been hoping, perhaps egotistically, that the Atlas fertilizer would bring out wonderful flowers and crops. I have also been in hurricanes in the South and know what happened to the corn.
Esoterically you may try to feel the whole garden as within yourself, and breathe systematically, rhythmically and with tenderness concentrating on “Toward the One” with each inhalation and exhalation (counting not necessary).
With the cat, however, you may take her on you lap—preferable but not necessary—and here use “Ya Kaffee,” 20 breaths.
There is undoubtedly a pattern working and it worked through the country, that I ran into unexpected obstacles and ended with blessings. Hardly a bus or train kept to schedule—this all the way to San Francisco, and I had to use plenty of each. The best was the hold-over in Fort Worth which resulted in having a whole day with my college chum, and a beautiful session with the Agricultural Adviser, getting more than a share of expected information and knowledge.
I have hardly opened any mail but the first letter came from Kaiser Foundation and it is full of to me most valuable information. As I have letters from Washington and several universities I do, what I call “cheating,” take the knowledge from one and pass it to another. This is my real function in life (mercury, the messenger), but often one gets praise or blame.
At the very worst now I can go to work for my chum, in Dallas any time I wish, but feel that God wishes otherwise. This morning I am waiting for my only mureed here, a sturdy, devoted young man.
In Los Angeles I had another encounter with Alan Watt’s deputy. I said. “You have many books on sex and they are so contradictory. I can give you an essay on sex which will contradict nobody and explain everything.” He listened and wants. It. Harry is a trusted friend who has “Books in Review” in Los Angles, but he has been too charmed by Alan Watts to submit to spiritual training. He has in his vicinity Judith Tyberg (a Sam Lewis in skirts) and the Vedanta movement (ex-Huxley, Isherwood, Heard, etc.). But again one has to depend on Kashf, not analysis.
I enclose copy of a letter just written which may interest you. Love and blessings and greetings to Paul and Tiger,
P. S. Letters from Jamaica and Korea!
772 Clementina St.,
San Francisco 94103, Calif.
July 26, 1964
Christopher B. Hills
1101 Arbour St.,
Kingston Jamaica, W. 1
I have just returned from a long absence. I had promised, or rather been asked by Dr. Haridas Chaudhuri, a disciple of Sri Aurobindo, for as appointment which I was unable to fulfill. I am therefore sending him a copy of this letter and when we meet will show him your material if he is not acquainted with it. He will be pleased to know you are on the Council of the Sri Aurobindo World Union.
As I was staying in northwestern Pennsylvania, I visited Dr. Reiser in his home. We are in pretty substantial agreement on almost everything and this stems, I believe, from our common international outlook. On the surface—and it may be on the surface or it may be very fundamental, we sense a use of the term “integration” by those dualistics and analysts who are always pseudo-solving problems by daft use of words.
Dr. Reiser was one of the original “semanticists” and this body rejected me for I had the misfortune to be a pupil and disciple of the late Dr. Cassius Keyser of Columbia who was the friend and mentor of Count Korzybski. We deplore the so-called semantic movements in this country which, despite a front, is made up almost entirely of analysts and those of literary bent, following Snow’s The Two Cultures. You find neither scientists nor spiritual people among them.
But it is also true that among the worst opponents of the general semanticists are other people who are analysts and dualists and who are equally adept at the (mis)use of words in the vague assumption they are proving something. This goes so far as to include disciples of love-philosophies, who other than using “love” as a weapon are often devoid in compassion, humanity, sympathy and understanding.
The other day I was in a book-store owned by friends full of love and literature, all post-Freudian. I said, “There are a lot of books here and nearly all assume that some of the other writers are wrong. In the chemical universe there are a hundred odd “normal” elements and we do not standardize any of them to others. When the psychologists are as noble and objective as the chemists we shall see a better world,
He then asked me for my “solutions.” It is based on an under standing of Upanishad wisdom but it can and does explain both the behavior and misbehavior pattern of all peoples, all types. All for within the universe of Brahman.
At the present time the Indian marriage customs and laws, based on a metaphysics of real universe, tell us more than all the lectures, lessons, books by wild-eyed speculators of Western birth—and sometimes of very high Western birth or the whole gamut of PhDeists who have substituted speculations for the wild-eyed fantasies of Western professors metaphysicians such as Moore of Hawaii and Northrup of Yale.
Now the Indian metaphysics is based on the existence of several bodies (all religions touch this but elsewhere they are mostly thrown into shadows), of a cosmic psychic evolution (which can explain easily all the phenomena anthropologists meet), and of the higher faculties with we must be concerned here. They are Vijnana, Ananda and Prajna.
As the United States—which is or rather has been intellectually insane and inane—has accepted the speculative metaphysicians and the British and Europeans PhDeists to “teach” us (?) Indian philosophies, it is not surprising that on the record they have accepted the Sanskrit terminology if Dr. Daisetz Suzuki, a Japanese linguist (not an advanced Zen Buddhist) and this has led us astray. And with this start the whole American world has some difficulties in accepting niceties of Sri Aurobindo whether they accept his philosophy and teachings or not. But Sri Aurobindo was within sane bounds of trying to vocabularize and semanticize Indian linguistics and his failures so far are not due to his short-comings.
There are three distinct movements stemming from Sri Aurobindo. First there is the more or less “official” organization made up of analysts and derivatives who are doing the same with Sri Aurobindo’s teaching as the general semanticists are with Count Korzybski. They apply deduction and not the Vijnana, Ananda or Prajna as above. Therefore their World Union will fail—it cannot over the followers of Abdul Baba, Swami Ramakrishna, the Sufis, the Zen Buddhists and others who become, in a sense, rival movements toward world union and world union is hampered by the competition among those who claim to be universal and most certainly are not.
The second movement from Sri Aurobindo are Yogis. They are real yogis. There are making real contributions in a real world, but are more concerned with the immediate raising of individuals in their proximity to and through Vijnana, Ananda and Prajna as above.
The third movement is the social and psychological revolution which is going on despite and not because of the other two. Let me explain. Sri Aurobindo is known as the Master Vijnanavadin in India and now sometimes also outside of India. He is regarded as the reviver of the attitudes of integration and inclusiveness which will once and for all destroy all the vestiges of horrible, super-analytic cast, race and creed. This flood is too great to be controlled by the Pondicherry sentimental “World Union” people who exclude everybody else. They simply cannot keep up with their Master and mostly they cannot even follow him.
The Vijnana biography of Sri Aurobindo concerns a man of many facets. He was a real social revolutionary. The pseudo-Marxists (who do not follow Marx) are neither humanists nor humanitarians. Sri Aurobindo was both.
Dr. Reiser has formulated “Project Krishna” and in many respects Sri Aurobindo was a “Project Krishna.” The life of Sri Krishna has never been written. We have the great poems of “Mahabharata” and “Gita Govinda” in India, but we also have the great some dramas of Indonesia and nobody has included all the facts of Sri Krishna, as they have, for example, of Lord Buddha.
Sri Krishna himself was a social revolutionary. The Pandava brothers, horses of “Mahabharata,” suffered social ignominy and prison. We “love” to adore them but avoid following them just as the Christian world dare not follow Jesus Christ, only worship. But Sri Aurobindo, going through stages of spiritual revolution (stages, not philosophies) came to feel the presence of Lord Krishna, and perhaps see him and even be united with him. So he could not avoid in his own life experiencing the vicissitudes and hardships of the heroes of the Mahabharata and there is even some question whether he did not contribute more to contemporary Indian social life than did Mahatma Gandhi.
It is only that a Vijnanavadin, working with integrational processes and not with analysis and dualism does not think in a separative terms. And it is unfortunate that most of his followers, being themselves analysts and dualists ignore certain phases of his life and especially self-sacrifice and suffering which brings him closer to the Divine men who have lived on earth.
Now the next step in evolution is this development of Overmind, and after that Supermind and concerned with the next stages in the development of humanity, he did not try, as Swami Ramakrishna or Ramana Maharshi did, to raise a few people to “immortality” but many up one grade.
When one studies the history of mathematics one finds that each contributor in the initial stages was compelled to resort to long discourses or else to symbols not yet accepted. There is no other way out and my own experiences in Vijnanavada find one using long series of terms for analysis will not and cannot explain the psychological “field” in which one is working. It is only afterwards that it can all be toned down.
If one turns to the tow men who have influenced me most in the spiritual field, Hazrat Inayat Khan, the Sufi, wrote tremendous tomes of teachings; and Swami Ramdas, the Yogi, wrote tremendous tomes of autobiographical import. True both of these men were simpler for they were not Vijnanavadin but worked with Ananda and Prajna.
Vijnana, the accumulative integrative mental force, operates in what Korzybski calls the “order” and it seems to me, it operates with and through the whole glandular and super-glandular system. It is needed if we are going through the steps we are trying to function with.
In passing let me say that Ananda is heart-love-job and Prajna immediate-cosmic-apprehension and these are, in a sense, higher than Vijnanavada but would require long Upanishad expositions.
While this may momentarily look like a combination of obtuse outlook and hogwash, when we come to vital news, it is quite different.
All the “World Movements” of the moment overlook the President and Vice-President of India. They have to, and they immediately become obscurantic, false and misleading. The President of India, Dr. Ramakrishna is, if not a leading mystic, a leading devotee of leading mystics. Both he and Swami Ranganathananda of the Ramakrishna Order are excellent friends of myself and of each other. As I regard their outlook higher than that of Sri Aurobindo (and perhaps of myself too), one mentions these men because they are conscious devotees in and with Ananda and Prajna as above and living examples of exemplification of the whole spirit and wisdom of the Upanishads.
The Vice-President of India, Z. Hussain is a disciple (at least) in Sufism. There are perhaps 40,000,000-50,000,000 million disciples in the Sufi Orders today, ignored by most cultures (including their own), but these men are rapidly coming to the top. The age-long control of Oriental philosophy teaching (?) by Europeans and Englishmen is coming to an end within the last year a large body of Sufi literature, written by Sufis, has come to the front.
Dr. Z. Hussain has already presented a Vijnana-integrational “solution” to Pakistan, something which the analysts of India, Pakistan, Great Britain, the U.S. and the U.N. could not do. All we can do is “divide” Korea, Vietnam, and may be Cyprus. We have no way of bringing people together. The higher faculties of Vijnana, Ananda and Prajna, or to simplify, the “love-wisdom” are not recognized by the “other culture” of Snow. So Sufis and mystics are using Vijnana in politics and social affairs.
The same thing is going on is science. While the Chlorella outlook is most admirable, it is a separative thing. I have already submitted several reports on the need of integration in Algae research and I already have an answer. Intuitively I know it would come from this region and it did and has and the great Algae research which is carried on in California and India (not in Japan) is so far ahead of our good friends in Biological (analytical) research, that by the time it may be established it will be a generation behind.
I have already written Dr. Reiser of the integrative methods, used by the Egyptian scientists and there is much more going on in America. My own efforts in Horticulture have taken me to the crest of the wave and I have a pile of letters to answer, most of them from top sources. I have just visited more Agricultural research stations, too.
If Dr. Nakamura chooses Banning that will help me much for my basic theme is “How California Can Help Asia.”
I pause here, awaiting your comments.
Samuel L. Lewis
August 3, 1964
Beloved One of God:
This is really my diary entry. We say: “O Thou, the Sustainer of our Bodies Hearts and Souls, bless all that we receive in thankfulness” but tend limit this to our meals, and not to life as a whole. Or, “Praise be to Thee” but we do not always offer real praise.
Pir-o-Murshid has said that the Spiritual Hierarchy is more real than creation itself. That is what he says, and it is written in the books, too. But mureeds do not accept this in fact. They are not always very different from the public in wanting a God who is an international banker, or Santa Claus, sometimes a cosmic policeman. Sufism is divine wisdom and not human sagacity. The imaginary saint, or Sir Galahad, is a picture of human imagination which can be explained by Jungian psychology. It has nothing to do with hierarchy.
In hours of my greatest need Pir-o-Murshid Hasan Nizami used to send one of his mureeds to me, usually at Fairfax. He would not visit anybody else and kept away when any mureed who had been criticizing me showed up. This might seem very strange but that is the way it was. And Murshida never succeeded in convincing many mureeds what my duties and functions were. Whenever anybody needed help, I was it; and whenever help was not need I was out. So one can understand “he was scorned and rejected of man” and there was the struggle because one became more and more popular, or at least less and less unpopular in other quarters.
Now on my return I have found a representative of Hierarchy. And his first step is measured that the public rejects him because he makes claims. The substantiation of these claims would make it worse excepting that he is a grand-nephew of Alexandra Davida Neel whom legend has glorified and rightly glorified; and he has been a friend of various Dalai Lamas whom the public also glorifies and wrongly. The Dalai Lama has never been the structural head of the Tibetans much less of the Buddhists as the whole, but Madame Cloudnine and her cohorts say yes.
While I accepted his person he said I am one of the few persons he has met who understood the Tibetan (Red Hat) Hierarchy, the successions and so-called doctrine of “reincarnation” which is not reincarnation but is based on the same principles of the Sufi Hierarchy. He also, like my self, gave the names of the persons who have initiated him, the places and sometimes the times and conditions which is exactly contrary to Miss Cloudnine and we cooperated point by point, step by step in saying that preeminence depends neither on silence or speech and no saint or hierarch has to act according to rules laid down by the public and non-initiate.
This man whom one may call doctor—he is a physician has had many initiations in many schools. On my return here it was to find he had caused consternation among the Buddhists by certain insistence and the disciples found him backed by the teachers. Then a delegation of holy men came here and he was immediately appointed their host—by them—to the consternation of others. But this is the way Hierarchy works, has worked, will work and it is wonderful to be a bystander.
A party was given for my return and I was to talk on Sufism but as the doctor wanted to speak and as he is clearing out my critics—the enemies have long disappeared, I as very glad listen. I have already been warned to look for a man who makes exaggerations and not the hypocritical “meekness” and “humility” of soft-voiced persons who never help others, but please them outwardly. The world has long accepted Galahad as the ideal, though words like Jesus Christ or St. Francis may be used. It has resulted in opposition to “saints” by people who only know of the workings of the Roman Catholic Church. Real saints never or at least seldom operate like the “saints” of human imagination and construction. Not that this man is a saint, but he is a representative of hierarchy, and the fact that he talks—for he does functions—has nothing to do with it.
It is a source of great strength and confirmation. Only this time it comes not when I have had the need of loneliness—this is gone. My first visit to the campus about Sufism has been very cordially accepted and I go to Berkeley again this week. My projects are being received, and I am being accepted on higher levels, but behind “me” is the Divine Voice which constantly cometh from within. Like Hierarchy this is reality and this is they way the Sufi works—he does not work by human preconceptions, or human desires, and he is not a doll to be admired but never to do anything slightly reprehensible.
I think it is in the candidates’ Gathekas where Pir-o-Murshid told how a Sufi acted four different ways to four different persons who have made the same sin. We shake our heads and say we understand; we don’t. Big problems are only solved by big effort and behind big effort is the Voice of God which comes from within.
Hypocrisy, according to the greatest Sufis, was the only sin. Even our vices can be forgiven, for they most obviously come from the selfish ego, but the “devil” is insidious rather that wicked. When we have candor and sincerity, our faults will be forgiven; when we are double toward ourselves, we are in difficulty. Humility consists of using the ears, and bowing the head; it is everything but soft-voice pride. Nobody is blamed when he admits ignorance, and every world in the literature may be considered as valid. If people have been slow to accept, it merely means they are slow to accept. Hierarchy is raising its head and what Prof. Roerich once said is coming true but not through him or his colleagues.
God bless you,
My dear Saadia Khawar,
I have your letters begun on the 19th of July and wish first to answer concerning endeavors for Major Sadiq. In one sense these are private personal affairs and in another sense they are of utmost importance to us and others. I have now written at least four letters with no answers, at least to the Major and two of the Raja acting as his secretary and no reply. I am now considerably in monetary debt and in addition have put so mush time in these ventures as to be utterly unable to carry on my own legitimate scientific, literary and spiritual work. But in the attitude of surrender I have accepted these things and gone ahead the best I can, feeling that Allah does not demerit His servants. And at the moment the situation is more complex because all my projects have received commendation from Americans at every level, up to the top university man, government officials and organizations. But nobody in or from Pakistan has done anything. Shams-ud-din Ahmed has given me every possible assistance but he too, has had many difficulties and I have never mentioned you to him since you asked me. And the news from him is of utmost importance as it includes the efforts of many Sufi teachers, some of whom you know, and all of whom Major Sadiq knows.
A. Commerce. The first letter to the Raja indicated that I could not possibly help is this direction, that I was already overworked. But on a sign from Allah I went to the largest and best firm selling Oriental goods. They told me they would welcome a visit from Major Sadiq and wanted most of all samples and swathes (of carpets, etc.) and would be pleased to deal with him.
This happens to be a very large and reliable firm known the world over. The head is a life-long friend and he said if they were not able to conclude contracts they would send me to others but they want good grade carpets, saris and other goods. I have never heard anything.
Then other Pakistanis sent me the same inquiries and no replies.
B. Pakistanis in America. By grace of Allah I met the leading Pakistani in Cleveland, Ohio, who is related to the permanent secretary at the Consulate in New York and have been promised every cooperation. I have since talked to the leader in Hollywood. No acknowledge of any report.
C. People for Healing. I have lined up persons as the Major requested, most of whom are also interested in spiritualism and mysticism and some of them capable of introducing the Major to important people too. I went as far as a person can go with time and energy consumptions.
D. Southwestern Petroleum Go. I made a special trip to Fort Worth, Taxes, and have seen these people coming away very satisfied. But there is no use of my writing further if I do not hear from Pakistan. It gives me a bad name. It is like making promise and breaking them.
The shipment of material to Pakistan by sea takes some time—I do not know how long and I remember my own effects came very late but the cost of transportation was little.
E. Pakistan Air Lines. I have taken up matters with them, but for large shipments costs might be prohibitive. Unfortunately there has been a change of personnel here and I have to start all over.
The situation is monetarily complicated. After doing all the research on and for Project: The Garden of Allah, I was sent for today by an emissary of a Far East Nation and asked to cooperate in their future agricultural program. The introduction came from a very important source and when we all laid cards on the table we found we had all been connected with Mrs. Lucretia Del Valle Grady,
She is a very important person both in California history society and her husband also had been a close friend to the late President Roosevelt and was Ambassador in turn to Greece, Iran and “India” before Partition, jointly to India and Pakistan immediately after partition.
And here is a wonder. The Gradys were very close friends to the late Hasan Nizami of Nizam-ed-din Auliya and there is every evidence that Mrs. Grady was also a mureed of this great Pir-o-Murshid. We have always worked together but mostly by kashf, thought-transference and the same attunement and intuition that exists between Major Sadiq and myself, about more in the next heading—separate letter to be written.
It is impossible for me to move out of this orbit and it is squally impossible for me to continue what I have been asked to do. Therefore I am inclosing this asking you show it to Major Sadiq—you may also show the other letter but really this is for him. Before Allah I have done everything humanly possible but have reached the end of the road.
Thursday I must visit the University of California at Berkeley where for the first time there is the possibility of speaking on the spiritual Islam, and on top of that there is the first stirring to do the same socially in San Francisco. And if Allah vouchsafes success, where is this person to get the time to copy the letters for and to give the instructions to new mureeds?
Excepting Sufi Sahib at Salarwala no one has fathomed quantitatively the duties before me. And in the other letters some quantitatively material is to be added. Besides one has to be very careful now to lay any problems, troubles or anything before others, and I do this with a certain hesitancy only because I can do nothing else.
I did have two addresses of Major Sadiq but all the last letters went to 44-B II Gulberg III, Lahore.
Now I must answers your letter which will take some time. My apologies for presenting problems and weights.
Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti
P.S. To illustrate how close the spirits of the Major and Ahmed Mureed Chisti are, your Murshid has just visited the dairy at the experimental station in Ohio and has all the latest information on the care of dairy cattle at every level; has come literature, many notes and knows how to proceed. This is a very complicated matter, but it illustrates attunement.
August 6, 1964
Beloved one of God:
One must again harp one the lesson of the Story of Lot in The Unity of Religious Ideals where Pir-o-Murshid postulates the Vijnana and Ananda functions. But if you were to ask disciples in Sufism or Indian philosophies what those words mean you would seldom get a simple answer. For the book-learners have not had the inner experience and when man has such experience he is always subject to attacks and criticisms by those who do not know or understand. One teaching very common to both Jesus and Mohammed was the injunction against judging and if there are any people who judge more than the Christians it is the Muslims and if there are any people who judge more than the Muslims it is the Christians. For both are caught in the Manichean heritage which divides everything into “good” and “bad” and so they judge and when one rises above the grades which Jesus called “scribes” and “Pharisees” he is always judged and condemned by the people who are deluded into supposing that they themselves are other than scribes and Pharisees
I have just completed the first report on my Pittsburgh project which is an effort to get the cultured world to operate in the Vijnana postulate—to find that universal into which particular viewpoints can mix and thus bringing separate points of view into harmony. This philosophy also appears in Pir-o-Murshid’s teachings on sound and music but here again the whole Western world is deluded by the book attitude and does not know how to surrender to the teacher and so does not inherit either his wisdom of his magnetism.
This week I reported to Harry Nelson, my old mentor in Horticulture. He is not a nice man; he is rude, abrupt, honest to a degree we can hardly appreciate. In other words, he is not a diplomat and he has never led anybody astray in anything. No matter how he acted I stuck to him and now the world is appreciating what he can do, knows and tells.
The other day a truck load of garlic broke down and it belonged to one of the congressman from this state. I therefore devised a plan to contact this congressman and suggest a plan whereby waste garlic materials would be used for spraying, such as we touched upon. I told Mr. Nelson and he said the garlic sprays were very good; they did all that they are boosted for, but are very offensive in the Greenhouse. However someone has perfected on odorless garlic spray and they also used it, but have not done much work. I suggested returning to college to work on this spray and also to re-study plant materials and he thought this was a good idea.
It will also give me an opportunity to get the good-ill of the congressman for it fits in perfectly with “How California Can Help Asia.”
What I am trying to do leaked out and an East Asia government representative has sent for me and we spent some time together to be followed by other projects. The real Oriental is very different from the people of South Asia and the Near East who are not forthright and are often lazy and inept, with brilliant minds but they disdain dirt on the hands.
I also visited the class which will be studying Sufism shortly and met one man from Washington who is much interested. He is going to Lahore, Pakistan in September so I have given him introductions. I shall visit the class again, a very intelligent group, mostly of college graduates. The instructor and I had a very fine conference.
The whole field of finding non-poisonous sprays is open. I do not expect to have an answer to garlic research next week.
I hope your crops have stood up. I shall have more opportunity to work in Atlas again—I have found it wonderful, but if the storm knocks your corn and other things down, it will be hard to say what the results have been.
I have not run into the usual fog; it is warm but not hot. My god-daughter has ordered all of Pir-o-Murshid’s books to become the text for future studies in class-rooms in universities in Pakistan. She finds them wonderful but her plans to be coming here have been changed to uncertainty. None of my letters where acknowledged by Major Sadiq—I wrote four times, nothing received. It may be due to change of address. So I have given Saadia (my god-daughter) the reports and hope she can get to him. He still expects to leave in September and has been prospering. The other news is the Sufis are becoming more and more active in the cultural and social life in Pakistan.
On this point I differed from the professor, told him of my conflicts with one Dr. Wilbur—we did not differ on our historical or philosophical views, merely on the quantity and quality of living Sufis. I also met a Persian but he is returning to his country this week.
God Bless You,
August 12, 1964
772 Clementina St.,
San Francisco 3, Calif
My dear Oliver:.
This is not so much a communication but a break in a series of events which illustrate to at T, Snow’s two cultures. I used to say, “East is East and West is West and never shall the Oriental meet the Orientalist” but it is even more true of the “two cultures” or some facsimile thereof.
I enjoyed my visit to Pittsburgh every moment and from that point on it depended almost entirely whether I was seeing artists and scientists on the one hand or persons who accept “the other culture.” It came to a sort of psychological grand climax yesterday. A group of us visited the city of Berkeley, both the University of California and the Farm Bureau Building, partly on a project for California to help Asia and partly on a verbally similar project for Chile.
The Chilean idea was the brain-child first of Chief Justice Earl Warren and then our Governor Brown. It is a beautiful paper scheme to adopt the know-how of this State in a foreign land with many of the same ecologies and with people who have some aptitudes. But it was organized by political people and promoters, and decisions have been left to sociologists. With all its money and prestige it ran into dead-ends and blind alleys and is now stymied by a forth-coming election in Chile.
On the other hand, “How California Can Help Asia,” while in a sense “my” brain-child, has been discussed only with scientists, agriculturists, engineers and industrialists associated with one of these and has not met with a single obstacle or criticism though I am working in a sense entirely alone. Indeed as one proceeds the reactions have been overwhelming.
The obstacle in my path is that while my colleagues abroad have been entirely successful, remuneration for the above efforts were to come either in the from of a visit or a letter of credit and I have been told that mail has been intercepted—there is some evidence. And it is rather awkward now that other Asians see the values in “How California Can Help Asia.”
I may return to this point later, but for Frank’s sake and your own I must point out to a parallel series of coincidences concerning Zen Buddhism and the Californian Asilomar Variety which has passed for “Zen” in this country, and “only in America.” This variety I have called “PhDeism” and the term has been adopted by the leading lay Buddhist, who, incidentally, was a strong supporter of my earlier collaboration with Luther Whiteman.
I found in Chicago a very thriving and growing community of real Zen Buddhists, and arrived here to be greeted socially by their colleagues. While this was going on another delegation of real Zen leaders came here.
Acting as host for these visiting Zennists is an Englishman, related to the once famed Alexandra Davida Neel, who is still alive and was regarded as the greatest living Buddhist scholar some time ago. He has come to wipe out Asilomarism. He has been successful because he is the emissary of the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is no more an authority in Buddhism than the Queen of England is in the British Church, but Californians insist he is (and so do some others) Buddhist leader. So the doctor is taking advantage of this, his targets have disarmed themselves and within a short time we may be seeing the end of charlatanry and metaphysics and personalisms which have been widely (and utterly wrongly) accepted as being “Zen” Buddhism.
There are also some real Zen books being published with real Zen techniques and efforts to put them into practice have been very successful—under the supervision and with the approval of Real Zen Masters. This is an example also of our “two cultures.”
To date I have not been successful in having a single interview with a single sociologist on the Berkeley campus of the University of California, a situation all the more bizarre because of the wonderful contacts with all scientists, all departments, all subjects, no exceptions. I am now beginning a campaign to have as speakers in public affairs sometimes a scientist who has lived long and worked long in Asia as against the fly-by-night newspaper men and social scientists who dominate the field and mislead us no end.
The visit to Wooster was entirely auspicious and added to it was a long unscheduled conference with a Prof. Hoff who has bean long in India and done top level research in cross-breeding. This is not “news” because we are ages ahead of the Russians in genetics; ergo “genetics” is not a science!
But I ran into a problem (of another person) yesterday which now demands prompt action and also to place before him Project: Prometheus. It is on water problems and I am going to percent to him the integrational as against the analytic and synthetic programs so that money which will otherwise be used in litigation can be devoted to scientific research, and his own efforts. Here again I have the full backing of industrialists and refusal on the paper of newspaper men and social scientists even to discuss it. As this man has been caught in the same trap and as he has connections, that is my program for today.
Finally I am all ready to do personal research on non-poisonous sprays in answer to “The Silent Spring.” Both here and in the case of Algae I am a few steps ahead of Brother Hills, but no in a different, only in the same directions.
Please remember me to Mrs. Reiser and again I express appreciation of your hospitality,
Samuel L. Lewis
S. A. M.
August 13, 1964
I do not know whether you have been informed or not, but Lloyd has advised me that Vocha is coming here and will speak in his house on August 23—there being a charge, which is only right.
In the same mail a letter from Vocha mostly about Hugo, very indefinite, but perhaps that describes Hugo’s condition as well as anything else. On my last trip I came up through the Valley and did not stop off anywhere, because there is a strong possibility of my making one or two trips this Fall.
As to your horoscope. There has been no clear improvement in financial affairs. My colleagues in Pakistan have been very successful in everything and they have promised to pay me for my work but so far nothing has come of it but a complaint of receiving no mail from me, which is hard to explain, for I have written many times.
What has happened is the rapid acceptance in scientific circles and the gradual acceptance in the fields of Oriental philosophy. I know we differ on personalities and I know equally well that none of those persons who would not accept a real paper from me on real experiences and real research has any standing in the universities of Asia from one end to the other.
At the most awkward level there is today the recognition that there must be solid exchange between real cultures of real Asia and America. At the other levels, the scientists are concerned only with information and knowledge.
Ohio State Experimental Station which has one of the highest ratings in the world has its research dominated by three men: A PhD. in many sciences; a man who did not graduate from college but is an expert on cows; a European peasant refugee who did not even get through high school but is a whiz in agricultural mechanics. These men want the know-how’s and they have the highest rating in the world for their actual successful research.
The higher one goes in both intellectual and spiritual circles the more democracy and the less care of social standings or scholastic credits. And if my present Jupiterian aspects have any meaning they have manifested there and not yet in financial returns. I am no longer concerned with self-esteemed “experts” who have no standing in scholastic and spiritual circles.
P.S. May be seeing you before hand, as arranged by Ted Reich
August 15, 1964
My dear Bryn:
Or rather Shamcher. I must let you know how things are coming here, which is in complete reverse of affairs of other years. The only thing I am awaiting now is financial assistance so I can set up either an office or a secretariat. For there has been no real failure for some time only the elimination of ego-centric people who simply cannot understand the operation of higher phases of consciousness which manifest thorough human beings, not the human beings they select, but the human beings who either from evolution or Grace or both “attain” or “function” so.
Various phases of development toward, in or through cosmic consciousness appear in “The Inner Life” and they are often succinct. But book knowledge means very little and is actually dangerous to the ego-centric. Pete writes and asks what Shamcher is doing for “Sufism” and Samuel replies that he never knew when Shamcher was not working for the Cause of God. For it is misleading to talk about “Sufism” Or “Islam” or anything but the Highest.
The Wheel of the Law has turned so that the three big battles in life have taken on nothing but favorable aspects. The Buddhist battles have come out most satisfactory. Both here and elsewhere there has been nothing but complete cooperation or approval from the real Zen masters and teachers. The stuff that has passed in American for “Zen” can be commented upon: “When the gods arrive, the half-gods go.” No doubt the half-gods will continue to get the favor, for short whiles of a lot of people and there is nothing which should interfere with the public and private entertainment offered by these people.
So far as so-called Zen is concerned the “phonies” are in absolute opposition and rivalry to each other, too busy to bother about me, and no longer so effective since the real Zen monks come here and keep coming here in increasing numbers. Not only that, but the Zendos are increasing in number, in attendance and in the higher qualities of disciples. It is part of the new Aquarian age.
This phase has climaxed by the arrival here of a man who is connected with Alexander Davida Neel socially, esoterically and otherwise. The above mutually antagonistic charlatans have hamstrung themselves because this man is the agent of the Dalai Lama whom the Americans, and particularly the Californians have self-selected as pope of Buddhism which he is not and never has been. They are self-immobilized against him and he is sweeping and vacuum-cleaning.
His real authority and authorization comes from his connections with valid Buddhist sanghas, his ordinations and initiations. He is making no bones about his missions and is around challenging. He has compelled some pretenders to flee; or rather, since they have been boasting the Dalai Lama, they are trapped by their own nonsense. Soon both in California and in the whole country we shall be having real Buddhism.
While this has been going on there has been a revolution in the world Buddhist Federation. The New board is stacked with friends of mine and the new head is princess Poon Diskul who is a sort of spiritual sister and a typical counterpart in the manifestation of jinn-qualities. But the California delegate is both a close friend and an enemy of the self-appointed spokesmen for what they call “Buddhism” which is not, and never was the religion of anybody. These men have in common college degrees which they use to the hilt although I know of no university anywhere that has permitted any of them to speak on their campuses. Even old Daisetz Suzuki is gradually being set aside who was never the spiritual head of anything.
The revolution has a certain counterpart in Sufism. As I wrote last, Pir-o-Murshid’s writings are now being accepted as the basis of future programs both in Sufism and Islamic philosophy in general. This has come along with the reversal of Dr. Von Grünebaum of UCLA who is now championing Sufism.
While the PhDs., and the local experts continue their private lectures and even give college “degrees” in Oriental philosophy, the very good-will of Dr. Radhakrishnan and the continued increasingly favorable reactions from Pakistan bode a new day. Next week I shall probably appear on the Berkeley campus and place before them more and more valid and sometimes up to date materiel. And along with this is the complete cooperation of the college professors in charge of Sufic studies in Iran and Pakistan.
I am therefore partly throwing down the gauntlet to various persons in this district who have been misleading the public. So far as “Murshida” is concerned I have completed the outline of those reforms so dear to the heart of her husband, and all the negative propaganda against Pir-o-Murshid has come to an end publicly and I think privately.
For there is a tremendous difference between talking about Vijnana and Ananda and functioning them; of over-mind and super-mind which have in most cases become more words in the vocabulary and of Sri Aurobindo’s International Philosophy which is entirely in the hands of analysts and dialecticians.
When one functions Vijnana (overmind) or Ananda (supermind) one is able to come to the solutions of many problems. And in the last two weeks the representatives of the real countries of Asia one after another have either sent for me or crossed my path and I have become more and more a consultant in problems whereas before when I dared to open my mouth there was always the charge of egotism.
The incident at the Food & Civilization Conference where and when I was publicly discovered and acclaimed by top specialists has been followed by a droll program wherein without any occult or other ability I can fore-figure the results of conference.
It is simply that the two cultures of Snow manifest at every point. Every industrialist and scientist without conception at every level has approved; every newspaper man, social philosopher and metaphysician almost without exception has rejected and usually a priori. The top social scientist at the Food & Civilization Conference himself was unanimously rejected by his scientific colleagues and the audience. We are tired of dialectics and metaphysics.
The fact is, Shamcher, and I think you understand, that there is no separation between the Inner Life, The higher functions of mind and efforts to solve the problems of the day. For the purpose of this communication I limit it to two because I am hoping to get reactions or help in official or financial ways which may open the doors for you.
The Integrational Solution of Water Problems. This consists of the establishment of salt-water conversion plants, the surrender by California to Arizona’s demands for Colorado River water and the establishment of an Agricultural Experimental Station in the Gulf of California with emphasis on Coconut research. I won’t to into details but there is a strong probability that this will be presented to Congress next session. I have found out a lot and will give details if you wish. I have run into no opposition and the fact is that this is the harmonious, integrational answer to a nest of complexities I have been encountering showing that even important people, who have not developed the higher faculties of mind and heart are unable it “think” through their own problems.
The Silent Spring. I never accepted this book and did not reject it. But now, as in the cases of salinity, aridity, etc. the answers are forthcoming. Only here I am proposing the research myself. I already had the good will of Ohio State Experimental Station, of the Extension Service of the University of California, etc., and work along with tow colleagues here who have, during the course of years, encountered the same difficulties in the same way. But my proposals have resulted in the most favorable reactions from industrial groups and will—I know—and I am keeping details away from metaphysical people and social friends who are caught in the tyranny of words.
I had to write one of the teachers of the so-called American Academy of Asian Studies the difference in this teacher’s behavior towards me and his. At the same time I have been working very closely, all over, with Dr. Oliver Reiser, Lloyd Morain’s teacher in philosophy. But unlike the Hindu alluded to, Lloyd is beginning to this out. He knows I have been working with scientists.
This is coming to a delightful climax next Sunday when Vocha Fiske speaks in Lloyd’s home. The dreams I have had of using General Semantics to help solve scientific and social problems is coming out right. From the beginning I had the good-will of scientists but never the good-will of the metaphysicians and verbalists who took ever the G.S. Movement. Both Reiser and Vocha were caught in the same pincher movement and got out.
I wish to thank you for your note that you do not grant personal interviews but when you say, “I must disappoint you,” you are not disappointing me at all. You are confirming me.
The letter is part of a series of try to find out whether it is possible for Americans and Asians to sit down and talk, man to man, or in your case, woman to woman for I did not wish to be present and have nothing else to bring excepting the almost hopeless request that we accept Asians as equal fellow human beings, which we do not.
In the interval between writing and your answer, there has been another treaty between mainland China and Pakistan because while the ideals of these people are totally different they can sit down to tête-à-têtes.
In the morning paper the Cambodians are telling us that they do not like our democracy, which prevents them also from speaking to us as valid human beings. We Americans are great for the “democracy of audiences” in listening to others; we are not so democratic in listening.
Since writing also my god-daughter has been given another honorarium. I am just trying to find out also whether there are American woman who can and will sit down with Asian woman on any basis. Of course I am keeping on trying.
Samuel L. Lewis
August 19, 1964
My dear Gavin:
I am sorry I was away yesterday. If I sent you the original instead of copy of letter to Bryn, it does not matter much.
What has happened is this—that after many years I have been entirely successful with the University of California in two directions.
The one has to do with scientific problems and research with the ultimate hope of “solving” problems on “How California Can Help Asia.” Real scientists do not resemble much the “scientist” of the press. Furthermore they are concerned with what you know. The social scientists are caught up with credentials and degrees. They would be “shocked” at the personnel of some of the best research stations in this country whether the staff is made up of people with skills far more than with book credentials. Reading the past does not lead to discoveries for the future. I think a lot more of us should read Edison.
In two days I accomplished there more than at the whole time at the so-called American Academy of Asian Studies; or with the universities in this country prior to 1962. The day when Englishmen, Europeans and metaphysicians can deliver personal lectures and having them accepted as Oriental Studies is over. With an American and about eight Asians staffing South Asian Studies, it was easy ad simple. You report and they accept the reports because the reports on based on facts and experiences, it is that simple.
Vocha speaks at Lloyd’s house Sunday but I may go to the Humanity meeting Friday because they are discussing “The Silent Spring.” This has been a casual but important matter with the entomologists and professional spray operations. I am just curious to see how the metaphysical people will act.
I am busy every day all the time and shall continue until some colleague arrives from the Orient, or until I am summoned elsewhere.
August 24, 1964
My dear Oliver:
Last week proved to be so eventful in so many directions I am writing to you at this time with the hope that it will ultimately lead into getting more people interested in Project: “Prometheus” for it is certain that all my endeavors are more or less related to it, although one, and a very important one is related to “Project-Krishna.” At the same time there have been humorous situations and I shall begin with the one which is both drole and serious.
Snow’s contention that we have two cultures is demonstrated over and over again. The contemporary commentators, considering themselves “experts” are raining their subjective nonsense on educated audiences today without taking any consideration of those audiences and adopting the “peasant” approach. This was true some time ago; it is not so true today.
I have attended two public forums on “Silent Spring” and being the only professional spray-operator, there was almost a “peasant” or in Indian terms a “dudra” series of s.r.’s among panel members. And when I arose Thursday night and said this you could see, these s.r.’s on their faces. Although all I did was to ask for definitions, two men who were most antagonistic to each other joined forces for the moment—the chemist defending the status quo and the conservationist attacking it. The result was that afterwards I had no difficulty in obtaining a most welcome invitation to the Entomologist on the panel, Dr. Allen of the University of California.
One sits in wonder in audiences discussing the science, art and technique of one’s own profession, and dialectically or by Aristotelian (non)-methods projecting programs. The possibility of their being an interrogational program which would take into consideration all factors and facts does not enter many minds. And certainly Thursday night as the meeting progressed after my question the Conservationist was demanding from Spray-operators backgrounds in organic Chemistry and entomology, which I have, and he did not seem to have so much prowess.
Vocha Fiske (to whom I shall refer more later) spoke on A.K. Sunday and told of his universal approach to the sciences. This was in Lloyd and Mary’s home, and many people had some background in G.S., but I doubt in the sciences. For in UAR when a Bachelor came for his Master’s examination in Plant Protections I was a sort of guest of honor. The method was entirely in according with “Project Prometheus.” Unlike our radio and TV advertisers the applicant could not use a chemical, biochemical or organic chemical term without satisfying chemists who were on the panel. In UAR nature is one and nobody says anything without panel-satisfaction, and no-one is permitted to project “science teaches” to an audience, learned or unlearned.
The late Dr. Blanche Baker of San Francisco years ago introduced me to one of her closest friends and scientific colleagues, Dr. Cuthbert of Wooster, Ohio. Not only have I been in close touch with him but have collected masses of data from personal observations, contacts with research scientists and Entomologists and pamphlets from Universities, as well, of course as scientific journals.
Whenever there is a problem a solution is sought and my work in all parts of the world has been to try to get the “problem” people and the “answer” people together. At the moment I am engaged in research on non-poisonous sprays, a laboratory and greenhouse has been offered to be for the coming semester; I have my contacts in several universities and research laboratories and while I may not be on panels, I certain reserve the right to disagree with speakers who have partial views. Incidentally by this effort I am taking burden off of one of my closest colleagues who is well known for his teaching and lecture work in this field.
The result is that while Snow’s “literary” culture takes one attitude, there has been complete cooperation and welcome from scientists and industrialists, and while not being too assured of answers before starting, one has at least an optimistic view and is unable to agree with unconscious or conscious scare propaganda.
Coming to the one element for Project: Krishna. I have always held that when chairs in “Oriental” Philosophy were taken from Europeans and given to Americans, I might have some opportunity. It seems now that the University of California—two campuses, has its Orientalia under Americans and Asians, and not only are my contributions welcome but were received in class objectively substantiating what the classes were being taught. For it is not only the need for Americans and Asians rather than Europeans and diplomats to control Asian studies, but objectivity.
This came during a week when I received a long manuscript from my goddaughter whom I have been instructing in various Oriental Philosophies that she has been called upon to cooperate with three universities on programs of teaching and revamping philosophical and educational studies. And here for the second time I am found teaching teachers in the Orient while excluded sometimes even from audiences in this country! If we could point to a single country in Asia with whom we have an understanding, it would hot matter.
Incidentally received another welcome letter from Dr. Radhakrishnan for researches in another branch of Oriental Philosophy, or rather the history thereof. While this was going on, excellent relations were established with about five departments of the University of California for many reasons omitted here, but mostly dealing with the food problems of Asian countries—from one end of the continent to the other, inclusive.
There were two other extreme pleasantries. I have my diploma in real Zen Buddhism (from Kamakura) just as much as people have university degrees, and it has been accepted by every Zen monk and rejected, until recently by every non-Zennist. Five times now I have had arguments, all of which were terminated suddenly by the unqualified substantiation from the Zen Master present until the Zaniest are afraid to argue with me, a condition no more welcome than being a priori rejected. Then there came here a man who represents both Tibetan and Japanese Buddhism and he is cleaning house, and it is a relief.
Vocha, in her talk yesterday spoke of her relations with Nyogen Zen Senzaki and she is going to Japan. I was acquainted with this man from 1920-1957 (his death), and here again it is curious he accepted my ko-an answer and not one single “expert” would even hear of it. Anyhow it was good for her to speak for Nyogen and against Alan Watts who has been a folk hero and expert in many fields for which he has no qualifications whatever.
But the most interesting episode illustrates synchronicity, or something else. I had written a letter to Lloyd and went out to post when in the box I found a letter from Vocha—telling about mutual friends and one from Lloyd concerning Vocha. Anyhow I immediately sent in a check to attend her long but beautiful session yesterday.
She not only talked but also distributed several of her manuscripts. She gave me one, which disappeared. I was not so concerned with its disappearance as that it might have gotten to somebody else than Don Hayakawa. If he has it, all right, but if it got to somebody else, not all right. This was on the mathematics of “Science and Sanity.”
I feel at home with the Mathematics and not at home with the Psychotherapeutics of timework, the reciprocal of most of the students.
Vocha told many anecdotes and comments and yet was serious enough to give us much food for thought and information. The questions show, to me at least, the continuance of the ego-centric outlook on the part of persons and despite the title “Science and Sanity” the adherence of the “humanities” rather than the sciences as sources of discipline and information. So long as the G.S. movement remains in the hands of literati and psychologists, and so long as biologists and, physicists remain outside, one can only hope for “Project: Prometheus.”
The situation is more complicated. It was again only last week that I could locate a single man who took seriously the fact that the University of Islamabad, which I represent, had money for scholarships and teaching. One I told a young woman who had a job with an Asian institution “Remember, young lady, a European is a human being, an Asian is a thought form.” “I have found that already.” But most people have not found it out at all. Asians are thought-forms, not flesh-and-blood beings.
Of course I can now introduce the three logical systems of the Orient into the universities; these being long rejected (a priori, of course) by the G.S. people. But I have another tale, also with a happy ending.
The social scientists have adamantly refused to grant interviews not only to myself, but to a number of friends who have lived in the Orient, and with a single exception to the scientists on their own or allied campuses who have worked in the countries under discussion. Previously I offered my papers which throw considerable light on the S.E. Asian imbroglio. I wary snubbed entirely and later, in writing to a research scientist told him of a stream of incidents covering a stream of persons. Copy was sent to the Dean who has now sent out a memorandum to all departments about refusing interviews and manuscripts.
Fortunately I have contacted my “fellow-sufferers” and others and we are going to collect data anyhow, and on top of that the close companion of my chief authority speaks on the University campus tomorrow. The refusal of the press, State Department and social scientists to listen to others is the ruse of every difficulty with every country in Asia, no exception, and was the basis for a furious attack on the United Sates by Dr. Malalasekera, which was not published, of course.
Integration is and must be much more than mere “equal rights” for minority races. It must become like the jury system, where eyewitnesses are important and where conclusions and hearsay are not evidences. We do not do that in the laboratory, we do not do it in the courts—someday we may by pass this in public discussions and social studies. Then we shall be on the way to peace and understanding.
With the problems of food for Asians and research on non-poisonous sprays my whole program is filled, but at least I write today in a spirit of utter optimism. I am sure your projects will go on and if other semanticists do not regard Asia as important, I think now I can get your philosophy used elsewhere. It may take time but the doors are opening and opening fast.
Samuel L. Lewis
S. A. M.
August 27, 1964
My dear Harry:
Last week I attended two public gatherings on “Silent Spring” and felt very much like a Sudra in an assemblage of Brahmins. It is certain that I was the only one in either audience who had had practical experience in this field.
Thursday night was a KPFA public meeting and so far as the station was concerned, they are exempt from blame. The panel consisted of an Ecologist, Entomologist, Chemist, Conservationist, Psychologist and Organic Farmer. The only time the Chemist and Conservationist agreed is that when I got up and told them I was a retired Spray operator and asked them to define a couple of their terms—nothing else. They both pooh-poohed my question which won me the good-will of the Entomologist (Dr. Allen of Berkeley.) The meeting did not exactly end. When somebody in the audience asked a real solid question the panelist, excepting Dr. Allen, decided it was time to go home.
Friday night was at the Humanist Society. The speaker was a psychologist who was condemning the scientists because of atomic fallout, industrial waste and poisonous sprays. After the meeting I was asked by the President of the society whether I agreed, and he said: “Sam, you never agree with anybody. When will you learn to agree?” This man used to attend lectures by me when he was in his teens. He grew up a successful business man and never on a single occasion when he was chairman—and he has been chairman many times, has he ever permitted me the floor even to ask questions!
My conclusion at the moment is that the scare propaganda that is being put out is more poisonous than the sprays themselves. The Friday night speaker had a solution—a new organization for scientific research and international disarmament! What, international disarmament has to do with plant protection I don’t know and don’t care.
I have not yet heard from Congressman Gubser about samples but I am also considering Ferry Morse, or whom you will. But “thinking” has brought up another and related subject of “Natural Immunity and Immunization.” I don’t know if it has any value but I used to read a good deal about Pasteur when I was young.
We might observe certain plants which are free from insect pests. There should be a reason—chemical, biochemical, enzyme or what not. Why do not insects attach themselves to certain plants?
First I have in mind the Euc. sp. Do these trees elude anything which protects them? Can we derive an oil or a sap product which could be used to protect other plants?
A glib answer is no good. Eucs seem to have a soil sterilant also. Any spray derived from them might not only kill or ward off insects, it might injure other plants. At the same time it may produce an idea, or products other than the Alliums I have in mind. I do not know whether Immunity and Immunization have been studied much in the plant world. And here one is also disturbed by the Dutch Elm disease, etc.
But even if this is the wrong track someone may come up with answers or a whole new science.
I had to choose the other day between no appointments at Berkeley or being involved in a top level seminar covering everything from human nutrition to plant feeding all combined. At the moment it was too much. But Friday night a question of this sort was brought up by a doctor friend of mine and treated as if entirely out of order by the psychologist—self-expert on plants’ troubles, and “Silent Spring.”
August 30, 1964
My dear Sharab,
Yesterday we were studying The Unity of Religious Ideals and came upon a passage which was distinctly autobiographical of Pir-o-Murshid. We all sympathize with his sufferings and are just as liable to do the same thing with the next man who comes along as he told in his allegory of “the Spirit of Guidance.”
I am today far, far more popular than some people who used to know me can surmise and in this country it is due largely to championing a lot of “little” people, who are not so little, but who have the answers to problems great and small. But because we are moved by charm, by decorum, by outer accouterments, we are today paying a tremendous price.
Next to having witnessed abject poverty on a vast scale, the thing that has moved me most was the reaction of this country to my very close friend, Phra Sumangalo. He had lived and worked in S.E. Asia and had come twice to this land with warnings and information, to be ignored, spat upon and ostracized, only to have everything he said come true and an impasse in S.E. Asia. But Sharab, this is our behavior pattern, it is all through our history only more so now than before. The experience of the little man is nothing before the opinions of the big man, especially, when the big man is an editor, a diplomat or a social scientist.
After a long struggle I have succeeded in getting a directive from the Chancellor of the University of California to the social scientists and literary man to stop refusing a priori efforts on the part of alumni and their own scientific colleagues to get information to them on subjects for which they are “experts. And we are from one end of the country to another filled with “experts” that do not know anything. The disgrace of the very handsome commentators and very self-important editors to explain the recent political conventions will have the same effects as the efforts to write histories of South East Asia. I have just read one on Thailand. These people refused to accept a single newspaper item, but they have not yet called in their scientific colleagues.
In the paper today is a picture of the Daibutsu at Nara. Among the least of my experiences in Japan was to be shown this giant statue in detail from behind (closed to the public) and also visit the only Bo-tree in Japan which is in the courtyard behind it. Following Pir-o-Murshid’s advice from the beginning I have kept detailed diaries—most of them destroyed in 1949.
And I also have the letters from Phra Sumangalo of a letter date and am ready now to write an article, already accepted by the editor, with warnings—and it is too obvious—that so long as we continue to rely on newspapermen and diplomats and ignore the reports of our own people who have lived and worked in foreign countries we will have no friends no matter which party is in, or what “policy” is supposed to be.
Or turning to another subject nearer to your heart. I have caused some commotion appearing at two public round-tables on “Silent Spring.” Having been a professional spray-operator I had no place among “the experts.” They are causing useless fear. None of them believe in God, and still less that the Deity is the perfection of Love, Harmony and Beauty.
But while the “experts,” editors and commentators ignore one, I can assure you, Sharab, I am getting full cooperation from the scientists and industrialists and yesterday ran into an anti-climax at the California Academy of Sciences when the top Entomologists asked, “What do you think of the Rodales?” “Where do you think I got my ideas?” So the lecturers and experts scare the public and the servant of God does research on poisonless sprays. Actually this story is much better and bigger than may be received. It is disgusting to be continually turned down by “experts” for even having ideas.
This has caused in turn some sharp attacks on “experts.” The Greeks said, “When the gods arrive the Greek gods go.” In one subject after another I have been listening to speakers who really know to attack one after another those “experts” who have stood in the way of those of us who have valid knowledge. “I don’t want to hear your story” shows egotism and the devil. It is not only the S. E. Asian impasse, or the pest-problem but runs deep through everything.
In short order my credentials on Sufism were accepted at the university; I have heard the best lectures on both Hinduism and Buddhism I have ever heard; there have been two Buddhist revolutions putting my friends in charge in various places.
The only negative note is that Major Sadiq has not received my letters and I think it is skull-duggery by temporary secretaries. He is succeeding in everything which so far has done me no good. What is worse, every project and problem given to me has been “solved,” only to be followed by more requests until I am absolutely stumped. Every effort to advise and inform has gotten nowhere.
Pir-o-Murshid’s writings are now become the basis for a great base of revised teachings and I am being called on more and more at the top levels abroad. I have just caught up in my mail, but formative writing has just about begun. I need at least ten secretaries but would be happy to have a single one. The one who works on world levels is seldom understood by those who work at village levels or at best city levels.
Yet slowly one received more and more goodwill locally and I realize that having had once ten sets of enemies is and has been a test. These enemies largely destroyed each other and all that remains are critics who are also destroying each other. The heart does not see as the ego sees.
After this letter I turn to projects—poisonless sprays, new social-agricultural experiments abroad, “The Garden of Allah” and much more. Someday a few people will realize what Pir-o-Murshid taught, “The Spiritual Hierarchy is as real or more real than creation itself.” One received constant corroboration of this from distant places.
God bless you,
Samuel L. Lewis
S. A. M.
September 1, 1964
My dear Sharab:
This is really a diary entry. Tonight I go to hear Miss Judith Tyberg. Her history duplicates my own. She was the only American with whom one could discuss the real wisdom and real esotericism of the Upanishads. Despite her knowledge of Sanskrit and Oriental Philosophy she was rejected as a teacher by one university after another which hired Europeans. This is something most difficult to convey here and is so obvious all over Asia. Is there a single nation in Asia with whom we are on good terms?
Once recently I told a girl who got a new job: “The first thing you must learn is that Europeans are human beings; Asians are thought forms.” “I have learned that already.” She had not been there three days!
The presentation of objective Oriental culture by both Americans and Indians reverses the whole history of former days when one was rejected almost unanimously by “experts.” The difference between Judith and myself is that I am a man and also have had the spiritual injunction, “Therefore fight, O Arjuna” and she has not. And the rejections are equally silly, for I have never heard a statement from her, no matter how apparently exaggerated, which did not prove to be true.
She is speaking before the Aurobindo Ashram. These people advocate Vijnana (see “The Story of Lot” in The Unity of Religious Ideals. They stop right there and go back to the same humbug personality-worship as everybody else. And I am applying this in scientific research and meeting with good-will as long as I keep from non-scientific “experts.”
I had to go to the Zen Master yesterday. There is nothing but personality clashes over Dr. Warwick who has had life-long training in esoteric schools. Like Judith and myself he is not “nice,” he is not suave, he does not put on a front, and when you prick his skin you find pure gold. I explained that the time had come for me to give out the Zen transmission from Nyogen Senzaki. My former “enemies” have been castigated in public so much now there is no need to say anything. Americans know they have been handed dross but don’t know the pure gold. It took me give minutes to put over what I have not succeeded in two hours even with devotees and scholars. Each transmission, according to grade, is a million times greater than the one below. We, as Americans utterly reject what Pir-o-Murshid wrote in “Moral Culture” on “Grades.” Being “democratic” we can’t understand grades, and the same thing is true in the public rejections of Judith Tyberg and Dr. Warwick. Or as I have written, “In the hour ye think least the Son of Man cometh.”
All this has been most encouraging and enabled me to write some very inspired papers—for Pakistan.
September 4, 1964
My dear Sharab:
The proposals of Pir-o-Murshid that one should keep a diary and also write up his mystical experiences has been one which has brought forth endless criticisms and difficulties. But it is noticeable that while there are these criticisms and difficulties they come mostly from those “near and dear to one” who, after all, form a small minority of acquaintances.
“Initiation is a step forward in an unknown direction” and every such step is such to bring down a torrent of abuse and criticism. But it is also noteworthy that one is not the only one who takes such steps, who has such daring, and thus is a fellow-initiate. The last series of episodes began with an effort to straighten out complexities when a Buddhist brother, having similar experiences on all planes, ran into exactly the same road-blocks and he got them from his fellow-Buddhists in exactly the same way as I have had from fellow-Sufis.
There was one difference, that there is a living Master-teacher here. I have been able to go to him and point out where the trouble is and there was agreement.
To understand what happened one has to accept, even if one does not realize, the existence of seven planes in the universe, and, following the story of Lot, the functions of Vijnana and Ananda. But above and beyond them is Prajna in Buddhism, which is Kashf in Sufism. And the Kashf-functions are beyond without being outside mental efforts; or, as Pir-o-Murshid taught, “Heart is the depth of mind.”
Ignorant people think heart is negativity to themselves, not divine wisdom. They judge by their reactions and emotions and consequently they either reject the wise man; or the wise man, discovering this, deliberately conceals and he must conceal his attainments.
Pir-o-Murshid and Nyogen Senzaki each became in a sense the disciple of the other and I a disciple of each. The day when I could be shut up about this is gone. Visiting the Zen Master, communicating by a combination of Vijnana (over-mind), Ananda (heart) and Prajna-Kashf (wisdom) we reached an agreement in a few moments and one of the aftermaths of this is that now I can safely give out the wisdom-teachings of Nyogen Senzaki. Perhaps a good deal will be in writing.
The other day I said: “It is tiresome to be teaching Orientals their philosophies, and having them teaching our professors who teach people who will not even permit me to attend their classes.” Within half an hour a letter came that Prof. Nasr, my chief Iranian colleague, has just been appointed to take over the Department of Islamics at the American University in Beirut, a most famous institution. This may mean not only my own theses will be taught there but that even our Pir-o-Murshid’s works will be introduced.
This came when, like Antonio in the Merchant of Venice, good news was received. Much of my surveying in the Orient, particularly in India and Pakistan came to a dead end when one Richard Conlon of this city disappeared. But he is back and ready to start a series of educational campaigns on East-West trade. I have an appointment Tuesday and will be able now to give my many reports and possibly even show him rock samples which have been carried a long time and many, many miles.
The end of the Summer Session of the University of California this week has brought the utmost satisfaction. The displacement of Europeans by Americans and Asians has not only given the students most valid pictures of real Oriental cultures, but has meant a total change in personal relationships.
This you must understand applies only to the non-scientific subjects. The preparation for research on non-poisonous sprays has had nothing but commendation. Two very successful interviews at the Chamber of Commerce and so-called Labor Day will be spent preparing this with my local colleague, Harry Nelson. The Garlic producers have extended every form of cooperation to the moment, but I may go beyond this into Onions, etc. It is too early to tell. While the psychologists and sociologists fill the air with fears the Sufis work for calming hearts and instructing minds.
Years ago when I was working for a doctor who could not diagnose his brother-in-law’s difficulty, I said, “There is no problem in diagnosis, there is in treatment. What is his profession?” “He is an X-ray operator.” “That is it.” This was the discovery of the dangers to radio-activity. Our old friends, Preston and Hubbard both died from this source. Now we recognize it.
The truth is that we must accept the Jinn-evolution, of a mind which operates at greater speed and perspicacity, and which finds “solutions” rapidly. People say it is “ego”—it has nothing to do with ego more or less. It is the Jinn-behavior. And when this is spiritualized (Vijnana), it can work wonders.
There is a vast difference between the daily life of the mystic and the reports about mystics by non-mystics. For a record of events Pir-o-Murshid wanted me to set down details. So long as one lives around value-judgment people, it is better to keep the heart-wisdom hidden. At the same time one must work against social fears. President Roosevelt may have said, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself,” but the number of horror and monster TV programs proves we love fears.
Or again. Facing a homosexual who has sinus trouble I said, “You have an obstruction in your right nostril.” “Yes, how did you know? In fact, I have a bone malformation.” How does one know? It is plain as can be from the Gitas on “Mysticism.” No wonder PoM had such a hard time. Very few really believed him.
Love and blessings,
September 14, 1964
c/o S.F. Examiner.
San Francisco 5, Calif.
My dear sir:
In Re: A Study in Folklore
My attention has been called to a critical article by your good self in regard to Alan Watts. I am not going to take exception to your remarks and assume they have been made in good faith.
But I must call to your attention the tremendous role folklore plays in our affairs. One need only go to The Great Stone Face by Nathaniel Hawthorne to read really great, and basic, American epic. While France has always looked to “the man on horseback”—and has one now, the United States has always looked to the bright hero, shiny in countenance, a Lochinvar, a Siegfried and sometimes, a Galahad, that totally empty and pure figment which or who has displaced alike Jesus Christ and Percival (Parsifal), real folk heroes.
Only in America have we had that strange phenomenon, the European Professor of Orientalia. Till almost today an American cannot be a source of knowledge or wisdom in Asiatica, unless he puts on a mask, or a mosque. When I was in Cairo and tried in vain to prevent a mob attack on the Embassy—I was forewarned many times—my clinching question was; “Why is it that in the United States a graduate from one university in Orientalia is always demoted when he comes to another university; but if he graduates from a renowned foreign university like Oxford, Cambridge, Heidelberg, Leiden, he is always promoted?” I did not save the Embassy but this was a body blow to the USIS. They had to admit that.
Alan Watts’ start on the local scene belongs to California, to our state Folk-lore and I am sure you know plenty here. There are some plants like Canary Island Broom and plenty of Australians that flourish much better here than in their native habitats; and if Alan has been successful, it is because he was transferred to the right habitat. He belongs to California and Californiana.
When you combine the charm-tradition from The Great Stone Face with the “Only in America” European-English professors of Orientalia, you already have this part in the local drama and when a man fits the part to perfection, he fits the part to perfection and need not be blamed therefore.
Conferences on Asia. I am not going relate them here, plenty of them. Always European diplomats, sometimes Americans, always newspapermen and sometimes here and there, but not necessarily so, an Asian. This is not sarcasms, this is history.
We are facing a “Connecticut Yankee at Kin Arthur’s Court” in Vietnam. The show must go on—that is all that matters. One of the teachers of Alan Watts (whom incidentally I taught some Buddhism to), lived in that part of the world a long time and made two visits to the United States to warn us of impeding dangers. The State Department, the Press and even the universities formed a pretty solid front against him. Everything he said came true—but that does not matter.
Why should we accept one American, when we reject others? We have had an American warner on Tibet, another on Vietnam, another on Laos, etc., etc. To try to stem the tide I wrote a paper on “Buddhism in Vietnam.” Not a chance, wrong author. I won’t tell you who turned it down. We still don’t know what kind of religion is followed there.
Time passed and we had many conferences on Buddhism. These conferences differed from those on “Asia” because Buddhists were invited, so were “others.” The “others” have been too busy writings books, telling us of non-existent religions, of non-existent Yogas, etc., etc. They might have been welcomed but none of them ever showed up.
I have lived with the schoolmate of Alan Watts; I learned Buddhism from one of his teachers and taught another; I know the inside and outside of his life. But when you look away from the personality to the role he is playing, it is drama and folk-lore. And he is not the only one to be so singled out.
Now there is a real American professor who knows the real Buddhism in and out. He came to the University of California recently and let the audience have it. The audience took it because now Asian culture is taught by Asians. It is a new day. For the first time—and thank God it is arrived—we are having real cultural exchanges between Americans and Asians. This is also part of our local scene. But we have two Californias—that of folk-lore and that of accomplishments and some day the accomplishment will be as much news as the folk-lore. And when history is written a hundred years from now it will be on the accomplishments and not on the folklore.
Samuel L. Lewis
Well, Gavin, with Americans and Asian teaching Orientalia at the University of California I am in—it was as simple as that. The removal of Europeans and Englishmen brought a tremendous change in everything. But of course my main work is in the sciences and not in Orientalia, or is it?
September 24, 1964
This is my diary entry, a matter neglected for reasons obvious below. The immediate stir has been the arrival of Paul Reps here and his ignoring me. But he did not know he stepped into a center of my closest spiritual friends and made a fool of himself. Paul and Magana Baptiste are like my son and a daughter. They operate a Yoga Center which is a Yoga Center and not a charlatanry used to attract wealth and pomp. In fact they were the only ones to accept even that I had brought back esoteric literature from the Orient. Discountenancing all mystical and occult values people might have been curious to see if I had literature. Unanimously the “occult” people, the metaphysicians and everybody else refused it. The other day I presented the University of California with a very worn out, but still a copy of the Lesser Upanishads full of valuable esoteric and tantric materials.
The great turn in my life came with the visit of my fairy-god-mother, Ruth St. Denis. It is impossible to relate it all here. The climax was reached by the almost unanimous rejection by every sort of metaphysical and spiritual group and/or persons; at the same time the almost unanimous acceptances by every sort of scientific and semi-scientific group however loosely these terms are defined. And as the acceptances qualitatively and quantitatively far outnumber the rejections, this is written at a time when everything else but money is in the hands. When Vocha Fiske was here I said to my friend, Stanley Diamond: “I am poor and in debt but please don’t give me any money—Greyhound will get it.” But if Greyhound gets it there is a purpose in it.
This morning I turn in my paper on Vietnam to a local publisher. Everybody has rejected it and Robert Clifton (Phra Sumangalo), my lifelong friend, is dead of a broken heart. He came here and warned everybody first about Viet-Minh-Vietnam before it happened and was cold-shouldered even worse than I have been. We are paying the price.
One of my closest friends was his last disciple and travel-companion, J. Eugene Wagner. Eugene accompanied him on many of his jaunts, but no one has accepted his reports either, especially on Laos. It is ridiculous. But Eugene was willing to accept that I had known the late Nyogen Senzaki, and I have been able to present the first Dharma-Transmission from my old friend. I also presented this to the local Soto teacher—in about three minutes what I could not get over in hours. The whole of Senzaki’s basic teaching is now in “Anthology of Zen” by Briggs & Barrett. But as he, Shaku Soyen and others have written, real Zennists do not talk about Zen, they talk about Dharma-Transmission.
The same stupid sort of rejection that killed Phra Sumangalo and against which I have fought all my life—now fortunately victorious, struck one Rev. Dr. Warwick, a Buddha Maitreya in disguise, who also has had “it.” He brought over tremendous areas of real esoteric Buddhism. It is possible I may see him tonight. Despite his close association even with the Dalai Lama and his real ordination by real Zen Masters, he has not the “signs” which people expect, i.e. he is not Krishnamurti + kindness + miracles.
My vow to discontinue teaching teachers who taught people who rejected me is at an end. It came together simultaneously in both parts of the world, East and West.
Prof. Nasr of Teheran, a close Sufi colleague, has been appointed to the chair of Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut. Mr. Adams gave some talks on Sufism which were immediately substantiated at the University of California by my credentials, accepted in class—even so-called disciples rejected them previously. Mr. Adams has gone to McGill University in Toronto replacing Dr. Cantwell Smith, a rejecter.
The visit of Dr. Richard Robinson, also disciple of Phra Sumangalo, to Berkeley ended the eminence of the poseur-fictionalists who have dominated Buddhist teaching (?). And now I am also a sort of off-the-record consultant for the Oriental departments. Even in 1963 I could not get an interview and this week I was greeted by five professors in a row in one building alone.
The same day after years of effort the Department of International Studies has consented to an interview. Today I am taking my Vietnam report to an Editor and my next article is “India, after the Deluge, What?” to be sent to Dr. William Vogt, and possibly in another form to the C.S. Monitor.
While this has been going on the scientists remain in the classes only—those who make appointments and those who see me immediately. No nonsense. I am working on world food problems—unanimously accepted by scientists and industrialists, no exceptions; and almost as unanimously rejected by press, TV-radio, metaphysical people and State Department. It is nothing but Snow’s two cultures.
I have all the materials and contacts for this and am greeted with laughter and good-will over the Berkeley campus. But today I start some lab work toward the answers to “Silent Spring.” I do not assent to the scare propaganda of psychologists and sociologists. What is needed today is a logical logic which we do not have, just masses of egocentricities. Fortunately outside of California I am gradually getting Ohio State and Pittsburgh as allies.
All Asian projects are progressing. The only problem is whether one can get any funds here on any basis. If I leave these shores I shall be immediately wealthy.
My local congressman has a Chinese secretary and this makes all the difference in the world. Reps was not in his usual hotel and may be with friends. I can no longer meet him on our old bases. The Uranian disturbance—which manifest also in the forest fires, are not unfavorable in my horoscope. This is also true when I was in India during the conflux of planets which cause scares. It is now up to the ego-personality, operating in harmony, let us say with Heaven. One after another obstacles, within and without, have been removed or overcome.
September 26, 1964
My dear Jack:
Last night provided one of those rare instances when one could be oneself, with love and joy, not in any conventional sense, but with that feeling end ebullience which spring from the depths of personality, and which have to be kept hidden while we function under long arrays of conventions and niceties which make up social goodness.
The immediate function of the evening was the dedication of a Buddha-statue want from Thailand to Brother Iru. Eugene Wagner gave the talk of the evening which was on Thai Buddhas plus some personal experience; and Iru showed his, or rather some of his Thai slides. I guess on the outside there is a growing realization—even to self—that I have gotten inside more places than most people, even the privileged, for I have been inside buildings of which Iru showed pictures and I have functioned among the great and near-great now in many directions so I am glad the diaries have been kept.
Actually we function under the two cultures of Snow, in one of which we can be real and there everything has been going along wonderful. The two cultures of Snow are not so much that of silence and literary-humanism, but of non-dualistic selflessness and separate ego worlds. The scientists, having experiences, get together and join each other; the non-scientists all live in their private domains.
The Korean Monk who is here was present. I saw his pictures recently at the Zendo and greeted him “Namo Amito Fu.” He stuck out his hands. This is mentioned because while Sensei Suzuki is telling his disciples to “Study Buddhism,” this has the effect of more assiduity in meditation but does not bring them to study, compassion or enlightenment; producing what Hakuin called the “Meditation Disease.”
Dr. Warwick was there. He has separated himself from the Soto Alliance. I sit down and listen and talked on Maitreya Buddha. The conventional stories of Prof. Roerich and Krishnamurti show how little Americans, even among Buddhists, want to “work out thy salvation with diligence.” What the Bodhisattva is within and without is not part of our culture. I introduced him to my “nephew and niece” whom he had already met.
Brian Goode is, of course my “nephew.” He looks fine. We had some discussion on “fiction writers” and, following Rickie Robison agree C.H., A.W. and Mrs. Rhya-Davids have set up road blocks not easily overcome. But these will have to be overcome.
I have known Anna Young for a long time, mostly as an art student. She is Chinese and her engagement and then marriage to Brian have been a matter of delight to me. Anne is a good blend of “Oriental” and Occidental,” has a fine esthetic sense which she can demonstrate, though very modest, etc.
Iru has invited me to speak on November 12—after all this time. I have proposed: “Buddhist Masters I have met in San Francisco.” This would cover periods before the establishment of the American Academy of Asian studies and the coming of Dr. Malalasekera, A. W. and Princess Poon.
It is a peculiar element in ego-mentalities that because during a certain period they had no knowledge of a subject, they presume and assume that this was also a period of blankness or darkness to others. I have finally conveyed to Eugene one of the great teachings from Nyogen Senzaki and placed in is hands last night Anthology of Zen which, while very unequal, has innumerable high spots. The article of Mary Farkas is indeed clarifying because she mentions just my three Roshis and nobody else, but has been very ambivalent that somebody else could be learning in Zen or Buddhism during her own period of darkness.
This is mentioned because in facing the differences between Brother Warwick and the Zen people, the functions of the Bodhisattva, the differences between the Chinese and Japan, current interpretations of the Prajna-Paramita and other points are involved. I do not choose to “teach,” but Iru has been impressed by the Neo-Dharma very small group that he does not see the world around him.
I am now sort of off-the-record adviser on Oriental studies for the University of California. When they quizzed me on backgrounds I had them. These have been so innumerably rejected, to what “good” gain by what person I do not know. Indeed the volte face was so great I have to withdraw from art school. I cannot carry on my profession, do the Oriental studies and the art career simultaneously.
Yesterday another collage reversed itself on my credentials. They fitted in too nicely with their own plans; and besides, one of the chief speakers to a conference on Oriental religions to be held next year is a close colleague. In 1963 even my cheque was not accepted for a conference on Asia. (One Asian was on the panels all told—not sarcasm.) For l965 I have already been accepted! Or, as I told our friends, it is time to observe the law of karma and stop talking about “belief” in it.
I do not know what my meeting tonight holds, but the outlooks are so different from previous years. Sunday, after Zendo, I expect of to call on Dr. Warwick and my theme will be as above, Buddha Maitreya. One cannot force the Bodhisattva ideal down anybody. This is also a difference here. Rev. Tobase repeated the Bodhisattva Oath; they use it in New York, but not here. I supposed if I took a “Roshi role, I should be accepted. This has been done too many times. Why one cannot be permitted to rise as a human being and speak as a human being, I don’t know—as I used to say about the Hindus, they are either mahatmas or coolies. But if I have to be a mahatma, guess I’ll be a mahatma.
With greetings from your friends here,
Samuel. L. Lewis
S. A. M.
P. S. The Zendo is attracting ever increasing audiences; the Fungs ever diminishing groups. Iru’s place is very ward to reach though there were a good 20 there last night—did not count.
September 26, 1964
There are events like miracles and sometimes they seem even greater than miracles, and such an event took place here last night. This comes in a new cycle; for in previous years everybody said “no” to Sam and even last year his money was refused when he tried to attend a conference on Asian problems. It was a pitiable affair. Among crowds of speakers there was only one Asian and he was not an official either, but a wondering businessman.
This year a change took place and it was in accordance also with a prediction made by Sam, that as soon as Americans displaced Europeans as professors of Asian subjects, it might be possible to make contact. And as soon as an American displaced a European as head of Asian studies in the University of California, this took place but more than this took place. You may wonder how it is in America that Europeans have been selected as professors in Asian subjects but this period is now passing away. And not only did the American and Sam become friends but the American brought in Asians to assist him and thus Sam made some wonderful contacts.
Among these is a Prof. Pandey. He had been in Europe teaching Indian Language and literature in Berlin, Germany; Sam has an Indian friend also living in Berlin and this made the introduction easy. And Prof. Pandey asked about Indian culture here. Sam attended his classes and found he gave the best talks he had ever heard in the universities and also that in the colleges there are better spiritual seekers today than one finds in the cults and churches and temple where people are often self-centered.
Last night Sam took Prof. Pandey and a graduate student to an Indian restaurant here. They enjoyed the meal very much and then Prof. Pandey spoke about his guru. His guru was the late Ramana Maharshi and this made Sam so happy, it was fortunate the meal was completed. It is also fortunate now that the largest university in this part of the world has a real spiritual disciple teaching the culture of your country. We are to meet again and discuss many matters.
It seems that now everything is changing. Not only has the University of California changed but another college that previously rejected Sam’s credentials has reversed itself. We have had many conferences on Asian subjects and generally there are nothing but gatherings by which the promoters try to get money from the public for themselves and these have nothing to do with either international relations or spiritual seeking. But the young people don’t like that, and now next year there be another conference on the world religions and the God-experience. Sam wrote to them and got a very funny answer.
Some time ago he resolved not to be teaching any more foreign professors (this would not be believed here) and have the pupils of their pupils reject him. Then he got a letter that one of his Sufi colleagues has been put in charge of spiritual philosophy at the American University of Beirut. And it is this man who is coming to California next year to address this conference. However, when they read of Sam’s backgrounds they want him.
Sam began studying Asian literature early in life and has read very much quantitatively. He discussed many things with Paul Brunton and they made agreements but the control of Asian studies by Europeans and metaphysicians made it impossible to proceed. And if you see Paul Brunton you may tell him that the university now wants what was once discussed.
At the moment Sam is all busy with a project, the first discussed with Papa in 1956 and it has to do with food problems. The doors open and at least he will have a chance. But even the big people in Washington are finding that their solutions do not work or their minds are inadequate. Sam reads Papa more and more and when he comes to the words Vijnana and Prajna and Ananda, these are processes in the mind and life and not theories about some distant metaphysics. It is not necessary to go into details. It is over forty years since Sam was put on the Bodhisattvic oath and by a Sufi teacher! Which shows the nonsense of making distinctions between the spiritual methods.
Also Sam gave Prof. Pandey his copy of the later Upanishads which has plenty of valuable material for literacy research.
This brings up a situation which is logically untenable: the Yoga which isn’t yoga: Sam is finding two totally different areas and arenas of function. In the one it may turn out Brahmasmi or Brahmasti, it does not matter. This would probably be what Papa called Jnana. The other is totally different. It seems to operate independently of self, effort, discipline or anything whatever.
This is the universe of Grace. Whatever be said about the character, efforts, function, this body and this mind either do not age, or if they age it is due to very simple selfish causes; and sometimes either the body or mind seem to reverse themselves and get younger. One cannot understand it, one can experience it.
True, for years Sam was put on the “path of toughness” and no spiritual teacher has changed this. He has seen some of his most lovable friends and companions die, even of broken hearts because of the refusals of the world, not in great things, but in ordinary things. And this seeming personality, this seeming body lives on as if there were a purpose and it is neither clear nor important what the purpose is. So Sam said to a spiritual friend that life was like the Vedic hymn to the Day—which also appears in the Christian Bible, “I die daily.”
In 1923 Sam was assigned to bring the spiritual message to the intellectual people. This caused first the loss of his spiritual associates who were not intellectual. And then he ran into an institution here which we call “PhDeism” that the more college degrees, the better one is capable of explaining scriptures and mysticism. When Sam met the Zen teacher, the late Nyogen Senzaki, he was a Ph.D. in languages, Oriental and Occidental; in philosophies, Oriental and Occidental. Then later he declared himself a monk and spoke in bad English and for years denied such knowledge so as not to bring confusion. But the confusion has come. Only in the passed two years crowds of young people want spiritual knowledge and spiritual attainment. Every day he sees this more and more. They will accept intellectuality form the professors and metaphysicians but they won’t accept spirituality which is supposed to rise above personal differences.
There have been other incidents along this line but with a close colleague here, a disciple of Ramana Maharshi; and with the coming of a Sufi colleague; and with his acceptance by the scientists all over, this seems like a new world. Only it is a world of Grace; without that Grace there is nothing, and it cannot be described or understood, only functioned.
With love and blessings,
September 28, 1964
My dear Vocha:
I am replying at once to your letter of the 26th because I must go to the PO for special aerogrammes, and whatever the past has been everything is coming out right. I was about to register for the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Interior Design when an emergency called me to the Berkeley campus and “then the fun began.”
Agricultural Department is now strongly sympathetic with my “Project: the Garden of Allah” and by a great fortune the man in charge of the foreign visitors has lived in the same lands I have with much the same experiences but his stay was shorter. I have returned to CCSF for research work on poison-less sprays and agricultural mechanics. Everybody is for and with me and I spare details.
Department of International Affairs. After years of effort they agreed to grant me an interview! I have just written to a Chinese editor here the horrible story of the rejection of my dear friend, Robert Clifton and his death from heart-failure, at the chagrin of the adamant attitude of the State Department and the terrible S.E. Asian crisis due to nothing but stubbornness and egotism for which we are still paying a price. “Robert, you and I are mere nobodies. The State department, the press and the universities ignore us, yet there is not a king or Prime Minister or cabinet official or college professor or saint or holy man … or peasant … from one end of Asia to the other whom either your or I cannot meet if we have not them already. Yet who believes us?” “Too true, Samuel, too true.”
Thai Buddhas. There was a ceremony of dedication of fine Thai Buddha in the house of my friend Iru Price, disciple of the aforesaid Robert Clifton. He showed pictures of Bangkok and the royal palace and royal museum. “I have been a guest and was conducted all through these places!” He was in yellow robe but even that did not suffice. This experience, nay, this almost common experience of my late friend and myself is of “no interest” and the wars and misunderstand go on.
Anthology of Zen. I had just, after years, been able to give a portion of Senzaki’s Dhamma-Transmission to Rev. J. Eugene Wagner, another disciple of Robert. He gave the talk on Thai sculpture. I presented this book to him. It has one article by Mary Farkas covering my three Roshis. I have written to Harry about it and other works. It has the verbal essence of all I have learned, but not “the unfolding of the Lotus” which is, of course, supra-verbal.
Lecture on Zen. Iru, after years, has consented to my speaking on “Buddhist Masters I have met in San Francisco.” And another friend is willing to have me speak on my Tsurumi experiences.
Salt-Water Conversion. Prof. Howe of UC is speaking at Berkeley tonight, but I cannot go. I have written to him for I have yelled and cried over this subject, wishing four plants in Southern California—Santa Barbara, L.A., Orange and San Diego counties. Now we have the fires, maybe this will arouse a few. But the subject is more important and complicated than that.
Asian Departments, Berkeley Campus. My official recognition as a Sufi teacher has been followed by a series of joyful receptions. In 1963 my check was returned when I tried to attend a seminar on “Asia”???????? Last week I was greeted by all the professors of South Asian and Near East studies who have offices in Dwinelle Hall!
On top of that I have become a sort of off-the-record faculty advisor on Indian philosophies and literature.
Claremont College has done a double take. When we had the so-called conference in 1957 “How Americans and Asians Can Get Together,” this was one of the most vociferous institutions on demanding recognition—so it could get money—and refusing credentials of others.
Now there is a world undertaking jointly by Prof. Nasr of Teheran and Beirut; Prof. Ahmad of Karachi U. and my god-daughter, Miss Khawar Khan, Prof. at Punjab U. They commissioned me to contact Claremont and I wrote out my credentials on five of the world religions. My credentials were accepted but my paper was rejected—because my Sufi colleague, Prof. Nasr is expected to come and deliver that same paper. However, I am wanted and if I come to Claremont at any time will probably get a ticket to Victorville; will let you know.
Sufism Here. Am just getting started. The theme is that of Al-Ghazzali: “Tasawwuf is based on experiences and not on syllogisms.” But there is one thing that is certain—neither this body nor mind seems to age much which is a sign of Grace.
Santa Barbara. I have also written to my old friend, Edward Connaughton. This did give me some sleepless nights.
Dr. Warwick. This also gave me some sleepless nights. This man has come from Nepal and has tremendous knowledges of all branches of Buddhism. When the King of Jordan comes here and misbehaves he is forgiven or excused. This man came here and ran through the gamut of negative criticism from every quarter. I said: “You don’t have to tell me anything. But I hope you will appreciate what I learned from Nyogen Senzaki and Buddha Maitreya.” He understands. He is meeting the real Bodhisattvas of this area all of whom are in social hiding.
The Return of the Mentorgarten seems to be in the offing: the presentation of Asian religions by those who have had the inner experiences and wisdoms; or at least some knowledge of scriptures and institutions. What form it will take I do not know. Dr. Warwick is hesitating between an all-Buddhistic spiritual presentation and an absolute cosmic spiritual presentation as was advocated by Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan. I am giving him all patience and cooperation, but as you can see everything is different. And I am getting out my plans for alleviation in food problems and researching more at school again. I understand KPFA is in a dither because I have offered them everything free that they claim to want. Someday I hope to have an interview! This is only the beginning.
October 4, 1964
This old fellow had better function more as Marpa for whenever he steps out of his role, he runs into dualism, and not effectiveness. You will find a large volume of The Sons of Milarepa at Fields Book store. But I am not concerned with songs; I am considering whether it is possible to have Milarepas. I do know that when I pass from the Marpa role I get anything but Milarepas.
In this strange age when there is no God and Daisetz Suzuki is his prophet, nobody bothers about Vinaya and Sutras and Abhidharma is just a word. If I presented my paper on Dharma, Abhidharma, Saddharma, nobody would have any idea about what I was discussing; or rather, a few people not connected with “Sanghas” would. But Daisetz had the nerve to say that Prajna belonged to Zen and Zen belonged to Prajna and I should like to see a few Zennists demonstrate some Prajna. I should like to see some pass an examination on the Prajna Paramita Sutra at a school, or even before a clear master. So I defy Daisetz, but might affirm the Triratna.
Anyhow I am doing what you have suggested because that is the “normal” course of life. Lunched with three Hindus and one American and could teach, love and commune. More things in four hours than in all the time I have know some people here. There was no intervention of half-gods and half-demons which cause Americans to sign up for exotic religions via intermediaries, social ideas and public figures. We talked direction, doctrines, experiences, persons, even realizations. No more symbolic than the scientists do or even the artists.
Among those we discussed was one Dilip Koomar Roy. He came to the American Academy of Asian Studies in its days of grandeur but made a fool of himself. He refused to see me and when finally he did—having lost all his money, I did a pure Marpa and took my place as his guru. From that point on he succeeded in everything, is today a saint, a successful teacher and musician, and he rewarded me well when I was in Poona. And his story also places him in direct opposition to the professor, half-god-half-devil, “experts” and degree-givers who have been misleading people.
Perhaps if I did a Marpa a little more it would be better. Old Senzaki often did and had no compunction about insulting people when they wanted niceties and before he died left a pretty good collection of disciples, notes and anecdotes—but always against Daisetz Suzuki who get the fame, the plaudits and a tremendous following of humbugs. His interpretation of Indian terms has set us back a generation.
The next time I see these people it will be in regard to the Ramana Maharshi material I left with you. Sooner or later this material will be integrated into our culture. It is wonderful to have honest, straightforward men now teaching in some of our universities, and with the programs now on schedule, by the end of next year a lot of things should be straightened out.
From there I went to the home of my god-son, Norman McGhee, end we were interrupted by two girls coming in, most fortunate. One of these girls said her “guru” was Richard Robinson seem I have already designated as the leader in the instructions of absolute honest Buddhism in this country, free from Watts, Benoit, Herringel, Humphreys, Daisetz and book-wallahs generality. This will be followed up next Sunday.
Now I wish to clear some things for you. If you do not see Ted Reich, on my next trip across~ the bay I shall try to contact Carlton Kendall, another life-time friend of both of us, long interested in Tantra. Then there is in Berkeley also a disciple in Tibetan Buddhism, whose name escapes me at the moment, but I shall check up in every direction for you.
Then there is a general organization of Buddhist Sanghas in this country and I am officially a representative. It is the continuance of the long efforts of the late Dwight Goddard. Even this local Zendo is not going on the path of its parent body in Los Angeles, setting itself up as an independent unity all the more perverse because of its pretense to universality. However I hope to see Rev. Suzuki and explain a few things to him. For to begin with Zen started right here in San Francisco and all the other stories are dishonest and pretense, and as I said, if I have to be a Marpa, or Fudo, there is nothing lost by this. Scientists would not stand for, much less respect invalidated personality claims, and for so-called Buddhists to do this is horrible.
With the two sessions yesterday when I cold teach, love and commune, I left feeling what is the use to try to break down Berlin walls and especially the Berlin walls of Stone Buddha’s. I learned that Mahayana consisted of Dhyana, Prajna and Karuna, and having two you could get the other one. But one alone would not produce two. And in addition I have never acquiesced to any Buddhism apart from Buddhist scriptures (any), the Triratna, the Pancha Sila and in Mahayana, one of the Oaths.
Now I cannot even present what Sabro Hasagawa gave me at the American Academy of Asian studies. His death was followed by the veritable death of that institution. And since our very recent meeting the trickle of young people coming into my life with real inquiries and real response makes me feel that I am going off in a new and right direction. All over the Orient I had this love and communion and I have taught more, far, far, far more than most of my American contacts have any idea, and indeed this has put me out of sight, out of focus. And the girl who was the disciple of Richard Robinson told me she was afraid of the reactions to his talk when somebody got up and vigorously defended him, to her ease. I said, “I was that man.” So next Sunday back to Berkeley, who perhaps early in the morning.
And as soon as I see Sensei, will let you know. His “Sangha” interpretation is so extremely far from that taught by Nyogen Senzaki that there is nothing in common but the term and some practice of meditation. After you have seen Ted Reich I’ll start throwing sons more names your way.
Samuel L. Lewis
S. A. M.
October 5, 1964
My dear Harold:
One supposes sometimes one will get out of controversy and into the universe of joy and peace. My instructions in Japan to operate under Fudo Bosatsu have run into all sorts of peculiar situations here. One Japanese groups which is only half-Buddhistic (Godatsu) has accepted this. But the older I get the more and more I see the Buddhist groups here working further and further apart, the personalities moving further and further apart and this in the contemporary world of:
a. The Roman Catholic Church trying for world unity of Christians.
b. The WBF ditto for Buddhist
c. The increasing number of young people and also the scientists working for clear understanding of religious and super-religious doctrines and experiences.
I have recently joined one group of scientists and another of historians determined to study real religions. I did this under protest to the World Congress of Faiths in England which has become very provincial. If it were not that the Congress has long since accepted Jack Austin and long since rejected Christmas Humphreys I would withdraw from that body also. But apart from their move for Austin and against Humphreys this has occurred:
There is now in the University of Wisconsin a chair of Buddhism headed by Dr. Richard Robinson. Sunday I went to Berkeley and spent four hours with two very spiritual Indian professors, the first of the kind I have met here and this is going to reverse, is reversing my whole position with regard to the institutional acceptance of spiritual attainment. In this connection also I am now hooked up with group in India which is recognizing all spiritual attainments of every and any school whatsoever and is definitely, deliberately and determinately against genus homo pseudo-spiritualis Californicus including one of your very “famous” neighbors who is sacrosanct and that is about all.
The tremendous changes in personality attitudes on the Berkeley campus (the same thing is how going on at UCLA, but I never had any road-blocks at Riverside or Davis and have not visited Santa Barbara) is considerably greater than my local friends and companions can surmise. In any event after leaving the Indian professors I called on my god-son.
A young woman entered and in five minutes I recognized that she is the first young American with credentials I have been looking for two years. “Don’t you say anything about my guru.” “Who is your guru?” “Dr. Richard Robinson.”
I am returning to Berkeley Sunday. This is going to put down a distinct line of cleavage between the universities, the older sects, and the new “Sanghas” which mushroom faster than I can attend them.
I should be working in and for at least six universities in the United States, a situation made impossible because my local acquaintances cannot concept this possibility. But I am not writing to tell you of troubles. I am writing because of developments. In September 1969 there will be meeting of American savants in Claremont to consider the religions of the world. They accepted with a single letter all those real credentials which about every pseudo-professor and every suppositious cleric has rejected, all levels, all faiths. But these rejections are silly now because of three definite reverses on the Berkeley campus where the new men and this person see eye to eye in everything; combined with most favorable reactions in my own scientific field.
Besides that, there are two legacies here from the late Phra Sumangalo. One covers his work in international relations which for the first time after years of battles, I am going to be permitted to report! The other has to do with his Dharma efforts, and these concern you directly and indirectly.
Now there are two new personalities on the scene when I consider healthy but neither of them seems aware of either the WBF or the American Buddhist Movement which grew out of Dwight Goddard. At this writing your connection with the WBF is my Phra Sumangalo and with the American movement Dwight Goddard. My whole being, inner and out, revolts against separative Buddhist pseudo-movements which forget all the teachings of Lord Buddha, original, or developed, and have become crystallized out in ceremonials which do not leave very far toward enlightenment.
We have a Korean monk here who has more joy, more light, more “Bodhi” than anybody I have met since 1956. He is learning English and he appears at the Zendo here. But his teaching conflict with those of the Zendo in several respects, chief of which has to do, let us say, with “Mantrams,” and I do not know how he can “crack” the American ignorance or the Japanese stubbornness in this respect—most Japanese are “for” but some are against. Besides, in earlier times there was unity of effort and today everybody has his own Wesak and everything else.
When Dr. Neville Warwick came who seems to have three distinct Buddhist ordinations: Red-Hat, Pure Land and Zen. Unfortunately he is Caucasian, no glamour, no phoniness, no pretense, no social graces, excepting the coup de grace. One would imagine that anybody who might be close to the Dalai Lama would be welcomed.
I have long learned that the people who look for Maitreya Buddha are also sharpening their knives for the real Maitreya while the “Great Stone Face” the pseudos like your quondam neighbor. This is the world, and it was never any different.
In the playing around of schools and personalities I feel I must continue only as your representative and I stick against tow things:
b. Substitution of everything for any form of traditional literature.
I was in the bathtub this morning in half meditation over the dharma -transmissions I have had. There are the three Roshis mentioned by Many Farkas in her article in “Anthology of Zen.” There is the Fudo ordination from the Shingon sect. There are my instructions at Sojiji, Tsurumi, absolutely rejected by all the “egoless (?) ‘enlightened’ persons!” And then one more, the dharma-transmissions from the late L. Adams Beck. I had forgotten it. But every item and detail of this is relatively and absolutely against everything that Doug Burns has stood for and although the late Phra Sumangalo accepted everything, his presumable successor, Rev. Iru Price, has stood with Doug Burns on about everything and I have never been permitted to state the other side of the case.
We do have a sort of tentative agreement that I might, just might be permitted to speak on “Buddhist Masters I have met in San Francisco.” But I find that each of the separative, “egoless” Sanghas is not the least interested. So this material will gradually work its way to Dr. Richard Robinson on the one hand and in my, to be revised manuscript on the other. Fortunately Dr. Warwick has been disciple of Master Tai Hsu. I have real stories from a real past, and of the Sangha won’t accept, the universities will.
In other words, because the valid school for Buddhist studies in Wisconsin and the WBF, I must stick. And at Claremont next year I have received all encouragement to relate definite historical incidents.
I saw Rev. Shinryu Suzuki yesterday. I have cooperated with this Zendo as much as possible. But when I tried the Prajna language on them last week I received such a terrible blow—absolute dualistic, and I knew I must withdrawn. In the New York Zendo we used to have discussions—Prajna or silence, either permitted, but non-Prajna words, three times and you were kicked out. What is worse these people not only do not study the Buddhist scriptures, they begin with the Blue Cliff writings, stricting Prajna all the way through and I know they haven’t the slightest idea of the Prajna-communications.
But a Fudo function will only divide more and with everybody dividing, setting up his own reparative Sangha, I see only one way out—stick with what you have wanted—which was wanted from the early part of my life, carry this struggle to and through the universities and through these federations studying religion and while permitting and even insisting on unity in variety and variety in unity, fighting fully against variety in disunity and disharmony.
There is also the peculiar situation. Doug Burns is going to Burma and Thailand, I understand, to study with somebody who is under somebody who has the same degree of attainment! My determination, as soon as my material hurdles are overcome, that I write at length the historical-biography stories of my connection with the Buddhist movements.
I am now being compelled to do several things:
A. Put in my book the Senzaki interpretation of Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya which conflicts with all the Japanese versions.
B. Attend a series of sessions at the School for International Studies, University of California to present the separative and combined living experiences of the late Phra Sumangalo and myself in regard to actual problems of actual Asia.
C. Encourage Dr. Warwick to meet the really developed American Buddhists who are in hiding. He has met one, Dr. Karl Phillip Eidmann. I may take him to Mill Valley to meet another. And there is a third in Berkeley. These men are of different schools, all had some degree of enlightenment and all have been rejected by genus home pseudo-spiritualis Californicus.
Most of all is the greatest difficulty I have of convincing anybody of my ko-an work. And as this is being treated lightly, I am unable to cooperate with others where they would wish. Whenever and wherever I go, under the ko-an function there is success. This has already reached the top levels. But I have no secretary, no assistant and only problems and inquiries. When the Korean master can speak English well, I know he will understand. I was put on the Bodhisattva oath 40 years ago. Today I realize what it means.
Finally I am compelled to do something learned from the late Sokei-an—to determine the grade of spiritual evolution of anybody. There is sort of Third Eye function, very real. It is as determinative and quite comparable to Spectroscopic analysis which measures sensitivities to light radiations. What I see I see, what I know I know but I do not know how to translate and communicate this. It is most difficult to express in dualistic terms non-dualistic phenomenon.
Samuel L. Lewis
S. A. M.
October 9, 1964
My dear Sharab:
It is morning and still dark. I make and feel like the tuning of a great orchestra before a symphony concert. Everything I placed before you no matter how seemingly obtuse, exaggerated, grandiose, egotistical, is coming into manifestation. There is not more fear of being rejected or reaction about being rejected. It is like the breaking out into a grand day.
Four persons have come into my life locally on the spiritual side. On the scientific side it is impossible to relate what is happening. This is in turn divided between the analytical and the universal. I have written you on the analytical before, of what I am going as an individual. So I’ll write briefly on the universal side of the scientific work.
I had just completed my paper on “After the Monsoons in India” when I received a brochure from the University of New York which is in Albany. This man is thoroughly pessimistic. His vies conflict entirely with those of Jonathan Garst. Garst and his brother were the hosts to Khrushchev when he was in this country and both have gone to Russia and the Iron Curtain countries from time to time. J. G. asked me to take his plans to India and Pakistan but when I read them I thought they were too defective to give to India. Unfortunately Pakistan got them and has already put them into practice.
While these two plans different ducally from each other—one predicting calamity, the other prosperity, I am working closely with the Ford Foundation in writing papers and making proposals. These proposals have in essence between accepted by the University of California, the Conservation League, and the Agricultural Departments both of the United States and California.
They ultimately maybe interacted into my “Project: The Garden of Allah.” My last steps, to follow what Bryn Beorse wanted, have been crowned by response. In other words, locally or at a distance, there has not been a single negative note in the whole worlds of Agriculture and science.
And while this has been going on efforts at the lowest level have also been crowned by response. I don’t necessarily mean with achievement. Love and brotherhood attend every moment of meetings with everybody from the lowest student through the professional gardeners and right up to the tope scientists.
Visited the Academy of Sciences the other night and left at the end of one hour—I saw so much beauty in the exhibitions I could not take more. What is more, it is among these lovers of nature that one finds the incipient spirituality. The God they find in nature is so much superior to the “God” of churches, so much more real, and their faces reflect this reality.
So dividing life into three things: Science and Nature, Humanities, and Mysticism: the first has become entirely successful, the next in now up to me, and on the third I write.
The immediate cause for my going to Berkeley Sunday is the young girl I met at the home of my god-son, Norman McGhee, about whom I think I have already written. But the complexities in her life lead me to report about each one:
Sunday I was able to sing the song of the Universal Heart, but this time it has had such an effect that I have been invited back. This music, which has within it some of the great keys to the whole of creation was taught to me by our Pir-o-Murshid. But it never had any effect. Nobody got it.
Once the presumably great savant of musicology came to Murshid’s home (Dane Rudhyar) but he shied from it. His wife, Malaya, got it and I could see trouble. They have long been divorced. She had the spirituality and he got the credit. One single boy, a son of one mureed also got it.
I tried socially to give it. One single woman here got it. All the rest, presumably students of spiritual wisdoms, got nowhere. But this last Sunday the people got it and want me back.
Prof. Pandey teaches Hindi and Indian Literature. He is a follower of Sri Ramana Maharshi. This was enough for me to feel ashamed at any sense of separation. He had with him Mr. Shah, teacher of Urdu. He is a friend of Pir-o-Murshid Hasan Sani Nizami, son of Hasan Sani Nizami, the great friend of our Pir-o-Murshid whose remains are in the same compound.
It was the first time I have received substantial material confirmation of my trips around. We knew the name spiritual leaders, the same teachings, the same doctrines. Not only could I sing, there was real conversation. This is in such utter contrast to what has happened before, for the metaphysical people are all sick, egocentric, self-pitying, emotional, and have no real insight into Truth, no matter what their claims.
I’ll spare details—I have been invited back, along with needed visited to Norman who is now ready to introduce me around.
Finally the Buddhist scene. I have gotten so far as to convince a few people that in the period of 1920 to 1957 Nyogen Senzaki might just have been able to penetrate a teeny wit into this skull some of his wisdom. I find everything going on in the world of Buddhism excepting enlightenment. All over the world it is the same. Fortunately my closest friend here is go to Japan soon and will put on the clincher.
A Korean Master arrived. I gave him the high-sign and he warmed up immediately. In the course of years I have obtained the high sign of all peoples and it helps me no end. Once I succeeded in getting two women who were stranded abroad to accept it for one country—it worked. But I had to turn on the Third Eye in self-defense recently and thus enabled me to see the spiritual status of all the disciples in Zen. Of course they will deny this but it means nothing. This was given by Sokei-an Sasaki years ago but is seldom used.
By the same token this Korean is a figure in light and I learned his background which in exactly what I have been seeking in the Buddhist world. The joint Sufi-Zen training brought content and perhaps wisdom and insight. The sad joke is finding so many people who think they are looking for spiritual teachers when they are looking for formula men. (You know how I real about formula men and I know you have uncovered some of the worst in politics but we don’t have to mention names. Formula men are the curse of American and the world, shutting out every possibility of the vision of God.)
So I move now into Berkeley society and shall pass by the dear souls who think they want a spiritual teacher when they want formulas. Love and suffering alone can bring awakening unless there is curiosity or meekness, and this, Sharab, I find in all people close to nature and in no people are misled into arenas of complex metaphysics.
God bless you
October 16, 1964
Beloved one of Allah:
As-salaam aleikhum. This is a very special letter written under the most pleasant circumstances and although there appear to be some harsh or strident notes in it, they only bear out the harmonies.
When you Murshid was in India in 1956 he was ill for the only time this occurred on the sub-continent and that came out of the feasts he had at Ajmir. At that time your Murshid had a single diary—later he had one for scientific and the other for spiritual and cultural subjects. The whole story at Ajmir fits in exactly with what one can read in the lives of saints and holy men, but his was the first time it ever occurred to a man of Western birth.
Suddenly his own Pir-o-Murshid appeared to him said, “Go to the Egyptian Embassy.” This was done and there he met Dr. Muhammad Hussein of the faculty of Arts, Cairo University. The story is too long to relate here but Dr. Hussein fully accepted it on its open merits. Years later, when your Murshid appeared in Cairo the doctor wrote up his story, as he would have it, publishing that he was a great saint and Yogi. Your Murshid protested saying he was a simple Sufi dervish and neither a saint nor a Yogi. Dr. Hussein refused to retract, and actually today your Murshid is learning or has been given by grace Yogi faculties ascribed by Dr. Hussein…. You may remember I said you should visit him if you ever go to Cairo.
When your Murshid said, “I am only a dervish” people than said, “There are no walls.” “No, there are no walls.”
Since your Murshid’s return here people have been kind, courteous, friendly, gracious, graceful but never have they let your Murshid tell of his travels, exploits or anything about Tasawwuf. Indeed many times have parties been given, as if his honor and always there was one or more “guest of honor” present to whom social niceties turned the evening over to, and even some of your Murshid’s longest and best friends know nothing of his career, its significance, or anything of the sort.
About two weeks ago, when a lady who has been most friendly and is of wonderful character, broke an engagement for a number of weeks standing—always an excuse, your Murshid said, “this is the end.” He hung up the phone and heard the Divine Voice saying: “Samuel, I need you.” And then as he turned to his rooms the telephone rang—an emergency call.
This was the first of several such emergencies, people in dire troubles, seeking spiritual or psychological solutions and trusting your Murshid. This is one of his real functions, and it seems only great pain or difficulties cause people to turn to that way. But this Sunday also he is having a meeting, the first meeting in response to the cry of those who are in deep pain or difficulties caused always by so-called “spiritual colleagues” who are mostly so concerned with their spirituality that they have lost all humanity. And this means a new direction, one in answer to problems of pain, suffering, illness, for which your Murshid was especially trained.
New the second story is also serious and it has its humorous side to. While your Murshid has been going around trying to reach people in certain colleges, one of them wrote up his life story. There is a strange connection between the life of your Murshid and the lives of those who founded the City College of San Francisco. Anyhow he was immediately sought out by a young man whom a single interview with indicated he is ready for Bayat.
You will remember a few weeks ago when your suggested that your Murshid said he would not stop working on the Gathas of Hazrat Inayat Khan because there were others now preparing and ready for them. At that time there was one young man, now there are four. It is this faculty which is known as Kashf in Islam and Prajna in Hinduism and Buddhism which is the Divine Voice, which always speaks to us, though sometimes it is hard to hear. And at this writing, with two distinct paths pointed out at the moment, both leading to spiritual functioning on the part of your Murshid, there is this important response.
Or, as written to Karachi recently, those who walk about Islam never bother about Shahud or Fateha. Copy of this letter was since to Shams-ed-din Ahmed. He is one man who understands at least intellectually what your Murshid is doing and is also now a very faithful devotee to Sufi Sahib at Salarwala, and acts as go-between. Sufi sahib has sent his blessing and is sorry about not having a typewriter. But there is no need to have letters. We commune and thus communicate and at this writing everything is going exactly as Sufi Sahib wants (and also as Madzub Sahib wants). There is the realm above not only verbal communication, not only above telepathy, but is part of communion and Tauhid.
The same thing is happening at the University of California where now both the Asian professor and the scientists great your Murshid with all the love and even veneration it is possible for a Western heart to express. If I sent you copy of a letter from Sufi Sahib you would see it expressed in writing but you know it.
Prof. Shah is a teacher of Urdu and also a friend of many saints in India who have been the closest friends of your Murshid. This is particularly true of Pir-o-Murshid Hasan Sani Nizami at New Delhi. And Prof. Shah has asked “the secret questions” which, even if asked, free your Murshid from false covers which he is compelled to wear publicly and privately. So long as people see only the covers he cannot be himself and they see only the covers—the clothing, the mannerisms, the behavior patters, the niceties or their absence, none of which have anything to do with anything but nufs.
Even praise or blame does not affect your Murshid but when the proper questions are asked, then he is either transformed or transforms himself. And here again there is a large sector of your Murshid’s history in Cairo which looks as if it came out of something more bizarre then even “The Arabian Nights.” For behind Sufism and the Sufi Orders there is that Hierarchy which controls the destinies of the world. Only this Hierarchy is not only manifesting through Islam, it manifest above and beyond all religions. You have read this in Part II, “Saladin” which came from Rassoul-lillah himself, and all wisdoms of the world come through him, and not just what we call “Islam” alone, separating it from anything. Indeed your Murshid has had initiations into six great religions, even from the Chinese. And this again is funny for while Americans would reject it, the secretary of the congressman from this area is his spiritual brother and we do not oven have to talk!
But your Murshid has been refused any interview with the Department of International studies and he had just written al letter in protest when one came to him from Dr. Radhakrishnan. Now, Beloved one of Allah, the dervish is one, as was said in Cairo, before whom there are no walls, and his relation to Dr. Radhakrishnan might be incomprehensible, but if his whole life, or even his diaries were in your hands you would see there are no walls.
Research on agricultural problems is done is close cooperation with one Prof. Harry Nelson here. When I was in ‘pindi, I wrote him, after leaving Ayub National Park, “Dear chap, you cannot go in there.” “Dear chap, I have just come from there.” Mr. Nelson knows my whole horticultural history which includes visits to places seldom frequented even by most prominent Americans. This of itself is unimportant. But when you combine the scientific background with the spiritual functions and one works for the well-being of all areas associated with “Project: The Garden of Allah,” one finds that only the scientists and those who have traveled far and wide understand the significance of such projects.
So the scientists and especially at the top levels are giving all cooperation and encouragement for “Project: The Garden of Allah” and the social scientists and political people have refused even interviews. Your Murshid is not disturbed for, as said above, the congressman from this district has a Chinese secretary and already the doors are open if one wishes to enter.
And as for the international studies, after being refused admittance just now your Murshid had a letter from Dr. Radhakrishnan, and this, added to other material, will be presented in such a way as to make some people look ludicrous.
Here one must repeat, if one repeats all one’s life these two phrases:
La Illaha El Il Allah and Allaho Akbar
It is the second which is most important at the moment and you have now learned form Mian Mir some of its significance. It is behind both these ventures, the one coming Sunday and the one with the young people. And it is by these that your Murshid has challenged the missionary people in Karachi. For one can, if one has the Grace, impress or even convince American of Islam, but if religion means the acquisition of Kashmir, the approval on our part of Pakistan’s treaties with China and turning our heads away from Islamic Indonesia and Islamic Malaysia call upon arms and weapons instead of Allah, it is useless even to waste time in refutation. Once an important man said to your Murshid: “Kashmir is our life-blood.” Your Murshid said. “Then I have made a mistake in coming have, I have always been under the impression that Allah was your life-blood.”
After this letter is written your Murshid will go Berkeley to get a report on your book, if there is one, and then continue.
Evening. The events of the say show the presence of Allah and Divine Guidance through Kashf and the wisdom of listening to the voice which constantly comes to the awakened heart. On the Berkeley campus I found out more about the existence of groups engaged in international cultural exchange. Then I learned that Mr. Pandey to whom I was bringing the Radhakrishnan letter, is now teaching Urdu so I shall asked him to look over your book.
Then walking as if aimlessly through the streets your Murshid came upon a new office of the forestry Division of the United States Department of Agriculture. Enquiries were made for Pakistan and fortunately after a while I met a Mr. Gleason who not only expressed interest but will give every sort of cooperation. If Major Sadiq does not come soon these materials will be sent to my friend, Dr. Khan, Forestry Botanist at Abbottabad, Hazara. Otherwise, inshallah, arrangements have been made for a visit for Major Sahib both in this region and in neighboring states. It is this sort of experience that happens to those who practice is surrender (the true Islam) and permit Allah to guide their footsteps.
Later I called on lady who also works at the university. We have been friends for nearly fifty years. The story of the strange behavior on the part of the International Department was told her. But also it is interesting that she, for the first time in her life, has had the sign of “inner initiation.” She did not understand it and is still in the world of dualism and does nut understand Tauhid.
Your Murshid also called at the office of his congressman who wishes to take up his battle with those people at the university. It is this sort of thing that has made your people very suspicious of us, and rightly so. As this letter is completed there is every feeling of good-will from every direction and almost a feeling of pity for the selfish persons who regard that they have a position of privilege in a university whereas it is the public that pays their salaries. They ought to be thankful to Allah every minute for his beneficence but they do not understand all.
Love and blessings,
Next morning: Praise be to Allah. Officials of the State Government are investigating those people who have constantly refused to give your Murshid an interview. This round about aid comes from an unexpected source, but as pressure has already been exerted it seems now that your Murshid will be given full consideration in his efforts to bring about better understanding between Nations, inshallah
772 Clementina St.,
San Francisco 3, Calif.
October 26, 1964
Syed Mazhar Ahmed,
“Hajee Nisar Manzil,”
My dear Brother:
All Praise is to Allah Who makes all things possible in His way and in His time. The sign, through Kashf came to reserve about hundred rupees for somebody in India, the postage stamp was purchased and then your notice of Urs Mubark arrived.
We are far apart in the world of earthly time and space and we are One in the grand universe beyond. This person his just completed a long period of poverty and sacrifice making it impossible to render any financial assistance to others, or perhaps even now, except that now the sign was given.
He spent some time abroad, was admitted into many orders of Holy Dervishes, and early in 1962 he was appointed by Pir Sufi Barkat Ali of Salarwala, Lyallpur District Pakistan, as a full Sufi Murshid to return to his country and begin a mission patterned on the life and career of our Holy Saint, Moin-ed-din Chisti. He has had to face every sort of obstacle and test, and it is only now, for the first time, he is preparing Zikr group. For the so-called Muslims here are indifferent to Allah and Din, and the intellectual people, who are earnest seekers, do not find answers.
Next year, inshallah, we shall have in this State a conference of religions and the theme of Prof. Nasr of Teheran and this person will be “The Re-orientation of Muslim Philosophy,” emphasizing not “Islam” but Allah. For it is useless to repeat Azan and Fateha and then bring in external words to please ourselves—which pleases nobody but ourselves.
Many hours has this person spent at the mazar of Data Sahib in Lahore, praying on the very holy spot which our Saint had used long before and kissing the screen dedicated to him. Hours were also spent at the Dargah Nizam-ud-din Auliya where the veils were lifted over the eyes and nufs to direct communion with the great souls whose bodies and found therein. And if this person were not directed by Allah to come to Ajmir, he did dance before the tomb of Selim Christi at Fatehpur Sikri where he was recognized.
Now I remain here until Allah directs another movement of footsteps, and you are my representative and myself in Ajmir until the time comes for another journey. As your brother, and now as a Murshid in and for the Christi Order in this America and elsewhere, I sent love and blessings and greetings. As-salaam Aleikhum.
Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti
(Samuel L. Lewis)
November 4, 1964
My dear Saladin:
I am writing this letter under the authorization of our Bayat with Pir-o-Murshid at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and the mutual Bayats given between Pir-o-Murshid and Nyogen Senzaki in the home of Rabia Martin in 1923. The only “help” you can give is a sympathetic reading of the material enclosed with or without any reactions.
For many years now I have been under “hierarchal Sufism”—which is through personalities, and also under hierarchal Buddhism which is under positions or seats of authority. I am not here going to write about any theories although the explanation was in full agreement with the local representative of the Dalai Lama.
In addition to the Invocation which Pir-o-Murshid gave is also the prayer Salat (which means “prayer” anyhow) and the Universal Worship which is a ritual. Most people are satisfied with rituals and today there is complete misunderstanding or disharmony between ritualists and esotericists. The esotericist finds it is impossible for him to surrender forever with ritualists, to join them and their beautiful games which in the end act as hindrances and do not lead to spiritual awakening.
I thought enough of our Bayat to seek Ramdas out—and to some extent Sai Baba, a one way series of episodes where, accepting your wisdom I found the way to spiritual freedom in which you have not joined me, nor do I expect anybody to join me but from the standpoint of integrity you should at least be willing to read reports when I have accepted your wisdom and to find the harvest thereof. I cannot ask you or anybody to join in the harvesting but this harvesting goes on. My problem today is the inability to find anybody to share these harvests. Or rather, having found such persons, this acceptance in sharing the fruits of the spirit is by strangers and young and with a single exception, no older friends in this region, but by Vocha Fiske who expects to go to Japan.
My history here is brief: unanimous acceptance by all people engaged in any pursuits close to nature; and general rejection by all whose pursuits are in the realms of subjectivism which is often taken for spiritualism. But as these road-blockers are used to road-blocking others, it is possible that I may soon break into the limelight, not as a harbinger of anything more noble than fights against the “experts” on Asia who will not give interviews to anybody who knows anything about Asia. As I explained to the representative of the Dalai Lama, I know three other men in three different countries here, all of whom have achieved satori by different methods and all of whom are rejected by the metaphysical people and everywhere excepting among the specialist scholars in the universities.
It was Ramdas first to whom you advised. Now I re-read Ramdas because my future is clearly delineated in his own experiences. At one time, after abandoning the world and going around as a Sadhu “depending on God” and always being given food, he discovered that it was not God who was feeding him but the same ritualists from whom he wanted to escape who were seeing his Sannyasin robe. Therefore the Sannyasin was not a Sannyasin but a robe-wearer. He thought the best thing to do was to wear either ordinary clothes or rags and put his ochre robe on a pole and carry it around, because it was people not God who were feeding, and feeding the robe and not the selfless monk. For that reason, as well as for disciplinary reasons I do not go around as a negative saint with niceties but as the Beast who can only become Beauty when Beauty kisses him.
In three days local events disproved all the nonsense of the road-blocks and metaphysical people alike; and demonstrated the truth of Pir-o-Murshid’s invocation, his Salat and Universal Worship.
India. Mr. Amin, head of the Indian Farm Bureau delegation arrived. He did not meet me as scheduled and when he did it was too late for me to help him in his investigation, which means now that I must help him to my benefit but not necessarily to his. In a short while we both recognized each other on the planes where we stand and function as comprehenders of the spiritual dharma and as functionaries in the universe-of-heart.
I must call your attention here to the work of the Ramana Ashram where the people are trying to integrate all the spiritual leaders of the world. They have vigorously attacked our “brothers” Yogi Yogananda and J. Krishnamurti who charm Americans and Californians. Their efforts have been accepted by all the spiritual schools of the world including our own “god-called” Pir Zade Inayat Khan of Suresnes.
The outcome is another home in India and full of opportunity to unite the spiritual philosophies and scientific methodologies of the day. In my person also I am learning all those techniques and methods which will help India which also accounts for the universal approval of the businessmen and scientists and the almost counter-disapproval of the social philosophers—which is very funny, and sad.
Buddhism. The constant fragmentation of the different schools and sects lead me to withdraw, which is the ego. God has willed otherwise. He has sent here Master Seo who accepts the teachings of Lord Buddha also with the true Zen—not to be confused with the meditation and other rituals which force a satori which never occurs. My meeting with him was a duplication of my meeting with the Vietnamese Abbot, but Master Seo is staying here and next Sunday I am to dine with him and Master Too Lun and others who have the dharma-transmissions.
And if Americans disprove—I go the way of old Zoso—the World Buddhist Federation approves and I am now the representative of the World Group. There is a battle here against communism just as there is all over Asia where the United States stands alone in rejecting the anti-Communists. The Kennedys backed the Church Fathers (not the Jesuits) and Nixon and Dulles the Protestant missionaries and that is why we are fighting—both communism and the Asian faiths at the same time and will lose unless we unite against communism.
Pakistan. Allah has wished this. Samuel accidentally ran into Anwar Ali, from the Pakistan Times of Lahore on a crowded street in a busy time in a busy town. We compared notes in about 30 seconds and represent the same forces. By now having a few mureeds, this person can evidence what Anwar Ali seeks here. The struggle in Pakistan today is the same struggle between spirituality and integrity against an alliance of corruption, orthodoxy and communism, temporarily allied. As usual “we” will keep our hands off and then what will happen would be a repetition of Bolivia, Cambodia, etc.
Only today this person has allies and sometimes powerful ones. And no request is made for anything else than your willingness to read these reports—and then do as you like. With God one is always in the majority.
772 Clementina St.
San Francisco 3, Calif.
November 21, 1964
Indu Prakash Pandey,
2117 Haste St., No. 205
Berkeley 4, Calif.
Thank you for your letter of the 14th. You must understand that although my whole life has been dedicated to Asian cultures at almost every level, there is no warm reception here by any non-scientific group, and it has only been since the first meeting with Dr. Brinner that there was any break-through on the Berkeley campus.
As far as the Urdu book is concerned there is a slight possibility that Prof. Gumperz also has seen it but as all of the staff moves around, things can be lost or misplaced.
Far East Events. A whole group of things happened at the same time. UCLA asked for my data and diary information some time ago after the groups connected with the so-called Institute of International Relations refused to give me an appointment and most of them do not even answer mail.
After I had arranged to call at UCLA a commission was received from the World Buddhist Federation (WBF) asking me to undertake certain missions. This is the second time this has been done—no attention at all here by the press, State Department, Universities, etc.—Harvard excepted.
On my first trip to Japan my chief host was the top lay Buddhist of all Japan. Through and under him I had to submit to tests which ultimately got me into the real Esoteric Buddhism, to the Royal Cemetery, to the ashes of Lord Buddha and finally as a guest of honor to the Imperial Gardens and Imperial Botanical Gardens.
After that I carried a message to many of the world’s top Buddhist leaders finally placing the material in the hands of Dr. Radhakrishnan whom I already knew. After that he went to Japan and was received with great acclaim but the world did not know that this was essentially a spiritual mission.
My present mission is a little complicated but this should clarify the remarks made when Dr. Richard Robinson spoke in the auditorium. Those remarks have now become universally official.
When former Undersecretary of State Roger Hilsman was here recently I was able to get a private interview and, knowing people all over, or rather outside my immediate vicinity, the next step will be very simple but it must be thorough. I have several personal friends in the top echelons of almost every branch of real Buddhist teaching (which means everywhere outside of America with its nonsense).
Sufism: I have just purchased some books written by my colleague Seyyed Nasr who has been at Harvard and is now Director of Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut. I am taking these books to Von Grünebaum at UCLA and may show them to Brinner and Shah on my return.
The other night I attended the dinner given by the Alumni of Columbia University, New York. My teacher in both Mathematics and Philosophy, almost a guru, has established the base for the integral and universal “thinking” which have been followed up, was on the Columbia staff a long time and so I have been in close touch with the campus for many years.
As I entered the hall I was warmly greeted by a man whom I found immediately was the former Ambassador to the UAR and is now head of the Near and Middle East Studies at Columbia (Badeau). He then introduced me to Prof. Rentz of Stanford whom I have already met and without a word they two of them began seriously discussing, “Sufism!” This has opened a lot more doors for me, which shall not be explained now.
India. Recently I hosted one Mr. Amin from Gujerat—I think I told you, and this opened more doors but also has to be followed up with papers on India’s food problems. Here you find sentimentalists and fund-gatherers but only in the Agricultural Departments (and you have them) those devoted to the real solutions of your country’s difficulties.
Now I must call your attention to the Aurobindo Ashram, 2650 Fulton St., this city, corner Third Ave. I believe—reached by the #5 or #21 busses. You ought to call there. I am going for a short visit this afternoon.
The above integral philosophy has resulted in contacts all over quite separate from other contacts. Anyhow I received notice of the coming of one Sri Surendra Ghose who is both Deputy Leader of the Congress Party and representative of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry.
There is going to be a reception for him at 3 o’clock, next Saturday afternoon, November 29 and you should make every effort possible to come and bring any colleagues or Indian students with you. Indeed if you can get a notice on your bulletin board and also at International House it would be appreciated. I must be there, although leaving in a few hours for Hollywood to be gone until next Saturday morning. But I shall be here at Hemlock 1-7419 next Saturday morning.
Sri Ghose also carries a number of commissions and for the most part we are entangled in the same Sadhana.
Samuel L. Lewis
December 4, 1964
My dear Aramdarya:
My next visit will probably come during the intercession toward the end of January but anything is liable to happen. The refusal of friends and strangers alike to take seriously my actual royal reception in Japan and my meeting with so many holy people in all parts of Asia has drawn a new type of friendships, those real “ugly Americans” who have had the same or similar experiences and who also alike are shunned by friend and stranger. It is now that my position has become official in the Orient, that meeting with these neglected souls who may establish a barrier which will result in something close to a series of scandals unless for intelligence reasons some editors and broadcasters turn a little from phantasia to Real Asia, an almost surmountable barrier at the present moment.
It is certain that yesterday a speaker, a high naval official, sought me out, and this is growing more and more certain.
It was fortunate I took you to dinner Wednesday night. Now on Tuesday I had visited Vedanta and met a disciple of the great Swami Ranganathananda who gave me my farewell tea in 1956 and gave me both a reception and farewell in 1962. I felt so happy that Wednesday morning I went back and chanted “Krishna calling to the Gopis.” Well after I left you went down to Karoon Tootikian’s dance studio. She had a class of beautiful young girls and they asked me to join them. It was “The Gopis calling to Krishna.”
It became very real because this person has had enough dance training, esoteric as well as exoteric, knew all the single elements and was able to follow through with ease. And here, on my return, I joined the group who are creating a pageant on “The Birth of Lord Buddha.” This group has begun now to look upon me more and more as a spiritual father. Also the group is increasing in size.
Thursday was spent with Fred Tollander. He has also lived in Vietnam and I have his story, but we have lots more to consider and I invited him to come here.
The next strange encounter took place in Santa Barbara. I stopped off to see my “younger brother,” Bill Hathaway, who has been in an auto accident. He wanted to go to the bank and we were no sooner inside when somebody rushed up to us and gasped, “Where are the Connaughtons?” I asked her why. “I have the movie rights for Milarepa. Dr. Evans Wentz has given me copyright for his works and I am going to Hollywood to get money. But I need contact and advice.” “You do not want to see the Connaughtons.” “Whom should I see?” “Me! I represent the World Buddhist Federation.”
Mrs. Evans is an old friend of the Connaughtons who are staying on the Kellogg estate. I did not have time to try to reach them. And it is fortunate, too, for Mrs. Evans that I returned immediately.
Rev. Warwick is the grandson of a close associate with Alexandra Davida Neel, who is still alive. He is also the local representative of the Dalai Lama. He has one unforgivable sin for which there is no contrition—he belongs to the Caucasian race and everybody receives him just as they receive me—which has drawn us very close together.
Not long after Rev. Warwick reached here came one Master Seo, from Korea. We are both convinced that this is a truly illuminated soul. As people here do not know how to judge a saint and have the queerest ideas about them, you can be sure that not many have heard Master Seo, and his partnership with Rev. Warwick have caused him to be shunned. He asked me to try to get him a job, but although the first steps have been taken—following the interview with Hon. Roger Hilsman, Master Seo has been sent to take over the post vacated by Dr. Daisetz Suzuki at Columbia University. This is perhaps fortunate as Roger Hilsman is there also and one can write to the First Institute of New York also for him. For once we are going to have a real illuminated soul occupying a post in a university and giving our spiritual teachings based on spiritual experiences. (I omit references to Sufism here, this subject is pretty well in hand at the moment.)
Anyhow I have taken up with Rev. Warwick both the Tollander and Evans cases and it seems that these two persons will benefit in every way when they come to San Francisco.
Beyond the scenes is this terrible Vietnamese situation and I shall try, feebly, to get some sort of appointment, representing as I do the anti-communist natives and get nowhere. But since my interview with the top Intelligence official, I have in mind writing to Senator Kuchel. As to my Congressman, there will be a reception next week and my whole backgrounds and past will be thrown before VIPs. This was known to Norris Poulson, once my next door neighbor and later member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Representatives. We used to work closely on foreign matters.
But the denouement came Saturday. The Hon. Surendra Ghose, second in command of the Congress Party in India was coming to a reception. I took my mureed with me saying we were going into the camp of the enemy, that there would be a lot of professors and cloudnine people who pride themselves on knowledge of Asian subjects and could not pass grade school tests in India. I’ve been grilling and drilling my young men in the “The Unity of Religious Ideals” and the existence of the Hierarchy. Well, Clark got an eyeful.
After a splendid address, the meeting being thrown open to questions, I arose, and never got to the first question. “Why—why you are the man I came to San Francisco to meet. I came five thousand miles just to meet you!” Thud. The meeting never ended, it just vanished. Those PhDeists and Cloudninists had nothing to say, nothing to ask.
But Allah is great. Instead of staying with the Hindus or PhDeists, Sri Ghose was living with life-long friends, people who have been my dog-house companions for years. Of course Sri Ghose came to see me and not the stuffed shirts. The show goes on but the dedicated soul cannot lose. Step by step, as Pir-o-Murshid said, “Truth in the end shall win.” Whether for God or country I cannot retreat and will not. I shall gradually get my pictures out.
Christmas is coming. I hope that somewhere a few hearts will emerge from the masses of aphorisms which never accomplish lasting good.
Love and blessings,
December 8, 1964
My dear Gavin:
Right after I first moved into these rooms, Robert Clifton (Phra Sumangalo) came here. My last words to him were: “Robert, you and I are mere nobodies. Not a newspaper editor, not a State Department official and hardly any people would pay the slightest attention to us. But I don’t think there is a king, prime minister, cabinet official, university professor, no, nor peasant, from one end of Asia to the other whom me have either not met or can meet, though nobody would believe us.” “How true, Samuel, how true.”
Robert is gone but the statements have become verified and I am not going into any metaphysical harangue. My welcome last week by the Deputy Leader of the Indian Parliament, my acceptant by all the men who are our leaders behind the scenes in Vietnam and a lot more may be said. I find it is just as useless to try to get people to observe the karmic principle as to try to avoid the aftermath of out deeds.
In July Alan Watts was read off the record by university professors and I have learned too, that he is considered a very dangerous person. For he has been lecturing on his philosophy—not bad in itself, but implying it represented the actualities of Asian peoples, whereas it is mostly only fanciful deductions. This habit has set forth an array of imitations, one even more financially successful, who have been presenting to the public their private speculations as “Asian philosophies.” This has encouraged the Chinese government to start a real “Buddhist” missionary campaign—you can verify this in part by going to their book store on Gough St., to warn that they are out to save the true Buddhists from “Yankee Imperialists.” As we do not read Asian records and seldom intermingle with actual Asians, we do not accept the most obvious facts.
It has been against this communist infiltration of Buddhist temples—to save them from the “Yankee Imperialists,” that Princess Poon and others have revolted. But it must not be presumed that any real Buddhist leaders have any sympathy at all with the majority of people who parade around this country as “Buddhists,” and there are lots of them, all on very bad terms with each other and all ignoring the real teachings of the historical Lord Buddha.
Integrity nearly always wins, despite odds and despite the American penchant for loving the caricature of “The Great Stone Face.”
It has been incumbent upon this person to “pick up the pieces” of all the drivel given not only at the American Academy of so-called Asian Studies, but a lot of other places where personality and personalizes dominate the scene. This has produced what Lord Snow calls “The Two Cultures” but this differentiation was known even to the ancient Greeks.
Even today I lost the audience and won the speaker—this is pretty regular now, and by this means am becoming on friendly terms with the men who establish policies.
The difference between the scientist and non-scientist is fairly obvious: The scientist has curiosity if not humility; the non-scientist is lacking here and too often lives in his private world.
If the cards are held right this will come out when the UN meets here next year. I have enough sense not to go to the people who prate “peace” with my “Dance of Universal Peace.” It is based on movements drawn from the rituals of the great religions, all of which I know, and little of which knowledge came from any PhDs, but from clergymen, wise men and holy men of the different faiths.
I remain, until recently, the only American who even gave instructions to saints and holy men. There are a few more now and we are in entire agreement. It is easy enough to meet a Prime Minister or holy man on Asian Philosophy; it is very difficult to convey such facts to those who do not wish to hear. A Bodhisattva tries to deliver people from the wheel-of-life-and-death. Buddha wanted us to stop using out egos. Joy may come from self-discipline or it may come through grace, or it may come by awakening. The fact of this as experience is something beyond all metaphysicians, but it is not beyond children and it is certainly the “property” of sages.
Whishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
P.S. Have been successful at the University of California by using, as you say, vinegar and not molasses. Kindness, gentleness, humility, courtesy failed after year of effort. So down came the boom and it worked and it may often work on persons who, without qualifications, get into high places.
772 Clementina St.
December 15, 1964
My dear Gavin:
When you were here today I forgot to ask you whether you have copy of Gordon’s book. I am not buying Christmas presents. I am buying copies only of the works of two very good friends, Gordon, and Dr. Paul Fung of the Buddha Universal Church, and distributing them to those who ought to have them, using the season as an excuse.
Unfortunately the publisher does not seem to be a very good businessman. Instead of buying Gordon’s book at the San Francisco Museum, I tried my two bookstores, “Fields” in San Francisco and “Books in Review” in Los Angeles. The latter are friends of A.W. I did this because I believed they would push the book themselves when they saw it.
But I have got only so far as to have one copy each delivered in both cities and reminders have gone out. Otherwise there will have to be explanatory letters.
Gordon’s book is definitely prophetic. How far he is an artist I do not wish to say. If you go to art galleries you may scratch him off and if you read books on contemporary Physics and Mathematics you will put him at the top of the list. Just study pictures, let us say, of the ultra-microscope.
Anyhow his explanations are so important. Besides they are somewhat akin to some of my cosmic poetry. This poetry will live on. I am not wasting time on audiences who will look at the writer and not listen to the poet. But as I have told you my own position in the world’s affairs has risen so rapidly this past month that most of my friends and acquaintances simply cannot follow and I am not going to put in more time than I have explaining it. It is sufficient to know that I shall be on the panel of a grand gathering of “experts” on the worlds’ religions to be held at Claremont College next September and that I was invited and asked to take this position; it was not of my seeking.
Your Aesop partnership is very amusing. You see we cannot avoid our archetypal positions. I ran into several instances of this lately, too. But I know what my position is—possibly akin to Jeremiah but not that either.
I am quite mixed up in this Berkeley campus affair. On the side of the strong against the Strong.
I haven’t Gordon’s book either. Get so enthusiastic gave it to Rudolph Schaeffer. Then this one copy to my favorite cousin in Gloucester, Mass. where he is very much avant garde and then some.
December 16, 1964
My dear Catherine:
The year is coming to an end, a year illustrating beyond doubt the teachings that appear in the writings of Hazrat Inayat Khan. And the only shadow on the horizon at this time is the comparatively large number of personal friends and acquaintances those who are confined to their homes or to beds from illness, incapacity or accident. This is a strange and awkward situation, and the only one marring the private life.
As I am told you are leaving Cleveland, I hope you will pardon that [?] in the writings and teachings. At one end my young mureeds have now been with their outer sense what appears in the literature, especially in “The Unity of Religious Ideals” and above all in the section on “The Spiritual Hierarchy.” All my life I have heard about Hierarchy but mostly those persons who talk about it, who preach it, mystify everything by confining the Hierarchs in their subjective, etherealized prisons. Whereas those who are higher in spiritual evolution conform to Pir-o-Murshid’s first book, The Sufi Message of Spiritual Liberty. Here one finds oneself up against all those influenced by Gurdjieff who either falsifies geography or places the holy men where he presumes you have never been, like Bokhara and Samarkand—but whatever else is said, far more are in Himalayan regions by which I mean Himalayan regions and not necessarily India, for the Himalayas extend beyond India.
I remember once a man adamantly insisting: “I don’t care what you say. The highest spiritual masters are found in Central Asia and nowhere else.” I entered the room and said: “Yes, you are right. I have just returned from there and I met them.” The man grabbed his hat and ran away although it was a big social party.
And it took an attack on a U.S. Embassy for me to be able to relate for the first time actual meetings with actual representatives of actual Hierarchy in this actual world. This series of events has a most happy ending. I went to a meeting of Columbia University Alumni. My teachers in Philosophy and Mathematics came from this University and I had met some of its most famous professors. A big man with a larger hand came up to meet me: “Welcome, my name is Badeau” I nearly hit the floor. The man had been our Ambassador at Cairo.
Then he introduced me to Prof. George Rentz of Stanford University not far from here. I knew Rentz. Then without paying the slightest attention to me, they began discussing of all things: Sufism! I said, “Pardon me, Ambassador, but did you look at my card? I am one of the few, perhaps only validated Sufi teacher in the country!” Then we agreed to correspond.
Actually this is a long and beautiful series of stories and last week I received a request to address Claremont College in Southern California next Fall on Sufism. I had applied and been rejected—for one of my two collaborators had already been signed up to come!
Now while this was going on it was witnessed by Mrs. Ivy Duce of all people. Mrs. Duce and one Prof. Landau each claimed to be the spokesman for Sufism, each was successful in having me blacklisted and each hated the other so much that they had a long battle each immobilizing the other. Thus the moral law.
Accompanying Badeau was Hon. Roger Hilsman formerly Under Secretary of State for the Far East. All Ambassadorial functions are the same, the world over. Everybody rushes in, grabs drinks and talks to friends. Nobody pays much attention to the Ambassadors. God was with me. I not only saw Hilsman but got from him in five minutes what the whole culture has not granted in years.
I then went to UCLA, the University of California in Los Angeles and was sent to the Dean of Studies. Without looking up he said, “Do you know Princess Poon Diskul?” “Who do you think sent me here!” No, my dear, we look at our teachings intellectually and we think we know them but we never come down to recognizing that these things do happen here.
Princess Poon Diskul is a granddaughter of the famous King Mongkut (“Anna and the King of Siam”); we are very, very close and very much alike. She is the top lay Buddhist in the whole world. She has summoned a conference in India to prevent the takeover of the Buddhist organizations by the communists—this does not concern us, we know next to nothing about Buddhism. We do not realize that when we break the moral law the moral law breaks us.
The Dean knows all the spiritual leaders of the Orient; he knows all the teachers and pretended teachers in the United States, the real ones, the charlatans, the charmers. As the American public is interested in the outside of the cup, they have gone in droves to affable orators and accepted whatever they said as representing Oriental philosophies and these men have no contacts in the Orient, have either never been there or been received superficially and we are fighting in Vietnam, a country about which we not only know too little but will not even consider the points of view of the actual people.
The struggle against all sorts of personalized and personal philosophies which dominate America and to some extent Great Britain has confirmed all of Asia that we are insincere, dominating, monsters. The Intelligence, especially the Army Intelligence, has been demobilized by a public which is either indifferent or has accepted entertainment for serious study. And there has been no gain in popularity by not only being requested by the World Buddhist Federation to report, but having those reports accepted.
The meetings with Hilsman and the Dean were followed by one with Admiral Felt who has been in charge of all operations in the South Pacific. In five minutes I received from him that which has been denied by everybody in fifteen years—a paper on the Buddhism of Vietnam. No matter which way one had gone it had been denied, Army Intelligence excepted. But during the war I did some intelligence work for a man who is now General Lansdale, a close friend of the Admiral in charge and in charge of Vietnam. So despite fifteen years of rebuffs, especially from all the non-Asian “professors of Oriental philosophy” all the obstacles have been removed. The gradual replacement of Europeans by American in our universities has step by step changed the whole picture and the year ends very very satisfactory.
December 22, 1964
My dear Connie:
I am not going to send you a Christmas card. For reasons selfish and unselfish and I must pray for your health. My last trip to Hollywood was a bizarre combination of almost miracles, or they were miracles, combined with finding so many of my friends indisposed or worse. It was only a woman who is my spiritual elder sister that was not confined and, after all, one purpose was to take her out for Thanksgiving. Even this has saga-romance. For we want out on Wednesday night instead of Thursday, believing the restaurants would be crowded and this enabled me to spend much of Thursday with a sort of spiritual fellow-traveler, a man who has traveled through Asia and lived with Asians, etc.
The year has been a saga, standing off very badly. This Vandendecken is only permitted occasional lapses into near-romance. For years there was one pattern of failure and more recently another pattern of failure, all very ironical and all ending with my obtaining, so to speak, a sort of “golden apple” which the lady in question would have wanted—or else she herself tuned back. As one grows psychologically, that is, his sphere of interests expands, it is very hard to harmonize with smaller (in this respect) people.
Today ends one of the most frustrating campaigns. For years I have been trying to get a paper on “The Religion of Vietnam” read on a radio station, published even in the editorials of a newspaper, anywhere, everything. All rejection slips. In the meanwhile the World Buddhist Federation consulted me which made the situation worse, not better. For the majority of “selfless” Buddhism who have nothing to do with each other, wondered why this person and not themselves was consulted.
But in the meanwhile I have met, mostly off the record, Ambassadors and army officials and everybody necessary and at last my article is written and will be read with sympathy by VIPs. It is only this is our international policy and nothing else—the opinions of the big man who was not there always outweigh the reports of the little man who was.
Next month Nicole Smith is supposed to be speaking in public here. This author of Burma Road was socially ostracized for warning that the Chinese would occupy Tibet. Even after the come, the newsmen who had lead in the campaign of belittling him kept on their merry ways, making exactly the same mistakes in Laos and Vietnam, still on the big payrolls, misadvising us in every direction and also getting in the hair of the Army Intelligence.
Well, I won’t go on. Multiply the above by forty and you have the news—and this is not a metonymy or hyperbole. Next Fall I am on a panel of the Great Religions of the World to be held in Claremont College—sent for this time, too. It is the opposite extreme. So I want you to get well and by that time there should be some nice stories.
Hollywood Boulevard changes and this has enabled me to try new restaurants. My specialty is still “Corsican” (not Musso’s) and will not apologize.
The next week also brings some readjustments. My critics, who had something to hide, were successful for a while in convincing others that I was not even born here. This was a mistake. For instance I have still one high-school teacher alive who not only knows I was born here but has been watching me upgrade. I fear the umbrella of elderly ladies more than poison pens had these critics ignored this element. So one bears down on then, not for rejecting the person or the philosophies or the reports, but for damning even his birthright. And what was gained?
Besides the body does not age much. In May one hour was spent with my “fairy-Godmother,” Ruth St. Denis. Out of this came “The Dance of Universal Peace.” This was performed for Karoun Tootikian, 817 No, Highland Ave. Much came out of that but we’ll skip—all good news but we’ll skip.
I rushed home to attend the reception of a high official of the Indian Government. Imagine the amazement of the audience (quite hostile) when he said; “Why, why you are the man I came to San Francisco to meet. I traveled five thousand miles just to meet you!” Thud….
So I proposed that on my return to India he accompany me to the chief temple in New Delhi and I perform this “Dance of Universal Peace.” Meanwhile other things of the same kind are transpiring. Inspirations are not limited to one person but it is wonderful when they come to friends and co-workers.
Twice a week to the Yoga Center here where one does gymnastics and dancing. These dances are hard to describe for they are based on the opening of inner vision, something both Miss Ruth and Karoun also have. My personal adage of dancing, eating and praying with people is very successful, but it is only now after years of effort that impressions are made upon VIPs, the “unswitchables” who would, unfortunately rather die than switch.
I won’t torment you more hoping you can get well.
Love and blessing from
Samuel L. Lewis
Sufi Ahmed Murad-Christi
December 31, 1964
My dear Norman,
This is a summation of a year which has ended on a high note and I knew it would whenever a woman would step forward and defend me in public regardless. There were two such occasions when my last living school-teacher arose in wrath at a public meeting and read my critic out of the room. There is such a vast area between those who accept persons because they admire them, and the passing out of valid information. Even Gavin admitted that this one had an encyclopedic mind.
Actually it was based on something more, which came up in the last visit that one could go through the experiences of LSD without drugs and this was demonstrated, and may be demonstrated on a larger scale tonight because usually I am more “open” on New Years’ Eve.
The second woman to approve was my own sister and for the first time in my life I received a loving greeting card from her and my brother-in-law which has taken a whole life-time, but with this accomplished and the above, one can look with more assurance to the future.
Africa. Some time ago, meeting a State Department official I said, “Disregard my card and credentials and imagine you are meeting Mr. Emerson Whitman.” He did and we got things through very quickly. Which is to say that when one has a cosmic point of view it is easy to go into particulars.
You may admire that book on the history of West Africa, etc. Actually I have known much more of that region and did report to a colonel in GII during the war who was the superior of General Lansdale, now in charge of Intelligence in Vietnam. He would back up any statement made here. But the history of West Africa is still to be written, and I find very few impassionate, unemotional, objective persons covering the future of Africa on any basis. The election in Nigeria and the war in Congo are the results of an agreement to disagree, without taking the public into consideration, the pushing down of solutions as from above by any and all, and the concentration on looking for villains rather than saving humanity. No one looks for villains now in California northwest, we are trying to save people.
The book on East Africa contained a lot of unknown material for me but I have long and uselessly argued for a Swahili culture and country as well as for a Hausa-land, a Fulani-land, etc. None of the contenders wants anything like that excepting, perhaps, Kenyatta, and I don’t know enough about him.
As to Sudan, I have not seen a single report I could accept, and the history of the Mahdi movement is kept from us. We want our Landaus and Europeans to tell us about a dream-world they call “Africa” and one regrets that even the so-called “African” movements in this country go on regardless of histories, cultures, or anything. One set of dreams is set up against another and we believe we are working for “peace” and “freedom” whereas we are not.
Berkeley Campus. Last night I was given a brochure suggesting a Hyde Park on the Campus. How can I get stirred up if one cannot even have 1775 privileges? Far from seeing subversion all one can observe is the clamping of the lid on some very simple, elementary principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence and Preamble to the Constitution. As for effective radicalism on the Berkeley campus—if it ever got out of the professors themselves I have still to see it. The radical emotionalism of the young yes, but “leftism?” Of course I am not for leftism because I think cosmically, and emotions are not thoughts. I guess Salvio is the only one who knows about 14th St., New York, let alone the Village.
Vietnam. I have seen howling and yowling for years. The Academy rejected all proposals I have made, and then the press, the radio stations—including your precious KPFA. But truth is truth and the only difference between Samuel L. Lewis and others is that this person had no job to lose. Now for the first time I have been permitted even to submit a paper. But if I write to the Embassy there, my communication will be accepted not because it is basically time—and it is—but because I know personally the parties involved. This is a disgusting way of getting things done.
I have again gotten a most invariable report from Princess Poon’s assistance, but expect to be in Thailand by the end of next year unless something other and big intervenes. I have whole sections of the Orient behind me in encouraging my writing. Have written to Frank Church, etc.
At the moment neither the American groups nor the anti-American dialecticians have anything to offer that is final.
Chaudhuri. After years of effort we have met, but as with Dilip Koomar Roy before him, it was not as equals. It was as his superior, and perhaps in the wisdom of the Orient I am his superior. Certainly as stated with respect to LSD when one has had the experiences there is no difficulty, and for the first time after years and years of study I was permitted to give an instruction on the Upanishads in this country—it is was very easy.
When I met Chaudhuri’s teacher I challenged him to a debate and he surrendered unconditionally, something your Spiegelberg, your Watts, your Woods and your Landaus would never admit, and it does not matter.
India. Received two greeting cards, one form the head of the Indian Farm bureaus and one from President Radhakrishnan. My next target is the Vice-President who is a Sufi. Indeed in my last public row I challenged anybody to support their contentions in view of the President and Vice-President of India who are living persons not explicable by any current psychology.
As far as rounding up communists. The India no are the last people in this world who will accept what is called communism here and they have real communistic institutions which I am sure that Karl Marx would accept and most “Marxists” disapprove, because Marx was a quasi-scientific philosopher and Marxists are theologians appending more time looking for heretics than for considering humanity.
We cannot explain India by Western or Chinese thought and we don’t want the Indian view of things. I was forced out of one study group once by an alliance between conservatives and dialectical materialists and they proved to be 100% wrong, which does nobody any good. At least I have lived in parts of Kerala, which is more that most reporters have, and have a sampled over the country-side, etc. Once I was almost read out of a meeting for merely making such a statement. When facts disagree with dreams, to hell with the facts.
The doors are opening for all kinds of things when I return. Fortunately as one meets more rejected Americans, some of whom have played vital functions in world affairs, one becomes more and sore assured. I hope to hear Nicol Smith when he comes here shortly. He was the first victim.