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.

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”.

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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.

[Written under a Sufi Movement letterhead.]

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To SAM: “I am the youngest..”

My Dear Sufi Ahmed Chisty Samuel L. Lewis,

This just to thank you so much for sending me Sangithas and other documents. Some of the Sangithas confirmed what I already wrote to Headquarters after Musharaff Khan’s passing, which opens up new vistas for either good or worse Haag administration and liaison with sufis (Inayat’s disciples).

You are so absolutely right in pointing to God, Allah, Brahm, Ishwara, Dieu, Gott — rather than persons. Of course, not all are yet at that stage, but even so, it should be kept in mind, and heart, even at the initial stages and besides, all are really on all stages all the time though with a different emphasis. It is also quite true that “families” are unfortunately made to intrude between God and man but some, within these families show so much promise that you hide their faults even to your own sight because you see their great potentialities, and you foster them by stressing them instead of the temporary faults. Others, within same families, are so far astray that you don’t care to foster anything, you rather try to keep them off your mind.

Rumi, that great poet and mystic, quite often fell to unnecessary criticism and wailing over the state of the world and most prophets did. We, at this unique age, could rise above that and thus come even closer to GOD and Allah and dance around in this splendid atmosphere until we, also, become outlived as useful and give room for others. the young, as you say, which of course does not mean young in earthly years but in spirit, outlook. I am the youngest, almost too young. You come next.

Bless and blessings,


What you say about Idries Shah is interesting and true. I am greatly freshened by his keen outlook. He borders on the mystic but still has enough fire of the mind to be most interesting and slightly less mystical. Like all men he is true and a bit false, great and a bit small. Even most sufis are, except perhaps El Ghazali and, to some extent, Inayat Khan. They seem close to perfection. But even in the Sangithas traces of imperfection sneak in.
(No, the Cleveland mureeds did not evade Vilayat. They had not been told about him coming there, were most surprised and desperate hearing him over the TV, asked him a thousand questions by phone in order to identify him. Perhaps there was a mixup. He might have thought they knew.)

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To SAM: fana-fi?

19 October 1965
My dear, dear Sufi Ahmed Murad

Evelyn always reads your letters and mostly enjoys them very much except your last two letters to me and one letter directly to her which seemed to be in answer to some letter I guess she must have written to you. You know her.

Now,, why were these three letters unenjoyable to her? Because, like Moses and Jesus and most pirs and Rumi and others, once in a while you forget God are yourself. And I was the reason this last time. My slip of word that Vilayat “alone” represented his father’s group was not meant in regard to the mass of pupils and especially not in regard to you. It was simply that as titular head he was chosen and anointed by his father (not as channel to us others. He is great by never claiming such channelship). Simply in the humble manner of organiser. In the same vein, Ali Khan and later rather innocently Musharaff Khan, usurped this position.

This does not mean that you may not be further advanced, at least in certain respects, but nobody in the whole world is going to know that except God and all wise men will leave this knowledge to God and not speak it, but to whoever it be revealed, it is revealed and that is more than sufficient.

The other thing that irked you was that, in order to counter your demand that any one being taught by you must have the traditional sufi attitude of a pupil to a master a la fanafisheik or at least fanafi rassoul, I had to humbly (no really I am not humble at all, see later) tell you it was really physiologically impossible for me (as for so many others) to take any other stand than Fana-fi-Alla or Fana-fi Lillah, which is not (all sufi lore to the contrary notwithstanding) a gradual and natural development entitling you to titles, but simply a matter of temperament. And one of the things I always say is that the scientist type, who can never adopt a fana-fi sheik or even a fanafi-rassoul attitude is not therefore excluded from Sufism or any other line of training, and the Fana-fi-Allah or Fana fi-Lillah stage is not at all a sign of Pir-o-Murshidship as you say, though of course a Pir-O-Murshid also is on that stage, but for a Murshid his teaching urge in the special sufi lore is the first condition, then a lot more….Also, dear Sam, never say a person is “not a Sufi”. Every person really is, and Hal and Makam are terms that, as you know changes not merely with different sufi schools, but for the same person as he grows or diminishes, and they are unsuitable for public use. But for me sufism is not so central as for you. You are a great specialist. I am an absolutely nothing, disappearing behind the mask of God, know nothing nothing at all, and as such have a great demand on me that should not be disturbed. I have no respect whatever for the world etc. I was with Temple of Understanding for so many years. Vilayat and I are both ashamed of not having achieved what it has.


(I asked for Shamshuddin’s address, not Major Sadiq’s.)
(Maheboob Khan was indirectly appointed by Hazrat Inayat to rein(sic) for Vilayat until Vilayat would be of age. Nobody accepted Rabia Martin.)
(Abu Bakr Cheleby, 21st descendant from RUMI and head of the Mevlevis, whirling dervishes, is head and organiser but certainly not the most enlightened man of his order. Vilayat is far more than that for his order, but not, either, necessarily the most enlightened. The great thing with Vilayat is that he does not claim to be, in fact claims nothing.)

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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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Space Has All the Qualities You Need

Space has all the qualities, all the treasures you need. Figure the sweet life of space (which is yourself) rush from the farthest end of space toward and through the length of your body, from toes to head and then off again to the farthest end of space in the other direction. This a line or slender body. Then repeat, then have you whole body shrink to just a point, stay there awhile and then expand to the entire reach of the universe in all directions. You are a mighty ball, beyond all dimensions. Contract again. You will have absorbed all the powers and wisdom and grace of the universe. Many details of knowledge will still escape you, but that does not matter any longer. You are free — and noble. Our so-called civilization imagines that we know or ought to know, and should run to some “teacher” who is supposed to know if we don’t. All wrong. Wisdom (not knowledge) is pressing in from all sides and we ignore it seeking fabled, non-existing “knowledge” from imagined (dangerous) teachers.

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Edmonton Declaration 1978

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

Dear ___,
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
Dear G.,
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.

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