Nasr, Seyyed Hossein Correspondence

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

1088 Fulton Street

San Francisco, CA

25 August, 1963

 

Honorable Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti,

It was a real spiritual pleasure and happiness for me to meet Khawar Khan in my last trip to Lahore and through her to learn something about you. Thank you also for your kind letter. The fraternity of Islam to which that of faqr or tasawwuf is added travels over the greatest distances embracing all of those who follow the path toward Allah or who have reached the goal in a single community. I hope, inshallah, to have the honor of seeing you some time whether it be here in the East or in America.

What is really called Iranian culture belongs to all of the people of the eastern lands of Islam. A Persian coming to Pakistan or India feels this point very strongly. Persian literature, especially poetry, became as much of a vehicle for the Sufi saints and sages of the Indian subcontinent as it has been for the Persians themselves.

During this last visit to Lahore with Khawar Khan we visited the tomb of Hujwiri with whom you are so close. The great saint whose Persian Kashf al-Mahjub has always been so close to my heart penetrated my heart at that time in another way and much grace was received through the visit.

I usually reside in Tehran (being a professor at the Faculty of Letters of Tehran University) and would be happy to meet any of your friends who come by. Meanwhile I pray Allah’s benediction and peace be upon you and ask for your prayers as well. May you prosper in your task,

Wa-salaam Aleikhum

Seyyed Hossein Nasr

 

 


Jan. 27, 1965

 

Dear Friend,

Forgive me for not answering your letter of November until now. My duties here have been extremely heavy leaving little time. It was a joy for me to read of your many spiritual experiences which Allah has bestowed upon you. His ways and Grace knows no bounds. The way you came into contact with Sufism is especially of interest. You mentioned the wonderful works of Titus Burkhardt, a European who has also tasted Sufism from within. I wonder if you know the works of Fritjof Schuon, especially his Understanding Islam which has a long chapter on tasawwuf.

It was very kind of you to spend your time reading my two humble books. If you write any review of them kindly send me a copy. A third book called Science and Civilization in Islam will also be coming out of the Harvard U. Press.

I hope to be spending a week in Pakistan during the month of March during which I certainly hope to visit Khawar Khan. She writes often if you.

Also during this coming summer I have been invited to attend the Congress of World Religions in Claremont, California, from Sept. 5-11 and hope that, however short it may be, we can meet at that time.

May His Peace Be Upon You,

Seyyed Hossein Nasr

 

 


1966?

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

Samuel Lewis

772 Clementina Street

San Francisco, Calif.

 

Dear Friend,

I have wanted for a long time to write to answer your wonderful letter of last Oct. but different things have prevented me. It is very fortunate that you are able for the first time to speak to people of the fruit of that one experiment which modern man, who boasts so much of experimenting, never makes. May Allah give you success in this undertaking.

For some time I have not been able to go to Pakistan to see Miss Khawar Khan but have news of her. She wrote that she was expecting you in Pakistan soon. It would be wonderful if I could come there at the same time to meet you. Also some time ago I had a letter from Ajmir from Mr. Begg about the biography of Hazrat Moin-ud-din Chisti and a brochure announcing it. I have not received a copy of the text itself as yet.

As for my own work, two books appeared recently, one called Islamic Studies published by Literaire du Tehran, Beirut and the other Ideals and Realities of Islam published by Allen & Unwin of London.  Both contain several sections devoted to Sufism.

I want to ask your help in a matter that I know will be of interest to you. For years there was a journal named “Tomorrow” published in England and devoted to para-psychology. Then the editor Clive-Ross became  a Sufi (let this remain between us) and changed the nature of the journal. It is now called “Studies in Comparative Religion” and is devoted to the great spiritual traditions of mankind with a special accent on Sufism. Of course he lost his old clientele and support and is now in a very difficult financial situation. There are articles in it by F. Shuon, M. Pallis, T. Burkhardt, etc. and I write for them occasionally. You will receive a brochure concerning it soon. If you know any individuals or organizations who would be interested in lending it a hand until it can stand on its own feet please write to Clive-Ross from whom you should hear soon. Also perhaps your friends could subscribe to the journal. Your help in this very important matter, namely the sustenance of the only journal in the English language devoted to God and the spiritual life in its authentic form, is most appreciated.

Wa-salaam aleikhum

Seyyed Hossein Nasr

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif.

17th October, 1966

 

Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr

Department of Islamic Studies

Tehran University

Tehran, Iran

 

Bismillah Er-Rahman Er-Rahim a greeting is sent to you and prayers for your well-being. And one hopes, inshallah, that this letter reaches you in good time for one is called upon now to submit a paper on “Real Mysticism versus Pseudo-Mysticism” to the Department of Philosophy, University of California.

One encounters a difficulty that only too often the great Saints and Sages are men and women of the distant past. Which like wines, are supposed to improve with age. And against this is the true teaching that the Light of Allah is neither of the East nor the West, neither alone of the future or past or present, and though we may say: Ya Haya Khaiyum, to try to illustrate it is considered the height of impertinence and braggadocio.

In our scientific culture we are supposed to keep quiet unless we have participated in experiments and their accompanying knowledge. It would be considered quite wrong to speak on scientific subjects if we had not participated in some of the disciplines. But when it comes to the science of Sciences, that is those which are related to our life in Allah, even to propose that you have participated in that life is often regarded as self-sufficient evidence that you have not. And so the exclusive lovers dominate over the inclusive lovers and perhaps it has always been so.

But now I have met this teacher who willingly reviews any real experiences in real mysticism. And besides he was a friend of one of my spiritual colleagues who died of a broken heart trying to make experience a part of his religion. The time has come now to have some standards in the spiritual sciences the same as some standards in the “material” sciences. Besides Imam-Al-Ghazzali said, “Tasawwuf consist of experiences and not syllogisms.” And this letter was written only after visitation with the Imam, the subject being Dauk. And while the Imam may so say, and all true Gnostics confirm it, it will now be the first time that an American is being offered the opportunity to report on mystical experiences as he has been permitted to report on horticultural and chemical experiences.

For in the West there are two classes of people, at bitter war with each other, that dominate the science: (a) the translators of books who definitely dominate the teaching. You have met some of them (as Prof. Gibb and his colleagues) who are very adamant against any idea that a modern Western man could possibly have similar experiences to those about whom they are writing; (b) and preach and who are mostly “exclusive.”

The search for Truth is marred everywhere by personalisms and personalities. People in California are very much like Indians, they select some personality, elevate that person to be in some way a Divine Messenger and confine all wisdom to him. The result is a number of conflicting cults all claiming to accept the Brotherhood of Man and all rejecting each other.

This is complicated by the invasion of three types of pseudo Sufism (In the paper it is called “pseudo-mysticism” although this applies to all faiths.) One group of these follows a man named Gurdjieff who did study under real Sufis and then changed the doctrines from love to will, from the eccentricity to egocentricity and from Kashf to sensual development. Another concentrated on psychic powers. The third on a personality who is called god-man, but has given no evidence whatsoever of mercy, compassion or love and who certainly has made a multitude of false predictions.

Now the young feel that this is all wrong and the great rush of the young is to drugs. It can be easily demonstrated that certain herbs make one conscious of other worlds, and they do reach the lower facets of Malakut and think they know the Cosmos. Only their Joy is quite limited and they are dependent on externals. This is contradiction to the elders who want a person and the drugs can not provide any love, mercy and compassion which is not already in the heart.

Nearly every day now some young woman has been coming here alone or with a man and it is very easy to trace the psychological and social difficulties through the most superficial examination. The Christian Bible (but not Christianity) teaches: “There are three witnesses on earth:, water, and breath and blood.” One can easily find, without questions, by the way people breathe and how the blood flows what is wrong. This is Kashf and there is no way for egocentrics to combat the truth of Kashf and it answers all questions, all needs.

Thus one comes quickly to the heart of the difficulties in others and then gives them some simple remedy. But all these remedies appear to work showing despite Muslims that Allah is closer than the neck-vein and this can be learned by everybody because it is true.

All these women have failed in the recognition of love. Love is not important in our culture, sex is. They have not had the love of mother or father or spouse and it shows in everything.

Sufis teach the value of Music for the young and the attainment of hal. All these people have had Psychedelic drugs and have found them wanting. The psychedelics prove that there is a vast universe not taught or revealed by traditional religionists nor by the cults which have their special leaders not yet obtainable chemically. The Sidi said one thing and the audience believed otherwise, but the Baraka can be transmitted, the life can be aroused in people and one suddenly finds oneself a sort of “spiritual Pied Piper.”

The marvelous thing about it is that it is in one’s own home town, where one was born and where one has been rejected all one’s life with the instructions to remain until this was broken down.

One introduced last night both the Dervish Dance and the Zikr (which ended the meeting) and one had to impart Joy and Love as well as knowledge. This Friday one will open up the “secrets” of the teaching of Moses and the Doctrine of Light. It is all of a sudden different and one does not know how to proceed. But as one depends on Allah so Allah answers. Only one does not know how to find time to type.

One is going to check over the “rags” given by Sufi Barkat Allah and either present them as tokens of Baraka or otherwise.

There is one favor you may do, and that is to send more Tasbihs. They are hard to get here,
although one may find them in New York City. All but two have been given away, one of those
being a 300 bead string which is to be reserved.

My love and blessings to everybody.

 Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif. 94103

11th March, 1967

 

Nasr, Sehmiran, Amaniyah,       

Pahlavi Ave., 25 Farkhar St.,      

Tehran, Iran       

 

My dear Brother in Allah:

As-salaam aleikhum. The other day just before receiving your letter I got off at a wrong corner from the tram (street car) and before realizing saw an Iranian Bazaar which had just been established. There was a lady in charge, born in San Francisco but she had married one of your fellow Tehranis and said her husband knew you.

She is at the same disadvantage as any native is, that no matter how deep their knowledge of holy things are, they can never be equal to those who are born Muslims and she had had the same treatment as the rest of us, no matter how learned or wise or holy, we have to work apart from the Islamic community. I have since returned presenting her a copy of “Hadith of Hazrat Ali” because I felt that that was the best way to introduce her to Islamics at any level. It proved to be exactly what she wanted, and could not get. For this country is full of Islamic missionaries who not only want absolute agreement in the end, but absolute agreement in how they got there. So there is no from for the Grace of Allah.

There is a universal system here that all religionists infer self-praise. They may say “Praise to Allah” or they may have strange beliefs but all end in inferred self-praise. The result is that the young are more and more deserting all religion and at the moment they are coming to this house in increasing numbers. So much so that tomorrow night, inshallah, I shall be extending Bayat to a whole group, those who seek God and God-consciousness and believe I can help them, My own chief merit is rejections.

Now, my Brother, I have known for many years that I should have to follow in the path of Hafiz-i-Shiraz, to be rejected by my fellow citizens and after I am gone to be highly respected by them or more. I have known this by Kashf and direct sight, but these things are as foreign to “Islam” as they are to other faiths, and any experience of and from Allah is regarded as a sign of queerness.

The next thing that happened during the week is the inheritance of a library from a lady with some wealth who had a “queer”—in America this is very “queer” that one could learn more Asian philosophies from Asians than from Europeans and Englishmen. Why even the local Islamic Center selected an Englishman who was not a Muslim to teach, (??) Qur’an, compelling me and some others to resign. But whatever a “Muslim” does is correct, inshallah or no inshallah. And I guess I am scandalizing them, as Abu Said ibn Abi’l-Khayr scandalized his contemporaries.

For instead of praying about science and religion I gave to each of them any and all names of God they choose to repeat and the vast majority found by their own efforts that the words Allah was more efficacious than any other word. They tried it themselves and found this out. For although the Prophet—and I hope I am extending peace to him, said there should be no compulsion in “Islam” that is the biggest international joke in existence for the vast majority of zealots insist on compulsion and fall while this person will allow no compulsion and praise to Allah, is succeeding. Already one is winning the young, if not to “Islam” then to Kalama and Zikr.

For although it is said that every child born a Muslim, no child is born with a complex relation to legal codes and folk-lore which in so many parts of the world are called “Islam” and in so many parts of the world differ from each other so that the “Islam” of one peoples is quite different from the “Islam” of other peoples.

Now the signs are that I must cooperate. Only patience is needed. I am at the moment engaged in litigation. Our father left a substantial sum which has increased enormously since his death and neither my brother nor I benefit much from it. We are getting ready to bring suit. For I live in poverty and he due to illness and accidents cannot pay his bills and the principal in the estate has increased so much that there is no way for us to touch it no matter how much we want. And on top of that he has been ill and so many of my friends have been ill that I am held up. At the same time I have had the sign to go to England and after this sign my mother’s estate was probated leaving me the money for this trip but no more.

In the library just inherited one finds the works of M. Pallis. As for Titus Burkhardt, he is the one European who had the audacity to be honest and say one cannot learn tasawwuf without undergoing the proper disciplines from the proper teachers. This is not generally held. You have been to Harvard University. England is still worse. I was speaking to one of my teachers in Anthropology. “I studied Islamics at Harvard University.” “Then you don’t know anything about Islam.” “No, I did not learn anything about Islam there.” This holds pretty much for the whole country. Although there are breaks now. The important name is always more important that that the important wisdom.

I have also had the sign to begin on “Six Interviews with Hazrat Inayat Khan.” This would include my report on the meeting with Hazrat Khawaja Khizr; the Mursaleen and Mecca Shereef. But such knowledge is rejected by our community until…. And having the grace of Allah excludes one from most religious communities (vide Hafiz).

Now I have the complete Ryazat of Hazrat Inayat Khan and I have placed in the hands of a friend a whole pile of materiel on Ryazat from many sources, not published to and in the Western world. One outer sign comes this morning. I am awaiting a professional athlete. I have shown him how to climb steep hills using variously Kalama, Zikr and Wazifas and he has found they work, they are real, they are operative. They are also “unislamic” for to practice that Allah is closer than the neck-vein is not done. When I teach the Zikr I require talibs to be aware of their neck-vein and they find it very beneficial, and even tonight I have I have been invited to another group of young people to whom I shall show how to chant Allahu: This attracts them to what may be called “the religion.” There is no theology at all, just “Allah” and the sciences of Allah which would end in Ism-i-Azam. So one no longer cares whether one’s community accepts for the Allah is the Day Of Judgment.

Therefore although there is the caution of patience I am to take everything you have written into deep consideration and will also see my bookstore about your works those I do not have.

Now I have already seen by Kashf and Shahud the need to establish a Khankah here. But besides this my legal counselor has proposed it and a new type of Americans who have the extrasensory faculties and they have independently sought for they have recognized my position and relation to the Auliya (in the broad sense).

It thus becomes peculiar that the Islamic community does not recognize this—all my articles on tasawwuf so far have been rejected—but those who have the keen sight are helping spiritually if not physically.

The next step is obvious, if and when I go to England to contact anybody with whom you are in contract. So I am to wait for any communication from Clive Ross.

Actually my position is this: my brother cannot obtain moneys unless I have an equal claim and so far my claim is largely based on the need of funds to help with further research. At this moment I have telephoned my brother who is ill and he is quite favorable to your request. Having lived in poverty (for an American) so long, any large sum coming to these hands must be used for the cause of Allah. The cause of Allah is not a person.

Wednesday, allamdulillah, for the first time a representative of an important magazine sought this person for an interview for an article on “Sufism” and he suggested further interviews. All those things together form signs, even without prayer, meditation, Kashf or shahud.

Last week a letter was received from Prof. Huston Smith of MIT. Did you meet him? He is regarded as the chief authority on Comparative Religions in the whole country. At the Psychedelic conference everybody leaned on Prof. Sydney Cohen who leaned on Prof. Smith who was amazed what I told him personally—things that others reject on the grounds of “egotism.” So I sent him my “True Mysticism versus pseudo-mysticism” and he wants to see me and it had been my program to go to Massachusetts anyhow—for this money has been reserved before the contact. No “Muslim” can stop kashf or shahud. Allah reveals to whom he would reveal when he would reveal, or the “8/7 of Qur’an” as the afore-mentioned Abu Said taught.

Copy of this is also going to Khalifa Saadia Khawar Khan and to the Islamic community here. I do not belong to this community but to the Canadian American Islamic Assn. based on the universities and working with the Imams. At least the Imams did recognize my being a human person who has traveled far and wide and studied much.

My prayers and wishes are for you and we shall see what Allah permits.

Peace and blessings from

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

(Samuel L. Lewis)

 

P.S. Have regular correspondence with Ajmir.

 

 


410 Precita

19th April, 1969

 

Seyyed Hussein Nasr

Department of Islamics University of Tehran,

Tehran, Iran.

 

Beloved One of Allah:

As-Salaam aleikhum. I have before me your “Ideals and Realities of Islam” and also your address “The Pertinence of Islam to the Modern World.”

One agrees thoroughly and absolutely with the latter and it is this very agreement which produces some differences or misunderstandings. I do not accept that Mohammed is the Seal of the Prophets from those who do not accept his teachings. The whole emphasis is on personality and neither on Ilm nor Tawhid. Mohammed is to me, Seal of the Prophets, when we accept the other prophets, not only those whom you have named in your book but all who have attained a certain degree of illumination and wisdom whether they are mentioned in scriptures or not. (For instance we have had some “prophets” in early American cultures.)

I do not believe there has been a single serious advance in either civilization or culture without Allah’s permission. I also agree with Mohammed and contrary to “Islam” that my words cannot abrogate the words of Allah but the words of Allah can abrogate my words.” I should like some examples.

I agree with you entirely and absolutely in your remarks on Peace and in all your other remarks in this address. But I also find absolute agreement, excepting on rare instances where there is relative agreement (not differences) with your European colleagues to whom you kindly gave me the proper introduction. I think they are wonderful.

There is no place in books by so-called “Muslims” for a Feringhi to whom the messenger appeared long before he studied Holy Qur’an. And neither a place in “Islamics” at all to a Feringhi who never met an Imam until he was well over fifty years of age: So this being so the teachings one gives do not follow traditions at all, but may follow (Allah knows best) the type of “revelation” suited to Americans. It is overlooked—a “good Muslim” may overlook anything—that Holy Qur’an distinctly says it was given in Arabic so that the immediate audience could understand.

A copy of a letter to a friend in Pakistan will explain what is being done. Evidently Allah approves, and if so, whatever man says will not affect or effect.

With all love and blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif.

June 30, 1969

 

Dr. Seyyed Hussein Nasr

C/o Center for Religious Studies, Harvard, University,

Cambridge 02138

 

Dear Prof. Nasr:

As-Salaam Aleikhum. We have just had a delightful visit from God-daughter. Khalifa Saadia Khawar Khan. Although the time was short she met several mureeds in this home and more mureeds and friends at the Khankah in Novato, some thirty miles to the North.

She put on a fashion display which won the admiration of all and today the first steps were taken to putting another on, a real one, when she returns. In turn we did a number of dervish dances and some chants which follow in principle the Chisti ideals and methods.

Khawar told me you are in this country for a short visit and may come out here. Such a visit would be most welcome. The Department of Near East Languages on the Berkeley University of California has long been the recipient of materials sent from Tehran University through me, etc. Of course I do not know whether you would want to meet people here or go to bazaars or just meeting the young.

Today I have a large and growing following coming from a program started at the Psychedelic Conference here a few years back, “Joy without Drugs.” We are demonstrating the teachings of Imam Ghazzali that tasawwuf is based on experience and not premises. (This is seeping very slowly into our culture.) I am also lecturing occasionally to the “Hippies” on Rumi, and reading from him (Nicholson).

We today have several motor cars at our disposal and would be glad to cooperate in any way you desire, especially if we have some information as to dates. The Sufi Pir Vilayat Khan, who was present at the conference of The Temple of Understanding at Calcutta, is expected tomorrow.

Love and blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


July 11th, 1969

 

Dear Sufi Ahmed Murad Chishti,

Thanks you for your letter of invitation to come to San Francisco and also several previous letters. Alas, I will not be coming to the West Coast during my present journey and so will not be able to see you and also Miss Khan whom I expected to see during this visit. I shall be returning to Iran in a couple of weeks.

I am glad to see that more and more people are being attracted to Sufism but the trouble is that most of the young refuse to accept discipline and so, although they begin with a search for the Truth, their changing whims and fancies soon force them to leave the path they have chosen. That is why Sufism can never be taught onside of the Shariah on an enduring basis. The Shariah is the protective code for the fire of Tasawwuf and no period has needed this protection more than now. One hopes so much that in this present turmoil of the youth true religion and spirituality and means of attaining them can be [placed at their disposal for they are desperately in search of something to hang on to. I pray for your success in making better known the way of Allah. I read the article in “Playboy” on “Cultsville” and its reference to you.

Please give my salaam to Miss Khan to whom I hope to write soon.

As salaam aleikhum

Seyyed Hussein Nasr

 

 


410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Calif. 94110

July 27, 1969

 

Dr. S. H. Nasr

42 Francis Ave., Cambridge, Mass.

 

Beloved One of Allah:

As-salaam aleikhum. One is living in a world which is rapidly changing. Allah, to whom be all Praise, has chosen at His times and convenience to lift the veils of this person, and he is totally indifferent whether others accept this or not. A rigorous defense letter has been destroyed.

Infants may be born “Muslims” (I have come to seriously doubt it), but hardly acquainted with Shariah. Infants are born with faculties and qualities which are removed by the forces of Nufsaniat and even though the people of Nufsaniat call themselves “Muslims” it is hardly in the sense that all infants are born “Muslims.” The two are not equal, much less identical.

Pakistan became an “Islamic Republic” and after many years a committee was formed to determine what these words mean. To live in surrender to Allah is one thing; to accept customs and traditions is something else. And I personally differ on certain points and on these points will gladly accept the judgment of Allah whom I always thought was Master of the Day of Judgment although it appears quite different—many people live by judging.

One of these points is that Allah is closer than the neck-vein. I dare to make young people accept this and give them practices so they are aware first of the neck-vein and then of Allah. No doubt this is very “un-Islamic” and I so accept it.

Another is that Allah loves his creation more than a mother loves her offspring. On this point I will not bulge no matter the future. I accept the judgment of Allah though he lift me to heaven or makes me walk through the valley of the shadow of death, or worse. I accept this judgment and will continue to offer my praise to Allah, not to my fellow-believer or unbeliever; not to judges, kinds, prelates, landlords and important people.

Looking upon the young as actual or potential loved ones of Allah, I so behave, so live and the time is coming and it may not be far off when we shall chant and dance for Allah and for Mohammed the Khatimal Mursaleen.

I never met an Imam until I was over fifty years of age. But Allah to whom be all praise, chose to lift veils and one was blessed by the manifestation first of Khizr and then of Mohammed, as well as many representatives of Allah in all capacities and functions.

Traveling around the world one was met by or met many of high rank in the spiritual life and all had one sit by their sides, in one tarik after another, in one country after another. And now by the Grace of Allah one gets Americans to repeat Kalama, to sing 75% of the time praises of Allah and 25% praises of Mohammed, and they are loving it and doing it. There is more love, more joy and in the last two weeks more assistance than one has seen in a long life.

It has pleased Allah—though it may not please “believers” to give one a long life, a life of vitality, health and mental prowess; to which are being added love and consideration for one’s fellow-creatures. I am egoist enough to believe, like Hafiz, though a sinner I may land in paradise.

The address you gave to the people at the conference for The Temple of Understanding was excellent. I do not recall but do not believe you demanded Shariah from them. Besides we are not having peace and understanding through traditions and need more—love, compassion, insight and vision. I do not believe any of these are excluded.

I find great joy in accepting the works of Burckhardt, Pallis, Sehuon and others and have kept on very good terms with Mr. Clive-Ross. I shall continue, inshallah.

Miss Saadia Khawar Khan has been in this vicinity and I should be seeing her again shortly.

There is nothing to stop missionaries and prelates but if they do not succeed whose fault is it? One has absolute trust in Allah, absolute, and no need to shudder when political and other events do not please one’s ego. One should prefer to accept what appears in “The Arabian Nights”—there is no power nor might save in Allah.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti*

*So named by at least one great Sufi and confirmed by other.

 

 


410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Calif.

August 6th,1969

 

Dr. Seyyed Hussein Nasr,

c/o Center for Religious Studies Harvard University

Cambridge, Mass. 02138

 

Beloved One of Allah:

As-salaam aleikhum. One is again writing you for two “reasons” or events which occurred at the same time. Visiting one’s favorite bookstore one found a bundle of these brochures. There was no time then to stop and discuss anything but there is no question that a very large segment of my people, i.e. Californians, are now being drawn to this outlook, not only the young people who are in protest-revolts, but older persons who are dissatisfied with all partial outlooks.

The other is that Miss Khawar Khan (Saadia) feels, and I think she is right, that I myself, protesting against dualisms, may have become over-dualistic myself. This is not a way out for anything. But in discussing the matter of La Illaha El Il Allah, while logically it is clear, psychologically it is anything but clear. In men’s minds, indeed in the minds of a lot of men, there are “thought-partners” to God. Among the Jews it is race; among the Christians it is doctrines; among the Muslims it is most often something very vague called Shariah, something also vague called “consensus,” and something not so vague, i.e. the historical, the very historical personally called “Mohammed” (on whom be peace).

While no doubt there have been objections and very rational objections to some of the stands one person has taken, it has also been necessary to reject a lot of conclusions of editors and writers of so-called “Islamic literature.” One of these has been the attacks on science and the logic of these attacks would end in regarding many of your writings as invalid. I have refused to do this. But there is also a behavior pattern among many “Muslims” (so-called) that if a “Muslim” says it is right and if a non-Muslim says it is wrong, ipse facto. And this psychological peculiarity has not been faced and will not be faced until theologians and so-called “logicians” face each other in public debates where subterfuge would be impossible.

I do not know what “Shariah” means. I do not know what “Act as if in the Presence of Allah, and remember, if you do not see him, verily He sees you.” But this does not make a man a “Muslim”—far from it!

Kindness and generally do not mean that a person must become emptily negative. And fineness and positivity does not infer ill-will in the slightest. Confusion is not clarified by counter-confusion, and Love is not clarified by any form of thought, whatsoever. The mind which is powerful does not thereby have the wisdom and the heart that is powerful there by often has the wisdom and also perception (Kashf).

Today one has a class in Mushahida and our good friend, Saadia Khawar will be present and learn directly from the person whom she regards as a Murshid. This is a real method, a real outlook which opens up real facets of the real inner personality without any lucid or confusing metaphysics. It definitely exemplifies La Illaha El Il Allah, and makes it practical for those who have risen to the heights of direct perception.

With all love and blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif.

Sept. 26, 1969

 

Dr. Seyyed Hussein Nasr

Department of Islamic Studies

Tehran University

Tehran, Iran

 

Dear Prof. Nasr:

As-Salaam aleikhum.

I would seen now that this person is to attend the forthcoming sessions of The Temple of Understanding. This is clearly indicate by kashf and let us say Mushahida. And certainly Allah, to whom be all praise, is quite willing to approve of the Hadith: “In that day will the sun rise in the west and all men seeing, will believe.”

The news is indicated in the copies of letters enclosed. As there is a possibility of the group connected with the Temple going on to Tehran, I am also considering this possibility but have no real interested in visiting lands marked by hatred and war, no matter what the circumstances and factors are.

There is also a class going on here on “Arabic Art” broadly interested to cover mostly of Islamic art and for the Asian countries—last spring it covered North Africa and the Mediterranean. As usual there is complete apathy on the part of the so-called Islamic community to such studies. But there is a plan for a great tour in 1971-2, and of I do not go personally, Allah, to whom be all praise, is making it possible for at least one or more disciples to enroll.

A carbon of this is being sent to Miss Khawar Khan (Saadia) who was very well received here and we both agree that the Hadith should be used more to bring the devotees of various faiths closer together.

Love and blessings.

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


London,

April 7, 1970

 

Dr. Seyyed Hussein Nasr

Tehran University

Tehran, Iran

 

Beloved One of Allah,

Asalaam aleikhum! One believes a great step forward has been made in the mere fact that persons of diverse outlooks have come together in amity. To me this itself is so wonderful that it requires one to keep I almost perpetual praise of Allah. Indeed, there is some question as to whether I get more personal or cosmic satisfaction from the conference. I mean by personal satisfaction that I have not only met you but also splendid personalities, not only those whom I have always wished to meet and those whose books I have read and in a few instances, some of whom I have not heard. And it may be more than a coincidence that the board selected consisted almost entirely and almost exclusively whom I might have handpicked myself had I such power and authority.

There is some question whether it is my American heritage or my natural nervousness or my nufs or even my divine vision that wishes the conference to go on in the direction of achievement. But I would not even dare to make any statements here were it not for the fact that I have studied every religion, partly at the bequest of Dr. Henry Atkinson of the World Church Peace Union, partly at my own inclination, and—here we enter in new territory—partly as instigated by what I believe is cosmic vision and more particularly of Prophet Mohammed Himself. The evidence of the latter is in my poetry. Why, nearly everybody expects others to accomplish, the Sufi expects of himself.

There were two elements of what looks like negative items. They are not negative items, but they are shadows which enhance the light. One of these is that when certain things were not known to themselves personally, sometimes it was assured that they were not known at all. I refer to worldly knowledge, not to anything mysterious, but just to available information. I have written about this elsewhere.

The other was concern on the part of various leaders that my failure to adhere each to their particular orthodoxies or heterodoxies would sooner or later lead me to doom, rather than to salvation. Each had a different measuring stick. And one wonders what they each mean by God, or Salvation, or anything, if they are so minded.

In his greeting, the mayor of Geneva referred to the Moghul emperor Akbar. This man has been declared a heretic by leaders and followers of so many different faiths. I have been to Fatehpur Sikri, twice, and on each occasion I met the Sheikh there of the family of Salem Chisti. I have read at least cursorily the Ain-i-Akbari. I have read many times the “Dabistan,” perhaps the first book on comparative religion, which came out of that court, and I am moved far more by universal respect then by any glib tongue love, no matter how sincere.

The last thing one wished to do was to impose one’s own age. Age might not mean wisdom, but it can easily involve a larger accumulation of intellectual knowledge, especially in a person who was already reading the Bible for the first time at the turn of the century.

There is a far cry between self-proud Muslims who quote the Messengers: “Seek knowledge, even unto China” and the actual seeker or even the obtainer of such knowledge. Certainly I made no stronger friendship than the entirely new one with Dr. Tsao. The brevity of speeches, the manifestation of an occam’s razor, so to speak, has come out of this Chinese discipline. Heresy hunting Muslims and heresy hunters in general quote that which they do not wish to see manifested.

Visions for a Temple, in principle, like the Temple of Understanding came to me separately—one in spiritual conferences with the late Hazrat Inayat Khan, father of Pir Vilayat Khan. The conferences with this great man and the reports thereof were refused by his followers east and west, other than by the family of the late Hasan Nizami of Delhi. To me, it is a vast mistake to assume that a divine impetus or vision or inspiration is confined necessarily to a single person.

The other come out of an interview with the late Dr. Henry Atkinson of the World Church Peace Union concerning a conference of the different faiths. The meeting took place in 1928 and the vision came in the next two years and was put down in writing. Copy of this are in the hands of my secretary Mansur.

There are actual principles in actual scriptures which support Judith’s vision. For example, the Shinkiniah-temple episodes of the Hebrew Bible. I discussed this with the Rabbis present and found total agreement somewhat to my surprise. Then there is in the Bible also the Ezekiel-John pre-visions which apparently are still to come. But I personally feel that the architect has caught the modern spirit for these visions, and we cannot preclude some of the advances in mathematics and architecture, especially where these advances could cut down considerably on cost of reconstruction.

There were some persons, including quite a few women, who are opposed to the construction of such an edifice. One wonders why they appear at such a conference. They often appear largely because it gives their ego (nufs) an opportunity to express itself before a conference of considerate and open-hearted fellow humans. One cannot help smile, not so much at their opposition to a structure, as to their inability to comprehend human brotherhood from the standpoint of the awakened heart.

There were several persons who expressed doubt about my views. None of them got up and expressed anything when those of greater prowess expressed opinions contrary to their own. There is a defeat in certain religions, when they permit a very great man like Dr. Radhakrishnan to express his outlook and receive it either with applause or silence, and when a man of lesser renown says exactly the same thing, they look upon him with dismay. This is one of the reasons and it is a very important reason, why youth is not attracted to many aspects of traditional religion—too much personalism and personality and not enough impersonal devotion.

I have found a vast gap between the Hadiths of Mohammed on knowledge and wisdom and the practicing traditions which have fomented narrow orthodoxies all of them a defiance of rahmat. Mohammed has said, “Allah loves his creation more than a mother loves her off-spring.” When this gets to be an actuality, the practitioner is regarded as worse than a heretic. There is a mystical attitude—and it is found in several religions, that there is a relation between Allah and Adam similar to the relation between the whole body and the cells and atoms thereof. Words like “Tauhid” and “Wahdat” lose their effectiveness when they are confined to speculative metaphysics.

A divine vision is not divine when it is restricted. One can talk forever about “hal” and “makam’—or if you like it about “urim” and “thummin,” the Biblical parallels—but if they are not fortified by being a part of human experience, they do not mean so much. Wm. James has written on “The meaning of God in human experience” and followers of every faith react to this each in their own manner.

In the writings of Inayat Khan unpublished, there are 7 grades of interpretations of La Illaha El Il Allah. A Hadiths says, “Qur’an was sent down in 7 dialects, and each has its inner and outer meaning.” We have it variously that Hazrat Ali and again Imam Al-Ghazzali, “Say Allah and Allah thou Shalt become.” In the scientific spirit one might try this; in the orthodox spirit one accepts it on faith and does not try it, so true science leads to illumination, while orthodoxies restrict. Righteousness may follow, but not wisdom and enlightenment. And of course self-righteousness does follow.

I find the sheets issued by the Temple of Understand as “Guidelines for a world body of religions” excellent; the question is merely how to implement and, to use an American expression, how to semantize. Thus under purpose C. “To bring our mutual spiritual forces to bear on the problems of the human race;” now what are “spiritual forces?” If one uses such words as pneumatikos,
ruhaniyat and parallel Sanskrit terms, one arrives at a series of super-values and not just values; one is beyond analysis, and to subvert the word “spiritual” as merely another intellectual, analytical term, is to destroy it.

Although in a sense I have been trained under quite different disciplines from those of our good friend Swami Ranganathananda, the dividing line between our series of efforts has long since disappeared. When the celebrated writer E.G. Browne visited the tomb of Shah Nimatula, the guardian Wali said to him, “Among the Gnostics, there is no differentiation of sects.” This has prayed on my mind for many, many years, but as if it were a notion of honey, not of diversive efforts. And as “Purpose C” also says, “so that intelligent and loving relationships may be established,” these correspond to the vijnana-vada and ananda-vada of Vedanta.

On the purely private side, it was most edifying to find that this man whom I love perhaps even more than anybody on earth, including my own Pir-o-Murshid, should have given personal evaluation which may actually characterize my place in the universe. Unlike especially the orators of minority groups, I could not and would not present any ego-centrism beyond which was done at the conference. Not only long study and discipline, but conferences with many wise men of Islam, I have a clear picture, inshallah, of nufs-i-alima and nufs-i-salima. These have become as real to me as the highest Vedantic terms have become real to Indians and are now becoming real to a great man intelligent men of the West. So I adhere to the Wali’s words, “Among the Gnostics, there is no differentiation of sect.”

At the same time, there are two series of accomplishments—and I mean accomplishments—the one is the poetry; until 1967 I was a poor man. In that year for the first time in my life, I was confined to a hospital and the voice of Allah came to me when I was flat on my back, “I make you spiritual leader of the hippies.” This was followed by a series of visions, all of which have come true down to details. Several Muslims reply “Iblis!” To them Allah is anything but the manifestation of Allah. I have been working for some time now on “Dances of Universal Peace.” In the face of the ever-repeated: “Malika Yaum-i-Din” and in the face of Arberry’s horrible mistranslation of this, I find too many devotees, Islamic and non-Islamic, making themselves judges of the world. Added to this the actual rejection of Qur’anic passages that there is none like Allah and that he alone super-comprehends and super-apprehends this universe, the extension of past directives as if they were externalities blocks the way to progress. In actuality, regardless of interpretations and mis-interpretations, Allah is neither of the East or of the West, nor of the past or present or future—all of these being projections and derivatives of his infinite is-ness.

I do not know when it will be possible to have my “Saladin” published; it will be published along with “The Day of the Lord Cometh,” its Jewish forerunner, and independently I shall send Dr. Ditzen “What Christ? what Peace?” the Christian epic written immediately after the “Day of the Lord Cometh.” All of them have been rejected, but now between slowly but constantly increasing income; a definitely rise and apparently rapidly growing rise; and a miraculously increasing income to and for my closest mureeds, the doors seem to be opening to and for a new world. So there is no pessimism in earlier rejections, none at all.

In the last few years, there has been a stupendous serge towards spirituality in the States, and this is also reflected in the rising number of university and college professors who have not only much broader outlooks but who have even absorbed greater wisdom. Some of these you know personally already. It is this rising tide of broader outlooks which seems to be part of cosmic evolution, and I think you rightfully referred to it in your speech.

We hope to go to the British Museum while we are here, but with many doors opening we cannot be assured of as many accomplishments as others would like. Our next immediate step is to seek a Pakistani restaurant near here, and then perhaps visit the mosque later. But this is only one small item in a limited visit filled with many projects. But all of these projects synchronize and integrate into The Temple of Understanding.

We have to make three different preparations:

a. the integration of African culture

b. the integration of youth

c. the furthering of real peace proposals, between real people, of the real Near East, bearing in mind always the devotional and spiritual elements without overlooking economic necessities.

I can assure you that all the statements above have been implemented by the accumulation of factual knowledge from very down to earth sources, along with, as Allah knows, the increase of response to divine wisdom. It is now 50 years since the first reading of Kashf Al-Mahjub and over 50 years since the first reading of the Upanishads. Etc.

To refer to Buddhist sources, this means emptiness and fullness, sunyata and asunyata, together. but I do not wish to impose or overawe or dominate. This earth is held together by feldspar, not by the dominant minerals. Forces of adhesion and cohesion hold together mineral and vegetable and animal bodies. True love holds the humanity together.

Love and Blessings

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif.

April 24, 1970

 

Prof. Seyyed Hussein Nasr

Department of Islamic Studies

Tehran University

Tehran, Iran

 

Dear Prof. Nasr:

As-Salaam aleikhum.

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, of the seen and unseen, of the known and unknown, of the past and the present and the future.

Secretary Mansur and the writer are now packing to return to San Francisco. Many things we have done will not satisfy others. But everything we have tried to do, and many things we did not even have to try to do, have been successful. The pursuit of divine guidance may result in pleasure and satisfaction (riza) to and from Allah; it may not always bring pleasure and satisfaction to and from peoples of diverse beliefs, orthodox and heterodox, who do not always appreciate the points of view of others.

Our visit to London was heightened and lightened by our meetings with your good friends who are now our good friends, Mr. Clive-Ross and The Imam Raja at the London mosque on park road. As events have transpired, it would appear, inshallah, that one’s income is increasing considerably. Both the heart of the Imam and the present unfortunate real prosecution of Pakistanis in London make one feel that one’s zakat or part of it should go to the Raja.

Very few Muslims, it would seem agree with the Messenger who said: “Act as if in the presence of Allah, and remember, though you do not see him, verily He sees you.”There is a moral law, ant it is always operating. It does not always please some people. They may ignore or discountenance this moral law, but they can never avoid or escape. The constant harping of the Pakistani papers about the persecution of Muslims in India and elsewhere is now followed by the actual persecution of Pakistanis in a great city of a great empire. It is the old story of “Wolf” from Aesop’s fables, that when the actual wolf manifests it is not always easy to arouse the sympathy of those who have been listening to the cry, “wolf, wolf.”

From the English point of view the gangsters who are tormenting Pakistanis are of the same type as those who used to torment Jesus and others. You do not hear any UN anguish over this.

You do not read tear-jerking editorials. “Everybody” is so concerned over the real or fanciful wars in Vietnam and the Near East, or else so concerned with the astronauts that a little bloodshed does not matter, so long as it is not their blood.

Actually this whole trip has been nothing but the outward manifestation of the accomplishment of the four Daroods assigned by Sufi Barkat Ali. They are in objective existence. Not the least of the reasons for having a traveling companion has been to have an eye-witness to various “miracles” and strange incidents. This has become almost the norm and one can tell endless stories.

We also met Marco Pallis and Martin Lings in London and called on my old acquaintance Bernard Lewis at the University of London. These were all splendid encounters.

In further evidence. We are the guests here of one, Richard Harvey, whose whole life is dedicated to bring East and West together. He also owns and operates a bookstore called The Sphinx. On our very first visit to this store, we found a 4 volume edition of Al-Hadis in English and purchased it immediately. We also found The Encounter of Man and Nature, your latest which you have mentioned. As a start we have purchased 3 copies and will be reading it on the plane tomorrow, inshallah, when we return to San Francisco. There is no doubt that further copies will be purchased and, I hope, also to see it in certain university libraries.

It is very strange and even a wonder at my age that everything is turning out marvelously excellent, Alhamdulillah. This makes one even more cautions and attentive to Zikr.

At this writing our colleague Pir Vilayat Khan is not well. We are hoping and praying he will become more cautious and follow in his father’s footsteps instead of constantly traveling and being in realms of excitement.

The dervish and spiritual dances have really taken on here, and we hope, inshallah, to return to the eastern states later in the year. This must also be discussed with Khawar to whom we shall write on our return, especially to answer any letters from her. If Allah wills, it may be that this person will be working consciously toward the objectification of “In that day will the sun rise in the West and all men seeing will believe.”

Sincerely and faithfully,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


May 6, 1970

910 Railroad Ave.

Novato, Calif. 94947 USA

 

Dr. Seyyed Hussein Nasr

University of Tehran

Tehran, Iran

 

Beloved One of Allah: Asalaam-aleikhum!

Mansur and I are home again, but not for long. There may be a vast difference between man self-proclaiming to be a Muslim and the actual surrender to the living God in the daily life, a point which will be discussed below. In general I find men making the remark, “Muslims will not approve of what you are doing,” to which I answer, “It is not a question of Muslims approving of what I am doing; it is a question of whether Allah approves of what I am doing.” And there are too many examples of quite recent vintage where it would seem the will of Allah and the will of Muslims are quite separate.

The books which we purchased in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have not yet arrived. We were not then in a hurry, but now I am forced to write without the copy of your latest work before me. Personally, I have found Tauhid to be absolutely operative. I have found persons who believed this to be so, but there seem to be few on earth, and may be it doesn’t matter, that have alike mystical, philosophical, and scientific backgrounds. I find there are universal men in an absolute sense, (following Jili) and there are also universal men in another sense; and I cannot over-praise your dedicating your work to Marco Pallis. I think you know what I mean; this is a heart communication and not a superficial, mental evaluation.

Changes in my financial status warrant the establishment of scholarship for the department of Near East Languages at the University of California. I do not know my financial status, but kashf has been so operative and so steady and so perfect one dare not operate otherwise. I have still to contact Dr. Brynner, head of the department, personally, but while everybody else has ideas one may have also ears that operate on all planes of the universe. Superficially, Dr. Brynner knows I am concerned both with peace in the Near East and the support of certain students enrolled in his department, but behind this are series of events about which he will learn for the first time when he reads this letter.

We had in San Francisco, previously, a so-called American Academy of Asian Studies. Just before its demise a rival California Academy of Asian Studies was established. They had considerable popular support, or shall I say, “establishment” support. I am not a university graduate, and due to the hard fact that neither Mohammed (on whom be peace) nor Emperor Akbar nor for that matter the greatest English 19th century scientist, Darwin and Faraday, were over-endowed with degrees makes me feel that these are not necessary always. The University of California and to some extent the local San Francisco State College have overlooked this, but the above private schools purportedly devoted to spiritual studies have refused adamantly and absolutely to accept anything from me which did not come out of an academy, while accepting the prowess of Jain teachers and questionable characters like the so-called Maharshi.

These private schools absolutely refused to permit me to speak on Sufism; nevertheless, I enrolled and they were very glad to take my money. I submitted a paper on the parallels between samkaya and the Kabala: it was a huge undertaking. I submitted to another professor, highly honored socially, a paper on the possible identity of the Arabic afrit and the Indian preta. I do not know which snub was the worst. I took each of these papers to professors under Dr. Brynner and was told that I could register at the University of California and get a PhD degree! I have never forgotten this and feel deeply obligated to those academicians who do not turn a peasant down because he has not certain credentials.

While I was doing certain experiments, and I mean laboratory experiments and not philosophical speculations, I found the key to the Jemal and the Jelal processes in the plant world followed by a clear picture of the Purusha and Prakrit processes in the whole biological universe. I am not going into that here, but either in writing a comment on your work or later would be glad to do this. There is a rough parallel between the division of processes in the chemical and then petrological and then biological worlds. This may open many doors which in the end will prove to be doors of vision, not of speculation. Or as one of your sages has said, “adventure” is the sign of the wise and quotation of the ignorant.”

Of much more personal importance to me is the concern over Alchemy. I have felt that the true Alchemy was a continuance of the divine and mystical knowledge known to the Egyptians, carried on chiefly by Muslims. I personally find the elongated and obtuse works of Dr. Jung quite misleading. I cannot, of course, comment on Chinese metaphysics, Tibetan outlooks, or “oneirology, “ etc. from knowledge of chemistry, some knowledge of biology, and perhaps considerable knowledge of operative mysticism warrant these remarks.

I have been offering teachings here concerning the 5 elements. Indeed one of my disciples is being trained to be a Hakim, studying now The Anatomy of Melancholy and next to be given a thorough course in Avicenna. There is a certain egotistical side in me no doubt which claims to unite in the personality the outlooks of Abu Sa’id and Avicenna. But when we returned to the Khankah, we found the disciples in an uproar. What should be done?

At this point there is a presumable change in subject. It may not satisfy the orthodox that a mystic may be practicing perpetual Zikr. My Blessed first teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan, taught me considerably concerning nufs selima and nufs alima. This knowledge was corroborated when I met in Cairo a PhD scientist who claimed to be an agent of Ktub. All evidence is in that favor, though this would take us far afield. People who lecture on the unusual are often the first to reject the unusual when it manifests.

Faced with an actually, it became necessary to efface the ego, to enter into a state of consciousness when nufs had to be completely obliterated. Then rising above distinctions and differences, practicing tauhid or fana-fi-lillah, one found oneself solving and dissolving the complexities but without any idea of any ego interposition. That is to say, the true Alchemy may involve the spirit of the universe itself, bringing into manifestation operations and forces from the divine life.

Since that hour the solutions of complexities and problems brought by disciples has been comparatively easy. It is one thing to proclaim La Illaha El Il Allah, it is another thing to adopt this truth as truth and not truism and apply it in the daily life. I believe this is being done and I am no longer concerned with the ego-reactions or operations of anyone. We find our harmonies in Allah himself and from Allah.

To summarize the events of the past month: A. the death of my brother has increased my monthly allotment somewhat; B. the welcome received from and by the young in London and Boston means a return to those respective places and others as Allah wills; C. my chief colleague in a certain sense, Dr. Richard Alpert, now known as Baba Ram Dass, is preparing to leave this country to become a disciple in tasawwuf; D. I have a summer school all waiting for me, money, enrolled students and everything and all I have to do is to function as a Murshid—no questions asked. No doubt there is more, but there certainly is a procession of manifestations of divine karamat.

Much more astounding has been the work of some of my women students and still more of my choral master who are deriving, chiefly from Kalama and Zikr, all sorts of musical inspirations which in turn are most effective. It is particularly astounding because in my form of Islam which is not what is generally known as Islam, there is absolutely no compassion of any kind. Added to that the procession of infants whose first words are Allah. This might even be comprehensible when they are the children of disciples; but it is more incomprehensible and certainly karamat when they are the children of friends who are not disciples. Therefore it is no wonder that I see a certain interpretation of the Hadiths. “In that day will the sun rise in the West and all men seeing will believe.”

This is, of course, a very rapidly written letter by a person who is busy every day in the week and almost every hour in the day.

Love and Blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

cc Cantwell Smith

cc Department Near East Languages, Berkeley cc Khawar Khan

 

 


May 20, 1970

Dr. Seyyed Hussein Nasr

Tehran University

Tehran, Iran

 

Beloved One of Allah: Asalaam-aleikhum.

This is a sort or prolegomena to a review of your book, The Encounter of Man and Nature. I thought it would be wise to reread, or re-review, some of your other books before attempting this, to me, most serious undertaking. I am no longer concerned with the rejections or refusals of anybody. I am far more concerned that today young people are often turning to me, not because of merits, but because of rejections and refusals, nearly always a priori, on the part of their seniors.

I remember years ago. I was studying with a Jewish Kabbalist. This Jewish Kabbalist was rejected by the synagogues because he had married a Christian. These same synagogue accepted without question a local rabbi who went to Germany and came back praising Hitler on the ground that he was saving Europe from communism. This is a peculiar behavior pattern of the past.

This same Kabbalist said he was looking for somebody who could reconcile the teachings of the Upanishads with the Jewish Kabbalah. He refused absolutely and adamantly that this person could possibly be the one. He was followed by practically every European professor of any form of Asian study. Then I met an Indian connected with the Department of Near East Languages at the University of California at Berkeley and he offered me a PhD degree for a single thesis.

I am not going over this ground here. Secretary Mansur to whom I am dictating this letter, heard firsthand the evaluation given by our good friend, Swami Ranganathananda Maharaj.

In going over your writings, one is rather empathetic toward both the sages and their teachings. It is evident to me that there is a form of consciousness of this world. That there may be forms of consciousness of other worlds is accepted—in theory. But as soon as someone comes forth and tries to offer or explain the operations of such conscious states, he is either spurned or measured by fixed standards which cannot possibly apply. To begin with, I see a form of consciousness that can be applied to this world in the sciences in the broadest aspect of their terms.

Then there is another state of consciousness, or more than one, wherein states and stages that apply to the knowledge of Malakut operate. This is transcendental to the former. It integrates without refuting or refusing. It operates from a higher dimension, using this term “dimension” more as it is in mathematics than to some current philosophies or psychologies. I do not wish to go into this here, but it will become part of the background when The Encounter of Man and Nature is reviewed.

Then there is another consciousness as far transcending Malakut as Malakut transcends Nasut. This is what is called Jabrut. When one goes deep into the consciousness, into the heart, and especially when one practices Mushahida the whole outlook is trans-transcended. I do not wish to go into that here. In efforts to remain orthodox at certain levels, some of the Islamic writers of the past failed. They could not reconcile orthodoxies with deeper experiences. It is on this point I find myself differing from a number of commentators on sage Ibnu’l Arabi, etc. Or, to use something derived from Bertrand Russell, there is “confusion of types when matrixes of one level or another are wrongly applied to other levels.”

Of course, beyond these are the variations of cosmic consciousness for which also Sufis and some Islamic philosophers have turned.

When I am accused of not being a Muslim I say, “It is true; I am not a Muslim; I am an Inshallahist.” I then comment that to be a Muslim one must accept all kinds of traditions and practices at lower levels. By “lower levels” I mean any and all states not in accord with Akhlak Allah.

When I started to present dervish dances, criticism came from several Muslims. They said, “Muslims will not accept this.” I replied, “No doubt this is true. The question is: does Allah accept?” It is evident to me that Allah does accept the repetition of his name. More and more Americans are doing this—even the infants here. I am not concerned with any charge of heresy when there is no authority for such charges other than the conclusions of an unselected community. The question is whether Allah accepts?

I think this is also true concerning The Temple of Understanding. The question to me is—does God-Allah accept? It is certain that in the last few days more and more young people are coming to accept despite certain criticisms. It is certain that in the last few days people born in various parts of Africa are finding their way to my doors. It is certain that one of the national television organizations is seriously considering the efforts of Pir Vilayat Khan, which include all aspects of my present endeavors, which include the integration of these efforts in and toward the consummation of Judith Hollister’s dream of The Temple of Understanding.

Thus endeth the prolegomena.

Love and Blessings,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


May 25, 1970

Dr. Seyyed Hussein Nasr

Shemiran, Amarmyah

Pahlavi Avenue, 25 Parkhar 58

Teheran, Iran

 

Beloved One of Allah: In re The Encounter of Man and Nature.

Although I have been here only a short while and must again travel, I have read this book three times. Ordinarily, an analytical account would be in order. But this is just what I am protesting. I am protesting against all analytical and dialectical points of view which arise out of the nufs of man, setting person against person and making a travesty of cosmic mind. One can hardly with justification uphold the functional existence of cosmic mind and at the same time operate in contradictory manners. The second reading made me see areas of harmony. The third reading increased those harmonies almost to the degree of making a commentary useless. But I do not wish it to be said that an agreement has been sought for the sake of agreement. Nor am I the least bit remiss about either agreement or difference. I am not one of the dialecticians nor so-called Muslims who would surrender their positions because of the prominence of a second party.

The way Hazrat Inayat Khan presented Sufism, Allah is the perfection of love, harmony, and Beauty. Also the Sufi is one who seeks harmony with another. Without hypocritically trying to follow these premises, something must and does operate in the mind of man which most naturally increases the operations of harmony without pretense or pretext. So in the third reading I found a tremendous amount to admire: the various references, the listing of facts and factors, and perhaps most of all the type of argument and discourse contained in the second chapter on Intellectual and Historical Causes.

If there are to be differences, even strong differences, they might arise in the later parts of the work; for instance I have some approaches to nature not entirely in second, or perhaps exceedingly in accord, with the use of the term in the hands of philosophers and metaphysicians.

I have lived in the woods, on the seashore, on the mountain tops. I have done laboratory research, and at this moment there is a sort of synthesis of these in my work in organic gardening. In fact I am about ready leave here to conduct a summer school with emphasis both on Sufism and organic gardening. I feel and find a living Nature, nothing subjective, one in which both the mystic and the poet might accept. I do not wish to press this point too far, to assume a perfection in my outlook which would prevent those under my influence from seeing the Universe as a whole scientifically and mystically.

I differ profoundly from nearly all Americans in a respect for Oswald Spangler and again for Arnold Toynbee. I do not find you mentioning either of these men. I don’t know whether it is relevant.

Once I was visiting the Forestry College in Dehradun in India. I asked my host what his religion was. He said. “I am a devotee of Sri Krishna.” “All right,” I said, “Show me Shiva and Shakti in that tree.” He said, “I do not understand you.” I said, “Have you studied plant physiology?” He replied, “I am considered India’s greatest plant physiologist.” I replied, “O no, you either have not studied plant physiology or you have failed in your devotional meditations.” He asked me to explain. I did so on his terms. He kissed the dust at my feet.

As to Tauhid. I certainly have not been able to find 2 Allahs. I certainly have not been able to find divisions and contradictions which have kept men and movements apart. I am not concerned with their prominence. I am concerned with ultimates. I was struck by the fact that the chemical elements, whether in their purest state or in their activities, physical, chemical, and psychological, seem to be bound by the very laws which are pronounced in deeper aspects of Islamic philosophy and metaphysics.

Now I must tell you here, I never met an Imam until I was 50 years of age. I am therefor not bound by many of the premises of Muslims, and often am accused, rightly or wrongly, because my logistics and approaches are not the same as those of people learned and unlearned with different ancestries. This seemed to bring to some extent a fresh approach. Although I read in one Islamic publication, “Adventure is the sign of the wise, and quotation of the ignorant,” in practice this is far from so, very far from so. So I began to discover in research work mostly I the laboratory, and somewhat in the field, the operations especially of Jemal and Jelal in Nature. I must go so far as to say that the woody structures in botanical processes are Jelal and the vegetative processes are Jemal. I went further. I found that on the surface the operations of Nitrogen and to some extent Carbon promote the Jemal or leaf activities, while the operations of Potassium and to some extent Calcium promote the Jelal or stem activities. And so on. I think this could be extended indefinitely. I do not wish to do so here.

There is another aspect of scientific research and that is I always felt the Divine Presence in the laboratory, the Divine Guidance; the Universal Mind acts through the ego. This may be a rarity but I had the good fortune to meet in Cairo a plant physiologist who was both a disciple in Sufism and a graduate of my own University of California. Harmonies were easy and automatic.

I think here I have made enough “revolutionary” comments. These do not, I hope, upset in the least your thee or your efforts.

Love and Blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

PS. Hafiz, though an unbeliever, will enter Paradise.

 

 


11/16/1970

Dr. Seyyed Hussein Nasr

Tehran University

Tehran, Iran

 

Beloved One of Allah:

Asalaam-aleikhum! There is before me a copy of “Religious Studies” with your article “Shi’ism and Sufism: Their Relationship in Essence and in History.” One is sending a carbon copy of this letter to “Religious Studies” of Cambridge University Press. But this article is written on the assumption that Allah is, and with some doubt of the efficacies of human minds or personality-importance. Indeed, one is also writing to you knowing that either a carbon of this letter will be published, or an article based on the teaching of your fellow countryman Imam Al-Ghazzali that Sufism is based on experience and not on premises. This basic definition has been denied by practically all groups intellectually devoted to the examination (superficially) or to the study (externally) of the religions of the world.

When our good friend Dr. Huston Smith was lecturing in this region he said he could recommend but one book on Zen, vis.: The Three Pillars of Zen by Phillip Kapleau. This person, despite his age and presumable dignity, rose in a large audience at the University of California and yelled out loud, Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!” This person agrees with Imam Al-Ghazzali. He does not agree with either superficial or deep intellectual considerations of mystical experiences by non-mystics.

Two weeks ago the writer met a Dr. Samuel Weiser in new York City. this man both owns a bookstore and publishes. He told Mr. Weiser that if he wanted to learn something about Zen he would have to get rid of all the books. But one added he was not anxious to have the whole world converted to Zen and was pleased to see Mr. Weiser was making satisfactory profits. But then he turned and saw on the opposite shelf, devoted to Sufism, copy of L’Awarifu Ma’arif. One asked Mr. Weiser how he came to have a copy of this rare work. he said, “I have re-published it myself and intend to re-publish other mystical works by mystics.”

I would agree that both Shi’ism  and Sufism are in some senses integral parts of Islamic revelation. I must confess I do not know exactly what is meant, or what you mean by, “Islamic revelation.” The Holy Prophet of Mecca neither pursued the path of Shariat not other restrictions since introduced into the world, and he had the audacity (which very few Muslims can possibly accept) to say, “I am a man like you.” He also had the audacity not just to say but to believe in Messengers of God that manifested on earth before him, and according to the records must have been an extreme reprobate heretic, for he said, “My words can never abrogate the words of Allah, but the words of Allah can abrogate my words.” Any so-called Muslim that would dare follow this would be considered guilty of heresy at once.

Either Allah or Mohammed, or both, must be tried for heresy. Perhaps like Uwais they have had the effrontery to manifest to this person long, long before he met an Imam, or even before he had seriously considered reading Holy Qur’an. This was a long, long time ago, and the story of it will soon be published when one writes: “Six Interview with Hazrat Inayat Khan.” Why did Hazrat Inayat Khan constantly send for this person? Who was he, a constantly rejected nobody, that a Pir-o-Murshid of Sufism would insistently summon him?

As I shall be glad so send you either in typed or printed form—it is going to be printed—Six Interviews with Hazrat Inayat Khan—In shall relate another episode. In the year 1930 I visited the White Memorial Library in Cleveland, Ohio, and there found The Lives of the Adapts by Efleki. In those days I could read French and was amazed to find I had had all kinds of inner experiences practically identical with those related in this voluminous work. It did not do much good. Indeed it did not do any good with one single exception. That occurred in 1945 when, representing some Sufis of Hyderabad-Decca I called on the first Embassy of India. They challenged me on Ibnu ‘l Arabi. After I had satisfactorily answered them, I said, “Ibnu ‘l Arabi and Shankara are one.” The secretary of the ambassador was amazed and embraced me.

(The secretary of the ambassador may have been amazed, but the British, European and especially German experts on Asia philosophy were not. And many of them have deliberately gone out of their way to see that my person could not attend conferences. However, that day is gone, and I have won the approbation of Dr. Milton Singer of Chicago—and other American—not European—experts on Asian philosophies. Indeed, until I met Dr. Benz at Geneva, I don’t think I ever won any satisfaction from any German or European expert on Asian philosophy, with the important exception of our colleagues who are working with Mr. Clive-Ross.)

I do remember another occasion when I attended a conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. They had invited the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. I went to this session, which was a brawl. When it was over I whispered something to the chairman and he said, “Why you had the answer, why didn’t you speak?” So I was severely taken to task by half a dozen celebrities and sent each of them the answer, what they called the answer, and that was the end of that. The formerly usual, but now passé, “Christian-Judeo Ethic.”

A number of years later I was told a spiritual teacher was coming to San Francisco. He was from North Africa. That is all the information I was given. But I had the confounded impertinence to believe and to practice that the Kashf of the Sufi and the Prajna of the Hindus and Buddhists are the same. So I went to the meeting, put on my Dervish robe, and showed the stranger the picture in A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century. (I have since met Martin Lings.) and the interpreter said, “Why that is a picture of his Pir-o-Murshid; how did you know?”

The Sidi, Sidi Abu Salem al-Alawi gave three talks, and by some weird karamat I began translating directly from his Arabic. I don’t know how it was done, but it was done. The audience thought I was impertinent as it always has in the past, and the Shaykh and his retinue all embraced me while the Americans gawked. This sort of experience has happened so may many time in my life that I have been asked to write my autobiography, or pieces of it.

While it is true I have now L’Awarifu ma’arif of grand Shaykh Shahabuddin Sohrawardi, I also found on my return, purchased from Ashraf, The Saint of Jilan and Maxims of Ali. I have read and studied both of these books, and the supreme Allah, in his duplicity and heterodoxy, has lifted veils from these eyes to show He is creator of all and benefactor of all.

It is quite evident that the Universal Allah has had some rather heterodox views. Apparently the “good” Muslims do not always have their way on the earth. Allah does not seem to follow the dotted line. While we were at Geneva, my brother died, leaving me in quite satisfactory financial circumstances. This greeting by money—so important in the daily life—has been followed by greetings from the young. The young seem to accept Al-Ghazzali, that Sufism is based on experiences rather than premises. It is even possible that Allah Himself accepts this. For I returned to find my teachings presented and for credit at the University of California at Berkeley.

Quite apart from this is that the Voice of Allah—or what I should call the Voice of Allah—told me to establish a peace scholarship for the Department of Near East Studies at the aforesaid University of California in Berkeley. And quite apart from that my own disciples and the disciples of my colleague Pir Vilayat Khan have joined in promoting a program to bring Israelis, Arabs, and Christians together. this has been astonishingly successful.

Apart from that, and in the face of all the “good” Muslims of the world, I have written a paper, and would be glad to write it again, affirming what the Apostle said, “All children are born Muslims.” It is curious in the last year that every single child born to my disciples has said, “Allah” before saying “Mama” or “Papa.”  I still believe in Allah, and I am not sure whether human minds can fathom Him.

Sheikh Sidi Abu Salem Al-Alawi declared that this person was endowed with Baraka. he stood pretty much alone until later events. And when I arrived in Egypt it seems that a lot of Sheikhs also agreed, but it was not publicly called either a Murshid of a Sufi until it was demonstrated that tow of my disciples, one of whom you know quite well, had had the Divine Experiences and Divine Grace. If I wish to be personal, and I am going to be personal just for the moment, that Abdul Kadiri Jilani, whom some Sufis call Ghaus-i-Azam, has appeared to both Saadia Khawar Khan and myself, and in one grand mystical experience, to us jointly, which seemed to mean that we were on the path of the orthodox, but I would certainly not proclaim this. To me it simply means that the Grace of Allah is the Grace of Allah is the Grace of Allah. Men’s intellect will continue to promote premises (despite Al-Ghazzali) but like Phillip Kapleau, I am hoping to do for Tasawwuf what he did for Zen—promote and bring out in the open experience as the basis for mysticism and not premises.

I do not know how much you know of Lord Snow and his “two cultures.” Every article I have written on pollution to a scientist has been acknowledged and even accepted; not a single article written on pollution to a non-scientist has even been acknowledged. This demonstrates our two cultures. Both may be needed, but they may even be incomprehensible one to the other.

In any event, by what I call kashf, to me the wise Allah, has been promoting my material career, along with others, in the building up of very successful vegetable gardens, etc., and this program is going on, Alhamdulillah!, very successfully, with a number of other programs mentioned or inferred here.

I would not dare write to you in this fashion, as if dualistic, were it not for Divine guidance. The basic reason for “Six Interviews with Hazrat Inayat Khan” was the manifestation in turn of Khizr and Mohammed to me long before I met any Imams. I had gone into the wilderness to die, carrying with me only Hafiz’ poetry and writings about Hafiz, nothing else. Then Khizr manifested—he had to come three times because I thought it was imagination—and he offered me poetry or music. I chose poetry (this proved to be what we call a Hobsonian choice—I now have dances also—a very successful career which now subjectivists-dialecticians can foresay).

This manifestation of Khizr is demonstrable. It is demonstrable first that now in my mid-seventies I have the intellectual and physical vigor of a person thirty years younger. (Above you notice I mention I went away into the wilderness to die, meaning just that and it is due to Divine Grace and baraka alone that one is still here. And if you want more evidence based on human experience and not based on dialectics and premises, you and the world may have it. It is time that mystics speak on mysticism as Kapleau and Yasutani have spoken on Zen. And, as mentioned above, the writer has had a scientific career both in disciplines and operations.)

The first absolute demonstration of the Divine poetry came in what is called “The Day of the Lord Cometh.” This is based on the real Hebraic Kabbalah; not words; not doctrines; not traditions; but the actual manifestation of something akin to baraka, only based on the Hebrew mysteries. This was written as a spiritual answer to Hitler, but there was no question both the orthodox and liberal Jews turned it down absolutely. So there followed, written during the darkness of the war, “What Christ? What Peace?” This is filled with predictions and admonitions, and every single prediction came true. But it is a question of who turned it down more emphatically, the so-called psychics or the various Christian churches. Every single prediction came absolutely true. And our good friend Rev. Lowell Ditzen was amazed at this.

Now the Sufism of experience is based on fana: fana-fi-Sheikh, Fana-fi-Rassoul, Fana-fi-Lillah. I am not going to relate the experiences. They are very much like traditional myths and stories and Efleki. My spiritual initiation into Fana-fi-Rassoul was followed immediately by the epic poem “Saladin” which itself is basically founded on Meraj. It also was rejected by the “good” Muslims just as the “good” Christians and “good” Jews rejected the other poetry. So be it. This will become history.

In 1962 I revisited Nizam-ud-din Auliya in Delhi with my good friend Pir-o-Murshid Hasan Sani Nizami. When we came to the tomb of Amr Khusrau. I had the same vision in broad daylight of a robe, the same robe earlier invested by Khizr and Moin-ud-din Chisti. Amr Khusrua said, “I appoint you as successor to Mohammed Iqbal in the school of Jelal-ud-din Rumi.” Oh yes, this is fine imaginary hallucination. It is imaginary, of course, and it is hallucination, of course. But when I returned to Pakistan my present Pir, Sufi Barkat Ali, whom you know personally, had that robe, gave it to me in public investiture and I now wear it before my own disciples.

The three poems, Hebraic, Christian, and Islamic, may be published together, inshallah.

About the same time one began writing “Rassoul Gita” which bears the same relation to fana-fi-Lillah, as the afore-mentioned poems have to Fana-fi-Rassoul. It is based on a supreme understanding both of Dharma and Din. I do not know whether you were in the dining room in Geneva when our good friend Swami Ranganathananda Maharaj gave this one a eulogy.

I have been very much influenced by Emperor Akhbar and see the need for world outlooks, but I still hold that Mohammed was and is Katimal Mursaleen. My chief sin of course is that my grandfather wasn’t a Muslim. If I were to become a Hindu I could wash my sins away???? But I have been very unsuccessful with Islamic communities, because apparently all orthodoxies agree that flesh and blood inherit the kingdom of heaven. It is only the heretical Christ that differs from them on this point, but apparently Allah is on the side of the heretic, for he is bringing multitudes of new humanity into manifestation who have more universal outlooks.

I regret in writing this there seems to be a dualistic connotation, but in re-reading your article I notice the footnote under Khidr. Apparently if you theorize on this it is beautiful, but if it is an actuality! On the other hand, both in UAR and in Pakistan, the actual leaders in Sufism seem to have accepted it was an actuality in my personal life, and some day I hope we shall have a more scientific and less dialectic intellectualism, and work with the premises of Al-Ghazzali. (I have found more and more recent writings of Al-Ghazzali translated into English and I do not ask to be excused for being over-enamored by this great genius of your land.)

Hazrat Inayat Khan, my first teacher in Tasawwuf, said that a Sufi was one who could see from the point of view of others, as well as of himself. I do not ask to be excused if I have failed to live up to that standard; indeed I welcome replies or criticisms. But first and foremost I personally am so overwhelmed by La Illaha El Il Allah that nothing else matters.

Love and Blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti.

Needleman, Prof Jacob Correspondence

887 Union Street

San Francisco, Ca1if. 94133

Sept. 14, 1969

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

I was very glad to get your letter, but I must tell you that I have cancelled my course at University of California Extension. However, I am teaching one course at the main campus of San Francisco State on new religious movements in the Bay Area, and you are more than welcome to come and attend at any time. The class meets on Friday afternoons from 2-4:45 P.M. I believe it meets in room HLL 246.

I intend to spend most of my time this semester working on a study of the new religious awakening in America. I would like very much to talk with you about Sufi activities in this country, My telephone is 775-3106.

Warm regards,

Jacob Needleman

 

 


October 25, 1969

Dr. Jacob Needleman

Dept. of Philosophy

San Francisco State

 

Bodhisattva:

Perhaps it is proper to write concerning the subject matter of yesterday while it is fresh in the mind. Of course this freshness alone does not prove the validity of statements. Still for the most part I find myself in an area of emotionalisms. Perhaps this is where emotionalisms do belong. They may even be the most important aspect of the general subject matter of the class on modern religious and spiritual movements.

According to the Indian theories of the Indians themselves, there are the two approaches to spiritual advancement known as the monkey doctrine and the cat doctrine. In this sense cats are those who are trained in self-reliance and monkeys on “other”-reliance. We find this also in the jiriki and tariki schools in Japan. There is no question that Meher Baba as now presented represents an extreme tariki approach while J. Krishnamurti, so far as I know, a fairly radical jiriki approach. As I have been trained in the jiriki more than in the tariki an honest—not an emotional but an honest—criticisms of my stand could be at this point; and to me the emotional reactions of so many of the followers of Meher Baba illustrate a lack of understanding of samskara doctrines whether as presented by him or by others.

Messianism is not exactly new. Defeatists especially tend to look for a deliverer, and perhaps they are right. Around the year 1800 one Hoene-Wronski, one of the greatest mathematicians of the time, wrote a work on Messianism and soon a whole parade of them manifested. Each in turn has chosen to by-pass the history of others. There was s school of dissidents in Persia called Sheykhis who also pronounced such views. They are certainly present in the actual Sepher Ha Zohar which I consider the real Kabbalistic authority. Of course here we have the same nonsense as concerns Zen Buddhism that the written speculations of important persons become more to the fore than the actual methods or traditions. I guess we cannot help that.

Then there came a troupe Mirza Ghulam Ahmed; the Bab, and then Baha ‘ullah; the Mahdi of the Sudan, etc. These ran into a collision or coalescence of Indian doctrines all referring to more or less written and oral traditions. The Messianists always tend to lean on the publicity agencies while others go on their way with as little attention to their personalities as possible.

For instance there is a doctrine of transmission of Dharma. This holds to a chain of enlightened personalities teacher-pupil, etc., etc. Some of us who had prowess in satori, but did not advertise it, concluded that the late Nyogen Senzaki of this area was the dominant figure in patriarchal succession. It was later quietly confirmed. As a side issue, when the presumable leading Buddhists of this area submitted to examinations, I easily passed as number one, which was only important in the sense that among the ranks of those who did not fare so well were persons leaning heavily on publicity and social approval.

There is a saying that to describe God is to dethrone God. I am not a Jungian but his positing of the outlooks of intellect, emotion, feeling, and intuition may have some validity. In Sufism, in the real Sufism, the states of sobriety and intoxication are posited. Zen Buddhists in general, at least the un-awakened among them, lean radically to sobriety. But the earliest Buddhist literature we have outside the Tipitaka evinces ecstatical moods. And superficially the followers of Meher Baba seem to be “drunk” rather than sober.

I find that in practically all the newer religious movements and perhaps in many, if not all, the older ones, the assumption of the thing to be proved. Or, following quasi-Aristotelian logic, conclusions without premises.

Where did the Avatar doctrine come from? What and where is the authority? What and where is the evidence of history or of literature? Mohammed, for example, said that God begetteth not, neither is He begotten. How then can anyone proclaim that Mohammed in any way was an Avatar? Certainly, the teachings of Jesus Christ “Love ye one another” or other teachings seem universally to be overwhelmed in avalanches of personalisms and personalities.

From another point of view the validity of a teacher may come in and with the prowess of his pupils. Certainly, in both real Sufism and in several forms of real Buddhist esotericism, there are evidences of lines of pupils and teachers. Certainly, the actual Upanishads are based on the assumption of validities of lines of pupils and teachers. Here I could get very personal and ask who was the spiritual teacher of Meher Baba? What evidence is there for this? If you look up the Meher Baba records themselves you will find unusual discrepancies between biographies of one period and another. This is particularly true concerning his relation with Upasni Maharaj, a great saint of the Deccan. Why there is even a tree at Myrtle Beach which is named after him, though it is possible that this has been effaced due to events of more recent times.

As to Myrtle Beach, it was to have been established as a center. Land was acquired, buildings constructed, and I personally was summoned to prepare to give courses on Meher Baba as the Avatar of the age based on evidences from scriptures not studied by the emotionalists but which I had long studied. And I was sent for to give lectures on the scriptures and their allusions to the manifestation of a coming world teacher. Nothing of the kind happened whatever. I was never permitted to speak on any religion. I was submitted to severe moral analysis which was nothing contrasted to that others were subjected to. Perhaps this sort of thing was corrected later on, but it was an extremely far cry from Jesus Christ and his “Whatsoever ye do to the least of these my creatures, ye do it unto me.”

The general esoteric doctrine is that a real or presumed teacher substantiates his claim not by ego-personality, bat by the success of some pupil reaching the highest attainment. Certainly this was true of Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. In a more dramatic and historical way by Marpa and Milarepa. Why, even I was not bestowed with a robe until I had a disciple who had made it. I am not concerned here with the reactions of any emotionalist.

According to actual Sufism, there are three grand grades in Mystical development called fana-fi-Sheikh, fana-fi-Rassoul, and fana-fi-Lillah (it is no concern of mine how the followers of Meher Baba misspell and misuse these terms) but they are not used dualistically as the Baba people do. Sufism and Hinduism and much in Buddhism also agrees that a spiritual teacher is a spiritual teacher and as such should receive some veneration and respect. Mount Tamalpais does not lose its eminence because Mt. Whitney is higher.

In fana-fi-Rassoul, one practices devotion and assimilation in the ideal-man. In fana-fi-lillah one sees perfection in everything. One con not be in fana-fi-lillah until he sees God in everybody. If he sees God in a particular being only he is not in fana-fi-lillah. Arguments, especially arguments which reject the presumable evolution of others, are nothing but an extension of egotism. In real spiritual development, self-denial is not only required, but practiced. In most messianic movements the denials are against others, against those who do not accept one’s particular messiah.

Messianists are in entire agreement with each other on the ground that the suffering and evils of the world are due to the rejection of their own particular Ideal. When Meher Baba started out, or rather when Mr. Irani started out he used the title of Meher Baba which means Father of Compassion. If his methods ever resulted in the awakening of disciples, we should have evidence of it. Professor Philip Kapleau has manifested the semantic validity of Zen. In the great schools it is not always necessary to publicize anything; or as Jesus Christ has said “Let your light shine before men.”

I consider myself greater than any follower of Meher Baba because I can accept that he manifested as a body of light and they cannot or will not or do not accept that this has happened to anyone else. It has so happened. It does happen. It is a universal, not a particular thing—“Let your light shine before man so that they can see your good works and glorify the Father which is in heaven.”

Mohammed taught, although good Muslims do not always accept it, “We make no distinctions and differences among them.” This refers to the manifestation of saints, masters, and prophets. Me have an objective example of this in A Muslim Saint of the Twentieth Century by Dr. Martin Lings of the British Museum who himself has submitted to some Sufi discipline. I have met the successor to this saint and he proclaimed the majesty of all saints, prophets, and masters of all religions; he proclaimed it with respect, no hauteur. And I look at the India of this century as Sri Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi, and my own Papa Ramdas, with total inability to make any distinctions or differences between all of them with Sufi and Zen saints and masters whom I have met in the flesh. Or as Sufism teaches “Thy Light is in all forms, Thy Love in all beings.”

I see no reason whatever to refute any statement of any follower of Meher Baba. But I see also no reason to universalize their peculiar conclusions, to conclude that their emotions or even spiritual awakenings are unique in any respect, and I question very intensely the implications of those private experiences on a world of which Mohammed said “God loves His creatures more than a mother loves her offspring.”

I do differ however on the meaning of love. To Sufis in general love means unification, not obedience but unification—the termination of I-ness and Thou-ness. I think this letter should remain incomplete. We have yet to hear from other witnesses and in fairness we might invite a devotee of the Baha’i faith also.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif.

December 15, 1969

 

Dear Ram:

Peace on Earth; Universal Will.

Toward real cultural integration of real people and real cultures in the objective world.

I am purposely omitting your name as several carbons are being made of this. You can get some idea of my diurnal life from the piling up of events and news that goes on in an individual’s career. Part of this is subtly concealed in the poem “The Rejected Avatar” which is based in part on my own rejections and in part on the actual historical records concerning the Negro, Sri Krishna, although he may not have been a Negro so much as one of the dark skinned peasants of India. And it was for centuries that he was not on the list of Avatars, but too many people having had spiritual realization s found out what is true in the inner worlds must have also a foundation in the outer world.

There are two entirely different kinds of international movements going on today, one being based on operations similar to, exactly corresponding to, or operationally parallel to the “integration” of Newton and Leibniz; the other being even more carefully selective than ordinary analysis. The vocabularies may be similar, but there the parallel ends. And the fact that this subject was not even brought up in class is significant.

My last call was to H. G. Wells who in some ways was an internationalist in the western tradition. Re certainly imbibed a good deal of Mathematical Philosopher, much more in practice than has that grand old man, Lord Russell, who is a sort of scriptural character, announcing one set of values and living another. But Russell was not only a master of mathematical integration, he also applied it in Logic and Philosophy until his dialectical tendencies drowned this aspect of his life out.

Early in life I became a pupil, then a disciple of the late Prof. Cassius Keyser of Columbia who propagated “International Philosophy” based on theorems drawn first from mathematics and then applied in Physics, but not in his day, in Psychology. He was a grand old man whom I last visited just before his death. I had noticed the parallels between him and Lord Russell, and my quondam collaborator, the late Lutheran White man, asked if the same principles would be applied elsewhere. But Luther and I, though collaborators and partners (and I guess “brothers”) quite independently were struck by the wisdom of the Upanishads and became radical upholders of Schopenhauer and just as radical “enemies” of our private devil, Hegel, and all his works.

(The General Semanticists have never forgiven me for this. Keyser was also the teacher and fried of the late Count Korzybski whose “The Manhood of Humanity” I had read and studied long, long before … and for this, no forgiveness.)

But the real study of the real Upanishads and real sacred literature of real India brought one to realize that there were deep parallels between certain intellectual and psychological processes in man, whether of the East or West, and this landed me in the camp of the Sufis without retreating one inch from anything from real and historical India— without the careful anthological selections of the just passing generation.

On my sixtieth birthday I was given a special tea by Swami Ranganathananda Maharaj who was then stationed in New Delhi and also present were the then Vedantist leader of Bengal and with him Prof. S. C. Chatterji, then head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Calcutta. Without waiting for an introduction Prof. Chatterji broke into a hostile diatribe against this land and its selection of Germans as the spokesmen for their philosophy, Germans of high social and institutional repute and very, very high up in “Cultural Integration.” Swamiji said, “Why don’t you listen to him before you attack him?” (Chatterji had attacked the long list of what I have called EPOOPS—there used to be a lot of them, a few still around: i.e. European Professors of Oriental Philosophy.)

I turned to Chatterji and asked: “Which would you rather—hear the Flute-of-Krishna or have me discourse on the Chandogya Upanishad, right off, no preparation.” Swamiji, said, “He means exactly what he says.” Professor Chatterji apologized before noted witnesses. But you could never hear me present the Flute-of-Krishna nor discourse on the Chandogya or any other Upanishad before his pupil who “heads” “Cultural Integration” in these parts—not on your life, nor his! “Cultural Integration” has to be very selective indeed, and the more Ph.D. degrees the better!!!!

In the course of my life I cross trailed one Julie Medlock, a remarkable Californian newspaper woman who had the gross audacity to be where historical events happened and although she has given more eye-witness reports than anybody I know, her facts were not challenged; what was challenged was, “What were you doing there.” Anyhow (a very long story) she has returned to Pondicherry and is one of the leaders in the Auroville movement.

Like most Americans Julie eschews anything that savors of Spangler, who applied mathematical philosophy to art and culture generally. And she has as colleagues those who put out very infantile one-dimensional or flat-land art as representing the new culture. And as we simply will not accept Spangler (while we absorb Marx and Hegel and even their vocabularies) she cannot and her colleagues cannot understand what Havelock Ellis gave us elsewhere in his now forgotten The Dance of Life.

This school for “Integrationalists” is more selective and censorious than almost any school I know of. They simply will not accept history. I am preparing to present material on great Sufi rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent and Moghul Akbar on a world scale—the “cultural internationalists” will have nothing of that—only they attack the personality. But we have already sent you some materiel from Dabistan, the first book on comparative religion written by Sufis at the Mogul Court and we can give you more. Indeed Dabistan is full of practices which the hush-hush “esotericists” of the day try to hide !

The above is in contrast with the just received materials from Dr. Oliver Reiser of Pittsburgh University, professor emeritus of Philosophy, who independently came to the same or similar conclusions—mathematics and philosophy on the one hand; Vedanta, etc. on the other. And his projects show art based on the principles of Integration as used in Mathematics, very parallel and similar, showing an inclusiveness not found in the Auroville projects.

In the same mail as the material from Reiser, a manuscript was received from my colleague on a zillion fronts, Shamcher Bryn Beorse. Biographically Bryn is sui generis Julie Medlock but was are less than a year apart in age. I consider these two persons the greatest “adventurers” of the day. I was surprised to have a good portion of a whole chapter dedicated to this ego with comparisons to the late Dag Hammarskjold, quondam secretary of the U.N! Well, I am not going to argue.

I have mentioned previously meeting Rahul who gave me almost verbatim the same criticisms as D . Chatterji concerning “Epoops.” But when I was in Kamakura, the interpreter-guide utterly floored me by saying: “You’re already two grades in Zen above Daisetz Suzuki.” (I won’t write but can point out collaborating details in the late Adams Beck and in the Sokei-An writings of the “First Zen Institute of America.”

My position has been simply—and impossible (French pronunciation and interpretation). I have believed that to be a scientists you have to have some laboratory training and experience. And the Same has held, so far as this ego is concerned, for adventurers into the other worlds which all scriptures uphold and most religions ignore, not to say deny. I was trained from the beginning in Sufism never to discuss what you have not experienced, and the same standard and integrity used in discourses on the sciences is applied by me equally in the historical and mystical fields.

This last excludes me from many of the “international” movements who by-pass both history and mysticism whenever it serves their purpose. And I see them all going the way of the Roerich Museum in New York, the same strong organizations, collections of funds and fame and collapse, because for them it is not true, “The church’s firm foundation is Jesus Christ, our Lord.“ Sri Aurobindo claimed—and I accept—to be under the tutelage of Sri Krishna. But I do not see this in his disciples excepting, no doubt, Sri Dilip Koomar Roy who has his own quite successful and wonderful but unadvertised movement.

Knowing from experience the decent of baraka in Sufism; and the Dharma-transmission on both Hinduism and Buddhism—based by documents on my walks, too—I no longer deplore exclusive, selective “international” movements but am glad they were not even programmed. They are not programmed at Berkeley either, excepting in an off-hand way. And the sound contributions which we have given and will continue to give from “Dabistan” and elsewhere will support our contention.

Almost all other Indian groups other than “Cultural Integration” accept the historicity and wonderful efforts of Emperor Akbar and also the existence (if nothing more) of his descendent Prince Dara Shikoh in whose footsteps I have been walking all my life.

The totality of all this comes in The Temple of Understanding, the inspiration not of a European Ph.D., but of a “common” American housewife! I notice that the late Meher Baba (but not his “good” followers) have accepted The Temple of Understanding and so does my friend-colleague, Bryn Beorse as above. This did not come out of India but of “Bethlehem-Ephrata-Greenwich, Connecticut. But having gone on their merry way of rejecting their own history the “cultural integrationists” cannot fully come clear here.

My “Dances of Universal Peace,” heritage from the late Ruth St. Denis, were first offered to the Sri Aurobindo movement but declined just as they declined my cosmic poetry, and for that matter any suggestion even of the historicity of Akbar. You need not be surprised that the majority of the Indian movements themselves are not so selective and analytical as the “cultural internationalists.”

These dances, also “plagiarized” from the Israeli Rabbi Schlomo, have gotten out of hand—which is just what I want and feel the world needs. They are increasing in numbers and outlooks and have won the goodwill of at least one Indian dancing teacher here who is not limited by “cultural integration.”

But the same source that has brought Sufi-Sam with Rev-Schlomo is promising the arrival here of a Sufi teacher who remained where he was in Palestine and so became a legal citizen of Israel. I understand he may be on his way here and if there is any sign of his coming we shall notify you immediately.

I shall keep on repeating the America Edna St. Vincent Millay’s:

“The world stands out on every side

No wider than the heart is wide.”

Not being “Integrationalists” we have celebrated Chanukah with Jews, Ramadan with Muslims and soon Christmas Eve with Christians, with Indian mantras thrown in.

My studies in Integration in Mathematics were followed by some in Biology and in several of the biological sciences, etc. And by deep practices alluded to in the Upanishads. But then this was also true of my “predecessor” the Mogul Prince Dara Shikoh so shunned by “cultural Integrationalists.” Sri Aurobindo began with God, continued with Krishna and his legal but not spiritual successors end with the UN and man-made efforts.

But the operations of the deep spiritual teachings of India go on unabated, uncontrolled by any of us and the whole world is coming together in what I have proclaimed: Youth of the world unite, you have nothing to lose.

No apology for braggadocio. I have danced publicly on hearing the name of Phillip Kapleau. We are going to be as objective in considering the “other world” as in considering this.

Faithfully,

Samuel L Lewis

 

 


887 Union Street

San Francisco, Calif. 94133

December 29, 1969

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Calif.

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

I am always very glad to have the material you have been sending me, and I hope you will continue to do so. I am very interested in your work and in your connection to so much that is happening in the spiritual life of America. I only regret that I have not been able to visit your place of work—perhaps this semester I will be able to since my book is now near completion. I would be happy to meet the people you mention in your letters, and I hope you will inform me whenever there is that possibility.

Do let me know. I hope it will be possible for me to meet Pir Khan,

Meanwhile, my very best wishes to you not only for the New Year but for the new decade; may your work prosper.

Very sincerely yours,

Jacob Needleman

 

 


Dec. 29, 1969

Prof. Jacob Needleman

Dept. of Philosophy

San Francisco State

 

Dear Professor Needleman:

This is a sort of fin-de-siècle letter—not that the seventies are going to be radically different from the sixties, but things are truly happening, and happening at a rapid rate.

This morning I had a conversation with Mr. Finley P. Dunne Jr. of The Temple of Understanding in Washington. I have already brought same material to class but not much interest was shown in it. Nevertheless, I see no way of summing up what is going on today without taking this organization, and its personnel, into consideration.

Here I may have to become somewhat autobiographical. A man, who in many respects is my closest colleague on all fronts, Mr. Bryn Beorse of Keyport, Washington, has written a manuscript which is now in the hands of publishers. He is the maddest of all them adventurers I have ever met, far outdistancing Richard Halliburton, Nicol Smith, etc. I was amazed to find my personality compared to that of some of the world’s greatest leaders. He has known these men intimately, so one cannot say anything, but when this book is published people will make inquiries.

A few years ago I attended a course on your campus under one Professor John Shover of the department of History—he has since been transferred to the University of Pennsylvania. I was amazed to find him ask me: “Are you the Samuel Lewis?” Years ago in conjunction with one Luther Whiteman (also a friend of Bryn Hearse) we wrote a book called: Glory Roads or “The Psychological State of California.” As a money-maker it flopped, but I think every prediction in it came true, which is about the most horrible way of dealing with pseudo-seers. But the same presumably honest integrity and objectivity characterized our lives, and led Luther Whiteman, long since deceased, to place a program before me which I have since followed.

This program is based more or less on cosmic integration. This integration follows, we believe, the original use of the term by Leibnis and Newton and not the present pseudo-usage of this term by sociologists, promoters, and self-advertised separative cultists. In turn this has led me to accept in full the program of The Temple of Understanding in Washington, and the cosmic international philosophy of Dr. Oliver Reiser, Professor Emeritus of Philosopher at Pittsburgh University. In both cases the whole universe of actual human beings, and actual history, is included, and here I must differ with a number of groups that verbally pretend to be integrative and are even more selective than the separative church organizations of the passing decade.

This is something the newer members of your classes must face. By newer I mean here those who have come into your orbit for the first time, not necessarily younger, etc. The pseudo-internationalists bypass and even censor such world events as the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893; the whole history of Fatehpur Sikri, and the Sufic influence at the Moghul courts.

It is almost impossible to convince traditionalists of any camp what Jeans Christ has said, “In the hour ye think least, the Son of Man cometh.” When there was an attempt to have a confrontation of “holy men” in this city (which did take place) I asked, “Why no women?” But God has chosen a lady, almost an average house-wife, Mrs. Judith Hollister of Greenwich, Connecticut, to fore-vision a temple which, “Will be a house of prayer for all peoples”—and no nonsense about it. It is remarkable while the world’s greatest leaders have accepted this inspiration and are co-operating, co-operating as never before in history, the pseudo-integrationists ignore such an undertaking in their campaigns for self-promotion. But it is useless; that day is over.

I shall let you know more about this as soon as I have the official bulletin forthcoming from Washington, D.C.

It is over 40 years since I first met the late Dr. Henry Atkinson, head of the World Church Peace Union. I was totally unknown, and not only unknown, but at the bottom of every ladder. He was working for world peace through religion. I placed my plan in his hands and he said to me, “Mr. Lewis, I have been around the world three times. I have met every King, Prime Minister, diplomat and potentate, and you are the first man to have brought me what I want.” I may have been the first man to have brought him what he wanted and I certainly spent almost 40 years in successfully pursuing the researches he requested, but his colleagues, successors, the various church groups, exempting the Quakers, have disdained even an interview. But these researches, this history, these factors are not lost, and may be coalesced into the programs and objectives of Mrs. Judith Hollister, her executive, office-manager Mr. Finley P. Dunne Jr., their colleagues, etc., etc.

I am particularly concerned with Palestine. There has been no change in my approach in the last 40 years, and there has been little change in the responses of ecclesiastic and political leaders whose prayer seems to be “Our will be done in heaven as it is on earth.” I have worked out a complete program for the near East based on water resources, land adaptabilities (ecology), salt-water conversion, etc., etc., etc. Also an overall program for the non-political preservation of holy places, and for technical assistance for the pilgrimage to Mecca, etc. God is not man, and excludes nothing.

In fact, during the past few weeks I have had a most cordial re-union with Rev Shlomo of Jerusalem and am awaiting now an Arab Sufi from Palestine whom I shall be glad to introduce to you. We “non-existent” Sufis have celebrated during the month of December, the Enlightenment Day of Lord Buddha, Ramadan, Chanukah, and Christmas; and we are building up an intensive and all-inclusive dance program in which Indian elements play a dominant role.

I am awaiting now the arrival army colleague the Sufi Pir Vilayat Khan who is the leader of Sufic Sufism in the West. I have to use this term Sufic Sufism for there is today a mass of organizations legally using the word “Sufism,” bearing little or no resemblance, let us say, to Sufism as presented in the Encyclopedia of Islam. We cannot stop this, and do not intend to, but you will find enclosed some material from a Sufic group in Ceylon whose principles are, I believe, identical with our own.

This person received Christmas cards from Korean Buddhists, from Vietnamese Buddhists, from various persons in India, etc., etc., along with the usual.

One of the most delightful complications of the past two weeks has come in our relations with persons and organizations of the state of New Mexico. In earlier times there were legends about the Taos country being sacred. From passing events, I should say (and I am saying this in an ego sense here) that this country seems to be manifesting much of what did not come out of the pseudo-legends concerning Mount Shasta, the California desert, Ojai, etc., etc.

Geographically there are two apparent streams of effort which fortunately are on excellent terms with each other. The one is with regard to the University of New Mexico. I have had occasion to meet Dr. Paul Schmidt, head of the Philosophy Department, and next week will be writing him with regard to came private matters. But I am also sending a copy of this to Professor Archie Bahm of that same department of Philosophy who seems to be following in the footsteps of our good friend Dr. Huston Smith of M.I.T.

The other is in regard to the spiritual, social movements which are found in the mountainous areas north of Taos. They seem to represent a real new world which would delight H. G. Wells and Aldus Huxley, bearing in mind the very good personal relations between Wells and the various members of the Huxleyian clan. The dominant Guru of the region is the former Richard Alpert of Harvard, now known as Baba Ram Dass and so far as I am concerned, he does represent an American expressing in full verbalizations of the various separative Hindu efforts which do not recognize each other. There is such a vast difference between this Baba Ram Dass and the memory of the “dead” Richard Alpert, we can say there has been a transmutation and transformation, a “reincarnation,” without any need to leave the body.

You will find on my wall a poster received from Lama Foundation, and I shall be glad to get you a copy if you desire. Which shows the comic integration in an art form, in a heart form, in a feeling form. I think it is wonderful that the real America of Walt Whitman is now manifesting within young America.

Now a summation of the above might or might not be quite different from a summation of class views. But I don’t think it is very different from your personal summation, though it may contain materials of which you have not been aware.

The other side is the longing of the soul for freedom and its expressions there-from. This involves real transformatory states of consciousness which are actual and are even common to all religions. This in turn engenders hope, and this in turn embodies the essence of the message I hope to deliver at the forthcoming sessions of The Temple of Undderstanding,

Love and blessings from,

Samuel L. Lewis

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


Jan. 13, 1970

 

My dear Professor Needleman:

In my talk here last night I said there was too much drama going on to have any time for “excitement.”

I am enclosing two brochures of the Muslim students’ Association—these arrived yesterday—with a comment on one of them. Strictly speaking this comment is not directed against the Prof. Siddiqui or Prof. Nadawi. It is directed against the whole tribe of egocentrics and solipsists, people who like Descartes, whose “I think therefore I am” was based on an innate assumption of “I am.” My real anger is against the writers of Religious Studies of Cambridge University Press. I should be glad to turn this over to you with several other “intellectual” publications. Nothing but solipsisms, egocentricities, and, dialectics.

No doubt this decision, and the present psychological mood, were stimulated by receiving Nov. 1969 of “History of Religions.” Nearly all the writers confessed that their dialectic and philosophic conclusions were contrary to the opinions of devotees, either brought about by their mingling with the common people of Asia, or their uncovering of diverse explanations in Chinese literature. These are the types I should say are “humble” who know what humility is. And this common undertone from Prof. Eliade and his associates causes one to be optimistic on the one hand, and stern and stubborn on the other.

The morning began with a necessary visit to the Zen Mission Society, 149 Arkansas Street, of this city. I am having their problems taken up with Prof, Lancaster, Dwinnelle Hall, Berkeley. He is one of many of the new type of professors I am encountering who also have the Eliade rather than the egocentric-dialectical outlook.

I am still awaiting the coming here of a Palestinian Arab who, I understand, is a Sufi, and has accepted Israeli citizenship. I shall do everything possible to bring you two together.

I am also perforce reserving time for the coning of Sufi Pir Vilayat Khan who will be speaking in San Anselmo on Friday. I realize you will probably be away, when this letter reaches your home, so no early response is needed. This may be regarded as routine report, but many of my days are very similar—too much drama to have excitement.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Jan. 20, 1970

Prof. Jacob Needleman

887 Union

San Francisco, Ca.

 

Dear Prof. Needleman:

There is always something dramatic going on here it would seem.

This morning was spent with one Azam, an Arab who became a citizen of Israel in the course of rather complex events in that unhappy part of the world. There was a mutual feeling of friendliness at first sight, and today we had rather a long conference, which could perchance help to bring about better understanding, or more than understanding in that region.

He is leaving this week to complete his semester at a college in Texas, after which he will return to this city for further studies. He was not successful in applying for admission to State for this term (too late), but he has registered at City College for the Fall Term (chemical engineering). I have therefore written to Dean Dr. Luckmann of that institution, hoping he will show some interest in this man’s history.

I guess you know Dr. Luckmann is very much interested in world peace, and better international understanding.

I have left my week rather wide open, awaiting further word from you.

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


April 28, 1970

Prof. Jacob Needleman

San Francisco, Ca.

 

My dear Professor Needleman:

My secretary Mansur and I have recently returned from our peregrination to Geneva, Switzerland. There we took part in a conference where many of the religions of the world met together in amity. Later they prayed together at the great cathedral in Geneva.

I have written a letter to Allan Cohen—it has been no fault of his—because on several occasions in the past such opportunities were opened to me personally and the roads were blocked by persons who then were, or later became, followers of the late Meher Baba. Not only did they proclaim I personally was unfit for such undertakings, but they said Baba was opposed to them. They became extremely angry when I discovered that Baba’s own publications belied them. So they have taken refuge in circulating rumors about me, rumors I found already in distant parts of the world, which I had had no intentions of ever visiting.

It is this moral behavior on the part of such people and also on the part of devotees of rival claimants to supreme authority which excluded them all from this conference. In other words, the claims of Meher Baba and his various competitors and rivals, have on the surface been negated by the behavior of followers.

These stand in strong contrast to the representatives of great spiritual movements like those of Ramakrishna, the Dalai Lama, and other great worthies.

We shall no doubt have or can obtain full details of the conference to place in your hands. Personally the aftermath was most wonderful, for I have received invitations from the top representatives of all the great, and some of the numerically not so prominent faiths, actually.

For instance there is planned an international folk and dance festival for Lake Galilee in a few years. Evidently our endeavors impressed some of the very biggest people on earth, as we have been approached to join in such undertakings. We felt then, and later news proved we were right, that there would be no financial obstacle. And there is not. For my brother passed away leaving me in an excellent financial position to undertake all that I consider should be under­taken to bring about better peace and understanding in several parts of the world, and Palestine above all. The doors are now opened for such accomplishments, and there are no obstacles at the moment in any path for such undertakings.

I am speaking on Friday, May 8, at the Metaphysical Library 420 Sutter St. on what occurred at Geneva, but at the moment have no other plans because of family, legal, and financial complications that have to be straightened out— nothing tragic, nothing painful, but all very necessary.

I shall be glad to send you further information as you may desire.

After the conference we went to London and were received with open arms at The Royal Asiatic Society and World Congress of Faiths.

We then visited some of the top Orientalists, including Marco Pallis. To me he is not only a veritable Bodhisattva, but he is held in highest esteem by the highest representatives of so many faiths. I also purchased the latest work of my colleague Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr of Teheran and find this is dedicated to Marco Pallis. I shall be glad to put a copy in your hands as you designate.

I hope to have a list of the actual delegates which will give you more than an idea as to whom we have met. It was not only wonderful, but the new financial outlook in my private life may make it possible to attend further conferences and bring along a number of young people.

Missing were the young and delegations of peoples, Africans or descendants from Africans. All plans are to straighten this out in the future.

I shall no doubt be very busy for the immediate future, but can arrange to see you some time at your convenience. Hoping to see you before I go away the beginning of June.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Ca.

July 8, 1970

 

Prof, Jacob Needleman

887 Union

San Francisco, Calif. 94133

 

My dear friend:

I am wondering how you are getting along with your writing. At times I feel as if I were the manifestation of your books. But it is also true that I have become more and more, in a certain sense, a manifestation of what Richard Alpert is endeavoring to put in literary from.

Richard Alpert (Baba Ram Dass) was one of the panel of “experts” who laughed at me when I spoke at the Psychedelic Conference in 1965 that no one had presented any idea of experience for which there was not a term in Sanskrit, and also in Indian cosmic psychology. But in the course of years each of the experts who laughed at me has gone not only in the direction to which I pointed in 1965 but far far beyond that. But Richard Alpert apparently has a moral sense which is not too common in emotionalists and enthusiasts and is pointing me out as a sort of folk hero, so that my welcomes grow whenever I crosstrail him, which seems to be the order of the day anyhow.

In brief, mentioning only the assets and not the liabilities, I have considerably more money, far more followers, and still more contacts in higher echelons. For example, unlike the exponents of “moral and spiritual needs” one of the secretaries of His Holiness the Pope actually replied to a letter from me. This is not characteristic of the various competing “moral and spiritual” crusaders. They just don’t do that, and even to mention the name of one of them to a competitor is regarded as a personal insult. In fact, I have met Christopher Hills, who is the most “modest” of all the rival “avatars,” “saviors,” and “world messengers” and “deliverers.” He had better be, for he is about as lacking in guts and even in intellectuality as any of them. He has assumed he is a sort of super-king of idiots.

I missed the last Holy Men’s Jamboree here and the one that was called for in New Mexico withered down to Yogi Bhajan. He did not draw nearly the crowd as advertised or expected. I called at two of his ashrams but missed him at both. At least he presents a real form of real Yoga, and techniques. Whether he has or is accomplishing anything, I do not know.

I am about to commence a project which I believe has every chance of success; a mystical commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians. It is going to cover the three body aspect of existence and function. Even such a worthy as Dr. Huston Smith has never considered the parallel between the three body teachings of St. Paul, the tri-kaya of Buddhism and the usual physical-­subtle-causal teachings of Indian schools. But I differ from Dr. Huston Smith of the past in that my knowledge comes from direct experience and not from pouring over books. I say “of the past” because lacking in “humility” he has had both the curiosity and courage to bend before actual Masters of various parts of the Orient.

At the Holy man’s Jamboree in San Francisco the personality of Sathya Sai Baba was presented. He is now making all the Avataric claims others have made, plus the hard fact that he is still in the flesh, and that the “true avatar” manifests and functions in the flesh. He is not only functioning, he is manifesting. He may not be manifesting anything noble, but he is manifesting. The Sufi point of view is that claims do not make the teacher, that manifestations of light, nobility, and inspirations do. But inasmuch as arguments have been set forth concerning avatar he is playing these arguments to the full. From my point of view, he is causing confusion. This confusion becomes comic because his agent is a lady who every few years has been trotting out a different person as if she were a sort of super kingmaker. But fortunately and unfortunately, such strong claims have been made that one cannot say very much about it at all. To put it briefly, I see little hope in a world that sets forth strong emotionalisms as ways to spiritual perfection. I see nothing but rival emotionalisms masquerading, and that is one of the subjects I expect to deal with shortly.

For instance, the hare Krishna movement assumes that if you have the right mantram you are already super-holy, while others assume if you guess the right candidate even God will not stand in the way of your ultimate attainment. Therefore love, truth, beauty, and wisdom are no longer needed. But I don’t think a cosmic guessing game is going to accomplish what sound Yoga and sound esotericism have during the ages.

Last night I attended two types of meetings, which would have been called spiritual in former ages. One was a Buddhist, who have adopted a policy of practical self-discipline, which I believe will succeed; it always has. The other was a Chassid under the influence of a Rabbi from Jerusalem. The meetings had in common senses of holiness, devotion, and purity, and no magic hocus-pocus of depending on somebody else for your enlightenment.

On the whole it was easy for me for I am now in touch with actual spiritual leaders of all faiths and can see from their points of view when they do not see from the points of view of each other or of humanity as a whole.

In the meanwhile my own—if you can call the “mine”—efforts in music and dancing are progressing at a rate often so rapid I become dizzy. This is slightly complicated because attention has been called to them by various groups and organizations in the fields of filming, tape-recording, etc., and there is a possibility that such initial efforts may become worldwide and on artistic, scientific, and impersonal levels.

These will stand in contradiction to the many emotional efforts by so many different groups, few of which have demonstrated the cosmic outlook such as common to Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, Walt Whitman, etc. I am not decrying emotionalism, but I do not feel that the superior way to man’s emancipation, and I intend to write on this. I believe it can be taught soberly that emotionalists are either blinded or blinding. They fail to see into the hearts of others. The best (or worst) example is that I seem to throw fear into the psyches of the Hare Krishna people whenever we encounter each other. But I believe this will be true of and to all emotional groups who do depend both on claims and on the ignorance of others.

The leaders of the world’s religions have expressed themselves passionately and dispassionately against the substitution of emotionalisms for spiritual attainment. The almost absence of human consideration, indeed of human kindness, among and by emotionalists is going to affect either the changes that will take place in world outlooks, or in preventing any of the rival messianic groups from ever winning masses.

It is forgotten today, if it was ever known, that the Baha’i movement set forth many or most of the claims now being advocated by more recent groups. The Baha’i’s did have both moral and social programs and a considerable degree of respect for humanity which does not seem to be the order of the day among their, shall we say, successors. When the claimants have to face each other they usually end in very low level, personality brawls as to who is, or was, avatar, messiah, messenger, deliverer, etc.

Personally, I find far more success outwardly and assurance inwardly by accepting and following Jesus Christ’s “Love Ye One Another.” I do not believe there is any substitute for this. I find those who emotionally advocate love and do not manifest humanity generally get nowhere. I do not believe they ever can or will. I do not see any substitute for Divine Love.

So I shall be advocating a form of Love quite apart from emotionalism in the forthcoming commentary on The First Epistle to the Corinthians. I believe the time is come to get out of emotionalism and blindness into sober heart-outlooks which will also help in mental and spiritual developments. I expect to tape-record these lectures and then write in a more serious fashion, what is proposed here, and will be glad to keep you in touch with it. Of course this is not all that is going on in the private life, but all I can think of as this moment.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


87 Union Street

San Francisco, Calif. 94133

July 13, 1970

 

My dear Mr. Lewis:

It is always such a great pleasure to get your letters. I am very grateful that you wish to keep me informed about your activity, and about things that are happening which you know are of great interest to me.

My book, The New Religions, will appear in the stores in October. As you know, I had to limit myself in that book to certain nationally known movements, though very few of the people I interviewed had such a broad reach of knowledge as you do. I only hope that whatever films or tapings that are being made of your work do you justice and bring your work the recognition it deserves. You have heard me read from my manuscript, and so you know it goes only as far as my poor academic mind can take me in these matters. Still, I feel it will not do harm and may even help some people who want to know even a little bit about the new consciousness that is growing in America. I will certainly see that you are sent a copy when it appears. I will be very interested to have your opinion of it and the opinions of your pupils.

As you also know, you are always more than welcome in my classes either to speak or simply to listen to my clumsy attempts to say something not entirely stupid.

With all my good wishes, and looking forward to seeing you soon,

Yours sincerely,

Jacob Needleman

 

 


July 15, 1970

Prof. Jacob Needleman

887 Union St.

San Francisco, Calif. 94133

 

Dear Ram:

I wish to thank you for your letter of July 13. I should certainly like to visit your classes, but

I am going through a number of transmissions and transitions: more money, more classes, more followers, and more opportunities. The visit to New Mexico was entirely successful. There are a number of spiritual communes down there operating quite successfully. In the midst of this, at least three men: Pir Vilayat Khan, Paul Reps, and Baba Ram Dass have practically independently appointed me as chief acting Guru for the whole of the United States in their absence. Maybe they are right.

Saturday morning I start my class at 20 Steiner Street, 11 o’clock, commentary on The First Epistle to the Corinthian. Emphasis will be on love, and the three-body constitution of man. Even our good friend Dr. Huston Smith is not too aware of the parallels between the comic metaphysics behind Christianity (actually Judaism) and Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma.

We received urgent messages from the Korean Master Seo Kyung-Bo and the Hassid Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, both of whom are visiting this city. The meeting with Master Seo was quite successful although unadvertised.

The meetings with Rabbi Shlomo are more important. He holds forth at the House of Love and Prayer, 347 Arguello Blvd. Besides our joint programs based on love and prayer we are now making the first efforts toward peace in the Holy Land. We are getting Jews and Muslims and Christians to come together, even to commune. Our whole culture is that peace programs must only come from important people, whereas we believe that peace will arise from the efforts of men and women together in amity. I am very adamant about the Book of the Prophet Malachi, which seems to be spurned by our whole culture. But fortunately our venture to Geneva has been very successful.

There is a whole history, and it is like a story, concerning one Walter Bowart of Tucson, a publisher who has been looking for Sufis for years. Now we are together, and he is visiting England to meet with the proper colleagues there, after which he will return. When I say “proper colleagues” I mean men who would be interested in your book on The New Religions. It will be very easy to help market this, especially if my program keeps on moving as it is at the present time.

I shall also mention you to Rabbi Shlomo and keep you in mind when Baba Ram Dass returns to this area, which may come at any time on or off schedule.

I am also enclosing a carbon of a letter being sent to India. There are so many World movements today, all ignoring each other. But I am not sarcastic about it other than in my remarks to the addressee. I’ll try to telephone you when I have some free time!

Kindest regards,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


July 25, 1970

Prof. Jacob Needleman

287 Union

San Francisco„ Ca. 94133

 

My dear friend:

Although the accumulation of money is not necessarily a virtue, the ways in which it is coming to me now will necessitate certain activities to counteract moral degradation on the part of those who substitute name-form for spiritual ideals. So long as I was socially and economically poor, doors were blocked by all kinds of people who probably quite unwittingly are afraid of pure truth. This of itself would not matter, but in the name of Meher Baba all my earlier efforts to prevent hostilities in the Near East were blocked. Now this may become public, but only if necessary. We have been quite successful in our initial steps to bring Israelis and Arabs together. But we shall make no attempt to outdistance the government of the United States if it should for once work for peace and understanding instead of for power and aggrandizement.

I cannot tell you how many gatherings are now taking place in this country based on ententes between different spiritual movements. In the past every excuse was given by prominent people to prevent this person from speaking at all. Now the opposite trend by the New Age not-so-prominent to advertise I am backing various endeavors, and my name seems to be exerting a charm among the young else-where.

This is particularly true of my dances, which to my delight are being stolen, plagiarized, and copied. My aim is to promote understanding not fame. Besides, all the dances are based on the sacred phrases of different religions. Tonight I move on to a new dimension with flower and symbol dances. The basic principles were drawn from the Rifa’i School of Sufis which seem to have preserved or resurrected some of the more ancient Gnostic rituals (just as the Mevlevis resurrected Pythagoreanism). I am no longer concerned with the personality nonsense which has blocked such endeavors. It is now gotten out of hand and cannot be blocked at all.

It is fortunate that my own disciples are getting the pictures, and are now organizing in such a way that we may now ahead on all planes. This will be in cooperation with all movements based on universality. We are certainly putting this into practice with our local Jewish and Christian colleagues, although the work here is primarily concerned with Asian cultures. But all this has made me so busy I have not been able to take advantage of your kind invitations. The only thing I can do is to keep you informed, or invite you here let us say some Saturday or Sunday afternoon or evening.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


August 24, 1970

Prof. Jacob Needleman

887 Union

San Francisco, Calif. 94133

 

Beloved one of God,

I am pleased to report that Allen Cohen has sent me a very nice acknowledgement to my last letter. Today I am in a very strange position, made especially strange because 90% of the promoters and leaders of new so-called spiritual movements, totally ignore moral laws. They seem to agree that you rise above karma by having faith in some “deliverer” but are quite at odds with one another on the personality of that deliverer. Their philosophies are often nearly identical. Their extremely “high” emotions are very similar. Their chief difference is the personality-name whom they are promoting. The Temple of Understanding was inclined not to have any of them participate in the convention this year, feeling it would then end in a personalism and personality brawl. In any event the attitude of the Meher Baba people toward me has become known to the rivals, to the supporters of other personalisms to the degree that they are paying me deference, deserved or not deserved. Apparently, there is nothing I can do to stop this undeserved deference any more than I could do previously concerning what I felt was undeserved accusations. However, the chief reason for writing to you at this time is largely so that you can know how these comparatively unimportant personality squabbles fit in with the events of the day.

There are now so many new age rival Indian movements that I could without even going out, write a long letter. The followers of the Maharishi, so called, want my blessing and even visit to their particular Shangri-la. The same is true of those acclaiming Sai Baba as Avatar. And while this has been going on, one hears of a number of new well-oiled communes being established in this state, etc., etc.

I also received notice concerning the arrival of Dr. P. K. Kymal in the Bay area. This man claims to be a Yoga teacher and is a high official of the Indian government. From his communication and subsequent telephone conversation, the Indian government does not seem to be particularly pleased with the growing number of rival “universal” organizations, making obtuse claims, ignoring each other, and generally judging you from your monetary contribution, or emotional laudation.

While this is going on, my own disciples and friends are leaving for India to help establish real cultural exchange based on real places, real personalities, real events, etc., most of which are ignored by the modern rival claimants. It is noticeable that when I visit Indians—Indian Airlines, travel bureaus, consulates, and the Department of the University of California covering that part of the world, I am greeted with such respect and consideration it cannot be reconciled with the behavior patterns of others. Nor do I care.

I have told brother Allan that my first efforts for peace in the Near East were thwarted in the name of Meher Bab. The person who did the thwarting was then well-placed in the city of Washington. This threw me way back. My second efforts to bring peace I the Near East integrated, and I mean integrated, the efforts of several persons connected in some way or other with Universities in the State of California. A single person told me my plans were the most sensible he had ever encountered. But the foreign office, the American Friends of the Middle East, the Carnegie peace Foundation, and other similar organizations all threw cold water on it.

The man who so highly appraised my work was Gunnar Jarring.

Now my disciples are rapidly moving toward not “peace with justice” but peace with understanding. While they have my blessing, their own understanding is sufficient that they do not need my presence. They are advanced in the development of what is called prajna—that word so highly evaluated that is has been made into a Goddess of the Tibetans. But don’t try to evidence it; all the good people will turn against you. Nevertheless I not only believe God made all humankind in His image, I am finding more and more young people accepting the actual teachings of the Bible, and rejecting all the separative and separating religions.

The first grand effort toward peace in the Near East will be made this week, and I am asking my participating disciples to keep you informed of their program.

I am now planning, inshallah, to go to Washington this autumn and as there is now no important personality to stop me in the name of Baba or in the name of anything else, there is a possibility of there being some success. I am not only receiving high inspirations in and with my public lectures, there is a growing respect from persons in high places, and sooner or later the effects of those endeavors will be made public.

My publisher colleague is returning shortly, and I am going to have printed all the letters to important people which remain unanswered.

In the meanwhile we are also progressing in efforts to establish a peace scholarship for the University of California. I myself am fixated in the belief that peace can come, will come, through the efforts of human beings with awakened hearts. I believe God created all mankind in His image. It is no longer necessary even to ridicule the modern super-superman, considering their substitution of devotion to a personality for the high moral teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, etc. In other words, I have nothing but beautiful reports at this moment.

Love and Blessings,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


[undated]

 

Dear Dr. Needleman,

By way of explanation of the enclosed….

Richard Tillinghast is a disciple in Sufism who is a professor of English at Berkeley. He will be teaching two courses this Fall. One in Visionary Poetry, Blake et al. The other, English 1B, “Introduction to Literature.” I quote from the course description:

 

“In the reading assignments this section of 1B will try to explore different approaches to the spiritual life, magic and mysticism. The aim will be to provide a group experience through which the readings may achieve a greater than usual degree of presence and the written assignments a greater than usual concreteness and relatedness. Anyone entering this group should be willing to become deeply involved through his time and energy. The class will meet for many hours a week, usually outdoors. In addition to the focus on ‘reading and composition,’ we plan to engage in yoga, breathing practices, mantra practice, dancing, meditation, improvisational acting, and many other ways of being together as a group. One hoped-for effect of this experience will involve—without chemicals or other external means—reaching a high place and staying there together. ‘Energy is Eternal Delight!’ The class will meet in two groups of 16 each. Admission by permission of instructor before classes begin.”

 

The dances referred to are Murshid Samuel Lewis’ “Dances of Universal Peace” which include Dervish, Mantric, and other dances. The plan is to meet in Sebastopol at Richard’s cabin one day a week for each of the two groups referred to.

Best wishes to you in your various efforts,

Faithfully,

Mel Meyer

Sec’t to Murshid

Organic Gardening Correspondence

Atlas Fish Fertilizer Co.

No. 1 Drumm Street

San Francisco, California 94111

July 1, 1964

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

c/o O.P. Harris

R.D. #2

Guys Mills, Pennsylvania

 

Dear Sam:

Thanks for the copy of your June 24th letter addressed to Robert Rodale.

You will recall my telling you about the Prince in Thailand and his use of Atlas Fish Emulsion on the tiny plots which produce 5 crops annually. A recent letter indicates he is having success with the vegetables and that he is interested in annual requirements.

We are all well here, and send our regards.

Sincerely,

L. F. Mezzera, General Manager

 

 


Atlas Fish Fertilizer Co.

No. 1 Drumm Street

San Francisco, California 94111

December 17, 1964

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

772 Clementina Street

San Francisco, Calif. 94103

 

Dear Sam:

I am enclosing copies of a letter and a document. After you have time to study, please give me your opinions and comments.

Sincerely,

L. F. Mezzera, General Manager

 

 


[undated, 1969?]

Organic Gardening and Farming

Emmaus, Penna.

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Our editors are pleased to have your article submitted to Organic Gardening and Farming for consideration.

When each of us has had an opportunity to read and consider the material, we’ll be able to determine its suitability and timeliness for OGF, and to plan for its appearance or return. Usually, this is done within a two- to three-week period, although work schedules and editorial field trips sometimes necessitate a longer consideration. Payment for accepted articles scheduled months in advance is generally forwarded as soon as copy revisions, photo or illustration requirements and layouts have been planned.

Thanks again for your continued interest. With best regards,

Cordially,

M. C. Goldman

 

 


August 23, 1969

Bio-Dynamic

R. D. 1

Stroudsburg, Pa. 18360

 

Dear Sirs:

I have your “Bio-Dynamic Literature” list and being unsure enclose at this time check for Four Dollars ($4.50) Fifty cents for membership and years subscription.

While I am engaged in Asia-American cultural exchange operations, my spare time is spent in gardening with some success. This is only the first year of operations in San Francisco and Novato, in Martin County to the north.

Last night lecturing in another part of the State on Oriental Philosophy plus Emerson plus Thoreau plus the use of Atlas Fish Emulsion I was surprised to find myself among the enthusiasts for Atlas and Organic Gardening.

But I have just returned from New Mexico where there is a very active pioneer series of operations in organic gardening which I have been invited to join next year.

What I am concerned with here is the difference between the ecologies of Pennsylvania and California, and do not know how important or unimportant the differences are. Here we have a twelve-month operation.

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Jan. 20, 1970

Mr. J. B. Harrison

Manager, Mylora Organic Farm

960 No. 5 Rd.

Richmond, Calif.

 

Dear Mr. Harrison:

A few months ago a few of us were cordially welcomed at your produce farm. Since that time, many of us have become involved in the New Age food movements. I understand there are now meetings in process, if not already held, to build up local and international markets in this field. I understand also you have been involved, and it is most pleasant to me that your efforts, as well as those of my friends, and other people may be properly integrated for a real New Age, toward better health, vigor, and understanding.

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 


Feb. 17, 1970

Mr. M.C. Goldman

Managing Editor

Organic Gardening

Rodale Press, Inc.

33 East Minor St.

Emmaus, Penna. 18049

 

Dear Sir,

Sometime ago I sent you an article for your publication entitled “The Garden of Inayat.” You wrote saying that it was being considered, and I have heard nothing further for some time. If you are not planning on publishing this article, will you return it to me please so that it may be published elsewhere. Enclosed you will find some stamps to cover postage costs.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Calif. 94110

 

 


Organic Gardening and Farming

February 25, 1970

 

Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, Calif. 94110

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Many thanks for submitting your article to Organic Gardening and Farming. Our editors very much appreciate the opportunity to consider this for our publication. Since we are unable to include the material in issues now being prepared or planned, it is being returned herewith in the event you may wish to submit it to another publication. Suggestions and article manuscripts are always welcome for consideration.

With best regards.

Cordially,

M. C. Goldman, Managing Director

 

 


April 9, 1970

St. Ermins Hotel

Caxton Street

London, S.W. 1

 

Maxicrop Retail Sales Ltd.

Holdenby, Northants

 

Dear Sirs:

Your name and address was obtain from a package of Maxi Crop purchased here in London. I am a retired horticulturalist whose avocation is organic gardening. In this there has been considerable success, but a such greater success has come in what is called the New Age Food Stores which are outlets for organically grown crops and health foods. We are prospering very much, especially in California.

In earlier years some time was spent in laboratory tests on soil analysis, plant analysis and plant foods. More recently I read the book on the use of seaweed products and there obtained the name of Maxi Crop. Could you send some literature either to the above address where we shall remain until the 15th:

Samuel L. Lewis

910 Railroad Ave.

Novato, California 94947 USA

Have you any agents in the U.S. and if so, could you advise? or are you seeking distributors? or outlets etc.?

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Maxicorp, Ltd

10th April, 1970

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis,

St. Ermins Hotel,

Caxton Street,

London, S.W.1.

 

Dear Sir,

We thank you for your letter and have pleasure in enclosing copies of our Bulletins and a selection of literature.

Our Distributor in The States is:

Mr. Per Bye Ohrstrom,

Sea-Born Corporation,

3421 North Central Avenue,

Chicago, Ill.60634.

 

Yours Faithfully,

Secretary

 

 


410 Precita

San Francisco 94110

April 15, 1970

 

Mr. Per Bye Ohrstrom

Sea-Born Corporation

3421 North Central Avenue

Chicago, IL 60634

 

Dear Mr. Ohrstrom,

I have just been furnished your name by Maxicorp Limited. I am very much interested in the furtherance of this project. I myself am retired, and a good deal of my time and effort is devoted to organic gardening; indirectly I have connections with a chain of health food stores which might be interested also in the use of your products. In any case I would like to find out about obtaining Maxicorp in various sizes for different purposes:

 

1) I have a fair sized garden flanked by others in the city of Novato which is 30 miles north of San Francisco. We wish to continue our efforts in the general field of organic gardening in which we have to-date been marvelously successful, not only in the size and sometimes beauty of our crops but also in the almost entire absence of pests. The immediate area is occupied by associates who had just begun to plant when I left the States. But we have associates in that area and also in San
Francisco.

2. I wish to obtain samples, so to speak, of Maxicorp for:

Mr. Harry Nelson, the green house

San Francisco City College

Ocean Ave and Phelen

San Francisco, California

Mr. Nelson is a director of classes in horticulture and related subjects for both high school and college students. he has three ample greenhouses and a considerable area for experimental purposes: gardens, nursery, lining-out, etc. This covers many branches of both vegetable and ornamental horticulture.

3. I am also interested whether you have any commercial outlets in Californian and how far you may be interested.

 

The cost of any of the above would be born by me personally. I have already made world tours in connection with both ornamental and food problems, as well as soil management and plant protection. But I myself have long since retired on account of age and ample income.

Any information would be gratefully appreciated by

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


May 18, 1970

Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, Inc.

R.D. 1, Stroudsburg, Pa. 18360

 

Dear Sirs:

In response to our enquiry you have not given us much information. We are, it is true, sending a check for $5 for five copies of your material. Three of these are to be sent to Mr. Melvin Meyer at 410 Precita Ave., San Francisco 94110, and two to myself c/o Lama Foundation, Box 444 San Cristobal, New Mexico.

You do not give us the information we really desire. We ourselves are involved in organic gardening, mystical and occult studies. We have gone deeply into realms of astrology which we feel are far deeper than the current superficialities. We have also been rather successful, praise to God, in our various endeavors.

It is impossible at this time to advise one way or another whether we can attend your conference at the end of August. We are wondering whether it would be possible to visit either Spring Valley or Stroudsburg later on at your convenience.

Faith fully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Ca. 94110

May 28, 1970

 

Mr. P. B. Ohrstrom

Sea-Born Corporation

3421 North Central Avenue

Chicago, Illinois 60634

 

Dear Mr. Ohrstrom,

I am writing to you on behalf of Mr. Lewis who is leaving shortly for the state of New Mexico. I spoke with you on the telephone when you were in the city.

Mr. Lewis would like a gallon of your Maxi-Crop fertilizer sent to him at Lama Foundation, Box 444, San Cristobal, New Mexico 67564. This is a large commune with organic garden based on spiritual principles. Mr. Lewis is going there to teach Asian philosophy, spiritual techniques and dances, and organic gardening. He would like a sample of your product for the work there. And you can send the bill to him either at that address or at the one at the top of this page, which I believe you already have.

Projects are in the incipient stage to integrate organic gardeners throughout this country in order to produce high quality food for health food stores. Mr. Lewis will undoubtedly be contacting others in this work thought New Mexico, etc.

Thank you very much for your prompt attention to this matter.

Cordially,

Melvin Meyer

secretary to Mr. Lewis

 

 


Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, Inc.

R. D. 1

Stroudsburg, Pa. 18360

May 31, 1970

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

c/o Lama Foundation Box 444

San Cristobal, N.M.

 

Dear Mr. Lewis,

The Moon Charts were mailed several days ago to you and Mr. Meyer but I did not get a chance to answer your letter until today.

I regret that I have been unable to answer some of your inquiries. Have you read the Agriculture lectures by Rudolf Steiner? This is the occult basis for what has become known as the Bio-Dynamic concept or method. This book is available from the Association for $5. You may be interested in Moon and Plant, Capillary Dynamic Studies by Agnes Fyfe. It shows the activity of the formative forces in plants in relation to the moon. This is available from The Anthroposophic Press, 211 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016.

Although you would be welcome to visit here, it would be more profitable for you to visit in Spring Valley. Our laboratory is at Threefold Farm with Mrs. Erica Sabarth as research director. Mr. and Mrs. Fred Heckel, the former editors of Bio-Dynamics, live these. Also, you may wish to talk with Mr. Arnold Leaver, 877 South Main St., Spring Valley, in regard to astronomy. Please make arrangements for a visit at the laboratory in advance.

Sincerely yours,

Josephine Porter

Sec.-Treas.

 

 


Aug. 29, 1970

Organic Gardening

Emmaus, Penna. 18049

 

Dear Sirs:

Thank you for your notice “You Can’t Be Replaced.” This is certainly news to me. I don’t understand it at all.

One of your editors came out here, met the writer, and begged for an article which was written at his request. And then, following the usual “Judaeo-Christian ethic” it was returned.

I don’t know which side you are on your own editorial, so we are withdrawing; sending you no money nor any subscriptions, or anything.

Our own garden is thriving magnificently. Our own people are prospering in New Age Food concerns and in raising vegetables organically. I agree in your philosophy but I totally disdain your ethics. There is nothing else for me to do but discontinue having relations with you after receiving such treatment.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Sea-Born Corporation

3421 North Central Ave

Chicago Illinois 60634

September 8, 1970.

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis,

410 Precita,

San Francisco,

Calif. 94110.

 

Dear Mr. Lewis,

As you know, our Sea-Born is available in 1/2 pint, quart and gallon bottles mainly for the retail trade.

We are doing a fairly good business with health-food stores, which are featuring our 1/2 pint bottle. These bottles are generally placed on the checkout counters and since the retail price for these bottles is only $1.29 many customers pick up a bottle to try out.

Knowing that you are connected with a chain of health food stores and would like to ask if these stores would be interested in this small sized Sea-Born bottle.

The timing is right for a product like Sea-Born, because more and more people have become aware of the problems connected with air and water pollution.

Enclosed please find some material on Sea-Born. The card on pollution is indeed popular with many of our accounts.

Any courtesy extended to me will be highly appreciated.

Yours very truly,

Per Bye Ohrstrom

 


Sept. 14, 1970

Mr. P. B. Ohrstrom

General Manager

Sea-Born Corporation

3421 North Central Ave.

Chicago, Illinois 60634

 

Dear Mr. Ohrstrom:

I am very glad to have your letter of September 8. I have taken this up with the New Age Food peoples, whose address is 1326 9th Avenue in this city, 94122. They have responded very favorably and indicated they may write to you directly.

Our own garden in Novato, California, has been amazingly successful. This year a single grapevine produced about 10 times as much as last year. Our fig tree is so over-laden. Our small squash garden has to be harvested twice every day. There may be other factors, no doubt, such as excellent weather and proper watering. We have always used organic fertilizers, but this is the first year we used Sea-Born.

I am about to leave for New York and it is possible we may stop at Greenwich, and also take samples there from for places in New England. All the youth here are very strong for organic gardening, and what is called The New Age.

I have given them the literature that you gave me and will be ready, no doubt, to cooperate more fully next year, but it is possible that we may have a whole string of gardens.

It is notable that every letter I have written on pollution problems has been answered by scientists, and not a single one to a non-scientist has even been acknowledged!

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

Pakistan Correspondence

772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

April 18, 1959

 

A. A. Siddiqui,

Department of Islamic Studies, University of Punjab,

Lahore, Pakistan

 

Dear Professor Siddiqui:

As-salaam Aleikhum.

It is now over two years since I have re-established myself in this part of the world, to remain here until the sign is much-seamed to journey wheresover Allah wills. There is no attachment to place although at the moment I am within a mile of the site of my birthplace.

The journey I took to the Orient was marked by nothing but glory and wonder all the way from Japan to the districts where I am well known and there one meets with nothing but apathy and unconcern. It is wonderful to have seen palaces and shrines, to have been the guest of either the highest persons or the most holy persons in so many countries. The effect upon my life has been deep, the effect on my surroundings not at all. And so far as the local Islamic community is concerned I could have gone to Mecca and it would hardly have affected my reception—or lack of it here.

The tasks that I gave in your presence have now been included in my poem “Saladin.” Part III is the Islamic Interpretation of the Bible in seven parts which the presumable Sultan used to convert the Christian captives. I have had ample opportunity to discuss this with leading Arabs wherever I have met them and they unanimously approve of the methods used of never quoting Holy Quran to prove that Book.

When I completed Part IV I sent it to President Nasser who has accepted the dedication and has written me a most favorable letter. I had previously written to this President on my views of the worlds affairs, like the Russian-American­ Near East situation to the Persian-Greek-Arab situation of centuries back.

Refused platforms locally I decides to form my own Asian Institute. Evidently Allah was with me for I received the immediate backing of all the local Asian Consulates and a lecture hall free. But though the plan to speak upon spiritual and Islamic subjects appears to be in accord with the Divine Will, my particular methods of handling the subjects may not follow any preconceived schedule.

For within two days I received a letter from the League of Religions of London asking for cooperation in establishing branches in this country and within a few days after that I also received a request to go into Southern California and address audiences there later in the year.

In addition to personal rebuffs there was a much more important one in 1957 when UNESCO promoted a large gathering here under the ambitious title of “How to Win Friends in Asia.” The opening sessions were closed by the speech of your countryman the Hon. Ahmed Bokhari (may Ally Grace his soul in paradise) who gave what I consider the most uplifting talk ever offered by a politician—and I have heard plenty of them in an already long life. But the local Islamic Community, following the leader of Rom Landau, has spurned Sufism and the special meetings devoted to religion acted as if there were no such person.

For the “authority” of Islam was an important non-American, anti-Muslim who did not even know the elements of his subject. There was one Iraqi and one Iranian present and they walked out in disgust and I, representing East Pakistan, was also denied the floor. The worst thing is that public funds are used to promote these gatherings.

The chairman is Prof. Moore of the University of Hawaii who insists that there are no cultured Muslims who speak good English, an opinion which, alas, I have heard repeated by some of the local; Muslims. This may give you some idea of what I am up against.

Immediately after receiving the offer from Hollywood, a very dear friend arrived from Penang, Malaya. he is in this country to collect funds to be devoted to a real Institute of Oriental Studies. He reports that Russia is doing just that with a Buddhist teaching Buddhism, and an Arab teaching Islam—something which is very seldom done in this country. He is quite pessimistic about bringing misunderstandings and he has some authority having devoted his life to that cause. I am now awaiting his return and either he or I may get in touch with you later on, inshallah.

More recently I have written to president Rafiuddin of Ikbal Unversity in Karachi. I am wondering how well you know him. He is seeking cooperation in bringing Islam and modern science together. Well, I have proven this in the laboratory and also by analogy covering a large portion of Islam studies. I did mention one thing to the Botanical Department when I visited your university and that is on the relation of Jelal-Jemal in vegetation in the dichotomy between woody and herbaceous growths.

Actually this Jelal-Jemal polarity is found everywhere in nature, such as the crystalline versus non-crystalline forms of matter, the skeleton versus the flesh parts in animals, etc. Indeed those principles which I have learned such as Urouj, Nasoul, Zaval, Kemal, Jelal and Jemal I have tried to apply to known scientific knowledge.

I think Prof. Rafiuddin has made an initial but not important error. There is no such thing as Islam but there is a study of Allah and the revelation and wisdom from Allah constitute Islam; and there is nature and the wisdom we derive from nature may be called Science. But what is Nature but the body of Allah? Consequently there is only One Truth, and whatever we find or know comes from that one body of Truth.

The best of my knowledge would indicate that the present government of Indonesia has already adopted policies in accord with what was just written; and so far as I know the government of Malaya tends to operate in the same direction. The local Governor-General of Indonesia showed me a release from his Central Government and it said: “Shariat is the boat, Tarikat is the diving equipment and Hakikat presents the pearls from the Ocean-of-Truth.” He said he could not give me an extra copy and I asked: “Do you think five men in this country would understand and accept that?”

That is to say, as I see it, despite much pessimism Islam is progressing in many directions but the rather “exiled” communities, not keeping in touch with contemporary currents and tendencies tend to crystallize in a deadly conservatism which they confuse with orthodoxy. It is natural. But I found the Imam at Washington of another type. To begin with when he heard that I had come from Ajmir and Lahore he opened the grounds to me although they were not yet in readiness at the time, the public being barred. And he was equally well aware that in the United States Islam could be presented in a modern fashion, i.e. in accord with accepted scientific teachings.

The test of being in tune with Allah has been demonstrated continuously. Thus I wrote a letter to Habib Bank, your city, in regard to increasing my deposits there. I took it to Consul-General Sattar who explained at length the Pakistani banking methods. When I took it to post, there was an envelope with a rather large sum in it.

Meditating what to do with this extra money I was directed to a record shop and found on the shelves one “Symphonia Oriental” a piece of music which I have sought for, for years. It is exceedingly valuable because it contains Azam and a chanting of Sufis in assemblage utilizing the different serbahs of Zikr in concord. I am going to play it for one of the local Muslims, may even give them record as a parting gesture, because the dear Rom Landau who convinced them that I could not and should not speak for them also taught there were no great living Sufis. Allah is great, but gossipers are greater, alas.

But I am no longer moved by small people, and if their hearts are not great, there is no reason why my own should not be great. I am doing everything possible to increase my Hajj and Zakat contributions which go to your country where there is so much need. And I consider this duty and not goodness.

Finally I am enclosing a picture of my fiancée. How she came to this position is a long story. It was foretold in Lahore that I would be married, but the story is like out of a book.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


1088 Fulton St.,

San Francisco 17, Calif.

May 24, 1963

 

Harold M. Horlock,

USIS,

Lahore Pakistan

 

Dear Harold:

As-salaam aleikhum and greetings. I am writing you now because in certain sense I am in the same psychological position as in U.A.R. where I was totally unable to bring the Arabs and Americans together, or to turn about an impending mob attack, which came. I had a fine farewell, of course, but this did not prevent the attack and you know I gave you a good deal of history, including the activities of the reds; the pleas of Orientals for real American culture etc.

The Julie Medlock Story. She went to Accra, Ghana, and I have not heard from her. I should not even be surprised if she were at Addis Ababa now. I can, of course, reach her by sending money and it is not so much the money as that I am overwhelmed in a lot of projects and more on the horizon.

The complex in which she is involved is dubbed “Project Prometheus” and “Project Krishna.” The first was the effort to integrate all known knowledge for the good of humanity. Prof. Reiser of Pittsburgh who planned it, has now been accepted by his own university and other institutions. Indeed with what he called a world-idea, he was not prepared for a hurricane of favorable response. He succeeded in bringing together the whole world of non-aligned nations which was not exactly what he had planned and America is still selling him short.

The “Project Krishna” involves the integration of Oriental cultures and between “Project Krishna” and “Project Prometheus” we have all the human knowledge and wisdom not in “Great Books,” while the United States is becoming more and more “solidly” behind “Great Books” thereby offending the whole of Asia, and also the avant garde, whatever that means. At least Adlai Stevenson has stuck out his neck and lost his once tremendous popularity abroad. This country refuses to accept the reality, for example, of Dr. Radhakrishnan.

Now with the widespread news given to Alabama and North Carolina in Asian papers—I bet you get a first-hand view of it, and not much on “space travel.” We hold our heads in the sands and refuse to look at reality. Indeed—and this thought to be up your alley—I consider the accomplishments of TCM and especially the University of Washington State at Lyallpur equally in value to space travel and far more “down to earth.” But unless I were to write to Pullman, we are too busy—and this includes your own USIS, hip-hip-hurrahing, to inform even ourselves of the best accomplishments abroad.

The Sam Lewis Story. I have received and honorarium for my contributions to

Oriental “wisdom” which means, when I return, probably a grand welcome. I don’t want to go into that here, but I still don’t have the “credentials” to enter contain universities here for subjects which I teach abroad. So mote it be—and it will be worse and worse or better and better.

The Khawar Khan Story. Miss Khan is my spiritual god-daughter. I think you may remember the story that when I refused to go to the international philosophical conference to face the communists, I ghost-wrote her paper and she won first prize.

Now she has gone to Peshawar and won acclaim for contributions to contemporary psychology. The way the spiritual Islam works is this: your teachers is given the credit for your accomplishments (in this something like “the old army game”). So my name has been hoisted and gotten over into Iran too, at the top levels.

The other part of her story is Hollywoodish. Her family had been considering the possibility of her meeting the son the late Mohammed Iqbal. And now after the above event she has received a proposal from his son.

Saladin is an epic poem written to try to build up friendship between the United States and the non-aligned countries which are Islamic. As our foreign policy consists always of policy regardless of success, it is quite out of line with approaches gone out of fashion since 1920 (but always in fashion before that). For reasons too long to tell here, if this poem could get into the hands of Iqbal’s son I should probably have instant recognition so being personally involved I held hands off. Besides other per sons asked for Khawar’s hand. So in Pakistan if there is a wedding, it will affect the whole future of my poetical writings.

In the meanwhile Miss Khawar has returned the poem to me and it has been shown to several non-aligned diplomats with telling effect.

The Asian Story. For some reason or other—and it may have been my fault—I was not permitted to attend the recent conference on Asia in Asilomar. So I have spent all my time meeting Asians, all kinds of Asians. Indeed I am preparing to go to Indonesia when the time comes.

The Dervishes. There are 50,000,000 of us and we are totally ignored. Now the new director of the Arab Information Bureau is descended from one of the greatest—which does not prevent our “Peace Corps” etc., etc., from being told there are none. The new Vice-President of India is another. Most of the diplomats of Indonesia I have met—San Francisco, Washington, Cairo , are dervishes and this means nothing.

At this time one of my fellow dervishes is about ready to go to North Africa. He is the cousin of a former secretary of the UN and was a close friend of the late Dag Hammarskjöld. I have given him the names of key persons in the U.A.R. so he can not only verify my stories but can get “in” where we have refused even to look. All non-Aryan anti-communists are fanatics or they don’t exists and this is our “cold war” policy.

After lots of rigmarole I finally convinced the authors of a forthcoming book on Pakistan being published at Princeton that there are dervishes. When they admitted there must be, I gave twenty names in different parts of Pakistan. The projected University of Islamabad is not only being financed by dervishes but it has been over-subscribed—the first institution in Asia not coming with a lot of hand-out petitions. President Ayub broke ground for them and sooner or later there should be visitors this country.

Buddhism is taught in this country—press, radio, TV and many universities, by people who are no more Buddhists than we are Eskimos. But as soon as a person is selected, that is it. We have our priests, ministers and rabbis of their religions and that is right. But for Buddhism we select somebody and I can tell you that three out of the four selected are utterly anathema to the Buddhist world.

I failed totally in trying to get a paper over on “The Religion of S.E. Asia.” And when I met the chief monk of the Vietnamese—which was a daring venture—he embraced me and send a lot of trophies which are now in the Buddha Universal Church in San Francisco. The leader of this church, Dr. Paul Fung, is the Vice-President of the International Buddhist Conference. He has been seen on TV abroad. But does anybody invite him here to conferences, radio programs? Why, even the Red Chinese sent him three cables of congratulation when his church opened. And it is filled to overflowing, even after they split the Chinese from the rest of us, it is filled to overflowing. But does Dr. Paul get called to train the people for the foreign service? Not with so many “experts” around, no sir.

The stories I hear of people going to Asia after studding with the “exports” are ludicrous. And with one Dr. Karl Phillip Eidmann, one of the greatest scholars I have ever met, in our midst, we still rely on “experts.”

Well, the Buddhists don’t really on experts and I am half unhappy and not entirely gloating that Dr. G.A. Malalasekera has asked me to join the staff of those working on the new “Encyclopedia of Buddhism.” With all the “experts” around Sam Lewis has been asked to join.

After years of trying to reach the Japanese I brought them a picture of myself on the sacred mountain in Japan where no other Americans have been and they did a double take. Now the Chinese all know it and I am both using these pictures in my book and will send them to Dr. Malalasekera. But what does this mean? This man is one of the most influential of the unfriendly non-aligned groups and I know exactly why. If we had an intelligent Intelligence they would at least hear my version and try to “neutralize” this man. The Russians do not use beatniks, scamps and private persons to teach them “Buddhism.” Indeed they have just put out “Buddhist Logic,” a tremendous contribution to human knowledge—while we have our “experts” teach claptrap which you will not find in a single temple or sect of Buddhism anywhere.

I am about to go south to get material for this subject.

Pakistan. But the real reason for going south is to get information on the Date Palm. My general history has been almost universal cordial relations with scientists and almost universal by-passing by “social scientists.” I have seen so many subjective articles that I have written a “finis” to one group and sent the whole worlds to Dr. Farooqi at our Embassy in Karachi. But it is one thing to say and another to do:

The Date Palm and the Coconut Palm are answers to salinity. The Date not only tolerates salt but it is the sacred tree of the Muslims. Dr. Farooqi had me address the school of farm advisors in Karachi and I promised to get help.

Unfortunately the cards are in the hands of the UN. When the Egyptians wanted Soybeans I got them the best in six weeks. When the Agricultural Exp. Station at Rawalpindi wanted them, the UN got them in two years and only one of sixty varieties sprouted. This is the UN technical assistance and the Russians are getting out. The UN technical assistance program is simple: The United States puts up the money and the non-aligned Nations administer it so none gets into the cold war. None gets anywhere anyhow. No wonder I am strong for the Ford Foundation.

My next adventure may be to go to a Buddhist retreat, But the real reason will be for more practical experience in Olive raising. I have raised Olives and cured them, but this will give me more direct experience. Pakistan needs Dates and Olives and Avocados but I don’t know how well the soil will tolerate the latter.

The Mentorgarten was an organization which existed in S.F. many years ago. It was a round table group for Americans and Asians and we had some wonderful visitors and speakers. There was no “exporting” and no long-winded harangues. I was given the right to-establish it and some day might, that Americans and Asians can sit down together without listening to German professors and British diplomats on how to get along with Asians.

But with Project Krishna above mentioned sooner or later we are going to get out of “realism” and into “reality.” Harold, you see the universities discussing and sometimes offering free speech for the communists and Birchers. But I don’t know any that have been too open to the politics of Theodore Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson. They may never have existed as for as the present generations are concerned. And if Julie starts preaching Woodrow Wilson to the Africans, we had better watch out. As I think I told you, the people of India begged me for more information on real Americans and all we can give them—at least where I was, was Bach, Beethoven, Brahmas, space-travel, Tennessee Williams—and by the back door, Unsaint Elizabeth.

I hope someday we are willing to listen to Americans who have been in Asia, or better yet to the Asians themselves.

Faithfully,

S.A.M Samuel L. Lewis

Sufi Ahmed Murad

 

Best regards to everybody. Someday I’ll send pictures.

 

 


September 27, 1963

 

My Dear Major:

I have your letter of the 20th and also, in the same mail, one from your good brother, Mohammed Hakim of Sheikhapura. He tells me he is just a beginner in tasawwuf, but as Pir Barkat Ali requested in his training, this will be done as I copy some of Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Teachings (trouble with the typewriter). This work has had to be given up for a multitude of reasons, some of which will be written.

Now I am in peaceful quarters but the move not only entailed time and money, but a woman took advantage to rob me and this means either going to court or taking the course Allah shows, but in any case there was monetary loss. Then, while working 12 hours daily and 8 hours Sunday, my brother Saladin arrived and gave me three big requests which, in honor, had to be fulfilled and then he was very angry because my eyes showed the fatigue. It took two weeks to clear this extra burden up. It always entailed what I call the “New School” for children, which is based on Kalama and learning how to walk. (Actually, this is a Naqshibandi method.) I do not know how all the tasks before me can be accomplished. It is not even conceivable now and our good friend also asked me to do something far him materially. All can say is to wait until I come.

My research compels me to visit the Chamber of Commerce, and on the next trip will see what one can find out here. If you see him, please tell him I have not had a free day in the last two months, that I am materially overburdened in every direction and that numbers of people also want me to pray for them. One is lucky even to have sleep and that, not always. My television set is not working and this has been fortunate, for there is no time to watch anyhow and cannot even buy a radio, for there is no time.

Then, in the world affairs, this unfortunate trouble between Malaya and Indonesia makes it very hard, for any arguments one may have can be refuted and Muslims look like warlike people. The same in the Near East and this will hurt in Kashmir, too. Everyone will say, “See, this proves the Muslims are warlike.” Nor has there been any help in Urdu. This will consume more time and I don’t know how to do it.

The department of Near East Studies in Los Angeles is just above the Botanical Garden there and I hope to make your visit “Official.” But now comes a long story: Pir Dewwal Shereef asked me to represent him here and I have gone to some time and expense, but never once received a reply, which has made it impossible to tell whether anything has been accepted. Our good friend, Major Awwari, kept me informed, even going out of his way. Also, I took preliminary steps to legalize the Islamia Ruhaniat Society here, and will do so either at his behest, or as a means to receive funds. Money may be sent from Pakistan, I believe, either for the University or for this society. Besides, I was requested to open an office and my limited means does not permit me. But if funds could be released from Pakistan, either from Saadia Khawar or any source, there could be an office and help. Because of the impasse on getting Urdu translations, I must even look for such a person now, here, but until this is done, can make no report. However, if moneys can be released (dollars), they could be handled by the Bank of America which has an office in Karachi, and then to my bank with the least problem. But this would need an OK from the Bank of Pakistan (State Bank), and we would have to contact the right persons and make the right arrangements. So this is written to you rather than to Khawar here, and will need some discussion and consideration.

Now, already you are seeing where the science and religion join. Because love can be applied first in mechanics, with the Islam as the potential energy and the Allaho Akbar (Takbir) as the kinetic energy, this I shall also present to our good friend Mohammed Qureshi when I see him because he plans to be a mechanical engineer.

The Huxleys are great minds. They always know what is wrong. But Aldous Huxley has not only tried Vedanta and some forms (not serious) of Buddhism, but also drugs to effect perception. All of them make him see what the material eye does not see, but if he gets out of Nasut it is either into the Barzakh, or at best, to Malakut and not any further.

When the disciples of our Pir say they will visit the tomb of Bhullah Shah I am happy because we do not know the Azan and Fateha and only by this means can we learn to study, as the bible teaches, (but he Jews and Christians do not practice,) little by little, line by line. And when one comes to Rab Alamin, he is stuck, for even Rab comes from Ra + ab, each of which has a meaning, and Alamin is a plural of A, L, M and even ilm comes from the same root, which is interpreted very differently. So if we do not know the first words of religion and holy Qur’an, we have no right from Allah to “explain” and therefore, I hope, to speak again from the Bhullah Shah point of view, to be careful of every word and every line.

 At Peshawar and Punjab universities I was permitted to speak at length, not on the theory of the unity of religion and science, but on the actual unity showing how the Sifat-i-Allah operate in both. At Peshawar there is a great and wise Murshid, Prof. Durrani, who has been head of both the Physics and Engineering Departments and when we visited Warsak Dam we discussed how the Sifat-i-Allah manifested in each of the operations there. But my main work has been in the plant and animal one can witness the Jelal, the Jemal, the Kemal, biologically and chemically; actually, and so one can understand the nature better. This has also been shown when I have received the latest manuscripts (not yet published) in certain sciences.

Now as regards this world, Tasawwuf has to do with Tarikat, the way of discipline and venture and then one comes to realization which is Hakikat. There one realizes the teaching of Holy Qur’an, “We have our representatives on earth.” This has always been so. The different schools of Mahdi-proclaimers are ignorant of the existence of the highest spiritual brotherhood headed by Ghaus or Qtub. But even when they have a belief, they have not always been so fortunate as to meet the actual living representatives. So it has been more knowledge than faith which showed me what they have told me. I mean right here on earth, and not in any mystical experience, what was coming and what they are doing. Of course, long before this was the occult development, which showed the operations beyond this world and in the secrets, so that one does not even know the one next to him. But now, alhamdulillah, I know the outward representatives and some others, both in the Arab and Pakistani worlds. So there is no need to worry over the future from this point of view.

This brings up the next step. Now that I have the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan, my own researches and a pile of materials supplied by many of the brethren in Pakistan and India, verbally, and in English, there is complete methodology bridging the east and west, the past and the present, the religions and the metaphysical and the scientific.

Love, peace and blessings,

 

 


September 30, 1963

 

My Dear Brother:          

A letter from Sufi Pir Barkat Ali has just been received and it is interesting to note he says he has no spare time. One can well understand this when it is reflected in one’s own life. Even in Asiatica I have four projects and tomorrow the reports will be made on Vietnam, which are based mostly on the experience of friends but a little of my own. In any event, none of these things have ever been taken seriously and it leads to complications in two directions, one spiritual and the other political.

I am also enclosing a copy of a letter to one Mohammed Ilyas, a disciple of Sufi Sahib in England, which contains some news in the second paragraph concerning one Mohammad Qureshi, living San Francisco. It may bring you some ideas or inspiration.

There has also been a letter from Mohammed Hakim of Sheikhupura which was not answered until today. Yesterday a lady spoke on Humza and neither she nor her managers were prepared for what happened. Instead of a few hundred people, there was a great throng and instead of one presentation, there were three and even that was not enough.

A short report was made to the consulate and embassy. They are so understaffed they do not know what is going on in cultural matters. Anyhow the speaker told me she is coming back soon and proposed a form of collaboration which would benefit both countries. This was new and surprising but may have to be followed up. Anyhow, details were mailed to Sheikhupura.

Then this morning I visited Pakistani Airlines. The manager told me if we avail ourselves of their services, for example in the shipment of seeds and cuttings, it would be better to pay for them at your end, in rupees, if they go by PIA. At the same time, the shipment would go faster and get through customs quicker. This is preparatory but one cannot forever delay anything.

The letters from both Mohammed Hakim and Pir Sufi Sahib mention your difficulties. One has to hold hard here. Very few know the deep Murakkabah and Mushahida of the form called Mujahida, which concerns with the purification of oneself at the higher levels. It is easy to write and hard to do when one is always busy. But now, and one does not know whether it is as a devotee or scientist, I wish to do exactly what Pir Barkat Ali has requested, and do not know what effect it will have upon the inner or outer life, but even from the scientific view, if one does not try them, one cannot tell, and from the devotional and spiritual point of view, all assignments are most welcome.

I have still to write to the University at Los Angeles where there is a big organization for the study of Islamic Culture, which there includes Pakistan, but elsewhere sometimes Pakistan is assigned to South Asia. I do not expect to go south until Thanksgiving, at the end of November or even later but cannot tell now.

There are some things gained from the lecture on Humza which may benefit your health and also give ideas for your farm projects. This will need time and consideration. Later in the week I should go to the Chamber of Commerce check more on the oil company. Allah has kept my health fine though one is busy all the time, almost without surcease, only on different matters.

My next thing is to practice some things Sufi Barkat Ali has given which may be of more service to you.

With love and blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


6th October, 1963

 

My Dear Brother:          

As-salaam aleikhum. Today I write under strange circumstances. Pir Sufi Barkat Ali has been sending me some news but more spiritual aid and it is noticeable that psychically the life is the same as his; the whole time is devoted to the pursuit of certain duties for humanity. Also it is based upon the Hadith of the Supreme Prophet, and the more one goes over the Hadith, the more agreement there is with the actual spiritual life and the less agreement also with the commercial or social life. Yet the Message of Mohammed is “peculiar” in the sense that it does not stress retirement, excepting for occasional khilvat.

Among the tasks is considerable research into Buddhism and among these is my work on the biography of one of the greatest Buddhist of this century. Yet when we were alone he said: “Sam, we ain’t got it” (bad English purposely). I replied, “Phra, we have got It.” This may never be published but it is a wonderful assurance.

This is mentioned now because the outlook of the Pir is the same as that of the Bodhisattva; that one takes on oneself the welfare of the whole of humanity and gives up all thought for rest or pleasure or nice things. The only difference is that Oneness is in Allah and finding everything in it.

The second reason for writing is the enclosure of some of the papers of Hazrat Inayat Khan on Brotherhood. These papers may be shared with anybody and I shall no doubt send out the extra copies made. One set will go to Khawar but I have a lot of things for her and a few things each for Shamsuddin and Mohammed Hakim.

The next thing is that as my manuscript proceeds so do world events. Yesterday I was in a secret meeting with General Conroy whose host in Pakistan was General (or Marshall) Musa. This is mentioned because there is no way of telling now whether your mission here will be military, diplomatic, scientific, spiritual or personal or any combination. It was much easier with the military than with the press or social scientists.

The next thing is that there has been no news at all from Islamabad. Until recently, Major Anwar has been very cooperative, but it is not to him, it is to government officials and to Pir Dewwal Shereef or his colleagues to write occasionally. It is only because of the assurance of Pir Barkat Ali that one takes on some of the severe problems of Pakistan. And again even if Pakistan is wrong in everything, there is no alternative. You can’t go with England, India, China, Russia or America, and there is no turning back either. So the road is not easy, I think you understand.

Only Islam is in difficulties with Malaysia and Indonesia on the brink of trouble and
Somaliland playing with war (I think they are right, but war is not necessarily the best way).

The Hadith stands as a tower of strength, and with blessing and love you will understand. This letter is to be shared.

 

 


Major R.M. Sadiq

12-A3 Gulberg 3, Lahore

17th June, 1964

 

My dear brother,

“Asalaam-o-Aleikhum,”

I hope you are in best of spirit and health. I got your letter about ten days back but due to my heavy commitments I could not reply you earlier. There is a lot of pressure of work from business and spiritual side, both sides are extremely important for me. Now let me give you complete brief since I wrote to you last.

Miss Khawar Khan. She is in best of spirit and she is spiritually going quite fast and high. She has got unshaken belief and faith in you. She works very much according to your teachings and advises. On 3rd June, I held a big reception at my new house and it was real combinations of three occasions.

1. Peraire Birthday.

2. He got through the Matrix examination.

3. House Warming up party.

It was a  largely attended party. Only missing link was you. But the gap was filled by Miss Khawar’s attendance and presence. I introduced her to Haji Sarferaz who was there. He was very pleased to meet her, and told me to compliment you for having such a Mureed. He remarked Soofi is highly selective.

Trip. I am making arrangements to be there by the 12 of October, 1964. Again this all depends on a reply from you.

Spiritual. I can communicate with you very frequently from my frequency. The other day I Visited Mian Mir Sahib and he told me that Murad has gone very high and further added that we both should combine mission together.

Oil. I have written numbers of letters of Mr. Oscar Swallow but it seems that people at South Western take things in light manners. Please do write to him to send me samples, at least 4 gallons, failing which we will be losing business worth millions of rupees.

Pir of Dewwal Shereef will be visiting Lahore on 19th June, 1964. With whom I am going to discuss my and your mission in detail.

Carpets. I will be dispatching you carpet samples very soon.

Friend. A very dear Mureed of mine Major I.A. Khan, a Doctor by profession, has gone to USA Washington for training. He will be writing to you, please do look after him. I have directed him to see you during his stay in States. He may need your spiritual help. His address is Lt. Commander I.A. Khan Pakistan, Walter Reed General Hospital, Washington DC, USA.

Thanking you,

Yours affectionate brother

 

 


March 9, 1965

Seyyed Abdal Ahmed

[?] Manzil

 

My dear Brother:

As salaam aleikhum. Any letter from you brings joy and inner glow. The package also will be used. The last one of dry roses was used in healing and purification for a young mureed here, and very successful, too. One feels the Baraka in these gifts, and they become effective.

There is no zakat to pay here and it is only proper and normal either to send funds either to your Shrine or to that of Nizam-ud-din Auliya in Delhi, or that of Data Ganj Baksh (Grand Sheikh Al-Hujwiri) at Lahore who also processed our Khwaja Sharbi Nawaz.

And it is one thing to worship a saint, another thing to worship at his shrine and still a third to draw upon him for inspiration and guidance.

The very next project is a paper in “Purification and Repentance in Islam.” This will be drawn largely from “Kashf-al-Mahjub of Al-Hujwiri (Data Sahib) and is to be presented at a conference of all faiths to be held here in the State of California this coming September. I shall have as colleagues at that conference Seyyed Hossein Nasr who is professor of Islamics and Near East studies at the American University at Beirut, Lebanon.

Already Allah has given the inspiration, for the difference between the tasawwuf and ordinary religion is that one gets perpetual guidance and inspiration even though he lives geographically, so to speak, at the end of the earth. Al-Ghazzali said that tasawwuf consists of experiences and not logic, and if one has not lived through the ahwal and makamat, he cannot justify himself toward the world and before Allah. Before his nufs he can justify himself and this is condemnation not justification.

Also from Al-Hujwiri will be drawn material on Mushahida and Mujahida, but one has lived through these also. Today there is a witness here of a man from Sudan whose father was a great teacher at Kano, in Nigeria. He hopes we can build up connections between the spiritual brethren all over earth and with Allah’s help this will be done. At Kano he says there is a school where tasawwuf is taught in English where an American believer would be most welcome.

Now there has arisen in Ceylon, Kalvath Shan, or Abode of Meditation. They are on Range Estate, Wattola, Humpitiya, Ceylon. Already their publication has received nothing but praise from many parts of the world. They are giving out teachings of perfection and wonder, in English, which has not been done much. All these things are very encouraging and point ultimately to the establishment of spiritual brotherhood on earth.

The great contribution of Islam is not something different but something final. This comes in baqa, and in Ismi Asam, and by these words and what they mean inwardly and outwardly man can be reborn, revivified and stand firm and strong under all conditions. In the praise of Allah it is not necessary to condemn or exclude and with widening of heart there is room for all for Allah is Rab Alamin.

One can understand with many pilgrims you are very busy. It may surprise you to learn that the peace program for South East Asia coming from these hands and heart has been accepted and published. The whole Western world may have despised the approach but the leaders in that region appreciate the university of heart and know this is needed for peace and understanding.

The practice of Akhlak Allah and Zikr and Fikr rescues one from the loneliness of “The Cave” and enables one to be firm, strong and alert though in the midst of “spiritual stranger.” The conferences which are coming this year in California, inshallah, shall give scope for spiritual expression, which has not previously been permitted. It requires patience, steadfastness and insight.

My love and blessings to yourself and all the brethren,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti.

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

March 15, 1965

 

Prof. U. Durrani,

Faculty of Electrical Engineering

University of Peshawar

Peshawar, West Pakistan.

 

My dear Brother:

As salaam aleikhum. It is with great joy one finds that those who are close to one’s heart, and also to one’s mind and with one’s heart and with one’s mind are uniting in the projected World University. This person placed in your hands copy of one of the works of Prof. Oliver Reiser, and also in the hands of other people and as one looks at the list of Trustees it is remarkable that they are largely colleagues on some plane.

When Surendra M. Ghose came to this city he shocked the audience by pointing his finger at the writer and saying: “Why, you are the man I came to San Francisco to meet. I came five thousand miles to meet you.” This was a shocker for the audience consisted of those either coldly indifferent or of metaphysical professors who have been “famous” by teaching private metaphysics as Oriental wisdom. From that point on things have happened too rapidly in many directions.

At another time in life this person had a home where it is easy to practice Khilvat and there was a sort of Mushahida on Allah as Creator. In this he saw the evolution of the Sifat, how Allah, so to speak, made experiments with the Sifat to see what kind of inorganic and what kind of organic bodies could hold the Sifat. On the physical plane there was first the experiments with inorganic compounds, and then the vital life force was added (something like Prana) and the organic evolution began. Then came the introduction of the Sifat.

In this Mushahida one had to identify in consciousness as Rumi has expressed so beautifully in Masnavi and one could see the gradual freeing of the Divine Spirit through this evolution, coming as from dark confinement to a freedom in life. But in the Mushahida one was able to go forward and back and ascertain just where and how the Sifat operate in the different animals especially.

The first grade of freedom was the self-consciousness in man. Then even granting man’s psychological evolution, the next was how did Allah wish to use man (collective and individually) as avenues of expression of His Will. And then one learns the difference between formulae and freedom, from confinement as a Dove and expression in a multitude of fashions. It also was, so to speak, a [?] and grouping of Sifat.

At the lowest level, “inside” the atom we come only into operations of light; at the highest level, when we deal with Sifat in any manner we come only into operations of Light. Only at the higher levels there is consciousness of the relation of each Sifat to the others, and at the lower levels there is not consciousness of each atom toward the others.

Human character may be evolved, conditioned or freely expressed. But character in surrender means operations either according to Divine Will or Divine Plan the latter meaning only the Jemal, Jelal and Kemal expressions.

In Sufi literature there is some confusion owing to the identification of the Wali Jemali with the “Saint” and the Wali Jelali with the “Prophet.” This is not true. The Wali Jelali is the “Master” and the true Prophet (Nabi) may be or in Wali Kemali, or Insaan-i-Kemal.

The last few years this person has seen death of some of his spiritual colleagues who were all Jemali and yet the world smothered them. Their history will not be related but each left a heritage to this person. When one finally was permitted an audience he said: “This is my first and may be my last address. You are supposed to be Buddhists and if there is anything I say now that is not true please interrupt. I am come to read to you some of the most profound and beautiful literature in my belief that the world has ever received. You do not have to agree and you do not have to accept.” So I read some Buddhist scriptures and 90% of the audience had never even heard of them. For what are called “Buddhists” today have any sort of belief and any sort of moral behavior or misbehavior. They had never heard the Buddhist scriptures and they had decried personal efforts to have anybody read them. I read them, and that audience of former critics, even the men, began to cry. This is one’s work.

Soon the top Buddhist leaders were consulting this person, etc. There is “The Mountain Path” from South India coordinating all the spiritual movements. And now there is “Kalvath Shan” a new publication of Sufis of Ceylon using wonderful English and insisting on spiritual experience and not philosophies or metaphysics.

Then there stepped into this person’s life a Sudanese. This person long prayed to meet a man from Sudan. There the people are all under Tarikat. It was something more than love, it was attunement and identification. All kinds of things are happening and, inshallah, will happen.

The next project is a paper on “Tauba” for a World Conference of Faith. It will be a blending of Data Ganj Baksh (Al-Hujwiri) and personal experience, for this person will not speak on what he does not know. The scientific life is progressing in great harmony in love, in beauty. It is only among the non-scientific people that barriers are erected and now, inshallah, they slowly fall.

You are listed as Dean Faculty of Agricultural Engineering. Last semester I enrolled for a short course on Ag. Machinery and now on Landscape Construction, last lessons being on cement and concrete work. How far way are we from each other?

My love and best wishes to Abdul Ghani and Professors at the Pushtu Academy and all my other friends.

Faithfully,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

(Samuel L. Lewis)

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif.

May 20, 1965

 

Ghulam Mohammed Khan

Khidri Ruhaniyat Islamiya

Islamabad, West Pakistan

 

My Dear Brother:

As-salaam aleikhum. Attention has been called that at no time you have received communications from me, which is disappointing. For at least three letters were sent to your colleagues, one to you and after that for a while a number to Major Anwar at Rawalpindi and no answers. Also during this period much time and money were spent to no end, that little information was received. And especially in matters with the Ford Foundation where it is very important that action comes from his Holiness to inform the Ford Foundation at Karachi of your intents and efforts. This is still necessary and anyhow three copies of this letter are being sent out with the hopes that from some source there will be a letter to the Foundation.

This also becomes important for this person is being recalled to Pakistan presumably on agricultural missions by our brother, Major Sadiq, and others and also information has been received from another source of recent efforts of Ford Foundation. And while it will be very nice to have this information and cooperation for these agricultural missions, the whole import of the Khidri Ruhaniyat will be lost in human successes which is not the purport of a grand spiritual mission and effort.

My first stop after reaching Karachi several years ago was to go to Multan with American friends and there I met a Wali. “What have you come for?” “I have come to teach.” “What?” “Ishk, Ilm, Shahud.” “All right, teach.” I still have pictures of the event and by the Grace of Allah as manifested to me through Wali Khwaja Khidr this is being written. For there is no question that the longevity and vitality manifesting and manifested in throughout this person and other gifts vouchsafed, though not yet accepted in this world, give the right and authority for this communication which must be explained because the material aspects are discussed.

I have before me “Tadhkirat-al-Auliya” of Fariduddin Attar. There is no question that these holy men were great saints and there is equally no question that a great many criticisms have come to me concerning Pir-o-Murshid. And if you measure Pir-o-Murshid Pir Dewwal Shereef in the context of these saints, he falls very short, but if you measure these saints in the context of our Pir, they fall very short.

For these saints are saints in fana, they have accomplished all the grade of fana. But for all that they are deficient in baqa. And our Pir, though he may not have been so proficient in fana, is their superior in baqa. And there is some question but to me it is evident that these Auliya are more like Buddha than like Mohammed and our Pir, whatever else be said of him, is to a very unimportant, for like American like activities and the wonderful graces of the very great saints of India communicate mostly to the inner life of people, but not to their outer lives. And if we are to follow Insaan-i-kemal, we must have perfection of the whole personality, not the elevation of soul and neglect of body or the opposite.

Also I have before me Kashf-Mahjub of Al-Hujwir (Data Ganj Baksh), and especially the section on shay that sobriety is better than intoxication. But it seems the whole world, and especially both that of India and Islam, despite all the teachings prefer the intoxication to the sobriety and the fana-saints to the baqa-saint.

The University of Islamabad can only be the work of baqa saints. The fana-­saints are like the angels and despite Qur’anic teachings the world expects angelic qualities and human activities and they expect more the angelic qualities. The Prophet Himself, who was Insaan-i-kemal, maintained the human characteristics, acted the angelic ones and, with all his attention on Allah, he kept a watchful eye on the humanity and this the fana-saints are unable to do. The same is in the story of the Khalifa-Rashidan:

Siddiq saw Allah and shay together

Omar never saw Allah but afterwards he saw shay

Othman never shay but afterwards he saw Allah

Ali saw Allah only and never saw shay.

Now Ali is the perfection of the saints of fana and Siddiq the perfection of the saints of baqa and we need the complete activity.

If you study the modern sciences, nothing is left out. The botanist does not disregard the weed; the assayist sees everything in the rock; and the ultramicroscope proves that everything in the Universe is composed of light, just as all scriptures hold. So it is no part of mine to dwell on any criticisms or imperfections and especially as it seems to be the divine will and plan to have in these days men of activity and not perfect angelic-saints one is not concerned with personality criticisms. Besides the will of Allah is to work toward perfection. It is not perfection to begin and end with perfection, it is perfection to work in and through everything and not make criticisms in final sense. For everything and everyone has his usages.

Besides one can hardly explain to the world the Grace which this person saw manifest in our Pir and if the Grace was not extended nevertheless it was. And if one continues and explains the work of Khalif A. A. Brochi there would be no end to this letter.

Briefly; as soon as this person stopped trying to help the University the hand of Allah began to manifest itself. For when I turned to ordinary things, it seems that all sorts of little doors open. One can get models for motors and machines and gifts of all kinds, and free. A letter was sent to my freight forwarders in Karachi though answer has not been received, as to their colleagues here and in New York. From this end a number of things may be collected as models and books. And in New York perhaps General Motors may supply also hand tools. But it would still be better to write to Ford Foundation.

This does not include any agricultural materials at any level, which will also be taken up. Nor visits to certain groups in this vicinity which are active in the Islamic countries in these fields. For one person can only do so much.

The news about the book, the amulets and your condition are very pleasant. One does not like to pray Allah concerning oneself and one likes to pray concerning others.

If it is finally decided to come to Pakistan by sea, this will give more time but will delay time of arrival. My present position is not to decide this until Dr. Nasr and I meet, for it is wise to stop in Iran; this means air-travel. Also all this depends on an early and successful settlement here of legal problems. I would appreciate if either Major Sadiq or Shah Sahib could “see” for me. It is only a matter of timing. But my Kashf is that I should be leaving the United States by early December, inshallah.

I wish to pay my own way across the United States unless you can get money released. There is a new Consul-General here and there has been no time to see him. I may write to the Consulate in New York for information.

Love and blessings to your aunt and yourself, from

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


 772 Clementina St.

 San Francisco 3, Calif,

 23rd June, 1965

 

M. E. Naeem Lukhesar

23, Edwards Road

Lahore West Pakistan

 

Beloved One of Allah,    As-Salaam Aleikhum.

It was very nice of you to write and although all the details are clear, nevertheless some distinct signs have been given that I should write and it is because of these signs one writes.

Sometimes this person does not refer to himself as a “Muslim” but as an “Inshallahist.” There is no use in writing that they are the same. There is too much difference between so many so called “Muslims” and “Inshallahists” or Sufis that on the Day of Judgment this will be clearly seen. Besides, it is most unfortunate that so many Muslims have taken it into their own accounts to judge the world.

According to Arnold Toynbee too many people begin with the idea that Iblis exists and they have to create a thought called “Allah” or “God” to combat that Iblis. So for the moment the Iblis of America is China and the Iblis of Pakistan is India and the Iblis of many Arabs is Israel and instead of placing their faith in Allah or God, they start off elsewhere and so they end elsewhere and they suffer from real difficulties which they do not see while fighting concept difficulties. These concept difficulties are not imaginary but they are more real in the mind than in the objectives. And once this is started we start chains of reason and reasoning which are nothing but extensions of Nufs.

It is no doubt more than rude to start off with teachings in tasawwuf, but if people do not understand the tasawwuf that is all right but not to correspond with this person. For not only is Kalama accepted but Takbir, and to place any power or might outside of Allah is not only shirk (with which you will agree) but it becomes most impractical and it is on this point one must speak.

The Mughal Humayun, in trying to recover his empire, refused to fight his Islamic enemies (and Muslims do fight Muslims) while they were fighting unbelievers. But present day Pakistan, instead of relying on Allah, will call on anybody, anybody at all—Muslims, non-Muslim believers and violent non-believers, so long as it brings either emotional or material satisfaction.

Allah is Rab Alamin and He selects Whom he will for guidance, wisdom, inspiration, and so for scientific, artistic and technical accumulations from which all can benefit. It is Allah who is the Rahmat but He selects His channels and His channels are often those with whom we differ both in religion and politics. So our particular concept of Allah does not always agree with the Master of Heavens and Earth whom all serve and from whom all get their help and assistance in solving problems. It in the end is Allah who is the Helper, the Guide, with endless servants.

Muslims do not like work. They talk about “Hadith” and praise Hadith and they keep on praising Hadith but not following them. They praise Allah in words and they praise Mohammed in words without following Mohammed and they do not praise all those people inspired or gifted by Allah who can help in solving the real problems in food, education and other matters. So there is a gap between the orthodoxy who see Divinity only in certain channels and Sufis who see Guidance everywhere and in everyone and through everyone knowing it is Allah who is doing it all. And we should be praising Allah.

Then there is the difference between the sayer and the doer. The sayers can always find fault; they do not do much. Your Murshid has just two projects: one is that for Indus Valley Development. This will require going to the agricultural research station at Davis, California, where there are some fine irrigation engineers. Also the best Olive experts, so the two missions will be accomplished together. After that one can submit this project. And to whom will it be submitted?

Until last month there was no cooperation from the Foreign Service of your country. They want help and do not want help. The divine guidance is to get the help. And who is concerned? Pir-Dewwal Shereef. He is anxious for a prosperous Pakistan so people can be fed and comfortable. He also wants to see them develop aptitudes. Everyone knows answers in their minds; in the field of action it is different.

Or again the difference between the Wali and the angelic person. The angelic person pleases everybody, and it is a question whether he pleases Allah or not; the Wali pleases Allah and it is a question whether he pleases people or not. Our duty is to the inner and to cooperate. There has been enough inner guidance in your Murshid to carry him through and if he is at fault, he does not ask Allah for forgiveness, he asks Allah for the just punishment.

The other matter is the family law-suit. A letter was received from an uncle indicating that all the materials for testimony are now available and that we shall make every effort for some sort of just settlement. My brother, who has always been a wrongdoer, is very much in a hurry. And this brings what is almost a dilemma. The longer your Murshid holds out the stronger his position will be. And yet the longer he holds out the longer before he can return to Pakistan. Outside the weather your Murshid does not care about being here. He finds himself in no sympathy with Americans in politics and he has found himself in full sympathy with Zafrullah Khan.

There has been no rest, duty coming first. It was necessary to make a trip to Berkeley to celebrate the Egyptian Independence Day; then to go again to hear Dr. Bernard Lewis speak on Islamic Justice. And a very strange thing happened. There are all kinds of dramatic events going on at the Berkeley campus of the University of California and some have been given much attention. Yet on Thursday the protest rallies were drawing few and Dr. Lewis and his associates were surprised to find the small room filled. There was far more interest in “Islamic Justice” even among young people.

The address was excellent on all points and a letter has been written asking for an appointment. Anyhow now the relations between your Murshid and many people at the University of California have improved considerably this last year.

The next subject is peculiar. My spiritual brother, Saladin, for whom the poem was written, became an avid believer in what is called the Osawa Regime. It is based on Brown Rice. Your Murshid has been eating Brown Rice (unpolished) for a long time. He is very much in favor of it. But in the writings of Dr. Osawa the same thing has been said as was told you about the rice and milk. Besides this was like the Purdah (Khilvat) diet excepting honey and fruit were also used. Your Murshid likes this as a diet anyhow. The rice you enclosed is of a very fine quality, fine for health. It takes somewhat longer to cook. But it contains the Bran: the Bran may be removed but the coating eaten. Please get the details and go ahead as the Hakim suggests.

There lies over me at this time a very heavy burden and it is heavier because others cannot or do not see it. As matters stands a very heavy lawsuit is impending and it will tie me down for a long time. This is very recent and unless something is done it will stifle all my plans in whatsoever direction.

There is one way in which help can be given, and in a certain sense must be given prayers. But also if there is spiritual insight and exercise of Ruhaniyat, this will be the best help. On the material plane no help other than this is needed now.

But there is another reason for writing at this moment that two signs were manifested last which are very important and I hope the meaning is clear.

In 1955 we had a fair Muslim Society here and when the United Nations met all the religions had gatherings and all the Muslims here and from outside gathered to see if they could be united and establish a Mosque. And at such meetings a number of persons came who were interested only in power and wealth and they selected a non-American, non-Muslim who was friend of the Sultans of Morocco and Saudi Arabia and they thought he could bring them money. There were six imams and they played them off against each other until there were none.

Besides this non-Muslim there was an American convert who knew nothing and did not even study Qur’an and an Urdu speaking Indian who was half Arab and the whole Pakistani Colony accepted him as leader when he was actually in the pay of the Indian government.

After I was gone the whole movement disintegrated, and what was left was mostly a society with very bad entertainment and a few prayers. They would never permit me to speak, ever. And they refused all reports although Nasser’s representative told me that if they would accept my reports they would receive money. And they tried to buy land even though the City of Francisco would give them the land free but they would not accept any suggestion from this person.

There was also an Imam in this city who did not belong to the Islamic Society but he was a very good friend of mine. Nobody bothered about him. One night, and it must have been by divine Grace, I turned on the radio and heard perhaps the best speech on Islam ever heard locally. I found it was my old friend and now in the past six months everything has changed. The people of San Francisco accepted this Imam and gradually the remnant of the Islamic Society also and since they accepted him they have begun to prosper a little.

I went to see him last night partly because of this and also because I am trying to get a group to host the Ambassador from Sudan when he comes here. And the whole outlook of this man and change I have as a beneficent sign from Allah.

But also he has a friend, whom he says is a very wealthy farmer, mostly growing rice. This man is planning to give up his American properties and come to Pakistan and has some lands near Lyallpur so my next steps, inshallah, shall be to contact him. So although I have the burdens as above, it is possible that also blessings will come.

There is another sign which came up this week. The other day there was a luncheon gathering at which several persons who were attached to the American Peace Corps reported on their activities. The press and government have been praising these people no end. But the young people back did not report so, and they all ran into [?] which they did not expect. The most outstanding one was the man sent to an Islamic community in the Philippines. He could only report complete inability to do anything.

After the gathering I told him there was a vast world between the Islam of humanity and the book-stuff taught here by Englishmen, mostly, which has nothing to do with anything whatsoever. He told me he had found it out. Now in Pakistan there is a censorship over some books and writers and there is no question that these writers mislead people terribly by writing out their ideas and calling these ideas by the name of some Asian religion where there is no connection at all. The very books prohibited in Pakistan are often text-books here. The students study these books and when they come to Asia they find the people are not like that at all and they fail.

About a year ago the top American professor in Arabics came out flatly for Islam against Christianity and for mysticism against orthodoxy and put Sufism on the top. And since then there are so many signs of changes in the universities and I can tell you very many nice stories that will either go into manuscripts or can wait until I return.

So next week I shall see this young man. He is now at a university where also my friends have important posts. And I am going to visit other universities soon. In September I speak at a gathering of the World’s Faiths. The topic will be tauba and that position will also be based on Data Sahib (as above) plus “tasawwuf is based on experiences and not premises.”

So although at the time between being overworked and having legal complication, the future looks very bright indeed, inshallah. And if Allah wills, I should leave this country around the end of the year able to function as He wished. Only one must not take things for granted, and there are many roadblocks. Still what must be done must be done and bayat and all it means still stands.

Love and blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murshid-Chisti

 

Copy: Please show to Major Sadiq

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

November 7, 1965

 

Izhar Hameed Siddiqui,

Chishti Sabri,

“Yaqeen International”

Frere Road, Karachi 3, Pakistan

 

My dear Brother:

As-salaam aleikhum. With the arrival of your edition of July 22, for the first time I am satisfied with a publication from Pakistan. One receives here all kinds of literature each of which ignores the others and each of which expects one to distribute their magazines and thus win converts. But not knowing American psychology most of them would prove to be very offensive.

For example the tendency among the Muslims of South Asia is that no matter what a Westerner says, or does or accomplishes, he remains inferior in “Islam” to them and they overlook that by this type of immoral behavior; they become held in contempt with these of the Arab world.

This person knows of two standards, the standard of Kalama and the standard of tarikat. There may be more. In the standard of Kalama, which is to say Nimaz, all people who join in prayer are equal and any conclusion that one is superior to others thereby and thereafter is kafr before Fateha.

The standardization of tasawwuf may be different but despite the fact that the writer has already been publicly ordained as a Murshid in the Chisti-Sabri school has brought no replies from Pakistan. And this is also kafr for Rassoul-­lillah has taught: “Act as if in the presence of Allah and remember, if you do not see Him, verily He sees you.” And the great obstacle to spreading what is called, or miscalled “Islam” is that too many of us will not act as if Allah were watching and seeing us.

Now you have written: “Intellectual Ability and Ethical Power” and this is equal to the best article I have read coming from a Muslim. Too often the stand has been taken that a Muslim is superior to anybody else and I have seen a number of monarchs removed from their posts who privately and publicly broke almost every teaching of Hadith if not of Holy Qur’an yet a lot of people upheld saying, “They are Muslims.” In this sense every Kalama-ist is not a Muslim. He may be saved from Hell but he is not superior because people say he is superior.

On page 39 you write: “The ultimate aim of all Muslims should be to work for the fraternity of Islam and promote a feeling of unity so that the sufferings of one Muslim may become the concern of all Muslims, for indeed all Muslims, irrespective of who or where they may be, are brothers in faith.” This needs several comments from the practical point of view:

1. I have a god-daughter who is a Yogini and a Seeress. I asked her which would be easier, to bring the spiritual leaders of the Hindus together or to bring the Pakistanis and Hindus together. She said, “The latter would be easier.” I said: “Do you realize that you have judged in favor of Pakistan?” “I realize that you cannot bring the spiritual leaders of the Indians together.”

The spirituality of the Swamis and Gurus is great and the spirituality of the Pirs and Murshids is great, but the latter are united in brotherhood and the former are divided in separation.

During the meeting of the UN here there were speeches by the leaders of all Faiths and one of the Imams came here from Washington, D. C. and gave an impassioned speech for Brotherhood. I spoke to the Arab leader here that I was much interested in a peace program that would stop the fighting between India and Pakistan and he said he was also interested and was inviting this Imam here. But when he spoke there were very few Muslims, especially few Pakistanis in the audience. And on the whole the Pakistanis here are for Pan-Islam and not for human brotherhood and this brings up a dilemma:

In seeking a formula that might solve the Kashmir complex I find that the Americans who are not Muslims have a much more favorable program for that part of the world than do the Arabs who are not Muslims. If you call in just the Muslims, you might find judges who judge on a different basis and might decide against you. And if you call in the historians and social scientists who are not Muslims, but who know something of the history of Kashmir, they are not in favor of any of the events that have taken place in Kashmir since the overthrow of the Moghul Empire and are much more sympathetic toward the Pakistan point of view, or if not sympathetic, at least open-minded.

We have already had such a situation here that this person was ostracized by the Muslim, community under pressure from a man who speaks Urdu. He was half Arab, half Indian-national (born in Bombay). As the Pakistan community called itself “Pan- Islamic” they supported this man whom I found later in the employ of the Indian government! It has been very difficult to overcome this handicap.

This brings up a complexity which I do not wish to solve or resolve. Nevertheless there is no obstacle greater than adding to the Five Pillars, and as the Imam from Washington is for the Brotherhood of man and you ask for the fraternity of Islam, would you concede to him? This Imam and his colleagues have converted many Americans. Pakistanis have converted some Negroes but hardly any Caucasians.

When you say: “Our kind Prophet once said that wisdom and knowledge are the best treasures which Muslims should seek wherever they could be found, I agree. But as soon as anybody affirms anything not in Qur’an and Hadith and places it over what is found in Qur’an and Hadith and you come out for a “fraternity of Islam” and this conflicts with the search for wisdom and knowledge and you follow the ignorant Kalama-repeater and reject the learned and wise who do not repent Kalama you are in a trap and it is for that reason that we are unable to solve the Kashmir complex.

As it looks now many non-Muslims wish Pakistan to be given more consideration about Kashmir and many Muslims are satisfied with things as they are.

As to “Interest Free Banking” I am sending this to a friend who is interested in such a
philosophy.

Faithfully,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


22nd March, 1966

772 Clementina St.

San Francisco, Calif. 94103

 

Begum Aisha Bawany Wakf

P. O. Box 4178

Karachi 2, Pakistan

 

Beloved Ones of Allah:

Bismillah Er-Rahman Er-Rahim. One must thank you for the mass of literature sent here. But why it was sent to this person is not clear. This person does nothing without consulting Allah and there are all sorts of ways of consulting Allah.

Now in my belief, Allah is closer then the neck vein, which means He is closer than the neck vein and this is reality and poetry. And being closer then the neck vein, one can pray to him and get Guidance, especially in the form of Kashf. The teachings of Kashf are offered in a literary form in “Kashf-al-Mahjub” but the operation of Kashf is possible because Allah is closer than the neck vein, not poetically but actually.

Last night one went to the Iranian Consulate to celebration the Persian New Year. And because one was a stranger there he depended on Allah and His Guidance. And when one depends on Allah and His Guidance one does not come with ideas to impose on anybody. One comes with the open heart. When one prays in Sajda it is that “I am nothing, Thou art.” And when one prays in Sajda, Allah who is closer then the neck vein, gives the guidance.

So one came to speak on Shiraz. One mentioned Shiraz and found oneself surrounded by Shirazis. One of himself did not know that there were many or any Shirazis here. But one depends on Allah (tawakkul) and when there is faith, when there is trust, the glories of Allah manifest. One was surrounded by Shirazi and we discussed Shiraz and Hafiz and it was a wonderful evening. This from trusting in Allah and His Guidance in nothing, nothing, nothing else.

One agrees when the Holy Prophet is quoted, “To spend more time in learning is better than spending more time in praying.” Or “Seek after knowledge though it be in China.” Wonderful, but as soon as one spends more time in learning than in praying, as soon as one seeks the knowledge of China, the whole world of “Muslim” condemns him. He becomes an outcaste; the “Muslim” shuns him.

Have you ever tried to spend your time learning, really learning? Have you ever tried to get the wisdom of the Chinese? That is where the Inshallahist and the “Muslim” part company.

Al-Ghazzali said that tasawwuf consisted in experience and not syllogisms. Now you offer a lot of syllogisms and they have no beginning. Words are used and they mean whatever you want them to mean wherever you want them to mean. That is fine, for you. But how can you expect a stranger to take these words and convey them to others? Have you asked Allah for permission? For guidance? Allah Is Allah and not man, his thoughts, his ideals, his definitions.

 

 


1st April, 1966

772 Clementina St.

San Francisco, Calif.

 

Yaqeen International

Frere Road

Karachi 3, Pakistan

 

Beloved Ones of Allah:

Id Mubarak. This letter is being written just before departing for Pakistan House and one feels full of gratitude for Allah. For the first time in life, and one is not young by earthly counting, there has been recognition of this person and by implication, recognition of the Divine Message.

American people are educated, astute and heart hungry. They are not like described in your press (and one does not object to your politics, only to wrong criticism of this people). They are spiritually starving just as some of your neighbors are physically starving. And to illustrate the way of Allah, by which one means the Wayef Allah and not some description which limits Allah: very recently a citizen was named Poet Laureate for this State.

He had won by expressing the yearning of soul of man and expressed this in poetry, the heart hunger, the yearning, the longing, but left it opened. So this person wrote him, why did he leave everything with a question and not with an answer. And, alhamdulillah (but not praise to people who think they worship Allah), he answered that he had drunk at the fountain of the Sufi poets! The fact that he so expressed himself will leave the doors open for teaching and certainly for the literature that this person has been spreading.

This literature is accepted at the Consulates of Iran and Pakistan and by the head of the Arab Information bureau, who is a descendent of Maulana Roum.

There is a scientific aspect to the lives of Americans. They do not accept unwarranted statements backed by no evidence. Holy Qur’an cannot be proven by Holy Qur’an and that is why Pakistanis fail but Arabs do not in trying to spread the Message of Islam. And the second reason is the limited superiority of all Muslims over all non-Muslims, a doctrine which is not in either Qur’an or Hadith but out of the nufs mankind. And one sees no reason for Americans to accept a religion which makes them inferior to others no matter what the aspect of heart.

Yes, there have been instances wherein “Islamic” missions have succeeded. The most successful are those of the Ahmadiyyas, Flijan-Muhammad people and the Imams from Al-Azhar. Each has found in his own peculiar way a key to the minds or hearts of Americans.

But when you say concerning Allah that “Allah must,” this person says that an “Allah must” is not Allah, that it cannot be Allah and is contrary to the teachings both of Holy Qur’an and Hadith. No, my friends, it is a sin to say “Allah must.” At least this one does not, will not and cannot accept such presentations of religion to the people of this land.

Even now this person returned from his journey with words of comfort for the Consul General here which he is not going into detail because one may be patient, hard working and follow the Sabri morals and yet he will be accused.

Thus, Holy Murshid, one has answered your letters and more than answered, but since the previous outbreak of hostilities, few letters have come through. Your Government has every right to interfere with the mail but that is hardly this person’s fault.

During this period, the condition of Islamics is even worse than previously. There used to be three Mosques listed in the city of Los Angeles and now there are none. Besides there are no Muslims lecturing to Americans at all and they are so divided.

This person had some training in the Arab world. His chief Teacher used to lecture from the Hadith and not only that, he knew all the history of the holy family, every member of them. This was one type of instruction. And there is a sort of inheritance here from Maulana Roum whose descendent lives here and we are very close friends.

Isa has said, “For every idle word ye shall suffer in the day of judgment.” When this one was in Cairo he used to be taken to task for not praying. The people who took him to task never went to the Mosques and this person was always going to the Mosque. But some people born, as they say, “Muslims” have dispossessed the Creator of the Universe as Master of the Day of Judgment and have taken over. And Allah always deals with them justly so it is not for this one to say anything.

Besides, the Daroods operate in the daily life, but one cannot report when under clouds. My first Pir-o-Murshid, Hazrat Inayat Khan, taught that Sheikh Suhrawardi in ‘Awarif al-Ma’arif and one does not dare disobey such teachings and even if one has few disciples, one never regards them as separate or separated people.

It was by Kashf and without any human directions that this one met again the son of Hazrat Inayat Khan and many of one’s former good friends, both social and spiritual. This indicated a new day. This is also true in the universities where now for the first time, praise to Allah, the professor and students alike listen and respect.

But this one will not answer further. The total ignorance of so many “Muslims” of Adab and Heya and other moral teachings places one in a strange position. But before Allah one must not move. The whole day is spent in forms of Zikr, at work or devotion or rest or anything else. And one stands accused by people who are not so devout. So be it.

This person is not responsible for the political affairs of the world, and neither for the problems with which he is associated which have come through prayer and vision and not from nufs. Fortunately a miracle has happened that when a Sufi editor asked for the names of the culture Muslims in this country and this person had no way of finding them, in the same mail one received this list from a surprising quarter. This is the way Allah operates; it is not the way man operates. Of oneself nothing could be done but the Grace is continually manifesting and it is strange to be accused by those who defy the Messenger of Allah by losing their tempers and arguing in other than a friendly manner. It is not this person but the accuser who should be studying Qur’an and Hadith and the Moral Law.

Faithfully,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif.

11th June, 1966

 

Yaqeen International

Frere Road,

Karachi 3, Pakistan

 

Beloved One of Allah:

As-salaam aleikhum. Your issues of February 7 have arrived and they touch the very center of my life and being. But in order to make my positions clear and it is not easy thing it is to delineate between Muslims and Inshallahists I shall use the term “Muslims” as it is generally used.

The writer does not believe there can be any shortcoming or lack of wisdom or Beneficences or Compassion on the part of Allah, the Almighty. And he does not agree with Muslims who explain away failures. Failures to the writer show either that there is a test from Allah or that one has departed from the ways of Allah or both. But he refuses to throw any doubt on Rahmat. And as most Muslims throw considerable doubt on Rahmat and as they do not use the Bismillah it is most difficult to get the very well educated people of this land interested in “Islam.” They find “Islam” has very little to do with Allah and a lot to do with all kinds of politics and very forms of self-praise. And it never occurred to Muslims that their lack of success is due almost entirely to their self-praise and departure from Alhamdulillah. They may repeat the words on their lips and it stops right there. In practice ritualistic prayers and not as it should be, in [?] is, the cleansing of body, mind and heart.

The logic of “Economic Difficulties in the Light of Qur’an Majeed” is impeccable. And “fell prayed to the calamity of locusts.” Of course, and again and all the self-praise of Muslims does not stop the locusts.

There was once a famous actress in this country named Mary Pickford and she wrote a book, “Why not try God?” This person said, “Poor lady, why doesn’t she? And today one says the same to Muslims, “Why not try Allah?” Or is there some shortcoming in Allah? This one sees nothing but Perfection in Allah and without claiming perfection for Rassoul-lillah he has chosen to follow to the death some of the Hadith, and he fulfills his life that he acts as if in the Presence of Allah at all times and knows that if he cannot see Allah, Allah veritably sees him always. So it never does anything good to hide and one finds self-apologetic Muslims hiding and apologizing.

As one comes to “Islam and Economic Prosperity,” this is very close to the heart of this person because when this person asked Allah for Guidance, it came that he should work for the prosperity of Pakistan. He had not particular reason. When he began his studies years ago and we did not have literature our text was “Kashf-­al-Mahjub” and it is still “Kashf-al-Mahjub.” And when the tomb of Data Sahib was visited in Lahore the spirit of the Saint embraced him and he received the Guidance in the spirit. This was recognized by the Sufi Murshids and later he realized that Data Sahib and Sheikh Al-Hujwiri were one and the same person.

Now this is told not to show one’s prowess but because your publication is called “Yaqeen.” And it was from the study of “Kashf-al-Mahjub one learned about Yaqeen.”

The difference between the scientist and theologian is this: the scientist bases his opinions on experience and the theologian on deductions. Al-Ghazzali has said, “tasawwuf is based on experience and not on premises.” But many Muslims do not accept this at all; they consider their deductions as superior to the experiences of mankind.

This person also follows the dictum of Rassoul-lillah: “Praise Allah in time of prosperity and surrender to Him in adversity.” And from this one can learn the use of Saida to surrender and the greater the surrender the protection and “verily with difficulty cometh ease.”

Now if the Sufi cannot always see Allah his spirit can be attuned to the Saints and to the Messenger and when he returns he hopes to chant this Zikr:

Ya Mohammed Abdullah,

Ya Mohammed Abdullah,

Mohammed Rassoul-lillah,

Ya Mohammed Abdullah.

The explanation of this is exactly the same as “Islam and Economic Prosperity.” There is no difference on anything at all. There is complete agreement.

The Kashf, the Yaqeen was to study the sciences in this land so one could find means to bring prosperity to Pakistan: salt-water conversion to open the Makran; salinity control in the valleys and Indus basin; the introduction of crops not now grown; the installation of a general fertilizer program such as is used by the Khan Brothers, cane growers near Mardan, and many more items. This person has spent thousands of rupees of his own small means.

But when plans were presented to an important official he challenged the writer for not agreeing on that man’s ideas on Kashmir. This person has not been in Kashmir, this person is not in politics and this person has satisfied the Consul-General of Pakistan. But he did not satisfy the official, and the official being a Muslim has not dared to blame Allah for failure in Kashmir. Everything and everybody but Allah is blamed.

This man denounced the writer and said there was no such problem and after he denounced the writer and even forged letters, terminating this, one read an official announcement from your gracious President, Ayub Khan, to the opposite. But this man being a “Muslim” though he lie and cheat it is “Inshallahist” and not a Muslim.

You are very devoted and enthusiastic but your ideas do not strike the Americans. This last week one received a letter from an important American Citizen. There was nothing on it but “La Illaha El Il Allah.” That is all this important American wrote, nothing else. It had come from his observation of this person and also his Zikr; no lectures, no theologies, no sermons, no instructions just Zikr and this has touched the heart of this important American. The Messenger of Allah said that people who repeated Kalama would be saved from hellfire but lots of Muslims will have no consideration for learning as is written in Hadith.

The Suras of Holy Qur’an begin with Bismillah and Bismillah indicates Rahal and Rahmat should indicate that it is possible to solve all problems. And the Inshallahist says that excepting for nufs all problems can be solved. Allah in His Infinite Wisdom and Mercy has made it possible to solve all problems, both those of the worlds without and the worlds within. In the Holy Book gardens are promised and in the lives of man during the centuries since Furkan, deserts occupy more space. Why is this?

The Mercy and Wisdom of Allah point in one direction and the conclusion of man in another direction. The best time was that of the first Caliphs. It has been repeated and the principles are all referred to in “Islam and Economic Prosperity.”

The details and references are excellent. In the Arab world I have seen the artisans at work and the builders at work and many at work repeating Kalama and Zikr and they are among the happiest people on earth: not the most wealthy, but the happiest and this editorial also has the prescription for this happiness. If we follow Allah and His Book and His Messenger and the Companions we may be solving all problems. But if we make a distinction between certain people who without surrendering to Allah, without the Kashf and the Yaqeen, we shall only be repeating the same mistakes as have been made through the centuries.

The other night this one met a stranger and was very much surprised when he said; “Your whole inner being is peace and power. I have never met such a peaceful man and yet you seem to exude power.” One did not say anything. This was our first meeting.

Trust in Allah and depend on Him and not on words from our little minds, and inshallah, all problems inner and outer will be solved. This was a marvelous editorial. I pray that Pakistan will go on that path and if it is possible to help, one is more than ready and willing to aid.

With all love and blessing,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti.

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif. 94103

11th March, 1967

 

Nasr, Sehmiran, Amaniyah,

Pahlavi Ave. 25 Farkhar St.,

Tehran, Iran

 

My dear Brother in Allah:

 As-salaam aleikhum. The other day, just before receiving your letter, I got off at a wrong corner from the tram (street car) and before realizing, saw an Iranian Bazaar which had just been established. There was a lady in charge, born in San Francisco, but she had married one of your fellow Tehranis and said her husband knew you.

She is at the same disadvantage as any non-native is; that no matter how deep their knowledge of holy things are, they can never be “equal” to those who are born Muslims, and she has the same treatment as the rest of us, no matter how learned or wise or holy, we have to work apart from the Islamic community. I have since returned, presenting her copy of “Hadith” of Hazrat Inayat Khan, all because I felt that was the best way to introduce her to Islamics at any level. It proved to be exactly what she wanted, and could not get. For this country is full of Islamic missionaries, who are not only in absolute agreement in the end, but in absolute agreement in how they got there. So, there is no room for the Grace of Allah.

There is a universal system here that all religionists infer self-praise. They may say, “Praise to Allah,” or they may have strange beliefs, but all end in inferred self-praise. The result is that the young are, more and more, deserting all religion and at the moment, they are coming to this house in increasing numbers. So much so, that tomorrow night, inshallah, I shall be extending Bayat to a whole group, those who seek God and God consciousness, and believe I can help them. My own chief merit is rejections.

Now, my Brother, I have known for many years that I should have to follow in the path of Hafiz-i-Shiraz, to be rejected by any fellow citizens, and after I am gone, to be highly respected by them or more. I have known this by Kashf and direct sight, but these things are as foreign to “Islam” as they are to other faiths, and any experience of and from Allah is regarded as a sign of queerness.

The next thing that happened during the week is the inheritance of a library, from a lady with some wealth, who has a “queer” idea in America. This is very “queer,” that one could learn more Asian philosophies from Asians than from Europeans and Englishmen. Why, even the local Islamic Center selected an Englishmen who was not a Muslim to teach Qur’an, compelling me and some others to resign. But whatever a “Muslim” does is correct, inshallah, or no inshallah. And I guess I am scandalizing them, as Abu Said ibn Abu-l-Khayr scandalized his contemporaries.

For instead of praying about science and religion, I gave to each of them any and all names of God they choose to repeat, and the vast majority found by their own efforts that the word Allah was more efficacious than any other word. They tried it themselves and found this out. For, although the Prophet (I hope I am extending peace to him,) said there should be no compulsion in “Islam,” that is the biggest international joke in existence; for the vast majority of zealots insist on compulsion and fail, while this person will allow no compulsion and, praise to Allah, is succeeding. Already one is winning the young, if not to “Islam,” then to Kalama and Zikr.

For, although it is said that every child is born a Muslim, no child is born with a complex relation to legal codes and folklore which, in so many parts of the world are called “Islam,” and in so many parts of the world differ from each other, so that the “Islam” of one peoples is quite different from the “Islam” of other peoples.

Now the signs are that I must cooperate; only patience is needed. I am, at the moment, engaged in litigation. Our father left a substantial sum which has increased enormously since his death and neither my brother nor I benefit much from it. We are getting ready to bring suit, for I live in poverty and he, due to illness and accidents, cannot pay his bills; and the principal in the estate has increased so much that there is no way for us to touch it, no matter how much we want. And, on top of that, he has been ill, and so many of my friends have been ill, that I am held up. At the same time, I have had the sign to go to England and after this sign, my mother’s estate was probated, leaving enough money for this trip, but no more.

In the library just inherited, one finds the works of M. Pallis. As of Titus Burkhardt, he is the one European who had the audacity to be honest and say one cannot learn tasawwuf without undergoing the proper disciplines from the proper teachers. This is not generally held. “You have been to Harvard University.” “Then you don’t know anything about Islam.” “No. I did not learn anything about Islam there.” This holds, pretty much, for the whole country, although there are breaks now. The important name is always more important than the important wisdom.

I have also had the sign to begin on “Six Interviews with Hazrat Inayat Khan.” This would include my report on the meeting with Hazrat Khwaja Khizr, the Mursaleen and Mecca Shereef. But such knowledge is rejected by our community. And having the Grace of Allah excludes one from most religions communities (vide Hafiz).

Now I have the complete Ryazat of Hazrat Inayat Khan; and I have placed in the hands of a friend a whole pile of material on Ryazat from many sources, not published to and in the Western world. One outer sign comes this morning. I am awaiting a professional athlete. I have shown him how to climb steep hills using, variously, Kalama, Zikr and Wazifas and he has found they work, they are real, they are operative. They are also “unislamic,” for to practice that Allah is closer than the neck-vein is not done. When I teach the Zikr, I require talibs to be aware of their neck-vein and they find it very beneficial. And even tonight I have been invited to another group of young people, to whom I shall show how to chant Allah Hu! This attracts them to what may be called “the religion.” There is no theology at all, just “Allah and the sciences of Allah, which would end in Ism-i Azam. So one no longer cares whether one’s community accepts; for Allah is the Day of Judgment.

Therefore, although there is caution of patience, I am to take everything you have written into deep consideration and will also see my bookstore about your works; those I do not have.

Now, I have already seen by Kashf and Shahud the need to establish a Khankah here. But, besides this, my legal counselor has proposed it; and a new type of Americans, who have the extrasensory faculties and they have independently sought, for they have recognized my position and relation to the Auliya (in the broad sense.)

It thus becomes peculiar that the Islamic community does not recognize this. All my articles on tasawwuf, so far, have been rejected, but those who have the Keen Sight are helping spiritually, if not physically.

The next step is obvious, if and when I go to England, to contact anybody with whom you are in contact. So, I am to wait for any communication from Clive-Ross.

Actually, my position is this: my brother cannot obtain moneys unless I have an equal claim, and so far my claim is largely based on the need of funds to help with further research. At this moment, I have telephoned my brother who is ill and he is quite favorable to your request. Having lived in poverty (for an American) so long, any large sum coming to these hands must be used for the cause of Allah. The cause of Allah is not a person.

Wednesday, alhamdulillah, for the first time, a representative of an important magazine sought this person for an interview for an article on “Sufism” and he suggested further interviews. All these things together from signs, even without prayer, meditation, kashf or shahud.

Last week, a letter was received from Prof. Huston Smith of MIT. Did you meet him? He is regarded as the chief authority on Comparative Religions in the whole country. At the Psychedelic Conference, everybody leaned on Prof. Sydney Cohen, who leaned on Prof. Smith, who was amazed when I told him, personally, things that others reject on the grounds of “egotism.” So I sent him my “True Mysticism Versus Pseudo Mysticism,” and he wants to see me; and it had been my program to go to Massachusetts anyhow, for this money had been reserved before the contact. No “Muslim” can stop kashf or shahud. Allah reveals to whom He would reveal, when he would reveal, or the “8/7 of Qur’an,” as the aforementioned Abu Said taught.

Copy of this is also going to Khalifa Saadia Khawar Khan and to the Islamic community here. I do not belong to this community, but to the Canadian American Islamic Assn., based on the universities and working with the Imams. At least the Imams did recognize my being a human person who has travelled far and wide and studied much.

My prayers and wishes are for you and we shall see what Allah permits. Peace and blessings from

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti (Samuel L. Lewis)

 

P.S. Have regular correspondence with Ajmir.

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif. 94110

1st June, 1969

 

Muslim News International

3 Bonus Road,

P. O. Box 7659

Karachi, Pakistan

 

Beloved Ones of Allah: As-salaam aleikhum

At this moment I am preparing a paper on Pakistan jointly for the University of California and San Francisco State College. One must say that there is a different type of professor today out here than a few years ago. And I cannot help being struck by Maryam Jameelah’s “Orientalists Influence on Muslim Scholarship” which should better be titled, “Vested Interests Influence on Muslim Scholarship.”

I myself have been the victim of that strange “only in America” institution, the European professor of Oriental culture. A generation back we had many of them. There is no doubt that Dr. H. A. R. Gibb has been the most influential, and perhaps the wealthiest and his word has been pretty near “law” in what may be called dark places.

But far from decrying our Sister’s lament, I welcome it. It can become the basis for counter-attack. And it may surprise you that within one year three different professors in classes here assent that Mohammad was a Prophet or Messenger of God! They add this to their Christianity and so represent a new point of view which is gaining adherence in this region.

We have just had a course in mystical experience and it was surprisingly easy to present the case of Mohammed (No English and German “experts” around anymore.) And the follow up has been a jointly successful campaign to bring the two messages of Jelaluddin Rumi to the young Americans, that of cosmic poetry and that of dervish dancing. To this I am adding chanting almost as if one may become a “Moin-ed-din Chisti” of America. I think I have almost a hundred young Americans repeating Kalama and have not had for months a single challenge to the claims concerning Mohammed as a mystic, as a prophet or as the Final Messenger of Allah.

All of this has been of no concern on the one hand to the Mosques here and on the other, of course, to those professors of “Islamics” who are allies of Gibbs, being neither Muslims nor Americans.

Some time ago when I had only ten followers I asked them to repeat any name of God they wished and then tell me the effects. Nine voted for Allah; one voted for Ram; none voted for “God” or other alternatives. And the hard, hard fact that musicians and singers use la.la.la.la…. has helped open this door.

There is a Hadith that Holy Qur’an was sent down in seven dialects and each one has its inner and outer meaning. If one ever had the deep mystical experiences, especially in fana-fi-Rassoul, one would know from the deep direct experience the truth of this. And any arguments at lower levels are useless. One champions and will continue to champion, inshallah, the teaching of Al-Ghazzali that tasawwuf is based on experience and not syllogisms.

Where I depart from Sister Maryam Jameelah is that any syllogisms are of any value whatsoever in discussing the actualities of Revelation. In the sciences we are not permitted to discuss intelligently unless we have had some direct laboratory or similar experience. And the same should apply to all matters in regard to the relation of Allah and humanity; or if we really accept the real Hadith, between Allah and shay.

There is another item and one here accepts the presentations of Sheikh Hujwiri (Data Ganj Baksh) about the superior spiritual and mystical process of the first Khalifs and the companions. We have a parallel of sorts in the Buddhists tradition that those who came into the presence of Buddha immediately became enlightened. And even H. G. Wells attested that there must have been something in Mohammed that could produce a Siddiq, and Omar and I add, an Ali.

There is no bogey in “rationalism.” There is only the strange habit of Muslims and non-Muslims alike of identifying words with things. “Rationalism” as it is called is not at all rational. It is just a high sounding term for discrete analysis. Analysis breaks down, it solves nothing. It is the cause of all the disturbances this country, and I presume other countries are having today.

Any person can write anything without any supporting evidence. In Western culture the law and the true sciences require substantiation. Elsewhere opinion is wanted and opinion carries the day and will continue to carry the day until people become honest first with themselves (the greet Jihad) and then with others (the lesser Jihad).

Of course I believe the trouble is nufs. But there is no intention here of forcing Sheikh
Al-Hujwiri on anybody. I still believe and am content to stand alone, “There is no compulsion in Islam.”

Faithfully,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

P.S. No Muslims at the “only in America” East-West gathering in Hawaii. Five out of twelve of the leaders belong to a very small but important faith. I need not mention its name here.

 

P.P.S. There was a very plain young American woman here. She was given
the name of Namealah. She has become beautiful and radiant.

 

 


Dec. 28, 1969

Dr. A. Ala-ud-din Siddiqui

Punjab University

The Mall

Lahore, Pakistan

 

Beloved One of Allah:

The surprise reception of certain materiel (copies enclosed) from Ceylon came in a time and manner to be very stimulating. One is engaged in, among many other things, the reception of labor “Rassoul Gita” which, inshallah, may become of great importance to the people of the future. There is a sort of school of poetry—it is not exactly that but the term will do—which portrays the incessant efforts of the Spirit of Guidance to make itself known in the outer world. All the inspirations came in Pakistan, but it has required much patience, silence, endeavor, to resume them.

Islam has at least two meanings which can be verbalized, not exactly fairly, as:

a. Complete surrender to Allah

b. Exact performance of certain rituals and traditions

These are not necessarily inconsistent and at war with each other, but as a rule, conventions dominate over spiritual accomplishment. One has seen therefore the failures of many efforts verbalized as Islamics, whereas in truth nothing that proceeds from Allah can ever actually fail. In other words, I hold that if something fails, it is not from Allah. And if something comes from Allah, it never in the end fails. This may not be the popular view, but it is the one to which I stubbornly hold and will hold until it is demonstrated, and I mean demonstrated, otherwise.

Working quite independently I find myself a leader of a large number, a growing large number of young Americans who accept Kalama, chant Zikr, and believe there is a true God not apart from the experiences of humanity. In this I find myself apart from many Muslims who when things go wrong seem to feel the solution lies in passing pious petitions which get nowhere. While the Muslims of this country and of this world are concerned with these pious petitions they are unconsciously assuming a power other than Allah to whom they can appeal. And while they are concerned with these petitions, this person has been successful in getting even ex-Israelis to recite Kalama and Zikr. I feel positive that the word of Mohammed, on whom be Peace, that the souls of those who so repeat will certainly not go to Hell, even though they may not otherwise accept the dogmas and practices of institutionalized Islam. I am not opposed to institutions, but this world needs Allah above all else, and when Allah is put in second place, He is put in no place. In any event, one can hardly have the disapproval of Allah and be successful in his spiritual endeavors and undertakings. Where then do approval and disapproval come? If from other than Allah, this assumes a power the existence of which I have been unable to accept.

Curiously, along this same line, there is very little interest among members of the Muslim communities in the local studies on Arabic and Islamic culture, in all the arts, in poetry and literature. To me this is a sorry state. If there is anything to rival the Taj in grandeur, it can be found in the Islamic accomplishments in other lands now relegated to artistic studies. And once relegated there, ignored by the Islamic communities. But this very situation has enabled one to proclaim the Messenger of Allah among non-Muslims and to receive surprisingly favorable responses. Why can this be so? I believe, although I cannot prove it, that this shows a certain favor and acceptance by Allah Himself. You should not be surprised therefore to hear that my own American disciples of their own efforts are studying Arabic, are studying Islamic Culture, are working for better understanding in all avenues and pursuits.

One does not have to seek “excitement” in life. Having already been successful in drawing even a few Israelis to din, our next venture is to await an Arabic Sufi scheduled to arrive any moment. And one has utmost faith that righteousness is going to prevail in this world, as it always ultimately has, even though externally mazy things look dark. They will look dark when the hearts and minds of people are dark, and they will became bright when the hearts and minds of people are bright.

I hope, inshallah, to be able to attend a conference of the world’s religions under the auspices of The Temple of Understanding, an American institution whose headquarters are in Washington, D.C. I have full faith in the activity of the Divine Presence. In some respects this is a message for your people, when I receive what might be called pessimistic communications. Nor do I like to preach that Allah is all Mercy and Compassion when it seems otherwise. But looking beyond the veil, i.e., accepting the functionality of Kashf and Shahud, I find there is a perfect beautiful world beyond all seeming troublesomeness.

Love and Blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

(Samuel L. Lewis)

 

 


written at: Box 444, San Cristobal

NM 87564

June 17, 1970

 

Pir Dewwal Shereef

University of Islamabad

Islamabad, West Pakistan

 

Beloved Pir:

Asalaam Aleikhum! It is a long time since one has attempted to write. The experiences favorable and unfavorable which has occurred in the last nearly seven years are now resolving themselves into a grand symphony. No doubt everything has happened, is happening as Allah wishes. One finds oneself in a rather strange universe in which neither orthodoxy nor heterodoxy seem to matter very much, but there is a more and more constant Akhlak Allah, and this Akhlak Allah becomes even more natural than necessary.

(One has among one’s records a number of different interpretations of the meanings of La Il La Ha El Il Allah. These interpretations are not very much in accord with what is known as “Islam,” but are absolutely in accord with the Hadith, “Allah has sent down Holy Qur’an in seven dialects and each has an inner and outer meaning.”)

The first part of the life which lasted almost five years was like a sojourn in The Cave; whatever one’s intentions, whatever one’s commissions, whatever one’s wishes and ambitions, they neither failed nor succeeded. It is easy to presume that one can go into another land and by his mere presence convert a lot of people to whatever he wishes. It is easy to dream of the ignorant converting the intelligent, but this is nonsense. It requires intelligence to convert the intelligent.

About five years ago one reversed one’s habit of peacefulness and non­violence and brought suit against a member of one’s family. The suit was never terminated; not only was it settled out of court, but it has resulted at the lowest level in a much larger income which keeps on increasing, until at this day it is about four times as great as it was when one was in Pakistan, Alhamdu Lillah!

Just before this change one suffered from an infection, to main poisoning to be exact, and when one was flat on his back in the hospital the voice of Allah appeared and said, “I make you spiritual teacher of the hippies.” One may surrender to Allah willingly or unwillingly or one may refuse to surrender to Allah; but when one is flat on one’s back, one has not even a choice.

This was followed immediately by a series of visions and every one of those visions has now come into outward manifestation, down to tiny details. Now this is in harmony with the predictions or commissions of several Pirs and holy men that one was to get fifty thousand Americans to say and repeat Allah and believe in him. This of itself looked immense and when one considers in the past that this person was a recluse and an outcast, it looks even more ridiculous. But so did the outlook no doubt of Siddiq when he was in The Cave with the Blessed Messenger.

One began teaching spirituality through the Walk. This was a grand adventure during which 3 of the original 6 disciples deserted this Murshid; but it is remarkable that one has not had 3 desertions since. This method was blessed by the late Miss Ruth St. Dennis, a very spiritual dancing teacher who knew how to receive inspirations from the very space itself.

The Walk developed in two directions: extensionally and intentionally; in the extensional walk disciples learned to climb hills and mountains and walk long distances. The sacred phrases needed for these are comparatively few. But then the question arose: if the Sifat-i-Allah and Hadiths can be used to help one walk long distances, climb mountains, and work without fatigue, cannot they and other Sifat-i-Allah and Wazifas be used to help mankind in his greater education, purification and development? So now we use many of the sacred phrases in psychic and moral procedures. These take on two entirely different aspects:

Moral Development. By applying the divine qualities to mankind one helps to remove the evils, the short-comings, the impediments, and all the grosser aspects of being. A sacred phrase is better than a chastisement. A chastisement is a reliance on man; a prayer or devotion is a reliance on Allah. All theories, doctrines, and orthodoxies aside, the simple fact is that these methods work.

When I told some Muslims what I was doing they said, “Muslims will not approve of this.” I answered, “It is not a question as to whether Muslims will approve of this, it is a question of “does Allah approve of this.” I live in a district where there are some Jordanians and Palestinians and they are amazed and approve.

The next phase seems to be coming—that these methods can be extended to deal with psychological problems. Without going in to details there were two such instances just before I left San Francisco about a month ago and both turned out successfully, Alhamdu Lillah!

Psychic Purification. The great pseudo-problem—and it is a pseudo-problem and not a real problem is that the young people in this part of the world and others are resorting to the use of products of the vegetable world to open themselves up or to be opened up to what might be called the subtle world (following an Indian termination) or possibly to Malakut which has been variously interpreted. The simple fact is that this is so. The soul of man knows very well that the material world (Nasut) is only one of several planes of existence. All the common or uncommon sense cannot change this. In the last days of his life the late Aldous Huxley concluded that this hidden world was real. It was also known as faerie by the Celtic people. It was considered variously immoral, illegal, insane and perverse to have any dealings with it. People diatribe against materialism, but keep themselves bound in it just the same.

There have been many predictions supporting the principles of psychic and spiritual evolution. One began with the theme Joy Without Drugs. It is so easy to have a formula, words. Then the question came, how to implement these words with actualities?

It is one thing to say La Il La Ha El Il Allah. It is beautiful to say, “As man takes one step toward Allah, Allah takes ten steps toward him,” but how about the actualities? This is exactly what has happened.

Now one is daring two tremendous things: the first is based on a Hadith, “In that day will the sun rise in the West and all men seeing will believe.” It is true that the Blessed Messenger said, “Seek wisdom even unto China.” But try it. And you will have down on you almost all the Islamic world accepting most fortunately the most advanced sages and seers. I shall refer to this later. Well the voice of Allah came to me and presented more visions of dervish dances. These dances are based only slightly on the methods of the Mevlevi School. They also have in them elements of the Rifa’i and Bedawai Schools. And along with them the operative aspects of kashf.

One of the strangest things in my life is that I began studying “Kashf-al-­Mahjub” in 1924, and it was not until 1962, after I had visited Dirgah Data Ganj Baksh many times and had many direct communications from him, that I realized Data Sahib and Sheikh al-Hujwiri were one and the same man! But even now I see how the kashf must develop into Shahud and Mushahida, a subject beyond the scope of this letter.

So we began dervish dances and everything has followed exactly to details of what the Blessed Allah showed in vision: the growth from 6 to 30 disciples, from 30 to 60, from 60 to 100 and then the aureole burst into another dimension. I have not yet organized to that dimension. One was entirely satisfactory in a conference of the leaders of the world religions where Sufism so to speak was represented by our good friend Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr. After that one was entirely successful in communicating the Sufi dances to the young in London, England; Boston, in the Northeastern part of the United States, and now in the Southwest.

Then the question arose of this body and other bodies being overworked, whereupon the wise Allah intervened and gave the commission, that Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti would be called upon, Inshallah, to play a role in the United States similar to that of Saint Moin-ed-din Chisti in India. Although the vision was clear, it was so daring that one could not face it but instead surrendered himself entirely to Allah and from that moment a new type of Qawwal was borne.

So during the dancing classes we intersperse the rest periods with chanting, although we have one grand Wazifa chant (Subhan Allah, Alhamdu Lillah, Allaho Akbar) used during the walks and Kalama chants during the dances. These are apart from the new type of Qawwal. One must say here that although many Muslims will resent these, they seem to have the entire approval of Allah, and hundreds and hundreds of us “kaffir-feringhis” are chanting the praise of Allah in Arabic, and also the praise of Rassoul Lillah!

Now the next thing is the revolution in the Western music of the day from popular music. The inspirations from Allah seem tom blend in these modes with the chantings of sacred phrases.

Now we come to the next phase. A disciple, William Mathieu, joined us—I am at this time giving him the spiritual name of Alla-ud-din, using our good friend, Dr. Alla-ud-din Siddiqui of Lahore as putative God-father; we are also sending a copy of this letter to Vice-Chancellor Siddiqui.

One has, so to speak, several missions and commissions from Allah about which one does not wish to speak here as they would be digressions. One sees the need of a return to Pakistan, Inshallah, in 1972 or 3 (unless Allah directs sooner and money is forthcoming) of bringing a group to Pakistan, and especially to the Universities of Islamabad and Punjab and present this material; this would not only better American/Asian relations but would do much to raise the consciousness of the young so that they would realize whatever experiences are derived from so-called drugs, these are very little when contrasted to the experiences of kashf and shahud.

In the meanwhile there has been some filming of our work. Unfortunately at this writing the filming has included rituals, and personalities quite inimical to the Cause of Allah or to the purposes to which this personality is devoted. In the meanwhile two other groups have in mind the filming of modern methods of seeking and serving Allah (God), one from a universal point of view and the other from the point of view of already established religions, and in both these instances there is excellent personal relations to and with Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti.

While I feel to be working much more for the Mohammed of Jili (insan-i­-kemal) than for the orthodoxed version of Mecca Shereef, evidently here also Allah is with me; we went into a bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and saw Mishkat which I purchased immediately, and on my return to San Francisco I am commissioned to write on the coalescence of the moral teachings of my first Pir-­o-Murshid, Hazrat Inayat Khan, with the Hadiths. This will be in part a labor of love and joy and in another a directive to the very questionable situations in the world today. Fortunately, I have three wonderful secretaries who are very devoted. I also have two remarkable young men serving as Khalifs, and at least one young man and one young woman almost as advanced. Their dreams, their visions, their outlooks, their high standards almost cause one to weep.

This is written high in the Rocky Mountains in a place more comparable to Nathiagalli than to Murree, some 9,000 feet up. I shall be returning to San Francisco at the end of the month; I shall be returning expecting large audiences. One must fulfill the commissions and amr’ given to one by Allah and the Pirs who represent Him on earth. Although well on in years from the worldly standpoint the mind is such that this letter was dictated without pause and the body also is remarkably active, Alhamdu Lillah!

Please give my love and respects to all of your colleagues and especially to my very good friend, the Brigadier.

Love, Blessings, and Respects,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita,

San Francisco California USA

June 22, 1970

 

Prof. U. Durrani

Departments of Physics and Engineering

University of Peshawar,

Peshawar, W. Pakistan

 

Beloved One of Allah; Asalaam Aleikhum!

I have just been reminded by a sudden visit from Christopher Hills to this place that a letter should be sent you; Lama Foundation where I am staying is very high up in the Rocky Mountains and compares perhaps more to Nathiagalli than to Murree. But there is no town here, The nearest city is about 25 miles away. The word “Lama” is of Amerindian not of Asian derivation. Indeed this mountain seems to have been sacred to some at the natives of this region, and the founders of this group are perhaps as well attuned to the Pueblo Indians, as they are called, as any other group.

It will soon be eight years since the return from Pakistan, during which time one had to go through the trials, tribulations and vicissitudes of The Cave. But in the last three years after a deep experience of pain and vision both it seems that the whole of life is progressing exactly as numerous sages have predicted and exactly as seems to be “revealed” in states of exaltation. To put it briefly, today one is in a far better financial condition, one has about 100 disciples and is constantly drawing more and more audiences.

As you know there can be a vast difference between a verbal “Islam” and a continual response to the divine will in all things. It should be obvious to everyone that the actual will of Allah is often contrary to the wishes, whims, and desires of human kind, including the pious.

It might seem boastful to declare one of operating on a plane comparable to that of Saint Moin-ed-din Chisti. But the fact is and it is a very powerful fact that we are attracting more and more and more and more young people through our chants and dances. If you came here you would even hear young children chanting praises of Allah while the pious self-proclaim their own superiority.

You will excuse me if I do not furnish too many details. I am sending a copy of this also to Khawar, who is in the eastern part of the United States. She has begun to realize that this Murshid has a tremendous mission. We have a small, but quite successful Khankah in the city of Novato, California, some 30 miles north of San Francisco. In times of stress, turmoil and confusion, more and more mureeds are finding at the same time material prosperity and inward inspiration. For this moment the inner inspiration which concerns me as a person most is that of the singing and chanting. One can foresee another visit to Pakistan, inshallah, perhaps in 1972. In any event it should be after Khawar returns and at her convenience.

This letter is written from the State of New Mexico in the southwestern portion of the United States. One was invited here as a Murshid and is beginning to be called on a large scale either “Murshid” or “Sufi Sam.” S.A.M. is both the holdover of my original nickname and the initials of Sufi Ahmed Murad. One was given a commission, so to speak to get 50,000 Americans to chant Allah; it seemed impossible, but after I left San Francisco to come here there was a so-called “Holy Man’s Jamboree” of, I am told, 1,500 or more young Americans and they were entirely won over by my colleague Pir Vilayat Khan (oldest son of my original teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan, and my representative, my esoteric secretary, Wali Ali Meyer.) It will be several days before I return to that region, but on the 5th of July we expect to celebrate the birthday of Hazrat Inayat Khan.

The visit of Christopher Hills has brought up both a positive and negative theme. The positive theme is that we need your writings. I am willing to send on any amount that will more than cover the shipment to the above address. I would like an estimate and will see that the money is in your hands before a shipment is made; this is a different world today. You hear about the excitement and turmoil; you do not hear about the grandeur and idealism of an ever-growing number of young Americans who are far more God seekers than their predecessors.

I am presenting a sort of universal Sufism with Mohammed, Mecca Shereef, as insan-i-kemal following Jili. I also in my person—which may be very limited or may not be—see (shahud) him as Khatimal Mursaleen. In these days when so many can speak on mysticism that mystics have little opportunity, this hardly inhibits the connection between the devotee and his ideal. Basically I use three method: 1) walk, 2) dance, and 3) chant. The walk came first, and it covers everything from ordinary walking through all grades of tasawwuri to Akhlak Allah. This is a long and profound subject which I shall not discuss here. In my poem “Saladin” the Messenger of God appeared in all capacities up to the most profound; but we also chant both “Ya Mohammed Abdulla” which is to say, Mohammed as a perfect karma yogin—I mean example by working, not by writing books about it, example, by being one among humanity, not one so superior and even separate from the rest of humanity.

My personal secretary Mansur and I have been to a conference of all the real religious leaders of this world. By heart, by intention, by wish and by desire finding our good friend Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr very close to Swami Ranganathananda Maharaj, both freedom and bondage brought the same conclusion. The one theme I had to accept from Dr. Nasr was the warfare against the lying Dajjals. Philosophy and claims aside I personally have had to suffer such persecution from such people I am very glad today there is also a rising movement against Dajjalism which may be the curse of the world.

I had already felt inspired to write against that which Christopher Hills stands for; there are so many audacious and presumptuous persons and groups denying to La Illaha El Il Allah. We seem to have yoga without God, spirituality without Allah, and self proclamation as the goal in life with a growing multitude of rival claimants all establishing themselves in the highest position; all ignoring each other; all disregarding traditional religions; all talking about complexities and legal organizations with themselves in the highest posts, of course, as the way out. A lot of them, instead of love for humanity, they all seem to agree that most of human kind is inferior and just waiting for leadership themselves.

Where I have not been persecuted by such people I have seen their most ridiculous downfalls. The last actually occurred in this part of the world a few years ago by a group in which Christopher Hills was also connected, but which excluded absolutely—and I mean absolutely—all Sufis including saints poets and historical characters and a number of other real spiritual characters and movements in this world.

Among the things I learnt from Hazrat Inayat Khan was that a teacher can only be judged by the advanced development of his disciples. I have seen so many marvelous comets go by, including such characters as Ramana Maharshi of Arunachala. I have seen so many proclaiming, self-proclaimed or otherwise proclaimed personalities often with large temporary followings, but I have not seen the transmission of dharma or the descent of baraka. And although I cannot compare myself to these wonderful characters, there is one thing that is sure and that is the descent of baraka first to my leading disciples and then now to more and more of them.

Years ago when I was despised I came upon a so-called “hippy” named Carl Jablonski and saw the Sufi symbol in his forehead. I knew immediately he was destined for spiritual leadership and in the course of time he became my first Khalif. I have another Khalif of a different sort, a man part Irish part Chinese, a mixture of East and West, who because of his physical prowess was given the name of Akbar. His progress has been on a different line but it has been marvelous.

Now we are presenting a new type of Qawwal based on modern developments in music but using mostly the sacred phrases of Islam. Traditionalists may gawk, but when you find young Americans running around singing:

“Subhan Allah, Alhamdu Lillah, Allaho Akbar, La Illaha El Illahu,

… other Wazifas and sacred phrases.

Those bigoted Muslims are self-deceived and deceive others when they say there is opposition to Mohammed. It is easier to get the new type of Americans to chant “Mohammed a Rassoul Lillah” than to sing patriotic songs. This is the new age.

One has also assumed the role of a loving grandfather. At first it seemed very daring. Now it has become a most successful career, Alhamdu Lillah!

So you can see that your writings would be most welcome here and perhaps more than welcome. I am today overwhelmed by the invitations and huge possibilities of winning the young people of the world to a true spiritual life. Or as is said in Hadiths, “In that day will the sun rise in the West and all men seeing believe.”

Love and Blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


July 7, 1970

Consular Division Embassy of Pakistan

Washington, D.C.

 

Dear Sirs:

As-salaam-aleikhum!

The writer has been given to understand that one Nawab Sahib from Lahore has been in your vicinity and registered with you. The writer has been a guest in this gentleman’s home and it is a courtesy to try and find out his whereabouts. Also I understand he wishes to contact me personally.

For your information the writer has been constantly moving. He was given what to many may have been an impossible mission to get 50,000 Americans to repeat Allah, and perhaps go on from there. But the writer has also been at a conference of the leaders of the world’s religions. His own closest associate being Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr of Tehran, Iran.

All praise to should be extended to Allah for his guidance, Divine and human, which is making it possible for this person to have reached hundreds and now, inshallah, thousands, of young people. In fact he has been giving instructions in the sciences of Wazifas and Kalama to young Americans and finds it very easy, although of course not “newsworthy” because it is so unusual.

When in London one met the cultural attaché at the office of the high commissioner and found that he also was very close to Pir Dewwal Shereef and the University of Islamabad. But on account of the persecution by lawless mobs of people of Pakistani origin the writer intends to join the London mosque and to pay Zakat there for the relief of these unfortunate victim. For the Nawab’s information, all affairs of life have progressed marvelously in the course of this year.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


August 3, 1970

Mr. F. H. Engineer

Sales Manager

Associated Cement Co.

Ibafda House

Lahore, West Pakistan

 

Beloved one of Allah: As-salaam-aleikhum!

At this time I am writing you at the request of our good friend Shemseddin Ahmed. Sometimes in moments of conceit or even actuality I seem to think that the prediction “In that day will the sun rise in the West and all men seeing will believe” is being fulfilled here, the West signifying the Western hemisphere.

As you possibly knew, after the return from Pakistan, I went through a long Cave-period. There is no doubt that many people seem to think that others can accomplish so much without taking into consideration the difficulties of life. It was only during an illness and afterwards that when the Voice of Allah said, “I make you spiritual teacher of the Hippies” that things began to happen, and they have been happening ever since, and more and more and more and more. I have had exactly two free days so far this year. The hardest people to deal with are those who verbalize “Take it easy,” for they are the ones who expect more and more and more from me. What they expect is generally right before Allah, but they are not always considerate of human limitations.

The Divine Messenger has said, “Every child is born a Muslim.” I never met any child yet who understood the Sharia of the great Imams at birth. Never once. But I am finding more and more infants, not only the children of disciples, but a lot of others, who are saying Allah before they say the proverbial “Mama” and “Papa.” I consider this a miracle, a miracle of Allah. But of course it is not accepted by “good-Muslims.” It does not fit in with traditions!

I have been corresponding Shemseddin concerning getting literature from IRFAN and U. Durrani. We can use such literature. We can also pay for it. In the past two weeks my devoted disciples have taken steps to see there is an ample treasury here and to help the cause of Allah in all respects. Since their meetings, at which I was not present, the attendances at various gatherings has increased, the collections have increased, the request for Sufi teachings has increased, and more and more personalities are trying to reach this person all the time. He has not sufficient secretarial help, but the main reason is that Allah has seen to it that former secretaries now have good remunerative (paying) jobs. There is nothing in our life which does not support to the full “Er-Rahman, Er-Rahim.”

One disciple is filming spiritual endeavors all over the United States and hopes to go to Ajmer, inshallah. There is a rise of interest inmate and dance in as ways to human understanding. Last week there was a musical concert of an artist from Nubia, Sudan. Notably absent from the audience where Muslims and Arabs; notably present and in very large numbers, were young Americans to whom the press refers to as “Hippies.” But I tell you, beloved one of Allah, there is a new type of young American, so much more spiritually advanced than their forebears that they are absolutely inconceivable to the press.

I have tried to communicate with Prof. Durrani and others but have not been successful. We do need spiritual literature here. We are keeping in touch with Ashraf, the best we can. I now have about 100 disciples in this region who are about as many as I can handle, and depends are made on me and for me to understanding between Jews and Muslims are so far been most successful, Alhamdu Lillah! These plans do not always meet with the approval of various types of traditionalists. To me it is always a question “Do they meet with the approval of Allah?” I have seen me sign that they do not.

At this writing, I have no way of telling when and whether I can see Khawar either in the United States or in Pakistan. If Allah wills it certainly shall be, but I cannot at the same time without aid carry on personal missions and serve Allah. If aid comes that will no doubt be different.

But, praise to Allah, he has kept this body and mind in a marvelously fit condition considering age and circumstances.

Love and Blessings,

Samuel L. Lewis

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


August 22, 1970

Ansar Nasri

Radio-Pakistan

Karachi, West Pakistan

 

Beloved One of Allah: As-Salaam-Aleikhum!

It is now several years since returning to this land. One came back with the blessings and wishes of so many Saints and devotees who all seem to be in agreement as to this person’s mission. But until 1967, it was like The Cave. Then one had to face one’s own brother in a lawsuit. The lawsuit was won and fifty year’s enmity disappeared. We became friends. Only there was a celebration and one was stricken with ptomaine poisoning. During that time there was a real spiritual experience and the Voice of Allah said, “I make you spiritual teacher of the Hippies.” One was flat on his back hospital. What could one do?

Then Allah showed a great many visions, and every one of those visions, Alhamdulillah!, has since come into manifestation. One’s earlier theme of “Joy Without Drugs” was followed by opening classes, first in spiritual walks and then in Dervish Dancing. These walks were all based on the Sifat-i-Allah and Wazifas of Tasawwuf. They work. Young people began to be excellent mountain-climbers and hikers. In the meanwhile a number of events led to a much better financial situation enabling the writer to have a home in San Francisco and, with some disciples, have a home in the town of Novato 30 miles North of San Francisco. This place is called “The Garden of Inayat” after Hazrat Inayat Khan.

(“The Garden of Allah” was later established at the home of my disciples Amin—now a Sheikh-and Amina, his wife.) Both these gardens have blossomed marvelously and I hear are becoming show places. But the main attention is to vegetables and although by Kashf one felt it would be three, already it is only the second year and the harvests are most beautiful.

Then we began producing Dervish Dances. Some of your countrymen said: “Muslims will not approve of these.” This person said, “It is not a question of whether Muslims approve, it is a question of whether Allah approves.”

Anyhow, one’s own disciples in this area have increased to about 100. many more are attending meetings. The dances themselves are spreading, and it is safe to say that already at least 1000 Americans are chanting Allah, the Bismillah, the Wazifas, the full Kalama. Not only that, everything is growing, excepting at this writing the strange phenomena of lack of secretarial help, due to the prosperity of related adventures calling into employ all the disciples and their friends!

In addition to that these fine young people now realize the burdens their Murshid has been carrying, and are helping in every way they can.

As a side report, we are succeeding, inshallah, in plans promoted for bringing Israelis, and Palestinians, and Arabs together; of getting Jews to repeat the Kalama and Muslim to repeat the Shems. This is not news of course.

In the meanwhile, La Illaha El Il Allah is something more than a sacred phrase. It is truth itself, or as we say Ya Hayy! Ya Hakk! While one of my disciples was looking for a place for a summer school of Pir Vilayat Khan he ran into a wealthy man who was looking for Sufis! He is now a mureed and is traveling, but is expected home soon and has promised every sort of co-operation.

Now I must tell you about disciple Phillip Davenport. He is a very ambitious young man whose efforts to publish magazines have not been very successful. But he did publish my “Toward Spiritual Brotherhood” and this won the approval of my present Pir-o-Murshid (or rather one of them) Sufi Barkat Ali of Salarwala near Lyallpur. I was originally introduced to Sufi Sahib by our old friend retired Major Mohammed Sadiq. It is the same Phillip who found the wealthy publisher just mentioned before.

In the meanwhile, the Dervish Dances impressed a well-to-do disciple who had been in the film industry. He has tape recorded and filmed many of my efforts. He conceived the idea of a world project, and was also joined by my god-son Ralph Silver, who has been fairly successful in raising funds. They are leaving, along with others, some going to Teheran, and then all joining together for Urs at Ajmer. They will be visiting Nizam-ud-din Auliya at Delhi, both before and after Ajmer. Then they are breaking up again, and after that Phillip and Ralph will both probably visit Pakistan, but not necessarily traveling together, Ralph wishing to go to Lahore, ‘Pindi, etc. But Phillip definitely wishes to come to Karachi.

Early this year, secretary Mansur and I participated in the conference of the world’s religions at Geneva, Switzerland. At the beginning we were almost the only unknowns. My colleagues were Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Pir Vilayat Khan, but we gained many many friends like Dr. Jurgi and other notables. Zafrullah Khan was there and rather withered under the attacks of other Muslims. It demonstrated that mere worldly fame is of little value when action is necessary. His successor is an Egyptian who sat next to me, a beautiful soul who impressed everybody both by his speech and silence.

Now I do not know what changes have been taking place in the television industry since my departure. I am hoping you are alive and well, and that either you or your colleagues will at least be willing to welcome my friends and disciples.

At London I had a wonderful interviews with a Pakistani cultural attaché who is also a friend of my other Pir, Dewwal Shereef of the University of Islamabad. (I am also writing our old friend Brigadier Ghulam Khan.)

That Allah may be with us regardless of “Muslims” is manifested by the fact that all infants born to disciples in the past two years say “Allah” before they say Mama or Papa. But it is not only these infants but many other infants, not children of Muslims, who are doing the same. And this week, when I went out walking, we were surrounded by a group of children, ages 3 to 6, Allahu, Allahu, Allahu.

I have also made friends with the Imam of the London mosque to whom may pay my Zakat, Pakistanis are really persecuted are mis-treated in London. No nonsense; no propaganda. Actuality. Horrible! So I hope to help this Imam who himself has been a disciple in Tasawwuf.

I think this is enough news for one letter.

Love and Blessings,

Samuel L. Lewis

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

P.S. If my old friend S. Itaat Hussein is still alive will you please send him my salaams.

 

 


August 24, 1970

Judge Ghulam Rabbani Khan

c/o Islamic Review

Brandreth Road,

Lahore, West Pakistan

(also Monserah Hazara District, West Pakistan)

 

Beloved one of Allah: As-Salaam-Aleikhum:

It is many years since we have tried to contact each other, but now Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful, is opening many doors. My whole life’s savings were used to go on a trip to Europe with my secretary Mansur.

We were totally unknown when we met the great spiritual and religious leaders of the world, and also met many persons with whom there had been correspondence. The meeting itself was under the auspices of The Temple of Understanding.

The famous Sir Zafrullah Khan was there. In general political leaders did not make very good showings; religious and spiritual leaders did. Anyhow, my own brother left this world while the conference was on, and at this writing I am now in excellent financial condition.

We then went to London and I rejoined the World Congress of Faiths. This is a New Age. The young people, especially in America, have universal outlooks. I had already begun teaching Dervish Dances and first by ten, and now by 100s, young Americans are repeating: Allah! So inspired and spiritual colleagues that they are making a world project of filming and recording efforts in the same general direction. Next week, Inshallah, two groups are leaving here who will ultimately rejoin each other at Nizam-ud-din Auliya in Delhi, and then go to URS at Ajmer. After that, one group wishes to visit Pakistan. I have written to my friend Ansar Nasri of Radio-Pakistan in Karachi.

We would like to know if you are interested in meeting these people. I know some of them would be anxious to photograph the Asoka documents on your grounds. We do not expect at this time yet to get many people of conservative tendencies to join in Dervish Dancing. But we are getting Americans, Alhamdu Lillah. The Divine Apostle has said “Every child is born a Muslim”. There is a phenomena here that all our infants begin saying “Allah” before they say “Mama” or “Papa,” but we find this is also true of infants of friends who belong to other religious or no religion. And last week, when I went out walking I was surrounded by a group of little children who chanted “Allahu, Allahu, Allahu.”

When I was in Boston I found a copy of Miskhat in a book store and have purchased it but I think we need more than that today, although it might be said that Allah knows best what that more may be.

I certainly appreciate all your past courtesies. We also had a strange occurrence: a rather wealthy man was looking for Sufis. He encountered some of our disciples and now wants to work with and for us, including publications of my own past. Indeed at this writing I am now working every day all the time, and nothing wrong except I am working every day all the time-with good health, a vigorous mind, and feeling of Divine Blessing.

I hope this may reach you somewhere and you can meet my friends when they come to Pakistan later on, inshallah. I have not heard from anybody in Abbottabad for some time.

Love and Blessings,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


October 25, 1970

His Excellency President Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan

Ayub National Park

Rawalpindi, West Pakistan

 

Beloved One of Allah:

As-salaam aleikhum. This American reading in the New York Times, “Yahya Asserts Indian-Pakistani Enmity is Tragic,” feels it is not out of order to write to you. One has spent mean notable days in your land where he has still two living Sufi Pirs: Sufi Barkat Ali of Salarwala and Pir Dewwal Shereef of Islamabad. But he was also once blessed with the baraka of the late HajiBaba Abdul Aziz of Havelian. He counts among his dearest friends Ansar Nasri of Radio Pakistan and Dr. A. A. Siddiqui of Punjab University and many many many others. It was not only these Pirs, but a number of others from whom there was no Bayat who predicted he would have a career getting multitudes of Americans to repeat “Allah.” There is now a Naqshibandi teacher in South America who is attracting many Americans of both continents, using the Thousand and One Nights and its oft repeated phrase, “There is no power nor might save in Allah.” On this point one differs from many of the orthodox who see all kinds of powers in this world, and even do not seriously accept Holy Qur’an, which affirms that everything will pass away save Allah and His countenance.

The other day I told one of your consuls of success in getting Americans to repeat Allah at a time when multitudes are turning to movements originating in India, some ancient, some modern. I do not decry these movements, but I find hardly and people study Indian philosophy, the real Indian philosophy, which proclaims seven grades of existence. Allah’s last Messenger, from whom be peace, says in the Hadith: “Holy Qur’an was revealed in seven dialects, and each has an inner and outer meaning.” I am unwilling to dispute with Muslims who choose to ignore the Hadith, but I find that anyone who knows the Hadith and has progressed in the inner sciences (ryazat, etc.) can easily understand Hinduism and can find a religion and philosophy equal to or higher than anything that ever came out of southern Asia.

When one called on an Indian cultural attaché—before there was a Pakistani Embassy—and was challenged as to the worth of Moineddin Ibnu’l Arabi, one said, “Ibnu’l Arabi and Sankara are one.” This point of view of this person was long derided all over this land, but no longer, alhamdulillah. There are changes in the universities and we ourselves have been most successful in teaching Dervish dances and in constructing a, new kind of singing based almost entirely on the Sifat-i-Allah.

There has been some question as how to stem the tide of emotional Indian movements. One has no such intention. Americans accept “non-violence” but not satyagraha. The answer to this comes in the sayings of the last Messenger: “Allah is closer than the neck-vein.” We not only teach it; we demonstrate it and have been most successful although for the most part ignored by the so-called “Muslims.”

We recently found copy of Ghazzali’s Book of Counsel for Kings. We are amazed at the high humanitarianism of the Persian sage. We found in it so many elements that could be corrective of the ills of the day or of any day that we intend, inshallah, to make it better known. Yes, there have been Americans who have spent years of research and study on the works of this great man, but they were quite ineffective in reaching others. And it is most unfortunate that, while many so-called Muslims verbalize great faith in Allah or in the sages of Islam, when it has come to actual personalities and the teachings thereof, they have been quite amiss.

But now there is another type of humanity manifesting in this land. It has become so easy to get Americans to say “Allah.” And it has been almost simple to get some acceptance of the messengers of Allah and the seal thereof, that one must challenge all those enthusiasts who ignorantly declare that Islam is the most misunderstood faith. If it is misunderstood, it is the fault of the Imams and Tablighis. The soul of every man yearns for truth, and I challenge, I dare to challenge all those who do not accept many of the teachings of Mecca Sherif while proclaiming superiority. But the real question is, how to put these into effects this day, and it can be done both in Islamic and non-Islamic countries if one turns to the teachings and teachers.

Thus, for years, having no teachers before me, there was much study of Kashf-al-­Majub, my Sheikh Hujwiri. He declares that man’s riza should be in Allah and not in the ego-self. And I believe the simple change in the hearts and minds of men could help-purify many governments, many movements, many causes of Misunderstanding.

With this basis and with absolute, and I mean absolute, faith in Allah, we have been quite successful in promoting understanding between Israelis, Arabs, and Christians. We believe more can be done. We believe it is possible for an Islamic nation and Islamic teachings to come to the forefront in this world. Therefore we hope and trust you will help present seriously teachings which ought to be presented. Years ago I took this matter up with Mr. teachings which ought to be presented. Years ago I took this matter up with Mr. Quadrula Shah, and while he seemed to have understood each other, little seems to have been done. Or perhaps more has been done if we take all facts and factors into consideration than usually happens in so-called underdeveloped countries. And if we take a step further, and become consciously aware of the practicalities of this same kashf, we should be finding that Allah is a constant guide in our midst; that he is actually nearer than the neck vein as the Teachings affirm. And from this position of strength, real strength, divine strength, we can find our way to understanding, and perhaps to more than understanding.

Therefore one salutes you and prays that you can give proper need not to verbalizes but to the actuality of the divine presence and the divine guidance in all things, and by this means, not only come to same understanding with your neighbors but prove that Pakistan can stand up before the nations of the world as a contributor to human progress in all directions. In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate, and

in all Sincerity,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


November 20, 1970

To the Embassy of Pakistan,

Washington D. C.

 

Beloved Ones of Allah:

As-salaam aleikhum. The writer is a recognized Pir or Murshid in the Chisti-Kadri-Sabri school of Sufis whose head-quarters is at Salarwala near Lyallpur; and a Khalif of Pir Dewwal Shereef of the University of Islamabad.

The other day one made an inquiry into relief for the sufferers in East Pakistan and since then has learned that there is a group at 1550 Sutter St., San Francisco. One will try to see what can be done.

On one’s return from a visit to the Eastern seaboard, one had learned that a number of disciples has formed a rather successful choral group and is planning to make tape recordings  and then phonograph records. One asked the director if he had any objection to distributing these in such a way also as to help in the relief. A major portion of their choral work is based on the Sifat-i-Allah and Wazifas. In fact we have already organized a public affair for 20th December. It is possible, inshallah, that revenues there from may be diverted also to this relief.

There is, unfortunately, (it has nothing to do with the above) another aspect to our work. Our teachings are spreading and due to the Grace of Allah to Whom be all praise, we are prospering in many directions. This has lead others to mis-appropriate the term “Sufi” for private ventures connected with profit-making and also for social notoriety. This was already occurred in this land in the case of “Zen Macrobiotics” which has no spiritual background, lead to the acquisition of moneys and the death of the originator who had neither spiritual nor moral bases. We feel this is most unfortunate. It also comes at a time when the universities are opening their doors to us, which was not true previously.

We shall keep the local Consulate informed of our endeavors.

Love and blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


November 21, 1970

Pakistan Times

Lahore, Pakistan

 

As-Salaam-Aleikhum!

It has been said that a touch of common suffering makes a whole world akin. One returned to his native city in 1962 with the blessings of many Saints and Pirs of Pakistan to bring Americans to the recognition of La Illaha El Il Allah. For six years one got nowhere, although during this time one’s financial situation was greatly eased. Then one had a stroke and while in the hospital the Voice of Allah came with a blessing. One arose from the sickbed and began a very strange career, toward the teachings of Sufism to the young which has been most successful, Alhamdulillah! And in preparation for a peace mission, one led 1000 young Americans in a procession in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco chanting “Allah.” It was only yesterday, after a period of two months, that one learned this procession had been televised and many people had seen it is films and watched these young under the leadership of this writer as a functioning Murshid.

The peace mission was so successful, although not yet news, that we had to return to San Francisco to work out a more deliberate program, and in this it would seem that Allah is on our side. There has been nothing but success.

While in New York City we had many meals at Pakistani restaurants, and renewed our friendship with Mr. Chaudhuri at the Consulate there. We also happened on a Mr. Samuel Weiser, a born Jew, who is now re-publishing books on spiritual Islam. We purchased a copy of L’awarifu-l-Ma’arif by the Grand Sheikh Sohrawardi. When we returned home we also found a large packet from Ashraf including two copies of Futuh-Al-Ghaib of Abdul Kadiri Jilani. It was while studying these books, and particularly Futuh-Al-Ghaib that we heard about the tragedy to East Pakistan. At this moment we are trying to follow emotional and spiritual teachings of Ghaus-i-Azam, and at the same time doing. And in this doing Allah has been with us.

Our meetings are all better attended. We are scheduled to speak at Universities and to do a number of things in which we were blocked by that strange American institution, the European Professor of Oriental Philosophy—we hope that day is nearly over, inshallah.

Presenting Tasawwuf to the Americans as a spiritual philosopher, especially of love, we are winning the love of many young Americans and promoting their love toward each other. We are not getting anything like the news or notoriety of our Hare Krishna rivals, but have been most successful in so many endeavors, and it is our duty to share, whether as Zakat or otherwise.

The loving disciples had plans for a great money-raising affair on December 20, 1970, for this person and for the peace plan. But now on consultation it is agreed to share, most definitely share, with our suffering brothers in the East wing of your country.

In the meanwhile we have a most successful choral group which has been creating new types of songs and chants based on the Wazifas and Sifat-i-Allah of Islam. Last week they received a surprise endowment and have planned to make tape and phonograph records. The choral master has been give the name of Ala-ed-din, in honor of cry good friend Prof. Ala-ed-din Siddiqui of Punjab University. He and his group have agreed entirely and enthusiastically to join in this effort to make these tapes and records to help raise funds for the sufferers.

In a few minutes one will be leaving this house with women mureeds to get cloths to make
longees for the men of East Pakistan. We are not going to send Western clothing, but last night someone did bring us a whole collection of Pathan type pajamas which we have also accepted, nor will any of this prevent us from cooperating in any and all manners for the solace of those whom we regard as our unfortunate spiritual and human brethren.

Love and Blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


November 23, 1970

Dr. Ala-ed-din A. Siddiqui

Punjab University

The Mall

Lahore, West Pakistan

 

Beloved One of Allah:

As-Salaam-Aleikhum! It is a very delicate and yet maybe fundamental matter to consider tragedies along with the existence of er-Rahman, er-Rahim. But this letter is not can so concerned with theories or doctrines as with actions.

There are a growing number of young Americans who accept “that there is no power or might save in Allah.” They believe in it remarkably and firmly, and it maybe a new departure that in this sense the sun is rising in the West.

So many Sufi Pirs gave this person their blessing and said he would be leading Americans to repeating the phrase “Allah.” A few months ago, before leaving California for the Atlantic Coast, he actually led about 1000 young people chanting “Allah” in the Golden Gate Park of this city. Surprisingly he had to terminate his efforts because everything was turning out successful, and with limited time at his disposal, and rather limited financial resources, he had to return to California. But these limited financial resources are not limited when contrasted to his financial position in earlier days and there has been a steady although slow and undramatic increase in both his resources and followings, Alhamdulillah!

The next enterprise was to try to work out a program for peace in the Near East. Mr. Gunnar Jarring, the United Nations authorized director for Palestine, once told the writer that his plan and program were the most sensible he had ever encountered. As we have discussed on previous occasions, Kashf is a faculty open to and for all human beings.

In his trip to the Atlantic coast, all items of which were successful, he encountered a Jewish businessman who not only is cooperating with Ashraf, but who himself is taking a leading part in restoring Sufic literature. We now have in our hands Futuh-al-Ghaib, of Abdul Kadiri Jilani, but also L’awarifu-l-Ma’arif of Grand Sheikh Sohrawardi, as well as Al-Ghazzali’s “Counsel for Kings.” We therefore stand in grand contrast to most of the Muslims in this country, in that we study and venerate the grand wisdom-literature of the past. Some of your countryman have complained to me, and I think rightly complained, that there was a grand trend in the U.S. toward various aspects of Hinduism generally one emotional levels, but passing off as being spiritual, which they may or may not be. To me the answer is very simple—Muslims praise their grandeur but do not share it. This is a tremendously large subject into which I am not going at this time.

Our efforts toward promoting a peace program for the Near East have been unusually successful, and we are now engaged also in promoting a program to raise additional funds for those efforts. There have been no difficulties whatsoever. Our resources, praise to Allah, are included.

But now we are faced with another situation, and have decided also to embark on a campaign to raise gaud. to help the poor victims have had nothing but goodwill. This person does not recall a single instance in the past few months when lecturing on Rassoul-Lillah that there has been any challenge of any kind. Pragmatic Americans are by nature better fitted to be followers of Al-Ghazzali than of Gandhi, provided they are shown the ways. And they are being same the ways.

There has been a great deal of enthusiasm about a Bazaar program to raise funds both for our peace program and for our general endeavors. When it was proposed that this Bazaar also use its efforts to help the poor victims of East Pakistan, there was surprising unanimity in response. In fact, tomorrow, we are making our first visit to fabric stores, and the first lesson will be given to women to make longees for the men of East Pakistan. We have already discussed with the local consulate, and they agree longees will be far more welcome than Western clothing. But this does not mean we will not cooperate fully in programs of sending medicine, blankets, and other needs.

In the Spring visit to London, and especially in the recent visit to New York, we have had many meals in East Pakistani restaurants and feel drawn very closely to some of those people. We feel our programs fan the heart, but we also praise Allah Who is helping us both financially and materially.

While this has been going on, a number of disciples have formed a choral group and have adopted or crested forms of singing based mostly on the Sifat-i-Allah or the Wazifas. It has been astonishingly effective. The other day the choral-leader, Ala-ed-din (named after you) Mathieu said he was planning to have his work recorded on tape and phonograph records. I asked “Cannot this be done to help East Pakistan relief? We could get the fame and the poor people would get the funds.” He enthusiastically agreed.

We may go further and look into the matter to see if and when even tapes could be sent to your good self.

Love and Blessings,

Samuel L. Loris

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


Dec. 22, 1970

The Minaret

B Block Manzil Marzenabad

Karachi 33,

West Pakistan

 

Beloved Ones of Allah:

As-salaam-aleikhum! With the aid of Allah the Merciful and Compassionate, we have been very successful here, Alhamdulillah!, in establishing a Khankah and Sufi movement along lines not necessarily in accord with the traditions which are now called Islam, but which do not necessarily establish surrender to Allah, to whom to us is the Only Being. Our very strange and unaccountable success has caused us to focus attention on two undertakings which do not always please Muslims but which seem, inshallah, to please Allah Himself, for in very strange, almost miraculous, ways, they have been successful, praise to Allah!

We had planned a Bazaar to raise funds and interest on our peace program for the Near East. This peace program is based on the supposition that Allah is the creator and lover of all mankind and not just of special groups be they of one or some other particularistic religion. But in the midst of our endeavors a tragedy occurred in East Pakistan and we felt it right in the Name of Allah, Er-Rahman, Er-Rahim, to divert some funds to this same and. Apparently Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Generous, and the Wise, favored this. And we are pleased to report we have not only raised funds for our Near East Program but also to assist our suffering spiritual brothers and sisters of East Bengal, etc.

We have now a library entirely spurned by the local mosque and other mosques in this country, consisting of works also by Imam Al-Ghazzali and the great Sufi Saints. Indeed, two or three of us were all reading at the same time separate copies of “Futuh Al-Ghaib” and all separately agreed that this is one piece of most beautiful spiritual writing. But we also felt that Ghaus-i-Azam was teaching us how to behave in times of tragedy and suffering, so we have not lost any emotional equilibrium.

Our approach to Islam is somewhat different from that of traditionalists. The Messenger of Allah, from whom be peace, brought his revelation to a multitude of ignorant gangsters who spoke Arabic. We have seen no success in promoting a Message for ignorant gangsters. But with slight adaptations and varying interpretations we have been most successful, praise to Allah, in presenting this Message mostly to young Americans who are highly educated and never were prone to those vices and evils common among ancient Arabs.

One came back to this country in 1962 instructed by quite a few Teachers of tarikat, to get Americans to repeat “Allah”. And apparently, with Allah’s help, we have been most successful therein and therefore, although we have not done it the way the orthodox insist, for we definitely differ with the orthodox who defy and defile the tradition “There is no compulsion in Islam”. They insist; we do not. But we do agree with Shah Latif, “Allah is your lover, not your jailer.”

Wishing to obtain some information on the recent elections, we found a copy of The Minaret at the Pakistani Consulate and were so moved by the writing about Ghaus-i-Azam in the latest copy on the files that we are sending you the sum of $10. The subscription is supposed to be $2, but we would like copies airmailed, and would be glad to send further sums to help in this.

Islamic missions will never succeed so long as bigots forget Akhlak Allah. They are liars when they claim there is opposition to Mohammed; the opposition is to them, their persons.. So many Sheikhs and Pirs asked this person to work to get Americans to say Allah. For some time it was very difficult. Then the Voice of Allah manifested and directed this person, and in the last three years there has not boon a single failure, Alhamdulillah! We began by reaching a few, then by scores, and now by hundreds. I should say today several thousand young Americans are saying “Allah.” And all our infants without exception have been repeating the word “Allah” before any other word whatever.

In addition to that we have been getting now hundreds of Americans to repeat “Mohammedar Rassoul Lillah” in manners never tried before and yet never failing.

We are totally encouraged by our recent Bazaar which drew many people and much money. There were two manifestations to a beautiful young disciple whose name is Basira. She saw crowds and money. But she was also blessed by the vision of the Seal of the Prophets, who said He was blessing our undertaking.

We are teaching mostly thru music and dancing. When Muslims told this person “Muslims will not like that,” one answered, “It is not a question whether Muslims like it, it is a question whether Allah likes it.” We practice Akhlak Allah, and will continue to do se regardless of the orthodox and the heterodox, the believers and the non-believers.

Love and Blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti 140 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Calif. 94110

Pike, Jim and Diane Correspondence

October 9, 1963

 

Dear Jim [Pike],

I moved to 58 Harriet St. under dramatic circumstances about which I do not wish to speak because some persons who know are involved. But the deaths of Swami Ramdas and the latest instructions from my Sufi teacher impel me to take an external “beating” regardless of losses, financial or social. There is a great difficulty here, but if one can see it from a larger context it is not so much a difficulty as a situation. So I’ll explain in bits because in see doing I can answer some of your inquiries.

My rent is higher, I have no phone, I do not have all the accommodations but there is rooms for a sojourner. I have written Bill a number of times, and I mention this to you because if you do come to S.F. you can sleep here. There is one difference—I asked Bill to bring some bed-clothes and if you come before he does I must ask you to notify me so I can buy them. My credit is good, etc. so don’t worry about that. But it does seem a general moving time. In the same mail I have a notice that Norman has moved to Berkeley. I expect to go there tomorrow on three errands which I shall also mention:

a. South Asian Studies Berkeley. This is a long and complex subject. While I have been entirely successful socially in Asia and over attempt to report has been considered as egotism, I have now met several other persons in the same boat of outcastes. As soon as an American goes to Asia and succeeds, he is unable to communicate and often loses even what little popularity he has had.

But tomorrow night I make the first interview covering not only some material for the Encyclopedia of Buddhism but also the question about willing our memoirs and diaries to this institution. We have among us a whole detail covering many years back of the forthcoming awful events particularly in S.E. Asia. True, my library was burned in 1949 but at that time I had not much connection with the Academy. Both Alan Watts and KPFA have adamantly refused to examine my paper on “Buddhism in South Vietnam”, and I no long cry because this has also happened to others.

A number of years ago I had trouble with this department as above, but it seems that the number of people on the s—list, including Sam Lewis got too large, we banded together and ousted the rejector. You never hear of his today, and he once was a pretty big shot. People who lecture on “karma” seem to think they are exempt from it—it is the other way round. In any event a number of us have enough absolutely authentic material on S.E. Vietnam and surrounding lands to make it worthwhile for some honest historian to do some easy but very real digging.

b. Walking, Dancing. I am now able to compile a complete combination of walking, dancing and esoterics which will be introduced into Asia. Because already I have been summoned at some pretty authentic levels to do this. But first I wish to give credit to those frog whom I have learned which includes one of the staff at Hearst Hall, Berkeley, a woman who is up in the fundamentals of dancing, gymnastic-and eurhythmics, and has at least an appreciation of Yoga.

The author, Paul Reps, has been here and I introduced him to the more advanced methods which he has received with gratitude. But our relation is very peculiar, as we are bound by Sufi principles to share all esoteric matters with each other without regard. He left me laughing: “I came asking you to explain mysticism to no and you show me how to walk. Wonderful,  wonderful, absolutely free and easy and yet most profound.”

c. Personal. Norman moving to Berkeley and the Shekeloffs about to leave—if they have not.

Vietnam. This is so complex and the complexity has come out of the stubborn refusal of the press and State Department to accept as serious any report from simple citizens who have been there, with an exaggerated consideration of the fly-by-night commentators who take quick looks, made rapid surveys and are always given top consideration. Today many Americans who have been to Asia do not report because they consider it useless to present foots against the emotional logistics of fourth estate people and I don’t see how you can stop it.

The professors of the universities are even in a fix because they are regarded as interested whereas we are regarded as is interested parties. I have now been in conference on and off the record with all kinds of people. One of the $64,000 questions is “What is the actual religion of South Vietnam.” Both A. W. and KPFA have consistently and stubbornly refused even to examine a paper. Now we are going to have a protest against Mme. Nhu and she is not entirely wrong. To begin with Sam Lewis has stepped into four communist nests and everyone was a religious front. One Hindu orthodox, one Yoga, one Sufi and one Christian Missionary movement. It’s a synch and one of my colleagues who is a Buddhist monk (American) has the same report. But nobody is going to accept any report on Vietnam or Buddhism from an American, no matter how much he knows. And you cannot appeal to the UN because the Burmese, Ceylon and Cambodians are well aware that what is offered as “Buddhism” in most of America has been presented by “experts” and you can study fifty years with them and not know what to do when you enter a temple.

Perhaps the greatest authority an real Buddhism is another American and I hear he has been inducted to teach at San Jose State. But don’t mention Alan Watts, Christmas Humphreys or Daisetz Suzuki to him. He has studied, practiced and teaches actual Buddhism, poor chap. He ought to know better? Anyhow we have a lot of Buddhists here and as soon as you have had one lesson or somebody gives you an ordination in a foreign tongue, you have the right to teach and do and a lot of people follow you, “Isn’t he grand,” and everybody teaches something else.

Real Buddhism is growing here just the same. I am studying with Master Too Lun but it would be wrong to say he is the best. He has the five-school Buddhism which adopts the Meditation. His meditative methods are about half-way between Soto and Rinzai.

Bill— I have a letter from him in the same mail. He says he will bring sheets and maybe bedding if he comes. He gives me a temporary address. I am not going to answer him immediately. But he sent me his reactions on Gina Cerminara and Horse Taylor. Gina is a very close friend and I have bought and admire her “Many Loves, Many Loves.” I met Renee Taylor at a lecture she gave on Humza and she proposed collaboration. I am not only working on the food problems of Pakistan (and elsewhere in Asia), one of my closest Sufis brothers (they exist you know) is a cousin of the Mir and long since has offered take me there. This involves a lot of technical matters.

Persons. You have mentioned several people and I like the news. The common problem is the inability to face fundamentals; and also to reject “wisdom” if it comes from the “wrong” source. There is no greater misleading statement than that of A.W. “If the right means comes from the wrong person, it is wrong.” Who is to decide who is and who is not the “right” person. Yes, there is a method of deciding. In a few days I shall be 67. Three years from now I shall give, or have a big dinner and even if all the criticism is sound, unless something unforeseen happens, such people will have a hard time explaining away certain obvious signs of vigor, activity and faculties. All of these come out of real disciplines in real Oriental methods from real persons within this century.

What is awkward is that after a while even a glance can inform you about others. It happened last night again when a man came into Walt Baptiste’s studio and I asked him about his sinuses. Or when I looked at the chart of Merrill Goertz and asked his about his ruptures. But no one has even looked at the exterior of Sufism here, let alone anything else. It is only we do have a real scion of real Sufis now in S.F. and you can bet that Rom Landau and he don’t see eye-to-eye or anything.

Mary Beth, you and I have certain fundamental social-psychological blockages which are too similar for me not to recognize them and recognize them almost immediately. Reacting against this solves nothing and blaming anybody selves nothing. But those impediments in life can be overcome and this without analysis. It is here that the spiritual person differs from the psychologist. It is not necessary to spend a lot of time going over histories and complexes. In the two cases noted above all one has to do is face the uses and the ruptures without blame anywhere, anyhow. Some day we may come to this but we are too much imbedded in analysis. You cannot have love and cosmic analysis together.

A minor note was in a note received from Allen Ginsberg. He has finally realized that Orientals are not peculiar Occidentals and they have reasons, but totally different reasons for opposing our culture and civilization.

Political Complexes. McNamara is right. The situation in Vietnam will be cleared by 1965 or 1966 at which time we shall be immersed in similar complexes in Sudan, Zanzibar, Somaliland as we already are in Guiana, etc., etc. Not to mention half of Africa otherwise.

Norman is, is not Norman. He is two persons at cross-purposes and it is up to him to resolve which is which. I showed him my book on California politics which he did not read and he is committing exactly the same errors—which I warned him about—that the Utopian Society committed in another day. You start to save the world and you end by integrating the barber-shop down the street.

Claude is now studying real Zen and bringing others with him. As there are more Buddhist Sanghas here than Buddhists it is impossible to keep up with them. Between the encyclopedia and “Western Buddhist” I have enough to do—I am supposed to report to Japan and Malay—it is beyond my capacity. In the section of my book I have added a chapter on “Zen in America” and attention is paid to real Zen and not to personalized-non-personal “Buddhism” (?????)

Compassion. This is my final note and almost only note. It is not understood and when it is practiced one has to be willing and able to face every kind of trial, ignominy and criticism without losing sight both of the goal and the method. There is a cosmos between a lecture on ji-ji-mu-ge and feeling another person as yourself.

Confession. I am studying the history of art at the Rudolph Schaeffer School. Seeing F. Spielberg’s name on the Board of Directors, I said: “Catholic Christian Art has been far more spiritual than Hindu art.” Evidently the teacher has not met F.S. but he supported me to the hilt and more. Anyhow when we had our meeting F.S. did not show up and there has been a lot of criticism and oppositions so I do not know if he is still there—will find out at next meeting. I never see him around. But I can never forget Corinne: “But papa was wrong, he was wrong in everything.” Ye goode old karma. I don’t mean to say I honestly believe that any religious art is more “spiritual” than any other, but don’t get any idea that you can have God without having if not the devil, a lot of imps with you. Just ask Bill.

Corresponding regularly with Prynce Hopkins. If you see Bill tell him I can’t answer now but have his letter.

Yes, there is more, but am too busy doing to write about it.

Sam

 

 


Foundation for Religious Transition

Santa Barbara CA

June 26, 1969

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco 94110, Cal.

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

We have your letter written to the foundation for Religious Transition and I am responding in hope that I might be able to be of some help.

Though I am not certain why you feel your personality is not acceptable, let me assure you that it is not our interest to have people’s money at the expense of their personality. We only invite those who are interested in the same things we are interested in to share us in our quest for deeper meaning.

As to why my husband has been recognized for writing in the psi field, I can only suggest that it is probably because it is somewhat unusual for a rather well-known iconoclast and bishop of the Church to express any interest—let alone belief—in extrasensory phenomena. Sir Oliver Lodge was certainly equally recognized when he wrote—and is still referred to as one of the outstanding personalities ever to have expressed an interest and belief in psychic phenomena.

I hope you have been enjoying New Focus and that in it you have found some food for thought. The response to our professional Refocus Operation has been great, and we are very hopeful about the development of the activities of our Foundation. We would be glad to have you join us in our venture and ministry if this should be your choice.

With all best wishes,

Diane K. Pike

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif.

June 28, 1969

 

Diane K. Pike

Foundation for Religious Transition

Box 5146

Santa Barbara Calif. 93103

 

Dear Mrs. Pike:

I greatly appreciate your letter of the 26th which I find friendly and moral. Past experiences—which there are many—support the contention that we have two cultures as Lord Snow claims, which he calls “scientific” and “literary- humanist.” The former leans on facts, testimonials and referents, the latter on the importance of the persons involved. The situation is more complex because many of the latter include the word “democratic” where it has no meaning whatsoever. While the scientists, who may not claim to be so “democratic” are always willing to listen to objective evidence and the discovery or uncover of facts, no matter what the source.

Mme. Curie was quite willing to investigate all the known chemical elements to determine whether they had radioactive properties and how much. This work has been continued, and just as “all God’s chillums got wings” so all the chemical elements have some degree or other of “miraculous” powers.

When it comes to the psi-field it is very different. The powers have not been measured and the importance of certain personalities is so great as to make honest, objective, impersonal research almost impossible. And this can be easily proven by the attitudes of many in the psi-field to each other, a situation very seldom found among true scientists.

While I was living in Pakistan the head of the new University of Islamabad (among other matters) told me that they had allotted considerable funds for what they called Ruhaniat which covers all things in both the psi-field and beyond. When I returned to this land every noted organization in this field excepting Dr. Gardner Murphy, of course, turned town the possibility of Asians having prowess in their chosen field, much less superiority. Not even money seemed to move them; each was concerned with leadership and popularity. In fact having many other projects in life. I gave it up. Presuming that it is almost impossible to get the Americans of the literary-humanist culture to associate with strangers on terms of equality, or anything like that.

The situation is more complex because you have on your board and sponsors men who have given me the public lie and been accepted without any opportunity to present any case whatsoever. And this country is full of personalities who claim to be the bridges between the Orient and Occident and are so accepted without much evidence. Consequently when the real Asians wish to establish report they are faced with personality-situations.

I have never heard of any case in western history that could compare with the faculties of my friend, Ali Mastana, a Khalandar. It is all right to have a “song of the Khalandar” in the Sheherazade Suite, but the real thing has not yet become so welcome. But behind the struggles on the campuses of the country there is a zeal for honesty, objectivity and impersonality and one after another of the younger professors and instructors one meets accept as plausible the face-to-face experiences especially when documented. So I shall keep on hoping that we can have something like the scientific objectivity of a Mme. Curie in the psi-field.

I am a strong proponent of the International outlooks of Project: Prometheus and Project: Krishna of Dr. Oliver Reiser of Pittsburg University, and on the various university campuses: or with the young people who want religion (or a substitute therefore) based on human experiences and not on personality-prowess, speculation of concepts. In fact the objective successes of the moment keep on very busy and I could send you copies of certain publications (of the young, of course)n based on hard facts.

My friend. Dr. Huston smith of M.I.T. was surprised when I placed before him:

Soma psychikos=lingua sharira

Soma pneumatikos= lingua karana

This is based not only on deep studies of the still living religions of the world but on accompanying personal experiences. But it becomes a little delicate to use these as supporting evidences when you have people on your board of Directors and sponsors who have publicly and privately opposed every report from this person, especially reports backed by objective data. And when objective data is rejected, where are we?

It is easy enough to convince Dr. Huston Smith and it has become quite easy to convince a number of professors, important and not important whom one has met recently with documentary material of the same general type required in the sciences. I am a firm believer in the possibilities of psi-sciences and long ago studied everything coming from Dr. Charles Bichet, much of which was rejected in this land, often on an a priori basis. And if psi-investigators follow the same policies there will be a further delay to universal acceptance.

I am therefore quite reticent to send in any reports on personal experiences, nor shall I until there is honest, objective exchange between fact gatherers of different lands. In my own case, one easily follows Wordsworth’s poetry on immortality, but beyond that there has been the lifting of veils and a general acceptance by different leaders, even in the top ranks of the real religions of the real world—to distinguish them from speculations, creations and concepts of a few important men and women.

I have around me quite a few disciples who have extra-sensory faculties and some of them work with Mrs. Lois Robinson of this region. I am quite aware of the work of Lottie Van Stahl but not only believe but have had experience and know directly and indirectly of the basic experiences of others.

Therefore I hope and pray and will continue to hope and pray that we have psi-sciences on the same general bases as we have geology, botany, anatomy, astronomy, etc., etc. When I am assured of that I should gladly join.

Faithfully.

Samuel L. Lewis

Ponti, Leonora Correspondence

January 12, 1956

 

My dear Leonore:

I was very glad to hear from you. It seems that so many of my best friends are having trouble. I am limiting myself to helping one person, Mr. E.W. Hathaway of Santa Barbara, my host here, ye have been on good terms for many years and I know his family most intimately.

I am trying to clear my folders of excess papers lest I have too many things on my mind. Washington will no doubt open many doors for me. We went to Dupont today and Bill saw me in action: “this crackpot!” “but he is boosting Dupont after all,” “yes, he really has something,” “here’s the works!” Personally this is much better with a large business or scientific corporation than with semi-metaphysical groups.

I was only half so successful with the Institute of Pacific Relations and my interview Monday is with a group I just had to crack down on to get a word in with. But so much is happening; I don’t get time to write. I have to spend some time before I leave trying to trace my clothes. Otherwise new wardrobe. This does not hurt me at the moment and no doubt all will end well, but in the meanwhile!

It seems that the people I wanted to have write to me did not. My friend Leonard Austin sent me a detailed description of everything I expected to hear from about three other people, without answering my letter in which I asked how I could help him. His stuff is in St. Louis. My present itinerary is Washington, Pittsburgh, Columbus, St. Louis, Dallas, Taos, San Fernando.

At Washington I shall be at the Annapolis Hotel until about the 20th and then no mailing address until I reach Jos. Garrett, 608 No. Edgefield, Dallas 11, Texas.

I am very sorry to hear about Nora. That hurts where it hurts. And alas, at the moment I have sciatica. “How I came by it, caught it, etc … I am to learn.” Visited May Gadd’s group and spoke to her by phone but spent some time with Eugene Tso whose following is much like Carousel. He is a kind of Chang (Chinese with American wife, etc.) with a disposition something between that of Gracie and my friend Mickie McGowan!

I have a surplus of unfortunate second cousins around and I took one to the class the other night. Unfortunately there were not many men around. I went to the party late Saturday and there were about 200 people and only 3 or 4 women over. Their temperaments and attitudes are about the same as “ours” so I have had some very enjoyable hours. No shows excepting on New Year’s (“War and Peace”) but lots of gourmetting. Tonight also.

I have a long report for Gracie and Ed in re New York which I shall write when I come to it. Please tell Evelyn I send my love (Note—I don’t give it to her, and if it is intercepted, then it is intercepted). Wretch!

I have just written to my friends in Chinatown a/o notice in “New’s Weak.” But gosh, Leonore, with all those whistle stops, when shall I get to S.F.? It may even be I shall rush up there and then go south again. I have a lot to do in both Hollywood and Santa Barbara.

“Babylon the Great has fallen,” meaning that my enemies in many place have been given the boot. I might have been a success in life but for the deliberate intervention of certain personalities. Well, they made a profession of it and it seems that we’uns who got kicked somewhere along the line kicked back, at least some of “us” did, I don’t know who but that is what has happened. So I expect a “royal” welcome in S.F. But note, or warning, I have to visit Capezio first because I have been notified at least some of my things have arrived.

Also we gotta get in some class somewhere if Gracie isn’t teaching. I have a number of teachers I admire, but this will wait. For the moment I am still kolo minded-keep your Thursdays therefore. Or give me advice when I return, which I hope will be before 1960. (Although there may be a legal matter before then.)

Sorry, I am gour-may-ing without you. Mostly with Bill, tonight with a Pakistani.” (Boy, have I got a charade pun out of that.) That’ll be enough.

 

P.S. I overlooked mailing this in New York. I am now in Washington with a slight case of sciatica. I have already phoned the folk dancers and also talked to on Mrs. Sue Clymer. Sue and I led the grand march at my farewell party to in Mill Valley. I expect to attend her group Friday night. Then I am going write to Ed Kremer somewhere along the line.

In fact my first night in Washington I began to run up a hotel-telephone bill. I start right off here and had better because all rooms are taken this coming weekend for inauguration week. And I myself don’t want to pay a lot of useless expenses—very easy here.

 

 


Kyoto, Japan

May 24, 1956

 

My dear Leonore:

It will probably be a long time between my departure and your receipt of this letter. If I do not send it by air-mail, you may have become anxious. But I must tell you that my mailing expense has been unusually high. Things have happened and I am not going to tell them in order. I am going to assume that some members of Carousel and you in particular would be interested in Noh drama. And the explanation of Noh will explain everything that has happened better than anything else.

Eugene O’Neill and the Greeks have something not too different from Noh. Our word “personality” is derived from the Latin per-sona (person) which means, “through a mask.” The idea is that the real self is either non-existing or not-manifesting. Circumstances permit or require us to fill certain roles. Thus I have been a leprechaun and a Dennis-the-Menace, a dolt, a failure, an intellectual, etc. None of these reflect reality. They are all roles which we assume for a greater or shorter time.

So far we have seen Noh but not Kabuki because the theatre has been sold out everything time we came around and we came around a lot. But I am going back to Tokyo and will be in and out.

Noh consists of three types of shows: the serious or dramatic Noh which is derived from Zen philosophy and tells a story, usually a myth not too different from the Medieval “mystery-plays,” a comedy, and a dance. Actually there were two dances, one in the drama and one given as a dance alone. But there was also a travesty of the dance in the comedy.

Musicians appear first, a small orchestra of drums and a pipe-flute. This flute was actually between a whistle and a flute and not musical (in my ears) like the one we had heard at the Shinto shrine. Then there is a chorus which chants or sings. But there is also some solo singing too. The actors give their lines in two voices, too, one of which is rather loud. A modern touch has been added by the use of a loud-speaking system and an attendant engineer. In fact I have written Delaplane that I think every Japanese boy and girl wants to become a “mike-operator” like our youths want to become disk-jockeys.

There are just a few characters as in the Greek plays. The dancing is show but not ponderous and I rather excited by friend by telling him I would like to learn it. Actually I would. With robe, kimono or flowing trousers you do not make rapid movements, but some effects are given by the shoes and different styles of walking are in it. The robes and especially the sleeves are used with telling effects. The arms and elbows have to be used a lot. But there is stride attention to rhythm, and the drum work was to me most interesting.

The comedy was about a master and two drunks, was very funny and needed no explanation. But the singing was hilarious and there were short pieces of dance, which would make a Charley Chaplin sit up.

The comedy did not use masques, but clothing, head-dress, etc. The masques certainly cover the characters and those who take women’s parts do not have to bother with facial make-ups, etc. We have also seen the masques in the art galleries. (Time out for breakfast.)

No, they just brought pickled cherries and tea. I am living in a Japanese inn and last night had my first experience of a Japanese bath. Took to it like a “wild duck.” Next. Not being sure whether I wanted an American or Japanese breakfast—I had ordered a Japanese one, and coffee—they brought us both; Tea and coffee—all this and heaven, too.

Well, I took my mask off soon after I arrived in Japan, or rather, I met people who saw through it. The results have been astonishing to a degree that in my wildest dreams I did not guess. I have been accepted and accepted on all sides. I was met by my friend at the pier; before the day was over we contacted another friend and I had the pleasure of bribing two former San Francisco Japanese together.

From that point on it was a series of astonishing events. One would have to know something about Buddhism and many Japanese arts to follow me. I had said that I doubted whether anybody could follow me. My travelling companions, Kiichi Okuda, who used to be manager of Daibutsu Art Store in Chinatown is an exception. But even he has been delighted at the chain of events. I have to put them in my diary. That book was the best thing I could have had given to me. It is very busy and I am now typing awaiting support. But after that back to diary again.

I have been greeted by a great Abbot who came out of retirement; I have been shown art treasures not exhibited to the public; I have seen a very great and rare art exhibition; I have discovered people quickly where it would generally take a day. Before I was here four days I met Mr. James Kinoshito who has the same aims and objectives in life. Outwardly it is to bring nations together through tree and seed-exchange. Inwardly it is much more than that.

My contacts with two distinct sects of Buddhists have resulted in all kinds of introductions and forthcoming introductions, as well as opportunities to write. The books I have brought to Japan or bought here were of the highest merit. And on and on.

On top of that, being well versed in the use of the chopsticks, I have taken to many Japanese foods not served in the U.S. Generally—and I wrote Stanton Delaplane humorously—prices seem to depend more on your utensils than on the food you get, viz. cheap chopstick, Chinese spoon, American spoon and silverware. The spread is great and the quality spread is little. But strawberries are very cheap and bananas very expensive, and melons—which are on the market, are way out of range.

It has been raining a good deal of the time but not heavily. Kyoto is beautiful and I next go to Nara which I understand is more beautiful but will probably not mail this until I get back to Tokyo.

Many postcards were bought today. My mailing expense is about $1 a day. Generally we spend the morning on business, the afternoon on visits or journeys and the evening on food, walks and writing. I have been many times on the Ginza in Tokyo, which is delightful for window shopping and where, at least they do not rob Americans. I bought two umbrellas, one for about $6 and one for less than $1. The former may be used as a gift. Also bought a composition type of rubbers which are also dress shoes!

Next week we visit Nikko which I understand is the home of the folk dance but I am not planning to stay there. A little later I shall be in Itako which I understand is the home of the folk song and I do intend to stay there as it is the home of my host! My next letter to you or to Carousel will undoubtedly be from there and also I shall have more time to write.

Please excuse me if I do not send this by air mail. If I air-mailed by correspondence it would run to $2 daily and while I am not scrimping, I would prefer not to spend moneys in this is wise. There are many ways in which a dollar can go a long way, You can buy several good neckties for that amount; I am not now buying anything or the ladies—other than my good umbrella and will not until my last few days in Japan. We are going to do a lot of looking around first.

Regards to Gracie and all the F.D’ers,

Samuel

 

Since writing have been greatly honored.

 

 


Green Park Hotel

London

December 13, 1956

 

Dear Leonore:

Here I am sitting in my hotel room and listening to a program on international folk dancing given at Neustadt. The British team is the Shore & Country Dancers, Sussex. The speakers on the air are all for international f.d. and I am of the opinion I shall be backing one Walter Grothe up when I return. I think even he will listen.

But look at me—don’t know where I am going, have no ideas of the future. Dr. Crawford with whom I expected to live, in Oakland, expects to move to Los Angeles. My uncle is expecting me and he is in San Fernando. And I not only have to go through customs but have a whole lot of things to do in New York. Practically none of my mail has gone through; in country after country and place after place I have learned they did not get my mail or I theirs—excepting where my hosts disappeared, generally for political reasons.

I don’t mean to say everything is wrong. I came to London with a bill I had to pay and could not find anybody associated with the creditor. Then, last night I went to a meeting and there she was, Miss Sharples, well into her 70’s. I got up and made my own speech of welcome: “I think I owe you some money!” The best things of life—are American. Miss Sharples is the last living associate of Sir Frances Young husband and it was in his house the meeting took place.

I received an embrace from a woman who told me she was the daughter of the late Lord Curzon. Some of the best things of life—aren’t American. Anyhow I have joined two organizations here and bought some books. My hosts were present. I had tea in the home of Michael Faraday, my favorite scientist; I do not set the famous places, every place has history.

Spent two whole days at Kew Gardens, where I went into the private sanctorum of the Asst. Supt., the Chief Herbalist, the Chief Grass Expert and the Chief Economic botanist. I talked to every gardener I saw—which they liked because the whole park was rather deserted.

Now I am going to see G. & S. “The Gondoliers.” I saw the D’Oyly Cate Co. do this in S.F. but it is only play they put on this week.

Tomorrow (Friday) night I go to Sadler’s Wells. In the day I hope to go to the British Museum. Have been to Downing St. and learned my old friend is alive but roaming over the earth, even as I and I. (The f.d. music in the background done get me.) I shall have to learn a lot when I get wherever I am going. Could live here easily on my income, but gosh!

Have had a Chinese, French and Indian meal out; today had a tea lunch which cost very little. But now I am hungry, after a lot of walking. No desire—and you can’t tell the elms easily in winter. If I come this way again I am divided whether to go to England, then south, or via Azores and Portugal. This program makes me lean toward England—for one reason for not wanting to come here is the seeming lack of interest in f.d. On the other hand, now that I am in the Royal Asiatic Society and some of its offshoots and have already begun what looks like successful research and all my new Kew contacts, make me want to come, or rather I think Uncle Sam will tell me.

Listening to a massed band polonaise and have an awful empty feeling, increased by hunger. Evidently Neustadt will be a permanent affair. Shades of Walter Grothe, or maybe not. This gives me an idea to work for an American team.

Anything written here so far is for public or private consumption and the more consumption the better my ego will feel (although it now sticks out all over).

Later: “The Gondoliers” was ‘swonderful. Then I received a phone call from my old pal, separated for many years. So I am writing in a vigorous mood. Everything OK but no mail! I know the Pakistanis stole my stamps and the letters never came through.

I am unable to give an itinerary, and so am sending this slow mail. After January 1 shall be, at some time

c/o Jos. O. Garrett,

608 No. Edgefield,

Dallas 11, Texas.

Your vaga-bond vagabond,

Sam

 

 


January 29, 1958

 

My dear Leonore:

I am taking some of my very precious time to write to you. I feel you do not realize that time is the precious thing in my life but unfortunately I cannot speak to you. If I could you might really understand.

The Influenza attacks which came to me were probably necessary to cleanse a lot of poisons out of my system. But while this might be good for the personality it was hard for the pocket book and the time. I have done practically none of the writing I expect to do. I have lost opportunity after opportunity. At the present moment there is not much garden work. I should be using this time to catch up on literary work and correspondence. Every time I go to San Francisco this is lost.

Now, my dear, you don’t seem to realize that I am an old hand in these parts. 90% of my misfortunes have come in if not from San Francisco and 90% of my fortunes or the good part of life have come away from there. It is not only the psychological associations but the fact that I have many and excellent friends whom I seldom see and when I go to the city for any, or no purpose, I lose out on what would be considered some of the most precious moments—to be with friends.

There are two exceptions in San Francisco and they are related in scope but not in personalities. The one is past and was the Art & Music section of the International Institute. There I met Leonard Austin and Gracie Perryman, etc. The other is the Rudolph School of Design on Union St.

The motifs from the past, and the present, combine love, joy and common ideals, one of which is the brotherhood of people through the arts. I cannot overemphasize this point and equally I cannot explain why it should be such a dominant in life. My attitude toward Gracie is not that of man toward a woman, not of a person toward another person, but life a part of oneself to another. The same is true concerning Leonard. Sometimes I call this “fourth-dimensional”-love out sometimes it is also like no-dimensional-love. It has nothing to do with other kinds of friendships. But it is contagious, self-explicit and even spontaneous. You are either in or out and there are no half-way houses.

My trip to the Orient is beginning to affect me psychologically like Darwin’s “Voyage of the Beagle” affected him. It took years to get it out. The difference is that he withdrew from society and I have not. But in going into the dance world there was one motive of changing from an introvert life to an extrovert. There was another, born of Havelock Ellis which he called “the dance of the soul” which Leonard and Madelynne understand, and again you either have it or haven’t it.

Into this complicated life I now have two more “daughters.” The kids that I have looked after are all safe socially. You might not understand that while I was ill, one of them who had a tragic marriage and who lived right near in Mile Valley, was re-married. When I got the news, I jumped up out of bed, danced around the room and went back to bed. Her parents understood perfectly. When there is understanding there is real friendship.

I work for Donna and I love Donna. She was divorced last year and now has a new home free from the unpleasant memories of the past. Donna has many interests in life and all have been, and some are, my own interests. She has a fair social group around her, most of whom are better acquainted with me and I with them. They are her new friends, all roughly speaking around 30. And she lives over here. In some ways it is a delicate situation, for she needs a man and while I have been and may continue to be her gardener, it is sometimes necessary to construct this term very loosely.

Betty is very different. She has had about as hard a life as anybody I know and was not getting along with anybody. This included her husband. This very fact made me keep a sort of interest in her. When I returned from the Orient she had done one thing—either gotten a hearing aid or had her deafness looked after. In any case she can hear now and this seems to have removed a mountain of difficulty.

She not only did not hear well, she misunderstood and apparently deliberately and was getting paranoiac in assuming people were talking about her. This part of her has cleared up. But the social, psychological and inherent complications still remain. Betty does love the out-of-doors, music and philosophy but believes she loves love more. I cannot go into that. I have taken the father-position and she has accepted this.

There is this thing about Betty. We now seem to be very peaceable in each other’s presences. This is a glorious thing. It is one of the most precious things in the world. Out “Love-lives” taken in every and all sense, are quite apart from this. At the moment the relation is very wholesome. Her husband knows all about it and I am certainly not interfering in that sphere. But there are two points I have to write, even if there is no impression:

a. This takes time.

b. Betty has done something for herself and is doing more and that is wonderful.

The problem of hearing is in itself complicated and the problem of time is also complicated. Today I can have tête-a-têtes with betty which were impossible before. And fortunately she is understanding enough to leave me full room for my own affairs.

At the moment every time I come to town is a drain on time, energy and even money. I want to dance to discipline my body and to let it feel the same sort of sympathy the heart can feel—for people or other lands. This comes out of the older International Institute tradition. It is a dominant in my life. I very happy you liked those pictures in “Time.” I believe the mutual understanding of the dance is one of the ways to destroy world tensions. But mere pleasure, Leonore, becomes now a burden—it steals from me what I want most. I wish you could understand this. I have something I cannot say until I write it out on paper and in one sense all the above and everything else is a pain to me, preventing me from accomplish that which is closest to my heart.

Love,

Samuel

 

 

 

 

 


April 5, 1958

106 Ethel Ave.,

Mill Valley

 

My dear Leonora:

I have quite definitely failed to communicate to you in some matters which are very close to my internal self. Why I dance and what I dance can, in a sense, not be explained at all. If they can be, they would be very definitely in the terms of Havelock Ellis’ The Dance of Life. I must assume that you have not read it. I did not get the full import of that work excepting through experiences, many of them not common; and when experiences have been “common,” I think I may have a special personal evaluation of them.

Take, for example, my relationship to Leonard Austin. I presume the people closest to one are those who see either eye-to-eye or heart-to-heart. Explanations will not explain and reasons do not clarify—certainly not my relations to Leonard. He showed me many hidden values in dances, and that is one basic reason why I prefer real folk-dances which have psychic, historical and spiritual values in them. I cannot exactly explain what I mean either. These things must be felt and experienced. You may remember what we did when we went to the Greco recital—something I often do, to feel the performers as my alter egos.

One of the longest and strangest acquaintanceships I have is that with Ruth Prager. As this may be a long letter, will skip both reasons and details. When she showed her folk-costumes and folk-symbols I could sense a deep communication. I had long been a student of European history and not a superficial one; in later years I chose to transfer my studies to Asia, but the basic principles are the same. Every now and then you will see me examine some woman’s costume with the interest of a connoisseur. Laissez-aller: you know or you don’t.

I came into F.D. partly from Folk Arts and partly from friends. I am not going over a long history which I have tried to impress on you and have not. I don’t blame you for this but I cannot readily change. Dancing is to me both a form of communion and communication. Recent creations, not born from suffering, travail, trial and joy have little in them to interest me. There is a far cry from Oberke and some Kolas to those choreographed Tangos which came from the lotus-eating mind of some prosperous person in our immediate vicinity. Great symphonies may have come from great pain, and even a ballet like “Petroushka” has something behind it. But Rastronjera died a-borning as it should.

I had most distinct joy in the Kola group of John Skow more than in any group up to the present on at Madelynne’s. But there socially I was not with my peers. At Caroussel I have a sense of being with people who were raised in a similar social and education milieu though our outlooks may be far apart.

I am getting out of earlier difficulties by developing innate faculties in myself, such as the father-instinct and husband-instinct. These are very real.

A few months ago Roberta Leavitt was married. You did not know Roberta. She was the last of my “kids.” You only met one of my “kids” and that was Jeannine Ramey who is now married and living in South City. Jeannine and Roberta were classmates and sometimes playmates too. I felt like an orphaned uncle…. Then I began developing the idea of being a “father” by proxy.

In the mail today I received letters from a man and a woman. Peter is one with whom I see eye-to-eye; Margaret is one whom I see with heart-to-heart. Peter is travelling in my footsteps and if he went to Asia this would be literally so. It is not true of many people; it is true of him. I took him to hear Radhakrishnan the other day knowing he would receive both a message and a reassurance.

Peter and Margaret are both resembling me in having two parents who had no use for each other and no use for their offspring. If you have not gone through this you may not understand. Peter’s parents were divorced which did not relieve them from “hating” the fact that he was an offspring of their “worst enemy” and he got the full brunt of it. As his father and mother were far apart they both took it out on him.

Peter has the full right to say or do anything about me. I only have the privilege of loving and guarding (not guiding) him. But if he wants guidance he will get it immediately and without any price of any kind. This is something I cannot explain either, for it comes from a part of life which I do not think you have touched. All I can say is that there are forms of love and friendship which may seem to us unusual. They are not part of either our local religions or social mores.

Margaret could be very beautiful and very successful. I have coined the term “Achilles complex” for her. She has had a very smooth career and took pride in her success as a dancer when she was involved in an accident and broke her ankle. Now she cannot dance and is trying to change her career in another field for which she claims to be adept but has not yet sold herself.

Margaret is close to me in that she has exactly the same home life with all kinds of conditions and events the same, although they look unbelievable. They are far more prevalent than we choose to believe which makes it difficult to deal with them. Neither of her parents manifest love or kindness or even consideration.

My contact with Peter and Margaret have promoted my “father-complex.” It seems to be going ahead great guns. Then you may ask why don’t I bring these people into F.D. Yes, into F.D., yes. But not into a place where I feel there is no constructive policy and one has the same type of background as in the “Fun Club.” I went to the “Fun Club” because Frank Dillard is very close to me and there are a few people whom I might yet “father.” But don’t think I go in for fun-fun. As such I get little enjoyment.

I want real F.D. I want Vengerka and Lesginka and Saltarella and the Swedish Harvest Dance and the Danish and German squares and more Irish and even English. I have no use for the made up so-called American “rounds” which are pseudo-Californian, and Tangos which are playboy and playgirl compositions. I deplore extremely the throwing out of the wonderful research of Lucille Czernowski.

Of course “they” don’t want these dances, but over the years I could never find out who “they” are. So in the end I may take private lessons from Madelynne or find some group which will teach real Folk Dances. Certainly Leonard, if he ever starts.

So this week I go to a group meeting of young people who need love and guidance and even wisdom. I don’t know if I can give the last, but the others yes, and God-willing, I shall.

And this brings me down to the last point, the husband-complex. I have been turned down again and again and again. And never despaired. My life is that of a Billikin that is always knocked down to bounce back. I took on the whole University of California recently and won my point. Of course I found plenty of allies who were in the same boat and needed a champion.

I lived for years under a “Beauty and the Beast” complex. I always felt intuitively that if any woman anywhere gave me a symbolic or psychic kiss, it would bring great changes in my character and career and outlook. Well, Leonore, it has happened.

I have been attracted to certain women here and there, and mostly to my own trouble later. I have followed the roles of a Lochinvar and other story-book characters. It did no good. So then I became more like Vanderdecken, the Flying Dutchman, who only had a chance ever so many years. But when he met his Senta, it relieved him from the curse. Only with me it was “Beauty and the Beast” and no curse. And a real beauty has given me the “kiss”—it is true it has been at long distance, but it is true. And I feel both very sure and reassured that it is so. Time and tide separate us, but not in the heart.

This bodes quite a change in life. It will not take me out of the dancing field; it will alter it. All the dreams and schemes I have discussed with Leonore Austin are on the way to realization. To bring nations of the world together by eating, praying and dancing is a program. I have other facets to my program, to help feed—multitudes. I am working all the time at it. It has placed me under both strain and joy.

I want to dance more than ever, but dances of release, dances of rejoicing after turmoil, and not mere Pollyannaish, superficial movements, created in recent times and palmed as “folk dances.” They are not a part of my psyche or my life. Sometimes I have rejected them, sometimes seem to have accepted them, but really not. I am at home with Madelynne. I wish I could say the same about some other places at the present time.

Faithfully,

Samuel

 

 


May 18, 1958

 

Dear Leonora:

Herein ticket.

Should be back Saturday morning but don’t know until what I have to do is done. At last moment learned that an old dear friend of mine in L.A. died last week. Don’t think this will complicate things but don’t know.

My Friday night adventures into god-fathering have been successful. If you want to call it that. Yes, I have a growing family of sons and daughters. But they have complete freedom excepting when they are in trouble or difficulty.

There will be one more gardeners meeting on Friday, in June, week after the party. Then we are supposed to meet on Thursdays, provided the red tape permits us. Protocol you know.

Did not get much rest this week but that is life. Have to miss lots of things, and both Russian and Spanish dancers. Still I want my adventure so I had better accept it.

Received a lot of Gingko nuts from Japan yesterday, just in time. These are for the so-called Maiden-Hair tree which is found plentifully in Japan, supposed to have come from China and has no near relatives.

At the last moment a lot of people who have been trying to get me to lecture on Saturday night all seem to have disappeared. Why they insist upon my having lectures and do that I don t know. I guess that is life too. That makes me really feel the fun I miss.

However I shall, I expect, be getting in touch with various Asians and see what they have to say. I have had something to say about the burning of U.S.I.S. libraries. Have been howling a lot, and no response and now libraries are burned. After two or three more maybe a few suggestions will be accepted.

The Rhododendrons are in bloom here, wonderful, equal to anything anywhere. I hope to see the desert flowers in the morning. And you when I return.

Last night dined with a foster cousin whom I had not seen for years. Ouch! She is a semi-professional ballroom dancer and I see what is coming. My god­daughter also wants to show me some finesse, which I probably need. Maybe this old warhorse will become a gazelle yet.

Sam

 

Clementina St.

December 11, 1959

 

My dear Leonora:

Having few days left here I am parceling them out, the best I can, among friends, near or dear, of whom there are a fairly large number in the general vicinity but not in any one place. Tonight, for instance, I am going to meet a group of very good friends, who are good friends and there is every sign that they will continue to be good friends. Sunday I expect to be in Fairfax and over till Monday. Next week I have every night taken up until Friday when I expect to leave.

I have no intention to remain with groups of whatever nature that turn down suggestions. I have already abandoned or written several strong letters to some which seem more interested in sharing my funds than brain or heart. Many of them today are moribund but will not change their policies. There is no use in remaining a member. I am only not resigning from the professional gardeners because I am going away. Monday night I may put my cards on the table at a public meeting, but I do not know whether the panel who will take charge of that meeting will be sharing views or of not so there is no foretelling what I may do. Last night I listened to the Indian Consul-General prior to another meeting there next Wednesday morning. Today I received a long request from the Consul-General of Pakistan. I am now ready to write a letter to the University of California, well timed, because so far as the proposals I made to them are concerned, they will now be compelled to accept them or stand opposed to the President. And my proposal is very simple: that they give as much publicity to their accomplishments in the peaceful sciences as in their research in atomic physics.

I ran into the other side of the coin the other day where a certain group engaged in helping starving people abroad has never canvassed me because they thought my head was always up in the clouds. They best way to size up somebody is never to investigate; otherwise you might have to change your views! Of course I am glad to pocket my own dollars.

I am gradually outlining my own dance future too. But I have no intention of joining any group where I cannot make at least an occasional suggestion and have it considered. The F.D. Carousel of other years was a large and thriving group carrying on with certain methods which have since been abandoned. The methods, the kind of dances, the system of requests, have all been changed and there is little one can do about it. Life is too short and they are so many other ways in which one can enjoy oneself. So when I return—if I do return—I should prefer to dance in Marin County or with Madelynne.

The red tape I had to go through to get even one suggestion made for my final appearance in January makes it silly. I do not make many suggestions but it is interesting that all made at the 10th annual Mill Valley F.D. gathering were accepted and gladly accepted. There was no veto-passing the buck-gang in control. Let them have the control. Let them run the club and do not wonder why many people rave giving up F.D. The reason is so obvious. I do not know another club which ran through 50 or more candidates and did not retain them.

Besides it is very probable that my social, financial and general position will be quite different. Nor shall I intrude anywhere where my own ideas are unwelcome. Let that be, there will be no imposition.

There was a time when I had at least 10-12 friends in Carousel. I don’t mean people with whom I danced, but real friends. Time has changed that. The people have withdrawn from dancing or gone elsewhere.

Then my own interests in life are coming to the fore and I am finding such congenial company in so many other groups that I can naturally enjoy myself more and mutual harmonies tend to keep me in such groups. Thus last Sunday at the Rudolph Schaeffer reception. And on and on.

I have enjoyed meeting you and I consider Wesley very close. But if I were now to give a farewell dinner for 50 people I am not sure whether there would be a single other person there whom I meet on Friday night; or if so, they would be persons I met other nights also.

My very close friends at Hollywood and Santa Barbara require final visit and others may have to be reached through mail. I shall be seeing you once, I am sure, before going south.

Faithfully,

Samuel

 

 


March 22, 1960

 

My dear Leonora:

This morning I learned a new dance, called Sugarfoot. Any resemblance isn’t and it was quite unintentional. You see I was warned not to come in February; it would be cold, March would be better. So in February it hovered around the 40’s and 50’s and got tired and dropped from exhaustion. We are having snowstorms. Last night I experienced warm snow; it was flaky. I went to bed optimistic. When I got up it was white as far as the eye could see and not flaky.

I have had several headaches. Aspirin does not help; walking in the open always clears them up so I am sure the cause is the steam-heated room and nothing else. Anyhow I have returned from breakfast, and “Sugarfooting” about which there was no choice.

One pays $3.00 for a weekly pass here and then rides all over. So I get a pass and walk—for exercise. Sometimes I walk 20-30 blocks and ride 4. Now I’ll go back, and answer your letter, reminding you that this borrowed machine is not in too good a condition and my new one has of yet arrived.

I am very glad to know you will have Magaña dance for you. I visited the City Hall and learned that the Ethnic Groups are still Ethnic and Groups and do not associate. If you are born on the wrong side of the Danube or Drav or Moldau or Dneiste, sorry, no associate. Yes there are find F.D. programs on the air, mostly ethnic and either with a good dosage of square dance music or one finds that some square dance tune is nothing but an ethnic tune without words adopted. In between you get Coplan.

The library clipping would interest me more if you were in. The White Memorial Library here is magnificent but I find all sorts of errors in classification and can’t say anything. Then you find a lot of nice books which assume the reader has knowledge but is no place to get that knowledge.

Last night I attended a forum on India which is the opened for an Institute this weekend. At the end of the question period I asked the chief speaker, a citizen of India: “Did you come from Iraq?” “Yes, Why?” “I have met you cousin.” He smiled all over “But he is in jail now.” “Yes, I know.” But we are going to be friends, I teenk.

Of course the new S.F. Magazine is going to limp. It has pre­fabricated writers. If Mrs. Jane Broadway has a thousand dollars to give on condition an article by her nice be published, it is no soap—the editor has some prices and would like to publish their articles. So Mrs. Broadway withholds and the editor’s nieces can’t write anyhow. They charm unkie-­wunkie, but not the public.

Next Monday to Ann Arbor. I want to wait for warmer weather before going to Columbus, then back just to wind up and “On to Washington.

Had a Cantonese meal last night, very good, filling and not expensive. There is just one “Chinatown” block here. But there are so called “Chop Suey” joints all over, high prices for single dishes; and, I understand, not very good. I have not yet eaten Hungarian, Slovakian or Slovenian food here, ‘sterrible, but I guess they are on the West Side. I am on the East Side. You don’t cross over much.

Will be busy most of the week and just have a short while in the a.m. in which to write.

Tell Wesley that there is strong hostility here to segregation and the papers are roused by the shooting in South Africa. That is one part of the world I do not intend to visit.

Yesterday I also had some luck. Ran into an ex-Cal. man who had just come back from Libya as an Agricultural Adviser. I expect to see him at the Institute. He has given me some good ideas.

Now as to my hand writing. I guess I’m one of those guys who has to have handcuffs or shackles on—meaning machines. And I deplore the machine age, sez you.

Sam

 

 


April 5th, 1960

 

Your Illustrious Excellency and Supreme Envoy Plenipotentiary, Ruth of Ruthenia:

Today The “Pukhtunistan-Times” is not only amalgamated with the “Ruthenian Truthenian” but positively smothered to the point of dissolution as an independent entity. And top of that, the stomach is filled with Chicken Paprika. This requires neither aspiring nor aspirin and one feels terribly tolerably good.

Last night we were welcomed by Emperor Theodore Andrica of Dacia of Cleveland Press of Ethnic Folk Arts Movement in Cleveland. That is, he is trying to restore the ancient Roman satrapy of the Danube and it required all my diplomatic ingenuity. On top of that, perceiving my credentials he practically threw the conclave over to me.

It started out fine. I found myself sitting next to the Estonian representative who recognizes your good father and recognizes you merely as the son. Nevertheless [?] the problem of Greater Ruthenia arose she was strongly for me.

Then Theodore pronounces it “Oo-cry-eeee-nyah” and that positively disarmed me. I have lived with cranes and all this nonsense of “U-crane-knee-hu” positively gets me and in the wrong place.

There were about 30 delegates present and one can understand why this is Cleveland, which is Cleave-land:

Here’s to good “ol Cleveland,

Land of Herzogovenians and Croats,

When the Serbs will not speak to the Slovenes,

And the Dalmatians get every one’s goats.

There was one Estonian, 1 Irishman, 1 Scotch, (or Scottish), 1 Austrian (who came in late), 1 Hungarian-Magyar, 1 Bielo-Hruska, and may be ten altogether. The other twenty were divided 20 which ways: Pro- and anti-Tito, Roman Catholics, Uniate Catholics, orthodox Catholics and everybody who lived on either side of the Save and Drave was not speaking to anybody else. They even let Theodore, who is Rumanian boss them—otherwise unthinkable. And he did—which is not unthinkable.

The question was the folk-dance festival and he told them that they could not have more than 8 minutes each. This was tough on the various and varying Yugoslavians who will not dance each other’s kolos if they dance kolos at all because to put them each and all one the program would take 4 hours and the entire program is 2-1/2, i.e. 150 minutes. The only thing they seemed to agree on was that the Italians should not have Trieste and the Italians have therefore withdrawn. Which did not prevent the Japanese from doubling up, first Japan and second for Hawaii.

This restoration of Dacia was something because of plans for Greater Ruthenia. Already the Yiddish people came and said “we accept if you make Kishinev the capital.” Now Pukhtus love countries and independence but not governments, so this was a problem and the reason we love f.d. is that it teaches us to side-step without hurting anybody’s feelings.

After I explained Ruthenia to Emperor Theodore, he said, “I like it in the main but we must have the Carpathians.” I said: “I wish I could agree with you, But St. Anatole has already surveyed the Carpathians which extend from the mouth of the Vistula to the mouth of the Danube to his own mouth which is pretty big. If you do that we shall have war.

“Yes, but I have inherited my throne and dances and Anatole makes up his own. Besides Anatole is a French name of Greek extraction and I don’t believe he has any Greek or French blood in his veins, or feet (which is more important).”

So, your Excellency, I was compelled to make a decision and, having the floor, spoke as follows:

“My friends, I have come to bring peace and not a sword, seeing that there are no dancers from the Caucasus here. I think we can safely divide all South-East Europe into two divisions: Greater Ruthenia and Koloistan. Now this is my plan:

You have Russians of all descriptions: the be-Red Russians, the be-White Russians and the be-Yellow Russians—all of them fit into my greater Ruthenia. You don’t need just “lefts” and “rights,” you need both, especially in dancing. You need people of all complexions and complexities (especially the latter). Now when “A Life for a Czar” was performed, all of them came together, and that is what we want. All the trans-Carpathians in one country and all the cis-Carpathians in another. (Of course nobody knew what I mean by “trans-Carpathian” and “cis-Carpathian” and Anatole is far away.)” They applauded.

This brought the be-white Russians, the be-Red Russians and the Bielo (be Yellow) Russians all together and they embraced. Thank God they did not embrace Theodore or me but that was good enough.

“Now for the rest of you ,”looking at that scowling mob who were scowling at each other and not at me—I propose: Kol-Koloistan!” Boy that brought down the house! Whoever heard of the Serbs and Croats uniting. And the Rumanian Theodore even offered to invite a Bulgarian if he could find one. The Slovenians thought I had pkped the Slovenians and the Dalmatians said that was their idea all the time but they had not come to thinking about it. They forgot their religious differences, their geography, their politics. They would even let Theodore lead them because that would be neutral and Theodore is very modest, he is willing to lead anybody and everybody. Huzzah and Ilyon.

What shall I do next? I await instruction.

Puck

 

 


June 15, 1960

Gloucester, Mass.

 

This is what comes of having nothing but green thumbs. They are not good for hitch-hiking. I am supposed to be Egypt and I am in the “land of the forefathers” including my own, alas and oh joy. Everywhere I go it is not “Kilroy was here” but Longfellow, Lowell, Emerson, Holmes Sr., Holmes Jr., James Sr., James Jr. was here. It is different from the South where it was “George Washington was here. The difference is because all the present day Washington in the South are colored and all the progeny of Longfellow, Bryant, Adams, Lowells, etc., etc. and etc. are lily white, and generally Republicans. They are a lone lot because there are more Murphy’s than Jones and Smith in the telephone book.

There was a strike on the New York waterfront. There always is. So my ship did not sail and it got delayed and delayed. The rich, returning from wherever they have gone, including Bermuda, had to carry their own luggage off. No telephone, no servants, and no stewards (on strike). So I thought I would come to Boston and Harvard and all that wonderfulness. I telephoned my cousin Adolph and he said, “I am coming right over.” Like General Sheridan he was forty miles away, but he came right over.

“Adolph,” I owe you an apology. I did not bring a present, I brought my work clothes” “Samuel, you are my dearest cousin, my favorite cousin, my most considerate relative.” Boy, I soon found out. Adolph runs a Chrysanthemum Nursery and can’t get help. And here am I with all green thumbs, thumbing my way along and liking it. So I have learned also what “Is so rare as a day in June.” The weather is almost perfect.

You see I came here first in a shower of rain. Am I different from Dr. Foster? Not even with my green thumbs! There are also occasional showers of rain today and I have been working steadily since, with flats and pots and labels and weeding and all those things for which I nearly got a PhD. No dancing, although there is a square dance on Saturday night, nine miles away and even then one is 40 miles from Boston.

You have to be careful here. I remember once at Novato there was a Cumberland Square on and a couple were strutting their stuff. They went right out the front door. Some wag closed the door on them and locked it and they had to go way around the building. You can do that there. Take 40 “giant steps” and you are in New Hampshire or Rhode likes Island or Connecticut.

News TV with a Boston accent!

 

 


September 9, 1960

A holiday—for you

 

Dear Leonora:

Well here I am in Cairo having gotten through customs as a V.I.P. whatever that means. I arrived on Sunday which meant I went to work on Monday. Ha! Ha! It was Labor Day and the Embassy was closed and the University gave me the brush off. So I taxied to Al Azhar which made the taxi owner happy because I became a holy man also. Then I went to work on Tuesday.

When I was in Japan I wrote that the reason the football attendance was so bad was because so many of the U.C. Alumni were in Japan. Oh, I forgot, you were with Stanford. But we’ll let it pass. Anyhow hard, work, energy, a clear outlook on life, perseverance, honesty, a strong-will in the face of obstacles and the right University help, especially the latter. For as Lewises rush in where fools and angels both fear to tread, what does he find? Some UC graduate sitting behind a desk! You see what character training accomplishes? It was two whole weeks before the City of Tokyo took me around in a Cadillac and it will have been only six days before the U.A.R. Government is going to take me around, but I don’t know what kind of car.

I went to the Embassy and they shunted me off to one Paul Heim, Calif. ‘23. “Samuel, you got the wrong name.” “Moi, je suis Ahmed Murad.” “Oh!” When I was in Beirut the ship was invaded by barbers and they run hither and thither, went into every meeting, woke up all the sleeping staff and made themselves nuisances. Finally one asked me why I would not get a hair-cut, “I have important business.” “What kind of business?” “I am Ahmed Murad, darveeeeeeeshsh.” He dropped his jaws, he dropped his tools, his knees sagged.” “I am Ahmed Murad, darveeeesshsh. Come, I give you free haircut.”

The folks came back at night. “Oh, you got a haircut, now much?” “Nada, zero and five ciphers.” Nobody would talk to me. Stony silence. Then the chief engineer came in. “You got a haircut, how much?” “Nothing.” Then his assistant came in, “Oh, you have a haircut. How much?” “Nothing,” Samuel Lewis became a hero in 5 seconds flat and everybody wanted to say good-bye to me the next day. As I said, Lewises rush in where fools and angels fear to tread.

I made friends all over Beirut by asking them questions about the Phoenicians. There is nothing they like better than to be called Phoenicians. Tony Austin taught me that. I used it, but never did I believe it was possible to beat a Syrian or Lebanese. I have accomplished the impossible.

Here I was embraced and being stuffed with tea and fruit in a shop. No, I am darveesh, I buy nothing. Liar. All Americans buy. Besides they have folk shoes. No hurry but some day.

I nearly forgot to answer your letter. Oh, I’ll go over it some time and add a lot more. The Embassy approves of what I am trying to do, all over and I have gone to a different department each day, finishing today. This is a good start. But I have to get my music via the transistor and don’t like the stuff they play here (as danced music).

    Of course this letter is personal, private and for anybody who can look over your shoulder or grab it from you.

 

 


September 1960

 

Leonora Love:

I am hoping to have a collections of saris, and sari, but one may be pour vous, for you, or what you have; but first I want to know how many my friend is sending. Cannot promise any to anything else because I don’t know. I want at least two for the Baptiste dancers. Then, if there are others over they might go to Madelynne to whom this letter is written.

I am also sending Audley copy of my technical letters. Opportunities are all around and I have a hard time keeping up with them. Besides, it is darned hot during the day. Now I’ll listen to some fine radio music and read that devil-awful magazine, “True.”

Don’t know from nothing about California politics but am asking a friend to send the Chronicle after election day. Everything is going along wonderful, so wonderful I am becoming very carefully indeed—but my other self, Puck, is keeping right up with me.

Captain Vonderdecken was only allowed to see a woman once every seven years. Why?

Women like to see a man; Captain liked to man a sea! Anyhow I send this stuff to Leonard Austin. Gotta stop, besides wanting to read, there is some folk music on.

 

Saturday A.M. If I tell I brag, if I don’t tell it’s not my memoires. Well bless your soul, or bless my soul, anyhow familiarity brings or it breeds contempt, but I was sent for by two U.S. Ag. experts yesterday and I put my foot in my mouth again.

I met first Dr. Ayres. “I always carry my Bible with me.” “And what is your Bible?”

“Desert Agriculture” published by the University of California.” “Did you ever look at its
author?”

“No. Why should I look at its author?”

“If you do, you’ll find it is my brother.”

You see, darling and darlings, I always break all the rules of diplomacy or as I call it, lip-domacy, and it gets me in and in and in. Now these big shots—they proved they were big shots by giving me big shots—are carrying my name and infamy abroad. Anyhow we had a good two hour top level serious conference. It begins to look now that when I re-return to the Berkeley Campus my name will appear in Neon Lights.

Sam

Later. To be successful here one must have wisdom, knowledge and madness. I don’t know the exact ingredients, but whatever the formula, it seems to work. I had a long period of anxiety in that my mail never arrived from either San Francisco or New York. Then one day, like the rains, it came and since then it seems that something like a dam burst and everything that I am trying or have tried burst like flowers suddenly into full blossom. It is a long story, it is a success story, it is a complicated story. It touches realms where others have not gone and realms where “better men” have failed.

Fortunately from the beginning I have had the full cooperation of the U.S. Embassy which is close by and the very fortunate experience of having every project mentioned by me or to me during conferences has turned out successfully. Some of these involved highly technical matters.

At the moment I am the guest of the National Research Centre comprised of the highest scientists in the area; of the Vegetable Experimental Station; of the Bureau of Information. I am getting passes, permits, invitations and on top of that a coming social life. There, my first play, of representing myself as a roving alumnus of the University of California has helped as much if not more than anything else.

I visited the Milk Research Lab. this week and the director comes from the Berkeley Campus. So I have written my friend, Stanley Diamond, of the California Ag. Department in the Ferry Building. I am sending a copy to Audley Nichols in San Rafael and also copy of some materials coming up. Friday is the Islamic Sabbath, but I spend most of the morning around the Embassy.

I shall not visit Luxor or the big ruins until the weather cools down, though I am liable to be off on side trips almost anywhere from this day on. And I have the Pan-Arab League coming up. I hold off because of fear of political involvements but this organization concentrates on cultural and literary pursuits, thank God and praise Allah.

I live in a pension which is very reasonable, for an American. We have several Americans, Japanese and Hindus here so I get along swell. I don’t promise letters to anybody, but am just letting you know I am keeping up in “home work.”

If you ever see Ruth Prager, please remember me to her. Tell her that I am hoping to collect shoes and costumes; will probably pick up something here before I leave. I was at the bazaar last week near the celebrated Al Azhar University. Fortunately I was warned. You can get absolutely genuine gold ornaments, 14K, 18K, 24K, absolutely pure gold. But try to get it through out customs. And you can get pure silver ornaments here, too, but try to get it through the U.A.R. customs! So you get genuine-genuine silver well plated! Anyhow, I spotted a lot of things for my friend, Rudolph Schaeffer, which will be packaged before I leave and I may be here a long time yet, darlings.

Sorry to miss the show. I have antennas and a transmitter, but no spectacles that can see around the earth.

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Tse Tother Syed.

The original is for Mad Ellen, the Green. Of the following page.         

October 14, 1960

Cairo, U.A.R.

 

Hello darlings:

Well my arms are tired for the first time since I left home. Why? work? Are you kidding! Well, I did help push a car this morning but that was for five minutes. No, this is an honest tiredness, really, real. My transistor has a new battery (and not for today’s game either). And I have been regaled with Malagueñas, Flamencos, Jotas and what not and I carried a couple of pieces with wood with me. You know. And I have been practicing but today it was and how, and I am resting my arms a moment—my tongue can carry on.

Well you may have read, “The Best Year of Our Lives” or “Life Begins At Forty” but sometimes I think “Back to Methuselah” might suit me, and I have a birthday coming this week. My absence will gave you a lot of candles, a real lot of them.

It has been too hot to dance here if I were interested in it. Maybe later but having a forty-ring circus is some job. And lately every day seems to indicate that I have reached a summit and still I get by until I am nearly dizzy. If I tell I am bragging, if I don’t tell what I am doing will be ineffective. Anyhow, an adventure a day keeps the doldrums away.

For instance take poetry. I am having three different projects. One, I came here to present an epic poem to none other than Gamel Abdul the First Second and Only. Now my Indian epics are being read by the Cultural Attaché of that Nation. And thirdly when it was suggested that I read some American poetry at my forthcoming lectures on American Philosophy, I doed-ed just that and I am copying some bright things starting with William Cullen Bryant. I haven’t Eric with me so I guess I’ll have to stick to the books, or that mass of clippings I have covering a multitude of years and sins.

Then, sticking to India—although it is far away, I received two lovely jolts. Firstly, the coming Ambassador is a dear old friend of mine. Some people will deny I can get along with Ambassadors, but I gave one Porkie as jolt just before I left S.F. and let him get a teeny peak into my projects. Well I thought I would arrange a big party for Ambassador Hussein and as I stand pretty well at the American Embassy which is close buy, they were in favor.

Then I got notice that a friend of mine has a consignment of saris which belong to me, to me, Sam Lewis. What’ll I do with saris? Don’t ask! Anyhow now I have asked for two of them to be shipped to me here which might help in the forthcoming tamasha-shindig—tamasha being Hindustani for shindig, or vice-versa. We are working on that.

So I wrote to one Magaña asking if she would be the recipient of the package, whatever it be, at least for the time being and this might interest you. At the present I have no plans, knowing nothing of the size of the allotment or material or whether they will get through customs with case or not.

 

 


Oct. 22, 1960

 

Sam dear,

Many, many thanks for the finger symbols. The elastic has been fitted into them and is awaiting its sewing. I gave the second box to Wesley without looking at them and lo, your Casita Monco had omitted the elastic, so don’t trust that store for long distance delivery, hm? But the idea is fine and I do appreciate such a nice present.

Am rereading your letter from Cairo, dated Sept., 9th and getting a kick out of it, especially the many sardonic references to U.S. And I literally rolled with laughter over the haircut story. But I don’t like to receive an unsigned letter—you’re not that V.I. And you did not answer my letter. It isn’t like you to be a tit-for-tat writer, so I am disappointed not to have had a follow-up-account of what you are doing in Cairo after that beginning series of interviews and contacts. It seemed ironic that the Nasser you would like to meet was in N.Y. for U.N. sessions. How do you like life at the Pension and what are you eating for local food? Oh, what a kick I got out of the bazaars of Cairo. Routine tourist stunt was to go to a night club featuring a “belly dancer,” but she bored me and there was so much more to observe in the audience. Principal place for the latter was the Shepherd Hotel terrace for tea and whatever. It afterward burned. Have they rebuilt it? Same location? Is the city still veddy British? Don’t miss a funeral procession with someone to interpret it for you. I walked alongside one and got pictures. But I couldn’t get to see the Red Light district!

Wish you could have read the account of Red Skeleton entertaining at a private session the delegates to the U.N. The theme of his U.N. tribute was “Laughter—the universal language.” He dodged the language barrier by not saying a word in most of his routines!

Except in Paris, I read newspapers from England and was it hard to find much news from USA. How much did you get on the Francis Powers case? Here is an inside angle that there may be a direct link between his case and the defection of the 2 National security Agency employees. His plane carried electromagnetic devices to seek out missile sites, as well as photographic gear. So did the B-47 later shot down near the Arctic. The 2 NSA employees would be able to show the Russians how to jam the effectiveness of equipment such as that seized when Powers’ U-2 crashed.

Sammy, I miss you very much. Your photo adorns the top of one bookcase. Things keep reminding me of you. For example, at the Folk Dance regional Festival held kitty corner from the Collingwood Hall where Carrousel used to be, Madelynne Greens put on the intermission dance. It was a Sailor’s Hornpipe Dance with 3 girls & 3 very young men, but I thought of you. I really longed for you to be accompanying me when one Sunday I finally got to the Treasures of Japan Exhibit at the De Young Museum, “the largest Japanese show seen here” and shown in connection with the Pacific Festival. At the latter I also saw Magaña Baptiste perform some of her East Indian and Indonesian dances. By the way, she is quite hurt that she has never heard from you on this trip, so do drop them a line. Ruth Doyle asks me for the latest news of you. I could write reams about the Jap Art Exhibit, even the Pacific Festival for its evening activities. Evelyn Engle and I saw the Danish Ballet in a group of dances that contained a surprising amount of folk lore. I stood for 2 operas new to me: La Sonnambula has not been given for 30 years and Simon Boccanegra introduced many new stars.

But Mostly I have been preoccupied with the major operation of my 20-years-a-friend Doug and his very difficult convalescence. All this has prevented my writing you as often as I would have liked. Larry Browne is in and out of hospital for ulcer on his heel, very bad for a diabetic. Dory Normeyer has been forced into retirement. Erma Frye & her bridegroom are in town. Ralph and Norma have a perfectly adorable baby. Caller Jim Wright predicts she has the makings of becoming a good caller for square dances. Gracie had a birthday Sept. 25th & we staged a surprise party which she failed to attend! If I have missed any items of news you should have, it is because you failed to comment on my letter and I don’t know where I left off. This time I am keeping a carbon copy.

When will it be “On to Pakistan?”

Very best wishes from

Leonora

 

 


October 28, 1960

 

My dear Leonora:

I am taking what appears at the moment to be a whole hour to answer your letter of the 22nd. Yours is the first letter I have had for some time giving me any news. I have received absolutely nothing by sea-mail and not all my bank returns by air-mail. What has concerned me is the failure to get any response from my travel agent, Rudy Olsen, 166 Geary St. He wanted two months notice to get space on a ship. I have the money but now two months notice may delay my departure from here until the end of the year, at least. So I am asking in each letter that to whomsoever I write, please try to reach him by phone. The awkward thing is that I owe the bank money and am holding a very large amount on my checking account to cover passage, etc. and can’t release anything until this is cleared. If he is ill, etc. I may have to order through another agent. I have been advised strongly against booking locally, and I don’t want to either.

So many things have happened and are happening that I shall probably make a long recording again. It throws one out of focus and makes the ordinary chit-chat difficult; I am now compelled to strike back at a lot of people who closed their doors in my face, especially those I call “phantasians.” Even locally the stuff that passes for Near Eastern Culture is terrible. Somebody studies this subject in the US, mostly under instructors who came from Europe, they get their degrees and come to teach and what they offer is so out of line with what you would learn on the same subject if you took it here; or even bothered to look up a few first sources, it is terrible.

Some time ago I met Dr. Creswell who is considered locally to be the world’s greatest authority on Islamic Art. Most of his work is polemics, attacking his “authoritative” predecessors and rivals who never took the trouble of walking around and looking closely at the places they described. The result is that often as not they are wrong. Creswell at least took the trouble to look at historical monuments before he wrote about them.

There are millions, many millions of people in the Afro-Asian countries about whom the people in the U.S. known little and often as not it is wrong. Those Europeans, with whom I tried to study in and around S.F. generally turned me down a priori without even looking at my stuff. They gave out whatever they wished to teach and there was no appeal. Of course Asians are offended. Everybody here feels that you can get your case in court in the U.S. and there is a lot of unnecessary anti-American stuff in the press and one does not blame them. I am now going around visiting the Dervishes and what I know through experiences is so out of line with what is taught that it may be supreme tragedy.

I won’t write you about the religion and metaphysics of the Dervishes, about whom there is just one decent book by an American, and that by as American in foreign service and it is close to being 100% right and I do not know a single European teacher in Near East Culture who uses it or even permits you to refer to it. The direct experiences of Ambassador and Mrs. Grady, contrary also to the “teachings” cannot be used in “American” universities!

What would interest you more are the art-forms. I have seen nothing in books. I did hear music in Ajmir for which I wanted a tape-recorder. There have been compulsory changes in my plans, so I did not buy one; then my best friend in India wanted one (the one who should be sending the saris) so this may enable me to use it in India. But here I have heard types of music I never knew existed.

The orthodox Muslims do not look kindly on music. But the Sufis have chants, litanies, hymns, psalms and body-movements which I can described better in person than by writing, and the back-grounding of rhythmical singing against melodic singing, which is something different from anything I have ever noticed. Although they do not dance, they do move the body in rhythms which could become the alphabet of dance forms and may be the alphabet. It is too new to me.

On the theoretic side I find I am pretty high up in these matters and in the U.S. excepting at Harvard, I got so many turns down it is a huge joke. We turn down peoples and their cultures and then wonder why they vote to admit Red China into the U.N. Of Course Red China is coming into the U.N. You can’t win a battle by throwing darts at the spectators, which is what we are doing.

I have been successful locally in showing that we have put impediments in the way of presenting American culture by this methods. But what does a European or Canadian professor care whether American culture reaches the Orient! And just after I wrote the letter to U.S. Intelligence—it has been passed by the local Embassy—when I received a letter from a top Oriental—not Orientalist, but Oriental, who is a veddy, veddy, and also an enemy of those who have blocked my reports. So the ways stand clear.

Actually I doing what I have dreamed of doing for years. I have sent Audley a few instances of what goes on, but most reports goes to Harry Nelson a City College. I am now actively engaged in writing or contacting persons who have answers to a tremendous numbers of UAR agricultural and horticultural problems. I am working, so to speak, on all fours. I am respected here and maybe age does provoke a degree of wisdom. Even this week’s “Time” with the plan for the eradication of the Gypsy Moth is going to give me a grand opportunity.

This morning I was able to contract the people who are my real allies, the American Friends of the Middle East. I have sent in reports to both San Francisco and Washington. Either they, or the World Affairs Council may now take heed of what I am trying and doing and even accomplishing.

Twice weekly I have been going to the Vegetable Experimental Station but now I have to write letters for them and also contract the American Chemical firms who dispense agricultural chemicals—this is highly technical. And so long as you mention Dory, please tell him and Margaret that I am functions, completely functioning where I had hoped to go. I have not, however, seen the Agricultural Museum nor the Mr. Big in the Department of Agricultural who is now supposed to the my host.

Tomorrow I am going to try to arrange my future program with the University of Cairo. This is pretty big. The door has been opened by the information Bureau for me and if it goes through I am going to be busier than ever. But I am not going to send any more mail to people who either do not get it, or do not occasionally acknowledge it. My functional growth at this writing is beyond my most optimistic hopes.

Some of it is like luck. Dr. Hasan Bagdadi, Minister of Agricultural Reform, long studied on California Campuses. Our interview was interesting and fruitful, but he knew nothing about the efforts to extract fresh water from the ocean—and this has opened another door for me.

Next I’ll answer you letter, after taking a pause, but no Coca Cola. The pause broke. They did not put on the news which may still be coming but did play the Fandango and out came my castanets and after that I resumed.

This pension is to the rear of Semiramis which touches it on two sides. Shepherd’s is across the street from Semiramis. Nile-Hilton is across the square, all facing the river. I have not gone to Shepherd’s at night chiefly because there has been nobody to go with. The older people are mostly tourists here and the younger ones either teachers or students and they do not have the same free time. I may, however, stick my nose in Shepherd’s some night. One of my Muslim friends has offered to make me to belly dancing but it is not easy to get together.

Your report on finger cymbals explains my slowness in purchasing anything here. I shall try to get everything put in a few packages and have them properly insured. I am also restraining purchases until I get the best advice from the best persons and I have not been able to visit all the best persons.

I am glad to have the Skelton report. I have told people that if you could not speak their language, at least learn to laugh and to learn the local methods of greeting. Now time out. The news broadcast has moved up 15 minutes.

The big news here is the anniversary of the Suez Episode a few years back. It may be incomprehensible here, but I was in “Pukhtunistan” at that time and you got as much news as they publish here about the doings at the South Pole. There were a lot of emotions, and a lot of noise and a Prime Minister who was neutral and on both sides almost at the same time—in Pakistan. He is gone now, but what a comic operation he put on! Prime Minister Nasser was bold enough to call him to his face when other Nations would not.

Being a Pukhtu, even in jest, has its moments. I should have been at Cairo U. today but they asked me if I would delay to make room for King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan. Boy, did I step aside gracefully but not for the reasons they may suppose. Now Prime Minister Ayub Khan is coming and this keeps the Puck things going at rapid pace!

There is not much news about the Powers’ case. I think there is a feeling here about what I call “Tilsit”—the possibilities of the Great Powers suddenly making some agreement. Didn’t Nixon go to Russia after all? Everybody is against “imperialism.” It is just like “sin.” What does it mean?

Next, Magaña. I have written her twice, may be three times. I have complained what I don’t think mail goes through. This is very awkward because I am trying to arrange for saris to be sent to here from India. Yes, I recall. First I sent her a Nefertiti poet card. Then I wrote twice, at least about the saris and the coming of the Indian Ambassador. I have had nothing but good fortunate in regard Indian matters. I may go to the Vonsulate after this is completed, and leave a note there. After the first I should get a report on my last Indian epochs and then take one of them to the Cultural Mission of U.S.A. It is one which, despit its title, “The Rejected Avatar” is really dedicated to Magaña and I left a copy with her permitting her to use is to create a dance.

Incidentally I am reading a book on Stravinsky and I may enclose Puck on that subject. This because of Stravinsky’s close connection with the ballet. This letter, of course, maybe shown to Ruth Doyle and anybody.

Poor Larry, he is always in again, out again. Which brings me to the subject of the day, yesterday. Praise Allah from whom all blessings flow and for his Grace, by which I mean Grace Perryman Nicholes. Think about “The Bold Merchant” and the dances which use such patterns. Did I do creeping and crawling and did I love it. And did I out-distance guides and the sweet young things who ought to have verve and nerve, and did, but could not stoop to conquer even when it spent bumping the cranium otherwise. Come out, get off your suspense.

Well, breath, well! I took day off yesterday. I got the bus at the corner, no. 8 and it ends in front of two huge pseudo-mountains of well-known geometrical shapes and proportions which the books say are at Giza but which are at Mina which are beyond. I have a special permit from the U.A.R. government and looked around. I did not climb, but am making arrangements with some of the young people here to go together.

I was more interested in the Sphinx; also saw where they cut out the boat which is now in a museum. Excavations are still going on. My friend, Marjory Hansen, who is now back in Berkeley, came here with the idea that there are many buildings still to be excavated. I did not see any sign to the contrary. Nowhere have they reached “rock bottom” here.

We then took a taxi to Memphis and saw Ramesis the Twict and I bought postcards. Then to Sakkara. That was a revelation. My experiences at Lahore and reading Creswell makes me anti-authoritarian. Books used to say that the big pyramid at Giza was the only one with rooms inside. Well I was in one at Sakkara and I am told there is another one. This one had beautiful art inscriptions and hieroglyphics in it. The details were so entrancing the guide had to yell “come on” and the next result is that I want to visit the place again with my young Hungarian friend. I saw all kinds of pyramids, could not count. I understand now that 53 have been discovered. And there are lots of things yet in ᾀ?them thar hills,” King Tut or no King Tut.

The only painting was in black and red. The carvings come in between sculpting and painting. I am still too astonished and also too interested in other matters to write much. But I enjoyed crawling around and like Sakkara.

In the p.m. went inside the Big Top, and crawled and crawled. And my braggard guide got tired and all the young people got tired, but Ze Bold Merchant, She no get tired. Ze legs—praise Allah and His Grace and Gracies, and you can tell her. So I saw the King’s chamber and the Queen’s Den, all with Neon light and a lot of vent shafts open. The guide, incidentally, knew Paul Brunton and Marjory and $peak$ a lot of languages—dohlar, franc, skillings, piasters and wampum.

There are Yugo-Slav movies coming but I am glad I did not bring my record-player here. It would not have been easy to start anything, especially while I am so busy in other things.

I sometimes wonder what I shall do when I return. If I live in Southern Cal. I shall probably be on the land but if around S.F. noisying around campuses unless a job lands me. I am not seeking one but what with the conferences so far and the letters I am writing anything happen.

Don Smith of the U.S.I.A came from Karachi and knew all about my work in Pakistan. He is all planned and ready to give me all the introductions necessary including the Fullbright people. If I can keep a steady head, progress is sure. I am hitting so many bull’s eyes, I almost feel that the targets are airing for me—mostly technical stuff, beyond the call of duty. So I have no room for nostalgia and am not happy about it either. But after every single dream has been smashed in S.F. by all kinds of people at all connected with each other and everyone is accepted here, it is hard to get to an unemotional focus.

I thoroughly enjoyed your letter. I am not always feeling too well physically—this because the warm water and my activity do not harmonize well. But usually my emotions and nearly always my mind is in fine fettle. I have a bunch of names here, being called Ahmed Murad, Mr. Ahmad, Mr. Murad, Mr. Samuel, Dr. Lewis, etc. etc. And then I made a bright Puckish discovery: Murad is an anagram of U.R. Mad—isn’t it wonderful!

Love,

Samuel

 

 


Cairo, October 1960

 

Lives of Great Men by P. Puck

Stravinsky, the Eager

 

Puck is one of the most sincere, objective, honesty, fair-minded, just and liberal men in the world, who does not accept infallibility of Popes. Newspaper editors, commentators or beatniks, and anything Igor the Eager says about music is absolutely true. Period. Supreme Court Decision.

With this noble outlook in view, it is almost with humble head that one pounds the typewriter. Shaw had his Wagner—oh, boy, did he have him. Brooks his conductors and the New York Times, but I was born in California, to which Igor the Eager with a banjo on his knees, also a cymbalom, a balalaika, and a host of percussion instruments.

Igor the Eager has not yes, so far as I know, added the Atomic computer to the Orchestra. But the Atomic computer may be needed to analyze some of his works. Anyhow I did not come to bury Caesar, but toe praise him.

Every man has his gods. When Puck was young he did not like art, pointing, the stage, dancing and was sincere, objective, honest, fair-minded just and liberal and did not accept infallibility and anything that a guy named Bakst did was absolutely true, beautiful, soul stirring. What made Puck pray before the name of Bakst is very clear—to elves, leprechauns, and logical positivists, but to nobody else, not even Puck.

Then Puck had to go to Sunday school. There is no God but the Boig and Peter Ill-y-itch is his prophet. This made Puck a Protestant and he began to flirt with the Five Pillars of Russian Wisdom, which is to say music. And these Pillars led to the temple of Igor the Eager where Puck now says: “There is no God but la-la-la and Igor is his prophet.”

Of course Puck had to go through hell first but when he had to listen to Madame Butterfly and The Girl of the Golden West and Turandot, all cribbed from La Bohème, that was enough. He threw out the whole bunch of Italians and Germans, simply by labeling them “fascists”—the easiest way and found the true God, who never praises himself.

Puck watches all the music news. He labels them, studies them, comes to irrevocable conclusions, which are generally in harmony with Igor the Eager, but when he is wrong he admits it freely and absolutely. (Being “wrong” means differing from Igor the Eager.) It is not done. Period. End of discussion.

It is understandable why they don’t play “The Rites of Spring” in Russia. To begin with Igor is Polish, Not Russian. This is not known because the Igorins were closely tied up with the Rimsky-Korsakovs, etc. In the next place Igor preferred trees to factories, rivers to sewers, clouds to slum-dust and that is unforgiveable, praise to Allah.

Later. This is a sort of unfinished symphony. Now you can turn the page, dear!

In retrospect, which means, you read also on the back side. I read “Time” and the N.Y. papers occasionally and the candidates are supposed to be running neck and neck, with Jack the Ripper slightly in the lead at the moment, and Dickie the Lamb Hearted trying to become a tame wolf. Most of the Americans abroad are voting.

One hears that there is a recession and the dollar is going to be devaluated and a lot of other things. The papers here are clamoring at King Hussein. It will be easier for everybody if there were no Jordan, a purely artificial country. At times I sound like a Pan-Arab and on the whole I support this point of view. There is far less difference between the Zab and Tripoli than between Kashmir and Bombay, and from there south in India, much greater difference still but we recognize one Nation. What is a Nation? Maybe a notion.

I just read the latest Tourist Magazine here. To an outsider it looks exaggerated, but I don’t think so. I think a lot of people here are bewildered at the rate of progress, but it is very real and very “progress.”

 

 


Morland House

October 31, 1960

 

Dear Leonora:

It is incident like the one presented on reverse which keeps me from getting nostalgia. Indeed the way things are going even my rejected plan for Palestine may be revived. This had a tragic history. It had been accepted by British, Jews and Arabs, then my principal died and my only confidante betrayed the whole scheme and attacked me personally; and being a V.I.P. there was nothing I could do. Israel was formed and a thorn was put in the flesh of the Arabs. It was funny but at that time I met some of the most ardent Zionists and beat them in debate—that is, they conceded that I had some unanswerable questions that they had not thought out. Too bad that the Arabs had not thought up such questions.

Today I had my seat changed at table and there was no czardas to it. I sit at one end of the table, the seat opposite me is vacant, and the next two seats are occupied only at lunch time by two young people who come to lunch to discuss their private affairs and nothing else.

At the other end of the table is Jesse, a Hungarian refugee. We get along fine. Next to him is Theodore with whom I also get along fine. Jesse is here to study Arabic. Theodore already speaks and reads Arabic and is here to study Near East Culture. He is a Czech. What a combination.

Theodore is a sort of protégé. He came here and I gave him some advice, which proved to be sound though I did not know it at the time. He has changed his plans and rather looks up to me. He is also a great lover of poetry. One night they asked me to sit next to them and we discussed heal-clicking, how, and why and what. (You know I am a big heel, but that is between us.) Anyhow it reminds me of a story called “Sanctus Spirit & Co.” by a man named Steiner which I urge you to read. We get along fine together and so I got my seat finally changed. The fourth seat has been occupied either by Mr. Saliba referred to on the opposite page, or by an American tourist on the way to Ethiopia.

This afternoon I took my walk to Ormond Gardens, a big botanical park. I had been there once as a guest of the Floriculturist of Cairo U. but was rather dazed by so many plants. So I sectioned it off and began systematic observation, which will be reported to my friend Harry Nelson and my former co-workers.

If I can meet François Saliba I may also consult him about folk-dancing. And this reminds me of my earlier diaries—I had forgotten all about them. I used to called them, “The Diary of Peppery Samuel.”

Love,

Samuel

 

[included in letter above]

Morland House,

October 31, 1960

 

Claude Colvin,

American Cultural Mission,

Cairo, U.A.R.

 

My dear Claude:

The following incident happened here today which may interest you.

One François Saliba of Voice of America has been visiting this pension. He comes from Beirut where he is permanently stations at the Embassy. He is of mixed Greek and Lebanese extraction and knows a good deal about the Near East.

At the present time he is also engaged in a Khalil Gibran project, but over the air. I told him about what you are doing but he had to leave today and so it has been impossible for him to visit you hear. But it may be that you two should contact each other. In any event there is a grand Gibran revival going on and he came to collect materials to enlarge his program using both contemporary Arab and Near East poets, to prove that we Americans are very receptive to local culture.

I then told him of my “Cedars of Lebanon” plan. Ohio State University has discovered a new method for rooting cutting of conifers. The idea was to get some cuttings of Cedars beginning with their use for experimental purpose and then plant one with some ceremony at Lebanon, Ohio. The idea caught on there and also at the Lebanese Consulate in New York. But I spoke about it in New England they suggested also Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Mr. Saliba went further and thought this would be a grand gesture for all the towns named “Lebanon” in the U.S. They would then cement friendship with Lebanon and this could be integrated into my “Friends of the World Project” and the “League of Cities” which has its head-quarters in New York and which has also gone on favor therefore.

I am going to try to book space for Damascus about November 15 and then would visit Beirut therefrom.

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Nov. 19, 1960

 

Sammie dear,

Your undated letter in response to mine took 2 nights to decipher because there was no ink on the ribbon. So-o-o just as I get ready to suggest a new one, here comes your Oct. 22d letter with fresh ribbon very apparent! But I still have a beef. The return address on the envelope is never legible, as Post Office cancellation stamps obliterate it. So kindly give complete address at beginning of letter inside. Thank you, the lecture is over.

Very glad to get so many details and actual answers to my questions. By now you have heard from your agent Rudy Olson that I phoned him your plea the morning after I received your letter of Oct. 28th. He stated that he had received a letter from you by the same mail as mine and had already wired his New York connection to get space for you. He was awaiting that answer before writing you airmail. I repeated your message about the financial importance, but he thought the greater urgency stemmed from the fact that your visitor’s vise was expiring early in December. I gasped that you had not mentioned that, to which he answered that you were handling, not he. Did you get an extension? I donᾀ?t see how you accomplish all the missions you listed without staying considerably longer? I think it is fine that you have so much to offer along the agricultural line (which you had not discussed much with me), as well as bring back for us more facts about the cultural and religious life where ever you go. Did you know that the American Friends are no longer at the cute little house on Sutter St.? When they moved out the Jap. YWCA took over with amazing list of activities. I have been chinning with the Secretary of the YMC in Buchanan St. He tells me that the architects for the new Jap. Trade Center have taken space in his lobby, which is a sign that work will actually begin in 1961.

I can’t contribute any info about Ruth Prager.

The new S.F.P. Lib. chief replacing Larry Clark is 43-year-old Wm. R. Holmes, of San Antonio, Tex. He advocates a thorogh architectural survey of the 43-yr-old library. “The entrance now gives you the impression of a heavy, depressing cloud.” He thinks he has a new idea for interior, departmental organization that we had in Seattle in the 1920’s.

The Steinhart Aquarium is undergoing a much needed overhauling that will necessitate its being closed for 9 mos. Before Feb. 1962, when it will reopen in new glory, the most modern aquarium in all of the U.S. New methods of display will include “disappearing tank walls, set at a 45-degree angles, making them virtually invisible to the viewer. The tank walls will be black and unlighted. The viewer will have the illusion of having donned diving gear and is gazing at the fish from underwater.”

San Francisco is fairly crawling with movie companies on location. S.F. stands a good chance of being the most photographed city in the world if things keep up the way they’re going now. Our salubrious climate has been agreeing with Fred Astaire, Debbie Reynolds and Charles Ruggles. Warner Bros. top brass will be swarming over the Amer. President Lines Pier 50—Brian Ahern, Dorothy McGuire, Lloyd Nolan—everybody is swooning! While in N.Y.C. the Henry Miller Theatre is about to open a new comedy about life and love atop our Telegraph Hill. The female lead is played by a S.F. gal, Sandra Church.

The doctors, lawyers, merchants and housewives who have been building the Buddha’s Universal Church at Washington and Kearny for 8 yrs. are one big step nearer dedication day. A painting of Buddha, a gift of the people of Formosa, will be unveiled.

“Mrs. Masudah Bano Jawad of Pakistan, club lecturer and leader from Karachi is visiting here on a State Dept. sponsored tour. She is convinced that not enough information on history, culture and art is being made available between East and West. During her 3 month visit in the U.S. she has encountered an enthusiastic interest in Asia, an awareness in people, trying to know people of other lands. She will return to the Central Government College in Pakistan, where she is a senior lecturer in the Persian language.

Cyclones and tidal waves were survived by a colony of Amer. & Bay Area engineers in the Chittagong region of E. Pakistan

The Doug. I mentioned recently is getting worse with a fast growing tumor, so I am still busy doing things for him, getting sick with sympathy.

Hence it is now Nov. 21st getting this letter finished at 2 A.M.

As ever,

Leonora

 

 


November 28, 1960

 

My dear Leonora:

Ye above is dated and ye ribbon is comparatively new but I do have some trouble with ‘em, and never know exactly how to replace them. You see I have found, with an all- black ribbon, and the two changes, only half the ribbon is used; then when I reverse to use the other half, sometimes I am successful and sometimes I am not and I have not solved ye mystery. But I did find, to my surprise, I had more ribbons available than I had counted on. On the other hand, although English is a good bakshish language when I have gone into typewriter stores so far, ici on ne parler. So I am betwixt hunting for English speaking shops or trying to hold out until I get to Pak. But Pak. is even further away so I guess I’ll keep trying.

I am wondering whether I shall mail this letter, too, or wait a few days. I have been took. I mean, my picture, she are took. I was seen walking along minding my own business (when I should not have been) in the Thebes which is full of old ruins and monuments and what not. It was also filled with Californians while I was there. In fact I was surrounded by a host of wild Indians while going through the ruins at Karnack—Stanford Indians, everyone of them, and me a loan Oski-bear-wee. I told them the score and they apologized and one of my mother’s best friends was among them. All from California down there.

Anyhow a camera man used snap-judgment which maybe all right for him and “post card only 10 piasters.” So my vanity got the better of my frugality and I am having reprints made of footprints.

Please tell Audley you are superior. The other night when I was writing to her suddenly a folk-dance program came on, in the middle of the letter. But tonight I broke in on grand opera. I think it is Rossini but am trying to concentrate a little on the writing before I retire and read and listen. So you are tops.

I think I wrote about the reception for the Indian Ambassador. He and I are rather thick. Same as all other receptions. A flock of other Ambassadors with wives and mistresses and their retinue of assistants and attachés with their femmes, rush in, and divide into the gin, rum-whiskey and beer set and do not meet any more. The Muslims invariably give better drinks than the Christians because it is verboten and there is nothing like a good verboten cocktail. Then there is one lone man in the corner. His compatriots are afraid to address him because he is too mighty and the other people don’t know him. Usually I go up and speak and that is how I meet Ambassadors and Prime Ministers. This time the Ambassador knew me and his jaw dropped. But I had to speak to him several times to drive the loneliness away. I was introduced by the host as an American Dervish and soon all the nearly beautiful Hindu and Javanese women surrounded me, in their wonderful costumes. No European women came near, so I can thank God for blessings. Anyhow I have a nice invite for the Indonesian Amby. And as the Afro-Asian bloc meets here soon I hope to get ready, pronto.

At Luxor I was greeted by the dervishes all over the place as a brother, and, I want to go back. I also visited the library of the American Oriental Institute connected with Chicago U. and that is another place to visit. They have stacks of books I should like to read, or rather copy certain things in them.

I sweated for days for mail and what a flock, today. Anyhow I have sent for money and I have enough. Also I have paid for my ticket to Karachi, but date uncertain.

I shall be very interested in the Japanese Trade Center. I have gotten Soy Bean and Garlic seeds from that country for tests here.

Yes, S.F. Library needs a change. I was in L.A. when they changed the library.

 

Later. I here decided to mail this and take the consequences and include “Pukhtunistan Times” which is an excuse for not writing more and which gives the news better than I can express it, maybe.

Love, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Fond Greetings and please have some good news or yourself.

Samuel

 

 


Feb. 1, 1961

 

Sam dear,

Thanks for the photo of you. Quite a surprise to have it delivered at Carrousel. Received your account of where it was taken much later. May I give you a tip—don’t waste e picture, letter or any kindness on Harlan Beard, as he is no friend of yours.

I appear to be hearing from you often, but contents of letters turn out to be carbons of your Puckish compositions. These are arousing but not a good substitute for answering questions about your whereabouts: at the time of the Ruben communication, you were in a rush to get out of the country, so that I did not know where to write you “Best wishes for a weird and different Christmas.” A carbon from Claude-letter had you trying to book for Damascus and Beirut. Your latest letter, Nov. 28th which took until January to reach me, has ticket for Karachi but no date set.

Ye gods, where can you be now, going-on-3-months later? No new address has come through. Your paragraph about Ambassadorial receptions is a Gem! But why Karachi, with no stopover in your beloved Pakistan? Or is my geography not keeping in progress?

It is taking me ages to write this, as I keep rereading your communications. I seem to get more out of the Puckisms on a second reading;  most of all I enjoy descriptions of your “tourism” when I have covered or visited the same territory. I even slept on the desert within a short distance from the Sphinx. I, too, marveled over the inscriptions. One amazement you did not mention was the great number of stone carved “caskets” for bulls! I surely hope you did not have the trouble with sand fleas that I did—this a propos your closing paragraph of not feeling too well. Fleas poisoned me.

I do want to hear where you were and what you did on Xmas and New. Years.

My Xmas was ruined by the death of Doug, my closest friend for 20 yrs. But for hew Year’s Max (he took up folk dancing just to be near me) drove us on a bitterly cold night (very foggy return at 2 a.m.) to San Rafael. The Marin Dance Council, Inc. put on a wonderful Karlstad Ball. To my surprise everyone, but everyone, was attired in his or her most lavish costume. In S.F. announcements will request “please wear a costume” and be quite ignored. Over there, nothing is said and presto out came the costumes, even on S.F. visitors: decorations were simple but effective. No exhibition dances, but constant dancing of advanced works. Some midnight balloon busting, then elaborate refreshments, followed by more dancing. I thought of you so often, it seemed so queer not to have you there. Grace, hick, Ralph and his newly pregnant Korma, Jim Knudsen, not a costume among them, were only persons I knew well.

We also attended a party Gary K. staged at the Jewish Center. The dancing was the worst I have ever seen, even for beginners.

Changes locally: Portsmouth square all torn up for building of 3-story underground garage (Stevenson monument & plaques stored in G.G. Park), sod & trek removed, not stored. Completion not until 1962. Sinaloa was terrifically damage by fire & water, especially the floor housing entertainers plus storage for costumes. Sigmund Stern Grove’s historic Trocadero Inn was severely imaged by fire. Once a notorious roadhouse, it is now “used” as a meeting house for cultural organizations.”S.F. State College is going to establish an overseas campus for summer archeological-anthropological studies. President Kennedy appointed a Marin woman as Treasurer of the U.S. She is Mrs. Elizabeth (Libby) Smith, residing at 21 Ranchers Rd. Kentfield. Did you know her? At that address, she ought to be a folk dancer!

Mayor Christopher had his picture taken showing S.F. sights to 2 young people from India. This was to illustrate a most informative article about our International Hospitality Center of the Bay Area, whose slogan is “They are neighbors, make them friends.” The 8-year-old Center has 700 volunteer members, mostly business and professional people. They effectively interpret the U.S. to visitors. The latter are not tourists, but are professional or political leaders or exchange students. An average of 3,000 foreign visitors a year come to the Center, referred by government and private agencies, members of the S.F. Consular Corps, and universities. I hope you let people learn of this cultural activity in S.F.

Lotsa thoughts from

Leonora

 

 


February 11, 1961

 

My dear Leonora:

You will excuse me if I answer this by sea-mail. My postage is costing me $2 a day. I shall soon have a reprieve because I leave Cairo on the 16th and will sail a few days after that from Port Said, with a possible stop at Aden. This give me a chance to see some of the Red Sea (I hope). But the moon will be new so will not shine late at night.

I’ll start with the negative news and then give you the history of my life—and free, too. I sent a picture to Harlan because I am not dip in deeplomacy. I do things to lead, mislead or what have you. He once tried to promote international good-will and did not succeed. Inasmuch as I am, I stick to the idea of international good-will. What do you suppose and whom do you suppose kept me out of certain circles and led me to want to stick to Madelynne? I’ll let him or anybody else be as small as he or they wish and I am going to try to be as big as I can.

I came here for two months and five have past. Circumstances beyond my control, including my own plans, became so big that I had to hang on to them or else. I have not seen President Nasser, I did not get Cedars of Lebanon and I did not see everything or everybody I wished to see, but!

I had a letter from Audley the other day but what I wrote her was half professional.

Costumes. I have sent some shoes to Peggy and one robe to Magaña Baptists. I may try and get one Arab garment for myself, but if we stop at Aden I’ll look into the subject again. It depends even more on my space in the luggage than on money. I have given away one pair of trousers, one pair of shoes—no, two pair, and sundries. But I have not given away too much literature and have collected some so when I pack I do not know how much better off I shall be.

Gifts. This is very complicated because shipping is not easy and I have paid for some things and find two weeks later they are still here. I have a few small items with me but some of these are fore Pakistan. I met one Claude Dahlenberg of 2273 California St., wandering around Cairo and I wanted him to take some things back for me, but momentarily he too, is overloaded. And I don’t expect to be back until well into 1962.

Art. I have been purchasing slides, pictures, gifts for both Pakistan and California. This has proven to be very complicated from every point of view. However I am planning to give some lectures, here and there.

U.A.R. Ministry of Agriculture. I have said good-bye to them and had a long session at the Vegetable Experimental Station across the way. Now it is going to take some time to write all my notes.

National Research Centre. This was even a longer good-bye because I had to call on one leading Chemist, several Physicists, several Biologists and the two top men in the documentary section. Boy, wouldn’t you fit in there. The girls know how to catalogue but nobody knows how to look up materials like I do so I have proposed a lecture or two when I return; and the actual digging up stuff for the actual scientists of this region. It is approved.

Not so pleasant is the counter-activity. We have, of course, loads of lurid magazines on the market. We also have several organizations collecting magazines to “purify” the atmosphere. Well, those magazines are not here nor have I seen them anywhere and they are probably cast-offs. Then we have others who just collect funds. It is a great game. You get income tax exemption for the contributors and “So long, it’s nice to have known you.” And here they are begging for stuff. So I have some campaigns before me and I am just the boy to do it.

And if any small boys named Harlan or anybody get in my way, look out. I am not the same creature as left S.F. I stick my head into places and instead of it getting knocked off, the crowd follows and I am more popular than ever. And still I have no formula.

The Friends of the World. This is the Japanese organization that hopes to build up international good-will through seed-exchange and city-alliances. I have given them four memberships—two Universities, the Ministry and the Soy Bean Exchange. Those people are now behind me and for me. I hope to continue both Soy Bean and Tomato research and exchange and even work with them in some places. This has been highly commended. From the first the Agricultural Experts have been with and for me. I have had the most friendly farewells at the Japanese Embassy and the Agricultural Section of our Embassy.

Foreign Service! Here we go, and keep out of my way small boys and Harlan. I was requested to submit in full documentary report of my past as well as my present experiences, contacts, suggestions and everything. The State Department has some new policies. They are to listen to American “bums” who travel abroad. No more “Marco Polo” complex wherein the big man who was not there knew far more than the little man who was. I have been ramming the Laotian situation down everybody’s throats: “What can you expect when an American citizen goes abroad, lives in a country, finds out what is going on and then is branded as a trouble maker!” I think this has been found out. Now even the smallest secretary may drop things into the suggestion box without being called on to the carpet.

Anyhow as soon as I had done that I met surprisingly the husband of the woman who was responsible for my downfall a number of years ago—a woman who betrayed all my international plans, blocked all the doors, crossed the continent to attack me publicly and had me thrown out of my home—an easy matter then for I had no money and few friends.

Last week I learned that practically all my experiences were accepted as valid and my major suggestions accepted which may become very important. If they ever work into becoming the law of nations I shall let you know. I was strongly cross-questioned on communism and they had to take my answers and I promised I would be even more observant next. For the communist method is very simple—they open up bookshops and sell lurid American literature which they buy back and re-sell at half-price and buy back and sell until the magazines are worn or there can be no smaller financial transaction. The reader invariably becomes anti-American, regarding us as a nation of sex perverts, promiscuous nymphos and satyrs and gun-crazy. What is to prove otherwise? Certainly not the movies.

The State Department has now moved from realism (?) to reality-ism, praise to Allah. The press not yet, commanded as it is by the half-gods and encyclopedic advisers. I also told them that Stevenson was the most popular man in Asia. This did not sit too well with the Stevenson people who wanted him for President and the anti-Stevenson people who did not want him at all. “Vas you dere, Sharlie?” No, they were not and even this went through—they have to accept the fact anyhow.

Anyhow the whole Embassy is with no and I have final are-wells coming up and introductions for Pakistan.

Personality Achievement. Well I have met thousands of people. I do the craziest things or else they happen to me. The partings are the most warm-hearted in my life and by far the most numerous. I took Claude into strange alleys and bazaars the other day and he got an eyeful. I would like to have had Harlan along. People rushing up to shake hands and even kissing my thumb (this is the signal of one school of Dervishes). I have been saying good-bye to as many people as possible, and not always in the most modest way. You know me, Al. No comment necessary. Excepting time out for lunch then will continue.

Adventures. I have not climbed the Pyramids at night. The evening when I went the moon was covered with clouds. However I met a Dervish Sheikh and rode around them. A couple of days later we went out into the desert. So a dream came true. Years ago I took up horseback riding because I said some day I shall be in Arabia and have to ride to the desert. Well, this is also Arabia now and I have ridden and you can pin a medal on me for that.

Also I climbed to the top of the minaret of Sultan Barquq’s tomb. I am 64, my guide 28. He could not follow me; both his legs and lungs gave way. I got to the top and Dennis the Menace urged me to call “Allaho Akbar” but I did not want to start World War III; enough want to do that anyhow.

Californians Here. The most important is Paul Keim. He is in charge of a 38,000 acre project near Alexandria, reclaimed lands where peasants get home with running water, barn, animals, tools and plots of land. Everything for nothing—the catch is that they have to work. In China they have to work and don’t get anything in return. That’s the way the world is.

I think I told you there are lots of Berkeleyites here and I have to say good-bye yet to El-Shems and Cairo universities.

Other Thing of Unimportance. Tomorrow I am to get my Yellow Fever Shot and may try to say good-bye to the Indian and Indonesian Embassies. I have not called at the Saudian because it is in a district I seldom visit.

Plans for Future. I expect to come back some day and work at the National Research Center, in part as I think I told you above.

I have been writing heavily about Prof. Von Plotz, a compilation of European professors of Orientalists who would not even give me interviews. I have in turn strongly advocated getting rid of them. They are not wanted by Asians. Why we do this it is hard to fathom.

Pakistan. I expect to arrive March 3 or before and want to go into the Sind before it gets too hot, both on account of the soil problems and dervishes these. But I have business in Karachi. Some friends have just moved to Multan and want me to stay there and, of course, I have plenty of things to do at Lahore.

Pukhtunistan Here I Come! My home is in Abbottabad, not too far from Kashmir and from Swat on the other side. I was invited to Swat before and am again. Also to a place called Mardan, and, of course Peshawar. I want to ride through the Khyber Pass and so to Kabul. Whether I process further depends on unknown factors. Besides I do not know where or when I shall have lecture dates. Anyhow my mind has been pretty active.

San Francisco: All those changes make me wonder, but then I don’t know where I am going to stay or what I am going to do on return. Three possibilities are before me and I was told by a clairvoyant that all three would be accomplished.

Pretty Girls: I met some in the National Research Center and at the American Library. But the prettiest was at the Tourist Bureau in Alexandria. Boy what a bunch of men kept coming in all day—and they were not interested in tourism. That made it possible for me to meet a lot of persons without getting off my chair. Most of my time in Alex. was spent socially but it included a visit to the studio of an excellent artist named Wanli, who paints now in the contemporary styles. They say he has won many awards.

Getting back to the girls. Nadya was the beautiful one, but when I arrived next morning her cousin was there and she had more intelligence. Not a bad moment with either. But they don’t dance! … yet.

Dancing. Folk- and square-dancing are taught on a modest scale by Katie, the bee-oo-tiful secretary of Paul Keim above. But she leaves in June and then what will happen to those feet?

I am buying some finger-cymbals here to accompany me.

When I do get home I get I’ll go back to the beginners. If I am free and single I’ll go after the richest I can find, but otherwise no plans. Maybe I’ll learn the dances of Pukhtunistan—where they use 8 yards of material for trousers!

National Inhospitality Centre. Oh, excuse me, I guess I am getting tired. I get more invitations to people’s homes. Being an American dervish opens a lot of doors for me, all over, all the time. Maybe I have been in the wrong business.

Shed-Jewel. English pronunciation. I am supposed to reach Karachi March 1-3 and including Sind hope to leave the 15th, address

c/o American Consulate, U.S.A.

Karachi.

Then I do not know how long I shall stay at Multan or Lahore, but I’ll have all the extra luggage to pack around until I reach Abbottabad, and that’s a nuisance even with a companion. So after March 15 I am giving as my address:

c/o Abdul Rahman

K-182 Old Kunj St.,

Abbottabad, Hazara Dist. West Pakistan

 

Pukhtunistan here we come.

Out of thoughts and ideas, but not out of love,

Samuel

 

 


March 1961

 

My dear Leonora:

I am in the city of Rawalpindi which is going to become famous again because the capitol of Pakistan is going to be located in Islamabad which is near here. So a lot of government offices are here—if you can find them. It is a big city without an English newspaper and I have not found any newsvendors of any kind anyhow. I am enclosing copy of a letter written to the librarian of the World Affairs Council. We used to bathe in the same acid or put vinegar in our soup so you can understand the letter, I hope.

I feel like a man who is going around challenging theologians. As long as they are theologians I challenge them. Or rather I insult them and they challenge me and I have choice of the weapon—which is darts. So when they aim their dart at me I dart behind them and say that it is fair because I said “darts” and nothing about dart-throwing.

This, of course, is against protocol which is never to discuss religion with natives and I find that the more you discuss religion with natives the more popular you are. It does not matter which side of which religion you take because they admire you for accepting them as equals and so I have not lost any friends and I have won a lot of arguments.

Today the doctor wanted to discuss Islam with me. In U.A.R. I was for Islam against the Christians and here I told the doctor that Islam would never win in the U.S, on account of the birkas. Frankly I don’t care if the women go around clothed, or unclothed or wear Punjabi pajamas or Indian saris or western dress, But I said that Islam enslaved women because they put them in birkas. And he said they did not but he gave the show away by his defending birkas for his wife—not for his daughter, of course, Everybody wants his wife to wear a birka and his daughter not to and boy, does this give me fun. By the time I was through he wanted to attack the United States and I said that we were not trying to convert him, why should he try to convert us? But then, that was a poor argument. Look at all the laundry business you would get if we put our women in birkas!

I had to go to the Police Station. This is done for several reasons, the first being it does not make sense and when abroad this is always the first reason for anything. Then I like the desk-cops and they have a good time telling me that I have done wrong. Of course I could not get an exist permit from Lahore because there was a three-day holiday and it would not been unpatriotic if not traitorous to compel a policeman or anybody to work. At the same time my train ticket said I had to get out and I did, and I did wrong by getting out without the police permit, but I could not get any other train because the reservation insisted on my leaving. Pardon me if this makes sense. So I am in ‘pindi and I wrote a note saying that somebody was wrong and anyhow I was in Rawalpindi and wanted to get to Abbottabad where I am supposed to be anyhow, I don’t know what this proves.

I have to buy another ticket and want to go to the bank in the morning to get some money. I don’t know exactly what form because my friends in ‘pindi owe me money. I bought cameras and in each case got a big reduction because I impressed the gullible Egyptians and Arabs that I was some kind of holy man so they gave me huge discounts. I guess the discounts prove I am a holy man. And I have to try to figure out how to translate Egyptian pounds and South African shillings into Pakistani rupees.

When I get to Abbottabad I expect a flock of mail and also same appointments and your guess is as good as any.

I think I have spilled enough beans in the other letter not to add to your misery. Yes, I need a new typewriter ribbon and soon will change this one and pray for another one after that. But I want to go over all my luggage and mail together.

I spoke to a small audience yesterday and got a big dinner. I like the audiences and would like the dinners but to please me they go out and buy European pastries which look nice and please the children present. Then I go and please them more by eating the not spiced foods instead so everybody is happy and my stomach is saved. I have a few “spiritual brothers” which means international tromps like myself. They have good heads (always) and good hearts (sometimes) but good stomachs—I ought to be expelled, I live, allamdulillah. Anyhow the last I have heard is that they are all alive despite gastronomic misgivings.

When I get into the Pathan country I shall look up folk-dancing whatever that means. I am going into lands of intrigue whose the Pakistanis insist that the Kashmiris be allowed to vote and the Pathans not and the Afghans insist that the Pathans be allowed to vote and the Kashmiris not and the Pathans and Kashmiris don’t even know what a vote is. This proves something also but I don’t know what.

It is spring time for Henry and everybody else. Maybe that accounts for my moods. I have had two very big disappointments, if you want to call them that; and four big successes, if you want to call them that. In any case the assets are away over the liabilities and that will keep me busy.

I still don’t know Pakistani geography and the maps were incomplete for as soon as I studied one map, my appointments in the cities thereof were cancelled and appointments in other cities substituted so I am in for adventure. I once promised Evelyn I would write her from the Hindu Kush Mountains and at the moment the chances of reaching the Hindu Kush are great and of writing Evelyn are small. Is an Afghan a dog? a rug? a person? or an accident?

This is written without any idea as to whether mail will be waiting for me at my next stop.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


[Ed—first 2 pages missing; March 1961

I have been planning to write articles on Tourism for the USA but here the Tourist bureau insisted on it. They did that in Japan and took all my ideas and they are already in practice. I even ran into a clairvoyant in Lahore who called out my two names from a distance and said he knew I was coming and to prove that he told me the story of my life for good old Rs. And I was glad to give some to him.

Then it is Eid Festival. This is a good word for it is a half-way house between Id and Eat. For at Eid you let down your inhibitions and fill your stomach. The trouble is that Eid is chiefly for men. Women don’t count.

In Karachi I called at the Ismailia Headquarters. This is a very suspect sect of Islam which believes in Aga Khan and the equality of women. Either of these two would make them suspect and the combination more so. On top of that their leaders must be educated and also shave and wash. This makes them still more suspect. I insinuated that it would be a good idea to start a Mosque in Hollywood where Aga Khan’s name would attract and I even hinted I would not mind being on the receiving list and becoming suspect myself. And they rather liked the idea so I shall report to them later, hypocrite.

At Lahore all the Muslim missionaries wanted to greet and feed me and now they are. Well at Multan I went to the shrine of a saint, and Von Plotz not being there, gave them a talk on Islamic philosophy—not the European invention but the real thing. They were bowled over. Just before leaving I went and had my picture with the guardian saint and expect to get it and have copies made, but when you see us together you won’t know who is the real guardian saint, or am I too immodest? Why not. This raised my standard in Lahore where it is higher than anywhere else in the world anyhow.

At Lahore I met one Abdul Rahman Barker who also graduated from the University of California and knows all about Urdu and Islam and Von Plotz and we became so thick in five minutes that you could hardly separate us. We thought the same, have the same friends and have been blacklisted by the same schlemiels. He is a big shot here but not in Berkeley, oh no! You see in Asiatics there is no right side of the railroad tracks, you mustn’t have been born near any railroad tracks, but somewhere in Europe to get on the payroll. Excepting at Harvard and Princeton and M.I.T. where you get educations, and then, instead of being sent to Asia or teach Asiatics, you find yourself in a top job in Washington at too good a salary to complain.

All the flowers were in bloom in Lahore, that is, everything excepting Jonquils and Daffodils, but all the rest down to Cosmos and Dahlias and late fall bloom, all at once and I never saw so much color in my life but no time to see my friend, Dr. A.A. Shah the top banana in Gardens. Anyhow, I think I told my story in the other letter going to the front office.

Rawalpindi is a sort of junction where you can get plane, train, or bus to almost everywhere. In these parts the trains were arranged to connect military camps and not towns so they take strange routes. The buses go the quickest way. A foreigner is not supposed to use busses. He either takes a tonga or a taxi. The taxis have two prices and the tongas three not counting bakshish, which is already in their two prices before-hand. You are not supposed to walk and maps are a rarity. If you can get a motor riksha you save time and money so you don’t have them in ‘pindi yet.

I spoke yesterday on my experiences. If you don’t speak, you get tea and sweets and if you do speak you get a dinner. I have concluded that Islam is a good religion for the head and heart but an awful one for the stomach. Yes, I got cramps last night but my heart is happy. You can understand that I often change my religion at the insistence of my stomach. But what am I going to do if I visit Indonesia which has Islam as the last of the religions, accepts all of them as underpinnings and offers you rijsttafel?

This is not far from Taxila. The Lahore Ahmadiyyas teach that the Lost Tribes of Israel became the Pathans. And when I was at Taxila, the center of “Buddhist” learning, I ran into all kinds of synagogues and saw Aramaic writing and even sent a coin to a friend to prove it. So when I was at Harvard, I came upon an establishment for Semitic Archaeology and I asked them if they were interested in investigating. The head is Dr. Cross who gave us the Dead Sea Scrolls. At Harvard they are very funny, they said “Yes.” They said “Yes to everything.” That reminds me of a poem:

 

Owed to Gromyko

Yeti, yeti, yeti, yeti, the Abominable Snow-man;

Nyeti! nyeti! nyeti! nyeti!! The abominable No! man.

 

But at Harvard they said “Yes” and sooner or later I shall go there to lecture on many things which is verboten in California a/c the various Professors Von Plotz who control the Near East Studies. Fortunately I have the South East boys on my side. This also involves some pleasant stories about the Jilani family which I won’t relate here but I was given a lift by a Jilani in Lahore to find he was the brother of the Jilani I met in Cleveland and I have met many people of this family upon which I shall have to discourse at length, although it will upset every Prof. Von Plotz in the whole U.S. and I am not fooling.

But next I must write to the Tourist Bureau because they are offering rebates to people from afar. And after all I have no foundation behind me.

In Lahore there are both the AFME and Asia Foundation. I am a little unsettled lest there be competition. I know Americans say competition does not hurt, but it does. I have found that this has resulted sometimes in removal of certain American organizations and this has happened on a large scale in Indonesia. We have remarked in the past about competition between our missionaries but we do the same in other fields where there should be more united fronts and less duplication of expenses.

Incidentally, in Lahore I found the Salvation Army, the Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, all seeing to it that too many people are not converted to one of the others. What saves them is that the Muslims are worse. They would prefer you remain a Christian than belong to the “wrong” missionary group, and they have them. I won plaudits yesterday by saying that God was more interested in the state of your heart than in the state of your beard. So I am out with certain Muslims, and this is not nonsense! Some Orthodox Muslims seem more anti-barber and anti-women than pro-God.

Ayub Khan has done wonders. The difference between UAR and here is that I have seen the conditions here before and after cleaning. They are going in for education and research at a great rate. The Russians are looking for oil and the Americans are looking for trade and the Chinese are looking for trouble. Fortunately they can’t climb the high mountains and are trying to snipe the Hindus who are bad fighters but good snipers.

I have a report to the Intelligence. The library at the new hotel I stayed at in Lahore was full of old books. One new one: Lenin on Marx. You might have expected that. I read it. Boy, what they are doing in China exactly the opposite. But we do not have the savvy to expose. Everybody sits back and gets “shocked.” Lenin was against forcing people into communes, he wanted to teach them the advantages of communes so that they could get rid of the government. But imagining any commissars even dreaming of such a thing. Oh well.

Here going to American movies is quite the thing and you pay much less. I would like to write more but only have one small envelop and I am hoping Minto shows up so we can visit the Police and then the governmental offices.

I should have a pile of mail waiting for me at Abbottabad. Faithfully, Sam

 

 


March 23, 1961

 

Dear Sam,

This here communication was supposed to be waiting for you in Karachi with a big Welcome! but lo and behold, according to my carbon of the Festival workshop letter you wrote, after the 15th of March, comes W. Pakistan—I can see it coming—gobs more of that Puckishani humor!

I wish your planning had landed you in Peshawar, Feb. 7th, in time for a folk dance display at Government House in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s visit. She was escorted by the Governor of W. Pakistan and oh men, you coulda learned how to wax your mustachio!

Sam, I am so happy for you that now at last your projects work will be recognized and the U.S. will undoubtedly want you as a trainer for the young people rapidly signing up for the Peace Corps. There seems to be a special need for agriculturists, right where you shine. When you have a yen to come home again, there will be a big place for you here, too. Pres. Kennedy on the air with Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt said that he hopes to have 500 to 1000 young people in service here, as well as round the world where needed. One of the most interesting articles was an interview with a team of workers from the American Friends Service. One man is 43 years old, the women is married, but a dedicated worker. In their zeal to adapt themselves to the customs of the countries where serving, they ate only native foods—and eventually got very ill. There are parasites in native food. You with your touchy stomach should remember this. They found some of the housing just too primitive. A knowledge of the language of the country there assigned is recommended. You always stress U of C. people met. Stanfordites are concentrating on Africa jobs, primarily on Nigeria and Ghana.

Don’t forget that San Francisco has always had some worthwhile projects. The five millionth meal has been served for free at the St. Anthony Dining room of St. Boniface Church. Everything from food to serving is volunteered. Speaking of San Francisco the Holiday issue just out has some marvelous coverage of our fair city.

I suppose you know this man who was featured in a March 14th write-up: Brian Fewer planted 5000 trees in S.F. last year. 10,000 will sprout up this year. He took 5 years of night courses in horticulture on top of green thumb working all day. We are going to have a Green Belt across the city. He has found that sturdy trees should include the laurel fig, the Brazilian Pepper and the Victorian Box.

There is a play in New York it would be fun to see: Once There was a Russian. The lines that got the best reaction from the first nighters: “You need aid. I shall give you aid whether you need it or not. I am an American.”

When are you going to write a book on Zen Buddhism? The latest is that old motion picture actor, Sessue Hayakawa. I simply shouted at the review: a sample “his beginning has validity and beauty but what follows is pure Coca Cola.”

Carrousel is hunting a new home. The rent has been raised too high.

Did you get my letter about Xmas and New Year’s here? Because you have not answered my question about your Xmas and New Year’s. Come through.

Fondly,

Leonora

 

 


March 28, 1961

 

Dear Leonora:

This is March 28th 1961 and I am staying in because I have to give a lecture at the college here tonight on Islamic Art in U.A.R. I was collecting odd-odds and end-ends to send to one Leonora Martin, a mirror image or something when I received yours marked March 23. This is curious because I have not had my bank mail and don’t know where I stand. Anyhow much of the news and more of the nonsense will go sea mail.

I am taking up you letter seriously and will write to senator Engle about what I am doing. I also have to write to the San Rafael Journal-Independent. I have coddles of lectures all lined up for me here, Lahore and Rawalpindi where the Director of radio is a friend. I shall look into F.D. and folk music with him but perhaps more in Peshawar or even on my next venture.

There is a Californian here. Did I see red! Why, of course, it was the courteous thing to do; he is from Stanford. He looks as if he has gone beatnik or Muslim because he has a beard and no intercourse with the American Christians who have I Qs. About 70 and his is about 170. Dr. Barker at Lahore, however, is form Cal. He had a tough time after graduating, all the European “experts” ganging up against him—as they did me before.

I am glad to hear of S.F. tree planting. I am ready to do some here, too.

I am sure I did not get your letter on Christmas & New Year. Besides, there has been a censorship in U.A.R and I am not sure of anything. Also, the mail I have been receiving so far is not of the kind “forwarded.”

Boys have two forms of recreation here: Bagging and cricket. There are multitude of schools and playfields are also begging because the boys are elsewhere begging. And it is not like U.A.R. There is a plethora (lovely word) of balls and bats here.

Please don’t say anything detrimental to me for I may plan to return as Puck of Pukhtunistan with moustache and bearded and turban and baggy pants. I am so conspiring but it will take a long time. Note: I just said “to me”—what people say about me is no concern.

People here are wondering if they are Muslims because they don’t speak Arabic. I must tell you about Islam: In the beginning was the word and the word was God and the Word was the Arabic Language. It had 500,000 words and 499,999 were intelligible. The other word was not and it was used only in singing: Al­lah. So having no meaning it was deified and that is how man created God. So this mystery is solved and nobody has to bring it up again.

I have had my future told twice; I have had the most wonderful greeting at Lahore and slowly people are “mouse-trapping” to my door. I call this a scene of Plymouthive civilization—all the cars are American but—and you won’t believe this darling—no Coca-cola. The only reason I can find is this. At the time of my landing, the Rupee, worth 21c was divided into 16 anna and the anna into 12 pice. Not only that the annas were square and could not be used in machines. Then they changed that abolishing the anna and pice and divided the Rupee into 100 paisas. The tongawallahs charge you in Annas, the taxes are in Paises and the Post Office uses both systems at once, so I have a lot of small coins that are worth more to a money collector that on the market. Bananas cost 4 annas each which is almost 5 cents each; yet my hair-cut, with tip was only about 30c. Without any bank returns I don’t know whether I am ahead or behind or what.

It is very beautiful here, much like Marin County excepting the Himalayas in the distant background. Lots of evergreen trees, the same flowers as in S.F., exactly the same, the parks look the same. The Eucalyptus was introduced and flourishes, but has more branding here; so do the Pines. The Chenab is the most wonderful free and I found it is the Oriental Plane—at now is coming into foliage. There are lot of poplars, still bare. Everything is green; the fruit trees are all in blossom.

I visited Mrs. Selim Khan, widow of the first Consul-General of S.F. here and had a fine tea. Her garden is just like those of California and she meant it to be. The present Consul-General, Abdul Sattar, is supposed to be on his way here and I have approached by his relatives with offers of trips.

This is a fine place for writing. I am doing this for two Pakistani papers, the San Rafael Journal-Independent (See Audley) and the Greenwich Village sheet in N.Y.

Now I will get this off and come back and finish the nonsense letter and others. I also received two letters from Marin County, same mail. There are no American papers here excepting time and life and one or two dell publications. All the smut that used to crowd the markets is gone and I suspect the communists are gone too—they used to peddle it, profit and at the same time propagandize.

The American USIA staff in Lahore wants me to instruct them on Oriental philosophy. I expect strong protests from our European “experts” in the S.F. Bay region. This must not be—but with Kennedy selecting an American professor who knows something of the Orient as Ambassador to Japan the old “protocol” is dead and so will nonsense be soon. Vale,

Sam

 

 


April 23, 1961

 

Dear Leonora:

I am very tired and it is yet early evening, a calm spring evening, not quite so cold as it has been. The day is often quite warm but dry. We have had a surplus of rains.

During the day I have been typing jewelry lists. My friend, B.D. Qureshi, claims he has inherited much Moghul wealth. He has a half-deal in Southern California and we are trying to make a consolidation to work through the Bank of America, consigning his things. If no sale takes place before I return, or if I can a buyer or buyers, I may act as has agent but I am not asked to put up any money and I am not going out of my way.

Mr. Qureshi has me excited about natural resources here. When I looked at the hills I felt there was hidden wealth. This is not California, otherwise you would see many men prospecting. There has been no geological survey and they do not know how to prospect, or don’t care. Excepting the college boys no one goes hill, or mountain climbing.

At Rawalpindi I saw many interesting Folk arts—things in leather, and salt and gypsum carving. At times I am tempted to buy you a Punjabi costume but I am holding back against any extra spending now. While I still have the income tax hurdle—I have until June, and that is covered, I don’t want to go overboard. Besides it may be that I can wangle some things free in exchange for services.

I attended the college graduation and this ended with a request for more lectures. I think I wrote from ‘pindi that even President Ayub approves of what I am doing but another request has been asked. I want to say here that I have had many grievous disappointments here and on this trip but they have been absolutely overwhelmed by “bigger and better things.” Mr. Abdul Sattar, long-time Consul-General in S.F. will arrive on May 12th. I may be away then but I want to take up with him the question of Pakistani culture in the US. If there is a a job-opening there I may rush it. This and the above are the first things which problem me funds.

I have the strangest good-luck. I went out walking in Lahore and met the Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture. I went to find the Mines Department in Rawalpindi and landed in the middle of the Agricultural Experimental Station, to find the Mines Dept. had moved. Now I have an appointment coming up with the chief forest botanist of Pakistani and where do you suppose he got his education? Berkeley, all this works well.

The other night I went to a variety show put on by the college boys. There are some good dancers and actors among them and they play the musical instruments and sing fairly well. But they still do not have proper outlets. I am going into the folk-dance situation when I get to Lahore. ANTA was organized to exchange art-forms but in practice the money goes to big people who don’t need it and they go out and entertain the Americans and foreign colony and never reach the masses. The whole thing is ridiculous. Pakistani culture is represented in America by persons, usually neither Americans nor Pakistanis, and this is naturally resented. The Russians have enough savvy to ask for the cultural mission. I want to talk about Pakistan when I return and I want to see a few folk and square-dance teachers and more baseball here.

I am writing in protest against the president’s so-called “Peace Corps.” We have thousands of Americans all over the world building up good-will but who listens to their reports? And don’t you think these 40 year olders are not going to resent “kids” coming out to “teach” the indigents? It is based on a “superiority complex” and not friendship approach. People are willing to learn but they want friendship. As the newspaper men kept pushing at me: “What is the difference whether you or the Russians compel us to trousers, tractors, irreligion and materialism? We are stuck either way.” My old prophecy, let the Russians come and we will get rid of the Flies is a standard attitude and I wish I were not so right.

Today I found this all-black ribbon which is supposed to be a good-grade Underwood. I shall know later how it lasts. I have been using red-black since I left UAR and neither part was very good.

I ran back and forth between elation and psychic tiredness. Sometimes I have too much to do and know I cannot rest long for a whole year at least. It becomes harder when things go so well I can’t let go. Well, I asked for it. But I am asking now for some recognition and am out in the open against former professional road-blockers. Fortunately I know too many people who were stymied by the same persons. And we do not become popular abroad by publishing editorial praising ourselves. We need communist Cuba to show us how the Asians feel about Israel. We stuck into foreign territory, so they want to stick into us. The danger of Cuba is recognized but they see a graver danger in the “foreign invasion” elements established in Palestine. W cannot carry Israel and Formosa and win the gratitude of Asia. They realize the Russian danger but do not see it as the only one.

It is not eight o’clock and I am tired and don’t want to write to anybody else. ‘s awful. I won’t close until after I make the botanical visit.

 

Next day: My visit to the Forestry College was very successful. I have now several projects on which to work—and the world is beating a pathway to my door. As Puck I said I put up assign:

In Large Letters: MONEY GIVEN AWAY

in very small letter: For those who will work for me

That did it. Puck is left alone but not S.L.

Samuel

 

 


April 27, 1961

 

Dear Sam,

Thank heaps for you wonderfully long and descriptive letter written from Cairo, I judge, but giving new address in E, Pakistan. I especially liked the subject breakdown, all references to places I have been (natch) and the more detailed account of just what you have accomplished, instead of a lotta words about you and V.I.P. I am very proud of your successes and would like to knight you—only that is Not Asiatic enuf for you and your devilish Dervishness! I have been missing you for a very long time and so these references to returning in 1962 only give me a pain in the neck!

From Rosenbaum’s column: “Being grandson of a former President is a handicap for Chester A. Arthur III,” he says. The local astrologer (and one-time 4th and Market newsboy) says nobody will give him an executive position because he’s not qualified, and “with a name like mine they’re ashamed to offer me a modest job.”

Your beloved Buddhist Temple has just had an anniversary. LIFE magazine sent photographers who took 500 pix of the Fair (too bad not during the time you are helping build it). The movie people have been here “on location” again. Automation is here with a bang and I found myself utterly fascinated at the Open House held by the Bank of America, South Van Nes, for ERMA, which stands for Electronic Recording Method of Accounting. She occupies most of the 4th floor which is brilliantly illuminated, nicely ventilated and equipped with piped in music. Despite the vast amount of automation, people are still necessary and it was interesting to note that they were all young and many were of the Negro race and Oriental, plus my guide who was Greek. The first machine was a Sorter- Recorder and made 750 operations with magnetic tape per second. I couldn’t even follow its speed. The next apparatus completed 30,000 computations per second. The final, largest machine with a magnificent control board could add 6-digit numbers 15,600 times in one second! “In operation since 1959, ERMA is capable of handling all the bookkeeping for thousands of accounts in a matter of minutes!”

Anent the Peace Corps, about which I wrote in my March 23rd letter, now we read of Carl. V. May, who founded the Quaker-sponsored Youth for Service organization. He brought peace to rival teen-age groups on the streets of San Francisco. After some time at an Eastern Retreat, he is going to tackle a “Lobby for Peace.” Headquarters at 345 Franklin. Object: searching for politically realistic ways to disarm. Too much amplification to repeat here. Besides I recall that you said you were not interested in the politics of each country.

A woman visitor from Pakistan is urging “more cultural exchange.” She thinks that “not enough information on history, culture and art is being made available.”

And now I come to some bad news. When you receive this letter, please write to Wesley Miller, Southern Pacific Railroad Hospital, not just a cheery letter by air mail, but some philosophical approach that will help him. For the past 2 months he had complained of no appetite and had cut down on food until he lost a lot of weight. He had been going to a doc. To no avail, so finally was ordered to have massive check-up. As a result of this he was operated on April 20th. He seemed to make a quick recovery, he still had no appetite. But the 2nd time after the operation that I went to see him, he suddenly asked “What did your Doug have?” When I answered Cancer of the Rectum, he said “Thatᾀ?s what I have.” And he knows that is what Doug died of. He gripes because the doctors did not tell him that the first operation was merely an exploratory one. The axe of the second and major operation is hanging over his head. I phone when I can’t get out there and he still does not know. I am pleased he has had a lot of visitors and cards. But I am sure he would like to hear from you.

Take care of yourself!

Leonora

 

 


May 9, 1961

Lahore

 

My dear Leonora:          

I have your air-mail letter of April 27th which followed me here. I am writing under unusual circumstances to which I could hardly have adjusted if I had not had a very strong intuitive faculty, the existence of which is generally spurned in our part of the world. For it was like the presentation of a drama for which I had long rehearsed, a drama which is going on, so to speak, without a hitch, but which has such a different rhythm and such different aspects that it hardly fits in with my earlier life externally. Even at this writing I am almost out of paper and carbons and I can only follow with a letter to Wesley when I get them. This is not easy.

I am living in the home of one Major Muhammad Sadiq, a person who was already become rather legendary but Lahore is the center of much which will remain legendary until people back into this world as it is even though some events and personalities do not fit into our norms or preconceptions.

Although the Major is a rather important army official, he also has a healing gift and is very famous for that gift. It is the most scientific form of what has been known as “spiritual healing” for it conforms to and with certain aspects or physical-therapy and some facets of it look like new avenues of physical therapy. He can and does heal with the touch, he can and does magnetize water, and there is a constant stream of visitors every afternoon after 5.

The news about Wesley is anti-climatic. The Major had a cancer patient whom he had not cured. This was rather a boner for he has on his list people who have gone to Lourdes without effect. On top of that the cancer patient is a personal friend and brother of a physician who is the top official of a large hospital. I told the Major that the patient was hiding something—a fear, obsession, hidden enemy of something which preyed, probably uselessly on his “conscience.” Two visits after that failed to evoke anything but the patient was suffering more and more from pain. Finally it “outed” and since then I have been told that there has been considerable recovery.

Last night I visited a homeopathic physician and was excited because he makes tinctures from a lot of my favorite plants. He seems to have a vast knowledge in this field. There are four schools of medicine here and between and among them they utilize almost everything in the vegetable world not used elsewhere. So I asked him about cancer and he agreed to have a visit with me on that subject. Then your letter arrives with the Wesley-complex. I immediately took it up with the Major. He says he has all kinds of magnetized waters. These waters are magnetized in different colored bottles, the colors relating to the disease, and the length of time of magnetization evidently is related to the depth of malignancy. Somehow or other they act as condensers picking up types of vibrations which we have not recognized yet. We may call them “biotic” and they are connected with what the Hindus called akasha and what the alchemists referred to as “quintessence.” Here one uses the words “physically,” “spiritual,” “alchemical” rather loosely, because the vibrations have not yet been investigated and not because they are supernatural or unnatural.

So while I shall be sending this sea-mail I will write an air-mail letter to Wesley on the above subject—with considerably more detail and also send him some new. The news is all on the plus side but it has caused me to act as if I were high-hat. Why should I go back to San Francisco and be ignored and find a lot of ignoramuses as “authorities” on subjects, especially Asian subjects when they themselves have not had training in them and are not recognized by Asians-Asians. Why, even the so-called “Encyclopedia of Islam” is full of hokum.

I am in the city of Lahore. Suppose I were to write a history of Lahore and rushed off to the British Museum, looked through all the books there and also received all the French and German works on the subject. Oh yes, one could write even a best seller and this is done. The work of one Bernard Lewis is on the blacklist as a history of the Arabs and it is just as much a history as you would except from any high-school boy.

Even here I rather surprised some of the experts by telling of contacts at Fatehpur Sikri near Agra where a pile of historical data has been preserved by the guardian family and nobody has ever bothered to look it up. True there are piles of good and bad books on the Moghuls but source materials remain untouched.

Usually this is a part of scientific honesty to see you have access to all facts but I have used the same all aspects of my work and it is being recognized. It is being recognized on a grand scale here. I spoke to an immense throng last Friday, to large audiences Sunday, morning and evening, I am always receiving tea invitations and tonight I go out to dinner and all I know is that it is uppety. I give my first University talk Saturday morning but there are loads of things in the offing.

But the biggest of all has been an invitation just received to go to Malaya where my dear friend is a friend of the present Prime Minister, the doors are all open wide and if I can keep on an even keel and continue the program started here I shall be both successful and famous—and even benefit financially although that is a long and complicated subject.

I went to the Tourists Bureau this morning and laid down the law to them. I had two interviews with them, wrote out three papers and then sent them two inquiries. No reply and, nothing published, I said: “I am now going to give you my references.” Well I named two men of top rank and a third who is very well known. A young man there jumped out of his seat. “Why that is my maternal uncle.” You never saw such a change. I got cooperation. I did not get favors, I received answers. This is the way I am working and am going to work. And I am now doing the same side, and there is opposition in other quarters—my bête noire, the EPOOP, or European Professor of Oriental Philosophy.

Yesterday I placed a large order for books, not to be shipped until I add some other books bought elsewhere or given as gifts. These will go to S.F. The contents of many of these works are so totally out of line with what is offered in the newspapers and in some schools that there is little in common but the title. When they arrived and are used I think I shall have with me the American Friends of the Middle East and perhaps a good portion of Federal Intelligence.

A man is a “fanatic.” That does not tell anything about him or what he believes, but the group whom he belongs to is known practically everywhere as being composed entirely of “fanatics.” In his country the “fanatics” hold either the majority of votes or the balance of power. He comes to the U.S. How is he to behave? So Mr. Sukarno comes and purposely puts on a Hollywood performance because we do not and almost will not investigate his ideas on subjects which he takes seriously. Seeing we do not understand what he considers serious, he assumes a role and gets away with it. That is exactly what I am going too.

My “Puck of Pukhtunistan” stunt has worked out miraculously for me. Nearly all the jests have come true. I used to write “I ain’t a saint.” So I recently wrote: “Puck speaks in public. Name not mentioned. Instead a sign: “Ah Yaint, a saint.” Or when the people came to this house and said I must be a Malik (king of prince) in disguise. I denied it. Then they said, “When you are an Ameer…. Why we can see it in your eyes, you are an Ameer.” “Yes,” I said hanging my head, “Ameer Ican.” These written as bits of humor long since have occurred objectively and this is only the shadow of what is going on.

There is no man who has stood by me through thick and thin more than Abdul Sattar, long time Consul-General in S.F. He is moving to Abbottabad soon and I have already been a guest of his relations. They are wealthy and powerful and later on have promised a tour which will include Harappa, site of ancient Indus Valley civilization. We are going to consider both Tourist and Pakistani Culture in the U.S. This is a long and complex subject. I have, fortunately, the most complete allies in the American Friends of the Middle East. Their library in Karachi is a dream come true. Books by Americans well known in Asia adorn the shelves; books by well known Europeans regarded in Europe and the U.S. as “experts” on Asia absent. It is the U.S. and the Middle East meeting. There are few or no books abhorrent to Pakistanis on the shelves, And every now and then I come out with the statement of that well known Epoop who at an Iqbal celebration said: “I am most happy to address you on the occasion of the birthday of the greatest of Asian poets, Rabindranath Tagore.” Boy, isn’t Samson rather wrathful of the Philistines! And don’t worry, darling, I am prepared to go to court, too.

Now we come to that grand event—loud applause, please—the Peace Corps. Nice gentle “Children’s Crusade” and they will go to Tanganyika or is it West Senegal or Kohistan and meet several Tanganyikas or Senegalese or Kohistanase trained in Russia in the same professions with signs “Yankee go home” or “Down with Western Imperialism.” Pakistan is all ready for them. Jane Van Morhouse PhD. Smith College and Percy from Exodus are coming here to teach husbandry and animal husbandry and there all be a delegation which will greet them and fete them and give them lots of comforts and have them listen to a series of lectures on Islam. This Islam will not resemble anything they have learned in school or college and before they receive any clients to learn about husbandry (women want kids) or animal husbandry (cows want calves) they will be indoctrinated and if they don’t respond to the indoctrination Jane Van Morhouse will be told she is working against family planning a national policy and no foreigners can teach husbandry here, etc. Then these peace-corps infants will find that Kohistan is more than a point on the map and there is nothing in the Book of Genesis or Declaration of Independence which affirms that some people must be potters and others must be clay and the Kohistanese may wish to be potters of American and Russian clays and turn them into Muslims. This is not, of course, in the Peace Plan and when it turns out that the Kohinstanese are not Laotians or Annamese and they will stand no such nonsense, the home press will be “shocked.” Or, if we continue one-way street indoctrination, another USIS library will be moved.

I am hoping, when I return, to get an introduction to the editor of L.A. Times. Mayor Poulson is a good friend of mine and he is the one who started me on this crazy business. Anyhow his chief opponent is Sam Yotty who Ripley was a pal of mine. My formula, succeed, select as friends men who will succeed is now pushing me forward. And as I said above, my chief friend is palsy-walsy with the Prime Minister of Malaya. Don’t we have fun!

My scientific interviews are very successful, very cordial and very time consuming but I know of no better way to consume time. The main difficulties are that at the moment the government is decentralized geographically, having moved in large part from Karachi without yet settling at the new capital Islamabad. I am thankful they are leaving Karachi and so is everybody else. It is one spot in Pakistan that even the natives would be glad to “return it to the Indians” if they only had another seaport. Today it was mostly water problems, largely technical.

I got an introduction from Prof. Abdul Hamid Khan, U.C. grad to Dr. Zaidi, and when I got to the office there were two Drs. Zaidi and they both wanted to see me. But I gave my literature over to the first one. I gave them what they wanted and asked for. I am accomplishing what others are planning. I learned, too, that the U.C. experts will be here this winter after I leave. Then last night at dinner I met the Prof. of Botany who “accidentally” was my host on my former visit. We monopolized a talk which should have been general and he gave me the name of the top banana in agriculture here who is another U.C. graduate and whose office I located today but had a full program and could not visit. So I am going to place before the University of California first the idea of “California in Asia” to be patterned after “Princeton in Asia.” We do not need any “Peace Corps.” We have oodles of graduates from American universities all the way from Kohistan to Tanganyika who are already accomplishing anything and everything the Children’s Crusade is dreaming about. Only newspaper men and until recently the O.I.C. did not recognize they were even alive. The number of our university graduates abroad who would like to brief us is an army, immense, and what they know and would help us with would turn the course of history and without any cost to our taxpayers. And then Jamey and Joey and Algernon would not go abroad and have to meet the expert propagandists of Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism or Voodooism who would greet them when they visited some “backward country.” Boy, am I having fun!

After I go back to Abbottabad my next trip will take me to Jamshyd Khan, a rich farmer at Mardan. He will supply my friend and moi with a car and chauffeur and all we have to do is pay for oil and gas. We may ultimately go to Swat about which I think I have told you. Anyhow the Swatis I have since met confirm that their dances are Greek and some day too, our archeologists will get into the act. Yes, I have written Madelynne on this and I will keep jawing about at Ed and John until we get some Federal funds behind them instead of the Children’s Crusade.

This, darling, has already been taken up with the Commercial Attaché here. You see this speaking, villainous, Mephistophelean, bombastic schizophrenic did not talk about F.D. He just reported that one could sell a thousand records overnight even in a village—which is probably true. And if I don’t get in one door there are two others. We can’t sell these people Cadillac’s (They prefer the “Fox-wagon”) but we can sell them rock-and-roll…. Incidentally the original Rock-­and-Roll comes from Pukhtunistan. There they rolled rocks down the mountains side at caravans. Boy, am I having fun! Well the Commercial Attaché has been converted, proving, as I have aid, that this Potter-Clay business might work both ways and we Pukhtus may convert a few Americans too. Especially on F.D. which I know you favor.

Another factor in the lengths of this letter is that while it has been around a round—yes around a round 100°, I may be crazy with the heat but am above par.

Lahore is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, full of parks, gardens, landscaping but the heat discourages journeys on foot. I shall have to return here several times and my lecture schedule will no doubt be enhanced even before I mail this. However once sealed I shall not add but put the post-script in the letter to Wesley. The post-script, in the Pushkian world will come first, by air-mail and this by sea.

When I am in Swati I shall probably write to my friends of the Buddhist Church. I sent them my usual contribution this year. My lecture Saturday will get me back in touch with the Museum here which has a lot of Gandhara Art. And this reminds me, I have an entirely different type of report to send to my friend, Mrs. Leonard, on Sutter St., growing out of the book purchase, and my social affairs.

I have not heard from Gavin Arthur. My intuition tells me that I shall be having a car when I return and a driver. It will probably be John Betts, my room­mate on Clementina St. This is, of course a dream. I have had my “fortune” told several times now. It is more in the way of investigating the prognosticators than it trying to look ahead. But they only bear out my intuitions which are invariably good, though they make me cautious.

The hardest thing to face here is the undercurrent of caste. No matter what is said, there is caste. And when you are mobbed, there is a tendency to get or let the big people meet you. I always go after the kids or rather let them me after me.

I am also reminded of “two miracles” which took place today but I think—I shall include them in the letter to Wesley because they are very much on the side; There is now a large gathering in the front garden, people coming to be healed by the Major or have his magnetize the water. The crowd is larger than usual. Actually I am unable to give any emotional cheery letter because at this moment the cheerfulness is real, positive and topside all the way. Despite the heat I feel very wonderful and if there are any clouds on the horizon it is because today the horizons is very great, extended.

I cannot help feel a little sorry for you on the dancing side. I am very much mixed in my action and attitude. The more I dream of travel the more I dream of having to learn Latin-American and even “kid-stuff” dances for the edification of those whom I shall contact. Outside of the kolo-work there are too many loose ends and if I come back, I am faced with these situations:

1. I was offered a home in Southern California with friends who have large properties and which I had accepted conditionally. This will be very necessary if I am engaged in writing and do not get a job with any organization.

2. While I am not looking for such a job, a half-time one with the American Friends of the Middle East, or a Pakistan Travel Bureau or Cultural Mission would change my geography and I should like to return at least part time to the university.

3. My research work just may be in demand and this will in turn effect my geography. My present wish would be to have a sort of vacation-in-reverse either in S.F. or Marin country, which I can’t explain—too many complexities.

On top of this is a commission to help sell some of the great Moghul jewels in California. This is an enterprise in itself.

When I go to Mardan I shall not be far from Peshawar. I must go to that city sooner or later. Not only has there been a standing invitation from the university but I wish to go to the bazaars. I have the foot-lines of certain ladies for whom I am presumed to get shoes and I wish to get shoes and I hope I get shoes and I feel fairly sure that I shall be getting shoes. As everybody says that is the best place and there are the cheapest and best wares there sooner or later I must go.

 

It is now 7:45. I have a supper engagement and was supposed to be ready some time ago. But time means nothing and while the host is fretting and fuming the Pakistani gentlemen are outside doing nothing and letting the time pass. This makes it very, very hard for and on me. I simply got up and came into type.

I am concerned rather than worried about Wesley. This concern is increased by the successful healings which have taken place here in the last two hours. The Major is anxious to come to California. I do not see my way clear and I see my way clear—a contradiction, but I hate wasting time. The Zen Buddhists say: “You have all eternity; haven’t you finished that job yet!” They would not understand this here.

I feel all wound up and my mind is clicking, I hope, on big things. I shall have to adjust and also some things and people shall have to adjust to me But I cannot see details, where or how I am to live etc. Only at this moment everything seems bright, cheerful and favorably ominous.

Hope you have read this with interest. Cannot be assured of continuum and now I wish to write Wesley.

Cheerio and as-salaam aleikhum,

Samuel

 

 


May 31, 1961

Abbottabad

 

My Dear Leonora:

Summer ain’t a cumin’—it’s already here. It’s not so hot in Abbottabad, yet, but it’s warm enough and it’s swarm enough (flies). My own domicile is cool. Anyhow, I am now a friend of the Superintendent of Police and he can put me in the cooler any time. That’s a joke. They do have a jail. They have jails all over. The British (the damn imperialists) built such lovely jails that the officials have taken them over for their regular offices. I don’t know where they put the criminals, but they must have some somewhere, as the papers mention it.

At this moment I have a audience. Just like modest me. Three small boys are watching this fly, and I am typing fast. To get back to the Supt. who is palsy-walsy with me and that is why I am writing. But to catch the reader’s interest I took my castanets to his house last. I found he had a plethora of daughters and just one son. I had met the two older girls but when I (modest me) got out the castanets, two more came in. So I did cachuca and fandango and one jota and Tarantella Siciliana which can be demonstrated after which I became warm and tired—your summer ain’t a cumin’—it’s here. But by that time, the girls liked it enough and we managed to get in some talk.

You see, I am also “Ah Yaint, a saint.” This is the children’s view. Believe it or not, I don’t have to tell tall stories. I began showing the boys a game called “piggy ball” or “pinky ball.” You can’t call it “piggy ball” here because the term swine is forty-seven degrees lower than prostitute so I stuck to “pinky” which is its real name anyhow. I know we used the term in jacks when I played jacks five incarnations ago.

Well I had a little trouble getting started but who comes to my aid? A local saint with beard and trimmings and all. Saints are half mad and are allowed to do anything. Religious people are sane and respectable and allowed to do nothing but have long faces and find fault with everybody else. Saints smile and have no time to find fault. So the saint goes after the ball and has a lovely time. After that the boys and the youths caught on quickly. Me, with my creaky old bones, good for nothing but mountain climbing and typing, but I tried it and now being a saint I’ll have to try it again, darn it. It’s awful when you have a reputation to hold, or rather a reputation holds you.

To get back to the Supt. You see, darling, in the colleges around S.F. they teach there are no Sufis, no living Sufis and they never hold any jobs or responsibilities and I got kicked out for protesting and none of them have even granted me an interview either. So the law of compensation works here (also the boys who ought to be playing ball are signing up more, to watch me). The Supt. is a Sufi. He is also a friend of President Ayub who is another. So I have to face the same rounds of being invited to tea and dinner—protocol you know and last night I just succeeded by white and gray lies from having to take more dinners and for the first time I went to bed on a so-called empty stomach but I do not feel the pangs of hunger or many pangs. But I don’t know what to do if the professors keep on saying there are no Sufis and the top brass have no use for those professors and keep on inviting me to dinner. This was once the privilege of certain brand names or maybe I am obsessed by the spirit of the last Alexander the Great (the Great, not the Greek, meaning Wollcott). This is not publicity either, I wish it were anything. And I sometimes forget I have bicarb and vitamins and such things here with me so I guess it is my fault. Besides these Sufis have a constant habit of giving me just the parts of lamb which I like or if it is not lamb just the kind of foods I like even when I am not hungry and this makes it doubly difficult—I insult my host if I don’t eat and I cater to my lower nature if I do. And Sufis are supposed to fight their lower natures and when I concede my lower nature gets bigger than my abdomen.

This also causes an international problem. If you stick your shirt inside your belt you are an imperialist and if it is outside you are not. Well, the front part of the shirt stays in and the back part gets out. I have tried changing pants and belts, and it is no use. The front part gets tucked in and the back part flies out and therefore I am a spy, working for the U.S. Intelligence or something. There are two ways out—one is to cut my shirts which means they could not flare; the other is to get a Pashtu shirt which is so big it hangs way out and is much harder to keep clean. The trouble is that I don’t know which side the public is on but I do know when I return those big shirts could act as good F.D. costumes, et al.

This reminds me of a digression, rather difficult because the footing section keeps increasing. My friend Abdul Rahman and I went to one of the parks the other day. A man came up and told us he was Supt. of Parks (not police for once). Now I am very much interested in Supt. of Parks and Gardens and flowers and trees and all that. But what do you think he asked—there is, of course, no telepathy and no Sufis and all that rot—but anyhow he asked: “Would you gentlemen like to go to a folk dance festival with me?” Right out of nowhere, just like that. I am therefore on pins and needles waiting for Thursday night when he is to pick us up and deliver us somewhere.

I am a little queezy about this. In my Puck scrap book I wrote an item “The Pun’s Revenge.” I met a man who I called Abdu Ktub—which means servant of holy men—which he is. The next day Abdu Ktub took me out and what do you think he did? What do you think a man named Abdu Ktub would do? Right! I got it and found myself in a beautiful garden miles from everywhere and nowhere. Very safe they thought and nobody paid any attention. But I did something nobody does here, it’s against protocol, I talked to the gardeners and common working men and got away. This was a cruel double play against protocol, talking to the hoi polloi and escaping. But that name, Abdu Ktub! (more reinforcements).

Well, let’s back to the Super. He is always introducing me to holy men and Sufis and now I met a Khalandar, right out of the Arabian Nights and “Scheherazade Suite.” This also is impossible because there are no Khalandars excepting in books and very old ones at that. Of course my stomach tells me different. Khalandars don’t cook but to serve a Khalandar is also protocol, so I eats. Whether I wish to or not, I eats. The food is not bad, but I eats.) The landlord has just come and cleared the deck and let daylight in.

Of course they are critical about the U.S. knowing as much about the U.S. as we know about them. If Johnson said, “I liked New Delhi” that was proof that the American people and government were in an international conspiracy with Nehru who is in an international conspiracy with K. who is in an international conspiracy against the U.S. Also, I found that the Hindus would be glad to turn over Kashmir to Pakistan and everybody, Hindu and Muslim in Kashmir wants this but the Jews won’t let it happen. You see you do not get the real news. As I am a scientist, I can understand space travel and hormones and ultra-ultra radiations, but this Kashmir question is too much, like the older Polish question???

I’m still a little queasy about the folk dance festival. Invitations yes, programs, no! The rain has a sudden habit of wanting to review these things too, and generally gets there first. So I am holding breath and promising somebody a letter if the thing really does occur and this is not another Abduct-Tub. So maybe I’ll see the Supt. first and meanwhile I am taking time out. The mail will come soon, if at all and after that I am supposed to have a date with a Khalandar, and that’s no joke.

Then there are problems. I am very fond of Okra which is called Lady’s Fingers’ here so I went to the market today. I am well known at the Fruit and Veg. Market but I have not inquired when I am Puck (Sahib, Sob and S.O.B) or “Ah Yaint, a saint.” Anyhow bargains. Well I think Okra costs about $.30 a lb. in S.F. As Bananas are about $.05 each here and Oranges accordingly and even Mangos are top, I put down One Rupee for these Lady Fingers and I staggered under the weight as I went away. So I shoved a lot to my favorite restaurant and a lotter lot to the hostel here for manana and I ought to get my fill. I ought to be eating here but despite the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation” my favorite restaurant is now serving that insidious imperialistic dish, Ice Cream. And since I ordered my plate yesterday, it was just like this typing at the beginning, the whole public comes in only they don’t watch me, they do it themselves and my friends are having a thriving business with this insidious imperialistic food. You don’t even put cayenne in it. Maybe this was Johnson’s fault, too.

We had a feast day and I ordered a lot of food for my friends. It was almost given to me. Then I found I had to buy butter and oil at prices which would make Goldberg McLean shudder and pay the cooks’ wages because on the feast day the ladies of the house must not work. So Puck wrote a long report to his Burma friend, U Can, Twin, of Mandalay. Indeed there are a lot of reports going to U Can, Twin.

Now time for recess and tea after which we wait for the postman who does not ring at all.

It is a beautiful night, very balmy after a warm day (so am I, balmy) and I had tea with the Khalandar and two police officials. Then I went for a long walk, had dinner—Okra and Rice, or rather Lady’s Fingers and I overate, so I paid visits on foot and walked a lot and now am back. It is more fit to be a romantic evening but I have to observe protocol which is very difficult when you do not even know what protocol is. Some cadets offered to take me to a wine-bibbing session which is against protocol excepting that Khalandars do everything against protocol and it is a little confusing when you do not know which side of protocol you are supposed to be lined up with.

Up to now the main diversions have been football, volley ball and Iqbal. I am adding softball and handball. I get surprised when I remember several games I used to play when young—I was young once you know, or twice or thrice or always—anyhow I am gradually introducing them. I am not abducting or deducting or seducting but verily seducing boys with another imperialistic habit—ice cream. One gets very fine Ice Cream in Rawalpindi but now one is fortunate enough to get it at all here.

I escaped being blamed for the American Policy on Kashmir. It is partly due to my ignorance and partly due to everybody’s ignorance which I successfully proved. But then some questions are supposed to remain questions and if you settle them you cause trouble.

Outside of being suspected, and probably enjoying it, I am being invited more and more by more and more and not only the dervishes, Sufis, and Khalandars, or even the bigwigs. I am resigned, and if I have to attend picnics and banquets, you can record my great sorrow. Anyhow I am learning enough to be a connoisseur on Pakistan. I can’t be an expert because I did not graduate from Oxford or Heidelberg but I can be a connoisseur and besides, that entitles you to eat and drink more. It also makes you respected here. In America they respect the “experts” and in Pakistan they hate them, chiefly because they have some fool ideas that Pakistanis are better equipped to lecture about Pakistan than Germans, Hindus or Englishmen. So I am going to be a connoisseur. Of course I’ll have to collect some autographs from M. Ayub and maybe if he invites me to tea 40-11 times some newsman will at least give me equal space to a commentator who has never been here but has written 5 columns about the place—accepted, of course.

The big thing, pardon me while I adjust my cloak-and-dagger, is the fun everybody is making of the “Peace Corps.” Amateurs to do what professionals have already done but nobody listens to the professionals. What newspaper would dare put out an article on the good works done by Americans here and ask them a few questions. European professors, yes, newsmen, yes. But actual American specialists who have spent years of their lives in Asia, goodness no. What is the world coming to? Honesty and truth? It is, at least, conceivable. The gent for Asia Foundation who thinks he is doing a good job and probably is doing a good job was asked what he thought about the Peace Corps. But he was not asked what he thought about Pakistan and what should be done here, Das ist verboten and you should see the laughs I get about the visiting American who offers you everything and anything excepting what you really would like to have. He never asks you that; that also ist verboten. Now it is after 10 and I think my thinking cap has gone awry or astray or something or maybe it is just the moon.

 

Morning. I am fed up. I keep on getting visitors in regard to the strange relations between our countries. The V.P. comes to a land full of villages and farms, visits a few cities and decides to give a lot of help to the cities where the lands are eroded, the salt infiltration is increasing, the minerals are being discovered but not exploited and the Russians are taking full advantage. The Russians are not wanted but will do what the people need and we are wanted and will do what we say the people need. Then, on top of that, Johnson is said to have favored Nehru and to mention Nehru is like presenting a Red Shirt to a synagogue. But in the midst of hip, hip hurrah, voices are not heard. We want to teach, we don’t wish to learn and the one-way traffic we have in cultural relations is getting worse and worse. I am very serious in saying that evidently I shall have to get a petition signed by the President, the cabinet and a lot of worthies and countersigned in Malaya and Indonesia to awaken us to the factual-facts of life. Might do, too.

Sam

 

 


June 8, 1961

 

My dear Leonora:

There is a blind spot and a terrific blind spot which makes the work of a professional “prophet” exceedingly easy. In San Francisco I once had a reputation of being a sort of occult seer because certain influential people who had no business being influential insisted I did not know anybody and was indeed exaggerating when I said I sometimes associated with big shots.

Thirty miles away there is Murree, the Simla of India, the Summer capitol. When I was there five years ago I foretold correctly to a T what the U.A.R. government was going to do about Pakistan. It came out exactly exact. The reason was so simple—I got it right out of U.A.R. Embassies. But that just cannot be accepted. In this country, of course, it is preferable to regard anybody as a saint or master rather than look at facts as facts.

Before he went away my fellow San Francisco, Felix Knauth offered to bet me ten to one that the Chronicle would not accept his contribution. No takers. Felix is now famous in Pakistan. He may sometime be before the Explorers Club or the Academy of Sciences in G.G. Park. Scientists are those queer fellows who have the habit of accepting facts as facts. Others look at the implications and if they don’t like the implications it jest ain’t so.

I am having a terrific time, so much so I often fall asleep dead tired. First there are the group including Sufis, dervishes and what not whom it is insisted do not exist; or if so, they are persons of no importance. My stomach told me so in Lahore, what with a feast every night. Here I do not have tea or dinner every night because I cannot have tea with everybody every night. There is only a partial telephone system and there is no organized communication by tonga or bus. Now I have a date with a Khalandar. It is not everybody who has a date with a Khalandar. He wants to come to California. He is certainly going to be a curiosity being a non-existent person according to our universities. He is quite willing to appear before them knowing beforehand he will be called a fraud. He will tell them that they know nothing of Islam—which is probably true. This is one type of visitor.

Then the next type do not ascribe occult powers to me. Quite the contrary, they insist I am an intelligent official and get mail from all over the world. The fact is that in the last 10 days I have had exactly one letter and the only other communications have come from the USIS office in Lahore and from the banks. So they come down and want to know why VP Johnson did or didn’t certain things. I must be pro-Indian because I am an American. This is the kind of stuff the commies peddled before and they can do it again.

I have, of course, a weapon which is not recognized. I challenge them according to Qur’an and Hadith. Then I add a few facts they don’t know. I could add a few lies, too; they would not know the difference for the basis of anti-Americanism is nothing but misinformation and lies, cum 90% downright ignorance. The people are religious without knowing anything of their religion. At times it becomes a grim joke. My methods, though entirely successful, are not recognized and wait till those kid “Peace Corps” folks come; boy, are they going to get it.

Then there are the educated. They are very different. They are most friendly and cordial, especially the college students and teachers. But I am just one person—or am I? Of course I am Puck of Pukhtunistan and Chisti Sahib and Ah Yaint, a saint and Maman, meaning material uncle. On top of that I have done something terrible, awful: I have added to the national amusements of Football, Volley Ball and Ikba: Soft ball and hand-ball. I have shown three games of soft ball and am preparing to show games of handball. I even am looking for old rings of any kind to give the boys hoops. This makes me popular but this kind of anti­communist propaganda is so unfair to protocol and the enemy that it is entirely out of place.

It is hours later. A continuous letter, unless it is written very early in the morning, is utterly impossible. With visitors of all these types—and the visitors are naturally many more than the types, I am constantly compelled to change the subject-matter, etc. I have kept my date with the Khalandar across the way. It is, of course, amusing to talk about a date with a Khalandar, out of Scheherazade Suit or the Arabian Nights, but this man has clairvoyant faculties and he has proven them to me. He not only told me a lot about my history but this evening he said: “I shall hold a press conference in New York and begin, ‘Mr. Reston, you don’t believe me but you just had a quarrel with your wife this morning’” and he said he will tell them about their intimate lives until they recognize he has some powers. This is likely to happen.

He claims he has spiritual powers and healing powers. I have been much concerned with Wesley and also one or two others. But I am more concerned here with barren lands that have not been planted, with eroded soils, with the other problems plus a strange national laziness—outside the army and police, and, of course, the peasants who do not count in this land of Islamic democracy?????

The Khalandar made it difficult for me to go to the festival with the folk dancing. My friend, Abdul Rahman of S.F. went and the dancing was called off and the rest of the program he said was no good. Tonight we did go to “The Avenger” which must have been pictured in Yugoslavia. It had folk dances, Russian style, and wonderful choral singing. The photography and costumes were excellent. I have not gone to Urdu pictures but want to see “Shirin and Farhad” which is undoubtedly a sort of “Romeo & Juliet” of this part of the world. The previews are very fine.

I have also become very friendly with the Commissioner of Food, chiefly through his son. I doubt if our meetings have hardly begun. I have become familiar and friendly with all branches of the police, and I mean just that. Some day some psychologists will try to explain away how “Puck of Pukhtunistan” was over welcomed by the Pathans (i.e. Pushtus or Pakhtus) It will be very interesting indeed but not so interesting as my social life. Fortunately I escaped dinner tonight although I half fear somebody coming to know on my door and bring me an unwanted meal. As one man said rather sarcastically but true: “There is always food for the filled traveler and none for the unfilled peasant.”

The present reports of the “welcome” Johnson got in the U.S and the fact that he has caused dismay here may not be communicated, so I am going to read the news from the USIS bureau at Lahore and then will continue tonight or tomorrow morning, inshallah, praying I won’t be over-interrupted.

 

It is morning. It is six o’clock and already the college boys are engaged in a hockey game. I wish I could watch them. But I have now a long letter to write to Prof. P. Sorokin. I must say that the few professors with whom I am in contact outside of the pure sciences have been among my best allies. In general the non-scientists look to degrees, to prestige, etc. and not to knowledge or wisdom. Even here I should imagine I would be getting lots of rebuffs but there are two outstanding facts: the majority of people are Muslims; the majority of people are suffering from malnutrition.

After writing Prof. Sorokin and other things I shall probably continue this letter. For after the Khalandar projects I shall no doubt write to Stanford Research Institute. I am no longer concerned with rejections and if there are any more a priori rejections, wow-wie. I never got them from the Graduate Institute, only from the “Normal” staff. Insecurity is the worst reason for a professor not answering. I think when I return I shall test all the profs. whose names I have and see what they really want to do regarding the Orient and report in detail both to the OSS and to the governments of Asian countries. That will waken some of them up—like Minnesota, which has become quite radically objective.

I am being promised a wonderful welcome in India. This just because I have said that the Indians were at least as well equipped as Englishmen and Germans to teach Indian philosophy. Of course this is not done. Prof. Northrup of Yale is the top authority in America on Indian philosophy; in fact he is so wonderful that it almost seems that he discovered Indian philosophy himself because you won’t find anything like that in India. Besides “everybody” knows India is made up of mahatmas and coolies.

Be that as it may I never said I was not a hypocrite and I am going to accept free dinners and welcomes and make speeches at universities in India on “Oriental Philosophies and Modern Science” and if I can get in enough speeches before the Russians start, maybe, just maybe, some Americans in authority will recognize. I wrote Chest Bowles and his secretary answered me. I wrote the secretary and his secretary answered me. Now I do not know what the chain-line of secretary’s secretaries is but will go to India and do instead of writing. Everybody has formulas, nobody does, although I should say this is restricted to commentaries, diplomats and Pakistanis—they all know but nobody does.

I hope to be back in America come next May. I have a long Indian tour and then Malaya—combination of high society, lectures and food—and boy won’t I be glad to get to Malaya!

I am not coming up with any answers on Kashmir and I have my ideas only about salt-infiltrated soils, floods, deserts, eroded lands and Islamic culture, plus a side glance at the locusts and flies. My tourism has been partly thwarted by my financial mix-ups and partly by the Tourist Bureau who are as informative as in jack Benny’s shows. Fortunately the Government Transport Bureau has helped me out. Now the rains are in.

I keep two diaries, neither up to date. No doubt I shall become an “authority” and if I can get 15 prime ministers and 75 professors to sign a petition maybe some newspaper editor will give me an interview—I don’t know but I’ll keep plugging. Anyhow, I am not worried about private organizations. I stick to the view that all Americans other than diplomats and commentators are intelligent and even if not exactly true it is not a bad gag.

Saw a wonderful Indian movie (this is for Henk). Mixture of Indian dancing with Spanish and Mexican and Austrian—big circus shows with American music and wonderful pageants. The period costumes were all correct, no phony stuff, all historical and much wonderful research. And the dream of my life—a ballet in which the performers danced on huge drums! The singing was excellent and I guess about every kind of instrument in existence was used somewhere although I am not sure of the ocarina!

Please excuse this hodge-podge, and if I don’t write again I hope to see that the foot-gear etc. is properly shipped from Peshawar.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


June 12, 1961, night

 

My dear Leonora:

So much has happened since I tried to write. The procession of people who call, the events that take place, the problems placed around me.

Folk-dancing seems far away. I could not go to the celebration and the dancing was called off anyhow. I am still spending much time with the Khalandar. It is going to be a shock to the Muslims of San Francisco. They never would let me speak. Now so much money has passed me by that I could have collected for them. The rich here are not naive. They are educated. They know what they want and they are not going to dish out moneys to persons unknown to them for purposes over which they have no control. There is no question but that some people or many people will be coming to California this coming year.

The Khalandar is collecting funds here. He will not charge for his lectures or services. This may be unusual. I am preparing to help him to go Hollywood. Of course they will welcome a character out of Scheherazade Suite or the Arabian Nights, it is not like that. The other day a man approached me and asked if I were British. He came from Bournemouth near Southampton. I took him to the Khalandar and he said he found what he had been looking for all over.

It has been very hot. When I go out people offer me tea, often with sugar and milk. They have been coming here and insisting I take more tea with sugar and sometimes with milk. I had to put a stop to it. I told than in my rooms I was host, not guest. In 100° weather you cannot be stuffing your stomach.

On the other hand. I have been teaching boys soft-ball, handball, pinkey-on-the bounce and other games. Between this and dancing I am very popular with the small fry. I also have another nickname—the tots call out “Tam bleaze” and I am supposed to chase them. In the heat this is not a very enjoyable game. I also dance balancing a brick or load on my head. I have become the most unusual person (You know me ‘Al) . The only thing I can’t live up is all my nick-names; each one has a function.

The news here is opera comique or opera bouffe but serious. Every week there is a threatened invasion of Kashmir which is always called off because the Afghans cross on the other side. Everybody is for “peace” but nobody knows what once is any more than they know what submission is or an election or plebiscite is. Now they want a referendum.

Johnson came home and said he met no opposition. In an agricultural land he visited cities. He asked people “Do you approve of me and my plans?” They said “Yes.” Everybody approved of him and nobody knew what his plans were. Now that they have found out—skip it. We need a few more Laotian situations. Zanzibar has gone the way of a lot of flesh. The only time the people here know of Khrushchev is when we advertise and we advertise him an awful lot and that raises his stock in trade.

I have written to Sam Yorty, the new Mayor of L.A., also another old pal. He loves to gripe and when he gets the real news which never appears in the papers he is liable to hit the ceiling; or ask me for more should he run for U.S. Senate. It is ridiculous that I shall have to visit a lot of Prime Ministers just to get one newspaper interview at home. This country is full of friends of the U.S.—either American people who have worked and are working here or Pakistanis who went to American universities but nobody calls on them for advice or information. Nothing doing, because Allah is great but protocol is greater.

I wish I could write a continuous letter. I am only free before 7 in the morning and after 10 at night plus an hour or so in the p.m. when I fall asleep. But the prognostications—wotta word—are fine. I have all the fortune-tellers with me and a few others. I have just written to Walt Baptiste about the Khalandar and some time ago to my “god-son,” Norman McGhee. Well, Phant-asia marches on but I stick to the real Asia.

Sam

 

 


June 20, 1961, almost my birthday

 

Dear Sam,

You are wonderful to write so often and long. I received your Apr. 23rd. account on June 11th. There was an unusual outpouring it March and the latest I have now is Apr. 23. So I have a long way to go to catch up with your present whereabouts. At the present moment I am not going to comment on these communications as I have so much personal news to relate. But I will send, shortly, a copy of my letter about Xmas you say you never received, as it contains some info on Max that will help you to understand events I am about to relate. My carbons show I have faithfully written once a month, but there is no carbon for May, which may mean because it was hectically full, or that I wrote in longhand. The Xmas letter told you of the death of my­good-friend-for-20-years Doug. Kline.

Doug, a born bachelor in his seventies, with no relatives, had named me in wills written since 1952. The last one, voiding others, gave me all his possessions, money in bank, etc. But because he failed to use the words appointing me executrices, the Public Administrator moved in, took away the bank book, closed his Curio Shop and prepared to sell Doug’s wonderful collections along many lines. I got a lawyer and fought back. Oh how often I thought of you and your experiences with your father’s will. In the long run you became wealthy and I shall not. But I learned the true character of Max and together we disposed of the collections in the basements of Doug’s friends. The odds and ends, or “junk” at the front of the store I had to buy (yes, though willed to me!), then turn around and sell to a junkie, in order to get possession of the valued items. The rent on the store was to go up $15, so I decided to get out by a certain date—which meant Max and I worked until 4 A.M. loading the last truck load, driving through the city too tired to appreciate its weirdness. I got up at 6:30 a.m. & was at work on time.

Subsequently I have corresponded with Drs. Neil and Miller out at CS Park, with various officials at PG&E, here in L.A. and still I can’t even donate collections that are highly appreciated, but nobody has room for them. When I have to demonstrate these items Max is always there. Together we put on the most unusual Carrousel Party of the year, from Doug’s collection of “Boots & Shoes” (theme of the Party). I wished for you & your Pakistani shoes!

I have known Max, first as a customer in 1958, then as mechanic for my shop and he was forever proposing marriage. Finally he said he couldn’t stand not having me any longer & would move away. Went around 2 days in a haze trying to imagine what life would be without Max. Then I finally made up my mind to marry him, the resultant action seemed to be in a hurry. But it was because I wanted to honor my parents by having the wedding on the anniversary of their always happy marriage.

Maximilian Figuerora Ponti and I were married in Carmel, June 4th, before a women judge. I took one week free from my closed launderette, so we had time to drive down the beautiful coastal Sur route, stopping overnight at a ritzy Motel in Ventura (my first experience). We were sightseeing in L.A. the balance of the third day and renewed acquaintance with Pig ‘nd Whistle for a late dinner. The morning of the 4th day of our vacation we were packing his car to spend 2 days with my chum in Claremont. Presumably parking lots are flat, but this one had a hole I stepped into and was thrown flat! I suffered bruises in 6 spots a broken right ankle bone. I had to be hospitalized and plastered with a cast from toes to knee cap. I had to cancel some wonderful dates with friends and could not get to Disneyland. Trip home hot, painful.

Then came a terrific shock I must pass on to you. Our Wesley died of cancer Jane 4, and was buried 2 days later in a little Berkeley church. He was supposed to be getting better when we visited him just before leaving S.F.

Such bad news about Larry Brown I thought I should visit him, pains be hanged. He had been losing his fight with diabetes, but now he’s had a stroke and also gone blind. Otherwise I am mad at Carrousel for ignoring our wedding & my accident. Not even a card!

Other disappointments are trying to pull me down, such as no promised vacancy here for larger apartment. We shall continue to live here. At the shop a vigorous young man wanted to buy, but only on condition that he could put in an ironer. He had already solicited restaurant flatwork & would have made my place pay, so I could sell out. But City Mall refuses a permit for the ironer (due to pressure from the Steam Laundry Assn.) Tears of rage!

And no folk dancing for 6 to 8 weeks.

Yours in pain,

Leonora Martin Ponti

 

 


August 17, 1961

 

My dear Leonora :

This is the news. It is August 17, 1961 evening and Feliz Knauth of S.F. and me also of S.F. have been to Maxilla to look over the ruins. They have been cleaned up in spots. The Museum is in order and all objects d’art which did not find acceptance by the curator have been removed. Grecian, Persian and presumably Jewish things out. And the Greeks are shown to have become Buddhists. It is a pity that the Curator of Peshawar has conflicting views, or it is not a pity. I shall have to do some boning up before I leave Pakistan to say which one I accept, for they involve a lot of other stuff.

I wrote you the other day and then had my picture taken. Inasmuch as I shall have to mail you a picture, I answer your letter—piker! This saves on postage but not dignity. It is the picture of Puck of Pukhtunistan as he will appear on certain Midsummer Night’s Eves.

I have just returned from a film, “Night in Europe” or something which shows night clubs and dancing. I still like the Spanish best, by far. Way behind the Russian. I don’t like the French night clubs at all. Sometimes I dream of further traveling. I have two trips in mind—one to England and Sweden; another through the Mediterranean to U.A.R. But I won’t go alone any more if I can help it. I get tired of this single traveling and attention to so many details.

I may go into India overland from Hyderabad, Sind because few Americans have gone that way. I also hear that few Americans go to Waziristan.

Felix and I have not too much warmth toward the “Peace Corps.” Why do we ignore the veterans who have accomplished things? There are lots of them even though they do not always write books like Dr. Seagraves. And our position is hopeless. Nicol Smith of The Burma Road fame wrote a book on Tibet and made some prophecies; Lowell Thomas, ditto. “Everybody” read Lowell Thomas and you would get an idea from his writings that everything is safe and sound. But Lowell is the man whom the State Department and the press and the radio accepts and he has misled the American public no end. But he is he, like “This is the news” Marrow who writes glowing speeches that he welcomes criticisms and suggestions. Sez you. In fact so many of my criticisms and suggestions have been accepted that I am planning to write to president Kennedy.

I just sent a report to secretary Shahab criticizing one of our “experts” on the Orient and perhaps one of the men who briefed Lyndon Johnson. I think Johnson did some right things here but I have not found anybody who could point them out; he welcome s criticisms and suggestions and the whole Orient is furious with the U.S, with its maudling sermons and self-righteousness. Well, I got another letter today from a friend of another Prime Minister: La même chose. W sit around the table and prove our position in Laos is logical, rightists, noble and of universal benefit. The Chinese just infiltrate. After Laos Cambodia. I would like to see some top-notch commentator or anybody who can tell what language is spoken in Cambodia, what race the people are, etc., etc.

Your letter indicates your life is a hodge-podge and I shall be glad when it is not a hodge-podge and you can sit back in an easy chair and say “Ah!”

Why should the public library keep open. We don’t need no book learning no more. We can sit back and have the commentators tell us or just put the question to univac. In Russia—and why should we follow Russian—they keep the libraries open to 10 P.M. all the time.

Well I don’t practice any Yoga regularly now; only irregularly. Everything is lovely and snafu and why not?

Ruark is probably right. People stay 5-10 years or more in a foreign land and what they accomplish is not a matter of record. Prof. Schnitzel may spend 15 years in Waziristan and Commentator Walter Blah-blah may spend three days and who does the State Department listen to? This is diplomacy. I am for the veterans and I am for trusting all Americans broad, excepting professional newsmen. They guild lilies and whitewash snow and yet have the public ear.

I am hoping to send news from Waziristan and find out what the people want. I spoke to a big crowd at the college this week. I expect to s peak to many more people and it is very likely I have spoken to more Pakistanis than any other American has.

I wrote to Stanford about the Sufis to a prof. who is translating Sufi manuscripts, I said it was too bad we are treated as none-existent and that we have to go around and collect money to present Sufism to the American people because our universities insist we are non-existent. I told him—and it is true—that one leading “Orientalist” prof., while still holding we were non-existent, was quite willing to accept an endowment from us. Now we have to endow ourselves which is against our policy but it seems that dollars speak louder than words.

I have now stacks of introductions and I am told some of the people are overladen with cumshaw. Will accept. Will even try to get endowments. But none to the Muslims who would not let me speak for them and none to any university which denies our existence. This is very awkward.

There are now three distinct movements among the Sufis to counteract the Russians and I don’t mean with lips and sermon and self-righteousness; I still have three or four months without spilling to Prof. Burdick and I have not given up hope that some Ambassador or Under Secretary will answer one of my letters. But I think I may write Kennedy. Bowles is too busy contradicting Rountree to answer me and Rountree is too busy contradicting Bowles and the Asian-Asians have given us up as hopeless but are quite willing to accept our f$o$r$e$i$g$n $aid$. And they are right. After all we have plenty of money to endow trumpet players to perform before audiences of Greeks, French, Germans and Swedes all over the world. If the Armenians in Baluchistan are lonely we will send over a fan-dancer and if the English stranded in Bhutan need entertainment we will send over some strip-tease girls. This is foreign aid.

I am still in a quandary over my own future in dancing. So many of my old friends have withdrawn and the so many changes and introductions of made-up dances without social or historical background have loosened my interest. I feel very close to both Madelyn and Magaña Baptiste for reasons I would be glad to disclose in person but not in writing. The present control of F.D. by a small group which organize all the clubs and direct everything and get the offices etc., puts the whole thing far away from folks. On the contrary, I am more interested to visit certain lands where f.d. is continued.

I received a lot of information about the basis of the American Peace Corps. It is very different sending people to lands which have no grand cultural traditions and history or even religion than to impose, as I call it, the trouser-tractor-gadget-Potter-clay arrangements with a choice between the blonde Americans and blonde Russians. Every day the problems of this land seem greater, the solutions are quite evident, but just as sure neither we nor the Russians are going to do any experting without a big hullabaloo about our particular social ways and no attention at all to the local ethos. This is more complex when it comes to mineral wealth which they do have here and how and maybe will do something. But now my attention is to packing, moving and visiting strange parts.

Cheerio,

Sam

 

 


October 13, 1961

 

My dear Audley:

I wrote a letter to you five days ago and there was a little lie in it and there is a whole history in these five days which changes the complexion of that lie and everything else so I am rewriting and making carbon copies. There is one pun in that letter which still holds: I prefer bulletin-boards to bullets. Anyhow I am vain enough to write on one side only just in case this is tacked up.

Disappointment No. 1. Romance. Originally I left home for this purpose. My whole story was to detail a duplication of Mr. Isaacs of Marion Crawford. I re-read that book in Cairo and found it was a tragedy, not a comedy. Irony marches on.

Disappointment No 2. My best friend has turned commy. There is a whole story here I don’t wish to tell. Anyhow the movie people got hold of him and turned his head. Then he got in a car accident and they looked after him. Believe me, they looked after him. The story of these people is almost identical with that of Hollywood some years ago, plus intrigue.

Reversal of Disappointment. Fame. I don’t know what papers have copied. I am sending news to John Rockwell as quick as I can but I am over-burdened in every direction. I went to see my friend and was immediately attacked by the commies. I returned a few days later, they repeated and he joined them.

I do not wish to go here into the theory and practices of Sufism which is long and complex. But these people have mind-readers and what not. There was a Sufi teacher present who could not understand English but reads minds like a book. Two days later he gave me a wonderful reception. The next day we had a joint reception. The attacks continued despite their insistence that they never discussed me. And a mass meeting with Sam Lewis, the unugly American speaking to 20,000 people!

And the whole darned kit and crew of Americans is now for me and with me. I am only hoping that somebody in Washington will wake up.

I wrote to my god-son dedicating my memoirs just in case and added, “Don’t write my biography, just go and buy E. Phillips Oppenheim, you will find the whole thing there.” After being rebuffed by the cultural attaché in Karachi—no time for sergeants or bums, I became the guest of the top intellectual of the country, Sect. Shahab and got the blessing of Ayub. I can’t say that Ayub and I are thick but he put into practice my suggestion when he visited the States. It worked and I got a letter of thanks.

I am living in the home of Major Sadiq who is a friend of Ayub, a spiritual healer, a landowner and very wealthy. When I was here before, he introduced me to the cream of the cream. I meet everybody here, especially those whom others say I can’t meet and whom generally those don’t succeed in meeting. I have twice been the guest of the same people as Mr. Sulzberger of the NY Times and have written him (if any answer it is in Delhi).

One of these hosts was the Supt. of Police where I lived. I have made friends with the police all over. Well, some of his colleagues came and spilled the whole communist story, their intrigue to upset the Peace Corps. This is a cinch. This country calls itself an “Islamic” Nation and the definition is to be found in Lewis Carroll—”why a word means whatever I want it to mean.” Our teachers in Islam are a fine group of Englishmen, Canadians, Zionists and Europeans who take us into never-never land and miss all the fine points, noble points, offal, dung and spirituality that somehow or other gets mixed up with this word “Islam.” The only man who wrote the truth was Westermarck in his “Marriage and Morals in Morocco.” They have a science of filth-terms there that would make our Millerites look like kindergarten amateurs. They have a spiritual philosophy of which we have no inkling. All mixed up.

Now, since I have been exposed, I find the universal admittance by Americans that they do not know Pakistani Islam; who does? The Russians! I crisscrossed them at the most renown “Yoga” center in India. This could not be, so my reports were slanted. I turned a mob on the hecklers somewhere also. If I had been mobbed, I would probably have a big job with the State Department. I did the trick—when man bites dog in Asia, it is not news—and this is fact, truth, absolutely so and not sarcasm. So I am now asked to answer “The Lotus and the Robot” of Koestler and “Asia is My Beat.” Why, Audley, I have seen more history made than any present day American writer on this continent. Sooner or later it will out. I have just written to my friend, Dr. Radhakrishnan who, despite Koestler, is the next most important man in India to Nehru. And it is about Nehru and Tara Singh. I was the only outsider when they swore “eternal fealty”—until excuse do us part.

The other host was the largest successful farmer in Pakistan using modern means. I got wholesale insights into the Sugar industry, fertilizing, spraying, etc. the details of which—along with other things—I hope to discuss with your colleagues when I return. Anyhow I wrote to Saltzburger.

I also wrote to the Alsops and Satevepost. You see, darling, I call my closest associates, “Four, Just Men” You never heard of us, excepting me in the S.R. Journal-Independent, but there is not a big shot from one end of Asia to the other excepting Iran, whom one or us has not met—and we never got editorial or State Department interviews.

Well, I wrote Satevepost and Alsop with my tongue in my cheek. But, Ripley, News Week accepted my report just in the middle of my present drama a la drama. 20,000 people just to hear me. The whole public square was miked. I am about a quarter of a mile away and I can hear everything from there. And tonight repeat performance. My audiences had grown about 15,000 all told when I arrived in Lahore. I am just trying to bring Pakistanis and Americans together by bringing them together.

Third Disappointment. Folk Dancing. Missed it everywhere. They have either stopped or it rained. And my friend in the Radio Pakistan has moved to Karachi and I called off my visit there. Now the reversal of the reversal.

The commie attack cancels my visit to East Pakistan and my news associations favor my return to the U.S. via Karachi and New York unless there is a new departure and radical change (which is always happening faster than I can write). If I go to Karachi, I shall meet the very tops in the radio and entertainment world.

The last day in Japan I learned, too late, that my hostess had been an FD teacher. Now there is a group of schools across the street from here. I heard a band playing. It was little boys and girls and I saw a bunch of older girls—folk dancing. It is new. It is on the ground. It slightly resembles the Israeli dancing in representing a new spirit. But the forms are basically a mixture of squares and Lathrop formations. That is, in groups of 8 or 12, but generally 8, they go into geometric formations and laces and graces.

The supt. of the grounds is a friend of my host, the Major, and if I get stuck here—and I am stuck here, I may learn more. The reason for my being stuck is that the Indians have not issued my visa after one month. I offered references almost everybody but Nehru himself and that did no good so I air-mailed two letters to India. Even a long-distance call—put through by the American Friends of the Middle East—did no good.

The longer I remain here the more my program goes awry, the more my money piles up (no hotel bill), the more it is in the wrong places and the more I have to trust in Allah or something.

Meanwhile the Major has built himself a fame by his healing. Unlike the “spiritual” and hand-healers in America, he seems to do his best work in the presence of physicians! I have seen miracles, but only with a doctor in attendance which makes it all the more wonderful or strange.

President Ayub knows him well and there is a movement on to send him to the U.S.

Meanwhile he introduced me to another general. This one is head of the new Agricultural Development Corporation. Major Sadiq may be headed for that too. I went to one of his places. He even owns a palace with a long history. He asked me for advice: I told him (a. cotton and tobacco; (b. start a medicinal herb garden for the benefit of his friends the doctors. I found he is growing cotton and it looks fine. I did not see his tobacco—the place was too large. I spoke against Sugar Cane and he is losing money on it. And against Rice and most vegetables he is also growing oil seed plants and along with the cotton-seeds I think this is important. But I want to send him Avocados. With this new Agr. Dev. Corporation we should be able to pass quarantine.

In the meanwhile the whole legation has become serious about me. They realize the Peace Corps won’t know much about Pakistan and Pakistanis. They realize the seriousness of the agricultural problems. I spent over an hour on my plan to train apprentices in the food-processing industries, a matter I should also like to lay before you colleagues. Notes were taken and it is a 50-50 chancee the plan, in outline, will be laid before Secretary Freeman who arrives tomorrow.

Then I had to get some cash and got a letter to the American Express Co. While I was there I laid before them my plan for tourism which was spurned by the Pakistani bureaucrats. Did they accept it? They wish I go to the best office in S.F. and go into details which I shall.

Then I want to the USIA publicity department and spent more then and hour extra.~The same with the political attachés. These boys know the difference between reality and “realism.”

But the best is about Mr. Kibbee, who, while in charge of USI, has been promoted to the rank of Consul-General. One can hardly believe it. A Cultural attaché with sense! Instead of having pianists come and play Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Tchaikovsky (true, not sarcasm) these wonderful “American” geniuses, he has been putting and American folk songs and folk ballad nights. Page Charlie Bassett and Grace and Grace and Grace. What’s the world coming to? And these crazy Pakistanis—they paid no attention to the planet playing these wonderful ?American? geniuses Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Tchaikovsky and took to the American folk-songs and folk-dancing and square dancing. What’s this guy being paid for? I could hardly believe it. It is bad enough to be a victim of persecution instead of wars, but using American funds to bring American culture as it is to people who want to hear it and join us. ‘S unbelievable but it can happen her. And do they take to it?

You know I have a pack of nicknames such as SAM (meaning Sufi Ahmad Murad) and Puck of Pukhtunistan and Ah Yaint, A saint, but the kids call me “Ee-eye-ee-eye-oh!” Such insidious counter-propaganda, totally against protocol. And it word, it works!

I was not very successful in convincing anybody before but now everybody is listening to me. I am crazy enough to believe the people here will take to Burl Ives faster than to Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, knitting, tatting, weaving and sermoning. Of course this is unfair to the Russians to come down to earth and mingle with ye people. But this man has done it.

I am not so sure of Washington. I don’t unit with baited breath. My mail is in India but if not answered, watch for my throwing some hand grenades which will be bombs. Remember, Lewises rush in where angels and devils alike fear to tread. I am doing that myself tonight. But that’s another story.

Sam

 

 


October 15, 1961

 

Dear Leonora:

You will find enclosed copy of letter to Audley, in part professional, in part social. Well, the resolution has came and my cloak-and-dagger outfit is. It is getting to be more like a story that resembles a story instead of real life.

Friday night I spoke to 10,000 people—the orthodox this time, not the liberal Sufis. Yesterday morning to top graduates and professors only, a closed group at Punjabi University. And today I received a delegation of people who, at the last moment decided not to go to my former teacher, now turned communist and came to me for help. It was all right to make fun of “Ah Yaint, a saint” but it was useless. Many people think I am.

Evidently whatever I did must have turned out right for this evening I met a most beautiful young women teacher who has invited me to speak this week to graduate students at the College for Home Economics, where again my audience will be fair young maidens. This as I am supposed to be leaving and still no visa from the Hindus. I am pulling strings like mad.

The longer I stay the more money I save, the more my prestige goes up and the further I am from my goals, or is it gaols? Anyhow tomorrow morning I must report to the USIA on my speeches and see the Consul about my passport and also try to find how to get some Indian rupees—at any cost.

With the Americans accepting my food processing idea and perhaps passing it on Secretary Freedom; with the American Express accepting my tourism plan I am much encouraged and getting more jolts—upward. Surprisingly Newsweek accepted my report; and today, although Sunday and my mail it presumably going to India, I received another surprise—a response from Satevepost. I have written the Embassy in India to please send any mail on hand to me here, but not to my host, mail addressed to his address being kept for me.

I am beginning to feel more confident and meanwhile also things are coming fine for my post and friend, Major Sadiq. I am paying he come to the U.S. with me. I hate to say more or holdover for every day brings something. It fact it brings everything but me closer to my physical destination. What a change from my talks which so few attended.

Sam

 

 


October 1961

 

My dear Mrs. Ponti:

I gotta repeat this so it gets into the cortex or cerebellum or something. I am enclosing copy of letter to relatives with the grand local phraseology concerning and anent why I have not shipped shoes. For where is never a dull moment here although sometimes it is a toss-up between snafu and tarfu or I write letters to my imaginary Burmese friend U Can, Twin.

The moment is snafu but I may mail this in Rawalpindi where I am taking a day off to spend some money but for kids. For adults I am reserving Peshawar and may send for more rupees, God bless them, so that I shall have no excuse for not getting things off. Otherwise there will be no alternative but to unload in Karachi. I still have your foot-measurement which does not mean that the foot will fit the shoe exactly. But I’ll do my best and am determined—though I have not consulted Allah—to send all and sundry foot-gear to S.F. and a for other things.

My Burmese resolution or revolution had another effect—I have been invited to Pegu. I don’t want to go to Pegu, I don’t even know where Pegu is and I was about to shut the door tight when my host, whose first name is Allen, told me his father operated a hardwood forest plantation and if there is anything I want to see more than a hardwood plantation it is another hardwood forest plantation. So the best unlaid plans of mice and men don’t get anywhere. However I cannot plan until I get to Penang and at the moment my Malayan plans are best half-way between snafu and tarfu and me hungry for rijsttafel!

The last part of the letter concerns my young cousin Henry and may interest you. I have some qualms now about F.D. I would like to work with Magaña Baptiste and also with kolos and maybe Near East dancing, but these plans are overcomplicated by snafu programs of various Pakistanis for me in the U.S. which would bring money and not solace. They want me to travel and I don’t want me to travel, but c’est la guerre ver’ cold, ‘tis true, and the need of bringing Orient and Occident together.

The Russians did a terrible thing in space-flight. They pushed Kashmir off page 1. Kashmir belongs to page 1. East Pakistan has had another worst flood; it makes our hurricanes look like amateurs but that does not push Kashmir off page 1. There are increased problems on water-logging, saline soils, locusts, dry areas but that does nothing. People are so concerned with Kashmir that the rivers here, like neglected children, remind them by going in spate and then overflowing. This is awkward because there are not enough hand-workers in this empire of democracy to look after sand-bags and take care of the levels.

You can’t go anywhere without having the Kashmir problem brought up and this is worse because the Kashmiris say they are people and not problems—although I can’t quite agree. Did you ever meet any Kashmiris?

There is one great thing about an Islamic or religious country—you don’t have to believe God. The atheistic are concerned with God. The religions people with themselves. And the attempts to invade Kashmir are always being thwarted by the Afghans invading from the other side. “You dast me and I dast you” but there are more Afghans named Dast and let it go at that.

So-ol’-dear, I shall do me best to get something at Peshawar where I am shed-jeweled to be on September 7 or so. Then I don’t know what—only travel and travel until I get to Delhi about a month later.

Anyhow I have enough congressman and even State Dept. officials recognizing that come Americans have votes if not information, and it might be good to listen to them.

Samuel

[with ink blot—Ed]

 

 


Oct. 26, 1961

 

Dear Sam,

Thanks for the generously long letter and carbons. Within a week afterward the Pakistani shoes arrived! Thank goodness you, or the storekeeper, but that heavy bag with its durable string and wax dollops around it, for the box was smashed almost unrecognizably, likewise the paper bags. I wanted to pass on the latter for “local color,” especially the wondrous spelling of “sandles”! Even the newspaper stuffing interested me.

The slippers are very rich looking, the different appointments providing elegant atmosphere. That was smart of you to get several different sizes. I fell for the heavily beaded slippers with the red lining and its one blue flower. Alas these were far too large for me. The plain gold I liked the least were also too large. The gold embroidered velvet and the gold sequined trim on black velvet I am crazy about and will keep whichever pair best adapts to my feet. Will have to use gold ribbon to hold on the heel pert. Hope you had as good a time selecting these as I had unwrapping. Even showed them off to some retired ladies here in the apartment house, who got a great kick out of them. Miss Murphy even wants to buy a pair to send her niece, please state price. However, I told her you probably wanted them distributed to relatives or girl friends. If I did not hear in a week or so, as to their disposal, I would write and ask—which I am now doing, since I have conned your letters for such info in vain. You just indicated that shoes had to be shipped several together.

In addition to the allocation of 3 pr. of slippers, as above I want you to tell me one name of the East Indian loving picture that so intrigued you? If it was a prize winner, it will come to USA for participation in a Film Festival along international lines. I might thus have the opportunity to see it and I very much desire that.

 

It is now Oct. 31st

Next I would like you to identify your costume in the photo you sent and give the name of city or place where taken. Please do this on future photo of you send and date taken.

Something you have never mentioned is the use of interpreters. How do you make out in these lectures you give? Is English compulsory in the schools?

I had fun with your signature in the form of an Ink Blot. Remember when we students in psychology used to analyze them?

My teeth are still giving me the devil of a time, so I do not get as much gone as I could like. However, I managed to stand for one opera during the now defunct season. I like to keep up with the new operas, stars, music, etc. This was Blood Moon, action laid in New Orleans just prior to the Civil War. This had too much recitative type of singing, but Mary Costa was very enjoyable.

Some time ago I read an article on “The American Family is headed for Ash Heap of History” but it doesn’t seem worth commenting on any more, in the face of the Russian Megaton. The whole idea is hideous. A constant topic now is Shelters.

Wish you could see the clever article on Festival of Food. Oven Olympics Won by San Francisco Cooks. I’m saying it so you can become a gourmet.

Many thanks and thoughts

From

Leonora

 

 


Lahore, November 15, 1961

 

Dear Leonora:

Anything resembling sanity or sense here is quite coincidental. Too many cloaks, toe many daggers. Since stepping in the communist cell her there has been surveillance and whether causal or not, I have had a tough time getting mail, a tougher time tracing my money and no success whatever as to my Passport. I think know where the money is but as it is Indian rupees, it would not do no good, no how. Not a word from the Indians excepting one letter wrongly addressed and that was very courteous. Absolute evidence of mail tampering in two places shown to the Consul, but, of course, what I do not get, I do not know.

I was writing my diary report to one Audley Nichols, mostly technical, when the P.M. arrived with a flock and among them letters from her—which has been answered. Then a mail notice which required not only signing papers but a separate letter with a hope and prayer one of them gets through—mailed at different points.

The other day I cashed some money—my mail bill is enormous, my other expenses almost negligible. Then visited the Cooperative Art Goods store. Now my intentions are to buy there only for Rudolph Schaeffer Co. and to wait until I reach India for saris, one for you. Even this is modified—it is presumed here that the P.O. notice from U.S. was for books for me, but it, also might be saris. If it appears that I cannot get to India then you should receive saris either from here or Ceylon. Any possible purchases in Malaya come under different heading.

However, be may as that is (Gracie Allan English) I had already intended to buy shoes for the Rudolph Schaeffer School because the eye is fancier than the hand and now with your letter must submit an amendment to the institution so tomorrow or manañã—which means any tomorrow, I shall take a small flock of rupees and can safely buy three pairs of shoes. So far I have consigned shoes only to Peg Allmond and your feet. Any shoes which do not fit you may either go to Peg, or you may sell or give to Audley, but I am not looking.

I forget the name of the movie which intrigued me—I remember the story, and I think the world “Bara” was part of it, but with all the gyrations and drama going on, Abbottabad is far, far away.

The major with whom I stay is involved in a law suit and a tremendous promotion possibility with the Agricultural Development corporation of all things. My whole scientific program has been successful and I have been in conference with the OIC who have the last word and I am definitely getting into higher echelons. Then I am in close touch with the Mayor of this section who is a large manufacturer and a Sufi and want to come to the U.S., etc.

You have sympathy with the teeth—moi aussi and I am afraid of the dentists here. I have been mugged but the palmist has only given me promises. His temporary predictions were only partly right but a Sufi who was present made predictions which have some 100% right. Oh, I got a nice letter from Prof. Rhine of Duke but that must wait.

The Russians want us to build shelters and more and more while they infiltrate. The story of Sam Lewis of 1961 is exactly the same as that of the American Consulate of 1961, but so long as we are under Dullespionage we are going to lose. The Chinese are getting Bhutan and the Russians Afghanistan and Allsop is preparing more articles to explain.

Everything is compulsory here and you had better figure that out. The first and last word they learn in English is “must” and somewhere along the line “ought” and “should.” All other words are related to these two. But gymnastics and military science as well as basic sciences are all in English. And the little boys who want to be big are demanding Urdu and Arabic which puts the poor kids—who want to speak Punjabi—in dithers.

M.T. Kirby warned me about Hawaii. R.C. about Vietnam and later about Laos. Nicol Smith and Talbot Mundy about Tibet. Sam Lewis about Egypt. Then Lowell Thomas and Cecil Brown did some unwarning and Allsop writes articles explaining away. We are living in a dream world and the reds are taking every advantage. They are infiltrating all over. We don’t want to be warned, we want to be shocked.

I am yet to get one reply properly directed since my run-in with the communists. Either my mail has been intercepted or we are worse fools than I thought. This is my fourth come-uppance and I am tried.

Add to this the newspapers asking for my autobiography, then for an article on “Agriculture in Pakistan”—with some chances for national distribution, etc. All Americans here admit I am doing what they wish they could do and can’t. Will the Peace Corps do any better? I don’t know of a single person, American or Pakistani, who is optimistic. I should be leaving with knowledge of all missions well done, home papers please don’t copy—or if they have, I haven’t hard. Nothing, nothing since my run-in and under constant surveillance until my bossy strong armed somebody the other day. Too many cloaks, too many dangers, or dangers (in Greek these words are spelled the same). Now I am going out and play with the kids.

Sam

 

 


November 16, 1961

 

My dear Leonora:

I can kiss you for bailing me out for it proves, or rather adds another step to proof of interception of mail. I can’t absolutely sustain this but I showed the Consul two proofs and as some of my mail arrived with scotch tape and other mail otherwise, there was no way of knowing who put the tape on. I have had the awkward situation of complaining about a branch of the government to another branch only to find the mail was intercepted. This is awkward. I have hardly had any answers from anybody in Pakistan excepting the Embassy. I think I may have written that one friend had to write to somebody also to find out about me. I am even taking this to the main P.O. but I can’t afford to spend more money on air-mailing. It is too much and the better my social position the more correspondence.

Nor have I heard from Rudy Olsen despite air-mail letters. Nor from anybody whatever to whom I gave reports on communists excepting one very cryptic letter from “Newsweek” which was written as if they expected it to be opened or censored. You will therefore do me the favor of telephoning: a. Rudy Olsen; b. Congressman Shelley, and find out if they have had letters from me. This will go by sea-mail.

You can guess how emotionally tired I am. Most of my papers have arrived, and some, under stress misplaced and I don’t know what to do except accept some loses. But all efforts to get my passport back have failed and not letters from the Indian High Commissioner nor from friends in or out of office in India. This makes me skate on thin ice because a misunderstanding might easily set up an explosion in either Congress or the Indian Lok Sahba, where one of the chiefs of the opposition is an old palsy-walsy of mine.

I have written Audley for professional and other reasons and just did again. I must see her associates and certain people in San Rafael. Am constantly getting in deeper and am wanted to come back. But the books I have been taking from the USIA library give me wonderful tips.

Today I almost fell over. There is a fine man in charge of the Cultural Work here and he gets along well with Pakistanis. I asked his Pakistani assistant about his meeting nationals. “He has met more nationals than any other American here.” “How many?” “Seventy.” Not another word—we understood one another. So a successful American meets 70 people and this bum unrecognized has met, perhaps 70,000 (seventy thousand).

Yes, when I come back if I don’t see Mrs. Grady I shall put it to Jack Smeller and also to the Foreign Relations Committee about a Senior Peace Corps. We don’t know what these people think about us but I know what they think about me. I am on the verge of sanding more letters to the S.F. Bay region. I have always held out for veterans and know a lot, but you can’t break protocol. There was no serious consideration of the Peace Corps and within two weeks I am going to set off a blast against Ed Murrow and once I pass that line, wow!

I would not mind working for or with the International Institute. If you can telephone Evelyn Hersey please tell her that I, the wandering marinated Marinite, was a long time friend of Ann Cloe Watson.

Poor Larry has always been sick. Am sorry about Daudee and Dick. The Major is away and everybody is predicting he will come to America with me. He has this natural healing gift and I would circulate around, but gosh, where oh where has my passport gone?

I do not mind if Congressman Shelley or anybody does not answer; that is not my worry. My worry is about mails getting through. Even my money was misdirected. I suppose I have your August letter in file but so much, oh so much has happened the last two months. I have had one good night’s sleep in a month. My best friend, outside the Major, is ill and I have to watch over him. He is a big shot who has to watch over a large industry. He is also Mayor of the cantonment. He is also head of a well-to-do family with a lot of servants all of whom depend upon him and among other things do not want to see him married to the wrong person—that is to any, any woman who is not their stooge.

 

Morning. I have another brain wave but it is not a comforting one. At least I overslept which is something not done for a long time and I had dreams which must have some significance—all excepting the last one. Three women met me in S.F. They towed me around, etc. There was a struggle between a German band and a new type of music which I had not heard.

The German music finally was winning and I thought I should dance. I knew one of the ladies does not dance so I beckoned to the younger of the others. It was worse than a flop—she could hardly walk to the music. Anyhow she was a stranger to me and not an F.D. either so I can’t interpret.

The director of the library is a psychoanalyst, very frustrated because he can’t practice—and if any country needed psychoanalysts—wow. I hope to see him when I return some books and ascertain about mail. Now the Embassy is blaming me and natch, I have poured in on them for nonsense and they are going to take it more, but it is no business of their what I do or don’t or say or don’t—it is their business to get me my passport.

Here the saying is: Weep and the whole world weeps with you, laugh and you laugh alone. No kidding. But don’t tell the Peace Corps; don’t tell anybody anything. Intelligence would be unfair against an ignorant enemy.

Sam

 

 


Lahore,

December 4, 1961

 

My dear Leonora :

I am not specially sending out Christmas greetings until and unless I can mail either regarding proceeding to India or coming back to the U.S. I have at long last gotten the sympathy of the Embassy, who realize that this is not a stunt but there are some very dangerous facts and factors at work. And what has happened to this American (maybe he deserved it) might happen to others. We don’t want to start a “War of Jenkins’ Ear” (don’t I know my history), indeed we don’t want to start a war. In the meanwhile I am starting traffic blockades. This makes me a holy man. You see only cows have been causing traffic blockades and that is easy because they are holy. Ergo, anything that causes a traffic blockade is holy.

Today, tired of having to listen for hours to men discussing in Urdu, I slipped out, danced in the street, sang “Old MacDonald had a Farm,” proved I was a Sufi and perhaps a mad “Mast Khalandar” and won the plaudits of everybody. I told my friend the Malik it was not a stunt. You see he has agreed to finance a home for me there so I wish to be a mayor and am already soliciting votes.

Yes, at the moment it looks as if I may have two homes, inshallah. I should like one in Marin and one near here. The Marin story is one of vindication as well as love for that country. I don’t want to live in S.F. and I don’t want to be far from it, far from it. But I have certain psychological bugs to clear up. Besides, if the return of mail proves anything, I have lost several old friends by death.

There is one exception. I would take a part-time job in S.F. and arrange my residence accordingly. But it is too far ahead.

Yesterday I went to Sheikhapura to see a saint or wali, as he is called. We have a mutual admiration society and most people are in awe of us. I was roundly challenged and this proved I was a saint because the man who challenged me is regarded as a sort of devil. Anyhow the wali and his little boy came to Lahore and today we went to the farm of my host, Major Sadiq, to pick out a place for a landscaped garden where I shall live and a “Garden of Allah” which will be one for perfumes, medicines and herbs. Not only is the name appropriate but we shall try to have plants not grown commercially here yet.

My ideas are taking on well. You know Puck, the answer man. Well, on a hunch I went to the Agricultural Office and the head man was not there. No. 2 man was. His name is Dr. Abdul Aziz. Puck said: “I have all the answers.” Abdul Aziz said, “I have all the questions.” “Shoot!” He gave me four questions, all technical and the answers came up so fast. The final one was on pecans. “My dear Prof. Abdul Aziz, Texas A. & M. is already on my schedule. I am taking a trip from San Francisco to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the last place to get information on Sugar Problems, and I intend very definitely to go to College Station Texas to get the very Pecans or cuttings you want. That was settled long ago. This is my career. I am not asking you for anything. I am a dervish.” That went over big and we agreed—he is to get the honor and glory, and why not.

Not so good was the General. He made such a fine general he was removed and put in charge of the new Agricultural Development Corporation. My host, Major Sadiq, was called for final examination. The Civil Service Board passed him as No. 1. The general asked questions and the Major gave the answer and the general was a good (or bad) general. He was floored and flawed. This is a technical matter into which I would be glad to go later when I get home. But the general was not sure—you see I am not an orthodox Muslim. I may know all about seeds, trees, soils and food but I had no training in Sharia. Of course every man has his own Sharia and this means that there is never any unemployment about lawyers, attorneys, solicitors, barristers and pleaders. You have four codes to begin with, and five languages and it is all so simple!

On the other hand my palsy-walsies are all close to General Ayub. So I am hoping to escape to India and then come back with official recognition before I gets to the U.S.

In the meanwhile my complicated stories, never having reached the U.S. are liable to cause a stir. I have concluded not to touch Burdick or Congressman Walter Judd. And I won’t join General Walker. I meet the real thing, not ghosts. I have just written my friend Elsa Gidlow. She wrote for a magazine that had one communist editor and she was hailed for an investigation. The room was full of reds and one even testified for the investigators. So poor Elsa was guilty—I think she was guilty of writing poetry, but you never can tell.

My tenseness has caused me to start writing funny stories. Actually they are not so funny. If I gave you a description of how we got to the farm. The Malik and the wali asked that the Major be ready at sun-up. So I slept until 7:30—the sun-up is before 6:30, although sun-down is early. At 9:30 I told the Major we were to leave here bright and early, so he went and called for the Malik & wali. At 10:30 they came and called on Major Akram and we all found mutual friends there and everybody visited everybody. We arrived at the farm after 12 but could not see much because it was not yet lunch time and we had to get to the palace—a real palace—for lunch. But as we were supposed to have come at 10, the latest and there was no sign of us, the Madame and cooks do not like to work for ghosts so we ate late.

There is also my next article which I write here: How a cue cues.

You see signs all over, especially in front of the P.O., “Cue up.” I must explain—a straight line may be the shortest distance but a cue must be shaped like a Q; if it is not like a Q it is not a cue. We have games, “Last one in is the nigger baby.” We used to modify them as “First one is a nigger baby.” In “Pukhtunistan” the first one in is the nigger baby.

Then we have the modified version, last bite goes to the old maid, so no one wants the last bite. Here it is The last shall be first and the first shall be last.” This is good scripture but it is taken very literally. You can pass the Post Office any time and often see no line at all. Don’t be fooled. Just try and buy stamps. Puck wrote this up while in Abbottabad, but has failed to see any difference anywhere. As soon as you come to the window, nobody is going to be an old maid. They are safe and they come in droves. The time of day does not matter; we have tried all hours from 9 to 4, it does not make any difference.

The next thing they have is “togetherness.” You don’t find much “togetherness” in this country but before post offices and cinema windows, you have it and how. Every cue is shaped like a Q. This is even more true at Lloyd shrines. As soon as one man touches the shrine everybody wants to come next and especially those in the road because “the last shall be first.” Fortunately I am a saint here so don’t have to stand in line and what I see I see. Any resemblance to anything but a Q in a cue simply is not.

Therefore I have long concluded: Islam is the most perfect religion in the world, far better than other faiths in all respects—until you want to board a bus. Five years propaganda will be countermanded in five seconds.

There are only two places to stand in a bus: one is to hang on the rear, and the other is to block the entrance. This brings us back to “togetherness.” It is rather awkward because there is absolute segregation here, like in the south, exactly, with women to the front and an imaginary line of demarcation. But togetherness wins over segregation, desegregration and everything. You can get off an empty bus, until you come to the landing where you descend and try to get out!

Then in the lines, people to whom the touch is unholy, suddenly learn the brotherhood of man. They put hands over your shoulders, under your arms, over your head, anywhere, anyhow and yell. Fortunately the postal clerks do not have to run for office and so they do not have to respond to the most vociferous. They even wait on each person in turn.

Where the teller’s windows are small I block the window good and am rude enough to shove aside those who manhandle, and everyone, manhandles everyone else. I am going to re-check in India to see how Brahmins and outcastes mix. In most places in this casteless land there are three or four windows for cinema tickets, different classes, and this saves the Brahmins. But the way I know Hindus, the Brahmins would prefer the cheapest and some of the upstart outcastes would buy the choice seats. This shows how evil democracy is.

I am reminded of the line in the “Mikado,” a twisted cue. Darling, they haven’t anything here but twisted cues and a cue that is not a Q is not a cue because it simply ain’t.

In my last I think—no it was to friends in Marin, with copy to Audley, I plan to introduce folk-dancing by a most sininister method. Keep that misspelling; it is better than the original. I have a plan for a new school of Sufis, for the young. We are going to do something no self-respecting Muslim would ever do—work. The kind of work I shall explain when I return. Anyhow I saw I should have an assistant, a beautiful school teacher and I proposed to her the propositions today and to my delight she took them all up:

No segregation between boys and girls. They would have the same training and disciplines and study and music together. On our missions we might separate to please Madame Grundy. We shall get rid of all traditions not in the Scriptures. Mohammad, whom I consider a prophet of God, even “the Prophet” said: “There are three things that I like: women, perfumes, and prayer.” Now no “self-respecting” Muslim will accept that here. But neither will he work like Mohammed did or anything. He did not have segregation between the sexes. That was borrowed from Persia and only became “the holy law” about 300 years later. But who cares for history—not with all the lawyers, advocates, barristers, pleaders, attorneys, imams, khatibs, mullahs, maulvis and ulema. Gosh, if anybody got out the original sources they would faint or start riots. So I accept the challenge. I am going to free these kids if it takes the rest of my life. And this is going to open the way for kolos and how.

The home I shall have, inshallah, will have gardens planted by boys and girl working together and they will work. No doubt the girls will like the idea of perfume gardens, etc. Girls have far more ideas and logic than boys here. Boys, of course, will sooner or later have manual training—making rocking-chairs and I bet they sell like anything here. This would put the “Peace Corps” out of existence. What a racket I could have raising funds for rocking-chairs. But what I want is brooms, brushes, detergents and small stoves. The Malik will give the last so we can have hot water and we’ll put the rest of the country in Hot-water.

I still have the complex of a lot of Indian rupees and I need winter clothes. Fortunately I took my gymnasium trousers and my tights with me and they come in handy.

All of this makes it complex about returning to college so I can’t plan. But I know I am going to write books and articles and start one man parades before editors who won’t see me. They can throw me out—I don’t mind that, but I am going to demand interviews. We simply I can’t intermingle with “barbarians.”

I am concerned with General Walker and all these movements in the U.S. They are looking for reds where there are only whites and blues and when we find reds nobody believes us. So these people are helping the very ones they acclaim against and it’s a cinch for a commie agent—just join the extreme rightists and yell with them. You can have a lot of fun getting rid of your enemies and be safe at the same time.

Tomorrow morning I am to see Dr. Whitman the OIC agricultural adviser and this means the end of a cycle. A new one may begin soon after. We shall see.

I have four disciples—dogs. This was clever because as soon as the crows saw me treat the dogs nicely they joined. Then the smaller birds, everything but the chipmunks. I had hoped to feed the chipmunks and I found dogs like pine-nuts, peanuts and walnuts, so why fight fate? I licked ‘em by joining ‘em. It makes me look like a hypocritical Saint Francis. But as I have written, feed the birds and you get the Franciscans against you; mingle with humanity and you get the Whitmanians against you; be kind to strangers and that will make you a suspect to the praisers of Dale Carnegie.

To counteract saintliness I have taken a dip into gourmet-ism. The trouble is that it has been both quite expensive and quite successful and even more successful than expensive.

I had to write a stirring letter to England—but then I am always writing, stirring lessons. Somebody wrote a magnificent article on “The Saint” and ended by saying, “the world of the saint, the sage and the scientist are quite different.” This is beautiful—poetry. I wrote back “Go to Peshawar and inquire for the greatest saint. Inquire for the greatest sage. Inquire for the greatest scientist.” You will meet one man. It is true and I have met him many times. The baloney that is put out as wisdom, is terrific. Everybody but scientists talk about “the scientist.” The scientific knowledge of my host, the Major, who is something of a saint too, floored the authorities here.

What I want when I get back home. I am hoping to have a place with a TV and records and not go out too much for a while. But I shall have to confer with my friend, Harry Nelson, and also—very serious, too, with Audley’s confreres. Then with certain organizations and those who will not see me are going to be blacklisted. If they throw me out that is all right, but against as above, if they refuse to see me they are going to learn the hard way. I can tell you that I have accomplished what huge money-raising groups have not done and this fact is beginning to penetrate the different American groups here. I made it my business to study Asia and not Europe or Africa.

My main difficulty is an emotional strain. Indeed I half write to blow off steam. And the more you are accepted, the more time you must wait in social calls, complicated by a lot of anti-British custom. Madame and Monsieur never refuse and if your visit is interrupted steen times by useless hangers on, this must be the will of Allah. Some of my friends are getting wise to this. I walked out the other day from one meeting after it was insisted I arrive at 4 and the car came and picked me up early and at 5 after 5 I walked away, saying I needed that time—and I do. Only it is night now and I can’t think excepting to record the events, of the last two days—not diary. The diary will be tomorrow when I write Harry Nelson after seeing Dr. Whiteman.

The latest grapevine—it is changing—is that I come home via Japan. This will depend on the Major. My other potential companion, the Khalandar, wants to take me in the opposite direction. The Malik may be ready and will have funds but I am inclined to think he will prefer California also. My god-son in New York also wishes to “return home.” I stop here and will close in the morning.

 

It is morning and I feel fine. But when I look at the pile of unsettled matters—papers not complete, letters not answered and the terrific impact of not having heard from India, Ceylon, my travel agent, the State Department and press, I cannot proceed. And when I look at the people here who fill me with delightful social engagements or just steal my time I am stumped. I have heard so many say everything will clear up; they say it and their insistence that everything will clear up when things do not clear up makes it far, far worse. Each sees his own problem. I think I am going to tell these people henceforth, “God will take care of you, stop bothering me.” I have never done it but may try it—for effect.

S’long it’s good to have known you,

Sam

 

 


December 13, 1961

 

My dear Leonora:

Some time ago I did an unpardonable act—I wrote an envelope with your name on it. I never pardoned myself for that.

God, Khuda and Allah, with some help no doubt from Iblis, the Devil and Satan, are keeping me in Pakistan. I have no answers to requests with one possible exception which was a grandiose equivocation. So it became necessary in the course of human events to get some winter clothes, and in pursuance thereof I had to cash some money and apparently my checks have no rubber so I cashed more and already have a new coat and an overcoat to come.

As my duty was to cash and not to cache I went over to the Government Folk-Art Bureau where I had bored the people to death with questions and no purchases and today it was almost purchases with no questions which they liked a lot better. Anyhow Rs. Rupees bit the dust or something.

“Is this a dagger that I see before me?” No and you are not lady MacBeth, at least I hope not. Anyhow they did not have descent or decent shoes so I nosied me around and bought some things for Rudolph Schaeffer, Then I saw a bee-ooo-ti-ful wood carving with two deadly weapons in it and it turned out to be a carving set—not husbands for wives and wives for husbands but both on the roast beef.

Anyhow whether you like roast beef or not I have set the walnut engraving with the metallic enclosures and this satisfies my atonement for the sin in the first line.

My troubles are increasing and my blessings are increasing and fortunately at a rate higher than my troubles. The Major may (or may not) be back before the conclusion of this letter, or this evening and may help clear up, if he does not add to the “years of indecision.”

Mr. Dibble is the Political Attaché at the Consulate and he has my secret—that I am crazy, so he wanted me to meet an American who is also crazy, and her name is Julie and she works for newspapers, which is about the last profession I am interested in. But Allah is great and Julie has the same mutual enemies and mutual friends all over the globe, earth, orbs and UN. This was a fine start and all I can give you is the start. Anyhow I have left some manuscripts with her and my prayers because she is up for a most important job or position or situation in the international field. And there will probably be more to be continued.

I have told both Señor Dibble and ze Senorita that no doubt I am crazy, but I have the same madness from day to day and they are some one way yesterday, another today and another tomorrow and goodness knows what kind of sanity they will have next week. It must have been good for I converted them—I don’t know whether it was to my insanity or knowledge or personality or views, but everything in these directions is getting along lovely.

I told time at the Folk-Art Bureau that my future purchases would depend to some extent on the room on my bags. I get them cleaned out and then up, especially with this winter clothing. I may give away some of the summer clothes which would be of little use in America, all expect enough of Puck’s stuff just in case.

I sent Rudolph a camel-skin lamp shade, another carving set inferior to the one for you (there were only two on display) and a wooden dish. They are for his East-West collection ultimately. Yours are for your food, but I am not asking you to go into the kitchen or “come out of the kitchen.”

I received two letters today from people who wondered why I have not written and in these cases the letters came back like rubber checks. This is awful in days when you don’t get answers to your regular or irregular mail. That is why I wanted to get into India because I am sure my letters could reach yo’all.

Another thing is sari cloth which I do not want to purchase here, If I get to India—and I certainly have the rupees therefore, I would buy; or else if I return via ye Pacific, at Hong Kong. But there are such uncertainties.

Although winter is a-comin’ my health is good, my legs are vibrant, I am overflowing and dance and play with children to everybody’s delight. At the same time I am a half-saint and have a celebration this week. Everybody stops to greet me, and the beggars don’t get a chance. All except a mast who is a crazy-sane man, and that will keep for some story.

I have found a very good restaurant here which specializes on Prawns. I was there the other night with Julie as above and came alone at lunch and they said: “No meat.” I replied: “But I don’t want meet.” “What do you want?” “Prawns!” The waiter called the captain who called the managers and they all congratulated me: “That’s all what we ain’t got nothing else but.” They are specializing and I get I can let my Rupees go there. Indeed the dish I had the other night belongs in the top rank but today I took a salad. They also give good coffee. The soups are stylized in these restaurants here, excepting the Chinese one. There they give you the big bowl as in Hong Kong which is enough for as many as four persons. I am not tired of Pakistani food in general but sometimes—especially when the Major is away, it gets slightly monotonous.

I just went out and bought a kind of Orange we do not have. It is the Mandarin type but much larger and I enjoy them. The Major owns a plot of land near the border. He does not have to pay wages. Indeed everybody wants to work for him:

On the Indian side you get 4 oranges for 1 rupee and 1 dozen bananas

On the Pak side you get 16 oranges for 1 rupee and 4 dozen bananas

A fair exchange is a fair exchange and they don’t smuggle, but they do something which sounds like smuggling and don’t put it in their income tax reports. Boy, prosperity is around every corner and on the main streets too.

Now while the K.K.K. is controlling the warlike imperialist powers, the peace-loving nations are ready to get at each others’ throats. K.K.K.—Kennedy, King and Khrushchev. Pakistan has only two neighbors and so only two potential wars. India has three neighbors on this side and so three potential wars. Everybody is in arms and as soon as war starts there will be the biggest parade cheering the army and if it loses they will stone the army. They don’t want to fight over Kashmir—it is too cold. The Chinese are claiming more and more of it, mostly to protect it from the warlike imperialists.

Probably Tito will be “liberating” Albania soon, or something. But I have to wait until Fridays for Time and Newsweek, or else go to the American Library for ye goods olds N.Y. “Times.” This week I played a trick on them. They want to know about great American authorities on Islam, so I took one of them into the library and showed him three source books, all articles by non-American, non-Muslims and all violently differently from each other. Well, an “expert” is an “expert.” Knowledge is another matter.

The USIA library has 12 books or more on Eleanor Roosevelt, about the same on Lincoln, more still on Roosevelt & Roosevelt and plenty on politicians, actors and such, but nothing on Edison, Westinghouse, Tesla, McCormick, John Deere, any Harriman. Books in at least three sections on Thoreau. Nothing on Einstein or any Nobel Prize winner or on the Berkeley scientists or any excepting one rich one. Did Cohen and Shine do this or was it worse before? Fortunately I find enough stuff to read. And these crazy people—ten read books on Agriculture to one on the life of Rosemary Cluny or Eddy Cantor; no wonder the Orient is not progressing.

Happy New Year whenever this reaches thee and thou,

Sam

 

 


Off and on in January ‘62

 

Dear Sam,

Your sea mail cloak and dagger story has me genuinely alarmed and I had promised myself to write you at once, reassuringly, but with no mention of forbidden subjects. Then came your air mail with request for info:

Yes, your mail is coming through all right and not tempered with.

The secretary for Congressman Jack Shelley is Sam Kane, whom I met and liked when I was working with Doug on a bit of research. We had a nice little talk, then he asked what would have been the subject matter of your latest letter, since it must have gone to Washington., D.C. I mentioned some of your interests and the little matter of your missing passport. He exclaimed, “Of course one writes one’s Congressman in such an emergency. I’ll send a teletype to Washington. Will you please call me back in 24 hrs?”

Rudy Olsen and I are now phone chums, all on account of you. He told me the contents of your sea mail letters in October-November and I was able to clear up his confusion about the carbon copy letter you enclosed. Then he gave instructions I should write you on what to do over there in applying for a new passport. He could do nothing without your birth certificate.

Then I phoned Julius and asked him to put me in touch with Audely.

Lo and behold, the next day Rudy called me back (he’d kept my phone number from previous talks) and announced airmail from Sam said you were in India and had your visa o.k. So I called Mr. Kane and he commented you had to have a passport in order to get a visa, so everything must be o.k. We are all so relieved and happy for you, Sam dear.

Now I must report further about the Pakistani shoes other than the pair I kept and sent my thanks. Had a long talk with Peg A. and she explained that she doesn’t want to handle your shoe sales or gifts. They never fit anyone nor herself. You delegated where some of your shipment should go but she didn’t have the time nor the convenience of an auto to make deliveries. Those shoes are wrapped up awaiting your return. The Pakistani brown shoes like yours that I keep seeing more people wearing can be purchased in Fresno for $5.

We made a New Year’s Day call on Gracie and Nick and I took along the original Pakistani package. My favorite shoes (red and blue beaded) fitted Gracie and I hope you are as happy as we are about it. During the following week Audley was in town for the week end and I asked her to come over and see the shoes. She brought Julius and they stayed all the evening for drinks and chit chat with Max. She was keen about the all-gold (no velvet) shoes to wear. Both girls took your new address and will write thank-yous. Originally a lady upstairs saw the whole collection and wanted to buy a pair to send her niece (those Audley preferred). She is away now, but I hope to persuade her the remaining pair look handsomer. Will keep the money for your return, as it should defray the cost of sending the shoes. It is interesting to note in the newspaper ads that the City of Paris offered Christmas slippers that were Americanized versions of your import and also of Bangkok.

Right after that evening I received your carbon of your letter to Audley.

Max and I have joined, in fact, become Charter Members of a new Folk Dance Club, the Sunsetters. Party night is the first Saturday of each month and dancing is in Jack McKay’s hall on Travel St. at 25th.

For Xmas, Max and I entertained a widowed father and his divorced daughter. (Sounds like our good Scout deeds, hm?) hope your Christmas was as unusual as possible. Please report.

I still miss Doug, Lesley and Sam. When are you coming back?

Bestest wished for another successful New Year from

Leonora

 

 


January 23, 1962

night

 

My dear LeonaraH!

Sh! sh! The door is closed and the curtains are down. Have to be careful. The Polyankas have arrived. A whole busload and I am a lone wolf or lamb or tiger or skunk. What to do. Sh! No, they are too busy with themselves. I feel like przatskas in the cold and this might be a welcome. But they might take me for a spy. Me, the innocent, childlike—well, I can’t keep any secrets from you so I’ll answer your letter.

Have not located any post office yet excepting some small ones that have not many stamps and no aerogrammes.

After what I have been through. Boy, you would not know me now. Look at the story I wrote on Krishna Menon. Everybody gathered and attacked him. Then one scrawny man appeared:

“You don’t like Krishna Menon. You don’t like to see him, hear him or anything. I could not agree with you more. I can’t bear the sight of his face. And look, every time I want to shave I have to stare at that ugly mutt. His mother may have lured it, but ugh! Sometimes I don’t even believe in God. Think of me, every time I want to shave I have to look at that face, that awful face. Let’s get rid of it.”

Then the crowd saw who it was. Krishna Menon Ki Jai. The opposition faded and he said? “I nearly made an ad for “Mennon’s shaving soap” but the name is spelt different.”

Everybody is opposed to Krishna Menon, everybody but Peer Gynt and he has whispered to Puck and is converting him. Why not return to the U.S. and give a lecture on the three K’s who rule and ruin the world: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Krishna Menon. But take the minority side; it will get you either popularity or notoriety and you will be the better off. I guess Peer Gynt was right. Anyhow we telephoned (sh! gotta be careful), to S. K. Banerji, Chief of Protocol. “Is that you, Puck? I have cancelled all engagements for tomorrow morning. See you pronto.”

Then we got more confident and telephoned Dr. Radhakrishnan and got a prompt: “Don’t hang up, the Vice-President who is going to be President wants to see you.” So that is 5:30 Thursday. No wonder the Polyankas are on my trail. They know what’s what.

What a time I had getting here. It was on again, off again. But Ah Yaint, a Saint came through and we hid in his cloak of invisibility. What a send-off! Wotta welcome! It will go down in the annals of mystery, that this vague vagabond gets in where fools and angels alike fear to tread. So we started off by calling on the saints. This caused a commotion: Half the attendants put their hands out for baksheesh and the other half for baraka (which means blessings). You can bet with this skinflint who won out. Only when baraka rather than baksheesh was forthcoming our standing as a saint rose and rose. And I have told some of this to Rudy, but people of common sense won’t believe it, so I’ll keep this secret.

In re : Peg Allmond. That is all right. I had to do the best I could and you can pick them up and bring them to Carrousel if you want and if you don’t want never mind. Or you can share them with those whom you like. Otherwise I would take them to Pakistan House for display.

Sh! No, you are wrong. This sh! is for sh-i-ver and should be br! But I have to be careful. The Peace Corps is doing a wonderful job. I don’t know what they are doing but it must be wonderful (protocol). Visited the Embassy twice today. It is a very beautiful modern building with built-in and I saw the political and agricultural attachés. The brain boys are over in the old Embassy which is now run by the USIA.

I am happy about Grace’s shoes. I am happy about shoes. I am happy. After a lot of ill-wind everything has been turning out right. All missions to Pakistan were accomplished but the poetry is going up. I also took some of my poetry to Swami Maharaj Ranganathananda. I am not bragging, just trying to see if I can type his name fast. He is the Vedantist. My host, one Mithal, took me to several places and then went off to see my fellow Californian, Krishnamurti. The first letter is correct for he is another of the would-be world saviours.

And speaking of world-saviours there is Meher Baba. He has a disciple—correct name again, Krishnaji, who is going to save the world. He is also going to be silent. He is going to save the world by being silent. He is preparing for it by telling his troubles to everybody. He can stand trouble just about like you can stand a fly. He magnifies and magnifies his troubles and this brings money, followers and more troubles. However he is ready to be silent and save the world. On his side are:

1. Rich father who can’t support him.

2. Beautiful, rich lady economist who is supporting him.

3. Followers who want to support him.

4. Publicity agent who will tell everybody because this K. is going to be mum.

I can tell you he is not a Muslim. Because the Muslim Mullahs are saving the world by buying microphones and shouting their sermons into them so that the sinners can hear them. Islam being an absolute brotherhood, these brothers all mount their microphones and shout at the same time. This makes for world peace, which extends as far as the middle of the block.

I have an envelope for Audley I teenk and this means I shall be writing her but more professionally. This country and other countries need ag. experts and advisers.

My Christmas consisted of taking Julie Medlock to a folk-sing and service by Americans and to dinner at Galaxy, my favorite restaurant in Lahore. Otherwise it was as usual—saints, Sufis and sinners visiting Sam. Or Sam visiting saints, Sufis and sinners.

The predictions are that I go back to Pakistan between March 15 and 25, tour the country, arrive at Karachi and fly home. Not only have the seers and saints predicted it but the girl in charge of international travel for Americas Express. Inasmuch as she has made three outstanding predictions, and her colleagues did not agree—and was right down to the smallest dot, I am beginning to believe her myself. She is either a saint or in cahoots with them. They all say the right or the same things, and they must be right for they are in my favor.

I am for the new dance club. I dream of returning and being snatched by a rich widow, comely in the feet, and wanting to dance or to learn. And so I would look in a new direction. But this depends. I have four places in California where I might land and it has been urged I do not study Urdu in school. If I go to college that will take me away from S.F. unless City College has a four year course, because S.F., S.F. State, etc, do not have higher courses in Botany and related sciences.

On the other hand if I get a part time job which enhances my social prestige, then I might stay in S.F. and do research with Harry Nelson and forget the rest.

New Years’ started off with a bang with everything happening right. But the stories of my meeting Sufis and saints are so fantastic, I wonder if and how they can be written. Nor the respect and honor shown me; it is not out of line with former things, so much as being in the opposite directions. My trip to Karachi was totally successful at every level. Wrote to Ed Kremer and Charles
Reindollar about it. When I return there Pakistan Radio will honor me, perhaps in two ways—one for my poetry and the other for my accomplishments. After speaking to 70,000 people I gave up count. Punjabi U. has me down with two big meetings and I only called on two professors. Government Art College I can have any time.

One of the most important events was Khawar Khan whom I shall be calling Sadiya. She is a beautiful teacher at the College of Domestic Art and Science. This collaborated on a paper to be presented at an international gathering of philosophers (I don’t have “credentials” sez who). It won first prize! She was acclaimed, the paper was sent to Ayub and is being published.

Then I am going to dedicate a Garden of Allah for the growing of medicinal and scented herbs. This may be started in the winter 64-65 if my program works out right. I am getting to be known all over Pakistan, and even Americans are finding out. So I shall return and start another war, now that the former wars are all won:

a. Against A. Koestler and his The Lotus and the Robot in which I shall insist that Dr. Radhakrishnan is a real person, etc.

b. Against Captain Lederer on how to beatify ugly Americans. As I told the foreign service, if you write fiction everybody will read, but if you bring facts, nobody cares. This creates—no wonder I may take up arms for Krishna Menon.

When I came here to get money I found that it may be possible to purchase Bank of America Travelers’ Cheques. “What yo” all got?” “American dollars. Bank of America.” That floored ‘em, they never heard of that before, but I shall use Indian rupees until they run out, then come back to Delhi and friends are going to look after me anyhow. If they do I may use my filthy shekels for art goods or gifts.

Now I had better put on my Puck costume and go to ea. Polyankas, here I come.

Gott in Himmel, Leonora, Samuel is-among the prophets. Wowie and Zowie, They Are Polyankas! A troupe of Russian Folk Dancers came here to take part in Independence Day Festival, this Friday. What to do? Shall I take out my castanets—maybe, yes, no! Shall I hum, maybe, yes, no! I asked for balalaikas and there is a whole trunk full of them. I would talk. I opened my foot and put my mouth in it. What to do! What not to do! I am too excited and exited and exhilarated and ecstasied and just to say anything more here. So we shall wait and see and see and wait. I hope they will sing a little before the week is over.

They went to bed but I let the staff in on a secret. You see my nickname (one of the 57 varieties) is Naj-karo-i, which means, “Mr. Dancer.” So tomorrow I may take out my castanets and put on my gall and karoji, and maybe the Polyankas will unfold. “Aren’t we devils!” Now I leave off to answer some most trivial important letters.

Thursday. Well, the Polyankas did not unfold—to the Indian Staff. Instead they had a Vodka-drinking contest and this just about did it. So this damn fool danced for the staff and won their affections and my private war against protocol goes on. Anyhow (sh! very sh!) I have seen my friend Bannerji who is “Chief of Protocol” and may see him again when I return to New Delhi and after this next hiatus I go to see Dr. Radhakrishnan—and you can tell your “friend” Porkie this. Between times I have had a most wonderful meeting with the TCM, which is the American Technical Commission—and you’ll, or maybe you won’t, if I write about this to Audley—I shall have to tell her anyhow when I return.

Well this bum Polyanka’d and won the smiles of, which also isn’t done excepting by us guys, and now I may unbend further. Only they may not like my Fascist propaganda (castanets to you). Aren’t I devils! Tomorrow is National Independence Day with everything going on but I shall be visiting or be kidnapped by friends and then on to Bombay and Poona but a fortune­ teller told me my misadventures would change to Miss-Adventures, and he has a white list and a black list. I know so far there are two letters on the white list and one on the black list and if I go further…. Besides you know a lot of persons on the white list, and me, I am an un-innocent by-stander. Everybody wants to tell my fortune and everybody seems to have bigger and better predictions. But again, I refuse to be protocol’d and the latest protocol here is the stars. The planets are all huddling and this is a sign of, but I am a Uranium which includes me out, although I don’t know exactly what a Uranium is. I am also a Mercurian and this means I can’t stay put—or shall we dance?

My job with Dr. Radhakrishnan is to bring the Integralists of the East and West together. Now I find I have six more letters to write and if I add can’t air-mail, so will close, wishing you happy dancing and dancing happiness,

Sam

S.A.M. (my protocolian name)

 

 


February 21, 1962

 

My dear Lee-o-nor-A:

You will remember that when you gave me a copy of the World Almanac I said that was a second copy and you wanted it back and I said, No, the other is my address book. You can bet on that. It is getting fuller and fullerer. Indeed I stopped having my mail forwarded and am becoming less concerned with the arrival of mail. Of course I like to get my bank notices to find out where I am, so I do not over-draw on credit. But fortunately here I was able to change dollars for rupees.

I am not going to tell you the steeory of my life, sweet of not. I am preparing to write on “How California Can Help Asia” for the University of California and our Senators—just a brief (50,000 words or so!)—the real story coming later. I even get acknowledgements from magazine editors now. All excepting newspaper editors and commentators. They know everything anyhow so it is no use informing them.

As per usual, you run down a religious fracas and it always happened somewhere else. And you see riots and never a word in the press. I am adhering now to more sea-mail letters, the budget that I balance may be my own. I leave here on the 26th for Bangalore and then to Adoni (wherever that is) and then Hyderabad. When that is over I can sigh, and slowly plow my way homeward, but do not know the model of the plow.

It is warm but not hot and went mountain climbing yesterday—a breeze. I wrote Evelyn on my previous visit about this. But in 1956 it took two hours for what I accomplished in one this time. In fact I seem to be doing more planning for the future, and I know where to take people.

There is an Englishman here who has lived 12 years in India and he say he can have no profession. I said: “Brother, you would be a wonderful tourist guide.” “But I know nothing about guiding tourists.” “That will make you an excellent guide because you have seen monuments and temples and buildings and interesting places; know where to stay at low cost and know what to avoid. You are a man, not a guide book and that is what is so wonderful about you.” Alas, poor Baeddecker, I did not know him at all.

I suppose when I return I’ll plan a long rest—with a trip to the Caribbean but actually I would like a home; only it is still 50-50 between No’then and Sothn Calif. That’s my ancestry—papa’s people from Boston, Momma’s from Charleston, Searolina.

I forget you owe me a meal. I am checking now on those who do. I can be a scamp or is it scrounge? This is the end of the line and I am now moving towards “home” at least. Despite Grace’s letter I am now little Carousselian-minded. Most of my real friends have gone from there.

Sam

 

 


Agra,

March 21, 1962

 

Dear Leonora,

Typewriter in the hospital and ink supply low.

I am now a saint. Of course you have known all along but now it is official. Things got mightily dull after Jacqueline left. All over you see, “Jacqueline was here.” This meant all prices are up. They used to gouge the tourists; now prices are so high nobody can pay. They used to charge Rs 10 for articles worth Rs 1. When they asked Jackie Rs 100 she paid. It is always the woman who pays and pays, especially Mrs. K. Before I was always running into the ghost of Earl Warren and now I run into the shadow of Mrs. K. “Ladies first” seems to be my present travelogue. Only I can’t get art.

It is Holi week which is the Indian Holy Week and Carnival and Halloween together. The roads are blocked and everybody is baptizing everybody with colored holi-water. So I won’t leave until tomorrow and miss [?] which must be reserved for another tour. Indeed had a long and profitable session with the Tourist Bureau yesterday.

“I know Sher Singh” (685 Market) Chorus, “You know Sher Singh, welcome, welcome.” She shows my infamous methods.

I was I Delhi. “We Russians are the best chess players but Korea check, Viet Minh check, Sorretnam check, Berlin check, Geneva check, UN check, disarmament check, Berlin check, again check. Then you move your queen (Jackie) instead of your king (Jack) and we are mated. I surrender dear.” (No Teddy—this is Puck’s report of an actual talk by an actual Russian diplomat to actual me.)

Well, Ah Yaint a Saint went to Fatehpur Sikri. Rushed to the tomb of St. Selim Chisti and did the usual everything including baksheesh. Then I had the guard take me to the local saint. No Americans call on local saints, but Ah Yaint A saint did. We greeted and embraced and I gained in holiness. Boy, when we returned to the shrine my friends came. The Sufi Kawwalis sang and I danced and danced—real Dervish stuff. A crowd gathered and when I got tired I sang and the Kawwalis answered. Then I sat down and sang with them, loud of course, but as I sometimes gave the calls instead of just responding this proved it. The leader got up and asked the crowd for baksheesh to watch the American saint!

When I later made a courtesy visit to Hotel Imperial where I had been before I was recognized: “Oh, the saint.” So now you are not the only one who knows. Please interpret! If the Russians ever have a saint, all our papers will report it but any American who does this and goes native is a Squaw man.

After that I met nothing but Englishmen and Englishwomen. They go for adventure, yogi, native places, wild places. They outnumber the “tourists” 10-1 but nobody pays any intention to them. Especially in these days of social “democracy.” They are more like me and I love them and we feel mutual admiration. They are all over the place seeing Taj by dawn, Taj by day, Taj by dusk, Taj by moonlight.

Meanwhile our top authority on Islam who, of course, is neither a Muslim nor an Asian and of course not an American is very sorry he has hurt my feelings by insisting there are no Sufis. And there is going to be a big Sufi gathering in Delhi with this yarn-banker (?) the guest of honor.

There will be a lot of famous Sufis there but not if you want your degree in Islamics! Honesty is not a policy at all. Well, did I not hear one Swami speak to 12,000 and denounce our German professor of Indian philosophy! Oh well, but I return fighting.

Had two interviews with old friend Suri. She left SF because people then only accepted newspaper men and European profs as authorities on Asia. She gave up the fight. Lots of people are anti American because we accept either the commentators or European profs or “Miss Cloudnine.” More and more of us mingle and I am going to champion them.

Here they are all against our nuclear stuff and space travel. they want us to help man on earth. So I become popular and more so and I think people will listen when I return. On the whole I have been quite successful; almost too much. The question is to communicate the unusual.

My scientific work has been very successful and very saddening. Governments, foundations, organizations, get top heavy and nobody gets down to the human peasants and farmers. Rusia is predicting a 100% increase in output in ten years. It is accepted. Why? Because the governments wish to predict great gain. Future statistics replace past facts and everybody is in the game. Puck calls this Hindsight. Hind stands for after-sight, Indian (Hind) sight and one reverts to Lewis Carol: “A word is whatever I wish it to mean.”

Well, I am already to write against The Lotus and the Robot. I think I have a message. But there are other books in me and lectures. I have an idea on tourism “Not so innocent abroad.” This may start with articles. Am learning lots of things the hard way. Today everybody is a specialist but me. I am all for them as they leave me plenty of room.

My Diners Club Card has been most valuable for going into gourmet restaurants and buying art goods. I’ll probably get hell when I return for what I did not do but being a lone person with limited means there are difficulties. The mental ones are harder than the physical: who to remember and how to remember. What is worse I have sent saris to Magaña Baptiste and some will wonder.

The seers still predict overcoming enemies, financial security and a strange sudden romance. There is supposed to be some woman waiting for me whom I don’t suspect! I guess I am open-minded about “fair, fat and $50,000”—meaning she does not have to be fair or fat. But I would like to bring a dancer, a sound equipment engineer and a good photographer with me. The only thing I must say about the predictions is their universal agreement but my good luck always seems to be for after my return and I am not sure how I shall return. I am not McArthur.

Have written to Leonard Austin. I often wonder whether he will open his own dancing classes. I am ashamed to say I have the best time with Magaña Baptiste! F.D has become so “political” and personal but if there is a [?] woman there is not much [?].

(It is Holi Day still not holy night and the crowds are noisy as they should be.)

 

 


March 24, 1962

 

I recently received a letter from one of our authorities on Islam—a non-American, non-Muslim, of course, in which he is very sorry to have hurt my feelings because he refuses to agree. I accept his opinions but do not like his abolishing facts. Abolishing facts is the great game of the “authorities” on Asia, i.e. American press and European profs. My real objection is that he abolished some of my friends, i.e. Sufis.

When I returned to Delhi I was to be a guest of honor at a great gathering of Sufis. Evidently “the ghost goes East” or something.

Yesterday I got my ins with the Tourists Bureau and while there began thinking of various Indian intellectual attachés I have met. After I left the thought became stronger and stronger. Indeed I began imagining seeing one Mr. Punjabi who was long on Montgomery St. in S.F. The ghost got more and more real and we shook hands. Point no. 1.

Why is he here? To attend the gathering of Sufis tonight where I shall be a guest of honor. A little while later I met him again. He was host to a group of Persians. What are they doing here? They are sent specially to attend that gathering of Sufis tonight. Think nothing of it. I received another letter from another non-American, non-Muslim authority on Islam—this man is Scottish where the bane of contention is over the existence of Sufis. Ils croit que non.

Then I called on the American cultural attachés. They are debating whether to attend the meeting of the Sufis. Will they come? Will they admit there are Sufis? Or shall we continue to listen to humbugs telling us people are not? Jacqueline has done a good job. Koestler has not—in his The Lotus and the Robot he abolished an awful lot of people including some good and prominent ones—including those he interviewed. If they did not fit his conclusions, he concluded them out. This is “science.”

Don’t I have fun? Well soon to Lahore and then????

Lahore? Jacqueline was here. Now my “bed tea” and then up and to breakfast. I have dreams of returning to S.F. The dreams all put me in that region but the discussions last evening may land me elsewhere. It is a long, pleasant and complex story which I don’t relate here.

Your errant, erring, erranding friend,

Sam

 

 


April 11, 1962

 

My dear Leonora:

Perfidious Puck rides again but soon he may be walking. In the next few days or even hours we shall be concentrating on a final effort which will either end in a whoopla or an humble return, though it does not matter. Indeed the chief difference will be whether we are to make money or make history and the ides, nones and kalends seem inclined to the former without negating the latter. No, we may not make it in the first part although a practicing schizophrenic having a multitude of personalities may be compelled or impelled to have an income for each. Puck is not so much interested in money as in income—anything—honours, honors, food, clothing, shelter. The Saint is only interested in honors and honours which may, however, take the forms of largesse and largesse, being indifferent.

Sam saw the Consul-General for the first time: “Why did you not call her before?” Or Puck saw the Consul-General: “Welcome and congrats.” But our next steps are mysterious, secret, hidden, mum’s-the-word and cloak without dagger. The dagger is exhausted, being overused as a stage-prop in the “Dagger-stall” dances of last night.

Those Georgians are not only ambivalent, they are ambidex and is this bunch of daggers I see before me? Yea, Lazy Macbeth. Them were not only steel-meets-­steel but steal-meets-steal and plenty of each. Not the Birch Boys will go after the State Department. And the Georgians who are crackerjacks but not crackers will go on to Karachi and perform before the Ambassadors, perhaps all excepting the Germans and Ecuadorians.

If I don’t get the pictures today, the mail will be help up. Seeing may not be believing but it helps. Maybe on second thought I might even send you two pictures, one to keep in your album and the other to show. But if you give it to a femme it must be only Grace Doyle or Audley because each, in a way, may be concerned with my future careers. This will not be a dance-costume.

Yesterday I bought in another pair of shoes which are not like any other shoes I have bought. My chaplis are worn out and so some other types. I am going to wear them this morning. Last night I wore my “officials,” i.e. patent leather pumps—c’est l’opera you know.

It was balmy last night but today shows signs of warmth. Presumably we shall be away 16-28 to Rawalpindi and Abbottabad for “last look.” If we don’t get by the end of the month what we pray for, I shall make every effort to return anyhow, but the feelings are fine and there is no bad news.

The Pakistani-American League in Karachi has now a folk-dance class on Fridays and I hope to visit them before I leave. Boy, are there things to do. And you can’t do them. Go out: “Where are you going?” “Why” and between Puck, Sam Lewis and Ah Yaint-a Saint, everybody stops one for any or no reason. It will be good to get home and be anonymous, or will it and do I want it? “You don’t know Nellie as I do—said the naughty little bird on Nellie’s hat.”

Sam

 

P.S. They gave me passport sized pictures which I distinctly did not want. Wanted post-card size. So I am dumping three herewith.

 

 


Pukhtunistan Times

 

Puck Accused of Treason. Don’t you unbelieve it! Puck was seen sneaking about an around the open air theater today, April 10, where the Georgian dancers are putting on their performance. Puck was on his toes. What was bad enough. Then Puck went to the box office and ballyhooed. A long line appeared to purchase tickets. Boy, was Puck in society. All the top Americans, Yankees, U.S.A. nationals showed up, got in line and demonstrated something never before seen: a real cue straight line, in order. It was marvelous. It brought a still bigger crowd of curiosity seekers who formed a Q. A cue may be a straight line but a Q is the shortest distance to the Box Office—just try it.

The result was that the ticket-wallahs were overworked. No time for tea, no time for gossip, no time for anything but selling tickets. It was horrible. True the rupees came coming and coming and there was no time to count them. Seats were sold out. They were not oversold because this is not Lebanon. All the Americans were there—the Birch gum-chewers; the sight seers of the Far Right; the Conservatives of the Forest, etc., every American in Lahore showed up and Puck shook hands with them all.

This was too much for the Pakistani Artists Association. They never had so much work and so much money. They are artists not bankers and they don’t like the Americans either. So they accused Puck of subversion. But Puck, insisted. “Freedom or Treason.”

“What is your name?”

“No!”

“Tell me or I’ll throw you in jail for contempt.”

“Well, Ah Yaint a saint.”

“What?”

“Yes.”

“You blazed fools” (turning to the accusers), do you know who this man is? I give you five minutes to pay the fine or get out. Now git or give.”

Case dismissed.

Puck never said he wasn’t a hypocrite. So Puck is going to see some other people on their toes.

Puck is planning a book on pathan meals. Very original title: The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

College boy studying Cicero while in a Japanese restaurant: O Tempura! O Morays! Now Puck must write his reports, which follow:

 

 


April 11, 1962

 

Perfidious Puck to R. Ruth sends greetings and won’t wipe off his smirk.

Gurgistan Zindabad. Daggerstan Ki Jai

Puck started right off instructing the police: “Say, if you don’t clap, we’ll clap you in jail.” It was not necessary. The audience was full of Americans. “On your toes everybody!”

(Of course, what else can you say watching Georgian dancers). They acted like claques of claques. The only thing which finally stopped the performance was that the dancers were tired and hungry and you can’t get Smirnoff here.

The open air theatre was packed. These Russians are also on their toes. They keep a record of the personnel of Americans going out on foreign aid and foreign missions. When the number gets very great, out come the Russian dancers and in come the rupees, piasters, baht or whatever kind of small or big change is used. The Ford and Rockefeller people never look at each other otherwise; the TCM will have nothing to do with the Fulbright boys. But send out a Russian troupe and they troop and forget all about their iniquities and enmities. Cold war? Yes, but against whom? Maybe everybody else will unite against the Chinese as they once did against the Germans.

Incidentally, Puck did not notice any Germans in the audience. Most of the blondes were Americans but there were a few Poles, Czechs and French, and even some English. Not a bit of schmalz, but who cares. Or maybe the Russians and Americans want to rejoin and stop the Fritzies. This was no Berlin situation.

Puck took Parviz who had never seen such things. “There are just two sane kinds of insanity—what I have and what they have and sometimes I think what they have is a saner kind than what I have but I don’t want to influence you.” So Parviz saw the Americans go gaga and saw performers go gaga and never did he hear such drummer boys, nor such a wrestling match—which is always top billing. Of course Puck, used to his insidiousness, said: “Parviz, I don’t want to influence you (Oh yeah?) but I understand the piano-accordion is your favorite instrument, n’est-ce pas?” “Uh-huh.” “Well these people won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Lenin Peace Prize and the Pease Porridge Hot prize for their accordion playing.” “When do we go?” So by persuasion, logic, argument, and a free ticket Puck finally convinced Parviz to come with him. Puck’s perfidy has no bounds and you could see him bounding up the stairs.

The open-air theatre is like many in the U.S. and it was warm but not hot and the moon was out, could not have been better.

Puck, of course, met the Consul-General from the U.S., the Consul, the Vice-Consul, the secretaries, the clerks, the aides, the attachés, all sitting separately and pretending not to notice the other Americans. It was tough with all the Americans there and tomorrow is another night and so on. Fortunately there are plenty of Americans in the Lahore region. The Georgians need not worry, the performances are all sold out. “We did it before and we can do it again.” Say, whose cold war is this anyhow?

 

 


May 1, 1962

 

Good morning Lenora.

Happy International Day or something. I have more leeway in my life. In a few hours will know about meeting Ayub’s Cloak & Daggers. At least it comes out in Puck’s confessions:

“I sent a group of innocent Shinevaris, Makmouds, Wagners, & Afredos to Hollywood. They were to observe the Oscar contest to get some ideas. They set up a war cry, (no other intent)

Ponti Ponti Lindabad Ponti Ponti Ki Jai

Ponti Ponti Lindabad Ponti Ponti Ki Jai

The judges took one look at them, shivered, gave all the awards to cousin Sophia and joined in. So Puck Ponti-ficates. He is about to become a Ponti-FF if Ayub puts him in charge of the Indus and its bridges. Puck never crosses his bridges if he can help it. Anyhow, Ponti Ponti Lindabad Ponti Ponti Ki Jai.

Nothing but an endless series of fictional wants on the bad side have been robbed, also lost money. The robber is known but if I report or persecute I lose face. It is actually a rollicking horrible mess of folk-lore some of which passes as religion.

But the most serious part of my life is S.A.M., Sufi Ahmed Murad. I am meeting all kinds of strange and mysterious personages and they are unanimously for me. It is much more than Marion Crawford’s “Mr. Isaacs.” It is simply unbelievable.

That very series of events kept me away from Yogi Nehru and seems drawing me to Ayub. At the moment it looks as if I were near my heart’s desire and greatest hopes. If successful, I may be too busy to write again. I can see it coming—all my efforts synthesized and categorized and put out in practice form. I have more good contacts with more Americans too.

My host, Major Sadiq, took me to his property and we planned a home and garden. But I am hoping he gets both an appointment and permission to come to the U.S. and soon. Moi aussi. I was never more tired and yet more alert and both at the same time. No news here. The papers are empty and I have to wait for Newsweek. In Lahore he has access to the NY Times and Herald Tribune But if I get interviewed, “Newsweek” gets it and then Chet Huntley. Next San Rafael.

My relations with Audley will be more involved because if my plans go through, her office may become my rendezvous—Dairy and Horticultural Mission and more. But if I am humbled, it may be otherwise. I feel very good and almost optimistic at the moment because of yesterday’s events. They are so “unbelievable”—I must withhold until I return.

Success means planning receptions in San Rafael, S.F., (at least 3) and Berkeley and then “down the line” to Hollywood unless we are compelled to land in New York. There can be no great failure because a lot of smaller successes have been attained.

After seeing notables and following dates, I go to Abbottabad for farewells and also to pick up pictures. But as things look here, I shall be needing more and more and more of them. I am satisfied that I took this trip, but I hope my next one will be of shorter duration as so much depends on the next hours or days. I do not wish to speculate. I am compelled to keep in constant touch with my attorney John Rockwell of San Rafael; with my friends Rudy Olsen, 166 Geary, Norman McShea, 4120 Geary and with the World Affairs Council, etc. in expectation of an important return with either merits or humility.

The more successes the more receptions too. It looks good-bye to FD for new ways of life. I am in big problems with big political solutions and still larger careers.

So I close:

Ponti Ponti Lindabad

Ponti Ponti Ki Jai

Maybe something bigger than an Oscar.

Sam

 

 


May 19, 1962

 

Dear Sam,

One of your missions abroad was to promote folk dancing as a means of bringing peoples of the world together for mutual understanding and fun. But who are we to preach abroad when it isn’t working here? List ye to what happened at a recent Festival in Sacramento. First I digress for a bit of explanation. The Sunsetters Club, of which Max and I are charter members, has 3 young men with eager feet and smiling faces and all are Government workers (a Probation Officer for San Mateo County is not to be sniffed at). All are as black as the Africans now moving into high places in the United Nations. We are especially proud of Milt, who started from scratch and is now the Club’s official photographer. He is a self-taught Caller whom we enjoy immensely. Alton is slender and looks quite nifty in black pants, open neck white shirt and red cummerbund. In dancing he sticks with members of The Sunsetters Club. But after all, there are mixers for all that are most enjoyable. Unthinkingly, he entered one. A woman from Sacramento complained at having to be with him and the edict went out that colored people should not enter mixers. Gary Kirschner, chairman of the April Federation Festival to be held in Daly City, said that wouldn’t apply to his program for dances. John Mooney, overall Chairman, decreed that mixers should be omitted, given up.

Gary went over his head to Bob Chevalier, Pres. of the Northern Section of the Federation of Folk Dancers of Calif. He not only refused to support his Vice-Pres. (a much hurt Gary) but washed his hands of the affair. We seethed, we burned. I haven’t been so upset over racial discrimination since I visited Memphis, New Orleans et al. Gary called a meeting of our Club to authorize sending letters to all delegates and officers of the Bay Area Council of F.D. clubs for a protest meeting. Neither John nor Bob came nor any of their so-called supporters! John said our meeting was illegal, though the Federation Constitution fully provides for such action just so a dictator cannot rule. Many of us were inspired to write letters to these non-leaders and get others to do so. Reps. of Chang’s 200 members said that Chang would withdraw from the Federation. The President of our Sunsetters is an attorney in his fifties, quite fiery, declared that discrimination could spread to Jews, to Mexicans or anybody with a brown skin.

To make a long story short, we won with lots of mixers at the Daly City program and our 3 young men seemed to be having a gay time. John returned from Hawaii and Bob made a syrupy speech—about our magazine (!) But we rejoice that our future Pres. is young, aggressive yet charming, and oh so active with forming new dance groups, teaching 4 nights a week, etc. Some of us who have known and liked John a long time are troubled, as we had never seen this side of John. Gracie thinks he was influenced by the ultra­conservative members of the Marin dance group to which he belongs.

For a complete change of subject, I now take you to Chinatown, where I attended a lecture in the newly opened “Chinese Library of America,” 109 Waverly Place. Prof. K. Y. Hsu, Univ. of Calif., reviewed Chinese poetic imagery. What a marvelous personality he projected. One definition of poetry was “New images for old objects. The Chinese language has been assimilating images for 3000 years. This makes it eminently fit for expression of poetry.” Then he analyzed certain words, such as Nature. It is “self-so.” Not influenced by outside things. nature is a general term for all things. Nature is a source of man’s esthetic side of life. The Chinese people are more wrapped up in the mystic power of nature than we are. Afterward he was served hot tea, the audience got Chinese candy. next to me sat a man who made hen track rapidly on paper and then read his translation of the Prof’s speech. I examined the shelves of books on China in English, finding one written during the period of Japanese “incidents” (leading to war) when I was there. I became so engrossed they had to blink the lights to get me out of there! Sam, I think they would be very grateful if you could contribute some books.

Another evening you would have enjoyed with me (next to Max, who prefers baseball broadcasts) was at the Jewish Community Center. The art critic for the Chronicle lectured on Folk Music—old and new. The most enjoyable part was hearing the illustrative recordings he brought with him.

Did you receive my letter of March 7? Kindly answer the questions in par 2. Latest letter from you is undated but handwritten and very difficult to read. I suppose such teeny weeny script is from your many years of note taking. I’m as confused as you are about your future address!

As ever,

Leonora

 

 


June 2, 1962

 

My dear Leonora:

The other day I wrote to my friend, Norman McGhee, and asked him to call on you. When I was in Cleveland I constantly ran into the people of his milieu who are excellently educated people of Mulatto blend. I had another reason for associating with them as I then wrote—you had to chose between Negroes and Mulattos who spoke American English or else God knows what.

One part of me is very apathetic. I don’t like to see this kind of question at all, not because I wish to avoid it but because it is to me utterly stupid. To take part on the side or against the side of communism or neutralism; for or against nuclear weapons, etc. has a logical basis of some source. But this is utterly emotional and what is worse, stupid, nonsensical and part of my more or less serious campaign of “reality” versus “realism.”

My friend Julie Medlock is now in Ghana. I did not tell her and now I tell you for the first time about some of my poetry not public. I have been working on epic poems. My one for Egypt was highly praised, and, of course, rejected. But it may not be rejected here. I am working for another one on Pakistan and at the moment, though it may take years, I am sure it will be punished.

Next when I return I shall resurrect my “What Christ, What Peace” which proved to be highly prophetic. Written in 1941 it says:

“Marx and Mammon and Minerva will interdict,

Marx and Mammon and Minerva will then conflict

In the name of Christ, when Hitler is gone,

What price glory? What price peace?”

Now I later started another epic may of short pieces, all in rhythm and rhyme strictly simple and only making an epic by being compiled. The name is “The Black Christ.” At first Mulattos—and to a letter extent pure “Dark Negroes” thought I was pulling something. This is not so. I can sense the feelings of whole people, whole races perhaps as easy or easier than I can individuals.

The “What Christ? What Peace” there is a thesis of the relation of human ills to world peace and my own teacher taught this. Now I have been told that I have healing power. I don’t like to rely on such a thing. First I was successful in putting two crying infants to sleep, then I healed in turn, three small boys and the father of another. I don’t like to put stock in it and I am hoping to bring Major Sadiq, who is a real healer to America, but I am afraid that this will be broadcast and it will be most unfortunate. For not only have I been overworked but subject to a series of pilferings.

The social system here exempted certain persons but the pilferings grew so large in amount I was in consternation for two days and I directly accused the young men of the family smashing one with my fists, something I have never done. Major Sadiq who is in another ways a saint, is utterly blind to his son and nephews. When you have your doors locked excepting one door and that door is constantly guarded and the pilferings go on, the simplest person would conclude that the guards themselves were the thieves. This has placed me in a most awkward position. And I can’t very well leave until I get some private matters settled. Fortunately my own financial affairs in USA have been on the up, which will help me when I return without depending on others.

I have heard nothing from people in Pakistan who promised help and I may make one more call to get my poetry back and then to Karachi where I can arrange with the bank of America for my return. If there is anything in seership—and lately my faith has weakened, I should be returning in July.

My friends, Jack Betts at Clementina St., and Steadman Thompson, moving to 150 Delta St. will cooperate. But If I have a companion there could be an entirely different plans. Meanwhile my connection with Islamabad University has gone over my head—so far everything has been successful, but I can’t handle it. Fortunately here both the USIA and American Friends of the Middle East will cooperate. I see nothing but possible success when I return and with this awful social impasse here I am far from happy. Even if there is final success in my largest project—and I have become indifferent to it—it may not add to happiness. I called an editor a liar to his face yesterday when I was trying to help him with a problem. I held on tight and he had to relax. I could name persons and events in the US so fast he could not keep up with me and I knew he could not and I compelled him to retract. I hate this. I don’t want retractions, I want people to face facts.

I look for no bettering of world conditions, everybody wants to face policies and persons, not facts.

And then there some were dreams. Sam (or is it Puck) naughty, naughty. But I want them to keep until I return. Now Max will have to suffer some day by listening to my poetry—what a man to treat friends!

I have decided to use “The Mikado” justice letting the punishment fit the crime and make each prisoner pent a source of harmless merriment, but this will be mailed beforehand.

Sam

 

 


June 15, 1962

 

My dear Leonora:

Puck’s life must be patterned on “Willie the Shakes” and the best way to describe what is going on is “A Comedy of Terrors.” Please understand the word “comedy” first.

Mail. I write letters and fail to post them. I write and they are misdirected. There have been mistakes by mail clerks and people at forwarding addresses send letters where they think they should go or return to sender. Detailed written instructions do no good. All I know is that if you have any idea of a continuum of my affairs and experiences I am surprised and some of your letters show that you have not.

The affairs of my host, the Major, are so complex that anything I write will be simplicity itself compared thereto. He has two addresses and he is at neither. That is only the beginning. Nothing has come out as either planned or predicted and I would be totally disillusioned except that some things have been coming out for me. I’ll tell most of the bad things first.

I have submitted to a series of pilferings and every time this happened pleas to keep my outer door locked. When I said it was locked they sent a servant in, then another. Then members of the family and generally be the time the fifth person tried the door it was well unlocked, the pilfering would take place and another plea for me to keep the door locked.

Then they increased the guard over the inner door and the more the guard the greater the pilferings. Not Sherlock, deductions were not permitted. It was only when I started to beat up physically one of the members of the family that the truth came out. You are not supposed to question your hosts’ families and the parents believe their offspring.

As I am packing now to go to Rawalpindi and Murree I have been shocked at the loss of clothing and gifts to me, some most precious. I cannot keep everything under lock and key. It is hard for me to carry on my own affairs and every such thing shows me down.

The big thing in my favor at the moment is that I have been sent for. At the very least “Puck” will return as an official and not just for my imaginary Pukhtunistan either. Skepticism is useless because I have, to begin with, developed an insulation to the heat. I hate it and yet I don’t notice it particularly especially when I am out. Next you add that I do not seem to be aging. And then, after four predictions that I have a healing faculty I have used this successfully.

I am not proud of it and am even a little abashed. My own passed experiences with metaphysicians have been nasty to the extreme, and my own more recent experiences with scientists have been favorable to the extreme. So I wish to submit to tests, etc. I will say that Major Sadiq who seems to have miraculous healing powers, invariably works with accredited physicians and there are neither emotions nor hysteria connected with anything I have seen in this field.

I have had another terror, too. My friend, Dr. Malalasekera is up for President of the UN. Against him is Zafrullah Khan of Pakistan and it is presumed that the anti-Red nations will line up for him. Yet there has been nothing but double-crossing going on and we are caught in a web which can only lead to further “shocks.” It is disgusting. Commentators tell people things which come out of their minds. How do they know what people are thinking and doing on this vast continent?

Fortunately the Political Adviser here has long, long been suspicious and he has been to Karachi and spoken his piece. So far as I am concerned, it is my piece, too. We agree that subalterns and civilians cannot and do not influence CIA. I have given him a good briefing on Dr. M. and the earlier histories of common friends. It is a huge and tragic joke. We do not learn from Cuba and Laos, unless something new has been added. The idea of policy makers operating like our jury system and listening to facts and stop weighing personalities and personalizes seems elementary and for that very reason seems difficult.

The Sufi leaders are well aware of all these things but I have given notice that this will be my last effort:

1. To get official recognition for the existence of Sufis. This has nothing to do with admiring them. Some Americans love the Pope and some fear him and some are indifferent but they all admit he lives.

2. To try to find those groups which are anti-communist and/or pro- American.

3. Ditto for modern culture and education.

But the first principle seems to be to find out how anti-communist somebody is. At home you have to smear the Birch barkers and here you have to behave like one. No wonder there is confusion.

I have long passed the point where I can carry on any more projects and I have reached the point where I have a clear idea of what I can do and what I can write. I believe there are enough organization and persons who will at least give me a hearing. The whole world is out of kilter and there is little chance that it will be on even steering until and unless we become universally objective. Dr. Malalasekera has beaten Adlai in every debate because he knows Adlai’s weakness. Well I know Dr. M’s.

I leave this machine to be repaired and go to Rawalpindi and then to Murree, the summer capital. That is located on a spur of the Himalayas and will be out of the area of heat. It will be a relief. The grapevine says I leave her toward the end of July and should be in SF the first week of August. The only thing that will change this is a clearance of Major’s Sadiq” s affair.

The rub here is that while his life is not coming along according to predictions, mine is. I have four men at different places who are fore-telling for me and all say the same. I have had far more join in this chorus and there is agreement. The man who has been most efficient and correct, has not visited the house where I now live, and he only made a single mistake and that was at the time he was worried over his son. I was able to predict correctly on that.

I am not a Macbeth leaning on even good witches or wizards but there may (or may not) be something in soothsaying (as Puck says, especially when it soothes). The details of agreement with the Sikh in New Delhi, the Munshi here, the afore referred to Shah Sahib, the Sufis and the spiritualists is so remarkable—why do they say exactly the same? I have between now and October to determine once and for all the truth. If it comes out that way, I am going to have an excellent connection with Duke U. (Prof. Rhine).

Fortunately despite the heavy pilferings, I pay no rent and my income is up. I don’t know what the Stock Market means, I had written to the Trust Company praising their sales of certain stocks and their purchase of others. The stocks they had previously sold were among those most hit; the stocks they purchased and purchased heavily are International Harvester which means, or may mean, that I can throw a lot of information and advice in that direction.

I have not heard anything about my family and only that one Aunt has recovered from a severe illness. My return may or may not be important in this direction. If the Major does not come with me I shall limit myself to Berkeley, SF or Marin, to be determined by actual events. But if he does come there will be little choice but Hollywood—and the purchase of a car so we can “commute” and how.

I am in a very poor home from which we hope to move, perhaps while I am at Murree or anywhere “in Pukhtunistan.” But it saves me from people coming for help, advice and “healing.” I leave this open because I cannot mail this for at least two days—today is a holiday and tomorrow I am on a trip.

 

Friday. I am about to leave for Rawalpindi. The last day and a half have been most favorable. There is not only a strong grapevine working for me but more and more people are learning about my efforts. The seers are very strong in saying I shall be well received when I return. I am hoping to clear up once and for all matters in the capital cities and then return and work in the Punjab until I can leave. Hundreds of people beg me to remain not seeing I accomplish nothing but give them a kind of satisfaction, but it is a good satisfaction.

Sam

 

 


July 8, 1962

 

Dear Leonora Signora,

Puck is still in to “Comedy of Terrors.” Have not seen or received any word from my protective host Major Sadiq—for weeks—I am not even sure of his whereabouts. He and his wife were in one motor car accident and she alone in another and all plays went! I am at Rawalpindi for the while but don’t know how long I shall stay. The man I expected to assist in Peshawar is in the U.S. Rain is coming—maybe the beginning of the monsoon. I have had enough heat.

I am also writing for a very Puckian reason—went to the movies and the whole caste was Italian with one exception. I looked over the list carefully, not a Ponti, Oscar or no—not a Ponti in the caste or associates, not even a third assistant flower girl or makeup jerk but—there in the middle of the signoras, signoritas, signores and bachos, a single exception 40,000-1 shot. The exception: Martin! Instead of Martin becoming Ponti, Ponti becomes Martin—and let the pun stand! I could not miss the opportunity. (More Shakespeare Macbeth.) I think it will rain. “Let it come down.” It is.

Jamshed Jewel. I should return to Lahore between the 15th and 20th and leave for Karachi between the 25th and 27th and leave Karachi August 2-4. It is not money but red tape, countless frustrations and uncertainties that hold me up. But I am (or Puck is) agog. What is agog! Change record please to “Stormy Weather” and “Let George Do It”. Now the emphasis is to shower in the rain or reign in the shower! I also may meet the Khalandar and C’wary and meet some more big-wigs. But I am heading for SF with side trips to Marin (legal) and Hollywood. The last becomes more and more important—my closest friends are involved.

Now darlings, as everybody foretells romance for me, I am also sitting on the “side-lines” for final settlement of residence. I shall not go to university, yet I must spend some time at the Academy of Sciences G.G. Park, Berkeley—Puck, interrupted—all the neighbors left their kids here in the rain and I have to baby-sit!! Actually I may now impose on you my two secret tragedies, which will clear up some odd things about which I had to be silent.

I will also have a letter about Wesley. No bath as today is ironing.

I know big things are happening which causes made him a martyr. Complicating when there were broken romances. She was nearly if not completely innocent but kept her mouth shut. People will be slow in understanding the deep love and reverence I had for him. If it came out it would have been misunderstood. Even Leonard Aniston and other men whom I love (without necessarily admiring) were not of that class.

There is one dramatic comedy to my Lahore ventures too long to write which may turn out most pleasant and which will be detailed on return. Will believe the Martins & Pontis. I guess I had better go to the cinema again when the rain stops. You can bet I’ll be seeing one or the other, and maybe later in “Hollywood” itself.

I hasten darlings,

Sam

 

 


July 23, 1962

 

Dear Saint madam,

We have an assortment of Pakistani cloaks (we take care of our daggers) that need attention. They are all Afghan bordered and have Pashtimi trimmings. We keep them in India rubber and to keep the Indians from robbery. Please give them careful attention.

Now comes the real question: Will I beat this or at bed time. This beats me. The race is to the surf and to the jet. I don’t know who is meeting me or where I shall go but my “son” Norman says he will take care of that. I am glad he called on you and he was anxious to help as I am to help him.

My ticket ends in San Diego. I can fly there cheap buying it here, they have special rates. My aunt has been ill a long time and I don not even know if my mother is alive. Lots of things have gone wrong. “Comedy of Terrors” but the last days very auspicious. Everybody is for my “How California Can help Asia.” Have meeting with Tony Atkinson when I return and many more introductions all over the State. So I am calling my friend Marry nelson first. Then to Marion and then it depends on a lot of things. Then jump south, then going back and see what has transpired.

My lips are slightly worn. I have touched no woman excepting Julie Medlock and damsels from S.F. Julie is not here’ I don’t know where she is. Figure that one out!

I write on a first class air-conditioned train supposed to arrive I Karachi late in the morning. Then to Hotel, PAA, Embassy, etc. and a veddy busybody week. No wonder the cloaks get [?]. We land at Calcutta, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Honolulu. According to the schedule I don’t change planes but you never can tell—the train is moving! 1 1/2 years—the rest of my life. There may be mail in Karachi but this will be posted because I am not sure whether even air-mail letters will beat me. I’ll be glad to get back. After 80˚-105˚ weather and sometimes hotter—unusually warm; the monsoons are late. But making more and more and more acquaintances and my writings in demand.

 

 


July 25, 1962

 

Dear Sam,

Recently I have had 3 customers by the name of Sam Lewis, one of them a business associate of my husband. Fie on you and your fancy names. I have Mohammed himself, no other name. And what a shock of curly hair, but Jewish nose and the smiling affability of a salesman. But instead he is a crackerjack waiter. Speaking of names, Chester A. Arthur III was mentioned in the newspaper News CB in June. It seems the grandson of the 21st president was quipping: “I’m going in circles.” The erstwhile Fourth and Market newsboy turned author has already written Circle of Sex, Circle of Faces and is finishing the MSS for Circle of History. You, old dear, do not have to “go Asiatic” on us when you can get right here in S.F. “The Color, Sound of Zen” which headed a description of the ancient rites and ceremony at the Sokiji Zen Temple in honor, the Rev. Shunryu Suzuki becoming Master of the Temple. You can learn the Arabic language in a course offered at the Arab Information Center in the Ferry Bldg. Waitress Yasmine at The Taj proved her versatility by serving a formal dinner to the Indian Consul, then changed her sari to a harem costume and entertained another group with a belly dance. Right here, you can join thousands of Californians, including the blind, in donating old or discarded glasses for sending to the needy of Pakistan.

People you knew? Mrs. Mary Stubbs Gibson, 86, one of the fabulous great ladies of S.F. history; authority on the history of costume, discoverer of new species of Sierran fungi, ornithologist, creative weaver, is dead. Also Anita Blake dead at 90, who gave her home site to U. of C. for a research center for landscape architecture.

The Main Library is being renovated. You won’t recognize the Fiction Room. It’s given up a lot of space to 9000 books on religion and 1700 on philosophy. There are pleasant oases of comfortable chairs, round tables, plants just for reading and relaxing. Big things are planned for other collections.

You certainly have been wonderful, lately, in writing 4 letters to me, yet receiving nothing, nought, zero from me. Two of them had Clementina address for your return, so why write, if you were that near. Airmail does not get forwarded, I’ve been told, because of the extra expense. Then there was such a lull, I was on the point of calling Rudy for info, when presto, Indian mail ceased and 2 letters came from Pakistan. You certainly have my sympathy for all that looting and for having to be up in the air so much about plans.

I liked the passage about the international listing of a cast that contained a Martin but no Ponti. But Sam, I nearly go nuts trying to read your handwriting. Please get the typewriter repaired or start printing!

Your friend called on me at The Launderese and he was quite a charmer. Later I was notified he had sent my name, as a librarian prospect to The Peace Corps and they sent me a lot of propaganda, forms to fill out, etc. that I haven’t had time to read.

There is so much to tell you of my recent ups and downs, I am saving it to relate when you return, providing it is more less soon? Just call my number first UN 3-2999, as we will be out of town Aug. 4th to—unknown time.

Hope you are on your way soon. VP or not, you gotta spend some time with Max and me.

As ever,

Leonora

 

P.S.

At a recent Fun Club shindig I had a long talk with Charlie Bassett. He said on your first trip to the Orient he heard from you often, but nary a thing this time. My Sunsetters group had Stan Valentine for caller recently and I had a swell time talking to him all through refreshment time. Made me understand him better and increased my love and admiration for him.

I understand Madelynne recently put on a brand new kind of a shindig that went over big for an international week end, by invitation. Pay plenty.

Her largest class, lately, has been for instruction in Japanese and Hindu dances!! Since these won’t be given at festivals, I’m sticking to Walter and Max-partner.

Lee

 

 


January 21, 1969

 

My dear Leonora:

It is not too pleasant to report that one is succeeding in obtaining his dearest wishes at a time when one’s friends are having troubles. It has been necessary or advisable at times to turn one’s back on everything, if not on everybody and this determination to move in new directions has been in a sense rewarding.

The very fact that older people did not accept Sam Lewis seriously has added to his luster, and so one has a following or entourage of about 60, two in their forties, a few in their thirties, and nearly all the rest in their twenties. And as this year dawned one also had the satisfaction of being lifted out of financial uncertainties, at least for the while an the young, who in many respects seemed to have leaned on this person, have also responded to please and lifted one entirely but of debts.

The obtaining of a home in Novato without any particular financial burden has, however, given one a sort of fatherly responsibility and everyone in the house excepting one’s secretary has been ill and the secretary has visited Southern California and his mission has been a success.

The first glimmerings of success after long efforts have manifested in the publication of one of my poems—which have always been rejected; and the republication of parts of “Glory Roads” written years ago by Lutheran Whitman and myself. One of my friends, who is a university professor (transferred to Pennsylvanian) told that there is an underground acceptance of this person and this gradually coming out.

Three times in life I have had to suffer from direct persecution involving, among other things, the seizure of all my manuscripts and the public use of them by “famous” persons who have social backing. By chance a single carbon came into my hands recently which integrates the various functions and missions I have had and won the exceeding good-will of several of my young friends.

Another aspect of life is the heritage from Ruth St. Denis. This has now been called to the attention of her literary heir. I combine dances with lectures on Sunday and Monday nights, open to the public. But I also have a dancing class on Saturday afternoons, not open to the public but which one can come to by invitation. It is based on a number of facets of life not germane to our culture at all but apparently very successful in operation.

Now one of my disciple has approached Ann Halprin—with whom there has always been some understanding—and it is possible that there will be communication and even an alliance.

It is even possible that some Friday night I may descend upon a folk dance group with an entourage. But I do not have much free time at night and am extremely in empathy with John Skow. With two homes and a filled program it is very difficult to find time to go outside to help others. I have to visit Berkeley today on a number of missions—including fabrics for clothing, etc.

This house is always open on Sunday and Monday nights but few mature persons have accepted any invitation. And it is certain that there is close harmony between most of my disciples. In San Francisco usually the number of men far outweighs the number of women and this restricts my dance teachings to the Dervish type but this is going ahead and the response is excellent.

It will also be necessary for me to have classes in Marin County on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights and here on Sunday and Monday nights, with also day classes to be organized soon. This besides the courses being taken at UC and the need to visit the campus from time to time.

Each person who comes has a problem—sex, drugs, home conditions, etc. There are ways of approaching these people which are often successful but so far as mature people are concerned I have given us trying to reach them with rare exceptions.

I now have, in a sense, three ersatz families and so function as parent and grandparent besides, in a sense being a sage. I have utmost trust in Daniel whom I have sent to you and I can send others to you if necessary but I feel like a doctor who will not make home visits excepting to those who have come to his office. This is not any sign of coldness—I am drawn to many and many are drawn to me today because of mutual love, empathy and understanding. I must ask you to try to come to one of my meetings before I can possibly go and visit you.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


American Association of University Women

San Francisco, California, Branch, Inc.

January 15, 1970

 

Dear Sam,

Have just finished reading your letter to Leonora Ponti (all her mail comes to me now as she no longer reads or seems interested in correspondence unfortunately).

I guess Ali Cogsley has told you I’ve been taking care of Leonora for some time now, her business problems, household, etc. but I guess he didn’t tell you where she is or you probably wouldn’t have addressed your letter to her there, at the O’Farrell St. place.

I’m quite surprised Sam, that you write your time today does not permit you to keep up with old friends, however close they may have been…. Leonora has always spoken so highly of you and the friendship you and she have had over the years … and if you only realized this is what keeps her going really … visits, even just short ones, from those she has known so well in the past….

I’m enclosing a copy of the letter I sent out at Christmas time to all those friends who sent cards to Lee … it gives a little of the background since Max’s death which was when I met you.

Please give this visit thought a little more concentration…. It would mean a great deal I know and she isn’t going to be around as long as those young people you mention are in your life.

Sincerely,

Doris Hosea

 

 


January 17, 1970

Mrs. Doris Hosea,

5218 Camden St.,

Oakland, Calif. 94619

 

My dear Doris:

I remember once during the early part of the war I said to the other office-workers, “I had a day off—once!” They all laughed. Some of them were lucky enough to get a single day off every other month! People who do not know the problems and quandaries of others often presume and assume that the others are living in beds or roses.

It is several months since I had a sort of vacation hoping that I could arrange thereafter to have a day off a week. It was an idle dream. It is not that life was negative—even the positive elements took away time. My best friend from France showed up without notice and expected me to make some arrangements for him. This was also necessary because he is trying to sell “Dances of Universal Peace” to a large corporation. Why, my best friends are not concerned with this person choreographing dances and much lass with the social and financial possibilities. Neither can one force others to look into one’s life nor compel them to share the benefits.

There was once a huge humorous story in vaudeville: “The dog died.” And when it was all over it seems that the butler was telling the master that his house had burned down and wife ran away with the chauffeur and much, much more. But my life is not a vaudeville story. Yes Ali gave me news but no information and it is so long now since I have shad anything like a day off-which one cannot compete others to understand and now I am going to tell you some things :

1. We have been in danger of floods in Novato and I had to go and dig some emergency drainage ditches. The other man are often away at work.

2. The house across the road, occupied by one of us, was in a worse fix.

3. My brother, recognized after years of enmity, is in a hospital awaiting a capital operational.

4. A man whom I have been waiting for for some time with the hopes of working out a real peace program for the real Israelis, the real Arabs and the real Palestinians—not the figments of the press, commentators and Vice- President, is here and expects me to see his early and often.

5. My god-daughter has planned to desert her husband and infant daughter and the phone is constantly ringing—what must I, or they do.

6. Several universities have sent for me, there being at least two special delivery letters in the mail and I am actually afraid to look further into the mail box.

I teach classes five nights a week, and have oodles of correspondence and writings at all times and have just one voluntary secretary. Excepting for the Indonesian dances here recently I have not been able to go to any sort of theatre or show for months—and it is not money that is lacking.

Today after years of effort many universities and professors are now acknowledging prowess and saying “Yes” whereas previously all said “no.” I do not wish to go on.

One is being sought out continuously for advice or for what they call “enlightenment” into which I will not go. One is Emerson’s mousetrap inventor. One cannot force this on others. I do not know at this writing whether I can have even a free hour the next week. One is sorry to write in this way. I know many people—and unfortunately last night I met more—who are in positions comparable to Lee’s and one is clamped with time. I do not own a car and never know when I can get one.

If my secretary wrote he would probably have been curt and direct, but he does not know everything going on—he sees the part of life not mentioned here. I am sorry but an over-burdened man is not likely to respond when he is taken to task.

I have great love, reverence and feeling for Leonora, but no time at this writing.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

Public Officials US Correspondence

Deputy Undersecretary of State

Washington

May 2, 1955

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

I wish to thank you for your kind letter of April 17. I was particularly glad to receive the greetings of my dear friend Mrs. Hathaway, the widow of the late Charles Hathaway, my first chief in the service to whose instruction and friendly guidance I shall always be indebted.

I obtained the impression from reading your letter that you have had a most interesting life, that you have been able to delve into many subjects which have always fascinated me but which I have unfortunately not had an opportunity to study.

I sincerely hope that you will find it possible to use your talents and your accomplishments in the interest of the United States and of a more complete understanding between the peoples of Asia and of the Western world.

I would be grateful if you would send my cordial greetings to Mrs. Hathaway. With kind personal regards,

Sincerely yours,

Loy W. Henderson

 


Department of State

Washington

February 11, 1957

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

I very much appreciated receiving your letter of January 16 regarding your interesting visits to Japan, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Burma. It is always a source of great satisfaction, as you point out, to be able to see not only the leaders but other representative elements of the countries which one visits.

I was glad to have word from you about Mrs. Frances Hathaway and her son. I well remember Dr. Hathaway who was my chief in Dublin, Ireland, in 1922.

Sincerely yours,

Loy W. Henderson

 

 


Supreme Court of the United State

Washington 25. D.C.

Chambers of the Chief Justice

April 2, 1957

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

It was certainly interesting to read your letter describing the help being given by the University of California to Indian agriculture. My visit there last year convinced me not only of the tremendous potentiality of their agricultural economy but also of the staggering problems they would have to overcome. It is deeply heartening to learn of the progress already made and the programs underway.

Thank you very much for writing me about it. With my best wishes.

Sincerely,

Earl [?]

 

Office of the Vice President

Washington

June 23, 1958

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

I want you to know how much I appreciated your letter of June 15. I can assure you that your constructive comments will be most helpful as I continue my study of Latin American and world problems.

While immediate public attention is understandably focused on the incidents which occurred in Peru and Venezuela, I think it is most important that we not overlook the fact that the great majority of the people of Latin America are basically friendly toward the United States. That is why it is so vital that we do everything we can to strengthen the economic, political, and cultural ties between this country and our neighbors to the South.

In view of your interest, I thought you might like to have a transcript of some remarks I made at the National Press Club on May 21.

With every good wish,

[signed] Richard Nixon

 

 


Congress of the United States

Washington

June 18, 1960

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

c/o E. W. Hathaway

350 76th Street

New York 21, N. Y.

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Thank you very much for your letter of June 17, 1960.

Your observations resulting from your experiences in Japan are very well taken. I do not profess to be an expert on religion and/or morals, but suffice it to say, I think I can distinguish right from wrong.

In our efforts to stress and practice world brotherhood, there are always those whose actions will tend to controvert it. I feel that these are a minority, but there is no getting away from the fact that the minority can do much harm. We can only hope to broaden and strengthen our efforts at spreading world brotherhood, not only to foreign countries, but just as important, right here at home.

In this regard, I commend very highly the fact that Hawaii is hopeful of having established within its boundaries a Center for Cultural and Technical Interchange between East and West where students from both points of the compass may be given the opportunity of better understanding each other.

With all best wishes for your forthcoming trip around the world, I am,

Daniel K. Inoye

 

 


American Embassy Karachi

Pakistan

March 6, 1961

 

The Alien Registration Branch

Police Headquarters,

McLeod Road, Karachi

 

Dear Sir:

This will introduce Mr. Samuel L. Lewis, an American citizen, holder of United States Passport No. 1919228 issued February 23, 1960 at San Francisco.

Mr. Lewis will be here in Pakistan for approximately 6 months and will proceed to Abbottabad in the near future to assist official and nonofficial institutions in Pakistan under agricultural schemes. Mr. Lewis is uncertain as to his arrival in Abbottabad since he is scheduled to meet official and civil representatives on route at Multan, Lahore and Rawalpindi.

The Embassy would appreciate any assistance which you can render to help Mr. Lewis in completion of his registration papers.

Very truly yours,

John B. Gwynn

American Vice Consul

 

 


United States of America

Operations Mission To U.A.R.

22 July, 1961

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

K482 Kung Street

Abbottabad,

Hazara, West Pakistan

 

Dear Sam:

I received your letter of the 19th of May about a month later and I have not answered for the reason that we have been resettling a number of farm families in our project.

I am glad to know that you have visited the Soil Conservation and Soil Reclamation offices and have made some Headway with them concerning overall processes involved in these important aspects of agricultural progress. It has been my observation in all of the parts of the world that I have visited that natural resources are looked upon as sort of a gift of God and that therefore it is assumed that they will be continuous regardless of what we do with them. As you know we have been discussing that matter at some length here in Egypt.

I expect to leave Cairo on or about the 19th of August to return to my professorial desk in Berkeley, at which place I would be glad to hear from you in care of the Department of Civil Engineering, Berkeley, 4.

Our resettlement here is going along very evenly and we are happy that we are contributing to the progress of Egypt in this agrarian reform.

Very truly yours,

Paul M. Keim,

Advisor to the Co-Directors of ARIS

 

 


American Embassy,

(Consular Division)

New Delhi 21, India,

October 31, 1961

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis,

c/o Major M. Sadiq,

2 Elgin Road,

Lahore, Pakistan.

 

Sir:

The receipt is acknowledged of your letter of October 25 concerning your mail.

The attached two letters were received yesterday after Mr. Huston Dixon, the American Consul in Lahore, had telephoned the Embassy. If more letters are received for you they will be promptly forwarded.

The normal procedure followed by the Embassy with regard to visitors mail is to keep them for two months. If the visitor concerned does not communicate with the Embassy or call at this office to pick up his mail it is returned to the sender with the remark “unknown”. If any of your mail had been returned to the senders that must have been done before we received your first communication in which you mentioned that some mail may be coming to you in care of the office.

With regard to your Indian visa, it is suggested that you let us know the data of your application to the Indian High Commission in Karachi if you have not already been granted the visa. You should also clearly indicate what were the reasons given in your application for your visit to India.

Very truly yours,

Roger G. Gifford

American Consul

 

Enclosures: 2 letters

 

 


Lahore, Pakistan

December 8, 1961

 

Embassy U.S.A.

Karachi

 

Dear Sirs:

Please help me out. Please do something to assist me getting out of this country, anywhere, anyhow. There is more than ample evidence that my mail has been opened. I have had a letter from Washington showing that envelopes were opened and contents changed. I had an important letter from a publisher insisting that my vital reports were never received. My Senators answered promptly letters written in November. No letter between September 18 add October 31 was answered by anybody in Washington, and few elsewhere.

I received one letter yesterday in the Consular Office at Bank Square. It had been opened. The enclosures were removed. It referred to another letter with enclosures, they were never received nor was the letter.

India. Since applying for a Visa from India I have never had a single note excepting through intermediaries. So far as I am personally concerned they simply pocketed my rupees. I don’t believe that happened. I must ask you if it be possible under any condition that I get to India. Even Muslims here are permitted to go as pilgrims.

I have not had any answer to any letter from India, even those sent by registered mail, with the single exception of Dr. Radhakrishnan. I am now compelled to ask others to write for me and also for the Embassy there to enquire.

Neither have I had any reply to my enquiry for Ceylon. Neither have I had any answer from my travel agent about the alternate matter of returning to the United States. Mr. Dixon has now sent by official such a letter to my attorney. I have never heard from him either. In this I have asked him to contact the travel agent.

I have a surplus of Indian Rupees. It I cannot get to that country I shall have to come to Karachi and intercede with my principals, the Bank of America. I am not worried there for they always have been most cooperative ant I can raise funds easily if they are not offhand available.

I have been forced to report again and again names to Mr. Dibble here but the FBI warned me long ago never to counter-espionage or anything and I do not. I get these names through others who are my friends.

I should like any kind of a letter whatsoever from the Indian High Commission. I also ask that you reply in duplicate, one through Mr. Dixon and one to this address 2 Elgin Road.

Previously letters from you to me, purportedly sent to this address did not arrive, but I saw the file copy in the office on Bank Square. Other things have happened which I should, be glad to relate to your political attaché.

The chief compensations are that my friends are caring for me at little cost and both my agricultural and cultural missions have succeeded entirely and sooner or later they are going to be reported in tots, or if your attaches will listen-which they have not before—to them. Any American who is successful here is naturally an impediment in way of certain powers, or conspiracies.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Lahore, Pakistan

December 30, 1961

 

Hon. Thomas Kuchel,

Senate Office Building,

Washington, D. C.

Attention: Ewing Hass, Administrative Assistant

 

Dear Mr. Hass:

I am arranging to fly to Karachi for a few days. One of the chief reasons for this is to report to officials of the U.S. Government as to what I have learned from contacts with the new Agricultural Development Corporation.

My immediate personal survey in this country has been completed and I think I may have written especially on the theme of how California can help this part of the world. I have the entire good-will of the O.I.C. and research workers from American universities in this regard. But I am free to travel and meet and do.

In U.A.R. there is a top organization, the National Research Institute, which coordinates all the work of scientists in that country. Here the new Corporation is distinctly dominated by retired officials, few if any of whom are scientists. Again the National Research Institute of U.A.R. has been financed by the Egyptian Government. Here they are depending on foreign aid, particularly American aid.

I am sending a copy of this to the “Saturday Evening Post” because: they have been writing and editorializing on the lessons(?) from Pearl Harbor. One lesson we have not learned is to accept reports and warnings from little people. I don’t want to go into the past. But here I see our government generously appropriating loans and aids for other lands without always having any sort of auditing or administrating. General Maxwell Taylor found out the hard way what all we “bum” tourists knew from direct experience but such direct experiences are not made matters of record, nor are they given any recognition in reaching official decisions.

On the negative side I might be protesting because I am getting no help—I have not asked for any from our government. I am returning next year with a number of projects. As a matter of fact a friend of mine is now in Lodi, collecting Avocado and Pear seeds for this land—his own expense. But the new Agricultural Development Corporation is not collecting seeds or anything—it is for the moment just providing high level jobs—our expense, if we do not watch out.

I have at this writing had directly, first hand, three reports of actual technicians being turned down to make way for friends of the new administrators. Ibis, of course, is being appealed and every effort will be made to see the proper personnel is selected.

 

 


Lahore

May 18, 1962

Attention: Technical Advisor

 

Dear Senator Kuchel:

With further reference to “How California Can Help Asia.” I am now making every effort to return home soon, a matter which is quite delicate because there is off the record a 50-50 chance of meeting President Ayub made even more delicate because the manner in which this may be done is so totally outside the region of respected protocol that its very acknowledgement may cause a “revolution.” Fortunately I have had nothing but the whole-hearted cooperation of all political attachés whomsoever and whatsoever. Although I try to stay outside of internal politics we are in agreement that what the United States needs is reality and not what is called “realism”—a term whose exact meaning escapes me.

The most successful and happy interviews have been help with scientists and members of the Ministry of Food & Agriculture. Not only do they include all my proposals, but they have also accepted two completely new, or additional ideas.

One involves the cleaning of our cities of waste chemicals and using these as soil amendments or additives wherever they could bring betterment. One does not need the pure chemical in such operations as one needs in the laboratory or foundry.

The other is to bring closer rapport between Husbandry, as well as Horticulture, to fill out complete Agricultural program. My contacts will be easy with the Dairy Industry in Marin, the Poultry industry in Petaluma; and through Russell Smith Jr.. San Benito, for the Cattle industry. I think this would complete a well-rounded paper on “How California Can Help the Orient.”

The above ideas and projects will be discussed beforehand with my friend, Harry Nelson, City College, San Francisco; and with Mr. James Wilson, Information Section, Chamber of Commerce—or with whomsoever he may introduce me to.

Yesterday I ran haphazardly into three more Californians and the grape-vine brought no needed information. Our present method of foreign aid has many loopholes and the greatest of these is the difficulty in which some of these loopholes could be easily plugged. For example I have faith that the “Peace Corps” was rather emotionally thrust on a lot of people without asking them what they wanted or needed. It has brought the result of displacing Asia Foundation (and others) from certain “neutralist” lands and the good-work they started has dead-ended.

“What will I do for money?” “My dear man, you are doing to be very rich. You will have all the gold you want. I am going to initiate you into the mysteries of Alchemy. You can get all the gold you want.” After that the Major said. “Yes, but if this is so, why aren’t you rich?” “I am rich. To begin with I was a capitalist and financier. I had all I wanted one way. But when I was given this gift I gave up the worldly wealth. I don’t need it. I can have it whenever I wish you. Now it is up to you to see that you and your family are rich. After your family gets money then you may give to the poor and orphans.

The remarkable thing about this is that I gave the Major exactly the same prediction previously but not the Alchemy. This means we are on the verge of tests to see whether this spiritualism is a mighty act and science or a fraud. I feel like on a delicate balance.

Today we want over all the predictions by whomsoever and they all predict the same thing. It means that these seers are going to be either 100% right or 100% wrong. This is far more delicate for the Major than for me. Senator Kuchel had acknowledged my paper on “How California Can Help the Orient” an all the American officials approve of it. Furthermore yesterday while I was wandering around red tape land—the police, consulate and American Express, I kept on running into Californians and got some more important information a la grapevine. If I were to announce it here all the press would damn me and call me a spy, but I know what is going on.

We make the same mistake all over and all over again too. Financing wealthy politicians does not stem the communists or help the country. Now it is either a subsidy or outright blackmail. We don’t win because if anybody is dissatisfied they either kick us out (as in Burma) or call the Russians in, as in Cuba. What is more the press does not want valid reports and I doubt if the CIA cares.

The unanimity of conferences with technicians goes on. Not a cough in ten carloads, but I doubt whether I could get the local papers or radio stations to take this. They have their methods which always end in the further loss of good­will in the unaligned countries. On top of that Julie Medlock has gone to Ghana (God bless her) to attend a monster protest meeting against all this unclear nonsense which is going to impoverish and win no wars. The protestants are undoubtedly right but does this mean anything at all? I am waiting now to see whether the Sufis, having overloaded us with blessing and prophecies, bring any of this into action. It is high noon and I may not mail this for several days, adding any report of the Major; or after tomorrow, from the Sufis of
Sarawallah, etc. You can understand near skepticism, or else if there is a break such a fairy-like fantasy as to be unbelievable. I hate to let people down for even if the big things turn out to be hoaxes, my accomplishments have been far more than ordinarily one man achieves.

A number of these matters and others will be discussed with your successor in San Francisco; and if I can get at him, with S. Itaat Hussain in Karachi. But I am not going to be stopped by failures. My spiritual mission is to see the people of certain lands are well fed, and to adopt proper soil and crop correctives which may make this so. The absence of recognition or appreciation is of no account. I am called upon to act and not depend upon encomiums.

But my main obstacle at the moment is the utter failure to have any serious consideration given to the sending abroad of qualified envoys who can spread the knowledge of this land on all levels, who can travel more than the present consular officials can, and who could and would serve Pakistan in any and all capacities in given areas, not possible for your colleagues to handle.

Specifically I have longer reports to make on Salinity, Salt Water Conversion, Hillside planting, Soil correction, etc. Not only that, I know exactly what to do and intend to do it, inshallah.

I have recently run into Khalid in Rawalpindi. He has matured considerably and now looks more like a man than a boy. But I agree that it would be wonderful if he could continue his education in my country. He is a partial “misfit” here and I know you know that even in San Francisco there are institutions into which he would fit very well and find himself on a higher level. Incidentally I know of so many careers wherein Pakistan is totally lacking in artists and technicians but do not wish to go into that here.

Sincerely,

S.A.M.

Sufi Ahmed Murad

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


1088 Fulton St

San Francisco 17, CA

August 1, 1963

 

Edward A. Karnacki,

Office of Public Services,

Bureau of Public Affairs,

Department of State,

Washington 25, D.C.

 

My dear Mr. Karnacki:

I must thank you for year acknowledge of the 29th and for the enclosure, the address of Honorable Roger Hillsman, assistant Secretary of State. The fact remains, my dear sir, that we remain in a peculiar position, heralding on the one hand the marvelous ideology of democracy (with which I fully agree) and at the same time the simple citizen has no opportunity whatsoever to warn his country of real dangers. We have learned nothing from Pearl Harbor and the long address of the Hon. Hillsman proves just that.

I am enclosing copy of a letter sent to the Editor of some San Francisco papers because he is scheduled to take part in a panel before the World affairs Council of Northern California next month. The editors, especially those of the metropolitan dailies, are notorious in refusing interviews or papers or letters submitted by Americans who have been on the spot and are just as active in spreading rumors from European sources as if they were actual factual material.

For example, recently one of the papers here put on a full front page article that the communist nations were using telepathy and other extra-sensory faculties in the cold war. I don’t know whether the communists nations are using such faculties but I do know that my own colleagues are and I know about the trouble between China and Russia long ago, and could only report it after the mob attack on our Embassy at Cairo because warnings, valid warning of real citizens are shunned and off-the-beat proposals of so-called “allies” are taken seriously.

(At the moment some of my contacts have been called to Washington by Mr. Herter on most serious undertakings showing just what our “allies” are in times of crises—but otherwise the Mr. John Doe of the U.S. is caught when he contradicts an “ally” even in re: communism.)

The most pregnant statement in the Hon. Hillsman’s speech is the statement: “The United States is determined that Communism shall not take over Asia.”

It should stand out as it is if it were not contradicted so many times by the speaker himself.

My own basic information from Laos and S.E. Asia came from the late Phra Sumangalo (Robert Clifton) who lived in both sections, worked for the governments thereof and was refused all appointments or interviews with the State Department and the press (Mrs. Meyer excepted), until on a second visit, because of a family connections he met Senator Fulbright.

Buddhism. While there was trouble in S.E. Asia I tried in vain to get a paper read or published on “The Buddhism of Vietnam.” We had our “experts” on Buddhism here, all NATO nationals excepting one poet who has had a hectic career—these were our “experts” and recently when a student of these and others went to a real Buddhist conference of real Buddhists she came back and told me she did not know what they were talking about.

We now have some Buddhists here from Taiwan and if anybody every looked over their Buddhism it would be radically different from the hodge-podge over given Americans, Japan today slightly excepted.

I met one of the spiritual leader of the Vietnamese. I was told I was taking death in my hands. I wanted to serve my country. The end result was exactly the opposite of the prediction. He embraced me and loaded me with gifts because I know and understood his faith.

Today I am on the research staff of the Encyclopedia of Buddhism and not a single NATO national living in this country is, but one American living in Japan is. I did refuse to attend the services in behalf of the martyrs, but the fact is the Hon. Hillsman’s remarks concerning Diem are as far out as possible, American soldiers are dying and will continue to die and we will do anything in Asia except treating backward Asians as full human beings. (Unless there is a change.)

Islam. I notice that there has also concluded a conference on Islam in Utah. As usual, it is not necessary to have a collation of Pakistanis, Arabs and Indonesians, but it is necessary (only in America) to have various NATO scholars—if you go to the Mosque and see the Imam there you will get a very different story. Why we ignore the Chief Imam and include NATO scholars is something not only incomprehensible to Asians but downright offensive.

I have now four times unwittingly been in communist nests. My colleagues (see the letter) gave me the complete story of the subversive method of sending Muslims into mosques to mingle with devotees and incite them against the United States. They have been helped no end by our policy of supporting “Diems” over people of other faiths.

The worst thing is the story—which can be corroborated—of our unwittingly joining in a conspiracy against ourselves wherein oil exploration is not going on in Pakistan. If we had a real CIA they would examine my story beginning with the last communist imbroglio which is at least on record in Lahore. These are not things to be used in party politics but they weaken all the emotional, unsemantic oratory which wins no battles on the international scene.

It is too bad that the fine words of President Kennedy which the Assistant Secretary of State quotes towards the end of his speech are contradicted in the context. The President may take about “unless it has an educated citizenry whose qualities of mind and heart permit it to take part in the complicated and increasingly sophisticated decisions….” When I was in Lahore in 1961 and had Thanksgiving Dinner with all your colleagues on every level I was the only person present who knew the history of the country.

I have addressed 80,000 (eighty thousand) persons at public meetings in Pakistan and this does not include those whom I met socially at all levels from common workingmen to cabinet officials and the family of President Ayub. The principal of the Islamabad University which I temporarily represent here is the spiritual teacher of Ayub. He is also the leader of the anti-communist underground. In Pakistan Mr. Bhutto is on the march and we meet him with oratory. I met those of that view with something else. I was successful.

I was also successful in turning a mob against communist hecklers in India.

I was also the first simple person to be admitted with a guard of honor to the Imperial Palace Grounds in Japan.

Etc.

I am still for God and country despite all the oratory. The world cannot remain half free and half dialectic.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

(Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti)

 

P.S. This is written with vehemence but not with rancor. I am busy writing “How California Can Help Asia” showing that this State can help millions of peoples far more than all the red nations conceived.

 

 


58 Harriet St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

February 22, 1964

 

Hon. Thomas H. Kuchel

Senator Office Building,

Washington, D.C.

 

Dear Senator Kuchel:

In re: the private citizen and foreign affairs.

This is an excellent day to commemorate our first President, God bless his soul. Today we orate and ignore whatever he stood for. Despite our constitution and all our valid documents the Under Secretary of State has informed us that our future policy in S.E. Asia would result from a consortium with our allies. A psychiatrist would call it schizophrenia—consulting with our allies, these Nations large and small who trade with Cuba and recognize Mainland China. Soon we shall hear from the small nations meeting at Zagreb and Bandung what they think of our “consorting with our allies” to determine their futures.

The whole history of S.E. Asia is marked by an insistent and determined program of ignoring citizens who have lived in situ and have more than the requirements set forth in “The Ugly American.” This book is fine for the small fry. It sets standards for the small clerk and any obstreperous person who wants to give some real information about real Asia. It was from the very beginning ignored by the authors, by the entire press who praised the book to no end, and also by the officials who want their subalterns to know everything in it. Thus I have found subalterns in some countries too busy reading “The Ugly American” to find time to mingle with the nationals—fact, not sarcasm.

And now we send out not a diplomat, not an “Ugly American” but the Attorney- General to mediate, or interfere with the of affairs of Asian nations and Asian human beings for which in he has any qualifications. One wonders which set of civil service requirements list them.

The fact is Senator, that the small citizen can neither inform nor warn. It was so at the time of Pearl Harbor, it is so today. And having been in the confidence of intelligence officials of a number of Asian lands nobody knows it better than myself.

Now the President has selected another official to look for new talent and new ideas. I am not writing. Not a single letter to any branch of the State Department answered, and I represent directly and indirectly far more persons than there are people in the United States and can prove it!

 

 


58 Harriet St

San Francisco 3, Calif.

March 18, 1964

 

Arthur J. Waterman Jr.,

Office of Public Services,

Bureau of Public Affairs,

Department of State,

Washington, D.C.

 

Dear Mr. Waterman:

I wish to thank you for your acknowledgment of the 12th.

1. Blockage in Communication. This is major problem in world affairs today and there is very little likelihood of any change in the international situation until there is more candor in this field.

I have on innumerable occasions been asked by Asians, and usually V.I.P.s in the respective countries to make inquiries either to governmental agencies or to important institutions and the failure to obtain even acknowledgments is very great indeed. Unfortunately the Asians, excepting for Japan and the Philippines, tend to blame the United States Government and the State Department for all failures in this respect. And we, on our part, tend to be “shocked” every time an Embassy or USIS building is mobbed and no attempt has been made to clarify the situation. Of course the State Department is not usually (sometimes it is) to blame.

On the other hand I have had nothing but very prompt acknowledgements from all other governmental departments in this regard, and this without exception. Also full cooperation from them.

2. Cultural Exchange. There is very little attention paid to letters sent at the behest of leading institutions in Asia. The Government of the United States is not to blame, of course, if we say that Harvard—and this school is especially named—does not answer letters or refuses to accept credentials. Yet at Harvard we find Profs. Gibbs and Cantwell Smith neither of whom are Americans, teaching what pertains to be “Islamic Culture,” which has no existence on this earth and bears no resemblance to anything that ever did exist.

Islam may be an unacceptable religion but we should know what it is in all its facets in dealings with human beings, this country pretending to represent democracy.

This comes at a time when a number of our scientists are taking unusual interest in underground waters. But there is a grave question whether underground waters and diversions would meet the needs of the day.

I am, of course, emotionally affected by the fires in the Los Angeles area coming, at all times, in the presently moist spring; with a certain fear of impending danger from this source while public attention is elsewhere.

For the moment it is enough to know that attention is aroused. If it be aroused enough it may be possible to have the various nations of the Near East sit down with Americans to discuss first the particular needs or wants of their country and then go on to policy. My diary does not contain all the particular requests of the leaders of Arab lands, but we have failed to sit down and talk with them on simple, elementary levels.

In the case of Pakistan, after we refused to meet these nationals at the simple elementary level, they were quite willing to confer with the Chinese. It may be out of the province of AFME to hold any such conferences but I think it is right to place pressure on real ground table meetings with nationals of the countries where AFME is functioning, and to pursue this principle to the end.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

April 14, 1964

 

Hon. Hubert M. Humphrey

Senate Office Building,

Washington, D. C.

Attention: Technical Advisor

 

Dear Senator Humphrey:

In re: “No Need for Hunger.” By agreement with Jonathan Garst I went into parts of the world where he did not go and carried his plans until I happened upon the Ford Foundation people. And there is an extreme difference between the Ford Foundation and “Foreign Aid” (in the general sense, beyond institutions), that the Foundation comes to grip with realities and accepts people who come to grip with realities and the others accept credentials and more credentials and the more money we spend the less friendship we gain because we do not come to grip with realities.

There is going to be a “Food and Civilization” conference here next month. I have established friendship with Wm. Vogt and also as a representative of foreign institutions (not as an American) I expect to attend. But the last such conference attended here, I did not have “credentials” (our standards) and upended all the speakers who were too busy fighting each other anyhow. And abroad I was not excluded from any conference, any level on food, soil and water problems. Besides, our Technical Expert, Mr. Ayres, came from Rome to Cairo to see what I was doing. Which he thoroughly approved. Unfortunately our Foreign Service is largely in the hands of the State Department and not the technical services. This means an “ugly American” approach, meaning that the smaller echelons must study this fiction so have no time to mingle with nationals while the Agricultural people are overburdened because they have discovered one reality which is totally foreign from the State Department, that eighty percent of the populace are or want to be land-owners and food producers. No foreign policy of any large nation has been based on this absolute reality.

Today I am working on a themes “How California Can Help Asia” and I am amazed at the amount of research and the personnel in this State who among them have solved practically every problem I met in Asia save that of finance. Oh, I can name the persons and the research and the bulletins and all that. And I have met perhaps half a million Asians (I mean people, not brain-children of diplomats and newspaper men) and hope to God we will occasionally meet them as human beings, if not as equals.

I do not wish to carry this theme further here. I only hope that someday we shall get out of “realism” into reality. Why I have friends here who know means of tripling the food supply of S.E. Asia—but we are too busy making pawns of human beings to bother.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

December 21, 1965

 

Hon. Wayne Morse,

Senate Office Bldg.,

Washington 25, D.C.

 

Dear Senator Morse:

Mission to Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

It is characteristic of our times that one has to read of your movements and mission in a foreign land, and important though it may be, it does not stand even in third place to “expert” Reston of the New York Times and to several reports which contradict Reston and appear in the more astute Christian Science Monitor. Yet it is in view of these personal, dialectic subjectivities that our “news” is determined, our public discussions on “foreign affairs” is determined, our public discussions on “foreign of actual history.

I should appreciate any copy of report from you that is made public. On the surface I am the American representative of the University of Islamabad, President Ayub being on the Board of Regents. The acting President is Ayub’s spiritual teacher (Pir Dewwal Shereef) and the fact that this university was conceived as a bastion of pro-Americanism and anti-communism has been given very little consideration in this land. Why is this? Why can’t a loyal American citizen report to the State Department or be given any consideration by the press? The fact that Reston & Co. be given so much space here and that your Honorable self is given so many space abroad lies at the very nexus of our failure of the moment.

There is nothing more deluding that the applause an audience gives to an orator who talks about “winning the hearts of men.” This applause evokes no response abroad and the favorable attention to it here is closely connected with the reason why in fact (no relation to the same words used by editors) that we are at a low ebb in the hearts of men.

We are at a low ebb because it is evident to nearly all non-Americans from Arnold Toynbee to President Ayub himself that we are far more determinant in making some people more equal than others, far more than the most rabid communist can conceive. Everything supports the contention that we have the two cultures of Lord Snow.

Without going into details, this person has been doing research on the real problems of real Pakistan and all efforts have so far, without a single exception, been accepted by the Department of Agriculture and snubbed by the State Department—the same facts, the same information, the same everything. But as this conclusion was reached years ago in a meeting with Dr. Bryan, one of our top USIA men, human nature has not changed—the scientists accept the facts reported and the “other culture” measures the person and ignores the facts.

At the present time all efforts of a retired citizens are concerned with (a) Solution of food problems beginning with the thesis: “How California Can Help Asia”; (b) Reconciliation between Pakistan and India.

As to the first there has been nothing but cooperation and cordiality outside the State Department, the press and a goodly number of “social scientists” (these are divided). Whether it be problems of water supply, aridity, salinity, food production, etc. with a very few exceptions the answers can be obtained here in California—research, practical application, men who have answers, etc. But I fear, and I do fear, that the State Department and large section of the press wish to win “the hearts of men” abroad by dialectics rather than example and the human beings who occupy Asian lands want examples and not counter-Marxist dialectics.

As to the peace-feelers. I have already been at one special session on Kashmir and was sent to India on a peace mission, totally and absolutely rejected by our foreign services with a lot of warnings. They never inquired why I was so trusted and whom I knew. The fact that I am a fellow disciple with Ayub Khan of a great Pakistani spiritual teacher; that I am a devoted reader of President Radhakrishnan’s writing and that he accepts my interpretation of both Buddhism and Hinduism at levels hardly taught in the United States does not detract from knowledge or information. The World Congress of Faiths in London has just thanked me for “solving” some problems in this field, and today our university problems have about three high level organization working at objectivity in disputed areas of Orientals.

The awkward thing at the moment, Mr. Senator, is that a very highly placed diplomat of a non-aligned country is coming to San Francisco shortly to collaborate on what I call a peace-and-conciliation program. When I was in Lahore in 1961, having a Thanksgiving dinner with our foreign service I was the only one present who knew the history of the back country. I have spoken to multitudes of Pakistanis at all levels. My diaries attest and have already been requested by one of the institutions of a leading university in this section.

The question resolves to how far can we accept the late President Kennedy’s dictum: “It is not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” Mr. Senator, try it—I have been within and ace of being what the legendary John Birch has become and no nonsense about it. It is only because I am closely connected with top Asian groups—whose very existence we ignore, that I am alive today.

What is one supposed to do about such matters? Have you any available reports?

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

January 15, 1966

 

Hon. Thomas H. Kuchel,

Senate Office Building,

 Washington, D. C.

 

Dear Senator Kuchel:

Leave it to “Weaver” Kosygin

Well, the Russians have succeeded in bringing the Indians and Pakistanis together. Why not? What did we do?

In 1962 the writer was sent on a peace-feeler mission between the two countries involved. All he got was a good calling down from our foreign service and an absolute refusal on their part to attend functions public and not so public.

In 1964 we had a seminar on “Asia” in these parts, no Chinese and no Muslims of any kind. We are going to have one again soon.

Now while we are discussing something we call “ Vietnam” and proposing all kinds of things, Her Serene Highness, Princess Poon Diskul, President of the “World Buddhist Federation, has called on His Holiness, Pope Paul.

Must our “realism” continue to ignore realities? Are we going to cognize this meeting between heads of two great religions or are we going to leave it to Kosygin to settle the fate of the Vietnamese also?

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

February 8, 1966

 

Hon. Thomas H. Kuchel,

6315 Senate Office Building, Washington 25, D.C.

 

Dear Senator Kuchel:

How California Can Help Asia: Pragmatics Versus Dialecticians

One must thank you for your letter of January 31 with your splendid address of January 27 before the graduates at UCLA. I have just returned from another visit to that campus with from my point of view total satisfaction. Years ago I had the choice between enrolling there (upon retirement) and going to Asia. The death of the late Prof. Von Grünebaum and a sudden invitation to Japan determined later events in life. But I am watching this institution grow physically, culturally and spiritually.

A number of years ago I was involved in “World Peace Through the Arts.” Circumstances have given me introductions to areas where neither research specialists nor adventurers have gone and an entente has been made separately with the Departments of Art and Ethnomusicology which may in time tighten the bonds—now loosed between real Asia and real America.

I say “loosed” because this country has deserted its traditional pragmatism for anti-Marxist dialectics. And one having opened that door to dialectics we invite even communists to speak—to show that we accept “free speech” while holding the doors tight against Asians and “Ugly Americans.”

Years ago when the University of California at Berkeley started a series of seminars on “Asia” I envisioned the professors from the different departments on the different campuses coming together to share their common real knowledge. Alas it has not been. They are as excluded as this representative of several real Asian movements and institutions with the addition that any noise on their parts may lead to recriminations. Instead we have the representatives of the dialectical movements of “left,” “center,” and “right,” and a good Briton or Australian, if he is not too conservative, may speak on “Asia” where Americans and Asians are alike excluded. (This is not nonsense and in a terrible accusation which can easily be proved to be true.) And soon I shall address the President, Clark Kerr, not to accept this person as a represent of anything Asian, but to accept his own “underling” who have among and between them nearly all the real answers to the real problems of the real Orient.

While thoroughly critical of the dialectical policies of this Administration one feels even more aghast at the equally dialectical and quite pompous views of ivory towered commentators. Their position is worse because they champion a “democracy” which consists of essays on democracy and an absolute refusal to listen to the experiences and knowledge of other, whereas the President at least may listen though he will not be effected or affected any more than these very divergent dia1ectical commentators.

Recently I have watched the personal attrition to Hon. Roger Hillsman, now at Columbia, who has my complete sympathy; and to President Johnson, who has not. One is compelled to agree with Mr. Hillsman who is offering us almost the dying echoes of good old American Pragmatism from one of the heart-centers of that splendid philosophy. This universe, this post-Einsteinian universe cannot be Procrustead into a left-center-right arena of the dialecticians and that is what we nearly all are doing. But the voice of Roger Hillsman, not particularly dominant today, may go up, not down in history as an honest effort to use traditional American methods and not the willy-nilly European dialectics which dominates almost in to the press, the channels of communication and everything outside the scientific arenas.

If you had attended the meetings of the scientists (AAAS) at Berkeley, you would have listened to concordant parades of actual materials presented by all sorts of persons, not only PhDs but dirt farmers, who had no time to offer eulogies on “democracies” before telling us their valid experiences and researches.

I returned to this city to attend a meeting on Vietnam, any relation to seminars and colloquia elsewhere being totally absent. Deploring the absence of Orientals, the meeting soon came under the domination of us “Ugly Americans.” Although “Sarkhan” was hardly mentioned, the discussion was in this spirit facts were welcomed, peoples who lived in the area under dispute were given full opportunity to express their experiences first, and opinions came later.

Although it was rather “Dove” like, the feeling was that withdrawal should be militarily and not culturally and spiritually. One deplores our total dependence on either administration views or the caustic remarks of Ivory-Tower commentators and the total ignorance of the Mekong Valley Development Scheme. The hours spent with Prof. Orr of our same UCLA illustrate perfectly what I mean, have meant and intend to do.

To withdraw our military power and restrain ourselves culturally has no value. Actually we have a lot of learn from the Vietnamese (and all other Asians) and for that reason I prefer “Asia Foundation” to others because that is what they do. “Asian Foundation” is, in the sense of this communication a “Pragmatic” and USIA and to some extent the “Peace Corps” are dialectic institutions. Our incessant praise of them veils the reactions of foreigners to them. We are even afraid of praise from exotics, we want to do things and praise them highly as if this proved anything.

The totally unsemantic policies from Washington recently do not obviate a real study of real problems of real Asia and their solutions. One has been successful in the visit to the “Dry Lands Research” department at UCR and now has the materials stemming from the Sahara Reclamation project whose former secretary is at Escondido. Bringing those threads together, one integrates and it is in this spirit of integration one works.

Indeed Prof. Oliver Reiser of Pittsburgh U., champion of integration, will soon be here and one hopes and wishes that his point of view will be more accepted. Like myself also was a disciple of the late Cassius Keyser of Columbia, heart-center of Pragmatism.

I am exceedingly serious about a real conference on real Asia where the various professors of the Six Campuses can come together and let their findings be made public. If even a small amount of funds were at my disposal I would do it myself (a secretary would be needed). But I have other commitments and unlike the commentators I know the truth is in the hands of many individuals and not of this ego-self. Nor do I go around and substitute preaching the word “democracy” while ignoring all it connotes.

Indeed one of the UCLA projects in connection with the Art Department will go very far toward promoting real cultural exchange with real Asia without involving a lot of politics—and hokum. This is, of course, a side-line to efforts in agriculture and engineering. And the position is peculiar because there is an “escalation” between personal meetings with the splendid men who dominate class-rooms and laboratories, but do not dominate channels of communication. And in this is the source of the downfall of an America which has come to reject “Americanism.”

As my present efforts deal mostly with the food-problems of India and the Pakistan-Indian relations this is consuming more of time and effort. But so far as Vietnam is concerned and all of Southeast Asia, I am not needed at all. Just because one can make noise does not endow one with wisdom, or even knowledge.

True, the problems of Southeast Asia have been discussed and agreements have been reached with her Serene Highness, Princess Poon Diskul, President of the World Buddhist Federation; and with Dr. Radhakrishnan, President of India. Both of those have been involved in anti-communist undergrounds in which as a person I have played a considerable part. But we do not want anti-communists if they are dialecticians. We have nothing to do with the masses of Asia who are too spiritual to be communists, but not so spiritual that our editors, our commentators, our “experts” do not call them “communists” because they are neither dialecticians nor dualists. Despite the dictum of the late President Kennedy there is nothing worse than to play the role of a real “Ugly American” in this real world, to associate with and win the love and friendship of exotic people.

The end of this letter can be found in “Sarkhan.” Perhaps fiction will succeed when honesty, factualism and eye-witnessing have no part.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3,you’re w Calif.

March 27, 1966

 

Hon. Hubert H. Humphrey,

Vice-President of the United States,

Washington, D.C.

 

Dear Mr. Vice-President:

“We are tragically short of experts and diplomats on Asia.”

The late revered President of the United States (Hon. John F. Kennedy) said: “It is not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” You are a high official of this government; it is easy for high officials to whip out maxims and shibboleths. But what about the ordinary citizen who tries to fulfill them. It is via dolorosa.

At a class of tie University of California, Anthropology Department, the teacher suddenly brought up the subject of Pakistan the other day and then threw the subjects to the writer who was permitted to speak for over one hour. “I have met over one thousand women behind the Purdha.” “How is that possible” “I am regarded as half a holy man.” The teacher then interposed, “Who was your model?” “The late Sir Richard Burton.” The teacher then gave a talk on Burton and threw the subject back to the writer who explained how by following Burtonian tactics it was easy and simple to mingle with Asian (and perhaps other) nationals. But this person has not gone beyond UAR, where incidentally it took him five days to become a guest of the government.

The writer has met in person perhaps half a million Asian people, and naturally having bizarre experiences, it is not easy to have them accepted. For instance he has been three times in Communist nests, and they are not at all like the reports from our editors, whether the narrow Hearst or the broad N.Y. Times type. In every case our thoughts about Asians dominate over objectivity.

This whole thing was thrashed out long ago with one of the top USIA officials and again at a party the other night where one discussed with AID people that no matter how great the accomplishments of AID (and there have been marvelous accomplishments) there is practically no publicity and no matter how small the plans (plans, not accomplishments) of the “Peace Corps” they are published all over. With this policy, Mr. Vice-President, how does one know whether there are any “experts” on Asia?

You will notice from my card that in this country one represents the University of Islamabad. The President-Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Hon. Ayub Khan is on the Board of Directors and when he retires or is removed from office he intends to do an “Eisenhower” (Columbia career). This does not mean that one is accepted therefor, or has even the right to free speech at assemblages (you will get some details below).

Actually Hon. Ayub Khan and the writer share in a spiritual teacher, who is also the Founder of the University and the leader of the pro-Americans in Pakistan. Neither the State Department nor the Peace Corps have accepted this as fact and have refused to answer any correspondence. This, unfortunately, is the general attitude in this country and a single term, used in today’s paper concerning the flying saucers (?) flippancy. Flippancy dominates the Press, the channels of communication of many branches of the State Department and numerous other agencies, private and public.

The writer has lost a two year battle trying to get the University of California and World Affairs Council to have come Asians as speakers at their conference on “Asia.” Last year we were left at the end of the sessions on “Asia” and “China” respectively with the Hobson-choice of an editor of doubtful veracity (and his wife) and a British communist! The audience was given that choice and this unfortunately is characteristics of so much of our “only in America” panel-discussions on something called “Asia.” There are about ten Asian Consulates here in San Francisco not one has been represented at these seminars(?)

Pakistan. The writer has spoken to audiences amounting to about eighty thousand (80,000), people in that land. He was given plenty of publicity. All reports to all shades of the press were rejected here. What was happening simply could not happen. And today I am very, very much afraid that when I return to that country and tell them any incident there will be the fomentation of an anti-American riot. I have been behind the scenes, Mr. Vice-President, I have mingled with these people at all levels and I was able to convince the official historian at Princeton of this, to have him correct some most erroneous statements. If the first book had been published as written all our USIA installations and the Embassy would have been sacked.

Religion. Anti-defamation is wonderful, for Christians and Jews. Brotherhood is wonderful, for Christians and Jews.

Japan. One became the guest of the late Baron Nakashima, the “King-Maker.” One was the first American to be a guest at the Royal Cemetery. (I think it is called Taicho), and the Imperial Grounds, both the Household and Botanical. One was the first outsider to the Buddha-Stupa on Mount Takao.

One was admitted without waiting to the Engaku-ji Monastery at Kamakura, and passed Zen tests immediately (see below). And then one was sent on an anti­communist mission to all Buddhist countries, ending with Hon. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and on route being the guest of my very good friend, Her Serene Highness, Princess Poon Diskul. Fortunately on this errand some Asia Foundation people were aware, but all other such errands were ignored by our Foreign Service.

Buddhism. I’ll skip over this lightly. We have two real experts on real Buddhism in this country, Dr. Richard Robinson of Wisconsin University, now happily accepted by most American scholars in Asiatic; and Dr. Phillip Eidmann, PhD from Minnesota U. (One does not know if this is your Alma Mater but one doubts whether you know this genius.)

Vietnam. This is the most deplorable situation in all history where two groups of agitated Americans are at each other’s throats without having any clear idea, and often without any idea at all about what they are talking about. If there is anything worse than the Hawks who are anti-Christ in so many respects, it is the parade-doves who have no consideration at all for either Buddhism or Vietnamese people.

“Sarkhan” appears as fiction. It is based on so many facts, a few of my own life, described in my memories, and many in the lives of my closest friend who died of a broken heart trying to prevent hostilities in Vietnam. He has already been given a large article in the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Buddhism and statues are going up in his name in various parts of S.E. Asia. We heralded “The Ugly American,” we are afraid of “Sarkhan,” and we know next to nothing of either Islam or Buddhism.

Grand Master Seo of Korea is now in Honolulu. He looked over all the so-called Buddhists of this region, than ordained the writer as He-Kwang, requested my autobiography and the last report is that the first section has already been published in Korea. So like the original real ugly American, one becomes a sort of Lafcadio Hearn.

India 1956. Just one incident will be given. The writer was present when Master Tara Singh acceded to Prime Minister Nehru. I was the only outsider present and all my efforts at getting an article published have failed. The other day I did meet the head of the Sikh Community here who accepted this incident and we talked with clarity about the present Punjab imbroglio, of which we get many nonsense versions.

Peace Mission. In 1962 I was sent on a peace-feeler mission between Pakistan and India for which I was soundly berated by our Foreign Office. They also refused to attend any functions. I have written an introductory letter to Ambassador Goldberg, not followed up.

One entered India when introductions were difficult (January 24, 1962) because of preparations for Independence Day (January 26) and saw immediately the Chief of Protocol, the President, the Chief Holy Man of the Sufis and the Chief Holy Man of the Vedantas and then left Delhi. This does not make one an expert, or diplomat, Mr. vice-president, it only makes one a gadfly or annoyance.

Three incidents of 1965.

a. Sri Surendra Ghose, #3 man of the Congress Party upset the audience here when he said he had come to this city particularly to meet the writer.

b. When the top scholars on Asian literature came to an impasse at the meetings at the Sheraton Palace in this city, they accepted the answer of this person as the “solution.”

c. When Princess Poon Diskul came her she upset the proceedings by greeting this person first and pushing the VIPs out of the way.

All this is external and I am going to add one more thing, showing how far from being “experts” on Asia we are:

Dervish Brotherhoods. Like my model, the late Sir Richard Burton, I have been initiated into these orders and like him also made into a spiritual teacher (Murshid) but I have functioned more.

I was in UAR in Agricultural research (Vide Dr. Ayers then at Rome, and Dr. Mehren, Department of Agriculture). One day a group of scientists from El-Shams University came to my room and told me who they were and why they had come. They regard us as 50% materialist, 50% dialectician and they consider themselves real anti-communists.

Among other things they told me their plans to split Russia and China, giving details. Within a few months a Chinese communist delegation came to Cairo. They stopped at one of the large hotels and never went near the Russian Embassy. It was obvious something was afoot and everything turned out exactly as they said.

That is why one had to correct Prof. Wilbur in some of his published remarks about the Dervishes and thank God he accepted these corrections.

The writer has given his life to the study of Asiatica, mostly religion, history and art. He has travelled far and wide physically, intellectually and spiritually. But he has changed in character and outlook so that he cannot psychologize like the “Philistines” of the day.

Mr. Vice-President, one also represents a number of Asian universities which from our analytical point of view means “conflict of interests.” One is now planning a “Dance of Universal Peace” to be performed at Fatehpur-Sikri in India where the great Emperor Akbar made an abortive attempt to bring all peoples of the Empire together and showed respect to everybody.

It is so easy to discuss almost anything with Asians, on their own levels and from their own viewpoints. We have forgotten our Transcendentalists, we have forgotten our Pragmatists, we are fishing in the murky waters of Dialectics, accepting the premises but from the opposite pole.

At every point we are alike ignoring, even desecrating every principle of every religion, and we do not know it. I am for the “Doves” in so far as they follow the two Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, Lincoln, Senator Hoar and more recent leader. But I am opposed to the “Doves” insofar as they give no consideration whatsoever to the suffering of the peasant masses of Vietnam or any other part of Asia, or the world.

Communists did start this series of complications—I had this from eye witnesses for a long long time. My views have been expressed to her Serene Highness Princess Poon Diskul, and to His Excellency, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. One can sit with them in discussions, one can meditate with them, one can commune with them. From one end of Asia to the other I have had an experience similar to.

Meeting the spiritual leader of the Vietnamese Buddhists. He was healing people in a manner similar to Jesus Christ (details in my memories.)  Wen he saw the writer; he dropped over thing and without even cleaning his oily hands, embraced him in his cloak and hold him to his heart. We could not speak the same tongue, but in our hearts we were one. This from one end of Asia to the other with all classes from outcasts to some of the VIPs mentioned. Nor do I stand alone—we “Ugly Americans” have not yet been considered; there are many of us, one meets them all the time, but the press? The State Department? The channels of communication?

Where is God? What is humanity? Our American systems of justice and the use of eye-witnesses stops at the twelve-mile limit.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


United States Senate

April 27, 1966

 

Mr. Samuel Lewis

772 Clementina Street

San Francisco 3, California

 

Dear Mr. Lewis :

Thank you for your thoughtful message regarding recent developments in Southeast Asia. I strongly believe that American troops must not remain in South Vietnam if it is clearly demonstrated that the people of that country oppose our continued presence there. Leaders of the Administration have stated repeatedly that the U.S. would not continue military action if a legitimate government asked us to cease our efforts. I think we must hold the Administration to this pledge.

I believe there is no alternative but to work for the people of Vietnam through their government. If a government which has substantial popular support proves hostile, there is no option left open for us. It is not in the tradition of our democracy to take over and dominate a people against their will.

The people of South Vietnam have fought valiantly against the terror tactics of the Viet Cong. They have shown that they do not wish to be dominated by any foreign element, particularly not by the Communists. I have supported U.S. action to defend them against such domination.

We must keep faith with the American tradition of human liberty and brotherhood. We also have a duty to defend allies who ask our help to resist oppression. The government and the people of Vietnam may well choose to continue to cooperate with the government of the United States. Indeed, I hope they do so and that Vietnam may one day be freed of the agony of war.

Please be assured that I am giving this problem, close attention. With kindest regards,

Sincerely yours,

Thomas H. Kuchel

United States Senator

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif.

August 5, 1966

 

Hon. Thomas H. Kuchel

Senate Office Building

Washington, DC

In re: Ending the war in Vietnam: reality versus “Realism”

 

Dear Senator Kuchel,

This is written in the spirit of the poet Francois Villon who challenged the king of France to end the war against the Burgundians. And it is a continuation of “Reality” versus “Realism” which was published by the World Federalists. For we are fighting a quasi-war in which everything is welcome but the facts.

I think I sent to your office copy of a letter in which I expressed to my Congressman (Philip Burton) a willingness to sign a deposition as to what started the war. While I have memory (my library was burned in 1950), some documents and at least two corresponding witnesses right here in San Francisco, they are real characters out of a real “Sarkhan” and, of course, ignored just as the rest of us are. Why I don’t know.

Every day we are making fools out of ourselves, the latest being the protest against the “Beatles” which confirms the charge of our being super-hypocrites which will be substantiated below.

I am sending a copy of this to former Mayor George Christopher. I have never met Mr. Christopher but we have two things in common:

a. We have been at various times in the good graces of Mrs. Grady who stands almost #1 among real Asians as a friendly American.

b. We were both associated with “The Friends of the World,” a Japanese organization. This group had something to do with tree-planting at the Arboretum and establishing the sister-city movement, with special emphasis on the Osaka-San Francisco movement.

Here I have documents which also belong to Reality and not yet to “Realism.”

The president and founder of this group, the late Baron Nakashima, sent me on an anti-communist Buddhist mission. This mission was entirely successful and was equally ignored by our Foreign service and no nonsense about it. I not only can give full details, my diaries, now in the hands of a friend, can substantiate every point. This mission was entirely successful and when my diaries are published—whether in my lifetime or later they will substantiate to the limit of the remarks of Hon. G. Malalasekera of Ceylon “Who can trust a Nation which will not entrust its own citizens?”

For the chief source of information from Vietnam came from my friend, the late Robert Clifton (Phra Sumangalo) who lived among these people, had all the accoutrements of the “Ugly American” and “Sarkhan” and got it and the tragedy is that unless there is a radical change in the policies of the State Department we are going to see more and more of this.

Two weeks after writing Congressman Burton of my willingness to sign a word deposition about the history behind the history in Vietnam and the refusal to accept the reports of my late friend, this was mentioned to a retired civil merchant right here in San Francisco. I said, “It all comes because of “Mr. Untouchable.” “Yes, I know. I was his appointment secretary and I know he positively refused to meet Rev. Robert Clifton or to accept any report from him.”

If we continue on our way, “Reality vs. “Realism,” it puts the lie on our highest officials and supports Dr. Malalasekera. What is worse this the only country in the world that has professional “experts.” The same men go to Washington—and are accepted—to testify as “experts” on Vietnam, space travel, budget balancing, what to do about Russia and South America and everything else.

I do not wish to write any “J’accuse!” But among other things, I have the picture of my one war hero, now General Edward Lansdale and when I wrote to him the letter was returned untouched! This is the way the United States operates, that we are sitting trying to find some solution for Vietnam! Nonsense! As I have written before, my host(ess) in Thailand was her Serene Highness, Princess Poon Diskul.

Now on this coming Thursday, August 11, I am speaking on Vietnamese Buddhism at 1005 Market St., this city. It is on Vietnamese Buddhism and does not resemble in any respect what is called “Buddhism” and “Zen” in the “New Yorker,” “NY Times,” and most of the respectable and not so respectable press of this country. The marvelous work of the B’Nai Brith as to the anti-defamation stops right there. This whole country, outside some leading universities, has no more idea of real Buddhisms than I have of the languages spoken by peoples in the disputed areas.

I shall only say here that my first teacher in real Buddhism lived here in san Francisco once and he was an Englishmen, an Englishman ignored by our four English “experts” on Buddhism (Watts, Huxley, Heard and Humphreys) and this is mentioned because “Only in America” and especially in California we turned to Englishmen and some Europeans as “experts” on the Orient.

In India I was very popular for saying: “The “experts” on Asia are European Professors and American newsmen and never, never may they be American Professors and European newsmen.” This was risible because it leaves the Orientals out of it. It is ridiculous because we have some of the finest scholars on Asiatica in this country. (I am sure some of them have been sent for from time to time but the public and press do not know it. To them these “Englishmen” are the experts.

As I have constantly written, “This world cannot be half free, half dialectic. I shall stand by “To make a friend, be a friend” (Emerson.) I shall begin with Shylock’s speech and apply it to the Vietnamese, and others.

When the Doves asked my position I asked them; “Do you know whether the Vietnamese peasants wish us to withdraw? Where is your evidence? Once I went to a Dove meeting and they asked for funds. I said: “I belong to a Vietnamese Buddhist temple.” They stayed clear from me. Why?

Therefore my talk will be non-political. There is no advantage of supporting one or another power blocs who are not in the least interested in the humanity of S.E. Asia.

I shall not repeat allusions to the session with Prof. Orr at UCLA. This also belongs to “Reality vs. “Realism.”

Now, Senator, we are fighting two complete wars in Vietnam, and they are (uselessly) complicated.

a. To prevent the ceaseless communist infiltration of other lands.

b. To impose our “ways of life” upon exotics.

On account of the first I cannot see eye-to-eye with the Doves, excepting our endorsement years ago of the “Kellogg-Briand” pact. The late Senator Hiram Johnson, was, if anything, an anti-hypocrite and in many ways a hero to a morality which we have to preach and equally must not practice. And there we stand before the world.

I was living in North Bombay during the Krishna Menon election (and therefore my reports unanimously rejected by the press!). He held up a picture of a prominent movie actress: “Do we want this in India?” That elected him and will continue to elect anti-American candidates in Asia.

So we stand as super-hypocrites, protesting against the Beatles and permitting in Hollywood and on Montgomery St., San Francisco everything that Jesus Christ stood against.

The Asia masses know us from our movie pictures and our movie magazines, “True Filth” and semi-pornographic publications. These were spread, are being spread, by the communists who are supported at every turn by those who dare not “clear the inside of the cup.”

It never seems to occur to the Foreign Office that anybody who follows in the pathways of Sir Richard Burton (the great translator) might win the heart of the exotics. “The Ugly American” was praised—but not, of course, practices. “Sarkhan” has all but been censored out of existence.

Now the Thai government has called for a Peace Conference. If these sensitivity people are against communism, they are also against Christianity, they are against (most bitterly) the “Only in America” British-expert Buddhism, and they have their own morals which may be quite different from our own.

I do not think I have met ten anti-capitalistic Asians excepting for real professional communists (who do not act like Hearst & Co. say). They want our social order and our political order to some extent but they cannot stand our double-standard “moral” behavior. They do not like mottoes, shibboleths, slogans, etc.

If there is any favorable public reaction to my speech I shall, for the first time, get in touch with representatives of foreign lands. It is silly to deny my knowing them. Then Dr. Chandrasekhar, the famous demographer was here last year, he openly asked for collaboration.

It is not a question of ego, it is question of success. I am also sending copy of this to Wisconsin University. It is time to use the talents of our American savants. Real knowledge is power.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

August 15, 1966

 

Hon. Thomas H. Kuchel,

Senator Office Building

Washington, D.C.

 

Dear Senator Kuchel:

Reality versus “Realism” in S.E. Asia

This letters is written in utter pessimism with doubt as to the success of our efforts in Vietnam. From the military standpoint alone once a man is a general he is a general. We would remove no Burnsides, no McClellans, nor Hookers today; we would give no opportunities for a Grant or Sherman sad we not only have adhered to Braddock’s methods and not Washington but we grant any moneys asked for. There is no removing a losing pitcher.

The other night I spoke on “Vietnamese Buddhism.” The collection was taken for a fellow-Sarkhanian, as I call them, one of those Americans who has lived In S.E. Asia because of his being a Buddhist. The collection was for the Buddhist war orphans. In the midst of the war—this so-called land of tolerance and religious liberty—lauds collections of moneys for Christian orphans and does nothing for Buddhist orphans and this we call “winning the hearts of Asians.”

I should not say for one moment that Vietnamese Buddhism is better than Vietnamese Christian but we have given those Buddhists little more consideration than the Nazis gave the Jews.

However “we” does not include President Johnson who has managed, with some skillfulness, to have representatives in all camps and I mean just that and I am not talking from deductions of ivory-tower editorials which sometimes influence foreign policy.

The immediate aftermath of talking on “Vietnamese Buddhism” was to be invited to speak on it again in Santa Barbara and I may get other invitations.

The follow-”Sarkhanian” to whom I turned over the collection was selected by her Serene Highness, Princess Poon Diskul Rinzai as her personal representative here. Not that it means anything to us.

Much of my talk on “Vietnamese Buddhism” was an exposure of “only in American-Buddhism,” a mixture of speculations, delightful essays and even filth which passes for “Zen” and “Buddhism” but “only in America.”

I am writing this because the next day after the lecture a lot of material come from Thailand, from the office of Her Serene Highness, with threats and warnings against this country.

New despite the press, CIA, State Department et al:

1. Originally I was invited to Thailand by her Serene Highness.

2. I became immediately after entering Japan the guest of the chief lay Zen Buddhist of that land, the late Baron Nakashima.

3. Baron Nakashima envisions an anti-communist entente among the Buddhists and sent me as his representative. The one American that became privy to it was William Eihlers of Asia Foundation, the Foreign Office shunned this person and the mission.

4. The mission itself was entirely successful.

Now the real Buddhists are protesting in no uncertain terms. Not only have we scorned the presentation of “Vietnamese Buddhism” but the press and radio have advertised and accepted in every direction what I call “The Four Englishmen-Buddhism” which has only very vague connections with the Dharma of Asia.

And it is also true that in all our conferences on Asia Chinese are exclude, no matter what view, and I am not going over that again.

Actually the State Department knows better, and the universities know better and their Buddhism is headed by Dr. Richard Robinson of Wisconsin U. who knows, perhaps, more about real Asian religions than anybody else is the country, including a whole stack of “experts” educated in Europe and a lot of self-devised “experts” as Northrup of Yale.

So we “win the hearts of Asians” by deriding what is closest to them and now it has come out in no ascertain terms.

The exposure of the nonsense about Cambodia is only one of a whole stream of “reality vs. realism.” Instead of delivering the peasants of Asia from communism we are making ourselves fools before the world. We muffed the chance to bring India and Pakistan together, leaving that to the Russians (not even the UN). Is this our foreign policy?

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif.

September 3, 1966

 

Hon. Thomas H. Kuchel

Senate Office Building

Washington, DC

 

How California Can Help Asia: Orations or Actions?

Dear Senator Kuchel:

Water. The President’s pronouncements today show the possibilities of making real friends in real places and during the years one has written in particular to your Mr. Hass on this and related subjects.

While I have been particularly interested in the efforts of the University of California (all campuses) and the USDA Station at Riverside, there is now also being perfected methods of recovering industrial wastes.

The idea (or ideal) that this State might become a model for foreign Nations to emulate still stands and an awakened interest in what is being accomplished on the “Six Campuses” could save money, time and effort. It is most unfortunate that world coverage has been given to the activities of a few students and professors, notably at Berkeley, to obscure the great accomplishments and researches on the campuses, by research teams and by graduates abroad.

One shall only mention in passing the Salt Water Conversion efforts at Berkeley and Richmond; the sewage and other recoveries at UCLA and the Dry Lands Research Station at Riverside. But individually and collectively UC men have covered so much of the critical surface of the earth, about which we know no little. Only if there are any more conferences by any department from Washington it should lead to come action.

I myself laid out a water program which even the Saudian Arabians amazed me by saying they would recognize Israel if we promote the undertaking. Then some private powerful interests compelled an unknown person like myself to desist.

Real foreign cultural exchange has been instituted by the University of California, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles campuses. For the first time there seems to be a real human, personal effort to exchange students, teachers and cultures in an ideal way. It is no longer necessary to promote ideas; it is necessary to have some forms of publications informing the public as to realities. UCLA is now giving India what India has been crying for years, but we always know better??

Asia Foundation. I have an impending appointment with this admirable organization to inform them on matters just come to hand and related subjects.

False cultural exchange and U Thant. The resignation of Hon. U Thant follows the course of moral law. The poor peasants of S.E. Asia have no course but to watch and see whether they and their children are crushed by the communists or by us.

As written before, Her Serene Highness, Princess Poon Diskul, perhaps our best friend on the whole continent of Asia, has proclaimed vociferously against “Feringhi Oriental Philosophy” found only in America; displacing the historical Buddha and the moral codes of a great religion and even having fun out of it (e.g. Sausalito). We do not, and at the moment dare not (?) act toward the defamation of Asian religions like we do concerning the prevailing faiths of this country.

The moves by the University of California are going to make it possible for a few people to learn about the real faiths of real Asia. True, some of our Universities in the Midwest (Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan, etc.) do this for their students but their efforts do not reach the press and general public. The attack on us by the retiring Ambassador from Pakistan followed by the withdrawal of the wonderful Secretary-General from Burma should make us consider the possibilities of Shylock’s speech being applied to all peoples.

Food problems are closely connected with Water problems. I have an open date on the Berkeley campus to follow up their splendid integration program of the different departments of Agriculture. But on my recent trip I found as above, the disjunctive efforts in Desert Research, and the slowness in getting some accomplishments to Washington despite the presence of the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture (Prof. G. Mehren).

The intercampus UC conference on “Food Problems” a few years back ended in a plethora of oratory, mostly by famous persons, and not a single active project.

Ecology. I think you understand this subject. Your stand on the Colorado River and on the Redwood complex shows the dangers of interfering with the “order of Nature.” One is not concerned with particulars but the need of adopting programs which can become world-wide.

After a conference at Berkeley I shall again visit the various campuses, if necessary, working for a continuation of intercampus relations, not only for the sake of this grand institution but to help the country, and the world.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St

San Francisco 3, Calif.

October 8, 1966

 

Hon. Thomas H. Kuchel

Senate Office Building

Washington, DC

 

Dear Senator Kuchel;

There is a headline in the paper today, “Kuchel Plan for Vietnam ‘Insulation’” and I should appreciate copies thereof if they have not already been sent.

This country, the world cannot remain half free, half dialectic and one thing is certain, very certain, hat our foreign policy seems to be based entirely in fighting communism with dialectical weapons and ignoring basic facts in order to do so.

This complex arose over the infiltration of Buddhist monasteries by communists. My best friend, the late Phra Sumangalo was caught in it, his reports rejected and he died of a broken heart. Quite independent of that I was selected by the late Baron Nakashima of Japan to carry an anti-communist petition from one land to another which finally came into the hands of my good friend, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, then Vice-President, now President of India. And all the refusals of the State Department, press, and commentators is not going to change that; and the history of the conflict as written for the new Encyclopedia of Buddhism contains a lot of objective facts which all our censorship is not going to eliminate from the history of the world.

It is notable that Dr. Radhakrishnan, immediately after receiving the petition brought him, went to Japan and was very well received, and while he may not have committed himself, he did then and since ally himself with my very good friend, Princess Poon Diskul Pismai who took over the world Buddhist Federation to stop the communist infiltration which is more than all our editors, State Department et all have ever done.

We are now petitioning to see that Hon. U Thant, who certainly does not belong to the prevailing religions of this land, remains at the helm of the U.N. Now I worked with the late Dr. Henry Atkinson for almost thirty years on the subject, “World Peace Through Religion” and have seen the operations of many faiths which we adamantly refuse to examine excepting in rare instances (e.g. University of Wisconsin), and consequently we have substituted dialectical warfare for winning the hearts of real people.

I shall continue to repeat that during the War we had a GII policy accepting valid Buddhism as the “faith of half Japan”—to use the words of a born American, Lafcadio Hearn, whom we seem to have forgotten. And when the surrender took place, General McArthur pursued this path and policy and won the good-will of millions of flesh-and-blood human beings (not editorial comments) by his respect for some valid forms of Buddhism, i.e. practiced by human beings, not lectured on by ci-devant Englishmen (whom the LSD movement have seized to prove? certain points).

There is nothing to stop us now from doing the same thing and pursuing a pro-American successful policy which worked instead of the constant appeals to everybody else but the people directly involved in Vietnam. President Johnson is now going abroad to meet Englishmen, Australians, Koreans (especially Christian ones), and ignoring the actual Asians whose lives are at stake.

There is a new regime on the Berkeley campus and it is noteworthy that my diaries were a priori rejected there under Strong & Co., and by change of personnel the same diaries will be welcome at UC, Santa Barbara. This is doubly welcome because the University of California on the Santa Barbara and Los Angeles campuses has now provided real cultural exchange with real Asians, something of which we ought to be very, very proud. And I am hoping between and among them to place before them the basic fact that the majority of people of Vietnam are Buddhists, Buddhists and Buddhists—but still Buddhists and all we have to do is to resume the same policy we did during the war. And incidentally General Lansdale was involved at least indirectly, then occupying the next office in the same building where GII was then housed.

But opposed to the war as I am there can be no more contact with “Doves,” a generic term used by all kinds of people for all kinds of purposes. Twice I attended “Dove” meetings and when they passed the plate around and I said “I belong to the Vietnamese Buddhists,” they ran away; and at a recent meeting I was snubbed along with there who defended the U.N. or made any sort of positive proposals.

We are now building The Temple of Understanding at or near Washington in which the local Buddhist Bishop (Hanayama) is playing a decided role. But nobody has ever consulted him about Buddhism.

I am expected to visit the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions soon, delayed by mutual agreement on account of Bishop Pike’s “heresy” complex. One hopes that there may be a platform in this country where ear- and eye-witnesses who are not communists may be permitted to present their experiences—experiences, not ideas.

It is notable that under Chancellor Strong nearly all Asians were denied the platform, or even the floor while first British and then American communists were given all the time they wanted.

The latest news comes from a very valid source showing a growing fear of America which not only uses force but does not recognize the religions of Asians. And I have just received a letter from His Excellency, President Radhakrishnan in full approval of seeking a highway for peace based on objectivity, this being a fairly good understanding of the real religions of the real Asians.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


United States Senate

Nov. 4, 1966

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

772 Clementina Street

San Francisco 3

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Thank you for sending me your thoughts on the conflict in Vietnam. Like you, I am greatly concerned over the toll which this conflict has exacted on the people of Asia, and on the people of America as well. In discussion of this subject, I have advocated an approach to settlement through honorable negotiations, possibly through a conference as some have proposed for Geneva. I have also stated categorically that the United States should withdraw its forces if the people of South Vietnam make it clear that our presence is no longer desired.

The events of the last few months, however, have made it clear the only terms left open for negotiation by the Communist regime of North Vietnam would amount to a total abandonment of our effort in that area. It is also apparent that despite internal disturbances, as agitation against the Ky regime, the bulk of the people in South Vietnam do not favor the program of the National Liberation Front and, indeed, do not wish the Americans to withdraw. Under these circumstances it is important that the North Vietnamese understand that their aggression on South Vietnam will be brought to an end by military force so long as meaningful negotiations are not possible. Recent events have shown no acceptable alternative to continuing our military effort. This fact by no means should distract the United States from a determined effort to encourage the growth of governmental institutions in South Vietnam that would give the people an opportunity to determine how they shall be ruled.

I am glad to know your views.

With kindest regards,

Thomas H. Kuchel

United States Senator

 

 


United States Department Of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Washington, D.C. 20250

Office of Administrator

Nov. 4, 1966

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

772 Clementina Street

San Francisco, California 94103

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Dr. Mehren has asked me to respond to your letter of October 28 concerning leaf protein for food. Leaf proteins as vegetables are a source of food protein around the world. There has been a great deal of technological study in the attempt to develop a protein concentrate from leaves which has satisfactory flavor and color. Although there have been various claims of successful products, I am not aware of any that have produced a food of satisfactory quality for humans. The extensive experiments of Pirie at Rothamstead and in various field locations have not resulted in products of satisfactory digestibility, color, or taste.

The primary emphasis which AID and the Department of Agriculture are putting on food products for the world is placed on oil seeds, legumes, and cereals. All of these are traditional foods, well-liked if people can get enough of them.

I am enclosing a reprint of a recent publication which gives an excellent summary of the overall situation. I hope this information will be useful to you.

Sam R. Hoover

Acting Deputy Administrator

Enclosure

 

 


United States Senate

January 9, 1967

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

772 Clementina Street

San Francisco, California

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Thank you very much for your thoughtful correspondence on the Middle East. I have for some time been concerned about mounting problems in that area, and I was therefore especially interested in making a personal trip.

My travels in the Middle East gave me a chance to talk with a great many people, from heads of state, to students, to labor leaders, and many others. As a result of my trip, I did form some judgments concerning some of the problems in the area and possible solutions.

I recently had a chance to go into these views at length in a talk in Boston and I am enclosing a copy of the full text for your use.

I appreciate and share your interest in the Middle East and you can be certain that I will bear your views in mind in my future actions and statements.

Sincerely,

Edward M. Kennedy

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3. Calif.

May 20, 1967

 

Hon. Thomas H. Kuchel,

Senate Office Building,

Washington, D.C.

 

Dear Senator Kuchel:

How California Can Help Asia.

This may be a long, and I hope it is an important letter. “How California Can Help Asia” is by example and we have now taken the first step with the Salt Conversion Plant. I would appreciate any material you can send me. We do not realize (although I think personally you do) the importance of this undertaking. It is incidentally and coincidentally the first big step needed for a real peace program in the real Near East dealing with real people in a real world, as far from the “realism” of the day. It is a real step into what I have been crying about, “Pragmatism versus dialectics.” It will be an example for others to follow.

1. So long as Israelis are more real than Arabs we can never use any good-will. But both die of thirst in the same manner and both will die of thirst in the same manner and we need some Jewish Otellos and Islamic Shylocks to promote understanding.

2. I am enclosing copy of letter to Senator Cooper who is one of the few members of Congress and Senate who knows about real Asians. From a factual point of view it is very hard to differ. Wayne Morse is a wonderful man but the fact is that the communists infiltrated and will continue to infiltrate, they are pledge to the real religions and real superstitions of real people in a real world and we are not; indeed we do not care.

The doors are open to help my real Vietnamese friends get some kind of audience in this country. With our masses of “experts” and contradictory reports on every subject under the sun, you would think occasionally somebody would be interested in realities. This is true occasionally on campuses.

3. I am about ready to write to the new President of India on a basis which would lead to better understanding. I am enclosing copy of letter written to our Vice- President some time ago. Of course there was no response. We don’t work that way. I might get a dozen letters from a dozen Presidents or Prime Ministers, but do you think the President, the Vice-President or State Department cares? This is the tragedy of the time. As Dr. Malalasekera said, “How can you trust a Nation that does not trust its own citizens?” We prefer war and we prefer misunderstandings to war.

Arnold Toynbee is in these parts and I have written asking for an interview. He had just preceded me in a visit to the Sugar Plantation of Khan Brothers at Mardan in Northwest Pakistan.

Jamshyd Khan, one of the co-owning brothers had visited California, learned California methods including the adaptation of mechanization and they had the most successful plantation in all Pakistan. The methods were not copied by others, the methods were not acceptable and any success on this basis—successful adaptation of methods used in this State are the worst possible obstacles to the highly dialectical, subjective methods of AID, Peace Corps or internal policies of “Islamic Pakistan.” Success is not to be copied, not to be emulated and must never interfere with governmental agencies—any government.

It is only recently that the same method was being introduced into a totally different part of Pakistan, the Sind, and the innovators knew nothing about the Khans nor their successful adaptation of California methods. This is the last thing either our State Department or Agricultural Department wants to hear. And this is the tragedy of the day.

The sector between Mardan and Peshawar is known as “Little California.” It produces many of the same crops, but if there are new methods there is little result. You would think that if there is to be a “Peace Corps” in “Little California” some Californians might be sent there—but this is not the way to do things. Better failure than to accept suggestions from an outsider, so failures are what we have and will continue to have in the midst of a world filled with successful achievements.

My recovery will enable me to visit the University of California at Berkeley and the USDA in Berkeley and I think these people are interested in realities and there will continue to be full cooperation. There are no problems, senator, but solutions haven’t come from the right people just as peace plans must come from the right people and I dont know who the right people are.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita

October 11, 1967

 

Hon. Thomas H. Kuchel,

Senate Office Building,

Washington, D.C.

 

In re: How California Can Help Asia (cont.)

Dear Senator Kuchel:

There has been nothing but success and satisfaction in the last few days. One has not retreated one inch on “The world cannot remain half free and half dialectic.” Sooner or later the truth-of-facts will overcome the subjective pseudo-truth of opinion.

Sunday night I expressed myself for the first time on Vietnam: “There is nothing but the choice of becoming a first-class corpse or a second-class human being. No other choice is permitted.” The emotional oratory of the Vice-President has nothing to do with the facts of life or the people who live in the world. But contrariwise no other emotionalism and oratory either is going to benefit humanity.

The representatives of the San Francisco School Board have not only accepted my reports but is giving full encouragement to go ahead. The State Department, the press and the CIA may continue to turn down anything from those of us who have lived in Asia and mingled with Asians (vide the late Prof. Burdick) but I was able to discuss the real facts of real Asia more in a short time with professors of the University of California at Davis than with years of efforts in groups verbally dedicated to discussions on world affairs, etc., etc.

Tonight I start lectures on living religions. This will be given under Christian auspices and at first will go slow, but there I shall be given the opportunity at least to present Vietnamese Buddhism. And I understand another group is sending for me in November and there I hope to make arrangements for my Vietnamese colleague to come and speak.

After my next visit to Davis I hope to send Mr. Hass a full objective report. I used the knowledge there on the campus to discuss the plan to bring peace in the Near East. It was as easy there as it is almost impossible elsewhere. “It is not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country !!! ?????????????????????????”

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California

April 8, 1968

 

To the Hon. George Murphy

To the Hon. Thomas H. Kuchel

 

Dear Senators

This letter is being written to you both jointly and copies of it will go to the two representatives from this area, Hon. Phillip Burton and Hon. Wm. Maillard.

The original suggestion came from Senator Percy of Illinois whose program toward peace in Asia is one which I believe is pragmatic rather than “realistic,” that is, it is based on humanity rather than on thoughts which emanate from certain interests.

Almost, immediately after hearing from Senator Percy I was summoned by a friend in Seattle, Wash. He is on excellent terms with one of President Johnson’s closest advisors and the adviser has consulted my friend about sending Americans to Asia who will be able to cement better relations because of their empathy and knowledge of Asian cultures. This is not part of our program and a number of letters on this subject, written to former Ambassador, now Senator Cooper of Kentucky, have been received cordially by him.

Senator Percy has brought up a point, and it is a very moot point, about the meaning of the whole system of representational democracy, when citizens cannot reach the officials of his governments with reports (very important) or suggestions (not nearly so important). But the present policy seems to be that suggestions from the “right people” are important and reports from “insignificant people” are not important at all.

The Administration claims to be fighting a war so that certain Asian peoples among whom voting is not a custom, decide, indeed must decide their future at the ballot box. At the same time the elected and even more the appointed officials do not have to pay attention to their electors even when the greatest welfare of this land is concerned.

I am not going into the past history. Believing—one of the most useless of beliefs—that we could stop communism by establishing friendships with non­communist peoples, especially in my case, those of Asia, I have been welcomed in circles where not even our Vice-Presidents have been invited. But direct reports of a citizen who has succeeded where newspaper man, diplomats and curriers have failed, are not wanted. And though we may repeat the words of the late President Kennedy, “It is not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” this remains a dead aphorism. Worse, it remains as a symbol of hypocrisy and cause of fear to multitudes of Asians who see that our words have no relations to our actions.

I am not going into past history. I think it is a shame that there is no Arab Secretariat and that we have no real cultural relations with the vast Arabic world, vast in time as well as in space. Yet we welcome cultural exchanges with those very communists against which we propagandize. Even worse, in the East-West conferences held in this vicinity, there have been no Buddhist nor Islamic speakers but communists have spoken from the podium.

I do not know whether we have changed this policy. I have been personally excluded from these conferences at least three times and the question has arisen whether I may attend the East-West Conference to be held in Hawaii in 1969. Meanwhile I am cooperating with a real East-West Conference to be held in Darjeeling, India this year, to which no communists have been invited. This is a meeting of the real religions of the real world, and it happens to be arranged by Americans (thank God), by which I mean The Temple of Understanding under construction near Washington. It is a wonderful thing that Americans can take the lead in fomenting friendships with Asians without any intervention of bureaucrats, the press or “experts” whose éclat is restricted to this land.

There was a time when I knew most of the representatives from this State and could bring all matters to my former neighbor, the Hon. Norris Poulson. I was no longer in his district when he was Congressman, but all doors were open. Now it is with difficulty that any report can be accepted and the State Department has refused to answer any letters, including my original inquiry about joining the Peace Corps.

We are not going to win the hearts of Asians by excluding their representatives from our conferences and by not having real cultural exchanges. And the situation is not mitigated because we still insist on having communist representatives at assemblages—excepting we did not do this for the Dominican Republic and were successful.

I must now call your attention to “The Triumph” by former Ambassador Galbraith which appears in the current issue of “The Saturday Evening Post.” It is along the same general lines of “The Ugly American” and “Sarkhan” from which we have apparently learned little. Some of the intentions in this work are, most unfortunately true. We are verbalizing democracy but have the most automatic and dictatorial Foreign Office in existence. But this is the first time when an insider has so advised.

It would still be unfortunate if my own memoirs and those of some of my closest friends were published. We are still Americas but have to watch an imperials and often ignorant Foreign Office formulate or adhere to policies which bring no good fruit. We have not won friends among the people. And it is hypocrisy to speak about allies—what suggestion from former Ambassador Romulo, one of the greatest of diplomats, has ever been accepted by us? If so, how can a mere citizen seek for better consideration, even though he has been treated even above our Vice-Presidents, in visiting Asian lands?

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif.

June 27, 1968

 

Hon. Thomas H. Kuchel

Senate Office Building,

Washington, D.C.

Attention Mr. Hass

 

Dear Senator Kuchel:

Reality Versus “Realism” continued.

Attention is called to two items in today’s “Chronicle.” Either of those if properly followed up might lead to better understanding if not peace in the Near East.

Desalting Progress (page 11). I have written previously on this subject but today have heard nothing either from the Department of Interior or your office. One runs into the constant cry of “cost” but there is now an undercurrent of ill-will that the Federal Government has funds to send rockets or people into space and yet has not fully explored this possibility.

The American people are kept in ignorance of all the possibilities in this field. If we can get water from either the Mediterranean or Red Seas, it will be possible to establish the Palestinian refugees in better places.

Unfortunately under the blind spots of “realism” the emphasis on Palestinian refugees has taken the emphasis off of Jewish refugees from Yemen, Iraq and other lands. It about balances.

Cotton Pest (page 8). Here the press is far behind actualities. I was not in Cairo one week in 1960 before I was informed about this hazard to Agriculture. The UAR government despite our press, TV and even foreign policy has gone along ignoring the large number of graduates of the University of California in this part of the world. I have talked with many of them. The type of aid they wanted was not granted and there are rumors that President Nasser wishes to restrict the importation of protective chemicals.

I have long believed that one way toward understanding is closer continued relations between alumni at home and abroad. On July 12 I am to meet Mr. Erickson of the Alumni Association at Berkeley to discuss this subject. We fail to take into consideration the enormous benefits of American and especially University of California education.

There is more need for some of us to sit down with each other before demanding Arabs and Israelis do that. We do not realize the importance either of Water or Pest Control; they are not always the most “exciting” political issues.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California

July 3, 1968

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Thank you for your thoughtful and generous comments. In 30 years of public service, I have found many rewards. The greatest of these has been the continued support of loyal friends and constituents from the State of California. Your letter is deeply appreciated and I hope you will continue your active interest in the broad range of public problems of our great Nation.

With kindest regards,

Thomas H. Kuchel

United States Senator

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif. 94110

February 9, 1970

 

Hon. Paul McClosky Jr.

House Office Building,

Washington, D.C.

 

Dear Congressman McClosky:

Seeking peace between human beings.

I have been watching your career with more than passing interest, being in the district, just to your north. No doubt there is some romanticism in it for one has been in his life an admirer of both the late Robert Lafollette Sr. and still thinks Theodore Roosevelt was one of the greatest of Presidents and greatest of man believing that a great man has great faults and a small man has small faults and recognizing the many but great faults in that philosopher­-scientist-president.

The position of the writer is dramatically droll, having for years worked and worked in vain to find means to bring human beings together with human Beings, and being knocked down everywhere; and now being accepted by the young, almost as a priori accepted, as the elders usually a priori rejected him. Neither of these policies is desirable but one foments the other. I adhere to the principles of honesty, objectivity and impersonality which do not get one far in politics or even in business but so necessary in the scientific community and also with the young of the day.

I am preparing to go to a conference in Geneva, Switzerland, under the auspices of The Temple of Understanding whose headquarters are in Washington. There is one difference between this group and other peace organizations, and that is the element of reverence. The participants must show reverence and consideration one to another. This does not belong to the “peace” programs of dialecticians, the press and the literati. Even the best of programs consider the mass of humanity as a compilation of robots, guinea pigs and peasants to be commanded. The sense of reverence changes all this without any emotional oratory.

I feel that something will be accomplished in Geneva. One has had long and frustrating experiences in the field of peace through religion. I began with the late Dr. Henry Atkinson of the World Church Peace Union in 1928. He asked me to study the lesser known religions. I have. His successors point blank refused all my reports, and so has every so-called “peace” group contacted. Most will not even grant an interview.

I had to resign from one of the most respectable and famous. They asked me to send ten dollars so I could meet the famous people of the world. I wrote: “You are asking a man who has been a guest of honor at the royal palaces of Japan and Thailand and had teas in the presidential mansions of Pakistan and India to send you money.” This group would never permit me on the platform but I broke up a meeting by simply passing around a picture of Her Serene Highness, Princess Poon Diskul of Thailand and His Holiness Pope Paul. This sort of thing is more anathema in the “peace” groups than all the Marxists, minute men, Black Panthers and Birch people. To be able to mingle with humanity at the highest levels and the lowest has been not anathema but verboten. Why?

In the same class of impossibles was my turning a mob of Hindus on communist speakers. If I had been a newsman and been mobbed, that would have been news. If I had been a communist and addressed any such audiences, that would have been news. But to speak to thousands upon thousands of Asians and to be invited where the various Vice-Presidents have not, that must not be news—but not with the young, not with the young.

For instance I am enrolled in a class studying South-east Asia, the S.E. Asia of Rand-McNally not of the press. Most of the enrolled are my fellow “Ugly Americans.” The instructors are “Ugly Americans.” We have lived in one part or another of the lands of the region (my land was Thailand). We are excluded but now we are getting together. And I am expecting to have a meeting here to be addressed by a Vietnamese on Vietnamese Buddhist, a subject so far more verboten than any form of communism.

But the big protect I have in mind will come after the return from the conference of Geneva. It will be to try to find a human and humane formula for Palestine, the Palestine of humanity, not of power structures. We are beginning with Arabs who are either citizens of Israel or not inimical to it. Then we shall add other elements and persons—not the press, not the State Department, but certainly some university representatives. And also this letter is written in the hopes that if you cannot come you do send a representative. After all the Mission District is not too far from San Mateo County.

I am on fairly good terms with my Congressman, Hon. Phillip Burton. The Hon. Wm.
Mailliard, though on the committee of foreign affairs, has refused to consider any interview, but he is no worse, than any of the “peace” groups. I did work out a plan once which the Egyptians, Israelis, Saudians and especially the UN officials admired, but nothing doing from the State Department or any of the “big” and some not so “big” peace groups. Was turned down cold.

But I am no longer concerned. The young are coming here. My “Dances of Universal Peace” are attracting attention and evidently will more—the young and the halls of ivy. That is enough.

Copy of this in being sent to Hon. John Sherman Cooper whom some of us “Ugly Americans” regard as our spokesman in the Senate. This has been especially necessary since the forced retirement of Senator Kuchel of whom also I was a great admirer.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

P.S. When I do get to Washington it will also be to call on my old war hero (World War II) and colleague, the retired General Edward Lansdale. He has some ideas about Vietnam. He only lived there.

 

 


March 16, 1970

Congressman Paul N. McClosky Jr.

House of Representatives

Washington, D.C.

 

Dear Congressman McClosky:

I wish to thank you for your letter of March 9. One of the great weaknesses of American foreign policy is the attitude of mistrust held by the State Department towards citizens of this land. The result is that other than newspapermen, practically all reports from all personal, including eye-witnesses, and especially eye-witnesses, are given short shift. This makes communication most difficult and access to the hearts and minds of exotic peoples almost impossible. I am going now to the conference of The Temple of Understanding which will meet shortly I Geneva to discuss world peace through religion. Although very well versed in religions of Asia, for which I can give ample testimony documentary and otherwise, I have been so far barred from nearly all convocations and conventions in this land by so-called “expert authorities” who are neither born in this country nor educated in Asia, nor sat at the foot of Asians. But I must say at this writing the situation has changed considerably for the better, for we are now having Asiatica taught by Asians, and by Americans who have lived and worked on that great continent.

1. I would dismiss all instructors and authorities for AID, the Peace Corps, etc., who are not American born and educated, unless they were at one time citizens of the areas with which we establish relations. By citizen, I mean at least born national, or if not American, we had lived in such lands long enough to have acquired the good will, not merely just the knowledge, of the indigents.

2. I would invite as many Vietnamese to teach and to address American audiences as long as their land is militarily occupied. (I do not wish to imply we have been entirely wrong. Before we began slaughtering members of the Buddhist majority, the Communists themselves were doing this. In fact they started it.)

3. Without challenging our policy toward Israel, or our policies in the Near East, I would open up the doors of our universities to a number of qualified Arabs. And if we felt like intervening in the affairs of Nigeria, etc., also opening the doors of our universities and educational institutions.

(Nearly all of our information, and especially our misinformation, comes through what I call the diabolical God, UP-AP. In scientific and legal matters we demand substantiative and corroborative evidence; at the present time no such thing occurs. This applies especially to Laos. But we have a terrible policy, absolutely anti-democratic, absolutely anti-legalistic of accepting reports unsubstantiated, from channels of communication. Against this monstrous machine the average citizen has no chance, and while I do not agree with our Vice-President, I feel our culture must take into consideration, that right or wrong, he was trying to be objective, and the same is not true of the persons and institutions he has been criticizing.

I blame the State Department, and Foreign Service for the easy matter in which they accept presumable news from these sources, and are not so open to anything that comes from the mass of citizenry. There is a vast difference between accepting ideas from the masses, and accepting valid reports therefrom. The result is a tremendous barrier between ourselves and nationals of other lands who would like to be friendly, but are barred because policies are considered semi-divine, and news reports from other than official groups are entirely disregarded.

In other words, we need some kind of central intelligence agency, which is willing to collect facts and listen to eye-witnesses, especially reports which do not interfere with the foreign policy of the time. This is impossible now; utterly impossible. Indeed, anyone who is successful in establishing friendship with exotic peoples by some method “not in the books” is regarded with suspicion and often with more than suspicion.

We need to study ways of establishing friendships with peoples of other lands, on bases they suggest, and that they are willing to accept. I refer to the great difficulty in getting the foreign office to recognize the existence and success of Townsend Harris in Japan. But even this grudging acceptance of an American Hero in one Asian land has done practically nothing to awaken acceptance of other American heroes in other Asian lands. It is in fact become tiring and thankless even to mention this subject. Americans going abroad, especially those in foreign offices, should know something by those Americans who are admired in the area they are to visit, or where they may be stationed.

In 1960 I attended a Thanksgiving celebration in Lahore, Pakistan. I was the only person present not on a government payroll. I was also the only person present who knew the history of the country for the previous 200 years. this was equivalent to getting a blackball. In fact I addressed over 100,00 nationals in Pakistan, and the only American ever present at those gatherings was a paid school teacher.  Yes, there were communists around, and that is another story, and a very black one. God help the American who becomes popular in an Asian country and who is lured by communists therefor.

But now I am going to a peace conference armed not with a dialectical tribe, but with literary quotations from Americans who represent universal outlooks and who are greatly admired by peoples of other lands: Emerson, Whitman, Peirce, the various James, etc., etc. These men are far more popular all over the world than any Russian excepting Tolstoy.

I don’t want to go into this further. My own efforts within the coming month will demonstrate the validity of my position. I am most thankful you are willing to give heed. You will recognize I lost a very good friend in the forced retirement of Sen. Thomas Kuchel.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


May 19, 1970

Senator Abraham Ribicoff

Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C.

 

Dear Senator:

I wish to second all your efforts at the present time, both in behalf of youth, and what I call an honest endeavor to get this country, and perhaps the world, out of “realism” and into reality. Although I am in my seventies, I am becoming a veritable Pied Piper for the young, and not only locally, but in distant places. To me, it is not a question of youth against age or of generation gap, but of reality versus “realism.”

There are now some movements, very quietly of course, to get me to write my autobiography. If I ever do it will make Zola’s J’Accuse amateurish. Yesterday I had an interview with a Rabbi. In general I found Rabbis and their protestant colleagues so induced with the “Judeo-Christian ethic” that they have no time for interviews, excepting of course with respectables. But I have been recently to a conference of the leaders of the real religions, held at Geneva, and among their efforts was one for world peace: clergyman, spiritual leaders and some scientists from all parts of the world getting together without the un-benefit of newsman and diplomats.

The early days of the conference were marked by profound apologies from Rabbis and Protestant clerics, too concerned with the Judeo-Christian ethic to have time for the common man. All this is over. Those Rabbis and Ministers I should count among my best friends.

I am not going to relate here what happened. I have been in touch on and off with the only Senator who has lived in Asia with Asians, Hon. John Sherman Cooper. When I come to Washington I shall be the guest of the family of Sen. Millard Tydings Jr. I do not wish now to upset any proper peace plans, and even less to do anything but cooperate fully with my local Congressman Hon. Phillip Burton.

Before I go on, I wish to say that a benign Providence or God has now made it possible for me to accomplish ends without begging financial support from anybody.

I am writing because of the dire danger of becoming a mob leader of the youth. They are not only coming to me more, but I have to leave shortly to conduct a youth summer camp. Later in the year I shall have to visit the Boston, Cambridge area. And when I tell the young people who turned me down, who turned my friends down, they wildly acclaim. They want to hear that as much as they want to hear facts.

And who were my friends? There was the late Robert Clifton who lived for years in Vietnam, who kept writing letters about it, and thought he could come here to warn and help this country. This was before the late President Kennedy’s “It is not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Unfortunately, Rev. Robert Clifton came here before the administration of the late martyred President. The State Department closed doors in his face. The editors refused to interview him. His friend Dr. G. Malalasekera arose in the UN and acclaimed, “How can you trust a nation which does not trust its own citizens?” We saw to it that Dr. Malalasekera was not elected President of the UN. Instead we campaigned to elect a diplomat, representing a country now in alliance with communist China! This is diplomacy.

Dr. Malalasekera was forcefully retired. He has been devoting his efforts to The Encyclopedia of Buddhism. This Encyclopedia is being compiled by devotees of Buddhism and not by carefully selected CIA intellectuals. It will have a good deal to say about Dr. Clifton and the whole Southeast Asian complex from a Buddhist point of view. Excepting in the Washington area, we have not had much Buddhist Buddhism in this land, but it is coming. Reality cannot forever bend before “realism.”

The same pattern is true of Laos and Cambodia. I can relate the persons and the incidents. I personally went through the same thing on a peace feeler mission between India and Pakistan.

The same was even more true for the Near East. I had a program and both Egyptians and Saudi Arabian assented they would accept Israel under the conditions presented. UN officials were enthusiastic.

(Here I might add a trite American saying, “Let’s call the whole thing off.”) Dr. Malalasekera was right. And youth is now revolting against subjective emotionalisms masquerading as facts.

I am hoping to have a meeting between some Israelis, Palestinian Arabs citizens of Israel, Palestinian exiles, and a couple of Christians of different outlooks. Just a get together. this is very contrary to diplomacy no doubt, but the world is tired of inane diplomacy and the bizarre choice of an emotional and uninformed Vice-President and emotional intellectual, but naively uninformed, pseudo-encyclopedists called “commentators” and “experts.”

Youth of the world unite, you have nothing to lose.

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


December 7, 1970

Senator Charles H. Percy

US Senate

Washington, DC

 

Dear Senator Percy,

One of the really forgotten men of today, I mean really forgotten ad not symbolically so, was the late President Eisenhower. He gave a great warning speech which has been appropriately forgotten, of dangers to come, calling for sacrifices. I dryly turned to my colleagues and said, “This country is ready for any sacrifice but one: the abolition of Christmas and the restoration of the celebration of the birth of Lord Jesus Christ.” But now there is a new generation, large segments of which believe in Jesus Christ, and others willing to do so. They are mocking and deriding Christmas and we are having a recession simply because we are wedded to “Realism” and avoid reality whenever we can.

I am writing to you at this time because of your remarks on SST. There is so much behind your statements. Of course some people are going to lose. This is all part of “realism.” One may have a long program for peace and employment, the elements of which might be quite unpopular in the older senses but quite popular before the humanity of the day.

For the first time in my life I spoke at the University of California. I had long been barred from that institution and a number of others in this country by that “only in America” institution, the European “expert” on Oriental philosophy. That day is almost over. I was totally successful at a meeting of the representatives of the real religions of the real world, and have equally been successful in visits to Harvard and vicinity and New York. Indeed, the closer we came to the UN, the more beautiful the response.

So I am enclosing herewith  a copy of the draft program on which we are working today and quite successfully, praise to God. Unlike the “realists” and the important people and organizations, Dr. Gunnar Jarring gave me hours and likewise his associates and assistants, and they all praised my approach. Now we are doing something about it. Indeed, we are having a grand bazaar in this city of Sausalito, just across Golden gate strait on December 20.

We were given so much encouragement, and especially by former Ambassador Badeau who is now at Columbia University. And we found out, as he obligingly told us, that the place to look for help is among the lesser known Foundations, some of which are actually designed and devoted to peace, and not just avoiding income tax payments.

Last week I spoke at the University of California and included in my address remarks on “Jesus Christ vs. Christianity” and “Mohammed vs. Islam.” The audience was satisfied and I am again to speak tomorrow.

In the meanwhile, I gave established out of my own small income a peace scholarship for the University of California students, and it may be possible that here will be additions to this.  It is very certain that the young people who are interested in realities and not in the traditional nonsense word “realism,” are doing everything possible to promote programs of actualities. And with the rise of so many new organizations, disgusted with the empty verbalisms of the past, the responses are becoming more and more beautiful, but more and more against the superficial verbalisms of the past generation. In this we are finding more and more church leaders also, breaking their shackles of pretences which they can do without going contrary to their theological backgrounds.

In the course of endeavors to promote peace and understanding I had to insult a Rabbi in public when he said there were no cases on record of Christians stopping programs. I not only insulted him, I was immediately attacked by all his followers, who fortunately were outnumbered in the lecture hall. Then I told him and them about former Governor-Senator Saltonstall of Massachusetts. I still think it is a shame an disgrace when emotional orators can give the lie to actual American history and to some of the men whom I think we should be proud.

But do not get any idea that this is the usual Jewish response. Without any nonsense I can truly say that some of my best friends are Rabbis. But some are also catholic Priests and Protestant Ministers and Islamic Holy men (not Imams however).

The younger people are turning from Christianity, but not from Christ.

When it comes to impeachments, I do not know or care about Justice Douglas. But I do care about a former president who was a Republican. His famous motto was, “Let us have peace.” I feel sure you are one of those Republicans who sometimes agree with the former late President U.S Grant.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

Publishers and Publications Correspondence

[date unknown]

Samuel L. Lewis

c/o David Sapp

The San Francisco Oracle

460 Magnolia Ave.

Larkspur, California 94939

 

Dear Mr. Lewis

I read your Introduction to Spiritual Brotherhood in the Oracle and it seems to me that you express very clearly the lay of the land before us around us and behind us as individuals and as a tribe of New Age immigrants and Pioneers. There is an old Durer wood cut that comes to mind of the pilgrim, his hind quarters hunkered on tierra firma and his head piercing the veil of sanskara into the starry grave of firmament. The question that comes is, “What does he do now?” The answer gets your head and your hind quarters together. Your introduction to Spiritual brotherhood boldly outlined all in an integral, way the necessities which pose themselves as conflicts that have to be resolved if one is to be at one with the Uranium ray of union of opposites which characterizes the psycho-sensorium which is the world we are coming to know in the biblical sense at this New Dawn of man.

This letter is an invitation for you to contribute a tape or series of tapes of half hour duration to be incorporated into a radio series, which I am responsible for, to be entitled Tentatively The New Age Ark. The purpose of the program is to experiment with the media as a means of transmitting a state of being which alone with the Yankee ingenuity which is its humble servant is going to affect a mysterium conjunctionus in the psychics of three brained beings breeding on the planet earth. I do not wish to seem grandiose but the time has come, I feel, and I don’t think this is a personal feeling, for an accelerated exteriorization of essence. If you plan to come to the East Coast always feel welcome at our place (the East-West Center For Self Exploration). If it is fated that you do come we could arrange a conjoint radio, television, as well as more intimate and immediate gestalt workshop program for you. I am sure there are many here in or around Boston who are within range of the frequency of your message. Hoping to hear from you soon I remain.

Yours in good faith,

Richard Harvey

105 Marlborough St.

Boston, Mass.

 

 


106 Ethel Ave.,

Mill Valley, Calif.

June 13, 1958

 

Carl T. Rowan

c/o Minneapolis Tribune,

Minneapolis, Minn.

Dear Rowan:

 

In re: “The Pitiful and the Proud.”

Pardon me if I do not call you “Rowan Sahib.” I wish I could call you “Rowan Sahib.” But I am afraid you have gone to the Orient and returned as Mr. Rowan.

I am very happy that this country has been sending persons of any complexion and non-European ancestry to visit parts of Asia and to try both to get the feeling of the people and also to act as interpreters or even apologists (in the original sense) for the United States in parts of the world where we are, to say the least, misunderstood. Or are we?

I do not think the Americans go so far as the Germans and certainly not so far as the French in keeping to themselves interiorly while visiting “exotic” places. It is often the other fellows that misbehave. And I think you have done very well for the United States. In fact I could well recommend your book to the American Academy of Asian Studies (one of whose specialists will receive a copy of this), and to the Department of South Asian Studies at the University of California in Berkeley, to mention no others.

The interest in the Orient has been constantly growing in these parts. The World Affairs Council of Northern California has been conducting “study” courses, and yet your book is not on their shelves. These “study” courses show a growing interest on the part of our citizenry and yet do not show a growth of sympathy and understanding coordinate with the march of events.

One cannot object to your factual reporting. I think you have given us some excellent pictures of parts of Pakistan and the Bandung Conference.

Now, although you have been acclaimed, and I find your work far superior to nearly everything turned out by American writers—Dr. Gardner Murphy a most definite and clear exception, I am wondering how much service you have done for your country, and yourself.

I suppose I am prejudiced. About race, good Lord, no. I even have eaten meals with the most outcast Negroes in South Carolina of all places, just as I have supposed with Harijans in India. But I find myself one with Jesus Christ who condemned the scribes and the Pharisees, and alas, my good friend, you are both. And while Ambassador Mehta brings his hands and pleads for us to send disciples of Emerson and Whitman to his country we continue to send representatives of the Fourth Estate who never seem to be able to converse as men to men with others say, as we might meet them in Holy Communion.

I do not think the representatives of the Press in the Western world, by which I mean the whole Western world, is capable of combating, the accusation of materialism put before us by so many Asians. Our very conceptions of “reality” as well as our ways of life only confirm their charges. We simply cannot accept, if we indeed understand, one of the Islamic traditions about Jesus Christ whom they said uttered: “The world is but a bridge. Pass over it quickly and be not waylaid by what you see there.”

The Western world has never accepted the teachings of Jesus Christ concerning the Pharisees, which means, in modern terms, dualists. We nearly all are dualists. We nearly all have been conditioned by either Aristotelian-psycho-logics or Hegelian-psycho-logics and we do not recognize it. When we meet people whose backgrounds are totally non-Aristotelian and non-Hegelian we simply cannot understand them. But they can understand us.

Our modern science has grown out of the strait jackets imposed by traditional thinking. True, the Russians substituted one form of traditional thinking for no thinking at all. From the freedom or anarchy of ignorance they passed into a straight jacket of dialectics. But so many of us are also dialecticians if we are not Aristotelians, that we cannot meet the challenge of what is unusual, to us.

The discovery of radium, Plank’s constant, relativity, etc. has affected the deep thinking of the world. The superficial thinking remains much the same.

I often wonder if newspaper men are not conditioned by their very training to be unable to do two things, the two thing which I have considered the most important in going to India:

a. To meet the people. Not just to go to press clubs, and of all things, to indulge in alcoholic beverages in lanes where alcoholism is decried much more than either capitalism or communism (which are not understood anyway). To get facts from the public and not from one’s fellow craftsmen.

Your “Blitz” staff represents no more human beings biologically or spirituality than the two poorest beggars on the street. It is we who give them importance.

Undoubtedly you saw many “holy men” of various descriptions and of real or questionable sanctity. Have you talked to any or many of them? Have you learned what their views are? their sympathies? their outlooks? Have you met real dirt- farmers? Have you gone into villages as a human being and not as a representative of some kind of power?

b. To delve into the philosophies. I myself think you missed the whole of India. Without defending the political or economic or historical forces there, I have found very few Americans who have looked into their psycho-logical habits, and of those few or not so few, there is a general antipathy toward things political and social.

Whereas we are excellent analyzers, I found people in Asian countries who are champions of one or more of these: (a) Eclecticism; (b) Synthesis; (c) Integration; (d) Intuition (or insight); (e) Unification. These outlooks are more universal than we should care to accept. Consequently when one meets an important Indian and we know nothing of most of these approaches to life and thought we are demanding of him expressions which fit our dualistic-dialectic-matrix, and that he often will not and cannot accept.

I have seen Mr. Nehru do things which the American press simply will not accept as serious. I have been where Muslim and Sikh, Sufi and Hindu dined and embraced—and nothing reported. Yes, there were forty representatives of the press more interested in the food than in the events. I know whom Mr. Nehru’s close friends often are, and they are not among the classes we wish to associate with his name. So we build up legends on partial facts.

Here I am forced to defend U Nu more than J. Nehru because I have his writings. It is rather interesting how I first obtained them. Field explorations in Thailand, India and Pakistan compelled me to accept certain Burmese traditions which are denied by the British Museum. Because the British Museum denies them we accept their findings and do not mind whether this has caused ill-will among 18,000,000 Asians.

The more I read U Nu the more I was compelled to conclude that everything he said as true. That is to say, Prime Minister U Nu’s brand of Buddhism offers explanations of the universe and all its phenomena which, to me, are vastly superior to anything dialectical, whether the dialectics be straight Hegelian or via Karl Marx.

But U Nu, with all his profundity—and compared to anything from American politicians other than Senator Fulbright it is profound—has perhaps not fully grasped the Integral, Intuitional, and Unifying approaches all of which are taught in the Vedanta philosophies (of various grades) and which have affected the thinking and lives of a large number of Indians. This thinking has no doubt become sub-conscious but it is there and it cannot be circumscribed by anything the Western world has to offer, yet.

For my own part I see no reason why tremendous amounts of Indian psychology, philosophy and discipline cannot be accepted by us without changing our basic religion(s) or way of life. We have not come that, although I understand that Harvard University is giving serious consideration to its possibilities.

Armed with this background I had no difficulty at all in meeting any charges from communistically briefed personnel of whatsoever sort, in whatever place I appeared in India, or Pakistan. I found that the race question was brought up mostly by people who themselves had retained or had had such prejudices earlier in life. There was little sincerity about it. I found that India is mostly a country of villages and then of small towns which would fit our theoretical Social Economy of about 1820-1840 and that the masses were as yet unprepared by modern technology associated with any dialectical approach.

I also found that when one has a respectful attitude they, meaning anybody and everybody of all classes, will listen and will probably listen in a friendly manner and show little hostility in cross-questioning.

My case is perhaps unusual for I went to the Orient with some knowledge of the history, arts, philosophies and religions of each land and was much respected therefore. And by “religions” and “philosophies” I do not mean more book learning but actual disciplinary training, comparable, in a certain way, to the laboratory disciplines of natural sciences, which I also have had.

I trust you will accept this in some good faith but I am always worked up, perhaps too much, when I find criticisms of Prime Minister Nehru whom I consider so far beyond the average man of the United States, that I do not retain the attitude which is proposed by the greet spiritual teachings of India, and non-India alike. Very sorry here, and so the apology is on my side.

The prosecution rests.

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis


Morland House,

16 Sharia Kemal el din Salah,

Kasr el Dubara,

Cairo, UAR

December 31, 1960

 

Editorial Department,

Harper’s Magazine,

49 East 33rd St.,

New York, N.Y.

 

Dear Sirs:

Can you realize that the principles laid down in “Listen Yankee” which appeared in your December issue may apply to the major portion of this earth? Don’t you know that the “authorities” for Asia are invariably European professors and Americans newsman, never American professors and European newsmen, and that Asians, per se, are held to speak only for themselves and never for a parent body?

Hasn’t Koestler abolished Dr. Radhakrishnan? What American magazine of newspaper has printed the speeches and philosophy of the Hon. U Nu?

But perhaps the biggest not-news of all concerns the Dervishes. There are probably 50,000,000 (fifty million) of us—the number is indeterminate because many belong to more than one order.

The press, the encyclopedias and the “authorities” excepting at Harvard hold them in contempt, referring to them as long passé, or charlatans, but more likely parasites and, of course, fanatics. The Arab word for dervish, fakir, is derived from the practices or institutions Jesus Christ gave to his disciples, and applied everywhere to everyone but the actual fakir-dervish.

Some day somebody is going to pin-hole some UN delegates on this matter and get a shock. And never mind the actual governments of Sudan, Libya, Indonesia or the first Ambassadors sent to us by India and Pakistan.

The actual dervishes include some of the top scientists of today and that’s how I came to contact them here. They are all 100% anti-atheist, anti-materialist and anti-dialectic. But we have to throw nasty names at them and compel them to be neutralists in a war wherein we have already compromised with the other side in regard to dialectics, clothing and compulsory technology.

When man bites dog in Asia, it is not news.

Sincerely,

Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

December 10, 1964

 

Hollywood Citizen News,

Hollywood 23, Calif.

Attention: A. Conover

 

My dear Mr. Conover:

Following my recent visit. Herein copy of a long and somewhat detailed letter to Dean Parrish of the University of California in Los Angeles. The reason for its length is due to the series of challenges I have had to face from all quarters, and this in turn has been due to our subjective selection of “experts” who, not having clear pictures of the scene before them, have tried to impose abstractions on the American public. Those abstractions in turn have lead to innumerable articles which clarify exactly what is going on in the minds of men, but tell us nothing at all of peoples abroad and little of events abroad.

I once met you for a short time some years ago stating that given an Asian problem, there is an answer here in the State of California for most of them, largely in researches done on campuses of the University Of California, largely also in persons who are citizens of California, not all of them UC graduates; or in the vast alumni of the University of California, considering all campuses on the continent of Asia.

While the Alumni associations have been most cooperative, there are strange road blocks. The chief of these blocks have been “foreign PhDs” imported to various UC campuses to take over “research”—a term hard to define.

Full advantage has been taken of the turmoil on the Berkeley campus to compel the most simple courtesies which sometimes one cannot get for years. The departments set up on the campus to deal with the problem’s of Southeast Asia are manned by persons who have fronted assumed dignity for their lack of direct knowledge and for their unwillingness to receive reports which do not harmonize with their already established dialectics—and I mean dialectics.

When we adopt the same system as we do in our law-courts, and for which this Republic was established, of listening to eyewitnesses and of minimizing opinions and abstractions, we shall establish friendships throughout the world. I can only mention here that Dr. Gardner Murphy, the only important American who took that attitude in Asia is one of the most popular Americans in Asia.

I shall be glad to send you copy of any reports received in private capacity as representative of the World Buddhist Federation, or otherwise.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3,Calif.

June 18, 1965

 

Ed Lukas,

Managing Editor,

Hollywood Citizen News

1545 North Wilcox,

Hollywood, Calif. 90028

 

Dear Mr. Lukas:

In response to your letter of the 7th, let me say that what started out to be a series of personal gripes has become, in a sense, very fundamental. There are some people, even with the welfare of the country at stake, who do not seem to be able to rise up above personalisms, and it is strange, with all the complexities going on in Vietnam and neighboring lands, the President of the United States, or somebody close to him, knows more about the merits and experiences of various personnel on the campuses of the University of California and those who have made themselves key figures in dramatic events.

It started out in these very rooms when years ago the late Rev. Robert Clifton (Phra Sumangalo) told me of the communist infiltration into Buddhist organizations in the then Annam and Tonkin. This was at the time when “The Ugly American” caused so much furor. But the living example of a then living American was only an element of confusion to those in the public light and the author, Prof. Eugene Burdock, not only refused to meet Rev. Clifton but seems adamantly fixed in his position of superiority over all who enter his domain, factual or fictional.

I must say her that after some very dramatic occurrences the Institute of International Affairs connected with the University of California has asked, and will receive, my memoirs and files covering a rather unfortunate part of our history. But this action has not affected either the position of Dr. Robert Scalapino on the Berkeley campus who has never answered any letters and has refused to grant any interview.

This would hardly matter excepting that he is involved both in the S.E. Asia imbroglio wherein he has made himself an expert and both he and Burdick have taken leading roles in the Free Speech and Vietnam dramas, refusing to associate with those they consider as their inferiors. This is just a side-light on their refusal to meet almost anybody in the open on any basis of quality, and again this would not matter excepting that it is in direct opposition to the purposes of the Institution of International Studies which purports to be the center of research in several foreign field and which publishes, under the editorship of Robert A. Scalapino, a monthly called “Asian Survey.”

During the lifetime of the above Rev. Robert Clifton I was moved to devote myself to a theme, “How California Can Help Asia,” a theme which has reached its finality in research but has only entered the initial stages of writing. Let me say, given a problem of Asia, one can invariably find the answers in the research, experience and personnel of Californians, covering almost the whole continent outside the red orbit and sometimes then.

In 1956 I was able to retired from gainful employment to devote to “How California Can Help Asia” and on arrival in Japan was greeted immediately by top horticulturalists (my profession) who also were top Buddhists. As I had started my studies in real Zen Buddhism here in San Francisco (later in Los Angeles) with the late Rev. Nyogen Senzaki, I personally was accepted both by the monks and lay people and became the guest of the late Baron Nakashima who was a veritable Pooh Bah. During the course of events I was a guest at the Royal Cemetery, the Shrine over the Ashes of Lord Buddha (Mount Takao) and the Imperial Gardens themselves, the first time a small foreigner had even such honors.

I was then commissioned by Baron Nakashima to present a petition with the general theme “Anti-communist Buddhists of the World Unite.” Socially this was a total success and details can be furnished. It was facilitated by the return of Rev. Clifton to Thailand the same day as I arrived and the fact that Princess Royal Poon Diskul was to be my host (we had long become friends).

Princess Poon Diskul has since become the President of the World Buddhist Federation and is one of the few people in the world to have caused Mao to lose face.

None of the above made the slightest impression on the Foreign Service and when I was sent to the Embassy in Bangkok by the late Makathero (Chief Monk) of Thailand it was only to be snubbed. Yet this is history.

The sad part of it is that Rev. Clifton returned again to this country to warn about Laos (he had worked for the King of Laos, as previously for the Kings of Cambodia and Thailand). He died of a broken heart because of the refusal of our State Department to take him seriously.

Beholding so many refugees in South Asia, my research was changed from that of general horticulture to food problems and continues in this field.

Snubbed constantly on the Berkeley Campus by all the different departments labeled under the various “social sciences,” a longer visit was taken in 1960-62. Returning here, five campuses of the University of California were immediately visited (San Diego, Riverside, Los Angeles, Berkeley and Davis, in that order.) Everywhere there were welcomes and interviews with men who had been to parts of Asia, who had done research there and had made friends.

But on my second tour I met so many graduates of the University of California both nationals and Americans, that it was amazing and on my future trips careful notes will be taken and detailed reports. Some time back I had accosted “Princeton-in-Asia” which is one of the few universities that keeps in touch with its people abroad. These alumni are one of the best channels to promote international good-will, but the State Department—until these recent events—seems to have either ignored them or kept very quiet (perhaps the latter).

My previous trip to Los Angeles ushered me into the presence of a Mr. D. Wilson, whose history of Thailand seems to have won the good-will of the State Department. This is an excellent work excepting for the final chapter dealing with “Problems” and while these problems are no doubt well-meant, overlooked were the surveys made by teams sent out from other campuses to that part of the world. In other words, there are some gaps in communication from one campus to another.

During the Free Speech brawls on the Berkeley campus not only Profs. Burdick and Scalapino have been active—certainly earning the will-will of the vociferous, but President Clark Kerr made some important remarks about the “Multiversity.” Personally I think these remarks are far more important than the “excitement” reports which fill the press. And it is certain that a large majority of the teaching personnel have backed up the protestants and this has been interpreted as being “left-wingism.” Actually I have seen very, very little sign of Marxism on the Berkeley campus or on other UC campuses (this must not be generalized too far). People who want freedom know they will not got it under Marxist regimes. Why then have so many instructors turned against the seeming power structure?

We are in turmoil in S. E. Asia. The Berkeley campus publishes “Asian Survey.” There are all sorts of men on other campuses, but have they access to the editor of this publication? Are they taken into account as human being? I have already affirmed, that given a problem of Asia, in most instances one can find the research, the projects and the personnel involved which could solve such problems.

The meeting with Mr. Wilson produced another phenomenon-on the Berkeley Campus the “social science” professors ignore their colleagues, and I mean especially those who have gone on Missions to Asia. On the other campuses they do not. The grill-organization which would require a real cooperation has been used elsewhere and would be very necessary to make studies of any given part of the world.

Going over the articles in “Asian Survey” I found the contributors as follows:

University of California (all campuses)   7

Other California Institutions                   2

Other American Universities                  25

Asians                                                     10

Others                                                     3

Last summer there was a conference at Asilomar under the aegis of the then Chancellor Strong. Although there are ten Asian Consuls-General in this vicinity not one appeared at the Conference. The writer tried in vain to have a local important Chinese invited. He was snubbed. Our moneys were used to import British and European diplomats for a conference on Asia, also newsmen. There was a single Asian and he not official.

Early this year there was a conference on “China”—any relation to China being very doubtful, in which the most important speakers were a communist, an editor-publisher of doubtful integrity, and an Australian. We have all kinds of Chinese in San Francisco—not one invited.

This snubbing of great peoples (Oriental) no doubt infuriated the writer so that during the Free Speech imbroglios he was particularly around against Messrs. Strong, Burdick and Scalapino for this state of affairs but then these were the men who tried to still the crowds and were booed. It was then bad enough for me that public funds had been used to import such bizarre “experts” but since then, one by one, sections by sections, I have found personnel on the UC campuses who have covered every part of Asia outside the communist sectors. Why were they excluded from conferences on “Asia” and “China?”

The same tone has continued in the discussions on Vietnam where “Dove” and “Hawk” alike seem to shun Asians and their colleagues who have worked in that part of the world.

Returning to Riverside to collect more material on my “How California Can Help Asia” I was again welcomed by men who had been to Asia and who are my colleagues in every respect. They have learned more of the real religions, the real folklore and folk-ways of the real people of real Asia than anybody else. In fact Prof. Perry had just come back from a survey in Indonesia and his reports do not jibe with those of commentators and politically minded persons. This does not mean that the present Prime Minister is in any way a fit administrator, only there are other ways to deal with him and his people.

He gave me a number of instructions both as to agricultural and political problems. Finally at UCLA I met Prof. Orr who has been to many lands and who has been sent to SE Asia—beginning at Saigon, to head the Mekong River Development Survey.

Differing from Prof. Burdick and Scalapino, Prof. Orr has lived with these people, he knows them from the inside and outside and is dedicated to two theses:

1. Stop the communists

2. Introduce our skills, technologies and methods at human levels and in accord with people.

In contrast with several Peace Corps returnees both Prof. Orr and Prof. Perry seem to understand Asian peoples from within. Both favor the “grill-system,” but they and their colleagues see the road-blocks on the Berkeley campus by “social scientists,” and this despite the fact we are in a near-war.

Anyhow a team has already gone, a team of men who know how to coordinate with Asian-Asians and who are acquainted with the backgrounds and problems of peoples involved. We can only give them God-speed.

No doubt there are emotional involvements here. But the more one delves into matters and finds that the UC campuses are filled with people even of equal excellence with the famous Seaborg and Teller, and that we are facing problems, even the killing of our military without any seeming alternative but an ignominious retreat, and we may be having “all the answers,” it is time we Californians learn something of the intellectual gold in our midst.

It is satisfying to know that Washington recognizes it and we can hope there will be more. Sooner or later there will have to be some corrections. The writer will not testify before any legislative or Board of Regents hearing nor appeal to them without clearing every one of the above points with the proper personnel.

The war in Vietnam started because we would not trust our own citizens. It continues because there is not mutual trust between those who are in charge of channels of communication and those who have to carry on operations.

Any of the above is subject, of course, to any type of editorializing, correction or rejection that is seen fit. It is necessary to stop the growth of communism as it is and to work on positive programs dealing with population, food and “poverty,” etc.

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St..

San Francisco 3, Calif.

May 10, 1966

 

S. F. Territorial News

3041 Fillmore St.,

San Francisco 23, Calif.

 

Dear Sirs: The stone which is rejected is become the cornerstone.

This is the first time I have ever perused your publication and it hit immediately at what I consider the terribly weakness or disease which has epidemized our whole culture.

In the case of Charles and Miriam Lindstrom I feel particularly awful because there I felt their crucifixion without being able to foresee their resurrection. In the case of Benny Bufano I have justified that he did not wish to become a Schubert. Our greatest hypocrisy is to memorialize certain dead heroes and to keep on creating more and more rush martyrs to be rescued by later ages.

If the Lindstroms had been functioning in Berkeley there would have been not only a local but a national revolt, for that is a city of the young. But Francisco and in particular our museums are for the old, and if a man or woman lives in eternity, as do the Lindstroms, they do not have the same opportunity. And a growing lot of us are revolting against the hypocrisy of our present form of Pledge of Allegiance with its “liberty and justice for all.” This was not in the earlier form of Pledge which did not have this hypocritical apology for wrong doing.

There are some particular items which you have brought up and this can cause considerable complexities later on. The Brundage Collection is international in scope and in particular Asian. There are been many persons in high position in the De Young Museum who have known very little of Asian arts and have considered it an insult if you try to correct their spelling or misstatements. But it is even more true that there are many sensitive Asians who become furious over wrong spellings or statements. And the normal corrective would be to employ persons who had the proper knowledge to prevent these occurrences.

No doubt the Boston Museum of Art could be a model for us but this remark is redundant because as a remark it is useless (we have useless remarks, aphorisms, mottoes).

This may have to become an issue in our next election, but having adopted a motto, an aphorism, a shibboleth, “San Francisco Knows How” we have been satisfied with that.

The essence of the Lindstroms among people of high renown stands in utter contrast with the opinions of the trustees. Sometimes we ought to have examinations for trustees as well as for the staff. The situation is, of course, parallel to that of the University of California. The trustees include men of power and the University itself has been able to turn out more Nobel Prize winners than any other institution in the world. Yet even these Nobel prize winners are supposed to be subservient to what you call “the interests.”

The Ugly Americans. This follows your well-taken “The American Rejection of Edgar Allan Poe.” The first real Ugly American was Lafcadio Hearn. His very ugliness lead to his rejection yet his birthday is celebrated in Japan. Japan has two American heroes, India two and Iran one. You never hear of them in the papers, although you sometimes do of ersatz “heroes.”

I am sitting in a chair once occupied by one Robert Stuart Clifton. He came to this country twice to warn of events in Vietnam. He had all the Accouterments of “The Ugly American” yet not even Prof. Burdick would interview him. He died of a broken heart because the American press and State Department refused to interview him. We are fighting an interminable war therefore. This is our norm.

I have suggested to my Assembly (John Burton) a JEW society—it has nothing to do with Jewish matters although the line-ups will be almost the same. By JEW I mean the Jefferson-Emerson-Whitman outlook.

To Assembly Burton I accuse Senator Burns of being a pro-communist for he certainly will line up with the communists against the American-American JEW outlook. All over Asia I can assure you people want Jefferson, want Emerson, want Whitman and we give them … Marx. True, we take the other side but we advertise Marx, we do not advertise great Americans.

We have some great Americans now. These includes I believe, the Lindstroms. They ought to be sent abroad an USIA missions. That would be unfair. We could beat the communists overnight without throwing a punch. The world needs their knowledge.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

P.S. I have cut the subscription blank and will send it after my next pay day.

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3. Calif.

March 25, 1967

 

Stewart Alsop

c/o Saturday Evening Post

641 Lexington Ave.,

New York, N.Y. 10022

 

Dear Mr. Alsop:

Written in the spirit of François Villain as in “If I were King.”

I am enclosing a letter to Senator Kuchel from this State. Things like the events of yesterday happen all the time and it is one way not to make friends and influence people. The most nauseating was the visit of Her Serene Highness, Princess Poon Diskul to this City when she came forth and greeted the writer before looking at anybody else. That was the fifty such occasion in my home town but since then it has been happening with increased momentum, coming up yesterday with first a call and then a visit with one of those totally forgotten and ignored men, a Vietnamese.

I found in this case he had learned about me from his secretary-driver, one of those few Americans who have studied Buddhisms with Asians and not with “experts” who may come from anywhere at all.

The other day a Dove challenged me and when I answered him correctly he asked, “How did you know.” I said, “Simple. I have documents in my files. I had a friend living there.” Sure, I have documents, and I had some time recently working out an heir—my brother and I have no children and no poor relatives and we agreed that the documents—I have piles of them—would go to the University of California at Los Angeles because at least I have had interviews there. But there has been more than that including at least one official history and the engineer who has been heading the Mekong River Development Scheme. But hard facts and hard persons and hard reasons have nothing to do with our foreign policies or the comments on them. We do not live in that world.

Recently I convinced a newsman, who is away to test, “Reality versus realism.” I have no doubt of the outcome. But the type of what passes for “thinking” in international policies could not last five minutes in a scientific laboratory and I doubt much longer in a law court. We must—no matter what our point of view—we must not let facts confuse issues. So your seemingly pessimistic forecast is based on nothing but that.

Although I am far, far from being equal to any “expert” during World War II I did some GII work in an office and there met my “war hero” whom I have not encountered since. It just happens his name is Edward Lansdale and he has gone up a long way since, but facts must not confuse issues.

In the next office was a department broadcasting in Japanese on “Buddhism.” I mean real Buddhism, not the guff and stuff and even filth that passes for “Zen” today. We had to do it, we did it. When I came to Japan later I was informed—all first hand—the beneficent effect of those broadcasts and the effects on General McArthur’s policies, all eye-witness stuff and therefore impossible, I am not “equal.”

During the course of years my prowess in real Buddhism lead to my being initiated and ordained as a Zen Master and recently I inherited a library. The donor-owner was looking for some American who studied Oriental Philosophy with Asians, not with the conglomerate mass of Englishmen, Germans and outcastes who are heralded here.

When later I had a long and very satisfactory session with Prof. Orr at UCLA on the Mekong River Development Scheme it was wonderful to meet an American who understood and had deep respect for the real peoples of real Asia.

I am not going to give you the rest of my history but it was enough to cause me to write to Lord Russell asking him not to press charges against LBJ. Not that LBJ or the State Department or CIA has ever acknowledged any letters—we do not do that in “democratic America.”

I am taking Photostats of documents abroad. Audiences are awaiting. It is as simple as that. The originals will at my death go to UCLA and there will be funds to back up this gesture. The history of Vietnam in Asian researches is so different from our public reports here. I can only say, without going into detail, that recently New Republic published the speeches of Abraham Lincoln when he was a member of Congress on the Mexican War. (I am not a Dove but I accept facts.)

My proposal for Vietnam is simple—treat the Vietnamese as equal humans like we did in the Dominican Republic.

The first great tragedy is that we praise George Washington’s career as Colonel in the war of 1754-1763 and follow Braddock’s tactics.

The second is the totally discarding of the very successful Buddhist campaign of World War II.

The third is the substitution of propaganda which pleases comfortable audiences and does not appeal, and does not have to appeal to any Asians whatever. Hawks want force, and Doves call Asian nationals who are opposed to communism, “traitors.”

When I return from abroad I expect to open Sarkhan House. Everything is exactly as in Burdick and Lederer’s books. Must not change, mustn’t. But I am determined come hell, come high water to give lectures on real Islamic and real Buddhist cultures. We can win the hearts of peoples.

When I return from abroad—provided the schedule goes through—I shall be working on “How California Can Help Asia.” It is based on real facts, real opinions, real projects, real researches. Most will have been on the campuses of the “Multiversity” of California, the rest by the United States Department of Agriculture and by successful enterprises, agricultural and non-agricultural going on in this State. All objective and therefore contrary to the cultures which control public information at the moment.

There are many ways to win the hearts of people, there are many ways to contact human beings as equals. I am hoping to see my country try a few of them. “It is not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country—Nertz.

I expect to spend some more time with Dr. Thich Thien-An and then visit him down at UCLA. Remember, everybody counts but us Sarkhanians. I know a lot of them.

In memory of the late Prof. Burdick,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


February 13, 1969

 

To the Editors of “Playboy”:

I wish to thank you for a most marvelous service you have consciously or unconsciously rendered to the world. You mention that this person is a Sufi, indicating that you believe there are such beings. This is a new departure for many of the Englishmen, Europeans, and even those of Jewish antecedents whom we have put in charge of so much of the “only in America” “Oriental culture” have either denied their existence, or so complicated the situation that very few Americans and otherwise cultured people have little idea about Asiatics. Europeans are human beings; Asians are thought-forms.

Although you have identified me as a Sufi and Sufis have identified me as a Sufi, our British, Europe an end Jewish mentors either refuse this or exclude one from attending conference as a representative of the still extant and rather flourishing Sufi Orders.

It may come as a shock to you that the President of India has been a disciple of Sufism; that this person shares a spiritual teacher, a Pir, in common with President Ayub; that the first government of the now controversial Iraq was established with the aid of Sufis (vide. Gertrude Bell etc. etc. etc.)

So long as we live in the two cultures of Lord Snow, a scientific one based on facts, observances and data; and a literary humanist one based on the importance of the persons involved, it is very difficult to have honest, objective communication with the latter group. Pressures and emotions are more important than facts— in other words, we find ourselves here in the world of propaganda.

It may also come as a shock to be informed that there are more disciples of Sufism in the world today than there are Vietnamese Buddhists; that there are more Vietnamese Buddhists than there are Zionists, and that we are constantly jumping back and forth between quantitative and qualitative values.

Mr. Jennings has chosen to adhere to the qualitative, quite safe, because Sufis have few votes. At the same time, if Playboy is read by members of UN delegations, as it well might be, the proportion of personalities, both in the lower and higher echelons of UN personalities, who may be associated with Sufism on some basis, could also be a shock.

As I myself have been a professional reporter and writer in this very same field as your Mr. Jennings, I know the techniques of the trade only too well. The difference is that when I wrote articles they were based on fact-gathering; now everything is based on excitability. You can take any group of our dialecticians from super-Trotski-ites to fascists to Hunts and all betwixt and between and they all agree that excitability and propaganda are more important than honesty and objectivity.

It may also be news to you that the first real religious toleration came from two great emperors, both contemporaries of Queen Elizabeth, Sultan Suleiman of Turkey, (called the Magnificent) and Emperor Akbar, the great Mogul. Both of these were advanced disciples in Sufism, among the most learned of rulers of all times, and only too often conveniently by-passed by propagandists with gimmicks.

Among the minor achievements of Suleiman was his opening the doors to refugee Spanish Jews (Sephardics). Among the minor achievements of Emperor Akbar was the summoning of the congressmen of all religions to which Jews also were invited and they were a matter of record (unfortunately American East-West gatherings where Jews are invited have never followed the sane policy—Sufis are not permitted to participate (want some facts?)).

It is difficult to promote a philosophy of love wherein a culture identifies love with lust on one hand and with ego-negativity on the other. I don’t believe this is what Christ meant. Mohammed said, “Allah loves his creation more than a mother loves her offspring.”

This is the norm of the Sufis.

We are beginning now to appreciate the poetry of Jelal-ud-din Rumi and other Sufis. “Realism” may ignore; reality cannot. Nor can we separate love from wisdom and insight—at least this is the Sufi view. I am sure you have had articles on the Taj. At least a some of your companion magazines have. Can you accept that this most noble structure was built by a Sufi monarch who seems to have had a deeper love for his wife than would appear in all the western world? It is unnecessary to go on.

Now as to personal matters.

 

 


April 8, 1969

410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif. 94110

 

World Union,

Pondicherry 2, India

 

Dear Ram:

This acknowledges Volume VIII, No. 4 of your remarkable issue. To me it is not a question of principles involved but who is going to put them into operation. General Secretary A.B. Patel writes (full agreement):

“World Union was established to work for the realization of the high ideal of complete oneness. It believes that modern conditions of life provide propitious circumstances for an endeavor to realize this pristine dream of unity.”           

“World Union attempts to make people aware of creative forces of unity and their consequences….”

My whole life has been operative in this general direction, inward and outward but too often has one seen the mountains of words and the failure of those announcing verbally to put into practice what is said. One is now in and awkward position that one had to take to task another world movement because while its deals are perfect, in its practices it has fallen back on the same procedures of appealing to name-and-form to lead and “important persons” are given important places regardless of their integrity because of the supposition that this will draw membership and masses. In this case they have summoned a man inimical to most of the real leaders of the real religions of the real world and evidently there is no way to stop it. Or maybe there is.

Karma is karma, moral law is moral law. One had seen one failure after another in verbalized “world movements” which at some point of other stressed some personalities at the expense of their goals and so the goals were not achieved.

The other day there was a picnic of the Indian’s students of this area. Not a single “expert” on Oriental Culture was there, not even some of your own countryman who have achieved a medium of fame. The fame for prowess is among other than Asians. And the leader of the affair referred to this one as the “Avatar of Dara Shikoh.” One’s whole life had been in the direction of the Moghul Prince and now one has reached the stage that one can no longer sit by and say “yes” to people who themselves do not know how to say “yes.”

It may be of no importance to you that one’s paper on “Vietnamese Buddhism” was rejected thirty-one times and then stopped because one received a better paper from a Vietnamese Buddhist residing in this country. (You never hear of it either, we have too many “experts.”) But it must be of some import to you to find that one’s efforts to have a paper on “The Religion of the President of India” have been given the same coup de grace and as the President of India is very much alive and is dedicated fully, I believe to the same Ideas and Ideals that the writer has, it becomes very awkward.

All efforts so far to call attention to the life and work of the Moghul Emperor Akbar have been ignored. And in my personal capacity, continuing and perhaps in the eyes of God fulfilling the efforts of Prince Dara Shikoh, which depends on spiritual awakening and conscious operation of Vijnanavada, to find that not only are these efforts ignored but praise is given to world politicians qua re their worldly positions, I fail to see how this can help the World Union or bring into operation the predictions of Sri Aurobindo and others.

It is not true of leaders that they accept Sri Krishna’s “Praise and blame do not faze me” for praise means acceptance and criticisms, no matter how valuable, mean rejections. Failure is accepted, but never warnings and too many great movements, great for the moment, have disappeared because personalisms are more important than ideals.

This week-end one is going to a seminar to present the report on actual experience into the Divine. One is no longer concerned with the rejection of this by important and unimportant people. To support the themes of universal consciousness on the one hand and then to herald famous people and ignore mystics is hardly the way to come into any New Age.

The Upanishads are very succinct, if not clear, on the grades of sentient beings of all ranks. The accommodation for Ananda, predicated in these sacred books, is I believe, and absolute measuring stick for this. But the continuation of manasic outlooks cannot bring about the fulfillment of these greater experiences in and accommodations for Ananda, nor the replacement of Manas by Vijnana. Sri Aurobindo has been called Vijnanavadin. But I do not see the fulfillment of his life and predictions while the analytical and dialectical methods are used and what is called “integration” excludes spiritual and integrational movements of the past, and present.

You will be sent copy of The Oracle, a local paper, as soon as it appears. It shows what the young people are attempting here. It may show a new groundwork. I see nothing in Sri Aurobindo that the evolved souls are necessarily going to appear in India or any other country. Nor do I see anything that older people, who are not so evolved, can forever lay down dictums and promises by which these evolved souls, generally younger in body, can and must work.

My first efforts to send some disciples to you have not been very successful. I am now preparing to send another disciple who is going to India to study dancing and who will be a representative of the class working on “Dances of Universal Peace.” These are very real and they come from the transcendental experiences of a living person, not a politician, not a dialecticism, not a traditional philosopher. They are dedicated to The Temple of Understanding in Washington and also to Sri Surendra Mohan Ghose and they are demonstrating exactly what the Upanishads promise.

But I cannot omit here references to Fatehpur Sikri and indeed to all the life and work of Emperor Akbar. I am tired of appeal.

The story of Boccaccio from “The Decameron” was also used by the German Lessing in his “Nathan the Wise” and again in my poem “Saladin” which will someday be read, Inshallah.

One of the best things in this issue is the remark of Norman C. Dowsett, “Education has to be revised to accommodate the New Consciousness already descended into earth-nature.” God bless you for that. That is to me marvelous, perfect and true. Now what are we going to do about it? A person who is doing is not in the same class as a person who is saying. I feel entirely at home with your ideals; I am not at home with by-passing of history and selectivity despite the verbal and mental support of Vijnanavada.

God bless you,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Calif.

11th June, 1969

 

W.B.F. News Bulletin.

41 Phra Athit St.,

Bangkok, Thailand

 

Dear Aiem and Friends:

There is a vast abyss between the word “compassion” and the extension of this magnificent quality to others. The common misusage which is quite approve is to “extend it to all mankind” and in the name of this verbal extension refuse it to the one next to you. This means, of course, the decay of Dharma, and I shall continue to use the Sanskrit terms because they were taught to me by the late Dr. M. T. Kirby the hero of our good friend, Dr. Malalasekera. Besides, in general, Sanskrit is in use now in this country.

I have no intention of imposing my own elevation as Fudo Bosatsu in Japan because any such report is regarded as “egotism.” But the training and discipline and the hard adherence to honesty and experience more than doctrine, till now gaining no friends, is just as rapidly gaining friends and “followers.”

No sooner had this letter been written than a letter was received from the Department of East Asian studies at Harvard accepting my report on the late Trebitsch-Lincoln and I shall certainly send facts to these people although my own papers were destroyed in 1949. But religionists in general and sectarians in particular do not like facts, no matter how substantiated, which interferes with their theologies, claims and speculations.

I spent a whole year once studying nothing but Tipitaka to give a single lecture on “Buddhism” During the years I have found all kinds of “experts,” “authorities,” and of course, “sectarians,” who do not have to do any such thing to be accepted and the acceptance of the deniers of Tripitaka as “Buddhists” is going to work out its own cosmic karma. And as a Fudo I cannot help “seeing” the karma of pretense, ignorance and egotism.

I do not see where the speculative so-called “Mahayana Philosophy” by Bhikku Yen-Kiat has anything to do with anything but book-pseudo-knowledge. There is a vast difference between such speculations and either the Bodhisattvic oath or the application of this oath to the dally life. Like the American Walt Whitman, one practices, “In all men I see myself.” But I do not are anything in the speculative Philosophies of anybody about anything.

The article by Bhikkhu Khantipalo is, of course, true both theoretically and practically. Some day we are going to have impersonal, quasi-scientific disciplines which will remove any statements of whosoever because “he” said it. On this point Lord Buddha and “Buddhism” (which he did not teach) are far, far apart.

I believe that here in America we shall soon have, and indeed we have already Arya Dharma. I know of several professors in universalities who are offering what none of the temples, churches and I-me-Sangha groups are offering. I see no sign that any Parami is running around telling somebody, anybody, much less everybody that they are right, etc.

We are rapidly moving to a day when many of us will get together and listen and accept those who have had Enlightenment experiences and stop once and for all the egoists (who, of course deny ego) from stopping those who have had such Enlightenment experience. The influence of Kapleau is spreading, but I believe there may be many other Upayas which work, including the four Jhanas and others, actual Upayas and not speculations or discussions about unsuccessful Upayas. Tathagata spoke endlessly against useless means. And so long as means are important and more important than experience, we shall no doubt have “Buddhism” but we shall not have Arya Dharma, we shall not have Enlightenment.

No, I do not expect any answer, no, I do not expect any of this to be published. No, I do not expect anything but karma operating and not just to please authorities and important people. When those who write about “selflessness” become a little more curious about the Enlightenment experiences of others, we shall have a better world.

Metta,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


910 Railroad Ave

Novato, Calif. 94947

Oct. 1, 1969

 

The Saturday Review

380 Madison Ave

New York, NY 10017

 

The Great American Tragedy 1969

Dear Sirs:

One reads with utter sadness and futility “The view from Allenby Bridge, a report from the Middle East,” by Theodore C. Sorenson. O yes, the article is very fair-minded and not a single fact or statement is refuted or may even be refutable. But it is impossible, not nearly impossible, but impossible to convince the literati that we have two cultures as Lord Snow claims, which he calls the scientific and the literary humanist. We could have never gotten to the moon with the logistics of the literati. We had to have hard, sound thinking, supported by demonstrable facts and some knowledge of the laws of the universe and of nature to accomplish this. Private opinions, folklore, and the dominant anti-Marx dialectics would have been useless. Apparently we can conquer time and space and even the universe itself, but hardly through the logistics of any form of dialectics.

The other day I wrote to Dr. G. Malalasekera of Ceylon. When he was delegate to the UN he had the impudence to say: “How can we trust a nation which does not trust its own citizens?” We gave him the boot and thought we were winning a victory. The hard, hard fact which this country has absolutely refused to accept was that our mutual friend the late Robert Clifton, better known as Phra Sumangalo, had lived in Vietnam 15 years. All his reports, all his substantiable facts, were ignored in toto by the press and the State Department, excepting Mrs. Meyer in Washington. We are now paying a terrible price, and we are going to continue to pay terrible prices until those in high places at least listen to Americans who have been to odd places, mingled with the populace and who have information that could be of help to this land.

Mr. Sorenson’s late friend and buddy President Kennedy used to say: “It is not what your country can do for you, it is what you can do for your country.” Have you ever tried it? I remember one man who was kicked out of Pakistan for alleging there were communists in certain places. He was not kicked out of Pakistan by the government of that country; the US Embassy ordered him removed as a trouble maker. Six weeks later I fell into the hands of these very communists after the “trouble maker” had warned me. I am fortunate to be alive. Or perhaps, to quote from Mr. Sorenson, “The United States, or the United Nations, or another great power, or a modern Saladin, or Allah Himself” might have something to do with it.

I can assure you it is no fun to travel abroad to be hounded at the same time by real communist emissaries and black-listed by our State Department. besides this, I have had the temerity to have turned a mob on communists hecklers in the same places newsmen had been mobbed. This is against protocol of course; an imaginary “communist” of a fourth estate representative is of far more importance than scores of foreign emissaries met by unimportant persons.

It has been part of my life to have been a guest of honor at the imperial palaces of Japan and Thailand, and to have had tea in the Presidential mansions of Pakistan and India. Asians constantly wonder why I am not recognized by the State Department. In 1960 I had planned to go to the Near East. The State Department was interested. I had constant letters from them, fixing a date for a meeting, and showed up promptly at the hour they had selected. When I arrived at that office not a single person with whom I had corresponded was present. There were no notes around. In fact there was only one person around and he knew nothing about it. And since that time not a single person from any branch of the State Department has ever answered any correspondence from me on any subject!

In the year 1928 I first met Dr. Henry Atkinson of the World Church Peace Union. He was then seeking plans to bring about world peace through religion. I submitted a paper to him. He retired (this was in the St Francis hotel in San Francisco) and 15 minutes later came back, held out his hand, and said, “Mr. Lewis, I have been around the world 3 times, met perhaps every king and prime minister on the face of the earth, and you are the first man who ever brought me what I wanted.”

At his behest, I began a very serious study of all the religions I could. I have had the doubtful experience of love-attunement with such various persons as the Hasid Rev. Schlomo, the late Rufus Mosley, the still living Dr. Radhakrishnan, Roshi Yasutani, etc., etc., etc. But the successors of the late Dr. Henry Atkinson reused absolutely and unequivocally to look at my reports.

I had the very strange notion that we had to have peace in the Near East to prevent the communists from coming in. But it seems that Dr. Malalasekera is correct: in foreign affairs we have a State Department which does not trust its own citizens. Although originally I had the blessings of the late John Foster Duller—that was all. When I actually accomplished the mission, it was ignored. We have to have peace through the “right” persons, “right” organizations, etc.

While loving in Cairo with the blessing especially of the UN representatives, I worked out a proposal by which I found at that time even the most recalcitrant Arabs expressed their willingness to accept Israel. Undoubtedly I was the wrong person. The Israelis, the Arabs and the UN might have accepted it; the State Department and the so-called great peace foundations turned it down cold.

Later, it is true, I sent portions of this program to the Senators Cooper of Kentucky and Baker of Tennessee. But I am no longer concerned for the doors are opening whereby above-board the hard facts and the accumulated knowledges will be made public. I have already written epic poems on this subject from the Israeli point of view utterly rejected by the synagogues; and from the Israeli point of view which has not had much better treatment from the so-called Muslims. But there is a New Age: the local universities and more and more the various groups of the young called or misnamed hippies have opened their doors and their floors.

The great American tragedy is the verbal adherence to aphorisms and slogans and the deaf ears of the persons attached to the very same aphorisms and slogans. The young are being tired of our policy, not the Vietnamese policy, but the general foreign policy selling guns and goods to Jordan and Israel; to Nigeria and Biafra; to India and Pakistan, etc., etc.

Someday I hope there will be some group in this country which will permit “The United States, or the United Nations, or another great power, or a modern Saladin, or Allah Himself” to stop this slogan mongering and to bring human beings together. I have had the doubtful honor of being black-balled from attending conferences on the above and related subject matters by an “only in America” institution: The European and English experts on Asian culture. We may talk about “justice” forever and ever, but how many American-born, or for that matter, how many Arab-born professors are there in this land on Arabic civilization? We do not only not want to keep our skirts clean here, we do not even seem to want to have skirts to keep clean. Why, out in this region, the fairest-minded professor on Arab civilization was a Zionist. The others were all English- or German-born! I think this is slowly changing, and I am delighted to find a replacement of European and English “experts” by Americans. Some day we may even permit; indeed we are slowly permitting Asian professors to lecture on the culture of their own country (this does not yet apply to Vietnam).

I sometimes say that if you want to get kicked out of a synagogue just try to read the very last words of the very last prophet of Israel, Malachi.

My whole life is now being centered on the success of The Temple of Understanding in Washington, which is bringing into manifestation what the Bible repeats, “My house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples.”

I think the worst evil is our slogan mongering, a constant use of aphorisms, and the setting of traps into which we ourselves fall. At this time I am teaching spiritual dances in which Zionists, Jews who are not Zionists, people of mixed races, orthodox or heterodox Christians, Muslims, and the followers of many different Indian outlooks have joined. They have not only joined, they have fraternized. But you never hear about this in the press, and the only time I have been interviewed was to be “exposed.”

No, this is unquestionably a hard letter, and I do not really have any ill-will toward Mr. Sorenson at all; in fact I admire him, I even think I can trust him. But you must understand the rising tide of honesty, integrity, zeal for truth etc., which is widespread among out youth and which is going to compel the laying of cards on the table; presumably anybody can write an article or editorial. It is something else again to bring people together to mingle and comingle regardless of sex, race, religion, or any of the artificial or real distinctions that divide us.

I hope this will be taken seriously. Soon it will probably be published or read aloud in such a way as to arouse the young who are tired of slogans, aphorisms, and questions.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 


Sept. 1, 1970

Editor, Life Magazine

Rockefeller Center

New York, N.Y. 10020

 

Dear Sirs:

I am not able to speak very much on the justice or injustice of the women’s liberation movement, but I am able to say and say definitely that the title “The revolution that will affect everybody” is a bunch of hokum and nonsense. It will not and does not affect 98% of the human race. It overlooks or by-passes all these people who for some reason or other have wished or been forced to accept Communistic governments and societies. It does not take into consideration in the least the position of women in non-Christian societies. Whether we like it or not those who live under Communistic or non-Christian societies belong to the human race, at least I think they do. And they are considered in statistics.

Those people who pall-parrot “peace with justice” and who think this empty phrase will solve the problems of the Near East, entirely overlook what Mr. Nasser has done for the women of Egypt and what the socialist regimes in certain Islamic countries have not done for their women. One wonders whether your “everybody” includes anybody at all, and I do not believe that the women involved in the so-called revolution, ever meant that.

When one looks at the picture on 16B one wonders whether any of those women have ever given consideration to the endless conflict in Vietnam or to the hostilities in the Near East, or to the sub-standard existence of multitudes in many parts of the world.

It is too bad that these last people do not belong to the “everybody.”

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Jan. 12, 1970

Religious Studies

Cambridge University Press

32 East 57th St.,

New York. N.Y. 10022

 

Dear Sirs:

A copy of your issue of December 1969 was sent to my former address on Clementina Street and then forwarded here. At the present moment I do not know exactly what my status is as a subscriber, but I do know what my status is as a human being.

Among other things—and there are a lot of other things—at the bequest of the late Dr. Henry Atkinson of the World Church Peace Union I studied all the religions of the world and I mean all the religions of the world. The original intent was to use religions and their teachings to promote world peace or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Nothing has come of this. Neither did anything come of the efforts of one Dr. Charles Weller of Chicago who seems to have started a rival organization. Now we are considering, but just considering, sending someone to another “peace” conference to be held in Japan in 1971. At this writing we are between two entirely different situations: being ignored by the elder groups no matter how little we have to offer, because that little (to establish institutions) is what they are seeking.

I cannot but contrast your publication with that of History of Religions published in Chicago by Prof. Eliade and others. In that book they consistently check subjectivities with the actual belief of actual peoples in the presumably actual world. Some of the contributors are more prone to clash over their discoveries among human beings than over their private opinions. I think this is most wonderful.

My impressions (and to me impressions are a limitation whereas some of your contributors rely almost entirely an impressions) include in the first place the use of the term ethics as a substitute for human morel behavior.

That is to say, the writings on ethics seem to have nothing to do with love, compassion, human consideration, etc. Sometimes, but only sometimes, they seem to have a vague relation to ethos. For example, referring to Buddhist Studies by David Bastow, I have been one of the few Americans who have read, so far as available in English, the entire Tipitaka. I have never been forgiven for this; you would have imagined perhaps that such knowledge would have been welcomed. For the past two years or so it has become welcomed by a new type of instructor in religion and Oriental philosophies. In fact, I once shocked an audience by challenging a well-known professor, saying I had lived in Thailand, and the behavior of the people I found was entirely different from what he had read in a book written many years before. The audience was shocked at my impertinence. In fact the professor was the only one who accepted the valid in situ report.

Here we practice the jhanas, and I have found that every effort to perform a jhana results in some change in the personality of the devotee. I am not here going into real Buddhist ethics or metaphysic. Nor do I consider the ethics of any one religion as necessarily or unnecessarily different from the ethics of any other religion.

Unfortunately, I can tell you where writers on Buddhist and Christians ethics are remarkably similar:

1. They seem to ignore functional compassion, selflessness, etc.

2. They disdain to reply to any consent or criticism which differs in the slightest from their promises.

3. They assume an ignorance on the part of readers and audiences of certain fundamental writings and backgrounds of which they are aware.

It is not my place to relate the experiences wherein the very top leaders in Buddhism acceded to my contentions, but they seldom forgave me for it. So the term ethics in literature and the term ethics in human behavior are often far apart. As to the Christian Ethics. The very contentions of your writers seem to prove my point. I am not the least entertained by subjectivities. The mere assumption that a man knows or represents an entire religion is to me hyperbolic and fanciful. I keep on telling my Sermon on the Mount, “A little child shall lead them,” “Love ye one another,” etc., etc.

I am preparing to attend at least one international convocation of all religions. I am hoping to have cards put on the table.

As background material. Years ago I read a little known work; little known but because almost purposefully neglected, “Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North West Frontier Province.” The book was written in 1896 by one H. Rose of the Royal Asiatic Society. When I visited the same region in 1956 I found things little changed despite political upheavals. You might think a report would at least be examined. My notes are still dormant and will remain so until we get into the world of objectivity. Fortunately this is now coming to pass. A number of professors in different universities are accepting objective reports of persons without going into their so-called “credentials.”

I am hoping we can establish an ethics which is based on the relations of people to people and not on the subjectivities of important or self-important writers. I consider this situation unfortunate, most unfortunate.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 


Jan. 12, 1970

J.I. Rodale and associates

Rodale Press, Inc.

Emmaus, Pa. 18048

 

My dear friends:

I have before me Prevention January 1970. I began reading this with considerable “bias.” And having completed the reading of several articles the “bias” has increased. Or maybe it is not “bias” at all, but innate or natural wisdom.

I am born in this state of California before the period of refrigeration ears, when the glutted markets dumped all surplus into this city. The result was that early in life I consumed a tyrannous amount of fruit and this before the advent of sprays, pollution, or even advanced technology. But I did examine certain operations, like the law of diminishing returns in economics, and some of my beliefs were sent to you for “Organic Gardening.”

At this writing Organic Gardening is definitely on the way up or up and up. Tonight my own friends and associates are meeting with Mr. Fred Rohe concerning progress of expansion, but the fact is that I am running into all sorts of programs of expansion. Most fortunately this is neither religion nor economics, and all these groups are seeking some sort of entente with each other.

Subjectively I have never been a hundred per cent for organic gardening—subjectively. But my diaries are full of notes. I could even write on “the law of diminishing returns in Japanese rice.” And the corrective is actually not hard to find. My first visit to agricultural experiment stations in India produced annoyances if not shocks: the tests showed that all grains benefited far more from organics. So far as the press was concerned there was a war between ammonium sulfate and urea. The latter won out. Huge shipments of urea went to India. The hydroscopic phenomenon etc. The packages became useless. The farmers lost out. The Peace Corps didn’t lose out, foreign aid didn’t lose out, the peasant farmers of Asia lost out.

Even more telling would be my field notes on maize in Pakistan.

Even nicer was my sojourn in Southeast Asia where only organics are acceptable. Thailand and Burma using organics have prospered; East Pakistan and Bengal using the chemicals of civilization have suffered.

So you can see I have been reading Prevention with a considerable amount of bias and prejudice to the extent that headaches and similar aspects of pain phenomena have disappeared. Not only that, there is every prospect for a much larger scale organic garden in this region.

The result is that I am reading Prevention with an open heart and reverence. I want to enjoy good health, and next year I am hoping to enjoy my “diamond jubilee.”

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 


910 Railroad Ave.

Novato, Calif. 94947

February 18, 1970

 

Saturday Review

380 Madison Ave.

New York, N.Y. 10017

 

Dear Sirs:

I have certainly enjoyed Manfred Halpern’s “Israel’s Incoherent Response to an Incoherent Arab World.”

Rightly or wrongly I have reached two conclusions:

a. that no matter how much direct experience a person has had, it is almost impossible to be taken seriously by editors and dialecticians in general;

b. most unfortunately, but quite true, such rejections today open the doors to the young who will believe anybody on almost any subject if he is so rejected and ignored as the writer and what I generically call “the ugly Americans.” I do not believe any problems have been solved, are being solved by dialectics of any kind. I am even adamantly stubborn on this point, realizing that I, too, may be over the barrel.

Part of the new age psychology is that the young are attracted both to eye-witness participants in world events, and to those also who have been ignored by what they call the establishment.

I am seeking neither help nor recognition, but feel that someday like Benjamin Disraeli and others, many others, like me who belong not to “the silent majority” but to the silenced. I do not believe we can have a society half-dialectic, half free. The natural sciences have opened the door to liberty in the universities. There is hope. When the rest of us place facts over opinions, there will also be hope.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

P.S. Being ignored, rejected etc. does not prevent one from respecting honest opinions and objective report from anybody, including “The Saturday Review.” I believe wars and misunderstandings will continue until the humanity is accepted and respected—not the thoughts of humanity in or the thoughts about humanity, but the humanity itself.

 

 


March 25, 1970

Manas Publishing Co.

Box 32112, El Sereno Station

Los Angeles, 32, Calif.

 

Dear Sirs:

You have been very kind in sending copies of Manas here. I must confess I do not understand what you are striving for:

1. You say religion without dogma—I do not see any religion at all.

2. Science without materialism—I do not find any science, and I do not know what is meant by materialism.

3. I do not know what is meant by “Integrity in human relations” at all. The term is simply incomprehensible to me. I am about ready to leave for a conference of all the religions of the world. They are at least meeting together. They are at least listening to one another, which of itself is to me a grand achievement. They are not imposing; they are mingling. Consciously or unconsciously practicing brotherhood, not preaching it. I think this is marvelous, but it isn’t news. This sort of thing is seldom news.

When I have attended the sessions of the AAAS of the top scientists of the country and perhaps of the world, I found great eagerness not to express, but to listen to others who are expressing. I think this is marvelous; I think this is ideal. I cannot accept any criticism, valid or invalid, to this type of behavior.

Our own work it here is now receiving public attention, but I have no time any longer to write articles that are going to be rejected. If editors have other ideas and ideals that is fine; that is all right. I have no intention of trying to change the views of others, but neither have I any intention to contribute financial]y for their efforts, or to embark on anymore one-way-street undertakings.

God bless you,

Samuel L. Lewis

 


Chronicle Features Syndicate

March 25, 1970

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, Ca. 94110

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Not mingling with the young? Sir, I have one fifteen year old daughter, one twelve year old son and one ten year old daughter. We mingle. The children have friends. I do not hide from them. Some days I mingle like crazy.

When you contemplate the blessings of letting a little child lead them, recall the Children’s Crusade. As to the Kingdom being in and with the young, where do you get the idea that it is only there? In the Gospel you cite, Jesus keeps quoting oldsters such as Moses, Elijah etc.

Indeed, “You can’t have it both ways”: man is not both a soul and not a soul. Tell me something new.

Granted, some of the young are very honest. You have clouted a straw man, a poor effigy of sweet me. However, I cannot be unimpressed by a man who claimed to “leave off in mid air.” Jesus walked on water, and He got transfigured, but he matched your performance only once—when he allegedly disappeared in the temple.

Seriously, I am sure that your intentions are good.

Regards,

Lester Kinsolving

 

 


April 29, 1970

To the editors of Holiday

641 Lexington Ave.

New York, N.Y. 10022

 

Dear Sirs:

It is very difficult to read “How much do you really know about the Taj Mahal?” and not react. This country, the United States of America, is now going through a cultural revolution. It is a real revolution, not only totally effective, but so far almost totally ignored by the channels of communication, by what Lord Snow calls the “literary-humanists.” This revolution consists in the gradual replacement of European “experts” on Asia by Americans who have lived in Asia and by Asians themselves. But many of these Americans have also lived in Asia, often educated there, and in other cases they have submitted to disciplines in Asian philosophies, real spiritual philosophies and not just the superficial gymnastics popularly known as “Yoga.”

Sooner or later both this article and a copy of this letter will find their way into the hands of Prof. Huston Smith of M.I.T. He is an American accepted by Asians and gradually becoming accepted by Americans themselves. He is not a German or Englishman or European prowessed but “only in America.” In the meanwhile one has the temerity to disagree with the high caste men, the author and Mr. Mukerji.

Even England has produced men like Stanley Lane-Poole and much later Major Yeats-Brown, who know better, but who are seldom quoted by the “experts” who misinform us and keep us misinformed.

Well I have lived in Agra. I have seen the Taj by moonlight, by dawn, by sunset, and at noon, to say the least. Not only that, I have visited the workshop where the artisans were trained before they came to Agra. Worse than that, I happen to be a member of Sufi orders, including the one in which Shah Jahan himself was initiated. Neither Mr. Menon nor Mr. Mukerji dare relate the hard hard fact that Emperor Akbar, his son Emperor Jahangir and Shah Jahan himself exempted the Hindus from the jizya. It was Aurungzeb the son of Shah Jahan who restored this deplorable burden on the peasants.

Mr. Mukerji is downright dishonest and this sort of dishonesty impairs both knowledge and good will. Shah Jahan was not a foreign conqueror. He was born in geographical India. This part of the world was never united in all history until the time of the late Mahatma Gandhi under any Hindu who was not a Buddhist. It was only the wonderful Asoka and after him the wonderful Akbar, who united its peoples. Even the somewhat biased Cambridge History of India has been more objective than either Mr. Menon or Mr. Mukerji whom you have foisted on your readers.

One is not surprised of Chandra Mukerji’s attitude toward beauty. Nearly all the great aesthetic and architectural monuments of India (a few in the south excepted) were Buddhist until the 11th century, and Islamic after that.

I am glad that Aubrey Menon states that “Mogul Emperor Jahan … ruled the greater part of India.” There are quite a few Indian movements of the day somewhat chauvinistic, and with good reason, who nonetheless ignore the whole Mogul period. This matter has been taken up locally with the students at the University and even many strongly anti-Islamic Hindus do admit history and facts, hard facts.

To begin with the statement, “The Moguls were originally robber barons who had lived and plundered in the area we now call Afghanistan and Pakistan.” To begin with the very word “Mogul” is a linguistic modification of the word “Mongol.” The Emperor Babur, who established this dynasty in India was descended on his father’s side from the tyrant Tamerlane or Timur; and on his mother’s side from Genghis Khan. He thus had a legitimate dynastic claim. He was nothing like the Hohenzollerns who began as robber barons.

Yes, in India the conquerors were Muslims, the conquered were Hindus. But northern India and Delhi had long been occupied by Muslims before the advent of Babur. There are too many records including the Kutub Minr just outside Delhi.

The Islamic invasions were successful because of the damnable caste system which was in operation in India, which crushed and mistreated the peasants, and so deprived the exceedingly despotic Rajas of the support of the lower classes. True, the Muslim invaders were not always deliverers of the exploited masses but they certainly did not start any such social oligarchies. Can either Mr. Menon or Mr. Mukerji offer the name of a single person other than a few earlier Buddhists who did not keep the masses utterly downtrodden?

On page 70 it is said that in order to keep this system working smoothly, a number of Abyssinians and Negroes were imported to form a constabulary. Wherefrom this damnable utterly false fiction? Sure, the Muslims brought in a constabulary; sure they exploited the masses. Sure they were not always more lovable than the Indian Maharajas, but we should have a few facts occasionally. The constabulary consisted for the most part of turbulent Turks and Afghans. They were not always angelic; even one can say never, but they did not come from Africa, far from it.

Mr. Menon says, “Not a rupee was spent in what we would nowadays call social services.” It is this kind of absolute falsehood which has promoted the stirring up of Asian peoples from one end to the other against Western imperialists. I admit that the Hindu Maharajas may not have spent any money. They were exempt. The Dharmashastras are absolute class documents. But Islam includes the institution of zakat, though perhaps the beneficiaries were mostly Muslims. I was not there when Emperor Akbar distributed zakat. He certainly did.

One cannot compel Mr. Menon or any Mukerji to read the Ain-i-Akbar or the Akbar Nama. They are just as available for perusal as the Dharmashastras. It is so easy to take advantage of real or presumed ignorance.

I have just returned from Geneva where the religions of the whole world held a conference. They were represented by their own leaders and certainly not by some carefully brainwashed ersatz “experts.” The convocation was called by the Mayor of Geneva who immediately paid tribute to Emperor Akbar. This man who stood staunchly against every form of bigotry, has himself become the butt of all bigots, including Mr. Menon and Mr. Mukerji.

Neither the virtues nor the foibles of Akbar or Jahangir are directly responsible for the construction of Taj. I am glad that Mr. Menon says Shah Jahan “was famed as an enlightened patron of the arts.” Can he say the same about any of the Indian Maharajas whom he seems to exempt from tyranny and exploitation?

On page 72 we have the contradiction by Mr. Menon himself. On page 70 it was “not a rupee was spent on what we would nowadays call social services.” And on page 72 it says he opened a few soup kitchens and gave a sum equivalent to $30,000 toward famine relief….” Which Mr. Menon is correct?

While Mumtaz Begum was alive Shah Jahan remained a devoted husband. After that … he became a Justinian. But what about the Maharajas who controlled all of India not in the hands of the Moguls or other Muslims? And what have they to offer in counterbalance to their exploitations and tyranny?

There are of course other factors, plus and minus. These would take us far afield no doubt. What we need are unbiased examinations. True, I feel under the influence of Stanley Lane-Poole early in life and of Flora Annie Steele later on, and later became a member of some of the Dervish Orders, which has not stopped me from having Hindus as my very best friends in this world.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif. 94110

May 22, 1970

 

Cambridge University Press,

510 North Ave.,

New Rochelle, N. Y. 10801

 

Dear Sirs:

You will find check for nine dollars ($9.50) fifty cents to cover invoice J 21820 for Volume 6, Journal of Religious Studies.

This was not paid sooner as one was out of the country. This was chiefly to attend a conference of the leaders of the real religions of this world help under the auspices of The Temple of Understanding. This group is interested in privatizing, so to speak, “My House shall be a House of Prayer for all peoples.” The impetus came from a woman, a housewife, and she seems to be having the same influence on the religions as an “uncredentialed” Darwin has had on Biology and an “uncredentialed” Faraday on Physics. Whatever be our tendencies there is no doubt to me that God selects from His Bethlehem-Ephratas just whom He will choose and not necessarily certain classes, let us say, of intellectuals.

It was noteworthy when the leaders faced each other it was not necessary to sermonize of moralize them. They proved their superiorities by their behavior. True, some representatives of minor faiths made stirring appeals for “love” and “compassion” but most of us were more impressed by the loving and compassionate behaviors of the vast majority than by rhetoric.

It was a great break in the life of one who has been, so to speak, “scorned and rejected of men.” That is all right in closed quarters, but when we are “face to face” we have to prove by more than verbalisms and arguments. My secretary and I were probably the only ones present who could easily communicate with all the delegates—two-way communication, too, and not just lesser ones listening to greater ones.

I remember some years ago attending a conference in the general field covered by the Journal of Religious Studies. The speakers and panel got into a fierce and apparently unsolvable dispute. After it was over I presented what I thought were facts. They all said, “Why, you have the answer. Why didn’t you speak; you have the answer.” But what followed is characteristic of the “Judeo-Christian ethic,” which has happened so many times over:

I wrote up what they called the “solution.” It was not only not published, they never answered a single letter after that! And this has been so characteristic of so much of one’s life it was marvelous to find the real leaders were real people and did not behave that way at all.

I cannot demand my point of view from others. Studying Botany and Horticulture, each Tree has become a living reality. Studying Soil Science, each specimen has become a wonder. And studying religion, “God” and “University” and the “Ineffable” have become realities of which one can become conscious, just as conscious of as the Trees and Soil.

I shall not try to prove this in a letter. It is being proved in the daily life. Every week more and more young people came to my meetings or send for me. The young want the living God and Living Religion and not theologies and dialectics and subjectivisms.

When someone comes to me and says, “Problems of Suffering in Religions of the World,” do not know what is meant. What Christ said, what Buddha said, what Mohammed presented—that is one set of words, ideals and values. What the separative religions practice is something else. You do not see the religions preventing any of the great evils of the day. A “good Buddhist” who is Secretary-General of the UN offers pious words and empty pleas. A “good Christian” who is President of the United States is remarkably unconcerned with the shooting of young people in his own country or the genocide of Buddhists anywhere.

Having met intimately the actual leaders—some of whom I have known for a long time I am not concerned with the views of Mr. Bowker or anybody. I am concerned with the pragmatic application of the purposed teachings.

It was only after threatening open exposure that a Rabbi was willing to grant an interview regarding efforts to bring peace among the living peoples of the Near East. Fortunately we were able to reach a harmony on a higher dimension than the universal dialectical, analytical fault-finding of others.

The same is even more true of the Protestant leaders. Yes, at the conferences all presented their theories. But now we have to do more and the young are going to see to that. The young are doing concerning suffering and they are demanding that religious leaders do and the religious leader are sometimes complying today. This is a wonder. I wish you would take more attention to wonders.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


910 Railroad Ave.

Novato, Calif. 94947

July 10, 1970

 

Mr. L. P. Elwell-Sutton

New York Times Book Review

New York Times, NY

 

Beloved One of God:

It is not often that a mystic is given an opportunity in this country to write on mysticism. We have read your review on recent books, more or less related to Sufi mysticism, and can understand a kind of quandary. But the bald and simple fact is that Sufism has been excluded from our culture despite the fact that it has considerably over 40,000,000 living adherents.

For instance, a number of years back I was openly derided in public and shamed because I declared that there were living Sufis. The man who was most. responsible for this was a European, then highly regarded in our culture as an exponent of Asian wisdoms—he had never been in Asia but was a friend of the Emperor of Morocco, and this was regarded as sufficient qualification. A few days later I was suddenly hailed by a group of Indonesians who welcomed me as a fellow in tarikat, i.e. the Sufi path.

These two relations have persisted, extreme affability and cordiality from and with Indonesians and extreme contempt from European exponents of Asian cultures. (Their leader is Dr. Arthur Arberry, an Englishman, who is highly regarded in many of our cultural circles but disdained by the Royal Asiatic Society, etc.) In the course of years one has been accepted as a disciple in a very large number of Sufi Orders. But when one attempted to give a talk on the late President Zukair Hussein of India who was a member of several of the same Sufi Orders as the writer, one was also treated with contempt by the intellectual authorities on Asian mysticism.

Once an Englishman tried to ascertain the number of Sufi disciples in Sudan and came up with a larger number than there were inhabitants of Sudan; then he found that many persons belong to more than one Sufi Order (tarik).

Unfortunately in the West there are a number of legal organizations and also successful writers who present themselves—all in competition with the others—as being leaders in Sufism. The basic teaching as laid down by the eminent Persian divine, Imam Ghazzali, was that Sufism is based on experiences and not on premises. But all intellectuals disregard this and try to build it either on premises or personalities; to build on personality a mystical teaching which declares that nothing exists but God (Allah)!

We in the United States have blindly accepted certain English and European writers as spokesmen for a mysticism of which they have had no experience. In the meanwhile a German, Dr. Titus Burkhart, went to Asia, studied with Asians, and came back with the thesis that no one could understand mysticism without having valid experiences and a qualified teacher. He has since become allied with one Dr. Frithof Schuon, who is an advanced mystic, with the celebrated Marco Pallis and others. They publish a magazine, “Studies in Comparative Religion,” which is published at Bates Manor, Bedfont, Sussex.

This same group is closely allied with Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr of the University of Tehran, who has been vouched for by Harvard university and the Harvard University Press.

One has found by direct experience that there are millions of members of Sufi Orders in Pakistan, India, Indonesia and Sudan—to begin with….

In 1896 a book was published by the Royal Asiatic Society writer one H.A. Rose: Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North West Frontier Province. In 1956 covering much of the same territory one found almost exactly the same conditions as Rose did at an earlier time that the country was largely inhabited by members of Sufi Orders. In fact I once spoke to 20,000 members of a single Sufi Order in Lahore, West Pakistan.

Sooner or later my own memoirs will become public, tearing the veil from a lot of nonsense which passes as Asian culture. Inasmuch as the Sufis do not have votes in the United States or bank accounts—they have in some countries—and inasmuch as Sufis are associated with Islam, and Islam is an Arabic culture, even our finest so-called East-West centers see to it that true Sufism is not presented to the public.

Therefore we are going around to the young people who intuitively accept the existence of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ, “God is love” and “Love ye one another,” and sooner or later the underground press is going to give solid facts which are going to be accepted by humanity because they are accepted by truth from both the subjective and objective points of view. Sufis are not supposed to argue but we can wait on in patience until the world becomes more curious and then we will not be barred from platforms and colloquiums.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


August 6, 1970

Editors, “Portal”,

Post Office Box 15068,

San Diego, Calif. 92115

 

Dear Sirs:

This is an unfair and biased letter and may so be received. There is complete verbal agreement but there is not always the same definition to the words. And there is now a manifestation in my life that there is either a God of Mercy and Justice, or of Emerson’s “Law of Compensation,” or even of the “truth” of Indian Cosmic Metaphysics, only we know so much better than the “ancients” it is not even necessary to discuss that.

I have always declared that the greatest two achievements of my life were the invitation (and I was—fact totally unimportant, of course, wrong person) to be guest of honor at the Imperial Palace Grounds in Japan; and the free dinner received from the Armenians. But I must add to that the thirty-three rejections of the paper on “Vietnamese Buddhism.” After all we and the communists are totally in agreement in efforts to eradicate Vietnamese Buddhism although there were actually more Vietnamese Buddhists than Jews of all types when we began interferences by force. This does not mean that the Jews are defective in anything but quantitative statistics. But we with our verbal-verbal-verbal “Peace with Justice” simply cannot see the points of view of the exotics, especially Gooks.

On the other hand I am in such substantial agreement with Professor, Dr. Archie Baum, that I do not feel comfortable in even the most indirect criticism which may disturb him.

I have before me the article on “Psychic Transformation” by Ralph G. Warren but for this purpose any article would do. He follows the late Dr. Dewey in using or misusing pronouns in such away there seems to be “logic” but the pronouns have a totally different context every time they are applied.

Now I will say this—that the person has been validated by the actual spiritual leaders of all Asian faiths—whom I can name and give facts and referents—as a “master” but I have no intention to try to convince any older people whatsoever. At this writing not only the young are coming to me in ever greater numbers but now university professors. And I am overwhelmed with invitations.

At this writing I am also being close to being overwhelmed with the greatest of American virtues: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. But how the devil I can share it with any of those who rejected, “Vietnamese Buddhist” is a little beyond my comprehension.

I am totally prejudiced any that fearful, diabolic, satanic “peace with justice” which any Hitler or Tamerlane would accept. Or the modern version, “peace with justice (and genocide).”

We are spending billions to stop something we call “communism” and have cultural exchange with the Russians. We have no cultural exchange with any Asians. We tried the “Peace Corps,” perfect American one-way traffic. We have a lot of “world” and “cosmic” and “international” and “integrative” movements and over 90% of the directions are British, Americans or Englishmen!

I have been to Geneva to meet the real leaders of the real religions of the real world. My secretary and I were warmly a greeted by the only Negro and the only Chinese there—nobody else received such welcomes. But it did not take two hours to win the warm embrace of the son of the head of the wealthy Birla family of India. Indians believe I know Indian philosophies; most Americans and Europeans differ; the Japanese and Chinese believe I know their teachings; most Americans and Europeans differ. And as for the Arabs! The Arabs have given us more literature than almost any other Nation, but we don’t want to offend the Zionists so Islam is not represented at our international and inter-religions gatherings.

This is all over. The simple fact of rejections, usually a priori, on Arab culture and Vietnamese Buddhism, is making the writer a hero. And on top of that a very wealthy publisher, looking for real mystics, those who have had mystical experiences, who have had the actual transformations of satori, samadhi, tauhid, etc. wants everything some of us may have.

In addition to that some of your people were involved in the efforts of Dr. Sitko, an attempt of “nice” people to establish a private Shangri-La. It went the way of Dr. Roerich and this will continue. But the young are building their own Shangri-Las and both succeeding and prospering.

I don’t accept Jung as a sage at all. He stole the word, the word, the word Alchemy and subjectivized it beyond conception. Alchemy means “Egyptian wisdom” and not all our heroes can change that. It has to do with transformations, not symbols; actualities and these are going on. But you can’t differ from certain certains, and especially in a democracy you mustn’t.

Love is the highest aspect of alchemical transformations.

This Love is being applied to and for the young and they are responding. But I think every university professor who has attended any of my meetings has been impressed; sometimes more than impressed. The day is over when anybody can speak or write on mysticism but the mystics themselves.

Love does not mean compliance with every remark or idea of others. I am not a sociologist and do not try to go into their operations. I am not a psychiatrist. I am not an economist. I am not asking for free speech for realized mystics. But now the doors are opening beyond my endeavors. We are growing, we are moving. And not all the negative professors of the “important” European and English Professors of “Oriental Philosophy” can stop.

We have met the top Orientalists in England. We were warmly welcomed at the Royal Asiatic Society. And best of all by Dr. Marco Pallis—we can name lots of persons.

Our work today includes:

a. Spiritual and mantric dancing. (One is the god-son of the late Ruth St. Denis.)

b. The existence and functioning of the three-body constitution, but emphasis on the presentations of St. Paul in the “Gospel to the Corinthians.”

c. The complete presentation of the Sufism of the valid Sufi Orders with all aspects of occultism, mysticism and esotericism.

d. Peace in the Near East by getting common people to mingle with each other. One has accomplished such atrocious, impossibilities as having Muslims repeat the Shema and Jews the Islamic Kalama….

One won’t go further. We have no more time for rejections. We have no more time for verbal “brotherhood of man” which excludes, with US (any particular US) on top.

This is not a nice letter. Have our own break through. The integration which integrates; the “world” movement which includes and does not censor or hide actual history and actual facts; the humanity which overlooks nobody— these I believe will succeed. I am very nasty here, even inconsistent but I am one of the few Americans who has been validated as a Zen Master, by Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese and Chinese—most certainly not by “experts.”

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


September 2, 1970

Saturday Review,

380 Madison Ave.

New York, New York 10017

 

Dear Sirs:

While I believe The Saturday Review is one of the finest of American publications, I am seriously considering whether it is worth my continuing the subscription. I used to go around saying that the greatest achievements in my life were being the guest of honor at the Imperial Grounds in Tokyo and having a free dinner from Armenians. I later added to this the 33 rejections of my paper on Vietnamese Buddhism. Liberals and conservatives, hawks and doves are not interested in what Asians think. Indeed they are often united in programs for correcting what they think or do not think. Anyhow I am enclosing copy of a letter to a local editor.

I am all for Lord Snow. Every letter ever written to scientists on pollution problems has been answered. We are in entire agreement. And I was amazed to find my chemistry teachers think I’m one of the most qualified in this field. This only proves Lord Snow.

A squabble or an invasion of the Berkeley campus meant world news. I was an eye witness which at once discredits me. But the hard fact that a professor of the University of California found a way to obtain food from leaves. But that just ain’t news! And it is a very small item in the discoveries and achievements of the professors on the Berkeley campus. Which in turn is a small item in the total discoveries on all of the campuses in California which in turn is a small item compared to all the wonders coming out of the American universities in general.

The Russian efforts to build Assouan is news. It may not be history, but it is news. What the Americans and Germans have done to help solve the water problems in Egypt may be history, but it is not news. The liberation of womankind by Prime Minister Nasser may be history but it is not news. The discovery of a formula for the maximal production of proteins in grains in Egypt may be history but it certainly has not been news. Nor was it any different from a similar discovery by the Rockefeller in another part of the world nor a Texas farmer in still another part of the world.

The hard fact that the Japanese and the Indonesians know the food values of all the “so-called weeds” is not news. The discovery of all kinds of proteins by the scientists of Egypt is not news.

The press howls about the need for sex education. Which does not disturb the young very much, but nothing about food problems which do interest them.

Regarding “Danger of Cancer in Food.” I am sorry I was trained in logic and philosophy by one Cassius Keyser of Columbia who wrote The Human Worth of Rigorous Thinking. This has made it impossible to accept current emotional trends. Although a non-smoker I am not in the least convinced that bad food habits are not far more to blame than anything from nicotine. Once the late Nicholas Roerich discovered peoples in Asia who did not suffer from cancer, and he tried to establish a research center in that part of the world. But cancer research pays. If you solve the problem, it no longer pays. So!

Some medical doctors may conclude, have concluded, that there are mental and emotional factors in cancer. Some people have found no cancer in parts of the world where there are heavy smokers who have the “right diet.”

Now I am too busy with my associates accomplishing the impossible bringing Jews and Christians and Muslims and Palestinians and Israelis together. In fact I have very little time to read at all. As said before I think you have one of the best publications in the country, but you are still “realists,” accepting the opinions of important people as against the direct witnessing and participation of unknown persons.

It is probable you are among those who advocate “peace with justice.” In the legal profession justice depends upon the testimony of eye witnesses. In other aspects of life, there are other policies. I am not asking nothing from you to be reconciled from my cancellation of my subscription.

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Sept. 19, 1970

Mr. John A. Victor, Publisher

San Francisco Magazine

120 Green St. 94111

 

Dear Mr. Victor:

I am very much interested in anything connected with San Francisco, but I am going to leave it to you whether I should spend any money for your publication or any other. I am the last of a four-generation family, although I have relatives in South San Francisco. I was born in this city and still remember quite well the streetcar system from before the fire. Louie Lurie was my first employer although he has probably forgotten me, and it doesn’t matter.

One prominent group of San Franciscans once asked me to send them $10 so I could meet famous people. I wrote them, “Why should you expect a person who has been a guest of honor at the Imperial Palace grounds in Japan and Thailand and had Presidential teas in Pakistan and India to send you any money?” They, the “important” people felt insulted and would have nothing to do with me since then.

I once wrote a letter asking whether I was slipping or not slipping, for it took me six days in Japan to be a guest of the government, and they sent a Rolls Royce, and five days in Egypt, and they sent me a Buick. The most important event, to me, in Egypt was the hours spent with a men who listened to me. No prominent San Franciscans listened to me, nor am I ever invited to speak, but one UN official in Egypt gave me hours and said I had the best plan be had ever heard of for the Near East. His name was Gunnar Jarring. San Franciscans simply won’t believe it, but now we are putting on, right in this city, joint Israeli­-Christian-Arab dinners, which can’t be news, because we who are doing it are not the “right” people. Or are we?

Like most San Franciscans and most publishers you know all about Aswan Dam. I lived in Egypt and do not know about Aswan Dam. I lived in Pakistan and know all about Mangla Dam, a very successful operative engineering construction, built by a firm whose name appears in the San Francisco telephone book.

And as for Egypt, I have seen the most marvelous engineering constructions by men from the University of California—not news of course—we don’t do things that way. Or can we?

Right now we are sending a team which is taking pictures and sound of holy places. Fortunately this is of some interest to the American Society for Eastern Arts, whose headquarters are also in San Francisco.

My secretary and I—unknowns—went to a top-level peace conference in Geneva this year. We were recognized by all the leaders of all the real religions of the real world, and thank God, we are getting cooperation from them. This was not news darling, but someone suggested inviting a Communist next year.

I love my San Francisco. I know its restaurants; its parks, its educational institutions, etc., etc., etc. I am also in favor of one-way streets, but have had enough of one-way streets in the non-material spheres. And am hoping to save my money for a peace scholarship at the University of California in Berkeley.

I have lived in cities which have solved the problems of pollution but know enough not to mention it publicly here. I have lived in cities which have solved the housing problem, but know enough not to mention it here. No, I have never been to a Communist land and do not agree with their “realism,” so called, anymore than with our so-called “realism.” I am a lover of facts and realities.

I leave it to you whether I should subscribe.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Sept. 25, 1970

Peter Rowley

335 E. 51st St.

New York City

 

Dear Peter Beloved One of God,

I am replying immediately to your letter because of your deadline and for other reasons which I will shortly go into.

I’ll just take up point by point places where clarification might be made or where errors either typographical or otherwise took place.

The “commune” in Sam Francisco where Pir Vilayat was staying is the office and residence of Murshid Samuel L. Lewis (Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti) . I am his secretary and disciple. He has over 100 disciples in the Bay Area and many more attend his numerous classes every week. He is 74 years old and one of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s original disciples. (Hazrat Inayat Khan is the father of Pir Vilayat and the founder of the Sufi Order in the Western world, as per his commission from the traditional Dervish Orders in the East, principally the Chisti Order which has its headquarters in Ajmer, India. He was told by His Pir-o-Murshid that he and his students “would united East and West through the power of music”. The Chistias traditionally use ecstatic singing as a means of spiritual development. Pir Vilayat is his father’s successor as head of the Sufi Order in the West.) Murshid Samuel L. Lewis is cooperating in every possible way with Pir Vilayat. Each treat the other’s disciples as their own. Murshid S.A.M. (Sufi Ahmed Murad) is teaching chiefly through his creations—Dervish and Mantric Dances. You mention those later in the article. Those dances involve many different sorts of movements of groups together, usually in a circle, and always involve the saying of one of the Names of God. (I would appreciate very much if you could get this information into your story.)

Perhaps you intended to say “Melvin Meyer, a young disciple of his … etc.” The change of name to Wali Ali was done by my Murshid in keeping with traditional practice of many esoteric societies.

The quote “They (i.e. Sufi mystics) don’t believe … etc., was actually made by this person, if that’s important.

The man whose name you have as Steve Gaskell is actually Steve Gaskin.

The “Family Dog” is a San Francisco Dance hall somewhat like the Fillmore West, only it is being run as a “commune.” Definitely not a night club.

(This Wednesday past, the 23rd, Murshid S.A.M. and Yogi Bhajan had a joint equinox celebration in Golden Gate Park. We had some 1000 young people there. Murshid taught his spiritual dances. The Yogi gave breathing practices to those interested. Much love.)

The youth camp in Paradise was quite successful. About 125 people. Everything spoken of in the camp brochures was realized, and even more.

 

Thus ends the point by point thing. Murshid left this morning for New York city. He will be speaking at 7:30 Monday the 28th at the Philosophical Research Center on 72nd St. Be also maybe speaking there, or certainly elsewhere the 29th and 30th. He will be staying at 27 West 71st St., telephone (212) 787-7576. Pir Vilayat will be speaking, I understand, at the same Philosophical Research Center, the next Monday after Murshid—the 5th.

Thank you for sending your transcript. Trust this letter has been helpful. love and blessings,

Wali Ali

 

 


October 3, 1970

Mr. Francis Brabazon

c/o Garuda Books

PO Box 6,

Woombye, Qeensland

 

Beloved One of God:

The book, Stay with God was purchased for perhaps an unusual reason: to study the literary from and to evaluate it, especially in the day and age when poetry (to the writer) has lost its direction. However, one does not understand the title at all because one had to wait 15 minutes to purchase the book while two of the attendants were fighting each other, and their anger rubbed off on this total stranger. One does not demand the acceptance of Saint Paul: “Show kindness unto strangers for many have thereby entertained angels unaware.” Anyhow this makes it very difficult to understand the philosophy of your creative effort.

On Page 112 there is a reference to Ezra Pound and, in some respects, one finds you a sort of Poundian without involving the languages. This is questionable because so many of your referents are form other languages.

From the standpoint of aesthetics this is a most interesting work and might stand on its own merits. But from the standpoint of communication it is rather bewildering. Jesus Christ has said: “Unless ye be as little children yours is not the kingdom of heaven.” One does not see how this book can appeal to children at all. Perhaps Jesus has been wrongly interpreted.

Or again, Jesus has said: “A new commandment I give unto you: that ye love one another.” Perhaps we have passed that. Perhaps we have evolved into an age when it is only necessary to love God whether in the form of man or otherwise. Here one dissents, but one believes everyone has a full right to his point of view, and one dare not judge the value of your work by personality agreement. But one suspects that you do judge the value of work by personality agreement, so we seem to differ. It the writer is wrong and you do not judge by personality but see beyond a deep apology is needed and is offered right here!

One certainly does not urge any acceptance from a point of view which sees God in everything and everybody by which is meant everything and everybody, by which is meant everything and everybody. This point may not be clear. The scientists are certainly ahead of others because the ultra microscope reveals that everything is made of light, generally with color. Let it go at that. With apology for this bad typewriter.

Love is love, and can be absolute, one believes. A confined, a restricted love is not absolute. Nor can love, true love be traded. Spiritual teachers may be judged by their disciples, what the disciples are. When the disciples emanate love, they exonerate the Teacher. If they exude anything else, the Teacher is dethroned.

Love and blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 

 


Samuel L. Lewis

c/o L. Less

27 W. 71 Street

New York, New York 10023

October 4, 1970

 

Justine Glass

c/o G.P. Putnam’s-Berkley Publishing Corp.

200 Madison Avenue

New York, New York 10016

 

In Re. They Foresaw the Future

Dear Miss Glass:

This book was ready without any skepticism whatsoever, but with extreme uncertainty as to its purport. For an example, I am a scientist, and all scientists admit it, and most non-scientists do not admit it. A good scientist is often able to predict, and sometimes the mark of efficiency is based on the ability to predict. So, there are types of people who can see the future within certain concepts.

I am also something other than a scientist, or I wouldn’t be writing. I definitely foresaw World War II long before it happened. My home and all my manuscripts were burned in 1949, excepting my poetry. There are a lot of predictions in my poetry. Once one editor accepted one such poem—one. In more recent years, my poetry was read by serious persons. They reacted most favorably, opening doors. Not one of those persons who reacted favorably is even of the type mentioned in your book. For example, once I went to a meeting where two important persons were discussing reincarnation. It came to a word-throwing contest, and finally both of the speakers who had never previously ever permitted me to address their respective audiences, asked for my view. I arose and said: “I am quite incapable to speak on this subject, as I remember some of my former lives, and in particular my last one.” The meeting was immediately adjourned, and this has been standard practice, and I repeat, this is standard practice among the so-called metaphysical, psychic, and so-called occult groups. It is: they want personalities, not facts.

The astrologer Gavin Arthur in San Francisco and I discussed the impending death of the late John F. Kennedy many times. These discussions were on public record outside the so-called occult and esoteric groups. The public accepted; the “seers” did not. I have the very wonderful record of 100% rejection by Eileen Garrett, Professor Rhine, and the followers of Edgar Cayce, although I am on good terms with them personally.

I must call to your attention that a number of famous “seers” predicted the destruction of California where my homes are. The only ones who really accepted my predictions were top G-2 Intelligence officials of the U.S. Army. One of them is still alive and living near Washington, D,C., and I expect to see him shortly.

It is remarkable that in Asia, even groups whom we know do not accept reincarnation and occultism, heralded this person because of his accomplishments in former lives, Amen.

Most interesting to me was the absolute rejection by all the “good” psychic researchers and so-called mental telepathists of my reports of my good friend, Khalandar Ali Mustana of Rawalpindi, Pakistan. But I could add a lot of others, and I mean that, just that.

Someday, no doubt, my poetry will be published. I cannot yet afford to do this myself, and all the “good” people have rejected it, you name them.

I may be the first person in the history of the world, although this does not matter, who has been validated as a Zen teacher and Sufi teacher. This year a number of the real leaders of real religions saw that there are some people who have faculties mentioned verbally by so-called occultists, but never faced by them. I am not now in the prediction business, although I agree entirely with my guru, the late Swami Ramdas of South India, that there will be no third World War.

I myself knew by 1910 that World War I was coming; in 1936 I knew World War II was coining, but I already knew what was going to happen. This meant to be shunned, lambasted, and socially exiled, although everything forced me in exactly that way. I understand Sir Winston Churchill had exactly the same foreboding. In the real sciences, the foresight of the different persons would be equal; in so- called “esoterics”—not on your life. It depends on the person who saw, not what is seen.

But we have a New Age, an age of honesty, an age of impersonality, an age in which multitudes of young people already have their third eyes open while their seniors by age and inferiors in spiritual development write endless books.

As no psychic research organization or occultist, etc. ever answers my mail, I have become quite indifferent. Indeed, the young people think I am a hero because of this. But some day we are going to have honest occult and psychic research as we have honest research in the natural sciences—and remember, I have been a laboratory flunkie.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Mr. Perry Young

c/o The New York Post

New York, New York

November 1, 1970

 

Dear Mr. Young:

This is in appreciation of your article on “The Mideast; a Reporter’s Notebook” which appeared in Saturday’s paper. It is in appreciation of a man who once happened to be a traveling companion of Dr. Jarring. Dr. Jarring gave him four hours’ attention and said his plan for the Near East was the best he had ever heard, period. Period. In other words, the boot from all the important persons and organizations contacted, it just couldn’t be until recently. But there is a very hopeful anti-climax. The world is not entirely made up of subjectivists and dialecticians and so-called “realists.’

Yesterday for the first time a gentleman of the press gave me an interview. I said I had three things to be proud of in life: a) A free meal from the Armenians; b) Being a guest of honor at the Imperial Gardens in Japan where Vice Presidents have not been particularly welcome; c) Thirty-three rejection of my paper on Vietnamese Buddhism. You name them; they rejected it. Then I ran into an old friend of mine for whom I did some research when he was a G-2 official during World War II, viz. retired Lieutenant General Edward Lansdale, my war hero. He said he was going to devote himself to trying to clarify the complexes of Southeast Asia (the fact I have lived there counts against me rather than for me).

It happened, for private reasons, that the income of this comparatively poor man began rising, and be decided to devote himself to working for what used to be called peace in the old days before he embarked upon imperialism. This had a rather Hollywoodian sequel. I got into a class at the University of California, a seminar on Southeast Asia. Practically everybody in the class, including the professors had lived in Southeast Asia. Not one person in the class ever had a single article accepted by the press! My paper on Buddhism was accepted.

Then I turned to the Near East. It was not easy; however, when Dr. Jarring’s name became public it was time to do something. Not write articles to be rejected by the literati but to do something. It seems this year my secretary and I went to a peace conference in Geneva. Utterly unknown, we were accepted by all of different delegations of many nations, outlooks, and religions. At first the declaration that I was an incarnation of “Nathan the Wise” was regarded as humorous. It is not now. All the persons present, some quite important in this world, have extended utmost cooperation to myself, colleagues, and disciples.

(I use the word disciples as I am perhaps the first person in history to have been validated both as a Zen Roshi and Sufi Murshid, i.e. by Asians). But we are coming around to it.

It seems one had to listen to tales of woe by former Israelis. You must know that there are two things absolutely verboten, and I mean that: an Israeli who turns against his government and a Muslim who turns against his traditional religion. You can take your pick.

One could write endlessly about the “humanitarianism” of this type of personality, but my young friends began to do something: to put on joint Israeli-­Christian-Arab dinners and functions. Why, they have even done it in Jerusalem! Of course such things aren’t news. But gradually public attention was called to their very successful endeavors, and very slowly the press and the radio-TV are giving a little publicity. Perhaps more will be available when we rise out of “realism” into reality.

Just before being given your article I was planning to write out again the plans for the Near East which so impressed Dr. Jarring. So far as I can remember, the churches, the humanists, and the so-called peace groups were unanimous in refusing interviews or giving me the floor. Amen. But once I was permitted to speak at the “narrow-minded” Jesuit University of San Francisco on “Water Problems of the Near East,” and when I completed my talk the chair had the audacity to say, “All problems have been solved; let’s sit down and eat.” You can bet your boots the chairman was a civil engineer and not a sociologist. It was right down his alley. The incident was not repeated. But that day is past.

I am not afraid of even attacking the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. Why is it so much publicity is given to the Assouan Dam? Why is it there have been no reports at large on the accomplishments of American engineers in UAR? Why is it that so few Americans know about the companionate Mangla Dam in Pakistan which is operating and helping to raise the standard of living in the end (I mean actually rot editorially)?

You are entirely right. The majority of Arabs, not only in the UAR but elsewhere, are Muslims. They are Muslims even more than they are nationalists. I personally am under the belief or illusion that the Arab peoples have given to the world far far more than all the Communists combined. I even spent weeks of research at the National Research Center in Dokki, Cairo. I have piles of objective material always welcomed by agriculturalists and engineers, Period. I am now going to have this material properly collated and put into some literary form. I have found a publisher, of course; but the success of my young friends in bringing Israelis, Arabs, Christians, and ever unbelievers together is far more astounding.

I do not feel it is necessary to repeat here facts and information of which you seem to be well aware. I know the leaders of the anti-Russians in UAR but dare not mention their names. The American foreign office has not been interested. The Russian foreign office is, of course, and you can tell what would happen then.

I considered Nasser as one of the greatest men of the century without agreeing with his international policies. I am one of those believers in scriptures which makes me, of course, a great enemy of established religions. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” “My house shall he a house of prayer for all peoples.” In other winds, I find the world divided between the atheists and the anti-theists and see no value in either, although one can sometimes more readily forgive the former.

I have had the best of goodwill from former Ambassador Badeau, now at Columbia University, and others. They understand. Communication with them has been as simple as it has been impossible with the literary community until necessary. We are going to inform the world, and the young are supporting us.

I do not know who are the more ignorant, the noisy rabbis or the noisy imams. I publicly insulted a rabbi this last week, and then he apologized to me. The only imam in New York I have met is so ignorant that an insult would be an honor. Yet these are the men we listen to. We let them arouse our emotions, and in this age when “excitement” is excellent business, what else do you expect?

As I come from the West, let me assure you that all over the Western states the vast majority of young people are for peace and brotherhood. I don’t know of any paper in the country that has published the results of elections on the Berkeley campus, how the students feel there. They are far far more under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi than under the influence of Marx, Leary, Agnew, some of your ivory-towered colleagues, etc., etc. But they are also somewhat under the influence of American pragmatists and philosophers who once held forth at Columbia University and who have been buried in this age of dialectics, existentialism, and masses of subjective European nonsense and perversion.

We are going to Washington shortly, and then I will go west. But my secretary, Miss Sitara
Tessler, can be reached at 551 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014. Or, if you are really interested, you might write to: Mrs. Benefsha Gest, 176 Sixth Avenue, San Francisco, California. She is the president of our group, which has been sponsoring Israeli-Arab-Christian dinners and affairs in that city.

At this writing there is a fair chance that either the Columbia Broadcasting Company or American Broadcasting Company may cover my return. I am teaching “Dances of Universal Peace,” being in a sense the godson and disciple of the late Ruth St-Denis of Hollywood. I led one thousand young people in a version of this just before leaving San Francisco. (The idea of peace trough the arts came to me years ago when the old Roerich Museum was functioning during the lifetime of that once celebrated but now forgotten artist.) Unlike Nicholas Roerich, I am appealing to the young and not to “les fameuses.”

Again expressing my appreciation of your article and hoping you will have more.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli Correspondence

60 Harriet St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

May 9, 1954

 

Sir S. Radhakrishnan,

Vice-President of India,

Government offices, New Delhi, India.

 

Dear Sir:

I am enclosing here with a paper called “Bharatism” which has been written with the hope that it may be a step toward alleviating the misunderstandings which have arisen between our respective nations.

I am, Sir, an old friend of the late Ram Lal Channon of this city, whom I had known for many years. At the present time I am studying with Dr. Haridas Chaudhuri of the University of Bengal and disciple of Sri Aurobindo Ghose. I am also known to Mrs. Henry Grady of this city, wife of the Ambassador.

While the point of view of the article enclosed is as if it were, my own, it has been written to exemplify the possibility of an American understanding some of the vast underlying spirit which may be connoted by the word “Bharata.” While you, Sir, are being accepted by leaders in the West as a great intellectual leader, the specific principles which you have been advocating are, as yet, not so well understood.

I was therefore delightfully surprised to learn that you uphold Bhagavan Das and Aurobindo as among the great philosophers of the world, a point on which I am totally in accord.

I have also written an epic for India which I am going to revise because of the added knowledge gained by studying with Dr. Chaudhuri. The title is “Siva! Siva!” It has been read by members of the local consulates all of whom are my good friends.

It is quite possible that my private affairs may result in my obtaining sufficient funds to be used in promoting international good-will. I have, in my life, faced the disciplines of Sufism, Yogi and Vedanta, perhaps something rare in the career of an Occidental, yet remain, in many respects primarily an intellectual, quite capable of enjoying your writings and such works as “Contemporary Indian Philosophy.”

May I conclude by saying’ “Jai Hind.”

Faithfully.

Samuel L. Lewi