Tag Archives: initiation

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.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Inayat Khan, Sufi

Death, Physics, Initiation

From An Interview with Shamcher Bryn Beorse

J=Jelaluddin Boru S=Shamcher

J: How about death?
S: That is another reason for the misunderstanding. Death is a different thing than we usually picture it. And death doesn’t come from a disease. A disease may come at the same time, and then people will say, “Oh, he died from cancer.” You can’t prevent death, and why should you want to? That is why healing groups make a great mistake when they say, “These people mustn’t die, we must heal them.” Cancer may be a hideous disease, but there is nothing hideous about death. It is merely a certain rhythm which says “now this form of life is out.”
Many people ask about Inayat Khan’s death. Well, there are many theories, but I see that he had simply lived out his life. He wasn’t physically exhausted or anything like that, in fact he was fresh enough to be able to go to India and live a comfortable last year there, but his life as a constant stimulator of people’s vibrations was finished. So he said as he went to India that he wanted no one to go with him. A couple of disciples disobeyed.

J: Had you intimations of his death before it came?
S: Well, one time he said to me, “Murshid has no more interest” and I had a feeling about it then, and another time when I told him that I was looking forward to meeting him the following summer he said, “From now on, Shamcher, we will meet in your intuition.”

J: Did you say once that he died of a broken heart?
S: No, I never said that, that was —– who said that.

J: Some say that he was poisoned.
S: These are all superstitions. He was very happy that last year, and when he died there was the scent of roses in the room.
*
J: What are your thoughts on your own death?
S: Oh, I was in it once, when I had my accident, and the doctors told my children that I was dead. And during that time I met my parents and everything was fine, but then I was insolent enough to come back.
That experience of death was a very pleasant thing. My mother and father spoke to me as if I had been there with them all the time. They weren’t surprised, and the whole thing felt like it was just a continuation of a conversation. Probably I had been there before and not remembered it. Or perhaps without being aware of it.
By the way, when you were speaking about the mystic sciences before, were you including the atomic theory and the Quantum theory? I would include these as well. Because when you have a light photon you can explain it mathematically as a wave, that is, you have a certain set of equations which describe it as a wave, but then simultaneously you have another set of equations that describe it as a particle, an entirely different set of equations. So the old physicists say, the ones still bound to the old form of cause and effect, that this is impossible, it can’t be two things. But the Quantum theory people say, “Yes, the two things seemingly opposite are two poles of the same reality…”
In a sense we can explain it like this. Imagine you have a circle. When you look at it from the end it looks like a straight line. So in this dimension it is just a line. But stand it up in the second dimension and it appears as the circle. Now, if you put it in the third dimension you may have a doughnut; cut a line through it, you have two circles, but actually these two circles are just another way of expressing the doughnut in the third dimension.
*
J: I am always very interested when we talk about the concept of opposites. Isn’t that how linguistics tries to explain language, as a system embodying a relationships of opposites?
S: Yes, language is built on the relationship of opposites, but not so much in Chinese or the other Oriental languages as our own.

J: I found that out a couple of years ago when I worked for a time as a Vietnamese interpreter, Those languages are so much more fluid and less suggestive of what we sometimes call the “subject-object dichotomy”…
A line from Hazrat Inayat Khan has just entered my head here. He says: “Everything is apprehended by its opposite, And that’s why God is so hard to apprehend because He has no opposites.”
S: That’s very good. That’s very true… It is we who are living in the opposites. Good or evil, dark or light…
*
J: What is enlightenment?
S: Oh, enlightenment, yes. Well, let us just say that enlightenment is something you are looking forward to, and when you reach it then you can begin looking forward to the next enlightenment.
You see, there is always more…
Even God himself gets better all the time! When you have begun to be enlightened you feel, “Yes, I have a lot more to learn, but now at least I am happy because there is no doubt anymore.” And in this state you can look at the mistakes you have made, and passed and know that they are fine, that they belong. So you are enlightened in the sense that your doubts aren’t giving you such trouble, and you are ready to begin learning a thousand things…

J: Enlightenment is the point at which you realize that you don’t know?! Ya! (chuckles)
*
J: There is something that happens like that in initiation, where you begin to “know that you don’t know” only it’s so sudden that it can be tremendously confusing. After I was initiated by Neaatma at that Canada camp, the same time that I met you, Shamcher, I entered a period of bewilderment in which I felt completely disconnected from my normal habits and routines. Like I am a writer, and I couldn’t get myself to sit down and write, except for brief intense bursts, for about four months!
Now I think that a lot of what was happening to me was that I was learning to communicate without words, what the sufis call “tawwajeh” or heart to heart, and in the midst of this lesson I couldn’t immerse myself in the same old ways of analyzing and describing everything…,
It’s not painful to me anymore. Probably because I am finally coming out of it. But what would you say to someone who is still going through it…?
S: You just have to wait, be in touch with the silences as we’ve talked about, and it will work itself out.

J: Is that all? Do you think it is bad to struggle against it?
S: Yes. That is useless, and will make the experience worse.

J: I wish I understood this more. The point where I stopped being angry with myself for being unable to transmit the images that I was being bombarded with through my pen, to just feeling wonderful about the deep change that was going on in my being.,.
S: You know, this is really wonderful for me to hear. I didn’t realize that the initiations being given by the present initiators could still do that… When I was initiated by Inayat, I hung around in Suresnes for six weeks and then–blam!

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Inayat Khan, Shamcher, Sufi