New Weekly Email Newsletter

Here at the Shamcher Archives we are always looking for new ways to introduce people to his life and work. The latest is the Shamcher Bulletin, a free weekly newsletter.

Welcome to the email newsletter from the Archives of Shamcher Bryn Beorse.

It’s just like getting a letter from Shamcher!

Get to know Shamcher through this weekly newsletter, sharing his views, ideas and approach to life – all sent directly into your inbox.

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Shamcher was a pupil of the great Sufi, Inayat Khan. His own life as a 20th century mystic took him to over 65 countries, and into the fields of economics and energy, bringing the French OTEC to the US in the 1950s. He was a friend and supporter of many of the significant Sufis of the day, including Murshid Samuel Lewis, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan and Pir Hidayat Inayat Khan, among others. He was a friend to many of the Sufis who are now currently involved in carrying on the various traditions of Hazrat Inayat Khan.

Murshid SAM and Shamcher (photo ©2020 Mansur Johnson)

Sufi Initiation and Early Work of Shamcher Bryn Beorse

As listed in the Autobiographical Information on the early mureeds of Hazrat Inayat Khan:

Bryn Beorse (Björset) (Shamcher) 
In October 1923 when I was 27 years old and had traveled all over India looking for a teacher of Yoga, which I had studied from when eight years old, Sirkar van Stolk telephoned to me in Oslo: Would I translate a lecture to be given at the Oslo University by the World’s greatest mystic? “We know that you have traveled in India …” A Theosophist friend insisted on going to the Grand Hotel together, where Inayat Khan was staying. I was irritated: this friend, too talkative, would ball up my serious interview about how to proceed with the translation – sentence by sentence or a script? Wondering how I would be able to get in my practical questions amid the heavy spiritual artillery fire I expected from my friend, I entered the room, a worried man. – Inayat Khan looked up at us with laughing eyes. “Shall we have silence?” The gentle, sincere, almost apologetic tone of his voice contrasted the startling sense of his words. With a graceful bow he asked us to sit down. We seated ourselves in opposite corners of a sofa and he sat down between us and closed his eyes. So did we… . I woke up, refreshed, when a bell rang. The interview was over, not a word was exchanged.

Next evening Inayat Khan gave his lecture and I translated it, after it had been given in full, without taking notes. People said I did not miss a word. I don’t know how.

I told him I liked his Message but I was already a member of the Theosophical Society and the Order of the Star in the East, so of course I could not join him. “No, of course not.” Four days later he came back from a trip. I said: “I think my membership in those other organizations was a preparation for something to come. I believe this may have come now. May I join you?” “With great pleasure.” Then he gave me practices and initiated me in a railway compartment. The people around us seemed unaware of what was going on.

I had played with God as a lusty playmate from early childhood, so could never be quite as serious and awed as some other mureeds and once, in the middle of the first Summer School in Paris, I suggested to Inayat Khan that perhaps I was not really fit for this life. He reassured me smilingly that I was, and protected me against assaults by other mureeds, in very subtle ways.

Murshida Green had asked us “What does Murshid mean to you?” “Well,” said I, “a friend, an example.” “Oh you don’t understand at all. Murshid is so much more than all that.” That same evening Murshid gave a talk but before he started he looked thoughtful, then said: “Before I start my talk I want to mention that sometimes a teacher’s best friends become his worst enemies – by lifting him up onto a pedestal and making of him an inhuman monster instead of what he is and wants to be: Just a friend, an example …”

Nevertheless, I want to ask forgiveness for my lack of respect. I even once asked Inayat whether we could give up the “Sufi” name on the Message since people misunderstood it for some Muslim sect. He said: “It could happen. But for the time being the name seems right to me, and if we did not put a name on ourselves, others would put a name on us and it might be worse.” More important is that Inayat pushed into my mind worlds of impulses that will take me eons to unravel and use.

When mureeds asked if Sufis should not be pacifists, Inayat replied: “If people of goodwill lay down their arms today, they will still fight: they will be forced to fight, and not in defense of their ideals any longer, but against them.”

In September 1926 I saw Inayat for the last time. I said: “I look forward to seeing you next summer.” “From now on,” he replied, “you will meet me in your intuition.” Then, during the first days of February 1927 I had a strange urge to travel to Suresnes, a three-four day trip by boat and rail from Norway. When I arrived others had had the same urge. Early on fifth February came the answer to why we had come. Now the Message was with us.

Inayat Khan often said “Mureeds who have never met me, never seen me, will often be closer to me than you, who know me as a person”. I am meeting such mureeds, closer to him, every day.

Berkeley, CA. U.S.A. From Shamcher’s autobiographical data. 27th July 1977.

“Planet Earth Demands”

Planet Earth Demands front coverNow released!

Economist, engineer, generalist and mystic, Shamcher Bryn Beorse, reveals his comprehensive overview of the forces and influences shaping humanity in the latter half of the 20th century. Concerned with the fate of the earth environmentally, socially and politically, he offered both advice and warning, peppered with personal anecdotes. The cry of mother earth, the complexity of social issues, and the needs and desires of human beings living in this world today all combine in Beorse’s bird’s eye view.

This expanded and all-inclusive vision of the cry of the earth is as important today as when it was written over 40 years ago. What seemed radical at that time is commonplace today – an awareness of the totality of the environment including ourselves as well as the development of the inner life.

In Beorse’s world-view there is no separation between the areas of energy, economics, employment, the individual’s pursuit of happiness and his own personal life-experiences. He subtly includes the spiritual life, touching on yoga and Sufi thought and practice as necessary and meaningful tools to address our current problems – not only at a personal level, but in the areas of city life, the environment, education and the media.

It was his love of this life and of this precarious human experiment that urged him to write and add his voice to the increasingly urgent call of our planet.

Find out more at the website for the book, or see it on Amazon.

Letters: Shamcher Beorse and Carol Sill, 1974-1977

Now released!

This book of letters reveals an intimate and unique relationship between a teacher and pupil on the Sufi path.

A contemporary western mystic, Shamcher Beorse had been a pupil of the great Sufi, Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan in the 1920’s. Carol Sill was a young beginner on the spiritual path, grieving the sudden death of her only son. Fly along as Shamcher intuitively guides her through the winding routes of Love’s progress, growth and development.

With Shamcher by her side she opened to a world that had been previously closed to her. Share her discoveries as a dazzled and astonished neophyte, learning how to live without her body, and to proceed beyond eyes, ears and even beyond mind.

This process of inner development is all documented here – in real time, through the original correspondence, for Shamcher mailed all Carol’s letters back to her, with copies of his own, asking her to publish them.

Read this book as it was written: as an unfolding correspondence of the soul.

Find out more at the website for the book, or see it on Amazon. Also available on Kindle.

Yogis and Sufis

The yoga culture and its healing methods are wider-ranging and older than generally realized in the West. Most people think Yoga is certain posture and exercises. These are all a tiny part of one single branch: the Hatha yoga. Nevertheless, this is important: without any drug, needle or diet, certain simple postures and exercises may dramatically change bodily health, with beneficial consequences on the mind. Then there are the Gnana yogis, yogis of the mind, who use little if any physical exercise or postures but reorient and revitalize the whole personality through their mind. Which of these two methods or systems is to be used depends on the patient or the pupil. In this, the yogis are ahead of most of us: they recognize that humans are as different as night and day. What is poison to one is cure for another.

A third type of yoga is Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion or love. the whole personality, mind and body, are cured by emotional input. Then there are the Karma yogis, the yogis of action. Soldiers, statesmen, business men are often cured or satisfactorily developed merely through their actions. There are the Mantram yogis, who develop through repeating magic words or chants, “mantrams”, and all of them pay attention to their breath.

Yoga, therefore, is not a narrow special practice or philosophy. It is the whole past civilization or culture of a continent, its science, religion and behaviorism rolled into one.

In the Near East a corresponding wide-ranging discipline or philosophy is and was Sufism, the inspiration behind the Hebrew, Zoroastrian, Christian and Muslim cultures and religions. The present popular fashion of connecting Sufism exclusively with Islam is deplored as much by knowledgeable Muslims as by other scholars.

Sufis have for millenniums been living side by side with yogis in India and other parts of the world. Both have benefitted and expanded their concepts. Both, again, are closely related to the Buddhists, particularly to Zen.

(excerpt from Planet Earth Demands)

Teachers, Successors

From various correspondence:

You opened your eyes and let me look into your mind and beyond to your heart and soul.  A “thank you” is too feeble to express my feeling.  Didn’t you give me glimpse of The ONLY BEING?

And “manners” – are signs of the heart.

Please forgive me when, like that sufi in one of Idries Shah’s stories, I tell some people what they want to hear, because, as this sufi explained, “I am not his teacher, so I just support his belief in his own way, which is all he can take.”

In the West, discipleship are not and cannot be exactly as in the East.  Pir-O-Murshid learned this gradually, painfully, but at last perfectly.   There will always be different degrees of discipleship, not merely “mureeds and true mureeds” but a million finely distinguishable degrees.

No “successor” is a copy of the predecessor.

You have no slightest obligation to admire or approve what one pir thinks or does, not, for that matter do you need to criticise him, but, like me, you see the flame from within your own heart and so you can storm ahead and work and suffer all kinds of people, the devoted pir–worshippers , the equally devoted God–worshippers who see no “pir”.

(Click here for a random post from somewhere else in this blog.)

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.
Love
Shamcher

[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

Shamcher

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