To SAM: Titles

9 Oct 66
My dear Sufi Ahmed Murad Sam,

As you well know, while you do rightly take upon yourself a title, my whole being and fate is the opposite: No title, no “degree” of any kind and your little jokes writing to people I have advanced claims were just such things as playful sufis play upon one another to make inroads in pride and things — but now we have to stop that, among other things because now, after 70 I am to go forth into the world, one of my great strengths being having absolutely no title or rank (something Hazrat Inayat respected and fostered) so I have to write to all to whom you have so written and laughingly call the joke. I know of Gavin and Vilayat. There also seems to be some friend of yours in Pakistan. Please give his name and address — or, if you prefer to write him yourself, you may better and more correctly explain — that it was a joke to tease me for my great reluctance against all sort of titles which and of which I have none. send me copies, please. Also you can write to Gavin and Vilayat if you please.

As you well know, all titles are fakes, in civil world as in religion, but even we who know sometimes play with them for a purpose or for fun. It has however been my fate to see and associate with titled persons in Sufism and similar groups who were so grotesque that any such title to me looks like a soiled robe. I know that Hazrat lnayat so regarded his Pir-o-Murshid title but nevertheless stuck with it with tremendous self-sacrifice. And that Vilayat has consistently has refused to bear any title is one of many many many proofs that he and he alone represents his father’s movement. He is also the only one who in dexterity and sensitivity of heart and mind reminds you of Hazrat Inayat. His so-called failures at certain meetings or lectures you talk about means of course nothing at all, nothing, nothing. Earthly success is nothing at all. Jesus was jailed and tortured.

So amid your many great and busy duties, attend to my defrocking as soon as convenient so my fate may be played. Thank you

Shamcher

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to SAM: Titles and Mysticism

4 October, 1966

My dear Sufi Ahmed Murad,

Thank you for that beautiful test! Every or almost so — teacher tests their man by saying or writing what should rightly upset him. Now as for me, I have lost the upset-met, but let me try to respond: All titles that can be expressed in words are shams, but by shams we learn and shams we shall have. I often had to laugh seeing how Hazrat Inayat, a great soul, shammed his Pir-O title and those of his four angels who had received the glorious title of Murshidas. I visited the Grand Murshid of the Mevlevis in Aleppo and saw a humble fellow in the court yard who of course had no title for he was a teacher. These call themselves by all names or no names.

The fanafi-lillah or Fana-fi-alla state is often held by people who have no claim to even interest in learning or teaching. George Washington, Ben Franklin, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln were all Fana-fi-Allahs though they may never have heard that word.

In the sufi communities there have been many teachers titled up to Pir-O-Murshid who were just for the local stage, and in that religious community (Qutubs) then others had a wider range, could accept anybody on this earth, at least, and others again, accepted and held pupils far beyond their own passing into the next world, and from there, accepted new pupils living here and led them successfully toward their goal. Now as for you, glory be that you are taking upon yourself the almost impossible yoke of teaching, constantly, accepted mureeds. Bravo. We need you desperately. As for me, no such path at all. I am the man in the desert. Whomever I meet he will receive my shelter and food for so long as he stays and when he returns, and my answers to his questions, differing as he develops. But essentially he and I walk alone, our different paths. Most people today can only act this way and it is a safe and quite good way.

Many happy years with great triumphs

Shamcher

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To SAM: Sufi Organization

(Judith Hollister’s a “housewife?” Ha, she is the most sophisticated Madison Avenue expert and more than any of them! The sufis weren’t so trained. You, the oldest cherag (you are older than 1922, when another was init?) are the first to be blamed for not doing, then l. And Hollister temple does not even begin to look like lnayat’s plan, but it is much much better than nothing. All mureeds worked as hard as they could for the temple. When they did not succeed it was, first, your fault, next my fault.)

(You, Sam, are one of the most honest persons I know. Honesty is sufism. Whatever we seem to disagree on does not matter. Our discussions sharpen our wits.)

5 Nov 1966

My dear Pir-O-Murshid Sam,

Your recent letters indicate a blessed wish to serve the Hazrat Inayat’s movement and mureeds and I would very much like you to become — and will do what little I can to that effect — the National Representative for the Musharaff Khan group. I then could work with you, send all who wanted a personal living teacher to you, and together we could wed the two groups into one, as it should be.

If you wish I will write to Musharaff about this, except that he would probably act against any advice of mine. When he came here this spring he had great hopes from me, that I would join him and thus move Vilayat to join him. I said I had never left, neither had Vilayat but Vilayat’s views and position were due the same respect as his. This silenced him. I probably have no good with him any more. But if you would look up Munira Nawn in New York and her blessing (she is presently Musharaff’s National representative and dying) that may help. Nobody seems to know where Munira stays now — an institution of some kind. Please ask Sitara, at 318 SW 102 Str. Seattle. Or go to Musharaff in person or write him. I will write too if you wish. You might thus prevent those idiots from appointing Rosenberg, who may be ripe for it after 30 years of training. You may of course try Vilayat’s group. I have written Vilayat six months ago proposing that I be retired to give room for a younger soul (I was 70 then). He does not seem to wish to change, I was named Nat Rep without my knowledge, answered that I was not well suited but would stay until he found some better. You know I knew Vilayat since he was 10 , in 1925 and wrote Ali Khan in 1955 about Vilayat’s right to succession. Ali answered insolently so I went right to Geneva and told his to his face what he should have known. “I must be firm as a rock” answered Ali. “A rock does not spit” replied I. With such effort Vilayat’s wish to see me represent him in the USA was natural. But we have different, though similar views on hierarchy. He has not written me for years. We correspond more directly. I am angry with him for assuming that also others so correspond. He should write to others. He doesn’t.

Blessed are you that you are willing to take the yoke. I need your teaching too, but cannot see my way to go until something turns up.

Shamcher

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To SAM: Sufis, Economics

28 Dec 66
My dear Sufi Ahmed Murad Cheleby Baker Sam Lewis,

Thank you very much for letter. Yes, I know Cecil Gibbings, he must be 84 by now and still going strong. He is first to be highly recommended for being a rector, a priest, a vicar in the English Church and a sufi, much appreciated and initiated in Murshid’s rank by Hazrat Inayat.

What I am now going to say must not be repeated: As with so many, these initiations and his strenuous life and fine intentions have gone to his head so he has found time to denounce and damn a lot of innocents such as both Maheboob, Ali Khan, Musharaff and Vilayat, who all, whatever they have done or not done, benefit nobody by becoming victims of damnations. Many apparent prophets have indulged in damnations. The best that can be said about it is that it is superfluous, a waste of sound, a waste of thought forms, a waste of breath. Also, he concocted on his own a sort of agenda for a “sufi order” in which Mrs. Duce’s Meher Baba outfit was the only USA sufi group worth mentioning in his view. I wrote him nicely and bleakly telling him about US Sufis without even mentioning Mrs. Duce or Meher Baba. We both know these two persons well, the dragon, and the dragon’s innocent victim. You should have seen me with Meher Baba! His four mighty bodyguards were ready to devour me. But Meher retained his composure. That is one thing at which he is good.

Yes, I am writing the White House regularly about Vietnam and Red China. Those who have the solution mostly say nothing. I talk for them, always beginning by praising the President and his utterings for they deserve praise. But here in the US we have the most exquisite men to do the job that needs be done — except that these men are not used. But I write again and again, more patient, more sweet each time, now pretending that some of these men may have been sent already (since they have disappeared from their homes) etc. etc. These are men who personally know the great figures — Mao tze Tung. Lin Piao, Liu Shao Chi, Ho Chih Minh. There is no communication, none whatever, except through already trusted friends — at this point. Officialdom is nonsense.

Social Credit–not a good name now. John F Kennedy was rising from ignorance to a good grasp of the main principles, until he uttered “The myth of the Federal Budget”. So true, but I asked Seymour Harris, his tutor and senior advisor to the Treasury if it wasn’t too blunt. “No no, just right! It had to be said.” US economists now are social crediters in the right sense as those Canadians (simple) in Alberta were years ago, but you do not now have to go to Canada to learn about what is now more developed here at home. Douglas, the creator of Social Credit was much of a Babbitt, too, fond of simple mathematical formulae which did not at all fit the complex economic structure (more advanced math may be used discernedly) and refused to go to Canada to see what was really then better than him, afraid he would be embarrassed. I still have a better overall view of economics of any country but less knowledge of details, than most. But if I am appointed anywhere I can collect, digest and use the details toward solution. It is a complicated instrument, not to be played with.

Shamcher

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To SAM: Ali Khan, also Social Credit

What happened to Gavin? What happened to Gavin!
8 August 1966

My dear Sam S.A.M.

Yes, in my present financial condition I could finance three of the books you mention and I was planning to send a check along with this letter but more fair would be to just wait for your bill which may be slightly higher due
to taxes and postage etc. At first I had imagined you wished to sell me superfluous, used sufi books which I would have welcomed, but now we may achieve the Same by you loaning me the books you buy with my assistance when you have finished with them temporarily. At such time I could have them for two-three months, but we should agree first which books would be so disposed, since I already have a few.

Musharaff Khan, while here, laid open many movement points by statements to my wife or myself which have provided welcome opportunities for me to exchange letters with him about the Hazrat Inayat message in relation to the more ancient traditions of the East, Ali Khan and some of his idiosyncrasies, and Vilayat and his special mission, all of which must have caused considerable headache for good Musharaff but he had it coming and his answers have been rather desperate. Truth is, the senseless quarrels initiated by Ali Khan have kept highly important parts of Hazrat lnayat’s message frozen and unknown and now Musharaff, who is rather an innocent in these matters, has the beautiful but urgent chance of repairing Ali’s mistakes by embracing Vilayat — the best of their crew but not enough in himself. Well, we’ll see.

A new mureed here is Mr. Taylor recently of Alberta who confirmed my impression that Eberhart and Manning, Alberta Social Crediters, good, honest and astute men who had carried to great success, against tremendous odds, the weak but basically true id [sic] as of social credit. Douglas, its “inventor” and champion was not very clear or wise, and his “equations” were never accepted in Alberta, luckily, nor was he ever willing to go to Alberta and see the only practical application of his theories, though he was invited while I was in London with him.

Best of all, blessings granted and accepted

Shamcher Bryn Beorse

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To SAM: Master is a Disciple’s Word

21 April 66

My dear SAM,

Thank you for letters. It is always interesting to read you and your worries. You know more about sufi history and status than most, and a lot of other movements. The consequence of such knowledge has often been, apart from the blessings — a great dependence on these scripts and persons. Even Rumi was liable. He also went into complaints, about the lack of peoples’ attention to his cries in the wilderness and such. All the pamphlets have had such weaknesses, though of different shades. Hazrat Inayat was one of the greatest, freest, to whom the title of Pir-O-Murshid was a deep understatement, simply funny.

You know that, however funny or entertaining criticism of others may be meant, and may seem, it always detracts from your spiritual affluence. Hazrat Inayat was often listening to complaint about his disciples — Fatha Engle and others. He smiled, distantly, patiently explained to the complainer that Fatha and others were chosen children of God, they “acted according to their nature”, what more could one expect? The same, of course, is true of Allan Watts and all your other detractors. Your up and fight-em is against Jesus advice “resist not evil.” It is that simple. But Jesus did not always live according to it.

An enlightened man is not really enlightened. The world is a funny, sometimes cruel play. Do you expect anything from or of the world? Don’t. Do you look up to special people? Look up to all, but not so that you blind yourself to the challenge that you (and I) must do better than all of them. “Master” is a disciple’s word. To us it does not exist.

You ask what is the connection between Vilayat and Musharaff. Do you want to know? You are asking the right person. I alone wrote to Ali Khan one year before Vilayat made his claim and broke — that it was up to him, Ali, to embrace Vilayat before this happened. Ali answered arrogantly, ignorantly, that “It is not for the mureeds to talk about Hazard lnayat’s family.” I then went to Geneva and faced Ali directly, told him a few things that impressed him, but the schism continued — as it must. But to really tell you the “connection” requires at least face-to-face talk with you. Not for writing. By all means continue your elegant acquisition of knowledge about religious and mystical men — but be not too impressed with any of them. Know that you and I can do better. Must do better. Be glad for what the world offers, but expect nothing.
Salam aleikum,

Shamcher

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To SAM: Sufis, OTEC

12 October 1963

My dear Sam,

Your welcome letter came just as I was trying to find where Evelyn had hidden your former letter with your address. I was going to write you that your great success and following will be with other intellectuals than those with whom you now have battle, though the battle serves the purpose of attracting attention. I see from your letter that you received my message through the air as sufis should. Apart from that you have other messages for me which you have not written.

In some respects you are the greatest living sufi (and in other respects l am) but just for that reason it seems, as you say, unwise to adorn yourself with a title such as murshid, here in America, for it will repel more than it attracts. A few will see in you more than that and the more the less ostentatious you are — yet, in a society such as ours a certain ostentation is required to have working chance.

While I had lengthy correspondence with Indian government, now Portugal seems to become the first to try out Some of my special sea water conversion methods — and what irony! India will come to learn at the feet of Portuguese! Not directly and knowingly perhaps, but actually, technically. But is just a small part of my life as horticulture is with you.

Back to titles again: I agree with Vilayat when he does not call himself nor wishes any one else to call himself even Murshid, far less Pir-O-Murshid — in reverence to great Inayat Khan. When Ali Khan called himself Pir-O-Murshid that was between God and himself, and not my concern but I deeply prefer Vilayat’s words, although in some respects Vilayat is greater than his father or, should I say, more appropriate for delivering the message in the Western World — all of which was according to Inayat’s wishes.

Do not worry about how the established sufis will receive you or us. They have no duty to receive anybody nor do we have any duty or wish to be received. We live among us and act and take what reaction comes and often I have felt new and hitherto unheard of souls will carry the burden onwards. Even at an early stage many old sufis who had considered lnayat their personal pet, left in disgust when there was talk of a world message and a world teaching. Others left when Maheboob and Ali took over — for Vilayat (which was even better, the free and large side of the sufi movement) or for private practice as Van Tuyll, or for no more sufis at all.

I am going to Cleveland 25th, then on to New York. Tell me all about these centers. In New York I do not know a single remaining sufi any more. Are there any?

Shamcher

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To SAM: Vilayat and Sufis

6 April 1963

My dear Sufi Ahmed Murat Sam,

So long have I waited writing to thank you for gorgeous dinner and inspiring session, in hopes that Vilayat would answer my letter about your plans for sufi center and to receive gathas (and not Githas). But we have an avowed agreement, Vilayat and I, that when he does not answer it is because he is in perfect agreement, and so he has really said that: Yes, by all means, and I am grateful that you, Sam, go ahead with a sufi group, under that name and I shall do my darndest to see you get the Gathas and Gathekas. And to be quite sure, I would also, in your case, write the Dutch center for distribution, Duchess Madame Audre de la Porte, 49 Hermelijn Laan, Hilversum, Holland. Tell her to send the bill (if any) to me.

Now let me moderate and speculate on Vilayat’s lack of answering letters. It isn’t total. Last fall he wrote me a long and hearty one. And I have no criticism whatever of his lack of writing, but try to explain it. 1) He is always busy with direct contact with mureeds and other people. 2) He often must go into retirement for reasons of health. 3) He is sole custodian, repairman etc. of his father’s house. 4) He is somewhat advanced in distant communication and can often, perhaps always, feel what his communicator is saying, feeling and so often tending to conclude that a letter is either not required, or, in any case, would be insufficient, or he waits until a solution has developed.

Vilayat, like yourself, is very well versed in historic as well as presently existing sufi activities, personalities and processes. No doubt you two are the best informed on this in the West, perhaps in the world. I trace in your exuberance over your spiritual and intellectual successes, a slight wonder, if not irritation, over the lack of response to your teachings and advice among the general public. One reason is the very name sufi, or islam, which, both, are identified in our encyclopedias as rather narrow religious idiocy (as if idiocy wasn’t always narrow!). Then there are the more enlightened who say, all that with Sam is very well, but what do I need other than God? And so they go into bull sessions of meditation and hear ticklings in the ears which they interpret as the eternal Oom, Aumm, the creative sound, the voice of God. And, they say, what can be higher than God? The sufis scramble somewhere near it, but I, Sophistambulus the Great, already have it! So you see, there are diversions on low and on rather high. But you will still have your pupils, who will teach you more that you teach them (As Hazrat lnayat put it).

Love and all the Heavens
Shamcher

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OTEC

Very late in my life, in 48 when I was 52 years old… I had chosen engineering before I knew Inayat Khan. In fact, I didn’t know what I wanted to study. My father asked me and I said, “Well, something in the line of physics, medicine, geology, jusrisprudence, the whole lot.” And finally I had to concentrate on one thing so I took engineering because then you can travel and see things in various countries, and I wanted to travel, I wanted to see if the world was round. So one time I when I was the managing director of a small company, and I was in Paris I saw in the National Science Foundation of France a story about energy from the ocean. There were tides, waves, but especially the temperature difference between surface water and deep water. You put in a steam engine there. The warm water of the surface near the tropics evaporates, boils in a boiler, when you lower the pressure, when you pump air out. That steam that develops from this boiling runs a turbine, the turbine runs a generator. And after the turbine, the steam is condensed and this steam apart from being condensed is then fresh water. So you do two things with this machine: you produce energy and water. In California we had a great water shortage at that time. We still have but we have forgotten that, now we have a power shortage. Our power and water government agencies cannot cooperate, they have nothing to do with each other. That is one reason why it is so difficult to promote OTEC. Anyway, I dropped everything else when I found out about this, I said to myself, “This is what the world needs. This is what California needs, the United States, Canada, the world.”

(From a talk given in the late ’70s)

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