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?


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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

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To SAM: OTEC, and Vilayat

May 1963 (?)

My dear Sam,

Thank you for letter. Salt water conversion in desert interiors have not yet been solved satisfactorily — meaning not cheap enough. Even at the Sea Coast feasibility depends on certain natural conditions — temperature difference between surface and deep water — and slope of bottom.

It is a sad reflection on the human race that, rather than undertaking these simple measurements to determine whether in each case cheap water can be had from the sea –we go into expensive and temporary projects.

I have written to Vilayat about your great spiritual knowledge and achievements and commented upon your built-in defence against over-popularity, thus against waste of time receiving delegations and fans. You appear egotistical or superficial — and a worthy percentage stays away. You don’tcare. Those who go by the book will then not bother you.
Very nice.

How sad about Aramdarya,


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