Six Interviews with Hazrat Inayat Khan
Murshid Samuel L. Lewis
(Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti)
Six Interviews with Hazrat Inayat Khan
(dictated in 1970)
Toward The One, The Perfection Of Love, Harmony And Beauty,
The Only Being, United With All The Illuminated Souls,
Who Form The Embodiment Of The Master, The Spirit Of Guidance.
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate, and in the Name of the Messengers and Prophets and all the Sufis in Chain, beginning with Mohammed, the Seal of the Messengers.
The six interviews with Hazrat Inayat Khan were the result of actual mystical experiences of Samuel L. Lewis, now known as Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti. They were based on actual mystical experiences which took place in June 1925 at the then-functioning Kaaba Allah in Fairfax, California. It is an unfortunate but common characteristic of those who assay to fame and leadership to reject unwelcome facts, no matter how well substantiated. The denial of these reports points directly against all those who pretend (in the West) to be disciples of Sufism, for by refusing to accept these reports they have gone contrary to the sixth of the ten Sufi principal thoughts which says, “There is One Brotherhood, the human brotherhood, which unites the children of earth indiscriminately in the Fatherhood of God.”
One of the outcomes of this rejection of a disciple of Inayat Khan by the members of legal organizations bearing the word “Sufi” in their titles, has in turn led to their rejection by other groups such as the followers of Idries Shah and Frithjof Schuon, and thus a divided Sufism in the West, the divisions arising basically from the actions of the questionable leaders themselves. We cannot compel any legal organization whatever to accept the moral teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan, either as published in The Sufi Message or in the writings restricted to disciples. As a legal organization is not a spiritual entity, these reports are for human beings who were created in God’s image.
One had to keep quiet about one’s mystical experiences until they were reported to the teacher. Although one began studying with Murshida Rabia Martin in 1919 and one had many of the same types of experiences that one can read about in Sufi literature (that is, by Sufis) and also in legends concerning Sufis by others, one restrained oneself. But one also felt, and it proved to be true, that the real spiritual teacher would accept anything and everything, psychical, occult, and spiritual or mystical, coming from the disciple. Indeed, as Hazrat Inayat Khan has said, but his followers badly divided reject, “It is the mureeds which make the murshid.”
The disciple reported the events of 1925 which were still very keen in his memory and which evidently also have been marked in the ethers. Hazrat Inayat Khan asked him to come back the next day or as soon as possible and also to write up the experiences and report them, which was done but ignored by Headquarters.
Note: The experiences of 1925 will be written elsewhere, not being themselves the direct communication from Hazrat Inayat Khan.
I. First Interview
On June 10, 1925 Samuel L. Lewis of San Francisco left his family home and the city of his birth to go to Kaaba Allah, Fairfax. This was a Sufi retreat near an unorganized town which has since become a city. He had been in pain for years. Doctors had done nothing for him except to apply medicines and charge accordingly. There was not an organ in his body properly operating. He had been in pain for years. He had been forced into debt by wealthy parents who demanded accounting of every cent he earned while indulging his brother Elliot in any and all enterprises, honest or questionable, provided they bring in financial returns. (It is not necessary to go into these complexities; the terms used by sociologists are extremely confusing. In any event his father apologized on his deathbed, and Sam is in excellent financial circumstances for a retired man due to a combination of his own efforts and the receipt of family inheritances long overdue. Besides, the moral and sociological elements of this report are unimportant.)
By series of circumstances not easily explained, Samuel had met Murshida Martin, a Sufi teacher, in September 1919, and six weeks later encountered one Rev. M.T. Kirby. Kirby’s spiritual name was Sugaku Shaku, and he had been a disciple of Shaku Soyen who brought the real Zen Dharma Transmission to this country, first in 1893 and again in 1906. Dr. Kirby and Murshida Martin became friends, and Sam studied both Zen and Sufism without conflict. In 1923 he introduced Nyogen Senzaki, another disciple of Shaku Soyen, to Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan, and they both initiated each other, so to speak. Thus, when he went into seclusion he had already had some training both in Sufic practices and meditative Zen.
He was too weak to carry books with him so he only brought copies of the works of the Sufi poet Hafiz, a notebook, and foods. He was put on a special diet by Rabia Martin, one based on teachings and directives of Hazrat Inayat Khan. This was a basic khilvat, or seclusion diet, very much akin to that used by Sufis in seclusion all over the world.
It was with difficulty that he mounted the steps above Forest Avenue in Fairfax. He fell down when he reached Kaaba Allah, 133 Hillside Drive. This was the last time he ever fell down in his life, and much has happened since 1925.
The first few days he was too tired for anything but meditation and Sufic practices. But he was able to read a little. On the third day he completed the reading of Hafiz as the sun was setting. The rays of the sun fell on the book, and as he finished the last page two doves suddenly appeared, circling his head, cooing.
That night as he was doing his spiritual practices he felt a presence and he was sure it was Khwaja Khizr. There are many legends of Khwaja Khizr. Even some Western occultists have accepted the reality—of the legends. When it comes to events that is something different again. It reminds one of a story of a Frenchman during a run on the San Francisco bank in the 1850’s: “If you got heem we no want heem, if you no got heem we want heem.” If you believe in legends you are “saved,” but if you propose that your belief is based on actual experience, that is a sure sign you are a pretender and damned.
In any event the stalls and stores are filled with books using the label of Zen, and it was many years before an honest man had the audacity to write a book on Zen, based on living experiences, experiences of living people. Now the same thing has happened in Sufism. There are a few living men, such as Titus Burckhardt, Frithjof Schuon, and Marco Pallis who accept Imam Al-Ghazzali, that Sufism is based on experiences and not on premises. It is taking a long time to support Al-Ghazzali factually and objectively, but sooner or later we are going to have objective honesty in esoteric branches of culture. And that is why these reports are being given. Sufism is based on experiences and not on premises.
Sam had read about Al-Ghazzali in the works on Hafiz. He had also read about him in a book called The Darvishes by an American, J.P. Brown—an American whom our “only in America” successful experts in Oriental philosophy long ago pushed out of the picture.
There was a recurrence of this appearance of Khwaja Khizr on the second night and then on the third. He offered poetry or music. Sam chose poetry. On the third night there was a long argument—why was the poetry chosen and not the music? It is not necessary to detail this but if anyone wants it, it can be given.
Actually, it was not a choice. It is merely a different story. Years later the music did come, and it is coming, and with it the Dance, but these are different stories. After the third night Sam began writing incessantly. A few of his things were saved from the fire of 1949 which destroyed 35 years of research and writing and a magnificent spiritual library.
At the end of ten days all the health and vigor were restored and Sam prepared an initiatory ceremony for noon March 21, the equinoxial hour. It must be said here that Murshida Martin had been a teacher in occultism, especially what is called Martinism, before she became a Sufi Murshida, and she transmitted some of this knowledge to her early disciples. One prepared a ceremony with concentration, and in turn Shiva, Buddha, Zoroaster, Moses, and Jesus appeared. Then Mohammed appeared, but double, on the left and right and on horseback. All the others came singly. Then the six Messengers of God, so to speak, formed a circle and danced and became one, and as they danced the Prophet Elijah appeared and bestowed a Robe. This is the Robe, not a Lloyd Douglas fiction. The same Robe was bestowed by Khwaja Moin-ed-din Chisti at Ajmer in 1956 and by Amir Khusrau at Nizam-ud-din Auliya in 1962. And when Ahmed Murad, as he was then called, returned to Pakistan after that, he was given this Robe, actually. He has it in his possession now. It is functional. It has been recognized by Sufis who are Sufis. It has been rejected by the good, honest experts on Oriental cultures who, thank God, are gradually fading out of the picture. This will herald a day, a day already approaching, when mystics can write on mystical subjects based on experiences, as scientists can write on scientific subjects, based on experiences.
The disciple was supposed to remain in khilvat, seclusion, for 10 days with an additional day before and after. But owing to his exaltation, Sam kept quiet for 14 days until he met Murshida Martin and reported to her. Then he kept silent until 1926 when he again met Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan at the Beverly Hills Hotel and the above was the subject for the first interview. Murshid asked him to write this up and keep it as a record, and it was also the basis for the five interviews which followed.
The report was written up and ignored. It was demanded and written many times and ignored by the non-mystics who got control of the machinery of the Sufi Movement in the West. But whatever happens to a personality, especially what happens that can build up the radiations called Baraka (Hebrew, barocha) had been recognized by so many mystics in such contrast to its absolute rejection by egocentric poseurs, that one hopes in the future we are willing to learn a little both from the above and from those actual personalities, such as named above. (This recognition also came from real Zen Masters, very great Yogis, Christian Fathers, especially Franciscans, the Protestant Mystic Rufus Moseley, and one or two Kabbalists. Never mind the “experts.”)
The proof of the validity of the above comes first in the physical and mental vigor of the person blessed by Khwaja Khizr, and this is exactly in accordance with the traditions, and in a sense according to theories of mystical initiations. In addition to that there is the poetry, especially great epics which in the past have been snubbed and rejected, and which are now on the way toward publication—a minor one has been published.1 This is to be expected. It is a mistake to assume an ego will. All mystics, and especially those entrusted with responsibilities, have to undergo certain outer as well as inner crucifixions, so to speak. Almost everything is in exact accord with Futuh-al-Ghaib of the great Sufi Master Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, often known as Ghaus-i-Azam.
As Sam, now known as Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti, has been asked to write his autobiography, this will cover many of his adventures inward and outward, which can hardly be explained except with the operation of blessings and divine Grace.
II. Second Interview
The second interview with Hazrat Inayat Khan at the Beverly Hills Hotel came as a result of the first one which consisted of my reports, especially of my experiences of 1925. As I entered the room he stood up and motioned to me and took my hands in the spiritual manner and said, “I initiate you for the sixth time in the Sufi Order.”
I did not know what this meant, although later, in going over his papers, I discovered it and was amazed. In any event, practically everything of this second interview, and much of the later interviews, was rejected by presumably “good” people, and this substantiated what he said to me then and has been further substantiated by what has actually happened. Ego excuses have no place in spiritual undertakings. Sufism teaches there is no room for self and God both. This was not understood; but we must also be very careful not to condemn because the people involved were not necessarily ready.
I was at that time a rather frightened young man, but had another “veil-lifting experience” (in the home of Roderick White on Garden Street in Santa Barbara) which indicated potential, or more than potential, assurance of the spiritual advancement of this person. What followed during this interview so shocked everyone when I later told them that its contents and those of the following interviews were rejected, except by Mr. Paul Reps who was stationed outside the door during all but the last interview, when he was inside.
Before we sat down, Inayat Khan said to me, “Samuel, I am going to ask you a favor. I want to speak to you as man to man. I am not Murshid; you are not mureed. We are just men. If we cannot act as men, it will not help me. Can you act to me as man to man? If so, let us shake hands and then we can sit down and talk as man to man.”
We did so and sat down. “How many loyal mureeds do you think I have?”
“Oh, I guess about 100.”
“I wish I had 100. But how many do you think, at the least, loyal mureeds I have?”
“Well,” I said, “I don’t believe it, but just to give an answer, I would say 20.”
“I wish I had 20! I wish I had 10!”
Then he lifted his right hand and, using the index finger of his left hand pointed to the middle of it and yelled, “I wish I had 5 loyal mureeds! Samuel, can you believe it, I have not as many loyal mureeds as I have fingers on one hand!”
By that time the chair in which I had been sitting toppled over like in a Hollywood movie, and I was sitting on the floor, totally amazed. But, by this action, and by his loud speech, I received the full magnetism of his Baraka or blessing, and I believe I still have it. Certainly Sufi-Sufis believe this—although high self-appraisal one must admit is both delicate and dangerous.
He then told me the story of his search for one honest man whom he could trust. It was only after years that he found one Mr. E. de Cruzat Zanetti to whom, he said, he gave all trust, no compromise, all trust. And he told me, and repeated later in the course of further interviews, that in case of any difficulty I should write to him.
Hazrat Inayat Khan then went over the matters he would take up with me:
a. Succession in the Sufi Order;
c. The science of commentaries;
d. The universal Temple;
e. The reconciliation of Western Intellectualism with Eastern mysticism;
f. The fulfillment of the purposes of my life.
III. Inayat Khan and the Universal Temple
In his second interview Hazrat Inayat Khan told me of his efforts to establish a universal Temple which would unite the peoples of the East and West. He was also trying to unite and integrate the practical ways of all parts of the world. He used the words “unite” and “integrate” in a semantic, or dictionary fashion. (I have been a student of mathematics, and “integration” in Newton, Liebnitz, etc. means “merging with growth,” and not just “blending and compiling.”)
The Universal Worship was an effort to introduce into the world a devotional mechanism which would comprehend all peoples. It was at one time called “The Church of All.” He also foresaw that in building a Temple, it might draw upon elements of all the architecture and art of the cultures and civilizations which have risen from the world religions. In the following respects it was different from the Baha’is:
a. Blending, but not dispossessing or re-placing, the scriptures and teachings of the past;
b. Holding to the mystical and esoteric backgrounds of all, along with the popular forms and teachings;
c. Permitting room for growth once a and b had been accomplished.
In 1923 the Universal Worship was introduced by Hazrat Inayat Khan and was organizationally somewhat separate from the Sufi Order. But the Sufi Order provided the esoteric disciplines, in theory at least, by which achievements could be obtained in the outer world, God-willing. Therefore, in 1923 many disciples were given concentrations on the Temple—the finding of a place, the collection of funds, the building of an edifice. When Hazrat Inayat Khan returned to this country in 1926, he found that very few disciples, of which I was one, had gone ahead with the concentrations.
Pir-o-Murshid had also learned from my first report that I had had the mystical initiation of “the unity of all Divine Messengers.” His Universal Worship was based on this very thing. This can be seen by an examination of IX of The Sufi Message entitled “The Unity of Religious Ideals.” He found that I already knew about Emperor Akbar of India, a Sufi who functioned from the standpoint of the unity of religious ideals, even though today he is ignored by the multitude of new “universal religions,” “world institutes,” etc., etc., who would replace the traditions of the past with a new outlook, always with themselves as leaders, of course. (Since that time the writer has twice visited Fatehpur Sikri, Akbar’s palace in India, and on both occasions met the successor of the family of Selim Chisti which acts as guardians of that region.)2
It is strictly in accord with mystical, and especially Sufic traditions, that a disciple having cosmic visions and mystical states is more worthy of trust than others. And on the basis of my spiritual reports and the fact that I had continued with the concentrations, I was therefore considered worthy from the mystical, certainly not from the social, point of view, of being entrusted. And this is exactly what Hazrat Inayat Khan did. And nearly all his disciples refused to accept this, while nearly all disciples in Asian Sufism did accept. All of Inayat Khan’s “legal successors” have been in agreement here. Each for his or her selfish reasons has accepted or rejected what they pleased. Even worse, they rejected both the private and public declarations of the late Pir-o-Murshid Hasan Sani Nizami of Delhi.3 Ego pretenders reject; life fulfills. It is only by understanding the subject matter of Volume IX and by the transcendent experiences resulting from what might be called esoteric practices that the Temple might emerge.
The first thing emphasized was concentration, which in Sufic terms, is called Murakkabah. After the death of Hazrat Inayat Khan, his disciples, united or divided, downgraded the importance of mystical development and upgraded institutionalism, and they still do. The basic practice in Murakkabah is to hold a thought with feeling and keep the breath in rhythm. The thought, or subject matter of the universal Temple, was an edifice, four-squared, of a human being sitting in meditation (so far as I know, the same theme and concentration was given to many others). The building was to have elements both of the Mosque and Buddhist Temple, and variations and adornments derived or adopted from the spiritual architecture of all faiths. The idea here also was to give an opportunity to the disciple to feel and work out thematic subjects based chiefly on vision and inspiration, as if there were already an edifice in the Unseen coming down to Earth.
This was the first theme. But as the Universal Worship fell into the hands of those ordained as Cherags and Sirajs, selected for other than mystical reasons, these persons soon came to dominate the whole field, and their egos did not accept the mystical experiences of those they regarded as underlings. I have been appointed, but not of my own wish, as a Cherag, or officiating person for the Universal Worship Service. In the instructions for the Cherags and Sirajs a number of directives were offered, including the studying of the world’s scriptures. Such a study would reveal, for example, a whole chapter in the “Saddharma Pundarika Sutra” (Lotus Sutra) on the manifestation of a Temple.
In addition to the concentration on the Temple there was also the matter of funds. The Sufi Movement had already come into the hands of those selected at times for other than spiritual attainments—nothing necessarily wrong in that—but they maintained and retained traditional Western, egocentric outlooks.
Hazrat Inayat Khan definitely said to me, and I say before God, and I repeat, before God, that any gift or offer, no matter how small or no matter how small the person from whom it came, was to be accepted. He said, and I definitely remember: “Samuel, no matter how small the gift, I accept it; if a person bring a pillar, I accept the pillar. If a person bring a block of marble, I accept the block of marble; if he bring a load of wood, I accept the load of wood. Nay, Samuel, if a person bring only a stick or a stone, why I accept that stick or stone. Because everyone is the beloved of God, and all things given in love and faith must be accepted.”
As Inayat Khan described it, the more persons that could contribute by financial contributions, by the offering of things, and by direct work-participation, or otherwise, the better it would be. He told me he would like if a thousand persons could be contributing, and he did not want any small group to be in charge of the financial aspects of the structure. A temple of Universal Worship and a “Church of All” was to be for all and of all. This throws him in complete conflict with the growing number of self-proclaimed world unions and universal brotherhood groups who ignore each other and stress personality or institutional leadership. An institution of man is not a creation of the universal God; when every person is a creation and a beloved of the universal God.
It is on this point that Sufism differs from traditional orthodoxies and religions, and even more from the egocentric modern verbal substitutions in competition with each other and destructive of the efforts of mankind of the past.
The Temple was to be used for meditation as well as services, but not necessarily for any one form of meditation, but open for all faith expressions and meditative practices.
The above reports, and all other reports taken from this person, were rejected by the persons and legal entities who have taken over much of what is called “Sufism” in the Western world. On the worst level the European peoples raised funds for this temple. I do not know how many times they raised funds or how much they raised. Pir Vilayat Khan, the oldest son of Hazrat Inayat Khan, told me that his father broke ground for this Temple in Suresnes and then told him it would never be built there. The fund-collecting, egocentric people who took over the legal machinery of Sufism in Europe have seen to that, but the Pir is not to be blamed and he is working in the general directions of his father. One must say in the general directions, for every religion has faltered when the successors demanded solidified, crystallized interpretations of the words of the Founder, destroying the spirit of growth. Vilayat Khan has worked on the general principle that life is growth and not static. The legal entity called “Sufi,” which has opposed him, has also expelled Allah (God) and God-realization as essential in Sufism!!!!!4
Of course this report will be criticized, criticized by the successors of those who collected funds, funds spurlos versankt.
Both Pir Vilayat Khan and the writer are cooperating closely with Mrs. Judith Hollister of Greenwich, Connecticut who, without being initiated into Sufism organically, also has access to divine wisdom, which is for all people. The Temple of Understanding in Washington, D.C. is the outcome of her vision.
After the death of Hazrat Inayat Khan the subject of universal religion began to take over more and more, and the Sufi Order was downgraded into one of several institutions of the Sufi Movement to the extent that at that time it became no longer recognized by the traditional Sufi orders which still play an important part in the world, despite the fact that the United States has stubbornly refused to recognize the part they play in the lives of many people in foreign lands.
IV. Fourth Interview
The fourth interview with Hazrat Inayat Khan in Beverly Hills in 1926 had to do with the Gatha classes and related subjects. I had already been under the tutelage of Murshida Rabia Martin, his first disciple and his senior Murshida, despite the antics and policies of legal entities later established. He had followed the teacher-pupil method common to some extent in mystical and esoteric schools, but it was agreed upon for a new age presentation of spiritual teachings, and to further a real active brotherhood of man, that there should be common lessons for all.
In 1925, these were largely called Gathekas for non-disciples and Gathas for disciples. But these were followed by papers called Githas, Sangathas, and Sangithas, arranged according to an esoteric constitution and presumably in accord with the teachings published in Volume X of The Sufi Message, “The Path of Initiation and Discipleship.” All items and elements of this definitely published work were entirely in accord with earlier writings of Hazrat Inayat Khan, but not necessarily in accord with voting proceedings of any legal entity bearing the name “Sufi.”
At the other extreme was the seizure of my papers by Mrs. Ivy Duce, when she became leader of the Western movement. Totally disregarding everything else, she seized all my papers without any regard to either the moral teachings (as published in The Sufi Message) or the aforesaid “Path of Initiation and Discipleship” or anything else. Thus the records of Hazrat Inayat Khan have fallen almost entirely into the hands of legal entities, posing as mystical organizations, and operating independently of, if not contrary to, his teachings, and certainly independently of and contrary to the teachings and methods of Sufi orders both as written in literature and as practiced today by living orders in many parts of the world.
The teachings for the first three years are called Gathas and they were to be read in a certain manner. According to the esoteric constitution, Khalifs are supposed to submit commentaries on the Gathas, the work of the first three years’ disciplines; and Murshids are to do the same for the Githas, the work of the fourth, fifth and sixth initiations. Murshida Martin had already been given full initiation and with it naturally full rights long before the establishment of any legal entity in England or Europe. The legal entities established presumably in London at one time and in Geneva at another time have no right according to any standard to operate ex post facto, and even less to operate contrary to both the written instructions of a Pir or to Sufi traditions and customs.
Rabia Martin had full instructions and permission from Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan to comment on the teachings, and all statements to the contrary are nothing but signs of unfitness of persons making such statements. As I had been studying with Rabia Martin, even in 1923 Hazrat
Inayat Khan had spoken with me about the subject of commentaries. But the papers were not yet available. In 1926 the papers were available and he went into details on the subject matter.
He gave me exact instructions of how he wished the Gathas to be presented, but he spent more time on the subject of commentaries. I immediately began this work, which he acknowledged on his deathbed, but which his European representatives never acknowledged in any form.
It is almost like a sort of logic that Hazrat Inayat Khan took up the subject of Gatha commentaries in detail with me, and I later discovered that the Khalifs, or tenth grade initiates in the Sufi Order, were expected to write commentaries thereon. It is notable that when one submitted to a contest for the Khalifate one passed easily, evidence of one’s position in the gradients of both the esoteric papers and what has been published in “The Path of Initiation and Discipleship.” (It is also notable that when one submitted to other contests for Khalifship one had no difficulty in passing.)5 It is only the legal entities, posing as Sufi orders, where one’s work has been nullified and ignored. This holds true only in the Western world. It does not hold for any traditional Sufi order based on the path of initiation. Everyone in the East has accepted, and there are a lot of them.
The general method of presenting Gathas to the disciples was the same as appeared elsewhere. But one read later in records which have since been suppressed, that the Gathas and esoteric papers belonged to, and belong to, the Sufi Order and not the Sufi Movement. The Sufi Movement was organized to facilitate the outer workings for the Sufi Order, which in its fundamentals is not separate from parent bodies, a matter which has been investigated further by Pir Vilayat Khan who received full recognition from the Chisti Order, which validates any claim he may make regardless of the actions and attitudes of any legal entity calling or mis-calling itself “Sufi” or anything else.
The other item was that of the commentaries. One found that the actual writing of commentaries was an application of teachings above alluded to—that to have the prowess to do such writing one had to have reached conscious operations in what have been referred to as Vijnanamayakosh and Anandamayakosh.6
There are a number of schools in the West, and perhaps some in the East, which claim to present the Gita, without full recognition of Vijnana and Ananda. Yet it is only conscious functioning, if not initiation at such levels that give one the prowess to comment. The Ten Sufi Thoughts, which are read to candidates for Bayat, may of course be legally nullified by corporations, and this has occurred. But to be a real disciple in real Sufism, one has to accept these principals as operations of God, so to speak, and the universe. The nullification of these principles by legal entities has made a travesty of Sufism in the West, and caused writers like Idries Shah to so express themselves.
But this all applies to externals. The descent of Baraka7 and similar operations (which are found in the mystical processes of perhaps all faiths) continue to go on. God, so to speak, does not consult any legal group as to whom He may bless or manifest to. So the work of commentary goes on, and also helps fill the gaps arising either from the incompletion of the teachings, or their legal but immoral withdrawal by votes of boards of directors of legal entities. There is no Bayat to any legal entity. There may be a Bayat to a representative of the Sufi Order—Sufi Order, not Sufi Movement—or to Teachers of the seen or Unseen, who do not consult with legal entities as to who is worthy or unworthy.
V. Universal Brotherhood
As Hazrat Inayat Khan conceived it, and the literature bears this out, the Sufi Movement was to have three basic activities:
1. The Sufi Order, which was the heart and soul, and without which there can be no Sufism whatever.
2. The Universal Worship, connected with the Temple as above, and which became organically active but socially ineffective.
3. The Brotherhood, which was to be the means of uniting and integrating the intellectual prominence of the West with the mystical traditions of the East.
According to the teachings of Sufi mysticism—and this has nothing to do with anything from India—there are developments in sciences of Breath which enable the adept to see into the future, to ascertain the purposes of life, and which can be used by an enlightened Teacher to direct the progress of disciples toward the accomplishment of those purposes for which they were born. Hazrat Inayat Khan felt, and no doubt he was right, that the writer was essentially an intellectual, and he directed him toward the integration of the mystical and intellectual. He also went into great detail as to how this was to have been done.
He had selected in Europe one Miss Sakina Furnee as world director in this field. Whatever else be true, Miss Furnee seems to have withdrawn from all activity on the death of Hazrat Inayat Khan. But the Pir, directly on that occasion, and both directly and indirectly on later occasions, inspired this person to work in the directions of universality without any idea of personality leadership, still very prominent in practically all the rival “universal” movements in the world. Some of this subject overlaps the next reports concerning the use of esoteric teachings, but inasmuch as the Sufi Movement has split and fallen into the hands of non-mystics, it is very difficult to make any valid communications. What stands in the writer’s favor, however, are the pragmatic accomplishments.
As Sufism in the West has fallen into the hands of legal entities debasing or even excluding mystical experiences, the result has been the appointment of various individuals as leaders in the so-called “Brotherhood” as outlined in the literature, not one of whom seems to have produced anything but personality leadership; and at this writing one has not the slightest idea of how many such appointees have been made.
It is very difficult, although times are changing rapidly, to present in the Western world a picture based on mystical attainment which transcends all religious separatism. And especially in Europe and America, so longed misled by scholastic experts whose marvelous knowledge of languages does not indicate the slighted mystical insight; it is not always easy to justify one’s positions although there are signs of positive change.
Dr. Milton Singer of the University of Chicago has accepted the possibility of attainments by the writer, and very gradually one finds professors, even of Oriental philosophies and science, accepting that attainment which is in accord, let us say, with the Taittiriya Upanishad. This has been posited in the story of Lot in “The Unity of Religious Ideals,” but the successors of Inayat Khan and the corporation officials who dominate what they call “Sufism” accept the words but not the processes involved.
Therefore, in practice they deny the functional existence of the aforesaid Vignanamayakosh and Anandamayakosh. (It is of no legal importance, but it is of moral value, that no less a person than Swami Ranganathananda Maharaj of the Ramakrishna Order has declared the development of the writer in these directions. It is only the legal Sufis in the West that dissent, God bless them.) For the growth of the mind, which may come in accord with the principles declared by both Sufis and Vedantists, enables the devotee by mystical growth to have a much greater intellectual prowess. And thus one is capable of bringing a closer understanding between mystics and intellectuals. (This has nothing to do with the prowess of great pyschedelicians like the late Aldous Huxley and the living Alan Watts whose prowess, which the writer does not deny, has little to do with mystical and spiritual awakening or development).
As the years have gone on, the integral blending of mystical and spiritual development, and of the knowledge of Eastern sciences and cultures, have enabled one to progress in the world of humanity without getting any confirmation from legal groups proclaiming mystical and spiritual teachings. This can only be brought out in the autobiography which may be forthcoming shortly.
Shortly after the death of Hazrat Inayat Khan in 1927, the writer encountered the late Ali Khuli Khan of the Baha’i Movement and asked him what the difference would be between seven hundred conflicting sects and seven hundred conflicting universal brotherhoods. The question was not answered, and today we see the rise of an ever-larger number of verbal universal brotherhoods, mutually exclusive. This is absolutely contrary to the directives of Hazrat Inayat Khan and, let us say, to the Kasidah of Sir Richard Burton written under his Islamic pseudonym.
But Hazrat Inayat Khan, contrary to his legal successors, proclaimed that universal brotherhood would form of itself. He also told his quondam disciple Mr. Paul Reps that there were far more people who were not his disciples who were closer to the Message of God than the so-called “Sufis.” The well-known Paul Reps, who will again be mentioned, will probably confirm this and especially confirm that the New Age young people are going to bring real brotherhood, and none of the legal entities, either the Sufi Movement or other entities, can ever bring universal brotherhood.
VI. The Last Two Interviews
The last two interviews with Hazrat Inayat Khan cover a multitude of subjects. They were interspersed with frequent entries of his traveling secretary, Kismet Stam, who constantly tried to interfere with and who blamed this person. This is the standard behavior pattern of the types who have taken over the “legal” Sufi Movements. I can say before God, and repeat before God, none of these interviews were sought by me personally; all were requested by Hazrat Inayat Khan himself. And there will never be a Sufi Movement in the West as long as in practice it repudiates its own Ten Sufi Thoughts and Three Objects of the Sufi Movement. These have been cast aside by persons with misdirected zeal and very limited spiritual and mystical awakening.
The first item of business came because of complaints against Rabia Martin. Of course these complaints were justified—absolutely, on levels which have nothing to do with mystical and spiritual experience. People read books, attend lectures, and proclaim they understand all sorts of unusual behavior patterns, and when these patterns manifest they are the first ones to yelp. Mystics do not necessarily behave along conventional or unconventional lines of nicety. This does not mean that Rabia Martin was justified in her behavior.
In any event, International Headquarters in Geneva demanded the recall of sacred papers because they, the staff and those who associated with them, absolutely refused to accept the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan with regard to his Murshids and Khalifs. (They can, and no doubt have, justified themselves in legal courts, but they have no standing with the Sufi orders and they have no standing in heaven. They “had” to recall the papers.)
At the same time, Hazrat Inayat Khan did not wish Rabia Martin to defend herself in public, and he appointed me as her defender. (I was not permitted to function as such, and this is one of the reasons that led to her ultimate repudiation and downfall.)
The second thing he demanded, he did not ask, he demanded of me, was to see that Rabia never criticized people, especially mureeds, in public, and also that I should see that no one criticized her. This led to my rejection by the Europeans and almost, but not quite, to my expulsion in the West during the lifetime of Rabia Martin, and to actual expulsion after her death.
In the last two interviews Hazrat Inayat Khan displayed a type of emotion which caused all his disciples to refuse to accept what took place inside the room, excepting one or two who kept quiet and Mr. Paul Reps who was outside the door, and sometimes inside the door, with the result that Hazrat Inayat Khan had Paul Reps and me take a special Bayat to each other.
The strange behavior of Mr. Paul Reps is equally justified by the strange inhumane and inhuman reactions to his solid sound reports based on actual conversations between Hazrat Inayat Khan and himself. An ordinary law court would accept solid sound facts. But metaphysical people, especially when they get control of legal or only quasi-legal institutions, react as pleases their egos. This has caused Mr. Reps to embark on an unusual but rather successful career. At this writing one does not know whether he intends a biography or autobiography, and one does not seek any substantiation from him. One wonders how egocentric persons claiming to believe in a God, and especially from the standpoint of Sufi traditions, can dare to hold on to ego justifications and expect the world to support these and them.
Hazrat Inayat Khan then went on to say that in case of his disappearance for any reason the leadership in the Sufi Order was to go to Rabia Martin, but as spiritual leader she was to have no control over financial matters, just as he as spiritual leader had no control—and as the general traditions of many spiritual organizations, not only Sufis but Hindus and Buddhists and others, also require relinquishing of material possessions and power by their leaders.
Much of what was given in the fifth interview was repeated in the sixth. I was to go over all the records of the Sufi Movement; to understand the difference between mureedship and membership; to build a society based on internal initiations and the relation of these initiations, etcetera, to the progress of the Message in the West; to understand Hierarchy and succession, and to be ready to stand forth, especially in case of death, to see that Rabia Martin was properly protected.
Hazrat Inayat Khan also asked me to go over all the records of the Sufi Movement up to that time to see and try to see that not only its principles but its modus operandi be put into effect. But above all he insisted that I become the protector of Rabia Martin, not permit others to attack her, and try to see in turn that she did not attack others. (In most of these missions I failed. But when Rabia Martin went to India and visited Pir-o-Murshid Hasan Sani Nizami, he corroborated everything here and much more. However, somewhere along the line Rabia slipped. She did not accept the moral teachings as presented in the Sufi Message and even less the moral instructions for the Murshid, and her putative successor went even further in discarding and disregarding the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan.)
Note: Years later when I was with the Shadhili Sufis in Egypt and the Murshid left this world, a council of Khalifs functioned until they could find a proper Murshid from another branch of the order. If such a thing had been tried in the West there would not have been confusion, and the Sufi Movement might have become better known. As it is, a very valid form of Sufism is being spread by Frithjof Schuon and his colleagues, and Vilayat Inayat Khan, the eldest son of Hazrat Inayat Khan, has obtained absolutely valid credentials from the leaders of the Chisti School in Ajmer. There is a vast difference between the “legal” Sufism of certain organizations and the spiritual transmission of the chain of Sufis as conscious operation of living human beings.
Editor’s footnotes (Wali Ali Meyer, 1971):
*1. At the time when these reports were written his poem “The Rejected Avatar” had just been published. The major epics: “The Day of the Lord Cometh,” “What Christ? What Peace?” and “Saladin” have since been published in a volume called The Jerusalem Trilogy. These are offered as demonstration of the blessing of Khwaja Khizr and of fana-fi-Rassoul. Other poetic works of Murshid Samuel L. Lewis have also been published and are planned for future publication.
*2. It was here at the tomb of Selim Chisti that Murshid first received his inspiration for the “Dances of Universal Peace.”
*3. This was the confirmation of his spiritual state and the functioning of the spiritual transmission of Hazrat Inayat Khan.
*4. There has been a troubled organizational history of the Sufi Movement established by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan. One of the purposes in publishing these interviews is to call to the fore the prophetic warnings of Murshid on these matters, especially as karmic patterns tend to repeat. The spirit of Sufism which one thus breathes can then serve as a guide for ultimate fulfillment of its promise of unity.
*5. Murshid was designated a Khalif in both the Chisti and Naqshibandi Orders in the East. He was a member of nine such orders and a Murshid in the Chisti-Sabri school. He felt it an important part of our work to retain ties of love and mutual respect with these traditional Sufi Orders while at the same time emphasizing the universal character of the Message given by Hazrat Inayat Khan. No contradiction was felt by him in accepting this heritage. He then refers to the acceptance of Pir Vilayat Khan by the Chisti Order in Ajmer as validation for his leadership in Sufism. This is of note also because of the history of Murshida Martin, partially told in these interviews.
*6. Vijnanamayakosh—the cosmic body of understanding; Anandamayakosh—the cosmic body of bliss.
*7. Baraka is the living magnetic transmission of the grace or blessings of God.
*8. And now, of course, there is still more profusion of the existing Sufi chains of transmission in the West. This is a hopeful development. Before all of us there stands the challenge of embodying the teachings, and thus the blessings of Allah, or of becoming the kind of “legal” Sufism that Murshid so criticizes in these papers.
Note by Moineddin Jablonski, 03-30-1999:
In the “Six Interviews with Hazrat Inayat Khan” Murshid Samuel Lewis is quite outspoken about the unfair treatment he and others received at the hands of the Sufi Movement leaders in the decades following the death of Hazrat Inayat Khan. We are happy to report that in recent years a most promising rapprochement has been initiated between the present leaders of the Sufi Movement International and the Ruhaniat. For more information, see the concluding remarks by Wali Ali Meyer in his article “Sufism in the West” as well as the article “Some Organizational History.”