Concerning the Edmonton Sufis’ Declaration
By Carol Sill
During the split between the Order and SIRS, Shamcher sent me this Declaration, telling me it was from me, and that we were to send it out to all Sufis. He gave me the names and addresses of many I did not know, and then pushed this Declaration whenever and wherever possible. No one knew that he had written it, and even with me he insisted that I had done it. This is what it said:
We the undersigned Sufis of Edmonton, in the province of Alberta in Canada, reached the Sufi world through the message of Hazrat Inayat Khan.
We are a nucleus of the Brotherhood of all beings united in the ONLY BEING – humans, animals, plants, bacteria; all other beings, including the events appearing as bodies or objects on the earth, in the solar system, the galaxies – the entire universe.
We are members of the Sufi Order headed by Pir Vilayat Khan, and accept as equal members all of this order and respect the tenets of that order at all times. Pir Vilayat was the initiator of some of us. We equally are members of the Federation of Sufi Groups formed under the friendship-guidance of Hidayat Khan and all members of these groups are members with equal rights accepted by us. We equally are members of SIRS based in San Francisco and established by Murshid Samuel Lewis, now headed by Moineddin Jablonski, and all members of this organization are accepted equally with us.
We are members of and accept the members of each and every Sufi group in the world, every religious group, every group of any other character; every individual, of any type, human, animal, plant, mineral, or, in terms of modern physics – events. All these form the brotherhood in the fatherhood of God.
All titles, all ideas, all structures of any mind are respected and honored by us, though not held sacred. Only ONE is sacred: THE ONLY BEING.
( then it is signed by 17 of us – some who are still very much involved in the sufi effort.)
Comments on this decaration poured in to us, and to him. Here he comments on two responses:
“Thanks for mailing me the Declaration. Once you become a really sensitive Receiver of Vibrations, though, how do you filter out the “bad” and allow only the “good” to pass through?”
Shamcher: You accept all as they are, then let your own influence play. How long does that take? No matter.
“Your message put into declaration the feelings of “One single Brotherhood in the fatherhood of God” that we also feel.”
Shamcher: This is the answer for the individual sufi. Whatever or however this can be embodied in an organisation such as the Sufi Order depends of course on circumstances which only the official of that organisation can know.
I wish that I were finding the sense of more unity which you mentioned in your letter to friends, but I am still coming across many people who are either totally confused by the present situation or are vehemently taking sides. The confusion one can understand, but antagonistic side-taking is more difficult to deal with. Found a quote from “the Message” papers by Hazrat Inayat Khan that I felt worth sending to you. This particular section is entitled “Private Lecture for Mureeds and Friends” given in Brussels, December 17, 1923, notes taken by Madame Graeffe. “It is a great pity that religions, whether in the East or West, have their own creeds and Church. When it comes to brotherhood they say: ‘We have our brotherhood, you have yours’. Each thinks: they have their own brotherhood, But the way to look at it is as one brotherhood. Therefore the work of the Sufi Movement is not to create a Sufi Brotherhood. It is not a brotherhood, but a means to create a brotherhood, it is working for human brotherhood.”
30 January 1978
Your quote from Inayat Khan in your letter of January 4 (which I received today) shows that your have found the sense of unity. Another and more exuberant expression of the same is the Edmonton Sufis’ declaration, which should be enough for any one to see and find the sense of unity.
Inayat Khan publicly dissociated himself from a “murshida” appointed, by himself, who had disturbed the sense of unity. Inayat Khan repeatedly told stories of how even Prophets had failed, as for example in his story about Kidr and Moses. So why do people look transfixed at “leaders” and forget to look at plain people like the ones from Edmonton?
Sam Lewis wrote me letters containing the most ridiculous accusations of sufis he had never seen. Yet, his heart was mostly good. Only when you look sternly at “leaders” do you see division, and you see division among others who also look sternly and expectantly at “leaders”. But “leaders” are not leaders in that sense. Before you have learned dependence on yourself alone and on whoever you find who represents unity, whether they are “leaders” or floor-sweepers, you can find no “unity”.
Love and devotion,
(Shamcher adds this comment: How lucky for all of us that the Edmonton group chose to talk rather than keep “silence” which is the advice of so many “mystics”. Or should Inayat Khan, Sam Lewis, and Jesus have kept silent rather than talking? Or, can you see gold where it appears? Hierarchies are games, which, rightly understood and used, have a purpose, but which most often are not rightly understood or used.)
Many of his letters dealt with this issue, using the Declaration of the Edmonton Sufis as a point of dialogue.
1 February 1978
Thank you very much for your letter of 26 January. You are perfectly right in your characterization of the non-hierarchial attitude of the International Federation. In a sense I am the initiator of this organization. I realised these things from my 25 years. Today, at 81, I have seen how, not only philosophical-religious organizations but also whole nations, their “civil service”, their hierarchical working places, businesses, departments are destroyed by the hierarchial systems. You are right and you and I are ahead of most of the other members of this organizations.
It is essential, furthermore, that a close contact is maintained with those who have not yet discovered or realized this. This is where the Edmonton Sufis declaration beautifully and timely comes in. It does not break with anybody. It certainly does not accept any hierarchy but manages to keep their mouths shut on that particular issue in order to serve its very special purpose. Its message has cheered and enlightened people all across the sufi community. Their particular declaration was not issued by you or your federation. And perhaps could not be, at this time. It was issued by the Edmonton Sufis, for a purpose completely in accord with you spiritually, yet fulfilling another and as important function in its own way and manner. If you don’t see this yet, please do not answer yet, until you have meditated upon it in the light of Inayat Khan or, as he would say, in the light of God, for he was the most humble of prophets, who even wrote about Kidr, whom the prophet Moses tried to follow but Moses was not wise enough. So Inayat Khan even admitted that a prophet may be wrong. And he repeatedly corrected his own “murshidas” in front of all of us, one time Murshida Green, when she said something wrong to me, (I did not tell him, he knew.)
Of course, I would like to see a copy of your rules, as also the Edmonton group will, and since your organization now requires me to get that from the D. I shall ask them, even though I knew you before I knew the D., I know you better than I know the D., but they have humbly asked my forgiveness for throwing me out of their “Movement” after having had me conduct all their universal services every Sunday — by now, as you know, they have themselves left the “movement”.
Hidayat Khan and I are in deep communication with each other. If in the future you should again doubt my understanding of or loyalty to yours and his federation, please ask Hidayat.
(Click here for a random post from somewhere else in this blog.)