From a Historian of the Dunes

Norm Hammond, Historian of the Oceano Dunes, and author of “The Dunites” among other publications, sent the following reference to the archives:

BRYNJOLF BJORSET: (Bryn Bjorset, Bryn Beorse, Shamcher Beorse)

Bjorset, Brynjolf. Distribute or Destroy! A Survey of the World’s Glut of Goods with a Description of Various Proposals and Practical Experiments for its Distribution. (translated from Norwegian) Stanley Nott Ltd, London, 1936. Hardbound with blue cloth; 188 pp. The handwritten name inside the front cover identifies it as belonging to “Archie H. Mitchell, Rm 609 – House of Commons”.

From, THE POUGHKEEPSIE EAGLE NEWS, page seven. November 28, 1940.

PEACE- Just arrived from Oslo is Brynjolf Bjorset, Norwegian civil engineer, reserve officer and writer, who fought in Norway; didn’t surrender as a good boy when the others did. He crossed Hitler’s lines five times with four British officers, and with a secret report escaped to Sweden.

When on his way to the U.S. he was recaptured in the Arctic Ocean and fell into the hands of the Gestapo. They put him through the mill of trial and questioning, his adventures making him liable to the death sentence at that time. But knowing the German trend of mind from long experience in world traveling, he intrigued his questioners into heated arguments and outbursts of humor- and how he loves New York!

“I can’t really explain why I was let out,” says Mr. Bjorset. “I could give many explanations, but I am not really sure which of them is correct. One thing I discussed very ardently with my German questioners was the problem of peace. The start was Hitler’s talk of July 20—the day I was captured. “This peace proposal has no conditions in it,” I said. “What do you think Hitler really wants? Because I think a peace feeler now is very sensible. The war has come to a deadlock. Neither England nor Germany can win a quick definite victory…”
“What are you telling us? they roared, hotly, and the argument was on. When in September it had been proved that I was pretty much right they were more friendly. I even got my visa to leave the country, and finally was let out in October. I have a strong feeling that the Germans are dead tired of this killing business they have been carrying on and that they are yearning for friendship and understanding again. Maybe they don’t dare to ask for it!”

Now Available: Fairy Tales are True!

Fairy Tales are True cover

Fairy Tales are True: Silent Reach from the Dunes to the Kumbha Mela

by Shamcher Bryn Beorse

Welcome to the world in which fairy tales are true, where the prominent scientists of the day join together to seek wisdom from a great sage of the Himalayas at the fabled Kumbha Mela. Guided by a trusted myth-spinning storyteller, their journey and its preparation are peppered with tales of metaphysical adventures.

From the bohemian Shangri-La of the Oceano Dunes to the ancient Ganges flowing from Himalayan heights, the group travels and discovers the realm of “silent reach”.

In the tradition of metaphysical fiction that was popular in the 1920’s and 30s, Fairy Tales are True sweeps the reader into a vortex of yogis, scientists, spies and fools. Unlike most of those forgotten novels of secret universal Buddhist brotherhoods and mystical Tibetan quests, this book is more than partly true.

Bryn Beorse, who was known to the Sufis as Shamcher, was the real deal: an actual world-travelling yogi-sufi who also was an esteemed economist and engineer.

Here he has created a fantastical autobiographical allegory in a book that defies categorization.

ISBN/EAN13:0978348559 / 9780978348557

Page Count: 108
Binding Type: Trade Paper
Trim Size: 6″ x 9″
Language: English
Color: Black and White
Alpha Glyph Publications

Available on Amazon – Find out more at the book website.

Mansur Johnson’s Book on Murshid SAM

We’ve been posting several letters from Shamcher to Murshid SAM lately, so this review fits right in!

Mansur Johnson’s Murshid

Mansur Johnson’s recent book, Murshid, is a wide ranging account of his pivotal years as student and secretary to the remarkable sufi mystic, Samuel L. Lewis, now known as Murshid Sufi Ahmed Murad Chishti. Taking place at the end of the 60s, the memoir draws directly from Johnson’s diaries in which he noted both the sacred and the mundane, along with quotes from Lewis’s correspondence of the day.

The book, a Personal Memoir of Life with American Sufi Samuel L. Lewis, covers the years 1967-1970, as the transformational energies of an increased interest in spirituality in San Francisco area drew students and seekers into the sweep of new consciousness.

This consciousness was nothing new, however, to experienced sufi Murshid SAM, who soon found himself to be a teacher and leader of this new generation of seekers. Speaking to them in a language that had never blossomed in quite that way before, using dance and song and meditation and all his years of training in Zen, Sufism, Yoga, esoterics, using all his travels and awareness, and mostly by following his inner intuition Murshid SAM gave not only Sufi Dances (now the Dances of Universal Peace) but an inspiring rare outlook on the world which for some became a lasting awakening.

What was happening behind the scenes in San Francisco, while he spread his message of awareness? Who had supported him before the young people began to flock at his feet? Many such questions are answered in this book, but many are still left to be discovered in other writings on his life and work. Mansur has simply selected a small area in which to focus and express some of the larger imponderables. Many of these larger philosophical issues he has left to others to define. Instead, he gives us an immediacy in the form of an almost daily log.

Here his edited and slightly annotated diary entries mingle with quotes from correspondence and unpublished papers. Covering the time of the origin of the San Francisco Oracle, the Sufi Dances in the park, and the rise of the Grateful Dead, the book reveals a social history by intimation. It also directly documents Mansur’s relationship with Murshid SAM as his pupil and oft-time secretary, and bravely reveals both his youthful devotion and limitations.

One value of this book lies in the very details that many readers could find superfluous. A scholar himself, Mansur is aware that the price of the meal taken at a specific restaurant could be of interest in the future. A mention of a name, a detail that seems to over-ride other information, these are all here as diarized, and as such, they provide a verity that mere theoretical or mystical speculation would never offer.

Sufi history (in the west) and politics of spiritual organizations, are all touched upon here, as are the direct ways that his teacher had to struggle to create a capacity for the work that he had to complete in his lifetime. The pupils he worked with, many of whom are mentioned in this memoir, went on to carry on his legacy. (It was almost as if they had been gathered to him to receive the energies in his final years on earth, to validate, amplify and pass them on.)

None of this is emphasized in the memoir, which is as down to earth as you can get, and gossipy as well. Any one participant in any event has his own point of view, and Mansur Johnson is no exception. Not only by repeating some of Murshid’s words on his opposition to Paul Reps, a famous fellow-pupil of Inayat Khan, but also by printing some of his own opinions on events, Johnson could be accused of not telling the whole story, or of being biased. Everyone caught in human events is naturally biased and subjective – this is the value of first-person narrative history. We will have to wait for alternative first-person accounts to give other aspects, or wait further for an impartial history.

Until then, we have Mansur’s account – which is inspiring and revealing. Shamcher (an old friend of SAM’s and also a fellow-pupil of Inayat Khan) often repeated the quote that history was the story of something that never happened, written by someone who wasn’t there. Well, Mansur was there, and because of that his book is a great read!

Murshid is a long and dense work, yet it only covers a few years. It is filled with photographs, and is rich with detailed lists: the 422 characters mentioned, a full glossary of terms, an extensive index and full bibliography of books mentioned. Johnson indicates that a shorter version may be released in the future, and perhaps in that volume he may reveal more of how he actually felt, or what his conclusions are, now that life and time have taken their course.

From the heavens to the most mundane, the book takes the reader on an extraordinary journey. It’s fascinating for its behind-the-scenes look at what happens in the close proximity to a mystic. Some may feel “you had to be there” to fully understand what this book is about. I disagree. In many ways, with this book Mansur takes his readers a place in proximity to Murshid SAM where very few individuals had the opportunity to go. Into the room where he is preparing to give a talk to his students. Into the car to drive to do necessary errands. Into the mystical realm where much remains unexplained. – Carol Sill

More info, including an audio talk on the book, can be found on Mansur Johnson’s site.

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Every Willing Hand

14 March 1980
Dear G.,
New York may just have forgotten that they just published Every Willing Hand. I guess it is better you write them than I, and, if you like, express a willingness to handle Every Willing Hand – though you may refrain when you see it – no “please” at all but a fighting mad author who warned HU: “You may be sued by all the people whose letter I quote without permission”. “No trouble” replied Shahabuddin “They can take our old press. That’s all we got, and good riddance.”
Tell NY you are the first who ever handed me a check – and on what? On some 8 and two-year old stuff: A State of Almost and Fairy Tales are True. From none of the other books I published, though they were best sellers some of them, I never received a cent and I was too uninterested in money to ever ask or bother them. And now A. sends me a whole 18 dollars and even more. Greet her with my very best and special thanks.

Yes, I am coming to OMEGA, was just phoned about today. That I am not so far on the list does not matter: They wish to keep the biggest surprises top (or bottom) secrets!!!… Yes, Inayat Khan told Pir Vilayat to keep the hierarchy – and he told others some other equally interesting things with apparent contrasting content. So is every sane message. And the personality to whom the message is given is intricately and helplessly woven into that message, which is for the person receiving it -and for nobody else. What anybody else has to do is ask for their own specific message and – not to accept for them a message given to another. The beautiful sanity. No, Pir Vilayat does not need to ask me or anybody else about IRAN, but in that area we are working very much in tandem, without consultation….in the Buddhist tradition fourteen sects advance fourteen different and contradictory systems – all of them approved by the Buddha, in addition what he gives openly or secretly to fifteen thousand other friends outside the fourteen. War, yes, we’ll try to steer away from it – just try …
My more, infinitely humbler greetings….Shamcher, Bryn, etc.

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From correspondence

My novel is not yet selling well, but often sales pick up after 2-3 years. One never knows those things. The book about employment will be publicized chapter by chapter by the interesting New York magazine FIELDS WITHIN FIELDS, published by Julius Stulman, a friend of Dr. Pierson and of Dr. Jule Eisenbud, retired professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, now living in Denver, who wrote me a beautiful letter about my full employment book and also my environment manuscript, saying that he “hoped to reach your wide, freewheeling manner of thinking…if I can rid myself of my educational, built-in programmed aberrations.”
From above you will see I have written an environmental book, including body and mind and feelings, not an unimportant part of the environment. Then I have written about a plot to kidnap Hitler during World War II, of which I was a part. We would just have given him a nice garden to stay in while, with more than half of the German nation, we would have built a reasonable world. In 1944, a year before the war actually finished. The English and Europeans were all for it. Roosevelt balked.

You’d be horrified, the language (translated into ditch-digger style. It is time the ditch diggers have this info) and deliberately “wild-flowing”. Then, among your strange group, there may be some one who likes it and wants to try other London Publishers. If you should happen to like it and want to try, best of all.
But only if you wish. Some of my best friends I have lost because they cannot say simply yes or no but go on their high horse and tell all about how the book should be written. But not two people agree on that and there is not one single competent judge in the whole wide world. All a person should say about a book is “My reaction is….” but never “It must be worked on, this is just a draft, the language is outrageous, you can’t write…”
Who can? You can only write for those who respond. Ernest Hemingway is “the most admired American writer” and just rot to me, while authors who are never published, whose works I am privileged to see, enthrall me.
So please, first tell whether you want to see book after Routledge has looked at if (if they don’t publish), then make another choice when you’ve seen it. Any comment is allowed and welcome if you admit it is just your own silly impression or opinion. I have 8 other scripts floating around.

This book grew out of the joyful VOID. The people attending its birth are processes or ‘wives’, not ‘persons’. They have all kinds of degrees and honors, not for proving their worth but for comforting the unsure readers, and for amusing the sure, mature ones. Some examples of the female and male midwives are shown.

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