235 So 45th St.
Philadelphia, Pa 19104
Dear Sabira and Wali Ali,
Thanks very much for asking me to write about my experience with Sam. I’ d like to very much, but unfortunately I haven’t the time right now to do it the justice I’d like. When do you need my draft? When I received your letter, I was immediately filled with all kinds of memories of emotions that must be carefully sorted through before I can put them in witting. I don’t trust the “oral” tape recording technique. I’m more busy now than I’d ever thought I’d be sine I’ve just transferred into the Department of Anthropology at Penn. and I must do a lot of background reading etc. I also work 20 hours a week.
But I shouldn't complain because I can be a definite causal chain of events in my life and in important link being my old friendship with Sam Lewis. A Sufi I’m not (Whatever that isn’t!?) but Sam was many more things than a Sufi, and perhaps it was the non-religious aspects of old Sam Lewis that appealed to me most; he was a human being with many virtues and transparent weaknesses and perhaps what Sam thought me was that we all are such a combination of these virtues and weakness….
Surprisingly I’ve recently become friends with a scholar from Bangladesh who heard Sam speech at the University of Dacca and he was highly impressed, as were many of his friends there. He’ s trying to obtain a draft of the speech Sam gave that day, a take on the religion of love….
I still have two sets of prayer beads Sam gave me in San Francisco and they sit in my drawer with Buddhist paraphernalia as well. I was rather promiscuous, religiously speaking; when I hung out at Sam’s and I often visited Hsuan Hua, Tam Thuong Tulku et al while seeing Sam…. You must have been speaking to Joe Miller or Neville Warwick about me and Sam because they were well aware of the many changes I went through in that period of my life. To quote, you asked me to write about “any matters that came down between you” from my point of view. To do that well, with a decent degree of veracity and sobriety requires more time than I can immediately afford.
How are Joe and Gwen and Neville by the way? I’d like to write to them about Sam and others things as well. I’d also appreciate any news about the people I know as Sam’s students—their family names because I can hardly remember spiritual names. I doubt I can get to San Francisco this summer so I must rely on the mail.
Even if you haven’t time to fill me in on all the details, let me know if there’s a deadline for my memoires, and I’ll try my best to get them together.
Sorry for the delay in responding to you. It’s been a month…. I wish there was someone here in Philly who knew the S.E. scene back there in 1966->>…
PS. Why don’t you call Dr Hamid Algar at UC Berkeley, Dept of New Eastern Languages. He hated Sam’s guts and thought he was a totally self-deluded character. Dr William Brinner, of the same department, also knew Sam on a much more friendly bases and can be relied upon for a sober opinion. Sam admired him a lot, as much as Sam appreciated any “expert,” I imagine!!
Don’t quote me at all!! F.M.T.
(Hamid now teaches popular courses of Sufism at Cal.)