Welcome to the Murshid Samuel Lewis Archive

murshid sam front photo

Samuel Leonard Lewis, often known as Murshid Sam or Sufi Sam, and in Asia and the Middle East as Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti (October 18, 1896—January 15, 1971) was an American mystic and horticulturalist who founded what became the Sufi Ruhaniat International. Its overall universal approach to Sufism was based on the teachings and being of Hazrat Inayat Khan who was his primary teacher.

After a lifetime of spiritual study with teachers East and West, including the first Zen Masters in the U.S., Sokei-an Sasaki and Nyogen Senzaki, Swami Ramdas of India, and others, Samuel was accepted as a Murshid by Sufi Sheikhs in India and Pakistan, and Egypt, and as a teacher of Zen Buddhism by Rev. Dr. Kyung Bo Seo of South Korea.

Lewis' most enduring legacy may be the creation of the Dances of Universal Peace, honoring all spiritual paths incorporating prayers from the various traditions in dances open to all. This inter-spiritual practice has spread throughout the world in the almost five decades since his passing, and continues to expand.

This site is an electronic archive of the voluminous written work he created as well as many audio and a few video recordings. We hope you find what you are looking for here.  If you are new to this material and would like some guidance on where to start, please see this guide.

 

 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About the Murshid Samuel Lewis Archive

 

History of the Murshid Samuel Lewis Archive

 

Murshid Samuel Lewis was a prolific writer throughout his life. There are documents in this archive that go at least as far back as 1925 and others that were written shortly before his passing in 1971. These documents include esoteric instructions intended for his students, commentary on the writings of his Sufi guide Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan, poetry from the prophetic to the mundane, papers on many topics including political, economic, and ecological spheres, large amounts of correspondence with various individuals and organizations, and reports from his periods of personal retreat. 

royal

To get a sense of the volume of this work, consider that as of 2017, the word count of the written materials in this archive authored by Murshid Samuel Lewis is approximately 5,856,000 words.  For comparison purposes, the King James Bible holds ~823,000 words and Tolstoy’s War and Peace contains ~561,000 words.  Thus, on a pure volume basis, Murshid Samuel Lewis wrote the equivalent of 7 King James Bibles, or War and Peace 10 times.  This is all the more remarkable when you consider that this was all done on a manual typewriter, using carbons to make copies.  When he felt others should have copies, he would often ask his secretary or a mureed (student) to re-type a paper using additional carbons to make new copies.  In the latter years of his life, he had the benefit of a fast typist as an esoteric secretary and began dictating much of his written work.

Scrapbook-SMALL

These written materials were stored in file cabinets for many years at the Mentorgarden in San Francisco with the occasional copies being made for distribution. The fire that damaged the khankah in Fairfax in 1949 was responsible for reducing the size of the archive material, although it is believed that much of what was lost then is now available in the archive. Some of these documents travelled the globe before finding their way back to the archive. In some cases, the only surviving copies were originally mailed by Murshid Samuel Lewis to others, who, after holding them for many years, forward them on to others, including the Sufi Movement, which, in turn, allowed the papers to find their way back here. 

page

Eventually, as concern rose regarding the potential for further loss, it became clear that these materials would benefit from digitization.  The Board of Trustees of S.R.I. allocated in the neighborhood of $100,000 for this goal and a huge undertaking was started.  The first thing that had to be done was simply to organize all of the material.  Given the volume, and the fact that it only existed as typewritten pages, this was a huge task.  Once organized, the documents had to be prepared for scanning which involved putting each sheet into plastic protectors and further organizing them for shipping to the company that would perform the OCR and initial proof-reading.  Once that was done, a great deal of additional copy-editing was completed to help reduce the number of mistakes introduced during the digitization process.  Finally, the documents were prepared as PDF documents and then transformed into their current state as simple HTML documents that can be read easily on any computing device and used as the basis for future publications.  In parallel to this process, many of the more valuable papers were “hand digitized” by simply re-typing them into a word-processor.

While this was going on, work was also underway on preserving and digitizing the very little we have of audio and video recordings.  In particular, audio recordings of 74 talks and lectures were located, prepared, and digitized.  At the time these recordings were made, personal equipment for audio recording was a rarity, so while the quality of these varies significantly, we are quite blessed to have anything at all.  There was also a small amount of film capturing images of Murshid Samuel Lewis.  Most notably, this film footage found its way into the movies “Sunseed” and “Dance to Glory”.

In short, this archive is here, for you, due to thousands of hours of effort, from dozens of volunteers, over several decades, and through considerable expense at the bequest of S.R.I.  And it is still growing.  New papers and letters still continue to turn up and are being added to the archive from time to time.

If you are new to Murshid SAM’s writings this short section is to help you find your way more easily into his writings and life. The archive is primarily a collection of the written works of Murshid Samuel Lewis. Because of the prodigious amount of material he produced we have chosen to give prominence on to what we consider to be Murshid’s major original esoteric papers and his esoteric commentaries on the works of Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan; to Murshid’s Poetry; and his Diaries. Almost all of his known writings are however available on this website.

Papers

For anyone new to Murshid’s esoteric writings the place to start is here with Papers. We have arranged this selection of Original Papers and Commentaries into 11 Subject Divisions to allow you to browse through and choose items of interest more easily. Here you will find 70 of what we consider to be his Major Works covering a broad spectrum of topics relevant to the spiritual path of inner unfoldment.

There is a life time of study in these papers. Pace yourself, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. First Read the section About the Major Papers to find out how get the most benefit from reading the papers. Given the esoteric nature of these papers they are not only to be read in the usual sense with the intellect. When the heart sphere is activated the depth of their meaning is greatly enhanced.

Poetry

Murshid S.A.M.’s deepest mystical experiences and spiritual realizations were perhaps most completely expressed through his poetry. We have chosen what we consider to be Murshid’s Major Poetic Works.  Included here 32 poems which are divided into Epics, Longer Poems and Shorter Poems. We have also included the remaining 94 poems as Additional Poetry which are divided into Earlier Work, Shorter Work, Longer Work and Miscellaneous. Read the section About the Poetry for more.

Diaries

What we have here of Murshid’s Diaries covers 11 years between 1956 and 1970. The Diaries record many of the most significant events of his life during those years. These writings are a unique source of information about Murshid’s life, how he lived it and who he really was as person.

Media

Additionally, the Archive is a way of getting in touch with who Murshid SAM’s direct spoken transmission in its full and naked expression. Start with some of the audio recordings Sixty Four Talks and Lectures, a collections of talks and lectures given between 1966 and 1971 or choose the video Dance to Glory excerpted from the film Sunseed by Amertat Cohn.

Downloads

All of the written material is downloadable in PDF format. When you click on any paper you will notice in the top right corner of the page the PDF symbol. This has three options: Print, Email and PDF. Click PDF and the item will download to your device. You can also email a link to the paper or print it. The audio files are also downloadable as MP3 files.

 

 

 

Placeholder for "Contribute" Page

 A Sampling of Photographs of
Murshid Samuel Lewis

 This is a fairly random collection of photos, taken at different points in Murshid Samuel Lewis' life.

For high quality prints of Murshid Samuel Lewis, consider ordering them at www.mansurjohnson.com.

 

1953 copy
2roundglasses early copy
AG_
byoungman
GivingSeeds
KRI_000B copy2
LAM_000A copy
Laughing-with-hat
MUR_0014 copy
Murshid Sam Dancing_2
murshid-sam-3-with-paul-reps
Murshid-SAM-and-Palmist
Sam-Lewis-in-Pakistan 1961
Saul Photo
ZRobehat
01/15 
start stop bwd fwd
1953 copy
2roundglasses early copy
AG_
byoungman
GivingSeeds
KRI_000B copy2
LAM_000A copy
Laughing-with-hat
MUR_0014 copy
Murshid Sam Dancing_2
murshid-sam-3-with-paul-reps
Murshid-SAM-and-Palmist
Sam-Lewis-in-Pakistan 1961
Saul Photo
ZRobehat
01/15 
start stop bwd fwd

 

The Murshid Samuel Lewis Media Archive

Murshid Samuel Lewis died on Janunary 15, 1971, in a period where audio and video recording was just beginning for the average person.  In addition, while many people were shooting "snapshot" photos, higher-quality images of Murshid Samuel Lewis and his work were captured by only a few people around him that had the needed skills and equipment at the time.  Through good fortune, many of Murshid Sam’s talks and teachings were recorded, sometimes by crude means. After digitizing and indexing we continue to work on refining the audio quality. We find these expressions filled with blessings. They contain a great range of teachings, and they offer a direct access to Murshid Sam’s vital energy.

For the audio recordings, the transfer to digital medium and indexing was done by a team of Abraham Sussman, Zahir Roman Orest, and Hallaj Jim Steele. We express our deep thanks and appreciation.

 

Remembrance and Impressions of Murshid Samuel Lewis

Murshid Samuel Lewis left a deep and lasting impression on many people.  However, what is less known is how different and varying this impression was on different individuals.  This portion of the archive is dedicated to the recollections and impressions others have of Murshid Samuel Lewis.  It contains transcriptions of interviews, video recordings, and more.  In respect to the privacy of the people whose stories these are, some of these materials are restricted to "mureeds" (initiated students) within the Ruhaniat.  Please log in with the appropriate credentials to access these materials.  After you have done that, you will find additional items on the "Remembrance" menu.  For others, with legitimate research needs, access to these documents can be obtained by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

The following is a list of the individuals we have "interviews" with in the archive:

Ahmed, Shemseddin
Ahura
Albanese, Margaret
Arthur, Gavin
Austin, Jack
Baptiste, Walt
Barodofsky, Saul
Becker-Colonna, Dr
Begg, WD
Beorse, Shamcher
Blighton, Ruth
Brinner, William
Brown, Kolsoum and Zeinob
Burnham, Zeinob
Bush, Anon and Gottlieb, Lou
Carillo, Ramona
Cerminara, Gina
Chishti, Renee and Whitaker, David
Clarke, Tevia
Cogswells, The
Dahlenburg, Claude
Davenport, Vasisth
Disciples Discussion Group
Dowla, Cohn, Shulman, Slade, McMullen
Duce, Ivy
Fiske, Vocha
Foster, Mary Lou
Fraley, Jalelah
Galbraith, Hilda
Goertz, Della
Herz, Hassan and Jayanara
Hoffmaster, David
Hollister, Judith
Jablonski, Moineddin and Fatima
Inayat, Jemila 
Johnson, John
Johnson, Mansur
Kahn, Shabda
Kahn, Shabda, Banefsha, Amina, Michael
Kekumbha, Kanya
Kline Fiona, Michael Ricketts, Mubdi Poppen
Krishnadas
Lawrence, Khalil
Lee, Ching Wah
Lee, Lim Poon
Leonard, Florence
Less, Shahabuddin and Surya
Levy, Leon
Lewis, Iqbal, Mouni, Akbar, Saul
Lovdjieff, Crist and Yvonne Childs
Luick, Constance
Lyons, Jenaabi
Maize, Chalice
Matthew, Omar and Halim Welch
McGinley, Dennis
Merchant, K.T. and Deepak
Meyer, Wali Ali
Morgan, Khabira
Needleman, Dr. Jacob
Nelson, Harry
Nizami, Khaja Fayazuddin
Novello, Frank
O'Connell, Anjani
Parish, Carroll
Peay, Fazl
Peller, Merybehn
Pickard, James Halim
Quantz, Amin and Erickson, Amina
Raoul, Eric (Master)
Reich, Ted
Reps, Paul
Robinson, Lois
Rognlie, Paul
Rognlie, Rashid
Roshi, Kennett
Rudman, Devi
Sager, Joshua
Schaeffer, Rudolph
Seo, Kyung-Bo
Shahaida
Shapiro, Selima
Shaw, Saraswati
Shibata, Mr
Silver Ralph and Nancy
Simmons, Akbar and Brian Carr
Smith, Huston
Suleiman, Michael
Sure, Heng
Sussman, Abraham
Tedesco, Frank
Tillinghast, Jamshid and Mary
USA, Sheila, Buzz Rowell, Don McCoy
Voris, Vera von
Wagner, Eugene
Waterhouse, Frida, with Saadi and Zardusht
Waterhouse, Frida, with Wali Ali and Sitara
Watson, Farid
Welch, Halim
White, Mildred

Murshid Samuel Lewis' Correspondence

Murshid Samuel Lewis was a prolific correspondent.  He corresponded with a wide variety of individuals, organizations, government agencies, and more.  We are blessed to have much of this correspondence within this archive.  In respect to the privacy of the various correspondents, this portion of the archive is restricted to "mureeds" (initiated students) within the Ruhaniat.  Please log in with the appropriate credentials to access these materials.  After you have done that, you will find these materials on the "More" menu item.  For others, with legitimate research needs, access to these documents can be obtained by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

The following is a list of the various individuals and organizations we have correspondence with in the archive:

Individuals

Shamseddin Ahmed

Barkat Ali

Peg Allmond

Reza Arasteh

William Arlock

Gavin Arthur

Jack Austin

Leonard Austin

Archie Bahm

Walt Baptiste

WD Begg

Shamcher Bryn Beorse

Phillip Burton

Herb Caen

Ramona Carillo

Gina Cerminara

Robert Stuart - Sumangalo Clifton

John S Cooper

Lowell Ditzen

Ivy Duce

Engle Family

Jeremy Ets Hokin

Vocha Fiske

Rev Cecil Gibbings

Viola Harris

Rev John Haughey

Prynce Hopkins

Art Hoppe

Jill and Clive Hull

Saadia Khawar Khan

Vilayat Khan

Marion (Tsil Tsil) Latvala

TD Lingo

Rabia Martin

Fred Mass

Father Masson

Norman McGhee

Julie Medlock

Misc Letters to Individuals

Lloyd Morain

James Mundstock

Seyyed Hossein Nasr

Prof Jacob Needleman

Jim and Diane Pike

Leonora Ponti

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Betty Reeve

Fred and Corinne Reinhold

Oliver Reiser

Relatives

Paul Reps

Rudolph Schaeffer

Kyung Bo Seo

Huston Smith

David Stern

Sri Premanand Trikkannad

Vera Voris

Eugene Wagner

Alan Watts

Donald Wilbur

Willie Wise

Dale Wolfle

Organizations

American Council on the Middle East

American Friends of the Middle East

American Society for Eastern Art

Anandashram

Aquarian Arcane College

Asia Foundation

Attorneys

Buddhist Fellowship

Buddhists

Buddhists International

California Public Officials

Center Letter, The

Churches and Synagogues

Cultural Integration Fellowship

East West Center

Fellowship of Religious Harmony

Gandalfs Garden

General Semantics

India

India Local Consul

Khankah

Lama Foundation

Meher Baba People

Misc Letters to Organizations

Muslims USA

Organic Gardening

Pakistan

Public Officials US

Publishers and Publications

Royal Asiatic Society

San Francisco Chronicle

Studies in Comparative Religion

Sufis Ceylon

Sufis Europe

Sufis USA

Temple of Understanding

Tucson

UN Association of San Francisco

Universities

University of California

Wells Fargo Bank

World Congress of Faiths

World Union, Bay Area Center

World Union, International Centre

His Mureeds

 Work in Progress

 

The Major Esoteric Papers of Murshid Samuel Lewis

As Murshid S.A.M. was by any standards a very prolific writer it can be a somewhat daunting prospect for anyone new to his work to know how and where best to start. In this section we have selected 70 of what could be considered his Major Esoteric Papers and categorized them by subject - 25 are Original Esoteric Papers by Murshid S.A.M. and 45 are his Esoteric Commentaries on works of Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan.

While still a relatively large body of work all of these papers are highly recommended. They are a true source of hidden treasure even if for many people these gems can pass by unnoticed. Ideally they are not to be read in the usual sense using only the intellect. While the words are reflections of the inner being of Murshid S.A.M. it is in the spaces in between and beyond the words that his inner being can be experienced. As the mind is by-passed and the heart sphere becomes enlivened you can enter that space.

Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan requested that Murshid S.A.M., then in his twenties, write commentaries on his works. This was a task that Murshid took to heart and he continued to write such commentaries until his death. Even his earliest attempts were encouraged by Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan and according to Murshid S.A.M. one of the last letters of Inayat Khan on his deathbed was to thank him for his efforts.

This kind of commentary is not an intellectual pursuit, it comes only with the development of insight or attunement. As Murshid wrote, “At first it looked like analysis and personal views. But as one became more attuned to the subject he found the ether, so to speak, which recorded the state of mind of Hazrat Inayat Khan and he attuned to it. He had already learned to attune to Hazrat Inayat Khan when in the flesh; now he was able to attune to the mental imprints.” As he perfected the art of commentary he wrote, “It has taken some time but now one receives from Hazrat Inayat Khan telepathically perhaps easier than one hears from people in the same room.”

In addition to the Commentaries in his own Original Esoteric Papers Murshid S.A.M. wrote about some of the deeper inner sciences which were not presented by Hazrat Inayat Khan. There papers illustrate the depth of his own spiritual realization and his ability to communicate this to others as signposts along the spiritual path. The realizations he shares come from many sources beyond Sufism most notably the Dharma traditions. The papers contained in this section on breath, heart, sound, meditation, dance and walk are especially significant.

As a recommendation for the journey into Murshid’s writings perhaps you might first explore one of the Commentaries and one of the Original papers from subjects that inspire you. Or as a suggestion you could look at the Original Paper, “Forty Lessons on Breath.” Perhaps also his “Commentary on Cosmic Language” about which in 1969 Murshid S.A.M. wrote to his friend Paul Reps, “At the present time my most important work is the commentary on Hazrat Inayat Khan’s "Cosmic Language."

Give yourself space and time. Focus on the words with awareness of the heart space and not just the head. Reading and absorbing these papers is a deep spiritual practice in itself. As you attune through the rhythm of words you also dance in the rhythm of Murshid S.A.M. himself especially if you read the words out loud. You will find as you persevere that what may at first seem to be hidden is gradually or even suddenly revealed.


The Categories of Major Papers

Breath
Culture, Religion and Symbolism
Dancing and Walking Concentrations
Healing
Inner Life
Mastery of Life
Music and Sound
Prayers and Sayings of Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan
Psychology
Spiritual Traditions and Human Evolution
Sufi Practices - Ryazat
For Sufi Initiators

 

The Additional Writing of Murshid Samuel L. Lewis

 

Additional Papers

This section of 144 papers covers a wide selection of writings that reflect the breadtht of Murshid S.A.M.’s interests as expressed in his written work. Here you will find Papers on Esoteric Instruction, Books, Essays, Class Papers, Retreat Papers, Miscellaneous Transmissions, Prophecy, Autobiographical Essays and Papers, Notes, and Book Reviews.

The subjects include Mystical Experience, Art, Music, Poetry, Rumi, Sufism, Buddhism, Zen, Avatars, Science, Occultism, Psychicism, Prophecy, India, Food and many more.

Of some significance and worth specific mention are: Directions for Field Workers, Eight lessons on Breath, Fana fi Sheikh, an Original Sangatheka, Genuine Mystical Experience, Githekas for Mureeds Series I, Githekas for Mureeds Series II, Six Interviews with Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Lotus and the Universe, This is the New Age in Person

 

Additional Commentary

There are 9 commentaries. Of some significance and worth specific mention are: The Mystery of Breath, Spiritual Architecture

 

About the Correspondence

 Murshid Samuel Lewis was a prolific correspondent.  He corresponded with a wide variety of individuals, organizations, government agencies, and more.  We are blessed to have much of this correspondence within this archive.  In respect to the privacy of the various correspondents, this portion of the archive is restricted to "mureeds" (initiated students) within the Ruhaniat.  Please log in with the appropriate credentials to access these materials.  After you have done that, you will find these materials on the "More" menu item.  For others, with legitimate research needs, access to these documents can be obtained by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Page 1 of 2