To SAM: “We are all black bags.”

15 March 1967

My dear Sufi Achmed Murad Chisty Cheleby Samuel Lewis & Brother,

Among many other things, our communication of March 13 indicates you are willing to sacrifice yourself into serving the sufi movement in collaboration with Vilayat and the most humble and brutally proud undersigned and in this line any and all posts of confidence are open to you at your choice. The head of the Brotherhood? It is yours. The head of any other activity? It is yours. It is I who determine those things. Have I ever given the impression of not fully acknowledging and appreciating you? If so tell me when and where so that I may repent and strew ashes over my dinner jacket. (I have no dinner jacket but my suit may do.)

I was catapulted into my incongruous position without my knowledge and now has this enormous power which, also, I shall surrender to you if Vilayat so chooseth. Actually I was appointed by Allah, God, the Unfathomable at the age of 8 to revolutionize the religious temper of the world and I hoped to do it on my own terms, that is, God’s terms. I have temporarily lent a hand to the sufis because they are less errant than many other groups. They are not perfect, not one of them, not the greatest or smallest of their masters and I proposed to Hazrat Inayat we might drop the Sufi name. And one day, if no accident interferes, I shall again cut loose and set the world aflame. Posterity will dig up my past and all influences and say I was this and a that. Actually only God exists. The man in a black bag who attended the student meetings in Corvallis, Oregon had the right idea. The black robes of the Universal Worship is basically the same idea. We are all black bags, if we only knew. Therefore I am not as moved as I should be by all your negative experiences. What do you expect? What did friend Jesus expect? to be tortured to death. Well, he actually survived and was brought to India by yogis. He took in the entire yoga lore in addition to, previously, the sufi lore. Now he is a good teacher to those who tune in.

[Written under a Sufi Movement letterhead.]

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To SAM: Mystics

2 Feb 67

My dear Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisty,

You have a prominent place in a book that will catapult this civilisation, you are compared with Dag Hammarskjold, a mystic who kept so secret about his mysticism out of a modesty that was pride-colored while you make mysticism a common heritage by crying from the housetops, out of a selflessness that needs neither pride nor humility. And when that book appears you will become desperate because you will be flooded with pupils, newsmen, requests, some proper, some dumb, but that’s the way the ball bounces.

Nothing is mentioned about your nagging jeremiads when the talk is about you, but in another chapter the wailing, the infirmities of so many mystics is mentioned and put in its place and the extremely few who have freed themselves of this hampering widdledebiddle are mentioned. Perhaps, some day, you will be one of those. You know, don’t you, that it is extremely untrue to talk of yourself as not recognized. You are recognized by all who matter — but many of these are also concerned about this very shortcoming with you. Why bother? There is in this physical world no justice. There couldn’t be. Sooner or later all masters know. That they don’t bother you with it doesn’t mean they don’t know. Also when you speak of the many brotherhoods as a fake — the opposite is true. The many show that many care. Only, you need not and should not join, but you should and must be gracious, encouraging, for these, like the sects, is all some have and it you take that away from them before they are ready they will go to worse hell — and, for a while, so will you. As to the “family” leave me worry about that. You have detached yourself and any mention of them reflects only on you, as unreliable. And why should you pretend to be unreliable? For you aren’t — and yes, that incident with lnayat visiting: He also said “He (Sam) needs it (his visits) and deserves it” and while he said in words I should not write you, he winked his eyes that I should.

Your statement that Reps can teach and not be taught I take as a sign that you can be both teaching and taught and thank God for that.

Blessing from the unfathomable, all-pervading


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To SAM: Murshid?

My dear Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisty,

Yes, the avatar business runs so parallel in our minds as so many other things. At the camp of the Dalai Lama in Mussoree in the Himalayas there was a picture of Meher Baba, and the Indian police man in charge of the Dalai Lama explained to me that a lady representing Meher Baba had put it up (the lady was not received by the Dalai Lama) and asked me if I felt anything because, he said, “one is supposed to feel it when one is near an Avatar” so, by a succession of short statements and answers we came very close and at last to the fact that “This age is not the age of Avatars.”

And so, dear Sam, with most things, we think and feel along kindred lines, so please do not ever jump into an antagonism for it is always due to either lack of clarity on my part or on yours. You wrote me under title “MURSHID”, for the second time and I have to wiggle out of any such accusation. You have all the right to use any title on yourself and I acknowledge them all with pleasure. But just as you usually call yourself Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisty, which is your proper name, inscribed in heaven — so I am called Shamcher and nothing else, and just as you usually do not call yourself Murshid so you must give me that Same right not to be called that or any other title.

No no, I did not say you were shaking the world, neither that I was “trying” or not trying. I am not trying anything. I am just shaking it for that is so written, and by shaking it, ripe plums , among other things, drop into your lap, and there are many other consequences. The one who shakes the world does not try or do anything of his own purpose. It was told me long ago and I forgot it — until it happens, but how does it happen? Of course I do not know. But don’t worry about that, just be respectful and never, never give me any title, just as I am respectful of you and give you only the titles you put in my mouth to use.

Incidentally, in your later letters there has been some indications that you know what a murshid is. Most people under this title do not know. This, again, does not matter. But remember that everything and everything that you do and think is clearly recorded and can be read, so do not write or talk about not being recognized. You are, by any and all who can read. The others matter no more than the silent rocks. Never try to disappoint me, for I know before you write — know truth, and all the spirits know you, whether in Asia or in Europe or America, in fact there is no Asia, Europe or America.

There is also something else about this age: It needs no howling and wailing as Mohammed and Rumi and many others did at another age. It does not become this age.


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To SAM: “I am the youngest..”

My Dear Sufi Ahmed Chisty Samuel L. Lewis,

This just to thank you so much for sending me Sangithas and other documents. Some of the Sangithas confirmed what I already wrote to Headquarters after Musharaff Khan’s passing, which opens up new vistas for either good or worse Haag administration and liaison with sufis (Inayat’s disciples).

You are so absolutely right in pointing to God, Allah, Brahm, Ishwara, Dieu, Gott — rather than persons. Of course, not all are yet at that stage, but even so, it should be kept in mind, and heart, even at the initial stages and besides, all are really on all stages all the time though with a different emphasis. It is also quite true that “families” are unfortunately made to intrude between God and man but some, within these families show so much promise that you hide their faults even to your own sight because you see their great potentialities, and you foster them by stressing them instead of the temporary faults. Others, within same families, are so far astray that you don’t care to foster anything, you rather try to keep them off your mind.

Rumi, that great poet and mystic, quite often fell to unnecessary criticism and wailing over the state of the world and most prophets did. We, at this unique age, could rise above that and thus come even closer to GOD and Allah and dance around in this splendid atmosphere until we, also, become outlived as useful and give room for others. the young, as you say, which of course does not mean young in earthly years but in spirit, outlook. I am the youngest, almost too young. You come next.

Bless and blessings,


What you say about Idries Shah is interesting and true. I am greatly freshened by his keen outlook. He borders on the mystic but still has enough fire of the mind to be most interesting and slightly less mystical. Like all men he is true and a bit false, great and a bit small. Even most sufis are, except perhaps El Ghazali and, to some extent, Inayat Khan. They seem close to perfection. But even in the Sangithas traces of imperfection sneak in.
(No, the Cleveland mureeds did not evade Vilayat. They had not been told about him coming there, were most surprised and desperate hearing him over the TV, asked him a thousand questions by phone in order to identify him. Perhaps there was a mixup. He might have thought they knew.)

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